TRINITY IS THE WAY GOD BECOMES PERSONAL
Every religion has its own god or gods (see Topics 10-15). With few exceptions, the gods of the religions of the world are remote and impersonal. They’re high and mighty and don’t relate with ordinary people. They demand worship and sacrifice, and keep score, but they don’t have time or ability to get involved in the details of individual lives.
It’s important to know that the God of the Bible – the real God – is a personal God. He knows and cares about individual people! This is his distinguishing characteristic.
In fact, because God is personal, Christianity is more than a religion. It’s a new kind of life.
In order for God to have a personal relationship with us, one of two things must happen:
Man must rise up to the level of God
God must come down to the level of man
Otherwise, we could only observe God’s creation, and stand in awe of him, but we could never know him personally.
God chose to come down to man, through his trinity. The trinity design is the interface between things human and things divine. The trinity design is what makes God personal.
Some people think God is so high and mighty that there’s no way anyone can comprehend him or his ways, and therefore they don’t even try to know him. These people don’t understand the role of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, or the primary message of the Bible.
The trinity is not some bizarre notion without understandable purpose. It’s a highly practical way to bridge the gap between man and God.
Each part of the trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is explained in Topics 42-49.
TRINITY IS A FUNCTIONAL HIERARCHY
God has organized himself in a way that makes his trinity appear to us as a functional hierarchy, in this order:
- FATHER – in charge of the entire universe
- SON – in charge of all mankind
- HOLY SPIRIT – in charge of individual people (who believe the Son)
How he appears to us depends upon what he’s doing from our perspective at any particular moment.
When we think of the God who created the universe and established physical and spiritual laws, we think of God the Father.
When we think of God coming to earth in human form, teaching and demonstrating, and paying the penalty for our sins, we think of God the Son.
When we think of God providing personal direction and strength for daily living, we think of God the Holy Spirit.
From our perspective, the Father seems most important, and thus higher in the hierarchy, because of his awesome power and all-encompassing scope of activity. But we identify with the Son because he came to our level and in love sacrificed his life for us. However, for daily living, we relate moment-by-moment with the Holy Spirit because he’s our inner presence and practical help.
OUR OWN TRINITY HELPS US UNDERSTAND
We can understand the trinity nature of God, at least a little, because man too has a trinity nature (though less developed than God’s). Our soul (mind/will/emotion), with limitless possibilities, is in overall control; our body performs practical tasks; and our spirit communicates at a level deeper than words.
Because of our trinity nature, a person is able to engage in different kinds of relationships, which might even make him look like different persons, depending upon what he’s doing at the moment of someone else’s perception. For example:
- A man is president of a giant corporation, and he does spectacular work in directing R&D, controlling manufacturing and conducting worldwide marketing. But he comes home and sits at the table for family dinner. And in the evening, he puts his child on his lap and listens and talks about simple things from the child’s world.
- To his business associates, he’s the lofty executive with the strong mind and will, affecting the lives of everyone in the company.
- To his wife and children, he’s the loving and caring head of the family, meeting practical needs.
- To his child on his lap, he’s just ‘daddy’ in a wonderful love and trust relationship.
Similarly, at any moment, God may appear high or low on the trinity hierarchy – near or far – depending upon our focus of what he’s doing for us. He’s one God, but he works in different ways at different levels.
GOD’S TRINITY IS HIGHER ORDER THAN MAN’S TRINITY
The comparison of God’s trinity to man’s trinity is only to help convey the idea of it. Of course, God has a much higher form of trinity than we do.
His mind is vastly superior, capable of designing a universe. His will is vastly superior, capable of willing things into existence. His emotion is vastly superior, causing him to make personal relationships the highest priority of his creation.
His body (Jesus Christ) is vastly superior, capable of rising from the dead and passing through closed doors.
His spirit is vastly superior, capable of maintaining millions of personal contacts simultaneously.
Our human minds are incapable of comprehending the mystery of God’s trinity and superiority, but he’s told us enough in the Bible to convey the basic concept.
Excerpts from the Bible:
Jesus talks about the Trinity
‘I am in the Father, and the Father is in me... it is the Father living in me, who is doing his work... these words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me... in a little while you will see me no more because I am going back to the Father... but the Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.’ – John 14-16
Here’s a sampling of what the Bible says on this subject.
Father is greater than the Son
Spirit tells Jesus what to do
For help, see Topic 29.