Greetings Friends! Relationships are the most important of all human interactions. It forms the basis of human existence and the foundation upon which all decent societies, and ultimately nations, are built. They fundamentally affect how we are judged as a nation, and how we conduct ourselves in international relations. (Pro.14:34) The origin of relationships is founded upon the nature of the Creator God who created all things to reflect Him in His Trinitarian nature. God, who exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lived in Loving relationship with each other from eternity. That Tri-Personal Love relationship is the basis of human relationships.
Notice the plural/collective pronoun/adjective. God did not refer to Himself solitarily, but plurally as the Trinitarian God. He said this when humanity was created, “Let US make human beings in OUR image, make them reflect OUR nature, so they can be responsible for (have dominion) … creation” (Gen.1:26-27, MSG, emphasis added). The original word for “God” was taken from the word, “Elohim,” which is single deity in the plural, or ‘uniplural.’ He did not say ‘let me,’ or ‘after my likeness.’ By declaring His plurality saying, ‘US,’ and ‘OUR,’ He signifies His Trinitarian nature, which is expounded in the scripture as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God. (Matt. 28:19; John 15:26; 2 Cor.13:14)
God is Triune and therefore relational. He is not a “solitary” and reclusive Being. God is not a solo, self-contained Being who is trying to subjugate His people as a stern judge and ruler, as many picture Him. God’s underlying nature is Triune, from which their Love unites them in ONE existence – ONE, unified, and inseparable Being. God can only be Love and thereby relational because He is Triune. For Love unites, but isolation breeds fear and division. All of creation was the design of the God who is Trinitarian and reflects His Triune expression.
So, creation reflects His relational and interconnected existence. For there is no dislocation between God’s act of creation and who He is in His Triune Being of Love. Everything from the universe and upon this earth is interconnected reflecting God’s Trinitarian nature. And the energy and essence which unites God is His Love. God Loves precisely because God is Love in His Triunity. (1 John 4:8, 16) Thereby, all creation is the reflection of His Love. There is no other possible way God could have made all things, whether visible or invisible, except to reflect His Loving Tri-Personal Being. Likewise, everything man does, he carries out to reflect his own humanity. For instance, man will not act to reflect the beast of the forest, for he has no inherent identity with beasts. It almost goes without saying that our human accomplishment can never be done on our own without the interdependent contribution from other humans. This reflects God’s interconnected Tri-Personal Being. Science itself, when it digs deeper into the created order cannot deny this wonderful truth that everything is connected as God made creation to reflect Himself in His Triunity. I would like to ask you to see this video from a ‘TedX talk’ given by scientist Tom Chi, which you can view at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPh3c8Sa37M I hope you have found the presentation to be both informative and instructive.
Love – The Foundation of Relationships
Man’s relationships will always be based upon God’s interconnected nature of Love, for the Bible corroborates that “God is Love” in His Triune Being. (1 John 4:8, 16) That means it is His narrative of Love … not man’s definition of love. Whether man wish to acknowledge it or not, man’s existence is hardwired with and in God’s interconnected Triune Love. When we deviate from that which we are natured and created to become, we find ourselves in problematic relationships. It seems everywhere we look there’s increasing fragmentation of relations. We question the sincerity of our love for people and wonder if it is worth our effort trying to love others, even on a human level. We have been blind-sided into these relationship knots from which we can’t free ourselves. That is what human love with its limited scope does to us.
However, many times we miss what Jesus tells us clearly: “A brand-new command I give you: Love one another.” If the decree to Love is a brand-new command, then what’s new about it? What’s different about it? Does it make any difference? He answers, “As I have Loved you, Love one another.” How did He Love us? He answers, “As the Father has Loved me, so have I Loved you. Now remain in My Love” (John 15:9). Jesus was speaking from His Trinitarian relationship in the Father and the Spirit. He was making known a new command of the Triune Love of God, which the disciples never saw nor experienced until they met and saw it in the life of Jesus for three and half years.
Leading Through Loving/Serving
So, though Jesus was the “leader” to His followers, He did not lead by domination. He displayed leadership by the Love in which He has always existed within the Triune Life of God. He reprimanded His disciples when they haggled about who was dominant among them. Jesus said, “whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to everyone” (Mark 10:35-45, esp. V.44) He was first and foremost the Chief Servant. He proved this, when, after performing a servant’s work of washing the disciples’ feet before His death, He asked them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?” He answered, “You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So, if I the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you, “What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life” (John 13: 12-17, MSG). He led them by inviting them to live in the Triune Love and Life of God as He did.
