With this post I want to tackle one of the most difficult doctrines of the Christian faith – the Trinity. First, it seems so illogical. I mean, how can God be one and yet three at the same time? It defies all logic and reason. Something can not be distinctly and vividly red while at the same time being green. I’m not talking about something that is striped but something that is totally and completely red while at the same time is green. It just isn’t possible. But we affirm, with the hymn-writer “God in three persons, blessed Trinity.” Muslims have real difficulty with this doctrine and accuse Christians of being polytheists. They accuse of us worshiping three gods and not one.
Whenever we encounter things with which we are unfamiliar we speak of them in terms of what they are like. A friend was explaining to me what rabbit tasted like. He said it tasted like, you guessed it, chicken. But what if something is totally unlike anything we have ever experienced, how do we describe it? We have tried using various metaphors to help us in our understanding. The Trinity is like water that can be gas (steam), liquid or solid (ice). But each of these exists by itself. We cannot say that ice and steam and liquid exist at the same time in the same iteration. Ice is ice and steam is steam.
Modalism is an ancient heresy that states that God is one person but that He chooses to reveal Himself sometimes as the Father, other times as the Son and still other times as the Holy Spirit. But that isn’t Christian theology. We believe, against logic, that God is really One but that He is made up of three persons. One thing I realized early in my walk with Christ is that I will never be able to present such a convincing argument for the doctrine of the Trinity that others will simply have to believe me. On the basis of the teaching of the Bible I stand firmly as a Trinitarian. So how and where does the Bible teach this doctrine? Another question is, does the Bible teach the divinity of each of the three members of the Trinity? If it doesn’t the doctrine will unravel like the sleeve of a cheap sweater. I find that the best description of this doctrine is found in the Creeds of the church. I will look at the Nicene Creed with an eye to the scripture to see if the two are compatible.
The Nicene Creed begins with these words – “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.” The Bible begins with these words Genesis 1:1 (NIV) “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” We affirm that there is but one God and that He is our Creator. But the creed goes on to say “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.” Jesus is equally God and is the agent of the Father’s creative act. John affirms at the beginning of his gospel John 1:1-4 (NIV) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”
But what about the Holy Spirit? The creed affirms “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified.” Earlier it says of Christ’s incarnation “By the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.” Somehow the Holy Spirit was also part of the original creation process. We read Genesis 1:2 (NIV) “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The Bible teaches that there is one God but that somehow, He exists in three persons.
The Trinity is affirmed in Jesus’ giving of the Great Commission at the end of the gospel of Matthew. Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV) “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
If you had been hoping as you began to read this post, that somehow, I would make this doctrine of the Trinity completely understandable and easy to explain, I apologize for not having done so, but something as complex as this doctrine could never be easily explained. It would somewhat like asking a seasoned neurosurgeon to give me a quick lesson so that I could perform complex brain surgery. Just know this – God is one but that He is also three persons. Continue to follow this amazing Trinity and Keep the Son in Your Eyes.
If the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was understandable and easy to explain as previously mentioned, my guess is that our Christianity would not be the powerful, fulfilling, eternal salvation and forgiving and loving life it is. Why?
We would be seeking knowledge through education and study, versus using our God-given faith with no limitations.
Who of the original 12 would be left, if that was the case? Probably – zippo!
Our faith is based on the Word
Jesus is the Word
He paid the price for our forgiveness and reconciliation to the Father.
He acknowledges His Father and Vice Versa
He checked in daily with Him to be sure to know and to do His will.
That way He knew what it was – and was able to carry it out – because of the confirmation of the Holy Spirit.
So – the Godhead would not be possible or practical or sustainable unless there was –
The Holy Spirit
The Triune Godhead
Three in One
Thank you, Lord!!
I can’t explain it, but I can sure accept it.
Thank you Lord for obeying the Father and coming to this planet so I can identify with what you’ve done for me – so I can be forgiven and adopted into your family – and – without you Holy Spirit – allowing me to hear all this and then drawing me to the cross of Calvary to make a decision to identify and accept Jesus as my saviour, I wouldn’t have a Heavenly Father.
So for me – all 3 are the 1 God, and God wouldn’t be God – if it was not for 3 in 1.
Thanks for listening – keep up the great work, Len!
Thanks Len. We see all three active throughout the Bible, I don’t understand it totally but believe and accept it.
All will be revealed when we go home to be with our Heavenly Father, and we can ask all the questions we want. We believe because we have Faith.