John 17:5 “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
2 Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”
The concept of the Trinity of God is not one to be approached lightly. It is a concept that requires careful consideration and thoughtful approach. Whenever one attempts to describe who God is, they’d better step lightly and with due respect, otherwise it could lead to a false representation of God that leaves others confused or led astray.
There are many religions that deny this thought of God as One in three forms. They accuse those who do believe as practicing polytheism, or attribute the thought to some three headed monster that leaves them confused and distrusting. The very term “Trinity”, is not found in the Bible, in fact in was used first by Tertullian, a Latin theologian who wrote in the early third century. He was the first to use “Trinity” “person” and “substance” to explain that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are “one in essence – not one in Person.”
*I like how Norton Herbst, P.H.D., explains it:
The Bible unequivocally asserts that there is only one God, upholding the monotheism of the ancient Israelites. They believed in only one God; all other idols, claims to deity, and so-called gods were deemed to be false.2
As devout Jews, early followers of Jesus—who eventually became known as Christians—professed their faith in one God as well.3 Later Christians even used philosophical categories from Greek thought to explain that God had only one nature, one substance, and one essence that is never divided.4
In other words, God is not schizophrenic. He does not change forms nor is he the head of a pantheon of gods. As Christians around the world continue to assert today: there is only one God.
GOD AS THREE-IN-ONE
But something changed among those first followers of Jesus.
Even though they remained monotheists, they also regarded Jesus as God. They prayed prayers to him, sang hymns to him, and gathered in his name. They related to Jesus as one might relate to God. Because of Jesus’ astounding teachings, miracles, and resurrection, they became convinced that God had become a human being in the person of Jesus.
Yet Jesus still prayed to God as his Father. He talked and acted as if God was distinct from him. Jesus also spoke of another “Helper”: the Holy Spirit (a term sometimes found in the Old Testament to describe God). When Jesus left the earth, he said this Spirit would come and reside in the hearts of his followers, bearing God’s very real presence and leading them in truth and life.5
To cap it all off, Jesus gave his followers a mission just before he left. He challenged them to help others become believers as well. As a symbol of each changed life, he directed them to baptize those new followers in water “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”6 This three-fold formula became the key to the Christians understanding of who God is—one God, existing in three different persons.
The idea of God as three-in-one is indeed a mysterious concept, one that is difficult to understand. Analogies often fall short.
Some think of God as H2O, which is sometimes a solid (ice), sometimes a liquid (water), and sometimes a gas (steam). Others compare God to an egg, which is part shell, part white, part yolk.
The theologian Augustine offered a psychological analogy. He reflected on how the human mind has three faculties—memory, understanding, and will—but remains unified.7 Still others have suggested people as examples. For instance, a woman might have different roles in her life—an employee at work, a friend at the gym, and a wife at home—but she remains one person.
All of these analogies attempt to explain how one entity can constantly be three persons. You see, God—as Christians understand him—does not decide to be like a Father one day, like Jesus another day, and like a Spirit the next. He does not simply change roles or forms.
Rather, God is always one substance that is shared by three independent “persons” who each have a unique will and personality—and each is equally God. In fact, Christian teaching says that the Father is fully God, Jesus is fully God, and the Holy Spirit is fully God.8
LOVE IS AT THE CENTER
*Perhaps the best explanation comes from a simple verse in the Bible: 1 John 4:16 “God is love.”10 The term “love” is often associated with affections and emotions. But practically speaking, love requires a subject, an object, and an action—a person to do the loving, an object to receive the love, and the act of loving. For example, think about giving yourself and your love to someone else.
Genuine love cannot be expressed by yourself; it requires others to give yourself away to. Thus, God did not simply begin to experience “love” only after he created the world and humans (objects whom he could love). God is love.
As theologian Jonathan Edwards explained, “The very essence of God’s reality is the intratrinitarian love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”11 His eternal existence is rooted in a shared love experienced within himself.
Furthermore, Edwards maintained that we are the beneficiaries: “The only possible reason for such a being to create the universe was to extend that love to other, imperfect, beings. . . . All created reality is like a quintessential explosion of light from the sun of God’s intratrinitarian love.”12
God manifests Himself to us when we draw near to Him.
John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Ideas such as the Trinity can be difficult to understand, if you place your trust in God, His Spirit makes known to you the deeper things of God. The revelation to His people concerning a deeper knowledge of who He is, is given upon salvation. God Loves, Jesus is the expression of that love, and the Holy Spirit is how we get to partake of that love.
Whatever your understanding of God is, it pales in comparison to what that understanding will be when we meet Him face to face. It will be a moment like no other. To understand the magnitude of His power, His love, and His depth of character will take an eternity of searching.
We experience such a small percentage of this knowledge now, and we rejoice and praise God for His glory. Imagine gaining a full opportunity, without hindrance to partake of Him? This thought is beyond my imagination.
To be known by God is to know Him.
Scientists have speculated for years how much of the Universe we really know and observe and the numbers are staggering. It is estimated at best that we can observe 4% of the universe and yet we know almost the equivalent of zero. Now the Universe was created by God and for God, it is finite and has its limits. God Himself on the other hand is infinite in power, authority, and wisdom.
Psalm 147:5 “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”
1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!.”
Psalm 145:3 “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.”
Ephesians 3:8 “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,”
The writers in God’s Word were not reflecting their ignorance when divulging knowledge of the Lord, they were showing their insight into what they did understand.
God is infinite, unsearchable, unfathomable, and the universe cannot contain Him.
If we can only understand at best 4% of the Universe, how can we even begin to think we understand God?
If we know so little of who God is, how can we presume why He acts or doesn’t act within our lives? Why God allows us to see in part, how He moves and at other times we cannot perceive Him at all is a mystery. We so often want to box God’s reasoning, purpose, and character into this tight little package and proclaim why He does what He does. Why He allows evil in this world to seemingly go unchecked. Why he let’s seemingly “bad things happen to good people”, why a child dies, a loving mother murdered, a father have a heart attack early and the questions go on.
*Do you think that just maybe since we only understand a small percentage of the picture and since the reasoning alludes us, we also will have trouble fathoming the depth of God’s love and purpose?
The magnificence and power of Elohim deserves more than just a consideration. We must be slow in accusing God of injustice when we see only a small part of the picture. The key I’ve found is having a knowledge of God’s character and trusting that He never changes.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Sometimes it takes everything I’ve got to trust God’s provision for my life. Remembering He is always good, His love for me never diminishes, and His plans never change, reminds me that in the midst of trials, I can rely on the knowledge that His will be done and nothing can come between myself and His Love.
Now we know in part, one day we will see in full…..Until then Trust Him. He is God and He is Good!