the Father as cause . a contribution to the concept of *因果*
it is common accepted to the eastern people the idea of *因果*
we can say that *因果 *is the universal principle, the most deep
controler of our lifes and also all the universe.
western people find *因果* not quite understandable , from some point of
for example: why my actions will influence me in my next life ? from the
eastern point of view it is not the actions but the intentions, your
mentality which comes to you like the fruit from a tree. the fruit falls
, dissolves , becomes a new plant of course currying the DNA of the old
this is a good example but for the Greek European thought is not enough
because of this ‘of course’ which is a small sneaky word, but covers the
big question. how this happens?
our logic wants to examine the reality. when we say a fruit when it
matures ‘_naturaly_’ falls down , the question is why does not goes up?
what forces it to fall gown and not go to other direction?
and we finally found here a theory, the gravity , which (as we have
proved ) guides the fruit to go down, and we have equations to describe
exactly how to go down, the acceleration etc....
and modern quantum mechanics has many surprises for us.
and this kind of *因 果 *creates an arrow of time, actually time goes
from *因-> 果* not from *果->因*
but here we do not want to make philosophy or theoretical physics but to
give some new idea , which probably the eastern philosophers never
thought about and it comes from the bible, from the revelation of god.
i will try to make things simple . more reading on the excellent book of
Prof. John Zizioulas ‘communion and otherness’
the god of Christians is the Holy trinity
the Chinese translation 三位一體 i think is not so accurate because
somebody would misunderstand that there are 2 things , the 三位 and some
一體 which actually is not known.
you can see the our lessons about the holy trinity in the internet and
participate, and many articles in this web site. here i will share a few
thoughts and some consequences for the eastern though.
the question is what makes the 3 persons, the Father, Son, Holy Spirit
to be one god and not 3 separated gods? the question is important
because the answer hides our social, political and philosophical ideas.
if we answer according to them , then we will say as the western people
did (specially St. Augustine -he had good intentions but not enough
theological background) we will say that they have the same essence,
this essence makes them 一體 so we have one god.
This idea is NOT BASED on the faith of the church , nor on the bible.
Indeed , has many problems. For example if the essence is the very
reason of god, then the Father is forced to exist, because the existence
, which is the essence is given to him, and he can not do different.
Think about you. You are human because you are born as human, with 2
eyes , legs body etc... you like it or not this is how you are. You are
not completely free, the existence is given to you.
What you can do is to accept the existence, to improve it or destroy it.
I will ask the question what is essence? Many chinese people, even
theologians do not quite understand, because this was not in the
philosophical thought as in the west. So they give the answer , essence
etc.. and give examples from our experience in this world like the water
etc.... most of those examples are not accurate and some even heretic,
and if we study the history of the first church we will see the same
examples and consequences.
They use the concept of Aristotle , about the essence of anything, for
example the essence of your paper, your book, your desk , your pencil
and your chair is the wood, because they all come from wood.
So the wood is the *_ultimate source_* of there existence
The important thing is not to make philosophy for god but to listen how
god reveals himself to us.
Bible does not have the word ‘essence’ only once in 1 peter 1:4
So what is essence in bible? What the Father has and shares with the Son
and the Holy spirit.
This is the correct Christian understanding. We analyze this in our
lessons, but only here i will give a few examples. John 1:4 , John 17:10
Bible says to us that god exists . But existence has 2 kinds of
-What is god and this refers to the essence (as life, power , wisdom etc...)
-How god exists (as Father, Son, Holy spirit)
In bible we know that the Father gives birth to the Son.
When we say father , has nothing to do with the human father or mother.
God is not male or female. Human father presuppose division (father
mother ) and time difference between the father and son . (the son
exists AFTER years, does not co-exist with father) there is no analogy
with god and human fatherhood.
We can not know exactly what is ‘giving birth’ in god. But as we
understand from the bible and the holy fathers , there are 2
-- The Father gives the personality to the Son (by giving birth), that
is the Son is ‘other’ exists but he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit
and so the Son has the essence of the Father, not some different or new
The same but with other way happens with the Holy spirit.
