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Defining The Trinity
Understanding the God of Christianity
The doctrine of the Trinity is essential to Christianity, yet it is a concept that is surrounded by much confusion and misunderstanding. When asked “What is the Trinity?” (ask yourself this even now), some people may resort to real-world analogies to give an example of how God can exist as 3 persons. While it isn’t a bad idea to give analogies of the Trinity, it’s crucial to first define what the Trinity is.
When Christians say God is a Trinity, it means - God is one in BEING and three in PERSON.
But now you may wonder, what is the difference between the words “being” and “person”? At face value, it may seem like the same thing is being repeated and used differently.
But this isn’t the case. When referring to the “being” of something, we are referring to “what” it is.
On the other hand, when we speak of “person”, we are referring to “who” someone is.
For instance, you are (I’m assuming and hoping) a human being. That is WHAT you are. That is your BEING. As a human, you, like everyone else, are composed of a physical and living body.
Now WHO you are refers to your own identity, that is the qualities and characteristics that define you and make you the PERSON that you are. This can encompass your name along with the many traits that others would use to describe you. Notice how your BEING is not unique and is shared by everyone else, yet your PERSONHOOD is exclusive to you. These are both very different yet important qualities of yourself.
With this in mind, the definition of the Trinity should be revisited. As humans, we are individually one BEING and one PERSON. That is a truth that will never change. However, God is different. He is composed of One BEING, God, and Three PERSONS, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. All three of these Persons are co-equal and eternally co-existent and therefore, they are all fully God.
And while there are no instances of something of this nature existing here on this finite Earth, that does not mean that the doctrine of the Trinity is compromised. God is complex and marvelous and is greater than us in every way. There is no issue with the idea that God is greater than us in His Knowledge and Power, so naturally, He should also be greater than us in Essence. It is important that we don’t try to create a God that we can understand, as this would bound and reduce His Greatness to our finite understanding. And if God were a god bound to a finite understanding, He would not be God at all. Instead, let us acknowledge that just because God may be unfathomable, that does not make Him illogical. Because even though He is unfathomable and so beyond our knowledge, He is still in daily pursuit of the hearts of every individual.
This was the first part of the “Triune” series here at Chasing Truth where we will be unraveling the doctrine of the Trinity. Check out part 2, Believing The Trinity! God Bless you all.
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Michael Jones, InspiringPhilosophy Ministry
Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Josh and Sean McDowell
C.S Lewis, Mere Christianity