The Triune Love was Never Before Seen in Man’s History, Until Jesus Came
The Triune Love between the Father, Son, and Spirit was something that was never seen articulated in humanity until the Son came and took upon Him His creaturely human body. By taking our fallen humanity in Himself, He crucified the sin-conditioned human from Adam upon His cross, and rescued us from sin, rebellion, and condemnation. Then through His resurrection and ascension, God the Father now introduces Jesus’ new glorified humanity that humans can receive by faith in Jesus in the Spirit’s power. Hence, our “union” with the Triune God makes His new Love command a reality in human life through His Spirit. Peter said this, “Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit. (1 Pet.3:18; Rom.5:5; Rom.8:11)
Never before in human history was this Triune Love seen or tasted in human experience until Jesus came. Only Adam and Eve enjoyed it for a time until they alienated themselves from God, and followed man’s “solitary” way of fear. This Love was seen in Jesus’ life, where He went about doing nothing but good and healing all who came to Him (Acts 10:38). Jesus came as the Second Adam to rescue humanity from the sin condition which the first Adam consigned humanity at the hands of the devil. By taking our old sinful humanity in Himself and crucified it on His cross upon Calvary. Through Jesus’ resurrection He gave birth and brought into reality the new humanity in Christ mankind now adopt from God. (1 Cor.15:45; Rom.8:10; Col.1:27)
When Jesus took our humanity into Himself, and through His perfect life, sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension to His Father, this very Love from the Triune Being of God became ours by inheritance. Peter said, “He (Christ) has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature.” (2 Pet.1:4; 1 John 3:16) All it requires is faith, and the Holy Spirit makes Love flow in our lives as spiritual “living waters.” (John 7:37-39; Rom.5:5)
In my Book, “Bulamanriver* – The Miracle of Triune Living,” I explained 3 mandates God gave man from the outset of His creation, by which to develop his relationship with God, other humans, and with creation as a whole. The three mandates reflect the way they existed from eternity in their Triune nature. He desires of humanity to adopt and live like they do in their Triunity. Here are excerpts from my Book on the 3 mandates:
1. The Genesis ‘Helper Mandate’
“The first act of man in his relationship with another human is to use his God-given purpose to promote “creative living” with his fellowman. The purpose of our divinely conferred gift is to be creative as God is Creator. If gifts originate from the divine source, then man’s relationship with one another is mediated by the One who is inherently part of the gift – the Gift-Giver, Jesus – through the “living waters” of the Bulamanriver* (you). (Eph.4:8;1 Cor.12:4) The creative aspect of this relationship was given at the beginning when Adam was created and the original “other” human was taken from him. There God uttered the first of three Genesis Mandates for man through Adam and Eve: to be a fitting “helper” for each other. Though the primary context for this instruction is marriage, the meaning is twofold. Since Eve was the only “other” human besides Adam, by extension she also represented our “neighbor,” whoever he or she may be. For the “helper” can be applied in every context, not necessarily matrimonial. I call this the “helper mandate.” We saw Jesus re-echoed this first principles from Genesis to His disciples in the final hours before His crucifixion.
“Paul encouraged the Corinthians, saying we are “helpers of your joy” (2 Cor. 1:24, KJV). Further, he told the Romans, “Owe no man anything, except the debt of Love” (Rom. 13:8; Gal. 6:2, KJV). Jesus reiterated man’s “helper mandate” when He said we are to “Love our neighbors as we Love ourselves” (Mark 12:31, emphasis added). The famed 23rd Psalm depicts God as the “helper” of mankind. So we see in all this that the “creative living” outline cannot be denied: to be a “helper.” The primary purpose of our calling therefore is ultimately to “help” one another and bring all mankind to unity with the Triune God in Jesus.” (Pg.177)
2. The Genesis ‘Dominion Mandate’
In my book, I continue to say this about the second mandate, “We cease to be “helpers” when we violate man’s “dominion mandate.” What is the “dominion mandate”? It is the second Genesis Mandate that has two parts given to mankind by the Creator: how a human is to interact and conduct himself/herself with creation, and with his/her fellow humans. The first part is the “helper mandate” in man’s relation with his fellowman, while the “dominion mandate” explains a person’s relation in his/her dominion over God’s creation, which doesn’t include dominion over another person (Gen. 1:26-31; 2:19-20).
