9.1 A Symmorphic God
9.1 A Symmorphic God
© 2016 Christ Revealed Bible Institute
A Symmorphic God
The Greek verb symmorphos did not exist until Paul wrote the book of Romans and needed a word that expressed the central meaning of God’s purpose for man, a word more to the reality of God than the Greek verb, metamorphoó, or transform, which he had already used in 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Those whom He foreknew, God pre-determined to symmorphous with the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). The translators have used the English word “conform,” but in Christian unbelief, we have altered the meaning of “conform” to much the same thing as “transform,” that is, a process of going from one form to a distinctly different form. But that is not what Paul meant when he invented the word.
You see, Paul’s gospel consisted of his taking the Greek prefix, “syn/sym” meaning, together with, and tacking that prefix onto any word that has anything to do with Christ and us. Together with His death, together with His burial, together with His resurrection, seated together with Him now upon the throne of heaven.
This is Paul’s gospel, which, sadly, most of our brethren take to be either symbolic, or “nice thinking,” or the potential for something to be experienced in the future, or something we must make real by our own human effort. I take Paul’s gospel to be literal, absolute, total, and right now. Paul’s gospel places us into the Person of Jesus and He into us.
And so, when he wrote Romans 8:29, the central point of the most important chapter of his gospel, Paul rejected the word “transform,” one form becoming a totally different form. Instead he invented sym-morphos.
Let’s think this one through. Transport means carrying something from one place to another place; transparent means light passing easily from one side to another side. BUT – synchrony does not mean one time becoming another time; it means two things sharing the same time. And sympathy does not mean one feeling becoming another feeling; it means two people sharing the same feeling.
Sharing the Same Form
Transform does mean passing from one form to another form, and Paul used that word in specific places. But here in Romans 8:29, Paul meant something quite different. Symmorphos means two persons, Christ and us, sharing the same form.
Paul used his invented word, then, twice more, both times in his letter to the Philippian church while he was in prison. Symmorphos – sharing the same death and sharing the same body (Philippians 3:10 & 21). And thus I have brought Paul’s invented word directly into English, symmorphy (noun) and symmorphose (verb).
John’s Version of Symmorphy
We know that John did not write anything until after he had spent more than two decades in the fellowship of Paul’s strongest churches, those in Asia, and ministering together with Paul’s disciples. Included in those whom John was with would likely have been Priscilla, who may have written the book of Hebrews, and her husband, Aquila.
When John did, finally, put pen to paper, he wrote out from his own take on Paul’s gospel. John did not use Paul’s word, symmorphos, rather, he described the exact same thing in this way: Know that I am in the Father and you in Me and I in you.
This IS the Gospel
And thus we see that symmorphy goes in two directions, both at the same time. Symmorphy is person inside of Person and Person inside of person; two persons sharing the same form. Symmorphy is two persons, Jesus and me, sharing my form, while at the same time and in equal measure, two persons, Jesus and me, sharing His form.
This concept certainly does sound impossible, but this is the GOSPEL according to both Paul and John. BUT, here is the ridiculously IMPOSSIBLE thing: Jesus, in John 14, based our symmorphy together with Him and He with us on the reality of another SYMMORPHY!!!
I Am in the Father and the Father in Me
Then, Jesus made this further impossible and even blasphemous comparison of our symmorphy with another Symmorphy twice more in His prayer in John 17, the prayer that birthed the Kingdom of God. We must have the whole context in John 14:9-11.
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
The Original Symmorphy
The original symmorphy is the symmorphy of Father and Son. It is this very symmorphy between Father and Son, then, that Jesus transfers directly to us as He spoke the new creation into existence.
… that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us ––– that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one … (John 17:21-23).
Let’s pull ourselves together. It’s not hard to understand why the church has so rejected Paul’s gospel, and so twisted John’s into a “go to” heaven only when you die.
The gospel is impossible to believe; we serve a God who loves doing the impossible, according to His Word.
The word “trinity” and its cognitives, triune, etc., are not found in the Bible. No Bible writer ever used that word. It is a well-established fact that 1 John 5:7 is not in any early Bible manuscripts for over a thousand years, not appearing in “Scripture” until the middle ages, stuck there by a copying monk determined to include “the trinity.” For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. There is nothing technically wrong with this verse except that God did not say it.
Obedience to Augustine
The “Trinity” as a concept is defined by Augustine clearly and succinctly, cast in concrete and hard as stone. And Augustine also instructed the Christian church in no uncertain terms that they CANNOT read the Bible without taking his definition of “God” and forcing that definition on everything they read there.
