If I were to invent a religion, I would ensure that its god would be one that I could explain. Trying to spread a new religion with a god virtually impossible to describe strikes me as absurd. Indeed, a tell-tale feature of a man-made religion is that its god, or gods, are relatively easy to comprehend. So far, I have found that all the world’s religions fall into this category. However, there is one exception – Christianity.
The Triune God turned out to be something that humanity has had difficulty explaining, even to this day. Consequently, the complexity of the Trinity is something to be expected if authentic Christianity, as described by Jesus the Messiah, is true.
It may be impossible to fully understand the Trinity this side of death. Nonetheless, I believe there is an example that might advance our understanding of the divine Trinity. In fact, the Bible points to clues that suggest that another trinity may be much closer than we realize.
God states that He created man and woman in ‘His own likeness’ and ‘image’. (1) What does an image and likeness of the Trinity ‘look’ like…and how does it apply to us? The Bible describes us as triune beings ourselves, composed of a body, soul and spirit (2) … (Note: many Christians believe that the soul and spirit are the same, but the Bible makes a distinction between the two (2,3)). Consequently, if we look at ourselves as a finite likeness of the Trinity, the divine Trinity may be intuitively easier to grasp.
To illustrate this point, imagine if you will, a man we will call Omar sitting on a chair. Next, picture Omar’s soul moving over to a chair on his right-hand side; then imagine Omar’s spirit moving over to a chair on his left-hand side. Omar is now sitting in three chairs – body, soul, and spirit. Which one is Omar? All three of them, of course. But are there three Omars? Definitely not – Omar is one unified being. He may occupy three chairs, but there is only one of him…so what unifies Omar into one, triune being? The answer is his soul.
At the heart of the human trinity is our soul. Although it is often, sadly, not the case, the body and the spirit are meant to be subject to the soul (4). It is the essence of a person that makes them unique from all other persons; it is the core of a person’s being, the seat of the mind, and the moral conscience. Our souls have the ability to perceive beauty, the supernatural, and moral purity, amongst other things. Although, our soul serves as the head (or authority) within the hierarchy of the human trinity, unfortunately many people in today’s society shift their identity to their body – especially their sexuality – resulting in the de-humanization of the individual.
There may be similarities between the Trinity and a triune human being, but we must also be clear about the differences. First of all, God is the Creator of all things; we are not. Secondly, God is all-knowing and all-powerful; we are not. Furthermore, God is Absolute Beauty, Power, Purity, Honour, Music, Love and every good thing given and every perfect gift; (5) we are not. The Trinity is God and we are not, nor shall we ever be. The Divine Trinity consists of three persons, whereas our own trip-part beings are only a reflection. We are a ‘likeness’ and ‘image’ of the Trinity, but in a finite, created form.
At this point, perhaps we can view the divine Trinity with more clarity. Although the Trinity is the Father, Son, and Spirit in One Being, He is not three gods any more than there are three ‘Omars’. Similar to the soul as the head of the human trinity, the Father is the head of the divine Trinity.(6) The Son does and says nothing on His own, only what the Father says and does.(7) This is true for the Spirit, also.(8) As our own human trinity has one mind centred in the soul, so the Trinity has one mind centred in the Father. Therefore, when you hear the Son speak, it is the Father who is speaking; when the Holy Spirit speaks, it is the Father speaking.
Jesus is also the ‘exact representation’ of God (9) and in Him, ‘all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form’ (10), which is why He stated that anyone who has seen Him has also seen the Father.(11) This explains why Jesus said He and the Father are ‘one’ (one in essence).(12) It also helps us understand why both the Son and the Father refer to each other as ‘God’.(13)
There is an additional point concerning the Trinity. If the Son is both fully God and fully human unified in one person, with a resurrected, immortal human body, soul and spirit, it seems that God has a divine human trinity, the Son, within the divine Trinity.
To summarize, our individual human trinity of soul, body and spirit, is the ‘image’ of, and corresponds to the divine Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit. In both, the soul/Father is head and unifies the trinity. To reach us, God has personified Himself through the Son (14), who physically represents The Father in an ‘exact’ way (9). The Son is not only called Jesus, but Immanuel (God with us), Christ/Messiah, I AM, Eternal Father, Mighty God, Prince of Peace and Wonderful Counselor.(15) We enter into a relationship with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of our own moral violations against the Trinity – and for eternal life. Once we enter into this relationship, the Spirit of God dwells within us… who does ‘not speak on His own initiative’ (8) but only what the Father says. Thus, once you have received Jesus Christ, God dwells within you in the person of His Holy Spirit and the human trinity becomes bonded to the divine Trinity through the divine human person of the Trinity–the Son.
Note: It is interesting to observe the divine Trinity in many places in the Old Testament; we shall look at that in a future post.
- Genesis 5:1,2
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23
- Hebrews 4:12
- Proverbs 16:32 and 25:28
- James 1:17
- 1 Corinthians 11:3
- John 5:19
- John 16:13
- Hebrews 1:1-3
- Colossians 2:8-10
- John 14:9
- John 10:30
- Hebrews 1:8,9
- John 1:18
- Isaiah 9:6