Remember that, dominion was given over creation but not another human. The Bible is quite clear on this in Genesis. We are to “help” not “dominate” our fellow humans. Only God is man’s ruler because humanity was made in His likeness, and He is humanity’s Creator and Savior. We are to be man’s “helper,” not “ruler.” A person’s relationship with another is either creative or uncreative, productive or unproductive, but is hardly ever neutral. We make the mistake of trying to merge the two when it can’t be done, and we can be one or the other depending on which river we ride – the river of fear or the river of Love. There is no Savior of mankind except Jesus (John 3:16; Act.4:12). Every single human is given equal and shared dominion over the earth under the Creator (Ps. 24:1; Eccl. 5:9; Mic.4:4, NKJV). The passage from Genesis makes clear the dual mandate of man’s dominion over the entire creation, and the mandate of being “helpers” of his fellowman.” (Pg.178)
Mankind has unwittingly, or wittingly, rendered God’s “dominion mandate” ineffective by violating His first mandate of being “helpers” of other’s joy. We have turned the “dominion mandate” on its head by seeking to control (dominate) others. So we see people resist and fight dictators and tyrants that’s littered in the annals of revolutions and uprisings, across the face of human history. They have no freedom to express themselves through their gifts in the shared dominion of this earth where people of all races and cultures are equal inheritors, by Divine protocol (Micah 4:4; Gen.1:26-27)
Instead, in the flow of the Triune Life/Love we have in Christ, we’re to live in the Life-energy of God’s Love-expression, to help people in the shared dominion of this earth. We must not see this earth as the object of our fears, which results in greed and covetousness. This is what we have witnessed in human history upon this earth as people express themselves in their “solitary” way of life, apart from God, and His mandates. The next mandate completes God’s three-fold decrees.
3. The Genesis ‘Triune Mandate’
I continue in my book, “Man will dominate the blessing of the richness of this earth in peace, fairness, integrity, and true abundance when he exercises his dominion as the Creator decreed. God’s decree, vis-à-vis living like his Maker, ushers in the third Genesis mandate in the words, “Let us make human beings in the image and likeness. Male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:26, 27). I like to call this the “likeness mandate.” Man’s only purpose of existence is to live in the Creator’s likeness. As the likeness of God is Trinitarian, I also call it the “Triune likeness mandate.” By adding his “helper” and “dominion” mandates, man’s purpose can be said to be a “helper” of his fellowman in his “dominion” over this earth, by living in the “Triune likeness” of his Maker. Triune living is about a life of interdependence with one another in Christ and the Spirit, helping one another in man’s dominion of this earth.”
“The exercise of authority over another human, whether by coercion, physical force, or even psychological means, is precluded in the Genesis “dominion mandate.” God holds dominion over every man, woman, and child, and He has not abdicated His sovereignty when He fashioned humanity in His own image. Man may live under the sway of his archenemy and his deceptions, but God is the final arbiter over human fate. You see, our Creator placed in humans the aggressive spirit to reinforce and support His earthly “dominion mandate.” That is how mankind has progressed and advanced, which continues to our present day. However, the mandate limits man’s domineering spirit over the earth and all in it, which precludes another human.” (End of quotation. Pg.179)
I go on to say in my Book that trust or faith is the bedrock upon which all healthy relationships are built and made to last.
“Trust (faith) is the basis of all human and Godly relationships that began in Eden. The foundation of trust is grounded upon the three-fold Genesis Mandates the Creator gave mankind. Those relationships were hijacked by the devil, who introduced his own “domineering” spirit dictated by distrust, fear, self-interest, and greed (Gen. 3). Man bought it lock, stock, and barrel, and the rest is a history of heartaches, sufferings, violence, and death. As a result of fear and the absence of God’s Spirit in man, the devil has wreaked havoc in men’s relationships with one another. God has never abdicated His sovereignty over humanity, and from the beginning promised a Savior (Gen. 3:15).
Not only must we discontinue our control of our fellowman; we are also not to place our trust in them, but in God alone. The mandate is clear: it is to “help” not “trust.” The reason for this is obvious. There is only One who can save in whom man can wholly trust without fear of being betrayed or deceived – Jesus. Where people overextend their dominion to include men and place their wholehearted trust in them, sooner rather than later they awaken to find their trust is seriously misplaced.” (Pg.180)
From the Joyous to the Toxic
As I pen this blog post, I realize the innumerable human relationship issues that exist in all peoples from all walks of life. It is human to be in relationship dynamics where we are seeking resolutions for mutual co-existence. When we speak of humanity and relationships, they are one and the same thing. Our families are the product of relationships. Our work, though we may tacitly assume as matters of happenstance, are outcomes of relationships we have engendered, and continues to be such. So is school, and every other human affiliation we have encountered in life. Relationships come in all shapes, sizes, and hues. At times relationships may seem insurmountable, complicated, and inexplicable. At other times, they may not be so complicated where both parties see eye-to-eye on matters which can be of mutual interest and benefit. So, relationships can range from the joyous to the toxic. But God’s Love works like a balm to heal and bring joy where gloom once reigned.
