The Trinity describes God as one in essence or nature, although existing as three separate, yet completely equal persons. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are each unique persons. All partake of the same infinite, eternal, uncreated God-nature. They are therefore co-equal in every way.
The Trinity discloses the fullness of life in eternal relationships and never-ending community. Three, inseparable, indivisible, essential concepts from Scripture form our understanding of God as Trinity, equality, unity and diversity. All three are non-negotiable:
1. Equality – all three Persons are equally and eternally divine in essence, glory, power and attributes, yet not excluding a difference in order or roles.
2. Diversity - God exists eternally as three distinct Persons in intimate, cooperative relationship with each other within this unity.
3. Unity - there is one and only one true and unique God, complete in every way. He is Community in His united essence. His “Us-ness” is Diversity-within-Unity-&-Equality.
Counterfeits rear their ugly heads by jettisoning one or two of the three essential aspects. After all, the Trinity does scandalize our rational minds while ravishing our worshiping hearts. The trick is to hold these three truths simultaneously, like pushing on the peddles of a bicycle, although this vehicle has three pedals.
Of course, we don’t have equality with God…and never will. It’s silly to think that the created and the Creator could possibly be equal.
However, we do have equality with one another within the human race because the Father, Son and Spirit have equality with one another. And we have compatibility with God because we are made in His image and bear His image, the basis for the solidarity of humanity.
Although we never become little gods, something in God is so compatible with humanity that Jesus Christ in His incarnation could become fully man without ceasing to be fully God. So, as we practice practice a Both/And/And approach and strive to bring all three non-negotiables of equality, unity, and diversity into our everyday relationships on our human level, we will experience deeper, more long lasting and satisfying relationships.
This Both/And/And approach flows from the Trinity. The Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit are pictured most prominently in Scripture with three pictures…all true simultaneously. Marriage (Jesus is Groom and we are His Bride). Family (God is Father and we are His children). Kingdom (God is King and we are His servant/warriors).
The marriage emphasizes personal intimacy with God, His availability and connectedness. The family underscores our deepening maturity as we are nurtured in community to grow and to be trained together for the Family business. The kingdom thrusts us out into the world on our quest with our Team-of-Three to battle for the hearts of the lost world of people.
When we collapse the unique emphasis of either into one or two pictures, however, we lose some of the mystery of the Trinity and His power to transform us. Oh, we may teach all aspects through our one, favorite picture. However, we still diminish what God wants to release through the dynamic intersection of all three.
Embracing all three simultaneously keeps the proper tension of our three-fold life in focus, upward (marriage reflecting intimacy), inward (family raising and releasing children) and outward (kingdom redeeming and restoring the lost to life).
I have a website at JimFredericks.com where I’m blogging and providing resources to walk out the relational Trinitarian, incarnational worldview flowing from God’s Genesis 1 and 2 design.
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