Do you ever wonder if the fact that God is Trinity makes any difference to you or the way you live your life? You certainly wouldn’t be the first, and you definitely won’t be the last. The Trinity is a confusing topic, and many times we think it does not matter to our daily Christian journey.
But the answer is yes, the doctrine of the Trinity makes a tremendous difference to the gospel and the way we live our life. Although the Trinity is one of the most difficult (and avoided) doctrines to explain and understand, it is essential to our faith. How one thinks of and experiences the Trinity affects what one thinks about all other Christian doctrines and how one experiences our relationship with God.
This series is designed to shed some light on the doctrine and explain why it’s important that we have a correct understanding of this theology. I’ll do my best to give a straightforward explanation of the Trinity, but I will also put more details in the endnotes, should anyone desire a more in-depth exploration.
However, first we need an important caveat:
God is a BIG God
Never in a million years of finite living would you and I be able to understand the infinite God. If we could, he would be a very small God indeed. Hilary of Poitiers (4th century) once said that God can be known only as God “has made himself known to us”[i]. In other words, we can only know God as he reveals himself to us, and we can only understand his revelation as he enables us to understand. The rest remains a mystery.
The doctrine of the Trinity simply states that the eternal God has revealed himself eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, although God has made himself known to us, knowing him still takes openness on our part. We can choose to know God as he is, or we can choose to remain closed to knowing God as he truly is.
In the end, the most important thing is not that we simply understand the Trinity (because we can never fully understand God), but that we experience the Trinity – that is, we experience the fullness of God as he has revealed himself to us. My prayer with this series is that we would grow deeper in our understanding of God’s revelation of himself to us, and that we would also rejoice in knowing him, experiencing him, and fall more in love with him.
[i] Quoted in: Robert Wilken, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought (Yale, 2003), p.88