Trinity: The State
This article originally appeared in the May 21st edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle
© 05.19.09 By D. Eric Williams
Unity and diversity in harmony: is such a thing possible in the political realm? In truth, Humanity will never be able to flawlessly balance the aspects of union and independence in the civil realm. Indeed, as imperfect beings we are not capable of perfectly imitating the relationship of our Triune God in any of the primary institutions of human association.
Nonetheless, we have the responsibility to do our best. Those who are in Christ are called to "be imitators of God, as beloved children" and are supposed to "grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ" (Ephesians 5:1, 4:15). This duty does not cease once a man walks through the doors of the legislative house. For there is no authority except from God and civil magistrates are God's ministers, required to bear good fruit in their arena of activity just as every Christian is required to manifest the lordship of Christ in their sphere of influence (Romans 13:1-4, Matthew 7:13-27 and so on).
A State out of balance typically trends toward greater emphasis on unity and the centralization of power. Although there are examples from history of a State that has collapsed into violent diversity, those situations quickly pass as a strong unifying power emerges to swing the pendulum to the left. If political history tells us anything it reveals the elusive nature of Trinitarian harmony in the public arena.
An ideal reflection of the Trinity in the State would maximize the liberty and responsibility of the individual while maintaining a central power strong enough to guarantee order. When we examine the pattern of the Godhead we see each member of the Trinity functions in His sphere independently and yet in concert with the unity of the Godhead.
The Heavenly Father is aabah Father the originator of mercy and comfort (1 Corinthians 1:13). From the Father flows blessings to the saved and unsaved alike according to His will (Matthew 5:45). Moreover, he brings forth children born, "not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13).
Christ faithfully adhered to the will of the Father in effecting the plan of redemption but did so voluntarily: "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father" (John 10:18). He was not coerced; he could have altered the course of events at any time. Indeed, even at the last moment Jesus might have called twelve legions of angels to aid Him had he so chose (Matthew 26:53).
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, disclosing the mind of God and His Christ (John 16:13-14), yet He works independently, as an individual, guiding and empowering the members of the covenant community in their daily walk (Acts 16:7, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). In other words, the Spirit maintains the unity of the Trinity but is not limited in personal initiative.
The Father brings forth children by His will, Christ accomplished His work of redemption without coercion and the Holy Spirit is free to bestow gifts as He wills: how is it the State claims the right to compel its citizens to obey in even the most mundane aspects of life? The eternal plan of redemption is of inestimable importance; the amount of gasoline our car consumes is not. If the equilibrium of unity and diversity in the Trinity allows for personal responsibility then certainly the institution of the State must do likewise. Therefore, the goal of the State should be to maintain a voluntary unity which allows for the greatest possilbe individual freedom and initiative.