Perhaps the most difficult concept of Christianity to explain is the mystery of the Trinity. How can our God exist in three separate and distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, yet be one God?
If Christiarns find it hard to grasp this possibility, imagine the problem it presents for those of other faiths. Moslems, in particular, cannot understand how Christians can profess to believe that there is only one God, yet worship Him as three individual beings. They claim that Christianity is not monotheistic, but polytheistic.
Can our belief in the Trinity be explained in understandable terms?
Perhaps it can!
The Mystery of the Trinity
The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:1 that in the beginning, it was God who created the heaven and the earth. This can only mean that before this time of creation, only God existed. Nothing of what our universe is comprised of was in existence before then. He was responsible for creation.
We are also told in Isaiah 43:10 that there is only one God: "Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."
The angels who serve God are created beings, and were not pre-existent. This is evident from Ezekiel 28:15 where God is talking about Satan. "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee."
Since Satan and the other heavenly beings were created by God, it is evident that at one time only God existed. These created beings are not deity, and are not part of the Godhead. Their power comes from God and what they can and cannot do is strictly prescribed by God's permission and by His supreme authority. But what about the other two persons of the Trinity? Is there any scriptural evidence that they pre-existed before creation?
There can be no dispute, of course, that God the Father is truly God, but the mystery of the Trinity also includes God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Were they also pre-existent before creation?
John 1:1 tells us: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." There is no doubt about whom John was speaking, for in John 1:14 he says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.' The Word was Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Was the Son present at creation? John 1:3 tells us that He was. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
Jesus, the Son of God, was present at creation, therefore He was pre-existent with God before creation.
The third person of the Trinity was also present at creation, for in Genesis 1:2 we are told, "And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The Holy Spirit, therefore, was also pre-existent before creation, and is also deity.
By scriptural testimony it can be established that all three of the persons of the Trinity were present at creation, and thereby pre-existent. Since only God was pre-existent, then it follows that all three are indeed God.
Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize believers in the name of all three persons of the Trinity. In Matthew 28:19 He instructed them, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Since God has stated clearly that He will not share His glory with anyone, it is clear that all three persons of the Trinity are really one, the Godhead.
The mystery of the Trinity, the concept that God can be one, yetexist in three separate and distinct persons is beyond the comprehension of our limited, mortal minds. We who are confined to understanding only what our earthly existence allows us to personally experience, cannot easily come to terms with this possibility.
I have been asked many times to try to explain the mystery of the Trinity by people who could either not understand it, or because of its complicated and ambiguous nature refused to accept it. I tried the best I could to do this, pointing out that although all three persons of the Trinity shared all of God's attributes, God the Father exemplified the holiness of the Godhead; Jesus demonstrated the personality of God; while the Holy Spirit manifested the awesome power of the Almighty.
For some it may have served as a satisfactory explanation, but I knew that for others it did not. Of course there was more to the Trinity - much more - than my meager words could possibly convey, but I was unable to explain this more appropriately.
Then one day as I stood by the shore of the sea I was suddenly struck by something wonderfully similar - something which could possibly make others understand as never before.
Understanding the Trinity
As you stand by the shore of the sea, as far as your eyes can see and beyond is the mighty ocean. It is an entity of enormous power, sometimes as still and calm as a tropical pool, sometimes rising in fury to smash those who dare to intrude upon it.
As you observe, a swell of water rises offshore. The wave gathers momentum as it approaches the beach. Although it remains a part of the sea it has a life of its own. Then, after crashing high upon the shore, it returns to the sea from which it came. As a wave it had its own identity, but never was it separate from the sea.
Just as Jesus came from the Father and returned to the Father, He had - and still has - an identity of His own. The wave was never separate from the sea, just as Jesus was never separate from the Father. Just as the wave exemplifies the personality of the sea, Jesus is the personality of God the Father. If you have seen a wave, then you must have seen the sea. If you have seen Jesus, you have also seen the Father.
And as you stand beside the shore, you become aware of another part of the sea. The salt air which invigorates you is also an integral part of the sea. It, too, has a separate existence from the sea, but is very much one with it. It penetrates everywhere and everything within miles of the coastline. As you approach the beach it is the signal that the sea is not far away. In fact, it is the sea - reaching out to you through the air.
This is exactly what the Holy Spirit does. Just as the salt air draws men to the sea, the Holy Spirit draws men to the Father through Jesus Christ. The Spirit, although having a separate existence, is not separate from the Godhead.
I have used this simple example for several years now. People seem to be able to understand better the concept of the Trinity through the parallel relationship of sea and wave and salt air representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit than by any of my previous attempts to explain it.
Children, especially, are quick to grasp the meaning of this "parable" approach to the mystery of the Trinity. I suppose we older and more sophisticated adults should not be totally surprised at this. After all, the Bible tells us that "a little child shall lead them."
Taken from: Robert Faid "A Scientific Approach to Biblical Mysteries"
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