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What is the Christian Trinity?

Transcript:

In the Trinity there is said to be three distinct persons the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And each of the persons is fully God.

Now, stopping there, it would appear that Christians actually worship three Gods. However, nowhere in the Bible or Christian tradition does the Trinitarian concept become a Tri-Theism (meaning, three Gods).

God is always declared as one, which turns this doctrine into quite a mind bender. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are said to share one nature. But the Father is not the same person as the Son, who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit, who is not the same person as the Father.

There are three distinct persons in one substance, essence or nature.

Chronicles of Narnia author CS Lewis suggests that humans shouldn’t be able to fully grasp a being that is beyond our three-dimensional world and uses this following example:

If you are using only one dimension you can draw only a straight line, if you are using two you could draw a figure, say a square. And a square is made up of four straight lines. Now, step further, if you have three dimensions you can then build what we call a solid body, say a cube. A thing like a dice or a lump of sugar. And a cube is made up of six squares.

He’s making the point that a world of one dimension would be a straight line. In a two-dimensional world you still get straight lines but many lines make one figure. And in a three-dimensional world use you’ll get figures but many figures make one solid body.

In other words, as you advance to more real and more complicated levels you do not leave behind you the things you found on the simpler levels. You still have them but combined in new ways. In ways you could not imagine if you knew only the simpler levels.

Now the Christian account of God involves just the same principle. The human level is a simple and rather empty level.

On the human level one person is one being and any two persons are two separate beings just as in two dimensions one square is one figure and any two squares are two separate figures.

On the divine level you still find personalities but up there, you find them combined in new ways which we who do not live on that level cannot imagine.

In God’s dimensions, so to speak, you find a being who is three persons while remaining one being just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube.

Of course Lewis admits we cannot fully conceive a being like that, just as if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space we could never properly imagine a cube but we can get a sort of faint notion of it and when we do we are then for the first time in our lives getting some positive idea however faint of something super personal something more than a person it is something we could never have guessed and yet once we have been told one almost feels one ought to have been able to guess it because it fits in so well with all the things we know already.

The doctrine of the trinity is the most difficult idea in Christianity and yet one of the most fundamental. It instructs Christians on who God is how he is to be worshipped and how God interacts with humanity a more thorough study on the Trinity is encouraged using the links in the description below.

Deuteronomy 6:4
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”

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.”

You may like to read this:

An Unpublished Essay on the Trinity by Jonathan Edwards.

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