Would you like to understand the doctrine of the Trinity? You can’t! That’s the conclusion of hundreds of theologians for the last 1600 years. The Trinity is a mystery. So how does this doctrine improve our faith in God?
WHAT IS THE TRINITY?
In words of the Athanasian Creed, true Christians “worship one God in Trinity, and trinity in unity; Neither confounding the persons; nor dividing the substance.” There is only one God who is revealed in three persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But how can that be?
“I DON’T GET IT”
No doctrine has created more confusion for Christians than the Trinity. Try to explain it to a class of fourth graders, or even adults! Our ordinary, logic skills breakdown when we try to understand it. On the one hand, we’re encouraged by the uniqueness of Christianity. No other religion or philosophy ever suggested such a concept, and it’s doubtful the human mind would invent something so opposed to its own capacities. On the other hand, we’re still baffled by the Trinity.
HOW THIS DOCTRINE DEVELOPED
The Bible makes clear there is only one God. This is the major struggle of the Old Testament, convincing Israel that other gods are “not gods at all” (Jeremiah 2:11). The many gods of the heaven were merely human inventions (Jeremiah 16:20), there is only one true God (Isaiah 45:6). But when we come to the New Testament we find God fully revealing Himself through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3; John 14:9). In fact the “fullness of the Deity lives” in Christ, and Jesus is God and “one” with God (John 1:1; 10:30). However, in other passages Jesus is mentioned separately from God the Father (Matthew 3:17), and even says that Father is “greater” than He (John 14:28). There are verses that describe the Holy Spirit in such a way that He is seen as a Person (John 16:7; 13, etc.) but He too becomes distinct from God the Father at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:16).
SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM
The doctrine of the Trinity developed as the solution to a problem. Scriptures teach that there is one God, and the Father is God (Isaiah 63:16), Jesus is God, and the Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). The solution? The one God is revealed in three persons. The word “persons” has a different meaning for us than the theologians who first used it. It didn’t mean God had separate identities. God is one, but to accomplish His purpose among humans He reveals Himself to us in three distinct ways. The Father is forever exalted above all creation. The Son is human like us, revealing the Father’s nature and love, and reconciling us to Him (2 Corinthians 5:19). The Spirit communicates to us the heart and mind of God while inspiring and energizing our spiritual lives (1 Corinthians 2:9-12; Romans 8:9-11).
WHERE DO WE STAND
We are face to face with a mystery, but it’s a wonderful mystery. When you embrace Jesus, you embrace God. When the Spirit moves within you, it is no one less than your Creator. The concept of the Trinity is ideal for meditation. Because we can’t understand it, we are forced to go beyond the realm of our comprehension into the realm of God Himself.
You no doubt have questions still, so Please give us a call.
Calvary Chapel Paradise (530) 873-3114
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