About the nature of power

Contemplation about the Trinity – part two
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1. Our human concept about power. The human interpretation of power means the control of other people, which guarantees my own freedom. Who has power owns such a situation or resources that have created and legitimate his power. Western civilization’s notion of power is actionist thinking in the short term. This approach fails when wants to control systems beyond a certain level of complexity like the whole Earth. (Those who want to read more about this please read my essay here.)

 

2. The true nature of power. God’s omnipotence makes the definition of any situations or sources that „would legitimate” his power useless. God’s freedom does not depend on our acts. Totality, which exists out of time cannot be “actionist”, and short term thinking is excluded from his actions. The essence of God’s power is the creation and showing of the Direction guiding the world to good in the infinitely large space of God. Therefore God’s power is not about God (God’s freedom, God’s safety, or about anything else characterizing God). God’s power is one of His greatest gifts for the world in order to maintain the order of the universe. Thus the essence of God’s power is Mercy, the Providence enabling our life and making it good. (Those who want to read more about this please read my essay here.)

 

3. The power of the Trinity. Power is the indivisible characteristic of the Trinity’s Totality. At the same time, the direction guiding the world to good is the Path, the Truth and the Life that have been embodied by Jesus on Earth for the Father’s will and glory, and whose power over us was assigned to Jesus by the Father. The space of Jesus overlaps in many ways with that of the Father: it is huge, total, overwhelming and peaceful. At the same time the space of Jesus is personal, knowing man’s life, joy and suffers by experience, understanding us deeply by seeing us, and radiating his love personally over us. The space of Jesus can also be quite concrete, immensely explicit, very hard and unequivocal even for the human mind when it shows us the Direction, the Truth, and the only right Path. This concrete and very specific appearance of Jesus’ space „interprets” for man the will/power of the Father and his totality, peace and glory. The power of Jesus is expressed for the ones knowing him by the irresistible strength of the necessity to follow him. (Those who want to read more about this please read my essay here.)

 

 


 

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Introduction: Before the summer holiday in July-August in my concluding three essays I would like to raise a few points about the Trinity: the trinity of space/kingdom, power/truth and glory/love. In my previous essay I summarized a few (fragmentary) thoughts about God’s infinitely large space. The infinitely large space of God is not only the Whole of the Creation and existence but it is also the Gate of knowing Totality. In my present essay I am trying to formulate some thoughts about the nature of power.

 

1. Our human concept about power

 

The human interpretation of power means the control of other people. Power is also a guarantee of my own freedom because my power guarantees that my surrounding will support my intentions – obeying me regardless its own intentions. The one having power is usually the owner of such a situation (position, authority), or resources (force, reward, wealth, information, relations, proficiency, etc.), that have created and legitimate its power. (Sources and a situation legitimating power in many cases can be imaginary or fictitious.)

 

 

Western civilization’s notion of power is actionist. The actionist power lives in a constant need for action: it is permanently ordering or reforming something. Actionist power thinks only on the short run. Actionist power wants to see (preferably immediately but at least before the next elections…) the results of its power. That is why it does not deal with changes developing only through decades or centuries. This actionist approach fails when the system to be governed reaches a certain level of complexity. I have written about the sad (and dangerous) consequences of this phenomenon in my former essay summarizing the seven deadly temptations of mankind.

 

 


 

2. The true nature of power

 

„Please, give that I do not ask anything in my pray,
but the more I can hear you
and listen to you.”

(János Pilinszky)

 

Key elements of the human interpretation of power are incomprehensible with the nature of Divine power. Human power describes obedience relations between similar entities (humans). God, as Totality, naturally knows all our acts and thoughts. God’s omnipotence makes the definition of any situations or sources that „would legitimate” His power useless. God’s freedom does not depend on our acts. Totality, which exists out of time, cannot be “actionist”, and short term thinking is excluded from his actions.

