Dimensionality and Faith Statements

Inspired by recent conversations on creeds, Trinitarian theology and the PCUSA Book of Confessions, with help from “The Dimensions Explained” by Rob Bryanton (anything in quotes is drawn from this video).

CAVEAT: I offer great apologies to friends who actually know, understand, and use these concepts on a daily basis. I am a mere dabbler in physics and actually hate to do the mathematics required to actually work these things out!

1D = an inspiration (a point, “an imaginary idea the indicates a position in a system”) or perhaps more than one inspiration between which lines can easily be drawn, but among which there isn’t any intersection.  This could be the impetus for the kind of work we do to describe the faith within us, though almost immediately we move to


  2D = using words and concepts to explain and connect the inspirations (intersecting lines). These would have length and width but don’t offer much in the way of depth. This might be something like prooftexting sources that are comfortable and like-minded.  “Flatlanders,” people who live in this dimensionality, can only view things along a flat surface cannot tolerate a well-rounded interpretation – it divides them into two parts and they break into pieces.  To begin to think in greater depth moves us into the world of

arrow3D = the words, concepts, beliefs are put into action as we try to interpret and live them out in the real world (“l x w x d”).  We live here. We get this. Yet it seems we cannot escape the influence of

arrow4D = the effects of lived faith within an ever changing historical context (l x w x d –> t).  Though our thinking and doing feels like linear logic to 3D beings.  Further, though we can only see ourselves in the moment by moment cross sections, the things we now understand as truth come to us as influenced by the time and space within which they were developed.  Though they may have limited relevance they hold great potential to warn, challenge, stimulate new thinking about the past, in the present and for the future. As difficult as it may be for 3D creatures like us to take into consideration our own movement through time, imagine what it would be like if we tried to be open to the challenge presented by

arrow5D = words and actions with a multiplicity of trajectories “as influenced by choice, chance and the actions of others”.  This kind of thinking is nearly impossible for us, but if we could move into this way of living, we might find more openings than closings, more potential than impossibilities, more options, more hope, more joy.

(Imagine what we could accomplish if we could move beyond 5?)

I wonder if we could acknowledge the importance of 4D on 3D living and spend less time trying to make our cases at the 2D/1D level?  It seems to me we could learn something from quantum theory and relativity about this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s