Pondering The Trinity
August 12th, 2004
Reams of paper and eons of time have been spent on the attempts to describe and explain the Trinity; Father, Son, Holy Spirit in One Triune Godhead. To date no one has done it to the satisfaction of anyone else and this paper certainly will not do so, either. But I wish to make an attempt at describing the perfectly logical nature of the Trinity in terms more applicable to metaphysics than to logic. I may fail miserably, but no matter; the exercise itself flexes muscles rarely used. To quote Ravi Zacharias, "What I believe in my heart must make sense in my mind." While not everything about God is knowable, what is knowable is devoutly to be pursued.
Let me begin with an analogy; by suggesting that our earthly reality and the Trinity are both comprised of three separate entities while still being one unit, inseparable in its parts.
Reality is comprised of matter, space and time --- inseparable, yet one thing. The Trinity is comprised of three separate “things”, too; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – inseparable, yet one “thing” or "essence", or one Being. In both cases, you cannot separate out any one part from the whole without destroying the unity of the whole.
Our earthly “reality” has none of the characteristics of the Trinity because the Trinity is not of this world, not of this reality in which we live and function. Nothing of the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit contains or is matter, time or space. Therefore, the Trinity has none of the three aspects of earthly “reality”.
Conversely, neither matter, time nor space are facets of Father, Son or Holy Spirit - the Trinity. Nothing of our earthly reality comprises anything of the Trinity, which is purely spiritual. Reality is purely earthly.
In other words, our “reality” does not exist in the same sphere, time, space or essences the Trinity exists in and of. Reality and the Trinity exist in two separate dimensions, two separate realms joined at Communion and by our relationship with Jesus Christ.
The practical application for the Christian of this realization, that both our own reality and our Trinity exist in different worlds, means that in order to communicate with our Triune God (The Trinity), we must reach into another world, another dimension, another reality. That dimension corresponds in no way with our own.
So, how do we exist in our reality and still reach into another reality to communicate with God? There is no way to do this except by entering the world of the Trinity through focused prayer, “Holy Communion” (Luke 24:30-32, 35, 45), meditation and sheer relational grace with the Creator of the universe.
Our own efforts to bring the world of the Trinity into our own world is futile. However, the Trinity can and has entered our world innumerable times, the most notable of which was when God the Father sent Jesus, the Son, to enter our reality as a human being. Other instances of the separate reality of the Trinity entering our world is during theophanies; for example, when God’s presence was manifest in the Tabernacle in the wilderness during the time of Moses, in the pillar of clouds, in the burning bush, or when God’s presence is with us during heightened spiritual experiences, during prophecy, by answered prayers, during visions and miracles, and in other ways.
Even though our finite minds cannot fully understand how One God can be comprised of three sovereign inseparable entities while still maintaining unity, it should be easier to imagine it when you compare it with our earthly reality, also comprised of three inseparable ephemeral and metaphysical “things”: matter, time and space. One cannot remove any of the three without destroying the original and collapsing the universe.
So it is with the Trinity. Remove any part of the triune Godhead and it ceases to be God; one must call it something else, but certainly not the Trinity. With reality, you also cannot remove matter, time or space and still have it be reality.
Why does this matter? It may not matter a whit to most. The argument can be made that such pondering is the useless meandering of a bored mind and that nothing but faith need enter the Christian world. This is true if one speaks only of need. We need nothing more than faith in Jesus Christ. However, God gave us minds with which to think and I believe He expects us to use them to trek beyond simple faith, to at least make an attempt to explore the magnificent world(s) He has created; the worlds of our own reality and the world of His reality – the True World of the Trinity.
It is my belief that God wants us to reach toward His world, if only to do the reaching. That is the sparkling moment when He reaches down from His world to take our hand in His and bring us into His Trinitarian universe for a clearer snapshot of what it means to honor Father, Son and Holy Spirit in One.