The Trinity. It is a well established principle of faith in Christianity. In fact, it is the key difference separating Christianity from other religions. While the actual word “trinity” is not directly found in the Bible, the concept is. This concept also comes along the lines of the words “triune” and “tri-unity.”
The concept of the Trinity, which compounds three persons with separate disciplines, into one God is perhaps the most difficult to understand or to explain. We can begin in Genesis, in the very first verse of the Bible. This is significant, because Genesis isn’t so much an introduction to the world and the order of its creation but an introduction to the Creator. And Moses, the author, tells us from the start that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
In Our Image – The God of Plurality
In Hebrew, the word for god is el. Also in Hebrew, you make the form of a word plural by adding “im” to the end of it. This verse in Genesis uses the plural form of the word god, elohim. So, in essence, “in the beginning, Gods created the heavens and the earth.” Further ahead in Genesis, we know that God says “let us make man in Our image.” Yet He introduces Himself to Moses as the great I AM, in the singular tense.
This is where people get lost.
Let me mark out in brief the details of the triune God. Author and former professor of theology, J.I. Packer puts it nicely, “Understanding the Trinity is all about understanding the relationship between each of its persons. Each is distinct in the ministry that he has in Christians’ lives, and in the relation he has to the other two persons of the Trinity. The New Testament holds to the relational pattern of the Son doing the Father’s will, the Spirit doing the will of the Father and the Son, and three being together in each stage of every Christian’s life.”
Three Persons and a Pretzel
To give you a visual, I will give you a history of the pretzel. Some state it has its origins in Europe. A monk, wanting to illustrate the Trinity, made some dough, twisted it, looped it, leaving three holes, making three parts. He baked it, and showed it to the other monks, teaching that each loop represents one part of the Trinity. If you take away one section, you no longer have a pretzel.
To help you understand a bit more, I will give you another illustration. Some scholars believe that in the garden, Adam had two sides. He was the full physical and emotional representation of male and female, being male on one side and female on the other. When God put him in a deep sleep, he separated him at his “side” disjoining the male from the female.
This is the significance of the union of a man and a woman, they once again become one flesh.
This is perhaps one way that Adam was made in the image of God. Two in one. God, though, is three in one. Three separate persons. What a beautiful image! This is why God can love! Let’s take this a step further!
The Trinity, Loneliness and Intimacy
God did not create us because He was lonely. And He didn’t create us because He had some great need for us. Don’t get swept away by modern teaching today. Because something may be popular, that doesn’t make it right. There is the theology of modalism which was actually born in the 3rd century, quickly dying out because it was so errant. In the early 20th century through Pentecostals, it crept up again within the church and has great momentum today, largely in the Word of Faith movement.
This reduces God to one person, separating the unity of the Trinity. This is heresy. Understand that before the world was ever formed, before time began, God was in relationship and had fellowship with Himself. Wow! The great Bible scholar Francis Schaeffer taught that this very truth is where mankind gets its longing for communication and intimacy. It is the image of God designed within us!
This is God in love with Himself, in relationship with Himself. This is how love is possible, and with this concept we can begin to understand how God’s love is not selfish or arrogant. “One in essence, three in person.”
Even so, this being difficult with my finite mind to understand, there must be so much more to know about God that I am not now capable of understanding. Consider, for example, that the whole world is trinitarian. Dr. Henry Morris taught that the world is made up of three parts: matter, space and time. These three parts are each made up of three parts. Matter consists of mass, energy and motion. Space consists of height, depth and width, and time consists of past, present and future. Even the family unit has three parts: Husband, wife, children.
I hope that this blog helps you begin to understand the Trinity, and its concept. It’s a doctrine that Christians believe, though it holds great mystery. Many have said, “If you try to explain the Trinity, you will lose your mind. But if you deny it, you will lose your soul.”
“Let us rejoice that we have a Triune God who has provided for a Trinitarian salvation. When we were lost in sin, our God acted in every Person of his being to save us. The Father gave the Son, the Son offered himself on the Cross, and the Holy Spirit brought us to Jesus. We were so lost that it took every member of the Godhead to save us,” Dr. Ray Pritchard.
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…