All Christianity today, all sects and schisms great and small, weird and traditional, obey Augustine. And in doing so, all Christianity today rejects John 14:20 and our symmorphy with Jesus inside of Father. You know well the ferocity with which our brethren argue and bend Scripture in order to support Augustine’s “Trinity.”
Looking out through Jesus’ Eyes
Something happens, however, when, in complete disregard of Augustine, we talk about God using only the words God says about Himself. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit remain, of course, but we know Them in a totally different way. We know Them from the inside out, looking out through Jesus’ eyes. And when we see our brethren looking AT God from afar through Augustine’s eyes, we know they are not seeing God.
Augustine’s definitions are so far from me now that I hardly know them, except by a technical memory. I do not know a “Triune” God; I know a Symmorphic God.
Definitions of Symmorphy
Here is my original definition of symmorphy/symmorphose.
Noun: 1. The state or condition of a human being fused utterly together with God such that the two persons, God and the human, exist and express themselves together as one. 2. Two persons, God and a human, sharing the same form.
Verb: 1. Initiating the processes by which a human being and God are fused together as one. 2. Being formed together, formed together with, having the same form, being fashioned together. 3. To actively engage with God as one person with you.
I had not yet seen how Jesus applies symmorphy to God.
Father and Son
Let’s pull in some statements of the relationship between Father and Son.
There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). – My Father is greater than I (John 14:28b). – The Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me. – God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19a).
I once wrote out every verse in the New Testament that placed God and Christ – Father and Son – together. Every NT writer places God above/in Jesus and argues that Jesus IS a Man.
An Omnipresent Man
Yet this Jesus, the Man, IS omnipresent, for if He lives in Person for real in your heart as well as mine, seated at the right hand of God as a Man, then this Man must be omnipresent. Yet, as we have seen, Christians define their “God the Son” as tiny, isolated, separate, and very, very limited. And yes, the “biggest Dude in heaven” means “tiny.”
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3). Yet Christianity calls death inside an old-creation temporary heaven to be “eternal life.” They do so because of Augustine; they do so because they cannot believe the gospel.
Before we can attempt to define symmorphy inside of God, let’s look at how Christianity views Jesus’ time in the flesh. First, Jesus, “before” He came to earth, was fully God, not human at all. Then, in coming to earth, Jesus “emptied Himself” of divinity and walked here as a human. One of the greatest debates in in-part Christianity is how much Jesus was “God” and how much He was “Man.” Then, when Jesus “returned back to heaven,” He became fully God again, though an odd sort of God, limited to a single finite form, sort of like Thor or Jupiter. BUT – when He “comes again,” He will exist only in an isolated, solitary body, not a Man, but “God.” – Confusion! Bunk!
One IN Two-as-One
Here is what we said in Lesson 6.2 A God of Travail. – God the Father can be seen and known in only one way, and that is to inhabit another Person, to share the same form with other Persons. It is the other Person, then, who possesses the form, the outward appearance, that is God seen and touched. And God inhabits these other Persons in an incredibly divine way – through symmorphy. –
The Holy Spirit is a Person possessing a form knowable by the spirit/heaven dimension of heaven/earth and is one Spirit with our spirits. Jesus Christ is a Person possessing a form knowable by the physical/earth dimension of heaven/earth and is one Flesh with our bodies.
The Father dwells IN Christ Jesus, the Spirit of God and the Son of God, always together, NEVER EVER separate in any way, and expresses Himself through Them that Father might be seen and known by His creation. The relationship by which one Person, Father God, can dwell in and together with two other Persons, always together, is called symmorphy - I am in the Father and the Father in Me.
God is eternal; therefore, His dwelling in and revealing Himself by Spirit and Son is always NOW. God is infinite; therefore, His dwelling in and revealing Himself by Spirit and Son is always HERE. God is a Person; therefore, He dwells in and reveals Himself only by very personal Persons.
Defining Symmorphy to Father and Son
Let’s recast our definition of symmorphy to fit Father and Son.
Noun: 1. The state or condition of the Son being fused utterly together with the Father such that the two Persons, Father and Son, exist and express themselves together as one. 2. Two persons, Father and Son, sharing the same form.
Verb: 1. Energizing the processes by which the Son, an eternal and omnipresent Human, and God are fused together as one. 2. Father and Son being formed together, formed together with, having the same form, being fashioned together. 3. The Son actively engaging with the Father as one Person together.
What Is Man?
As I finished recasting the definitions of Symmorphy in the last slide, I found myself gazing into infinity and eternality. I can see no end, yet this Symmorphic God is ALL HERE NOW and Personal in me.
Yet what am I? I’m just a little man, pacing back and forth in his pajamas this morning between writing every line.
What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You visit with Him? – And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat (Exodus 25:22).
What is a God who lives in my heart?