This week I have been focusing on the Trinity on the Theology For Us Facebook page. If you haven’t liked our Facebook yet, you are really missing out! Every weekday we discuss a specific point of theology, we have the verse of the day, and we post things to encourage you and help you have a deeper walk with the Lord.
So, this week we have been doing a series on the Trinity. We have been taking a look at the Athanasian Creed because this is the Christian creed that specifically focuses on the Trinity. You can read the whole thing here. Its pretty short and shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to read.
The Athanasian Creed was written around 360 AD. It is named after Athanasius although he probably didn’t write it. Athanasius was a champion for the doctrine of the Trinity at the council of Nicaea, in 325 AD. Before the council, there was a HUGE debate in the church about the nature of Christ. Some people believed that Christ was not God but was a created being. These people were called Arians. At the council of Nicea, the church settled the issue that Christ was indeed God, and was equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit in every way. Athanasius’ strong beliefs about the trinity helped the church to see the truth that Christ is God, just as the Bible says. When the Athanasian Creed was written, it was titled after the man who helped the church to come to a conclusion on the matter of the Trinity.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it now, in a lot of ways the doctrine of the Trinity eludes me. I mean, there’s only one God, but three persons, but not three Gods and the Father, Son, and Spirit are all one but still three persons. See what I’m saying? Confusing, huh?
It’s difficult to explain the Trinity without going into heresy. If you say that God is like water which can be a liquid, a gas, or a solid, then you are committing the heresy of Modalism. Modalism says that God has different modes that he goes into. In one mode He’s the Father, another the Son, and another the Holy Spirit. That doesn’t work because when Jesus was baptized all three members of the Trinity were present. The Father’s voice was heard from Heaven, the Son was the one being baptized, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove.
If you say God is like an egg because there are three parts, the shell, the whites, and the yolk, but it’s still one egg, then you commit the heresy of Partialism. Partialism says that there are different parts of God. The Father is 1/3 or God, the Son is 1/3 of God, and the Holy Spirit is 1/3 God. Well, that doesn’t work either because The Father is entirely God, The Son is entirely God, and the Holy Spirit is entirely God.
We can’t use nature to explain the Godhead because God surpasses nature. We can, however, explain the Trinity like this:
There are three persons in the one true God: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. They are the same substance and equal in power and glory.
This has been a tough post to write. I try to write short posts because I know a lot of us don’t have time to sit down and read a five-page blog post on the Trinity. It’s not that we don’t care, but we are busy women with jobs and families that we have to attend to. I do hope that this post helps you get a basic idea of what the Trinity is though. If you really want to get a deeper, more productive, understanding of the Trinity then I would recommend James White’s book The Forgotten Trinity, you can buy it in book form here, or if e-books are more you’re style you can get it here. He goes into so much detail and does an excellent job of explaining the Trinity. You can also send me your questions if there’s something you would like more clarification on.
Next week, I am starting a series on who Jesus is. If you are only reading the blog, then you are just getting the weekly overview of the discussion on Facebook. Come be a part of the discussion there and then read the weekly summary here, where I try to dig a little deeper than what can be done on Facebook. I want to build a community for us where we can use the different social media platforms to help us develop a good conversation about theology and what God is doing in our lives, but I need your help to do that, so send me your questions, comments, opinions, heck I’ll even open myself up to complaints. Lol. Your feedback is priceless to me.
Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Be The Glory)