The Trinity Part One: Introduction to the Series
Misconceptions, and the Biblical Reality: We must understand the truth about the
Trinity so we can identify false doctrine when confronted with it. Like training bank tellers
who learn to recognize counterfeit currency by focusing on the features of genuine currency,
we must learn God's truth so as to be able to recognize counterfeit doctrine when presented with it.
Some of the models we have used have built-in problems:
God is One in Three, and Three in One. The word "Trinity" does not occur in the Bible.
But the concept is discussed repeatedly in both Old and New Testaments. Perhaps the clearest
statement of the Trinity is found in 1 John 5:7: "For there are three that testify: the
Spirit, the Water, and the Word; and the three are in agreement.
See also John 1: "The Word was God . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among
us." The "Word" is defined in Scripture as Jesus.
- A Person's roles: (father/son/employee/husband) -- God is more than separate roles.
- Parts of an egg: (shell, yolk, white) -- God is more than separate parts.
- Forms of water: (ice, water, steam/vapor) -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit are more than
separate manifestations under varying circumstances.
So what's the problem?
- The human concept that singularity cannot include plurality.
- Human limits of comprehension. Our minds are able to perceive and understand four dimentions: Height, width,
depth and time. Because of our limited understanding, we make certain assumptions as to what can
and cannot be true. But when we are able to add a dimention to our understanding, our basic assumptions
Example: The internal angles of any triangle, no matter its shape or proportion add up to 180
degrees. However, that's true only of a triangle on a flat surface. Add another dimention,
that of a sphere. Lay the same triangle on a spherical surface, and the theorem no longer works.
Therefore, adding a dimention changes our basic understanding.
Rabinnical scholors have determined that God has at least 12 dimentions, most
of which we are unable to perceive. So we accept them by faith.
Can Singularity co-exist with plurality? Yes, even in our limited understanding.
Why did God set up the Trinity? Larry proposes this answer as to why God did this to us:
- H2O - Singularity & plurality can exist, but not co-exist. A built-in
problem with this model.
- Human Being - Body, Soul, Spirit. It is this combination that creates our individuality,
But each aspect has a limited function.
- A Musical Chord - A singular but compound sound. Its synergy makes its total effect
greater than the sum of its parts. But God is not the sum of parts.
- White Light - Made up of three primary colors, as seen through a prism.
- The Infinite Series (a math concept) -- The sum of which is defined as infinity. Or, leave
out some numbers in an infinite string, the total is still infinity. So we can have a plurality
of different series, all with the same "total".
- The Family Unit - A single unit with a unified purpose, from a "one flesh" partnership to
offspring. But this analogy falls down in that a family is made up of imperfect parts. Family
units sometimes break up.
- Business Partnership - In a multiple ownership, any one member of which can execute business in
the name of the Partnership. If you had three members of a Partnership who always acted with
the best interests of the Partnership in mind, you might have a pretty good model of the Trinity.
- We are not able to comprehend God. God requires human beings to accept His truth that
goes beyond what they are able to perceive with their senses.
- Larry's caveat: The Berean Principle. "Now the Bereans were of more noble character
than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness, and examined the
Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11) Our Assignment: To study the
Scriptures to see if what Larry says is true.
- Our limited comprehension is like the stone age person trying to understand our description
- The example of the elephant as perceived by six different blind men, each feeling a different
part of the elephant: The side (wall), the tusk (sword), the trunk (snake) the ear (fan) the
leg (tree) and the tail (rope).
Next Week: - Be thinking about how you would answer a person who demanded proof from you
that the Bible teaches the doctrine of the Trinity.