What follows is an excerpt from Part V of Involuted Mysteries….The Symbolism of Numbers, an eighteen-part series originally posted in these pages (http://18.104.22.168/2009/07/08/involuted-mysteries-part-v/) some years ago. I re-post it this Christmastide for the ensuing reasons.
As I have been reminded recently, the doctrine of the Trinity remains an almost insurmountable obstacle for Christians and non-Christians alike. Literally understood, it is quite unamenable to ordinary reason. Perhaps more than any other Christian dogma, the Trinity is permanently befogged in what Jung called “sacrosanct unintelligibility”. It can be accepted on faith, of course, but faith is a gift of Grace, and will not be commanded by even the most muscular exertion of the will. Those who possess it ought to be admired, indeed, envied, by anyone with a soul (i.e., anyone other than a militant New Atheist). But for those who don’t, Augustine’s injunction, Crede, ut intelligas, is less than efficacious, and ought probably to be turned on its head. In the spirit, then, of Priceton’s neo-Augustinian motto, Intellige, ut credas, I offer the following meditation on triplicity, triunity, and the triadic Godhead…
Three is probably the most important number of all. It is the number in which the opposites are reconciled, and the original unity is restored.
The whole rhythm of existence is triadic, of course. Every process has a beginning, a middle, and an end; or speaking mythologically, which is to say, anthropomorphically, a youth, a maturity, and an old age; a birth, a growth, and a death.