It’s important to see the connection between Topic 7 and Topic 39
Momentarily, refer back to Topic 7, which was:
- God designed us as a trinity
- We have body, soul and spirit
For brevity, this resource could have moved directly from Topic 7 (man’s trinity) to Topic 39 (God’s trinity). However, for most people that would have been too much without first getting understanding from Topics 8-37 (about other people’s beliefs and about the Bible). Now, after completing those intervening Topics, the main theme continues.
MAN IS A TRINITY, GOD ALSO IS A TRINITY
From personal experience, we know that man is a trinity and functions in three modes, called body, soul and spirit (see Topic 7).
The Bible says that God also is a trinity (a single divine being who functions in three modes), called Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This is no coincidence. The Bible says we were created in the image (likeness) of God:
- ‘Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth...’
- ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them...’
- ‘...for in the image of God has God made man...’
If we resemble God, then God resembles us, and thus we have an important insight into God’s nature. Many people who once had difficulty understanding the term ‘trinity’ now grasp the concept because they see the similarity between man and God. By experiencing our own trinity, we’re able to comprehend God’s trinity.
Trinity means functioning simultaneously on three different planes (or spheres) of existence:
- the plane of mind, will and emotion
- the plane of physical activity
- the plane of connection with God
As human beings, we experience what it’s like to function on each of these planes. This personal experience gives us adequate understanding of how God, too, can function on different (though higher) planes of existence. The way we function on each plane is called a ‘mode’ of our existence.
ONLY ONE PART OF TRINITY IS PHYSICAL
It’s important to recognize that only one part of our trinity (and God’s trinity) is physical.
The body part is the only part that dies (although even it can be resurrected and changed). The soul and spirit are not limited by time and space; the soul and spirit live forever.
Most people think of man essentially as a body and soul rather than as a trinity, and consequently they are largely unaware of the spirit part – the most important part – of our being.
That’s why spiritual discovery is so exciting; people find a dynamic part of their being they never knew existed! The spirit of man is designed to connect with the spirit of God, and when that happens, there’s a wonderful and powerful life-change (see Topics 60 and 62).
TRINITY EXPLAINS FUNCTION BUT NOT CHARACTER
The Bible reveals two dimensions to God: One dimension is what he does and the other is who he is.
Stated another way, one dimension of God is function, the other dimension is character.
This is the distinction between doing and being. Since man is made in God’s image, we understand the distinction because it applies also to us. We can’t really understand a person by observing only what he does; we also need to know why he does it.
For an accurate concept of God, we need to understand both his function and his character. Topics 40-45 tell us about his function (how he works as a trinity) and Topics 46-50 tell us about his character (why he does certain things).
The better we understand God, the easier it is for us to place our faith in him.
Here’s a sampling of what the Bible says on this subject.
Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6
Man made in the image of God
God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit
For help, see Topic 29.