The subject I am about to present is very difficult. Everyone has at one time or another sat in his or her chairs and thought long and hard about this proposition. No one can really claim to fully grasp the theology of what we call the trinity. It just seems like this mathematical problem that the founding fathers of the Church left us without really explaining its origins, much less its significance. It is very complex and even causes confusion when explored. I do not claim to have all the answers. I am merely trying to describe the relevance of something very big by using my very small mind. I can only say that this is the best way of describe the interactive, incarnate, and guiding God. In doing so, we will begin to see that the trinity is immensely important for understanding the existence of God, the church, and how they interact with the world.
The popular question is the first question that must be addressed. People are nowadays obsessed with the logic of God being three and one. As mentioned before, it seems like a logical mistake committed by naïve ancients. Normal math would tell a man to question this method, and with good reason. It is a blatant contradiction. How could this ancient faith of God following have come up with what seems to be two opposites and placed them side by side? The best answer to this would have to come from the answer to another question. The question is what is the Christian view of the trinity? And the answer would have to lie in the example that the trinity gives to the Christian life. The first question of this paragraph probably comes from not understanding the nature of this doctrine. The answer will need some explanation, which I will give you.
The trinity is looked at as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one and yet three; they are distinct, yet the same. This is as far into the complexity as I will travel. It is a hard thing to wrestle with all by itself. Of course, to look at this doctrine for its own sake is lunacy and is probably far from the intent of the people who were given this doctrine. Why would God give us a doctrine that has nothing to with us? Revelation happens as God interacts with us, so our thoughts of God must come from our interaction. This means that any thought of God that has nothing to do with us and God, must be considered speculative and probably irrelevant. As a matter of fact, the trinity does the best job describing this very definition of revelation.
Three interactions take place with God and us. The first person we experience is God the Father. He is very much our father in heaven. By father I mean father over the house or family system. A father is in charge of your care, and looks after your needs. He supplies the source of food, clothes, bed, and other elemental things. He is loving as well, but I want to focus on Him as a father as head of a Household as I think that we all seem to know in our minds that he is a loving father. In the Old Testament, God is head of Israel. It is almost as if Israel is the house of God first and foremost. We find His leadership expressed in the Torah, and His will in the prophets and the histories. God is the leader of this household. The ministry that we have jumped into is a ministry to Him. We sing to God. We live a life that smells like sweet incense to God, which means to follow his will, which will be reflected on when we get to the Holy Spirit.
The next person is God the Son. Here is where we find our identity. Jesus is the originator of our faith. Without Him, His presence and resurrection, our faith is pointless and has no backbone. When Christ came, we had God in human flesh. It’s one thing to follow God, but to have God in human form gives us a sense of working with Him while still following Him. Jesus practically owns the ministry, we are merely participants, puppets, or, better yet, clay. We can find example, inspiration, and hope in Christ. We serve God, and with God the Son we belong. We are adopted into the family unit of God when we attach ourselves to God the Son. If this ministry was our own, then we would have no true purpose, but with it being of Jesus, we find the ultimate purpose, a true, dynamic life, and that is worth more than any movement this world can offer.
The third person is the Holy Spirit. I mentioned God’s will earlier and this is where we can hear it. The Holy Spirit is probably the most fascinating part of this doctrine because it is the person sensed more than the other two. The Spirit is basically the guide. I know it is said that the Bible is the only guide we’ll ever need, but I tend to think that the Spirit is much more creative than that. In the Spirit, grace becomes complicated in that Spirit tends to use creativity and uses multiple sources to reach a human. Christians can get very proud of their traditions and forget God’s tendency to have an agenda of saving the world. Sometimes salvation is not done with a Bible in hand. Sometimes it is through commentary, peoples, songs, sermons, or, dare I say, in a nature setting. If God is the author of all things, we, at the very least, have to admit God’s potential to use sources that are not in the Bible. The Holy Spirit also guides the Christian’s life, which is also more creative than using the Bible alone. We should already know that our Scriptures are recordings from different people from different times and cultures. It makes sense that the Bible would not say anything about certain issues of today. That is the point of the Spirit, to guide and to help. Sometimes He will guide us toward a goal and then He may even set us against each other in order to try our hearts and bring us closer together in unity. I could say where the Spirit will guide us, but the Spirit might call me to humility by going the opposite direction. The only thing I will say is that He will guide us to love God and humanity. If it were not for the Spirit, our purpose would never be heard, known, or realized. Thank God for sending His Spirit.
We cannot stop here, however. In light of the separate persons, we must look at the unity of God. There is such a unity in God that the persons never oppose. They actually always submit to each other by loving each other. In the New Testament, Jesus prayed that we could experience such unity. Some may call it a dream, but it is the dream of our savior. He wanted us to experience the same unity that He experienced with the Father and the Spirit, the distinctive unity. The Church is also one with different parts. If we could even come close to the Trinitarian philosophy of love, we would be without any complaint inside the church and would begin our part in redeeming the world. Even the contemporary/traditional music debate would have to end on account of things that are more important being recognized as the crucial parts of the Christian life, such as love, kindness, words of hope, acts of service, etc. Such a thing would make the bride of Christ beautiful again in a time of abandoned orphans, neglected widows, starving beggars, and broken emotionals. But many of our acts seem reminiscent of the evils that the prophets charged the children of God with. We must have unity in loving submission so that we do not go through another exile and see a mass gleaning like the one in the Bible.
So we see that the trinity is very crucial not as a fact alone, but as an expression. It is not just the existence of God, but also the interaction with God. It is still a awe inspiring thought that God is my father, whom I follow through His Spirit with Jesus. I cannot go any further with this. More explanation would make me accentuate one side of the coin over the other, and that is not my goal. My hope is that you will see that the Father you love sent His Son to be with us, teach us, and die for us, and guides us through his Spirit.
May you live for God, by serving Christ through the guidance of His Spirit, which brings us closer together. Amen.