 

The essence of God’s power is the creation and showing of the Direction guiding the world to good in the infinitely large space of God. This Direction gives birth to order again and again in the dynamically unfolding life of Creation. Therefore God’s power is not about God (God’s freedom, God’s safety, or about anything else characterizing God). God’s power is one of His greatest gifts for the world to maintain the order of the universe. (God „manifests himself” to us, humans, by His power. This is our unprecedentedly large luck because God’s power does not allow our lives and Life in general to descend into chaos.) Thus the essence of God’s power is Mercy, the Providence enabling our life and making it good.

 

Man either recognizes and accepts God’s power in his own life or locks himself out of it. If the individual locks himself out of God’s power, he also closes himself off to recognize what is useful for this world. Such an isolated individual gets out of the Mercy of Providence, and God’s will which, if necessary, will be enforced against his existence and actions.

 

 

Important note No. 1: Martin Luther wrote that "The 'arm' of God means in the Scriptures God’s own power, by which He works without the medium of any creature. This work is done quietly and in secret, and none becomes aware of it until all is accomplished; so that this power, or arm, can be known and understood only by faith." (Magnificat, 1521)

 

Important note No. 2: We should not wait for that “Providence will settle everything”. Our own responsibility cannot be loaded on God. An example for this is: in Toyota cars the accelerator pedal used to get stuck. In this case the Hungarian driver, who is used to dysfunctional cars, would start to clutch, put the gearshift in neutral, brake, etc. One of the American victims called 911 from his rushing car and he asked the duty officer to pray for him. Then he collided with another car, resulting in a roll-over, and four people died in the tragedy. The driver of the car with the stuck pedal was a highway policeman who had been trained for severe emergencies… Important note 2A: once we have started it with trust, hope and faith, the Providence will help us. Peter Grendorf, my lutheran pastor drew my attention to the book of Joshua (3,15) describing the pass through the river Jordan to Chanaan, where the priests, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, had to step in to the river first, and only then the river was stopped and they could pass through the dry ground. The first (or the last) step often has to be ours. Without any of our step, trust, hope and faith miracles do not happen.

 


 

3. The power of the Trinity

 

Power (just like kingdom – which is the divine space of God as described before –, and also His Glory which will be described in the essay published on June 22nd) is the indivisible characteristic of the Totality of the Trinity. At the same time, the direction guiding the world to good is the Path, the Truth and the Life that have been embodied by Jesus on Earth for the Father’s will and Glory, and whose power over us was assigned to Jesus by the Father. Feeling the presence of Jesus is a love community embracing the soul to become God’s child. The space of Jesus overlaps in many ways with that of the Father: it is infinitely large, total, overwhelming and peaceful. At the same time the space of Jesus is personal, knowing our life, joy and suffers by experience, understanding us deeply by seeing us, and radiating His loving personally all over us. However it is also very important to see that besides this general, infinitely loving and assisting appearance of Jesus’ space, it can be quite concrete, immensely explicit, very demanding and unequivocal even for the human mind when He shows us the Direction, the Truth, and the only right Path. This concrete and very specific appearance of Jesus’s space “interprets” the will/power of the Father and His totality, peace and glory for man. The power of Jesus is expressed for the ones knowing Him by the irresistible strength of the necessity to follow Him.

 

Two important additional remarks are needed here:

 

1. Following the characterization of God’s and Jesus’s spaces by a few inappropriate words, let some (similarly profane) words stand here about the space of Virgin Mary. Virgin Mary’s space is much more inwardly personal and intimate than the spaces of the Father or Jesus. In Virgin Mary’s space an amazingly intensive and (at the emotional scale) an incredibly sophisticated attention is focused on us. Such a radiation of the Totality of Purity embraces us that cannot be compared to anything else. Holy Mary’s supreme understanding experienced in Her humility and Totality of Purity meets here with our fragmented nature that is full of sins. This creates immense humility and love in ourselves, too. Tolkien wrote: "Our Lady, upon which all my own small perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded".

 

 

 

2. Besides the divine peace and purity of God’s space and also the Direction, Truth and Path showed by Jesus, another main feature of God is the radiation of His Glory. This intensive love-flow is also a characteristic of the Trinity as a whole but at the same time it is also one of the main features of the Holy Spirit. There will be more about this in my next essay published on June 22nd.

 

 

 

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