Summary: Exclaim the great and wonderful mystery of the Trinity and how the Triune Godhead is a model for Christian Dads and all others who want to be participants in the kingdom of God.
Today is Trinity Sunday AND Father’s Day! And, I could hardly wait for Trinity Sunday to arrive! To me the Trinity is fascinating!
People have tried over the centuries since Christ to define the Trinity and explain Him in ways that the human mind can understand.
First, let’s take a quick look at a Scripture from the Holy Bible which distinctly shows the existence of the three persons of the Trinitarian Godhead existing at the same moment of time.
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’”
And, Paul, writing to the Corinthian church makes the following statements.
In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 he states:
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons."
And then in 2 Corinthians 13:14 Paul states:
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all."
Finally Jesus Himself states in Matthew 28:19
“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 …”
Just recently I came across a video on YouTube that made a bit of fun of people’s attempts to use analogies that explain the Trinity.
Here are some examples of analogies people have tried to use in order to bring some understanding to our minds regarding the Trinity.
The egg - yolk, white and shell
This analogy denies the unity of the God-head. The problem with this analogy is that an egg yoke is of a very different substance than a shell. Also, the egg is made up of three distinct and unalike parts. This analogy actually teaches the heresy of tritheism.
Tritheism is the teaching that the Godhead is really three separate beings forming three separate gods.
Then there’s the example of water …
This analogy says that the trinity is like water. Water has three states: solid, liquid, and gas. Although the water changes forms it is still H2O. Just as water changes forms so too is the trinity.
Modalism is probably the most common theological error concerning the nature of God. It is a denial of the Trinity. Modalism states that God is a single person who, throughout biblical history, has revealed Himself in three modes or forms.
Then there’s the example that goes like this …
The trinity is Like a man who is a father, husband, and son. Although he is one he has different roles to different people. The trinity is like this man.
The problem with this analogy is that it denies the distinction of persons in the God-head. The analogy breaks down because I can simultaneously be a father, husband, and son to any one person. In reality, I change my role depending on who I am interacting with. As a result, this analogy actually teaches modalism.
(Don’t forget the Arian heresy or Subordination)
There’s a simple reason they don’t work: The Trinity, as such, isn’t like anything in creation. True, we humans are image bearers but nothing in creation serves as an analogy for the Trinity because the Trinity is a doctrine of special (Biblical) revelation not nature or reason. That’s not to say that it’s not reasonable to believe the Trinity but only that it’s not revealed in nature per se, i.e., the doctrine of the Trinity cannot be deduced from nature. All analogies from nature are necessarily natural, ergo they’re invalid.
We cannot even successfully define the Trinity in an image.
We as humans have a desperate need to understand. What we cannot understand we either dismiss or trust by faith.
Dismiss, explain away or trust by faith …
A friend of mine once told me about going to church and hearing a sermon on Jesus feeding the 5,000. The pastor said that in all likelihood all of the people who were there actually had food with them but it was only after they saw the young boy give his loves and fishes to Jesus that they dared to take their food out from wherever they had it hidden on their persons. To this preacher the miracle was that Jesus gave them the ability to share with others and not in the miraculous multiplication of the five loaves and two fishes!
Understand or dismiss - faith is something else.
One person who tried to establish an understanding of the Trinity was Athanasius.