What is the meaning of 'perichoresis'?
Perichoresis is a Greek word used to describe the binding of the Trinity, the two natures of Jesus Christ, and God's omnipresence
Subscribe to our Compelling Mail Newsletter:
Nothing can divide the three members of the Trinity—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. People sometimes struggle to understand the combined Godhead and identity—and rightly so, as it is a mystery. However, the word perichoresis can help us understand. The word itself comes from the Greek peri, meaning "around," and chorein, meaning "to give way" or "to make room." Perichoresis could be translated as "rotation" or "going around." Some scholars picture this as a sort of choreographed dance. All members of the dance move as one, precisely and fluidly, to create a meaningful work together.
Though this Greek word does not appear in the New Testament, the idea is expressed. Most directly, in the Gospel of John, Jesus tells the disciples about the coming of the Holy Spirit and His relationship with God the Father, and His own relationship with God the Father. He says, "When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you" (John 16:13–15).
The relationship among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one of glory, generosity, and action. The idea of divine relationship focuses each member of the Trinity on One another, and on us.
Theologians also refer to perichoresis in describing how Jesus is fully God and fully man. In Titus we read that Jesus is the God we hope for: "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works" (Titus 2:11–14).
Jesus was born a baby, experienced joy, sorrow, astonishment, anger, and all manner of emotions. He suffered physical pain and anguish, and death. We must, though, remember that although Jesus was fully human, He never sinned. Hebrews 4:15 says, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."
And finally, perichoresis can refer to how God, in His omnipresence, "intersects" with all creation. In Colossians, Paul writes about this when describing Jesus: "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:16–17).
What is the Trinity?
Is Trinitarianism biblical? What exactly is Trinitarianism?
What is the theological concept of the hypostatic union?
Is God omnipresent? What does it mean to be omnipresent?
The attributes of God, what are they?
Truth about Theology