Hello fellow fans of jeremydriley.com. My name is Jon and Jeremy asked me to write up two posts for him while he and Kristen acclimate to their new season of life. It is a huge privilege to write for him during this time. I’m sure he’s posted my bio somewhere so if you want to know more about me you can check that out.
On my blog I like to discuss topics of theology on a weekly basis. I cover different topics about Christian Theology that I feel help the average person better understand God and their relationship to him. I call it Theology Thursday (if you click on that you will see my original post and why it is important to study theology). With that in mind let’s get into today’s topic: Perichoresis.
Now if you’ve never heard that word before you might be thinking “what on earth does that mean?” I’m so glad you asked. Perichoresis is a combination of two distinct Greek words. The first word is peri which means around. The second word is chorein, which means to make room for another. According to Michael G. Lawler (some guy you’ve probably never heard of because without seminary I wouldn’t have) the combination of these two words gives the distinct picture of “the dynamic process of making room for another around oneself.” In essence this word picture is describing a constant dance (something Jeremy referenced in this post) that each member of the Trinity is constantly participating in, always moving and making room for the other members.
Dancers to the Core
To give a visual image to this while in seminary I took the picture on this post. By taking a picture with an extended exposure I was able to capture the idea of three individuals blending together as they constantly moved and made room for each other. At the same time you can still make out three distinct individuals. When you think of great ballroom dancing you can grasp this concept. Each partner must move in unison with the other; all the while exiting and entering space previously held by their partner. This dance, so to speak, is something God does and lives each and every day. It is at the core of his character. Three distinct persons intertwined in one being.
Another writer, Molly Marshall, puts it this way:
“Perichoresis depicts a relationship of mutuality in which persons draw their identity from being related to others. It is an ecstatic dance, in which the Trinitarian persons literally ‘stand outside themselves’ as they evoke the life of their divine counterparts. It is movement, an interplay of self-giving that calls forth reciprocal sharing of life. Perichoresis ‘grasps the circulatory character of the eternal divine life.’ This delightful divine choreography, which calls forth and deepens relationship.”
Relational to the Core
And now you must be thinking to yourself “so what? I really hope this Jon guy doesn’t want me to go around dancing all the time.” Well too bad for you because that is exactly what I want. Just kidding. That was sarcasm if the text didn’t translate that well. There are two basic implications of this idea. The first is that God is relational at his core and the second is that each member of the Trinity is constantly giving of himself within the Trinity. These two things are aspects of life that we can imitate. We can live in relationship for “It is not good that the man should be alone” and we can give of ourselves just as Christ did in his incarnation (see Philippians 2:5-11)
May you this week pursue relationship with others and give yourself away in the process. For this is who God is and who he created you to be.
Jon Varner is a graduate of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, the longest seminary name in the world. Like me (Jeremy) he is about to have his first child or has had it depending on when you read this. Unlike me he is going to have a boy. For him that is a good thing because the thought of a daughter scares the you know what out of him. He is passionate about people consistently pursuing God and this includes better understanding him. In the next few years he hopes to plant a church in California. He tweets @jcvarner and be sure to check out Jon’s blog!