The Trinity

Like Muslims and Jews, Christians are monotheistic. We believe in one God, supreme over all creation, and yet there is the trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. The Source, Word, and Holy Spirit.

The key thing that all three seem to have in common is that they are somehow ways of saying that one God has three forms, or personalities, or nuances, or substances. In other words, more than anything, the trinity seems to be our way of putting words to a vast and divine mystery that is, when you think about it, well beyond our comprehension.

God is – that’s the piece that seems easiest. It’s only when we try to explain or understand what that means that we run into trouble.

Certainly the Hebrew Scriptures clarify that God is creator. But how? A big voice in Genesis 1, and someone playing in the mud in Genesis 2, and someone beyond approach in Psalm 8, and someone who has a child or a helper working close by from before the beginning.

So is this one being, or different forms of the same?

Jesus is clearly the son, present from the beginning, too. Yet John says that Jesus is the Word of God.

And what about the Spirit of God: creating (Genesis 1:1), blowing invisibly like the wind (John 3), or coming like flames of fire (Acts 2). Words for Holy Spirit are always feminine in Hebrew, always neuter in Greek, yet generally thought of as male in English. So, how do we best understand the work of the Spirit?

Perhaps the best thing to say is that God is God, beyond our understanding and our speaking, yet close as the next breath. Comforting as a parent and friend, vast as the farthest universe, and everything in between. Praise the Triune God, the eternal one in three; the eternal three in one.

Yours in Christ,