Understanding God series (The Trinity)

I just wanted to take the time and take you on a journey to understanding God (The Creator). It is a fact that some people struggle with the knowledge of God, misunderstand God, think they know God or they just put off knowing God because it seems complicated to them. I was once in a place in my life when I asked the question who is God? The term God has many meanings to different people in a different religion, and these people cannot be blamed for their opinions. However, of all the religions, Christianity is the only instance where God has come down to our level, lived with us, ate with us, taught us how to live, suffered, died to give us new life, rose from the grave, ascended back to his throne and continuously lives among us. I know this may sound gibberish to many. Can one God do all these things? In order to have the true knowledge of this God, it is of importance to recognize what the Trinity means. While I may not fully comprehend everything about the Trinity (Isaiah 55:8-9; Job 36:26; Romans 11:33-34), I believe God has given me the grace to explain it in a manner that brings somewhat of a clarity. Now, when you truly begin to understand God, you will have no choice but to fall in love with him.

Defining Trinity

The Trinity is the foundation of every Christian faith. Tri means three and unity means one. Thus, Tri and Unity make up the Trinity. In this case, it means a God who as an extension of himself, perpetually exists as three distinct Persons (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  Now if you have ever read the bible, you may have questions like how can one God be three persons? Is Jesus the same God? Why did Jesus pray to God? Why would Jesus send the Holy Spirit if they are equal and one? I want you to focus on the words I just wrote in bold; extension (enlarge), perpetually (never-ending or changing), exists (real) and distinct (different in nature from something or someone of similar type or being).

Some examples that can be used to explain the Trinity include; 1) Man: man is a created being having a body, soul, and spirit. Take away any part and man ceases to exist. So we have three parts of a man and yet one man.  2) Sun: The sun has three parts; heat rays, light rays, and chemical rays. If any of these aspects are removed, the sun will cease to exist. Three rays, one light. 3) Triangle; it has three sides and if you take away either side, it ceases to be a triangle. 4) Water: has three different forms (ice, liquid, steam), yet all are water. 5) Government has three branches (Executive, Legislative and Judicial), each of them is distinct but yet one Government.

The Bible shows in many instances where God has spoken of himself or represented in plurality; 1) Genesis 1:26 “Then God said let us make man in our image, according to our likeness”. 2) Genesis 3:22 “Then God said, Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil”. 3) Exodus 3:14 “God replied to Moses, I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM (eternally existing) has sent me to you”. 4) In John 8: 58 “Jesus said to them, “most assuredly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM”. Abraham was referenced in Genesis and this happened thousands of years before Jesus came to earth. Yet he tells the Jews before Abraham was, I AM. 5) Luke 3:21-22 shows us that during the baptism of Jesus, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in form of a dove and the voice of the Father came from heaven saying “You are my beloved son in you I am well pleased”. 6) In 2 Corinthians 13:14, we see Paul blessing in these words “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”. 7) In John 10:30, we see Jesus telling the Jewish leaders “I and the Father are one”. Here, Jesus is saying he is equal to God and has equal power, not a messenger or a prophet. In John 10:36, Jesus said the Father has set him apart and sent him to the world, meaning that he pre-existed in the Father’s presence, and no other prophet has ever made this claim. 7) Colossians 1:16-17 also affirms Jesus by saying “In him, all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together”. 8) John 1:1 speaks of the word which represents Jesus Christ “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God and the word was God”. So, Jesus was with God at the beginning of all things, and Jesus was and is God.

Understanding the relationship of the Trinity

The Trinity is always in a constant relationship (Perichoresis) and communication with one another. This answers the question of if Jesus is God and why did he pray to himself?  While Jesus and the Father are both a hundred percent God (Colossians 2:9), they are distinct Persons who are in a continuous dialogue. Thus, they are working together, not as three gods (small g in god denotes lesser or false deities known for one thing) but as One God (Capital G in God denotes a name, supremacy, and specificity of the true God). Although the three Persons in the Trinity are distinct, it does not mean one is inferior to the other. Instead, they share equal attributes such as power, essence, love, mercy, wisdom, holiness, etc. So if each Person of the Trinity is distinct and fully God does this mean there is more than one God? The answer is a big NO because the bible tells us that there is only God (Deuteronomy 4:35; 6: 4-5; 32:39; Isaiah 44:6-8; Isaiah 45:21-22; 1Samuel 2:2).

So, we have one God who is equally three Persons, with the same essence of divinity. Essence also means nature, being or spirit. Thus, God is only one being and he is spirit (John 4:24). We always baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Mathew 28:19), we pray in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Here we also see one name, one God of equal power and differentiated as distinct Persons. The Bible shows in John 3:16 that the Father sent the Son into the world, so he cannot be the Son and Son is not the Father. In John 16:10, the Son returned to the Father, then in Acts 2:33 the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit into the world. Hence, the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son.

Clarifying the term Person as used in the Trinity

Theologians recognize that the term “person” in the English language definition creates lots of confusion when it comes to the Trinity.  This term usually refers to people’s outward appearance and their own personal character. C. S Lewis gives his analogy saying “On the divine level you still find personalities; but they are combined in new ways which we, who do not live on that level, cannot imagine”. So to clarify, the term “Person” in Trinity does not mean independent from each other or exists apart from the other. Rather it refers to modes or personal forms of existence within the divine God, and not a God who took on three successive roles.

The Trinity is important to help deepen our understanding of who God is and to build an important relationship with him. Knowing what each Person of the Trinity has done brings out in us a deeper appreciation for God. Modern science has tried to disprove the existence of God and has been unsuccessful. They try to find new ways to explain the existence of the world apart from God; instead, their research continues to show more evidence that we have a creator. They say “I cannot believe in what I do not see”.  My answer to that is, you cannot see air, yet you believe it exists and it doesn’t stop you from breathing. In the same vein, just because you can’t see God, it should not stop you from believing. Science has not and will never be able to rule out the existence of the one true God.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “he has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to the end”. If you have come to a point in your life where you have questioned the existence of God or began to desire to know God, stick with me as I share my next journey to discovering who God is to me.

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