"...God in three Persons, Blessed Trinity." If you have spent any time in a Christian worship service where hymns are sung, you have most likely sung the well known hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy." The last line of the last stanza ends with those declarative words-- God in three Persons. Blessed Trinity.
The Trinity is one of the most difficult of Christian doctrines to understand, much less explain. I certainly am no expert on the subject. The concept of God as being One, yet being Three Persons has been a matter of study, discussion, and debate for as long as there have been followers of Jesus. The three major monotheistic religions- Judaism, Islam and Christianity part ways when it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity.
Those that accept the doctrine of the Trinity understand that God is One, yet three Persons-- The Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Three Persons...distinct, yet One. Three in One; One in Three. Difficult to grasp.
When we teach children about the Trinity many times we will try to use analogies. A commonly taught analogy says that God is like the substance we know as water (H2O.) Water above 212 degrees becomes steam... but it is still water. Water that is below 32 degrees we call ice... but it is still water. Of course, in between those two temperatures we know the liquid form of water. See? Three forms of the same thing. Ice, water and steam... all H2O. But, like any analogy we try to use to explain God, this one doesn't work all that well because we are merely describing three "forms" of water. The three Persons of the Trinity are not merely "forms" of God.
I drew a chart that I had seen many years ago that was helpful to me in teaching about the Trinity:
When we say that the three Persons of the Trinity are distinct it means exactly that. God The Father is NOT Jesus the Son. And Jesus is NOT the Holy Spirit just as the Holy Spirit is NOT The Father. But, The Father IS God. Jesus IS God. And the Holy Spirit IS God. And there is only One God.
|Total Solar Eclipse 2017|
The eclipse reminded me of another analogy sometimes used to explain the Trinity. It is the one I like the best.
Think of the sun as representing God. We can think of the physical star itself as being The Father, however we cannot actually see it (forget for a moment those fancy scientists with all their fancy equipment.) When we gaze up to the sun, we cannot actually see the star itself.... but it is there.
|the light of the sun|
With the naked eye, no one can see the star we call the sun. It's way too bright to even look upon for more than a couple of seconds. What we can see is the light that the sun emits. The light that chases away the darkness. The light that gives and sustains life allowing all creation to live and grow. The light that saves the world. And we know that the power of the sun is there because we can feel it, experience it, and we see the powerful things it can do. Yes, I like this particular analogy because I am reminded of the presence and faithfulness of God every time I see the sun rise in the morning. It takes away the darkness of night. It gives life. And when I feel the warmth of the sun on my face it reminds me that the Holy Spirit is very much present and provides power and strength.
God in three Persons, Blessed Trinity.