Thursday, 16 April 2015

Who carries Thomas the Tank Engine?

Like some serious one-self Trinitarians, and like Stephen Holmes, I also am generally wary of the analogies drawn from our human existence to understood the true and most high God. The risk, as Dr Holmes highlights emphatically, is to focus only on the analogies (such is the accusation placed at the social trinitarians' door over humanified personhood) and ignore the dis-analogies.

That said (!), I have one that I find helpful, that I stumbled over the other day and that comes back to me now as I re-visit once again God and Jesus both being Saviour in Titus. My son was feeling tired coming back from school, so I agreed to carry him on my shoulders, but I needed him to carry his own little bag - my hands were full holding onto him! So an idea birthed in me that needed an image to blog about here. But although the idea is pretty simple, it was surprisingly hard to find anything helpful on google image search, so I have had to take a photo myself. The image is thus of me, carrying my son, who himself carries his own little Thomas the Tank Engine rucksack. As I say, it struck me quite powerfully the other day that it is entirely possible that two different people can be performing the same action on the same object at the same cost, and maintain having totally distinct identities. Yes, I am officially becoming a theological geek!

Neither our shared act of carrying, nor the singularity of the object, the one and only Thomas the Tank Engine bag of my son, make any difference to the fact that I am simply me, and my son (he is actually my one and only son!) is simply him; we remain simply two different persons and beings. But how much does the bag weigh to me? Precisely 1 kg. How much does the bag weigh to my son? Precisely 1 kg. The only difference is that I am doing the lifting of the Thomas bag through my son, who also must carry the exact same amount.

I am upholding the Thomas bag
My son is upholding the Thomas bag
In some complex way, I and my son are of one same essence and being, and it is this one same essence and being that is doing the upholding. If that being were to let go, the Thomas §bag would come crashing to the ground.
In some mediative way, I and my son can be simpler, separate persons and human beings, but we both are performing the same operation on the same object. There is however an important distinction. I am upholding the Thomas bag, indirectly, through [dia] my son. My son is upholding the Thomas bag directly, but is only able to do so because I am upholding him, along with his Thomas bag. If either I or my son were to let go, then the Thomas bag would come crashing to the ground.

I am also reminded of all that God does in Acts through Jesus' apostles.

So, how'd I do on my first analogy dabble?!

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