Man Is Relational…Because God Is!
All human relationship issues and dilemmas can be traced back to man’s ignorance and/or flagrant violation of the three mandates given by God at human creation. It seems, from most accounts, the issue that’s predominant in the world today is the blatant exploitation of the “dominion mandate” which renders the “helper mandate” superfluous and redundant. And we see this spirit of “control” extensive not only in the many facets of the life of individuals, but across the spectrum of human interactions, in communities, the corporate world, politics, of governance, to international relations between nations.
Be that as it may, we cannot see the human relationship dynamism simply through the corrupted one-dimensional “dominion mandate” view alone with self-serving propensity, for the three mandates work connectively as one because of their interdependence and inter-causative nature. Like God’s inter-relational Triune nature, it must be understood that the first two mandates cannot be articulated in its true authentic expression without the all-important third mandate, where a person is existing from within the Triune Life and Love of God. It is the foundation upon which the first and second mandates frame its existence, energy, and purpose. For in fact, the “Triune mandate” is uttered first, as the foundation decree, as shown in Genesis. (Gen.1:26-27; 2:18)
Here, as in all of His creation, we see how man’s relationship (existence) with his fellow humans relies upon this three-dimensional principle, rather than on fallen man’s “solitary” one-dimensional life. It is fashioned after a God who is Triune and lives by this same three-dimensional principle. Man’s relationship dynamics has its underpinning in the Creator who Himself is relational in His divine Tripartite Being and existence.
The Genesis Three-Pronged Principle Basis of Human Relationships
Once we have figured out with the Spirit’s help that God is Love in His Triune existence, and through His utterance at our human/divine image creation, He has included us in His Trinitarian Being through His Son, in the Spirit’s power. Only then, we will see the authentic underpinning of the human relationship with other humans through God’s divine Love nature. The Holy Spirit will be the power working mysteriously and miraculously in humanity, even though we may not be conscious of how He orchestrates life in all its complexity. (Rom.8:28) Or so it seems, but not for Him. We will see human life is to be fashioned and shaped after the Creator who is relational, and we observe what Jesus said, “I have laid down a pattern for you. What I have done, you do” – living the Trinitarian Life. That is the first and all-important base we cover in this matter of human relationships.
It begins with the family unit from which human life begins. Then it extends outside to others as our human connection determines how we cultivate relationships – in our homes, our work places, schools, churches, social interactions, villages and towns, in sporting activities, and numerous other affiliations. The three-pronged principle I have covered in this post is the way God has determined from the outset of man’s existence on this earth, as the essence of how human relationship is cultivated and made to thrive in its authentic expression, undergirded in His Triune nature of Love. (You may read my Book for a broader expose’ of this subject. See my appendix below titled “Bulamanriver” for ordering details)
You must recognize as a human holding the sacred image of God, you have your existence in the Triune Being of God in Christ and through the inspiration of the Spirit, is made to have relationship engagements based upon God’s Love. I end with encouragement to live as Jesus did in the Triune Love and relationship He has with God and His fellowmen. You can read about how humanity is given the new birth to enter into the new life in Christ at: http://bulamanriver.net/17978. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/5525
Petition: Friends, as I have closed my post in the past, I customarily give our readers the opportunity to give their lives to our Maker. I thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of the good news of Jesus who has enabled us to live the Triune Life* through the 3 Ascents. Jesus is alive today as our High Priest in heaven seated at His Father’s side, and ceaselessly mediating for us. I hope that in your heart of heart you will receive Him as your personal Savior, receive God’s Spirit, and be part of living this glorious humanity made children of God forever. You can privately and quietly pray the prayer below in your heart. I am asking you to pray this prayer as a human being Christ died for, regardless of your background. All are inducted into the one mankind Jesus saved, not into any religious sect or denomination – into the glorious humanity that Christ is preparing as the holy temple for God’s dwelling:
Prayer: “Almighty God, Father of all humanity, forgive me of all my sins for I receive Your Son, Jesus, as my personal Savior. In Your incalculable grace, grant Your promised celestial life in Your Son through Your Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the wondrous gifts you have conferred upon me and all humanity. May Your Love guide and protect me and my Loved ones always, and bring us all into Your beloved and divine Kingdom. I praise and thank You, Amen.”
