How Science Illustrates The Trinitarian Yet Monotheistic God of Christians
I am a Christian. I believe in one God. So how come I have the father, son and holy spirit mixed up there some place?
At the moment I am studying some doctrine as part of my degree course, and breaking down these very early debates. Right from the beginning centuries of Christianity this item has been on the agenda, and argued back and forth. The difficulty has always come, it seems, from looking at God and trying to understand who he is, and how Jesus fits.
I won’t go into the logical arguments here of not only that Jesus might be part of the God head, but rather he HAS to be equal with God, as does the Spirit; and that they ARE God for the sake of a Christian understanding of salvation (not even sure I have got my head around it yet…the arguments are long and complicated). But I do know that if I accept those premises just for now, there is still the requirement to explain somehow our Trinitarian view.
So far in our history, Christians have tried to explain Trinity as such as a 3 leafed clover; the states of water; relationships, and others. However these all have varying degrees of weakness. The clover is actually one plant and the leaves are in fact the same and do the same job. The water analogy means that God could only be in one state at a time on never be the same, which is one of the heresies. Relationships or even the name of a person and their duty doesn’t explain the distinction between the persons of God – for example I am a dad, a husband, and a son…yet I am one person: but this only says I have 3 different names.
The closest yet I have heard, until I came up with another today(which I am sure will have been though of somewhere before, but I haven’t heard it so will mention it in a moment) is that of a chord of music made of 3 notes. The notes sound individually, yet together they make another sound entirely. Still weak though, because you can actually hear the 3 notes…
So try this one, it’s a little complex and requires an understanding of light. I have yet to work out how to explain this simply in assembly, so will look for a model to explain the basic principle of light first. Because it is light I turn to.
A quick search of Google revealed this rather neat explanation
I will steal the definition from that page.
The most technically accurate definition of color is:
“Color is the visual effect that is caused by the spectral composition of the light emitted, transmitted, or reflected by objects.”
Please excuse the American spelling! So, we know that there is the colour of ‘red’, say, in light because it is the red part of light that is reflected into our eyes.
Here we get to the juicy bit (think apples again). I think that the problem is that as we have tried to understand who God is we have been looking straight at him. It works like this.
If I look straight into the lightbulb of a torch all I will see is white light. And so long as it isn’t a particularly clever 3 LED colour style torch, which is starting to come on the market now, there will be just the one bulb, with the one filament, emitting white light.
When I look at God in the scriptures directly I see a monotheistic God. He is one. No doubt.
Now, back at the torch, shine that light on something and I will see just one part of the composition of light. That is because it is reflected. I don’t see the colour of light be looking directly at the source, but rather the reflection of that which is emitted from the source. Depending on what I shine it on I will see the different parts of light. Yet there aren’t different parts…it is still just a single white light.
Back to God. If I look at the reflection of God’s glory as it impacts on our human existence then we see different parts of his person. If I look directly at him (in a metaphorical kind of way…if it helps, please consider it more as ‘if I consider God directly, without considering his actions) then I see glory. If however I look at his action then I see that he has 3 glories. And each glory is separate and distinct. There is the Father, the son, the Holy spirit.
So we can now start to use the Psalms to show how God is revealed in creation and so on.(Psalm 8:1-9; Psalm 19; Psalm 4.7) as well as in the incarnation, and in the work of the spirit….The list goes on.
Yeah, I know, its not exactly rocket science!
Ok, so here on it in probably will get a lot more complicated in terms of how those glories are revealed, but at least I hope this goes some way to explaining that there really is only one God and this will add something to the ongoing resource bank.
If you would like to add a comment then please do! Disagree, point me in the direction where someone else has used this example…
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