Trinitarian thought

Right, in an effort to get something proper written in this journal let me spout forth some of my musings.

In my job one of the common questions I get is to explain the Trinity. It happens a lot.
Now, most of the answers that you get are, frankly, quite dodgy.

The most common one is the ice/water/steam line. This is plain modalism. God is either Father or Son or Holy Spirit depending on His function.
But that’s not what God is really like. He is “ice and water and steam” all at the same time.

Then people move onto clover leafs and three-legged stools and the rest. And it’s beyond me what this is telling us.

And then there’s the descriptions of God’s nature.
God is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent.
But that leads to some problems. Let me ask a bold question: Is God really omnipotent? Is he really omnipresent?
When we track those questions back to Jesus we might end up concluding that He is less that God.
He is unable to do anything without the Father, He doesn’t know the time of the Second Coming – but Hal Lindsey does 😉 – and he is not everywhere in and of Himself.

No, let’s dump all these descriptions and start again. Is God really some philosophical being that I can define in this way? And if so is it valid for others to worship Him in another way?
Allah is omni-omni and yet He is not the true God.

So here’s my definition (a work in progress)

God is Father Son and Holy Spirit.

Radical, eh? What I mean is this: In His essence God can be described as the three persons. And then we need to see these three persons in relationships.
So there is Father that sends, a Son who reveals and a Spirit who illumines. And each of these descriptions are relational.

Jesus uses this sort of langauge; sending, revealing etc. In Jesus’ language about the Father and Himself and the Spirit it’s all relational.

So where does this leave us?

Well, it leaves us clearer on what God is like. We no longer have a large cake of Godstuff that we slice into three pieces. That’s the philosophical God and the Moslem (as an example) simply doesn’t make any cuts.

Instead we see the true God in His essence – three persons in loving relationship.

It also drives us straight to the gospel. The Trinity *is* the gospel. A Father who sends a Son who saves and a Spirit who quickens, annoints and enables.

It also makes us immediately Christo-centric. The Father sends JEsus and reveals always acts through Him, the Spirit is constantly pointing us there too.
Jesus moves from being a theological luxury to a theological necessity. No longer is He a tack-on but a central point.

Well, there it is. It’s vague ramblings at the moment. Let me know what you think of my first meaty post.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. timv

    Good thoughts.
    What is “Modalism”?

    1. David Ould

      The wacky heresy that God takes on different modes depending on what He’s doing. So, when He’s creating (for example) He’s the Father. When He’s being a man He’s Jesus and now He’s the Spirit.
      He takes on different modes depending on what He’s doing. God is one person, not three.

      It’s rubbish but it’s seen today in people like oneness pentacostalists and other unitarians.

      1. timv

        k. I see how your view differs.

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