Interpenetration – God did it first

Interpenetration provides a model to understand the Trinity more clearly.  The concept of a Triune God is complicated to grasp.  In systematic theology, we study at length the natures of God as Divine, human and spirit. I find that fully understanding the Trinity remains an elusive undertaking.  Patrick Cheng’s discussion in Chapter 3 of “An Introduction to Queer Theology:  Radical Love” finally gave me some clarity on the Trinity as a theological concept about God.  Interpenetration refers to the overlap of different perspectives in one’s experience.  Cheng describes the relationship of the trinity as interpenetration of Divine, human and spirit and applies this model to a queer theory of theology.  Cheng believes that the trinity is “an ideal way of describing the interrelated dance between the identities of sexuality, race and spirituality.”[1]

Cheng experiences interpenetration as Asian, queer, Christian and male.  At least four distinct characteristics influence his life.  Perhaps generational, economic and geographical factors influence him as well.  God challenges a binary model from the start and performs in a Trinitarian state of divine, human and spirit.  Cheng’s queer theory rejects a binary model of hetero/homo, male/female. Interpenetration allows the lines between socially constructed categories to blur.  Cheng writes, “By contrast, the divine interpenetration of the three persons of the Trinitarian Godhead helps us to weave together each of the strands of our often fragmented identities as LGBTQ people of color who are spiritually identified.”[2]

Interpenetration is a radical expression of being which rejects a binary model in favor or a more radical expression of existence.  Cheng discusses God as radical love. Cheng writes, “God is the very manifestation of a love that is so extreme that it dissolves existing boundaries, including the traditional divide between the divine and human.”[3] God’s multi-dimensional state and His radical love is at the heart of queer theology.  God is interpenetration.  Divine, human and spirit all in one being.  No concept is more radical than this and our Christian faith ingrains this in us in scripture, creed and is the fundamental basis of everything we believe.  God deconstructed boundaries in God’s self.  If we believe that God created humans in God’s image, then it must follow that queer people are in God’s image. If God is able to do this and set this as an example for us from the start, why do we struggle with it?



Cheng, Patrick S.  An Introduction to Queer Theology:  Radical Love.  New York:  Seabury, 2011.

[1] Cheng, 60.

[2] ibid.

[3] Cheng, 50.