Theology discusses the ancient dogmas and values, however, the influence of the modern society’s development leads the novel observations to occur. Religious themes, such as the concept of the Trinity or the humanity in the image of God, are vital to explain Christianity. Plantinga et al. (2010a) state that “the Christian experience of God is trinitarian; it concerns a relationship with a God whose name is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (p. 117). Moreover, religion explores human identity, helping its followers reach balance in their spiritual, social, and physical aspects of life. This paper aims to discuss if the topic of humanity in the image of God or the Trinity is more crucial for the modern theological discourse.
The God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is portrayed in the biblical narrative, and the theological doctrine has been developed based on introducing Him as one and as all the three. In the old testament, the triune has been described via the Spirit, Wisdom, and Word – the main ways how God interacted with the entire creation (Plantinga et al., 2010a). In the new testament, the Trinity received the solid explanation based on the power of God as the Father of all creations, the Son – Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit as the dynamic force and Paraclete (Plantinga et al., 2010a).
In the modern discussion, the concept of modalism became applicable to the Trinity, which denies any real distinction between Father, Son, and Spirit (Plantinga et al., 2010a). Consequently, the study of Christianity argues if there is a need in perceiving Christ, the most praised figure, apart from the Creator.
The concept of Trinity still remains somewhat mysterious and difficult to explain in modern theological discourse. The distinction between Father and Son helps the baptists emphasize the life of Jesus Christ, his experience on Earth, and the lessons left by him for the Christians. Theology strongly relies on the Son, and although Christianity is a monotheistic religion, the triune makes the fundamental dogmas confusing (Plantinga et al., 2010a). Theologians pay attention to the vitality of the holistic approach in explaining God’s essence. Thus, modern discourse often addresses the questions of creation, the Father’s power, and the Holy Spirit’s role in biblical settings.
Another theme of theological discourse that is being developed throughout the entire history of Christianity is humanity in the image of God. The spiritual beginning separating humans from other animals is still being broadly discussed in biology, anthropology, philosophy, and religious studies. Christianity, like other major religions, provides the followers with an explanation of human identity. Indeed, Plantinga et al. (2010b) claim that “a human being is first and foremost a being created for relationship with God” (p. 182). Theology understands the term “identity” as something that unites people, and being in the image and the likeness of God is that sameness (Plantinga et al., 2010b). Consequently, the idea of God is a fundamental topic for biblical and anthropological discussion.
In the old testament, the Genesis that included the creation of humanity, and the image Dei, implied by Psalm 8, clarifies the meaning of the “image” in a theological context. Plantinga et al. (2010b) explain that “human beings are God’s living statues on Earth, bearing God’s likeness” (p. 184). According to the ancient sources and the studies of theologists and philosophers, the relationship between God and a human is based on faithfulness (Plantinga et al., 2010b). Theological discourse also identifies relationships between people as unconditional love and man’s approach to using natural sources with respect.
The topic of the Trinity concept reveals how Christianity distinguishes itself from other major religions and explains the values through the experiences of Jesus Christ as the Son. Humanity in the image of God raises the central theme of identity, which determines the relationship of people to God and one another. That topic of theological discourse provides a broader understanding of human’s spiritual nature and the definition of sin as rebellion against God.
Considering the modern tendency in searching for personal meaning, mission, and applying religious beliefs to discover the life purpose, the theme of the image of God is more significant. Indeed, theologists study Genesis, Psalms, the bible, and other ancient sources to determine the individual’s place in the world and the purpose in accordance with God’s will (Plantinga et al., 2010b). The topic of Trinity merits less attention because Christianity is perceived as solid religion with the distinction between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as a non-discussing tradition.
Besides, humanity in the image of God is the topic of theological discourse that addresses the relationship between people and God, nature, society, and themselves. Consequently, modern theologists discuss how Christianity can be applied to make peace globally, decrease social conflicts, and address emerging environmental problems (Plantinga et al., 2010a). In contrast, understanding God as the triune emphasizes that humans are distinguished from the divine power and must follow Jesus Christ’s path and doctrine to reach spiritual balance.
The image of God is the theme that is more valuable to regulate modern society now, while the Trinity discusses fundamental postulates of religion. Theological discourse describes the basics of Christianity with its solid background and addresses individuals’ self-perception questions by explaining the image of God. The latter topic merits more attention because it answers vital questions of how humanity must identify itself and build a relationship with people around, nature, and God.
Plantinga, R., Thompson, T., & Lundberg, M. (2010a). The Triune God. In An Introduction to Christian Theology (pp. 109-119). Cambridge University Press. Web.
Plantinga, R., Thompson, T., & Lundberg, M. (2010b). Humanity in the image of God and the disfigurement of sin. In An Introduction to Christian Theology (pp. 180-194). Cambridge University Press. Web.