No, I don’t know who any of the people in that picture are. I do wonder where Atlas got that huge earth though. Very cool.
I wrote a post on the Trinity for another blog and the site manager was leery about posting it because he/she thought my description of the Trinity made it sound like 3 gods instead of one God and 3 persons. And that’s understandable because it’s hard to conceptualize how God can be 3 and 1 at the same time. But it’s important to understand that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are each their own person (that’s the 3) but are of one mind and essence (that’s the 1).
I’ve touched on this topic before, but I thought perhaps it was time to revisit it.
When I think about polytheism, I think about mythology. All those Greek and Roman gods and demi-gods. My oldest daughter is really into Greek mythology because of Rick Riordan’s series on the Olympians and tween books like The Goddess Girls. Who doesn’t like stories of Hercules?
The thing about the Greek and Roman gods, though, is that they were petty, selfish, self-centered, and fought one another with the world as their battlefield. They could get bored and use people as pieces on a game board for no other reason than as a diversion. They could have children with humans and create demi-gods like Hercules. They could lie, cheat, and steal. Are these the kinds of mercurial gods you would want to worship? Sure, they make for great stories, but how could they have created the universe? I don’t think they could work together long enough to make a blade of grass, assuming they had the power.
When we see the Father, Son, and Spirit, we have 3 persons (unique in identity), that are in perfect agreement, perfect harmony, perfect unity in purpose. Unlike the rest of creation, the Son and Spirit were not created. They come from the Father –the Son as externally begotten of the Father, and the Spirit as one who proceeds from the Father. Who they are (the Father, Son, and Spirit=3) is different but what they are (divine from the essence of the Father) is the same. Same = 1.
If, at this point, you’d like to take a break to go and pound your head against the wall, I totally understand. There’s a big dent in the wall by my desk as I struggled with these concepts last semester.
But can you see that there is no polytheism with the Trinity? Because there is singleness of mind, purpose, unity, everything. Perfect harmony. As my friend, RL Copple states in his post on the subject of the Trinity:
The human nature is changeable, finite, imperfect. The divine nature is changeless, eternal, infinite, and complete. Because of that, each person sharing the divine nature are perfectly harmonized in one will, one dream, one direction, one existence.
So while there are three, they work in perfect harmony as one due to the perfect divine nature they share. It wouldn’t matter how many of them there would be, there would still only be one God, as stated in Scripture. Not three.
Human nature is what we see epitomized by the Greek and Roman gods. That is polytheism. Perfect nature and singleness in mind and purpose is what we see with the Father, Son, and Spirit. That is GOD.
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” – Deuteronomy 6:4
Tell me, friends, is this new to you? (It was for me). Do you think the church should do a better job of teaching foundational concepts such as the Trinity, or do you think it’s too complex a topic for most believers? Are we doing future generations a disservice by only teaching this topic at the seminary level? (and on rambling blog posts) 😉 I’m very interested to know what you think.