In preparing for my Theology of Jesus class I have been reading a Kathryn Tanner book concerning the Trinity. Of course, being the heretic that I am, I have a plethora of questions about the Trinity and what it means for believers in a modern way. I am certainly uncomfortable with the traditional renderings of trinitarian thought because of the perilous discomfort it causes in my wonderfully monotheistic mind. I suggest that the Trinity is better explained in terms of modalism than by the classic Athenasian statement. Perhaps the Creator God takes human form for the purposes of Salvation, and that is exhibited in the life of Jesus. Of course, Jesus maintains a place in the Godhead, but is not still materially or spiritually active apart from the Creator or the Holy Spirit. God is one, and God's work through Jesus and the Holy Spirit are simply aspects of the One Creator God.
A classmate has raised the question, what does this mean for the traditional Quaker understanding of the work or "teaching" of "Christ within?" I do believe that early Quakers certainly beleived in the traditional Trinitarian formulation of three distinctions within one Godhead. I don't necessarily believe we have to stay true to the traditional language any more than we are bound by traditional Trinitarian thought. As a side not to Universalist Friends, sorry, but the work of Jesus is necessary to redemption and the reconciliation of creation with the Creator.
I'll have more thoughts on this after the discussion tonight. Blessings, Scot