Welcome to the celestial life of Love in God’s holy, eternal Family. (1 Tim.6:19) Then keep in touch with God’s Word for you by reading and studying your Bible, and visiting this blog and website and look at various subjects that may be relevant for your situation – go to: http://bulamanriver.net. You can email me with your questions at the address shown below.
Blessing: Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love,* be with you and your Loved ones always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you in God’s Promises possible as you live the Triune Life.* Be strong in the Lord’s joy, and Love Him completely.
Farewell for now,
Kiang P. Lee, (Your Servant In Christ)
*Triune Life: “Triune Life” speaks of the process of theosis or deification of humanity. What is theosis or deification? “It refers to apotheosis, meaning “making divine.” Theosis or deification is a transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God (as taught by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Church).” (Wikipedia.org) The belief in the process of ‘deification’ is understood in accordance with Jesus’ teaching, when He said, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’? If He called them ‘gods,’ to whom the Word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside (cannot be broken)” (John 10:34-35; Psa.82:6). (You can read about the Triune Life at: http://bulamanriver.net/9199, and other posts)
I have written about this subject of ‘deification’ in my blogs under the theme ‘substitution’ and ‘attribution’ (see, http://bulamanriver.net/564), where I showed how Jesus came as God incarnate (Immanuel) to assume our sinful humanity in order to save mankind from sin and death for the express purpose of human deification. (Matt.1:23; Rom.3:10-12, 18, 23; John 3:16; 1 Cor.15:50-55; Rom.8:29) Further, we read the following, “As a process of transformation, theosis is brought about by the effects of catharsis (purification of mind and body) and theoria (‘illumination’ with the ‘vision’ of God). According to Eastern Christian teaching, theosis is very much the purpose of human life. It is considered achievable only through a synergy (or cooperation) between human activity and God’s uncreated energies.” (Wikipedia.org)
So, the “Triune Life” reveals the intersection of human life and activity and the uncreated divine energy flowing from the Tri-Personal Being of God of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a way of life which explains that process of theosis whereby humans are transformed in body, mind, and spirit by the Love of God. God’s uncreated energy is His Love. So, the foundational tenet of the “Triune Life” is based upon the Love of God, for “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Thereby, it can also be called aptly, the “Triune Love.”
I had coined the term “Triune Love” and “Triune Life,” to refer to a person who lives the three-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt.28:19) This is opposed to the one-dimensional human way of life influenced by the devil. We see God’s Tri-Personal Love move in an inward, outward, and upward trajectory, in this process of theosis which I have called the ‘three ascents.’ The three ascents are three steps which dovetails into one another showing how all three Persons of the Godhead are in the relationship of Love with humanity – where God reveals the fullness of Himself to humanity, both individually and collectively. (2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:1-2) That’s to say, the act of one is the act of all three, and the act of three is the act of one, making them unified in Love. (Mar.12:29; Deut.6:4)
Every aspect of human living follows this three-step format revealing the three-dimensional aspect of how the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, Son, and Spirit, directly and collectively involved in the life of human believers, individually and collectively to bring humanity to salvation. These three steps move in an ascending order, so I will call them ‘ascents.’ Each ‘ascent’ dovetails into the next and finally reveals the ‘manifestation’ of the topic, which we will call the fourth step, in this case, Love!
Hence, all my articles are framed within this three-step format, or ascents. The subject of the article dovetails into each ascent and spontaneously lead to the manifestation of the divine Love and reveals how humanity is enlightened by God, and cleansed in mind, body, and spirit. The ascents reveal three doors one must enter to attain the manifestation of God’s Love relationship with humanity. The ascents are not to be misconstrued as some ‘secret knowledge’ or mystical activity. Rather, each ascent represents the relationship of Love a human enjoys with the Triune God in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, throughout a person’s life. In fact, the ascents are actually three Love relationships the believer encounters with the Tri-Personal God. This three-way relationship is what I have called by the term, “Triune Life” or “Triune Love.” These ascents represent the movement of God’s Love in an inward, outward, and upward, trajectory to bring God’s enlightenment in a person. The fourth step reveals how the article is made to manifest in the life of the person, both individually and then collectively in humanity.
Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living/Loving,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune Godhead. (John 1:1-2) He took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead by cleansing it of all sin and rebellion. To live the “Triune Love (Life)” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit (Love) in humans. (Rom.5:5) The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27). The Bible states, “He (God) does great things that we cannot understand and miracles that we cannot count” (Job 5:9). The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. For additional information about the Triune Life: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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