The preachers’ nightmare, Trinity Sunday. How do we explain that God is three persons and one God? It does not make sense. Simply the doctrine says: The Father is fully God, but the Father is not the Son nor the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the Son, is fully God, but the Son is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is fully God, but the Holy Spirit is not the Father nor the Son. Lot’s of things have been said to explain it.
Water can be ice, water or steam.
Nice try, but water can not exist as ice at the same time as steam. (I am ignoring scientific pedantry of the triple point of water here, as most who use this illustration do not mention the triple point.) Trinitarian doctrine says that God has been co-existing as Father Son and Holy Spirit from eternity in the past to eternity in the future. The ice, water, steam picture is Modalism, a hereby that says God is only one of the persons at a time, but God is, and can be experienced, as Father Son and Holy Spirit at the same time.
I am a Father, a husband and a son.
(Or Mother, wife, daughter, depending on who is talking). I am not a husband to the same person that I am a son to. God is Father Son and holy Spirit to all.
The oil loved by cyclists. Something that lubricates, penetrates and displaces water. Three functions in one oil. This does the opposite of modalism. Because although distinct in function the persons of the Trinity are also distinct.
There is the chocolate, the orange centre and the cake bit, three parts of the biscuit we experience as three and as one. But the chocolate is not fully the biscuit.
Putting it together, we have no pictures which do justice to the picture of the Trinity. When I worshipped in an Anglo-Catholic Church (I was a token Evangelical on the PCC) a phrase that was used was, “This is one of the mysteries of the faith.” Which is another way of saying, “I do not understand this either.” Which is good. We do not have to understand what is meant by Trinity, I don’t understand it. But it can be experienced. We experience God as Father and as Son and as Holy Spirit, not because there are three aspects of God, like aspects of 3in1 oil. We experience the one God as Father Son and Spirit because God is Father Son and Spirit, and each one is not part of God but fully God. That’s the important thing. Like the Jaffa Cake, taste and see that it is good.
One thought on “3in1”
The Divine Trinity.
The New Testament speaks of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Many have understood this to mean that God is in three Divine Persons, each of whom is infinite and eternal, and each of whom is God and Lord. But the New Testament does not speak of Persons in God at all, much less of three Divine Persons existing from eternity.
It is admitted by many that the question of how three persons make one God is past all human understanding. And because of this mystery many people do not think deeply about God, believing that their minds are not capable of entering into such thought.
What does Swedenborg teach concerning the Divine Trinity?
From what has gone before in this lecture it can be seen that the Father, the one infinite and eternal God, is not one Divine Person and the Son another Divine Person. but that they are one. as soul and body are one. The Son. the Divine Human, is the Divine Body, and the Father is the Divine Soul in that Divine Bodv. Even as the soul and body of a man are not two people, but one person, so the Father and the Son, the Divine and the Divine Human of the Lord are one Divine Person.
But what then of the Holy Spirit?
Swedenborg teaches that the Holy Spirit is the Lord’s own Divine Spirit going forth from Him to men and angels. It is the Divine Love and Wisdom proceeding out of the Divine Human of the Lord to work the regeneration and salvation of mankind. This can be seen perfectly represented in the Gospel of .John:
“And when He had said this. He breathed on them and said. Receive ye the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22)
This was said after the Lord’s Resurrection. The Holy Spirit is there represented as the Breath of the Lord. His Breath is His Divine Truth going forth from Himself to men. Swedenborg calls this the Divine Proceeding, or, the Divine Operation.
That the Holy Spirit is the Divine proceeding from the glorified Human of the Lord is also taught in these passages from the New Testament: “But this He spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:39.) The original Greek reads “The Holy Spirit was not yet, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
“It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” (John 16:7.)
After the Lord was glorified, that is, after His Human was made Divine, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which leads men into all truth, could come to men, because through the Divine Human the Divine Good and Truth can inflow into our minds.
The conclusion therefore is that the Divine Trinity is not a Trinity of Persons, but that it is a Trinity of essentials in the one Divine Person, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Father is the Divine itself, present in Him as the Soul. The Son is the Divine Human, which is the Body of that Divine Soul, and the Holy Spirit is the Divine Operation, the Divine Good and Truth proceeding from God to men.
This is taught also by Paul, in these words concerning the Lord:
“For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9.)
If you see God as one Divine Person, one Divine Man, and the Trinity in Him as Soul, Body and Proceeding, you will have an understandable idea of God and of the Divine Trinity in Him. This teaching is that which is given in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. It is the Supreme Truth concerning the Lord.
This truth may be summarized thus: That the Lord Jesus Christ is the one God of heaven and earth, that He is Jehovah, the Lord from eternity, that He is the Creator from eternity, that He is the Redeemer in time, that He is the regenerator into eternity, and thus that He is at the same time the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Lord Jesus Christ is our God. There is no other. To Him we owe all that is good and all that is true. All power in heaven and on earth is His. To Him alone should we pray. To Him alone should be our worship, our love, and the service of our lives.