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Location: New England, United States

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Trinity - Three Gods or One?


"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," Matthew 28:19 RSV

Most Christians believe in a triune God as stated in the scriptures, but many other religions-including fellow Christians - question this unity believing that the distinction of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is based on polytheism. Even I, though accepting the concept of three persons in one, had a hard time explaining how this triune was in fact worship of the one God.

Then - a genesis from Genesis. "Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;" Genesis 1:26 RSV We are created in God's image; therefore, we are a triune being, as well.

Body:
Let's begin with the most obvious - our body. We can see our body - we can touch, smell and hear it, as well. Our body is created from the elements of this world and will return to this world after our death by decomposition.

Spirit:
Deep inside of each person there exists a tiny kernel that has always belonged to God - whether you are a believer or not. It is similar to an egg kept safe in a woman's ovaries. This egg is our spirit. This egg may remain in the 'spiritual ovary' for years or decades waiting to be fertilized. Once the egg is fertilized, it moves from the ovaries to the womb where it begins to grow.

Soul:
Our soul is who we are. All our thoughts, feelings, memories, decisions, judgments, love, hate, anger, bias, humor belongs to our soul. Our very best resides in our soul - but too - our very worst resides here. This is the battle ground. Whereas our body is predestined to the earth and our spirit is predestined to God - it is in our soul where we make the decision for the other two. Our soul is our free will.

Now first let us correlate our triune being with the trinity of God, for if we were made in his image, then by definition he is composed of a body, spirit and soul. The first two are easy for obviously, Jesus represents our bodies and the Holy Spirit represents our spirit. So who represents our soul? God - the Father represents our soul.

It is the Father that loves (feelings). It is the Father that will judge us (judgment). It is the Father that mourns our sin, or corrects us, remembers David and Abraham, empathic, etc.

So we see that we also are triune beings - made in the image of God. Now the questions is how do we unite this triune being into one?

Holiness means Oneness
We know that God is Holy. As I mentioned in a previous post, the word Holy comes from the Saxon word Halig meaning made whole, healthy. So if God is Holy, then he is whole and healthy.
So how are we made whole; a triune being made into one?

The soul is the battleground - both God and Satan are fighting for our soul - it is in play and the decision of who will win our soul rests with ourselves. We decide who will rule our soul and unlike other decisions we make in our life, it is a decision of default. We can choose God - by speaking that decision through The Word, or by default, we have chosen to side with Satan.

8 Comments:

Blogger Alan Misson said...

Can I offer the following comment:

In seeking God we are drawn to find some being greater and more perfect in quality than any human being. In the world around us we see other people that may in some small way manifest a deeper, purer love or greater wisdom than ourselves; and although they may be great examples for us to live by we perceive that the perfection of God’s love and wisdom must be greater still. It is like climbing in an area of hills and mountains. Every time we reach the summit of one small hill, another that is higher still comes into view. As we climb and climb, and hills change to mountains we are led on and on - upwards towards the highest peak. And when we begin to approach that, we begin to realise that there can only be ONE highest peak - just as when in our search for God we realise there can be only ONE highest source of all that is best in creation and human life.

Many world religions such as Judaism and Islam have taught that God is ONE but there have been other religions who have presented God has having many different faces all derived from one most perfect God. In Hindu tradition for example, if we were to ask the question - “Which is true: is there one God or are there many Gods?” - the answer would be that both statements are true. One way to understand this is to recognise that although we see God as perfectly ONE we experience God in many ways - for example as a counsellor we can confide in, as a leader we wish to follow, as a father figure that loves us, or as a warrior that fights spiritual battles on our behalf.

Thinking about God in this way leads us to wonder whether God is just simply ONE or whether there are a number of key attributes needed to make up this ONENESS. But at this point we need to look at ourselves to get some insight into this question.

Imagine that you want to paint a picture - or to put it more strongly - you would love to paint a picture. But your desire to paint on its own won’t ever produce a painting. You need to know how to paint and to have the right tools available, if you are to achieve anything. Your love must wrap itself around your knowledge or wisdom if you are to achieve your aim. And then together your love to paint and your wisdom as to how to do it combines beautifully in activity, and a painting is produced. Whether we are aware of it or not everything we do follows this pattern of motivation (love), know-how (wisdom) and resulting product (activity).

And right near the beginning of the Bible it says that “God created man in his own image…”.
If we put these thoughts together we can begin to see that God is ONE but that this ONENESS is made up of Love, Wisdom and Activity. The Divine nature is thus both ONE and THREEFOLD in nature.

The Christian idea of the Creator God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit can also be understood in terms of the Love (Father), Wisdom (Son) and Activity (Holy Spirit) of the ONE personal GOD.

4:06 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

Dear Alan - Thank you for your comment on my site. Your thoughts are beautifully written and clearly true.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Mari said...

Hi Annie! Can I add Your blog address to my "blog friends"? :) be blessed my sister in Christ,

*mari from Finland

10:47 AM  
Blogger daniellastella said...

thanks for your comment! blessings, danielle

7:18 AM  
Blogger Gary Burger said...

Annie,

Thanks for leaving a comment at GaryBurger.Blogspot.com. You have a very nice blog.

The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote on the Trinity which is found at my website: http://www.newmediaministries.org.

I use God's triune nature to illustrate the kind of oneness that God desires for our marriages.

The doctrine of God's trinity can be very confusing but once we begin to understand it we see how God experiences the ultimate oneness in relationship. In order to make any sense of this, we have to distinguish between what the one refers to and what the three refers to.

The one refers to God's essence or nature, in other words, His Godness, His divine essence. No one else in the spiritual or physical universe has the divine essence. Indeed, there can not be any other because there is no room for any more beings with a divine essence. God’s divine essence takes up the whole universe. The divine essence can not be divided between more than one god, otherwise it is not truly the divine essence. It is not that God is merely characterized by a divine essence; God is the divine essence and the divine essence is God.

The three refers to three distinct persons. All the persons of the triune God share the divine essence. There is only one divine essence, but there are three persons who share this same nature. The members of the trinity are distinct (The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). Does it sound like I just contradicted myself? I haven’t because the difference is this. The gods of mythology are distinct beings that act independently. They each have their own agenda. They are seen scheming against and fighting with each other. In 180 degree contrast, the members of the trinity are perfectly and deeply interrelated. They have an unbreakable unity.

I go on to give a quote by Paul Copan in which he uses the analogy of a triangle. A triangle is one object with three distinct sides/angles. If you take away one of the sides/angles it ceases to be a triangle.

There is more to the article and I hope you can benefit from it.

Gary Burger

1:11 PM  
Blogger Gary Burger said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

Gary

I love your illustration of the triangle and the essence of God. Thank you.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Bryan said...

When at a loss to describe the three-in-one nature of the Christian God in the face of derision by the local pagan religious leaders, a man who was once a slave among them, picked a three-leafed clover and held it up.

1:33 PM  

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