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The Trinity: Diving Deeper

Not too long ago, on a beautiful fall day, I had the opportunity to sit around the fire pit in my backyard with a few friends. After everyone arrived, we began enjoying a warm fire on a cool evening. My son was not there due to work but said he would join us soon. My grandson, however, was already there playing with the other children. His attention was focused on swinging, running along the paths in the woods, and from time-to-time chasing the chickens around the yard. Typical activities of a four-year-old boy. That was until his dad arrived.

As soon as my son sat down by the fire and my grandson spotted him, ran over, and jumped in his lap and said daddy…daddy…daddy, as he lightly touched his dad’s cheek. I thought, “What a beautiful moment.”

Then my grandson did something unexpected. He climbed down from his dad’s lap and walked from person-to-person, tapped them on the leg, and pointed at his dad as he exclaimed in an excited voice, “Daddy…it’s daddy!” He wanted every single person sitting around the fire to know that “daddy” had arrived. In his mind this was the greatest event of the evening.

As I watched this unfold, I saw in my grandson an overwhelming excitement to see his dad and I wondered, “do I act that way about my heavenly father.” Am I excited to sit with God? Am I overwhelmed just to know He is there? Do I point others to Him with excitement and gleam in my eye,telling everyone “that is my dad”?

In Romans 8:15, Paul notes that because we have been adopted by God we do not come to Him as a distant, judgmental figure, nor a harsh Lord and Master, but as one whom we can call abba, father…or “daddy.”

Indeed, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and infinite in nature. But He is also benevolent, gracious, merciful, and loving. Beyond these He is also unique in His very being in that He exists as a triune being. That is, one God expressed in three distinct beings: Father, Son, and Spirit.

To understand the doctrine of the Trinity can be difficult. After all, how can three distinct beings be only one being? Some have tried to explain this mystery using examples from the world around us. Some say the triune nature of God is like an egg…one egg with a shell, a white part, and a yoke. Others, that it is like a triangle…one shape with three different sides. Another, common analogy is that the Trinity is like water which can exist in three different states…solid, liquid, and gas.

While all of these seek to help us understand “how” the Trinity interrelates, eventually they all fall short. It seems that the more one tries to define how or in what way God is a triune being the more theologically corrupt they can become. What’s more important is the “what” of the Trinity, as in “What does it mean that God exists as a triune being?” In what way does this reality affect my life? For example, each person of the Trinity has an important role to play in salvation. The Father sends the Son as a sacrifice for the sins of the world and the Spirit convicts the world of sin and its need of a Savior.

Even though the doctrine of the Trinity cannot be fully understood from our finite perspectives, we do find evidence of it in Scripture. In John 1:1–18 we find a clear teaching that Jesus and the Father are one, not just in nature but in being. Later in John’s gospel, Jesus is accused of making himself to be equal with God (John 10:33). In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian believers, he associates Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit as working in tandem with each other (2 Cor 13:14). In his letter to the Philippians, Paul affirms that Jesus, before coming to earth, existed in the form of God (Phil 2:6). Finally, in his letter to the church at Colossae, Paul states that Jesus is the “invisible God (Col 1:15)” and that “ in him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth (Col 1:16).” Later in chapter two Paul affirms that in Jesus the “fullness of Deity dwells” (Col 2:9). The attributes of being the image of the invisible God, of creating all things, and of possessing all deity show Jesus to be truly God.

One other line of evidence for the Trinity is found in Jesus rising from the dead. According to Acts 2:32–33; 13:30 and Romans 6:4, God raised Jesus from the dead. But in Romans 8:11 and 1 Peter 3:18 we read that the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. Furthermore, in John 10:18 Jesus says he will raise himself from the dead. From these verses the community of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit) raised Jesus from the dead and therefore must be one in nature and being.

The Bible teaches that our God is triune in nature, existing as one, absolute, and sovereign being who is expressed in three distinct beings: Father, Son, and Spirit.

Learn more about the Trinity here. 

by David Frees, Senior Director of Online Learning

What have you learned about the Trinity and how has it impacted your life? If you are signed into your Premier account, please share your answer in the comments below.