-- The Father also gives the personality by proceeding, (not by giving
birth) to the Holy Spirit, that means the Spirit is ‘other’ exists but
he is not the Father, neither the Son or brother of the Son. and so the
Spirit has the essence of the Father, not some different or new essence .
There are not 3 different essences , but one the Father’s essence.
We must be careful: god is not 3 different individuals who agree and
decided to live together, but because there is one source : the Father.
As we see there is a cause or a source in the Trinity, the Father. He is
god. But so strange for us, this does not mean that the other 2 are not
Those 2 ways of the Father : (giving birth, and proceeding
-are always , there are out of time
-Father was never alone , without the Son and the Spirit. )
We can say as the great Gregory the theologian : God is one (the father)
but not alone.
Some people will say : too complicated... why?
But let us see some revolutionary new ideas for life that come from the
* The Father is the *因 *the reason, and the *果* is the Son and the
* Now the concept of time removed from *因果 *
* There is not necessity in this *new* *因果. Father *has not need
to proceed or give birth, he does it freely because he wants to
exist as loving community.
* The link between *因 and 果* is not the law but the freedom in
love. For example Jesus not only accepted to die on the cross as
human , but because he always as the beloved Son says Yes to the
Father. It is *_not some moral principle that should guide us but
some relationship_* which becomes life. The Son of God is not
good, because the human ethics says so, but because this is the
will of the Father. So ethics and morality are not principles but
life in freedom and love. Eastern people have no easy explanation
about what is good. Who decides what is good or not? It is the
general idea of goodness that we have.
* *因果* now, can be not an idea which comes to us when we observe
and study the pain in this world,*_ but from the way that god
exists, from the light of the holy trinity._*
* If in the future Chinese theologians and Buddhist masters work on
this idea then i think it will be a revolution to the Chinese
philosophy: from the law to the Person, from nessecity to freedom.
* - so the fact that i exist ,now and here, is not something that is
only up to me, my bussines and has nothing to do with the others.
Indeed i must undertand that i exist as a GIFT, i am a gift of the
love of god and the others. To exist because of myself this is the
* *_- actually eastern people undertand this but not completely.
They try to be released from the individuality, to find themselves
or in 無我
but what is after this? The ultimate reality is to co-exist in
love and freedom, this is the real 無我
* *_- the source of our existence is not the human nature but a
person, Adam. Adam is the cause for us, not just the human nature.
The nature is one, same. But we are persons, we have some freedom.
Because Adam is image of god we are images of god. _*
* * - otherness has some order, some hierarchy, not lower in power
but order in the way of existing. Adam is our source. And we can
change this source if we want. Jesus is the new Adam, it is our
source . We are in Jesus , but Jesus is the head of the church,
not we. *
* * - in western mind hierarchy is bad, is considered as suppression
of freedom, but in Christianity the Father is greater than the Son
(John 14:28) because he is the reason of the existence of the
equal to him, Son and Holy Spirit. Here hierarchy liberates, is
love freedom and life. Specially Chinese people who have the
concept of hierarchy in there culture can find a new meaning to
this. * Having the danger to be misunderstood i would say an
example: somebody can understand his life as burden but somebody
else to say” a! I am the fruit of love of my parents, my existence
is not only a process of chemical reactions, but of the ultimate
love of 2 people, i like this, a part of them is in me, this makes
me happy. And this love that is the source of my life gives me the
ability to exercise love, to give and receive love.
* ** - most important. Because it is a person Adam the souse of
human persons, of human ‘otherness’ then must be something unique
that makes Adam person. If i say ‘create’ it is not enough.
Because Adam is person because his personality is *_given_* to him
by god. *This was very unique. *Adam was not the center of the
universe. His reference was God, the holy trinity. When he refused
this and he tried to be the reference for himself , then this was
Finally we can say that the concept of the holy trinity, can open new
ways in the Chinese philosophical thought. The same happened with the
Greek philosophy. The great fathers of the church introducing the ideas
of the bible to Greek philosophy, gave the philosophy new life and content.