I’ve had company over today and am thus really busy so for tonight, I’m putting up an article I’ve got in back-up on the Trinity that I’ve put up elsewhere on the web. Enjoy!
What one believes will ultimately affect their view of reality. Because I believe each key on my computer I hit will produce the letter I want, I have no hesitancy about pushing a button on my keyboard. Because I am on the top floor of my house and believe in the law of gravity and also believe that I am not Clark Kent, I am not going to jump out the window. Yet how many people say that they believe the Trinity and haven’t thought of any ramifications for it beyond “Well I have the right God so I’m going to Heaven and I can beat up Jehovah’s Witnesses when they come to the door.”
Let me state this clearly at the beginning. If you are a skeptic of the Trinity, this article is not directly for you. You could gain some insights into my thinking by reading it, but this article has mainly been written for the Trinitarian. This is a work by which I hope, you will begin to think of the Trinity. Too often, the church has been seen as possessing dead and lifeless doctrines from a dead and lifeless God. We believe that God exists, but do we believe that he is living?
I will contend that he is living and the Trinity touches all Christian doctrines and as an effect, when we have the vertical aspect of the Trinity in the proper position, the horizontal aspects of how we should live morally will fall into place. This will also benefit those of us who do deal with Arians, for if we have a personal commitment to the doctrine, we will not so easily be swayed from it. One could sway me from trusting the friend I’ve made yesterday, and don’t know much about, but you could not sway me from trusting the friend I’ve known for several years on a personal level.
The Trinity shows us that God, by his nature, is relational. When we look in the account of the bush in Exodus 3, we find that God describes himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This should not be glossed over, for there are many ways God could have described himself. He could have identified himself as the creator, the one who cast out Adam and Eve, the one who sent the flood, the one that blessed Abraham with a child in his old age, or the one who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. However, God points to the covenant relationship.
It is certainly a fair question to ask why God created mankind or even angels for that matter. To the Arians, we could ask why the first being God supposedly created (And this in the sense of bringing into existence that which was not in existence before. The quote of Arius was “There was a time when the Son was not.”) was created as a personal being as well. There are only two reasons that God would have created and that would have been either need or desire.
Now if we have it out of need, then we have a problem. When I was an undergraduate in college, my systematic theology (Or as I called it as the further writing will show on this class, systematic heresy) professor said that God created man because he needed someone to love. My professor was devoted to his faith, but I believe dreadfully lacking at this point.
If God creates out of need, then he is in fact, less than his creation. It is not then that creation depends on God for its existence, but that God depends on creation for his own as well. In effect, God would have been at the mercy of Jesus, the “first-created”. After all, if Jesus had rejected God and chosen to not love him, then what would God do?
One could say that God could destroy Jesus and then create another, but we would then have the situation where God treats people based on what they do instead of who they are. It’s worth noting that God never destroyed Lucifer when he rebelled, nor did he destroy any of the angels that rebelled with him. True, some of them have been locked away and are in punishment now, but that is a far cry from ceasing to exist.
In effect, God would only love if the creation loved him. However, we read in 1 John 4:19 that “We love because he first loved us.” But if the other view is true, then God would love because we first loved him. Let us be clear that whatever God does to a person, he does out of love. As hard as it may be for some to imagine, when God allows someone to go to Hell, that is still an act of love as he is honoring the choice of the individual.
The other option is that God created out of desire and here, we have the clue as to what love is. God created because in the Trinity, there was an everlasting relationship of love. Man was created so that he might come and join in the dance of love that has been going on for all eternity.
The kind of love this is that God has invited us into is the best kind there is. This love is one that seeks the best for the other above himself, the truly selfless love as is our example in Philippians 2. When we see the Father, he is glorifying the Son in the New Testament such as at the baptism or the Transfiguration. When we see the Son, he is pointing to the Father. When we see the Holy Spirit, he is almost inconspicuous for being so silent, for he is always pointing to both of them to give them the glory. No person of the Trinity seeks his own good above that of the others.
The best example I can think of would be sexuality. The most personal relationship we can have on Earth, is meant to be a mirror to lead us into the relationship that will take place in eternity. In the relationship, one has the three steps of revelation, followed by trust, and then fellowship.
I will have to say at this point that as a single man, I do not speak from personal experience on the sexual relationship, however, this can be seen as a benefit on my part. As most single guys who want to get married, it is a dream and desire of mine as well, but yet, one does not know necessarily why except that we have been designed to have that desire.
Should this be any shock to those of us who believe in Heaven, where we know that there are things there that we could never begin to imagine? We long for Heaven, and yet, we do not know exactly what it is about it that will be so wonderful, but we know that it will be wonderful. In the same way, the single man longs for his honeymoon not knowing why it will be wonderful exactly, but knowing that it will be.
In sexuality after all, the purpose is to be that each person is seeking the enjoyment of the other above themselves. As the maiden says in the Song of Solomon, “Thus, I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment.” (Song of Solomon 8:10) A paraphrase would be that the maiden knows that she will bring joy and satisfaction to her lover when he beholds her beauty, and this even before the fellowship.
Hence, if one practices in pre-marital sex, one is not being a Trinitarian, as that is using the other to get your own joy instead of seeking the joy of the other. Furthermore, it is insisting that one gives trust before the revelation. This should also point out that sex is to be relational with two people. Any solitary act would be disallowed then.
Furthermore, if the act is supposed to be a mirror of the Trinity, and if the experience itself is to be a moment of Heaven, then could we not get a clue as to what heaven is? Heaven would become getting to fully experience the Trinity as the Trinity is. The main joy of Heaven will be in sharing in the life of God himself for all eternity.
If we are supposed to seek the good of others above ourselves in sexuality, then why not in all other things as well? The Trinity does not allow for anyone to be a loner. No person in the Trinity is to be classified as an individual as no person would exist apart from the existence of the others. While we value independence in America today, the lesson of the Trinity being a community itself, as was the view of the people at the time of the Bible, is interdependence.
Thus, each person in the body of Christ is to seek the benefit of the other above himself. They are to see themselves as part of a community. Each person will have to have established bonds of trust with others in the body working together. One cannot picture the Son acting without the Father. One should not picture a person acting separate from the body of Christ.
It has been said before that being is more accurately to be described as being in relationship to. This is how we would say the persons of the Trinity differ. They differ not in their nature but in their relationships to one another. Existing then means that one is involved in a relationship of some time. After all, it is not good for the man to be alone. (Genesis 2:18) Persons are never to be seen as a hindrance to Christianity but as the reason for Christianity.
We should also recognize the unique value of each person. The reason the Trinity can love the world is because the Trinity loves one person. If you cannot love one person, you will not be able to love the world. Let this be a reminder to us in the Great Commission as well that all need to hear the gospel. If we are to love the world, then surely we can love our neighbor next door.
We will love as well because we already have that flowing bond of love. The writings of John say over and over that we are to be known by our love. It is when we love one another, that we will be mirroring the relationship of the Trinity. It is when we follow Philippians 2, that we will be mirroring the relationship of the Trinity. To do otherwise is to profess Trinitarianism but live Arianism.
In closing, my plea to the church is to learn to think Trinity. Ponder the relationships of the persons within the Trinity. Think about their existence of their love that they have shared for all time. Think about how that love has overflowed in allowing you to exist and to grant you salvation. If you haven’t received salvation yet, consider this as an opportunity to be invited into the most perfect relationship of love for all time, one so awesome that it will take eternity to realize how awesome it is.