Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
This is the day that the Church reminds herself and proclaims to the world that we believe in one God revealed as three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Ghost).
The three main Creeds (Statements of Faith) of the Christian Church all proclaim the Holy Trinity, but it is the Athanasian Creed that is usually used on Trinity Sunday as it goes “all out” in confessing faith in the Trinity.
While the word Trinity is not used in the Scriptures (it is Latin for “triad”), the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity is clearly stated throughout the Bible.
It begins with the very first verses of Genesis.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said…. (Genesis 1:1-3)
God the Creator is God the Father. The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. And the words that God spoke all things into existence is God the Son.
The next reference is later in this same chapter.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26)
“Our” image, “our likeness” – first person plural!
The last words Jesus said before his ascension into heaven was an explicit reference to the Holy Trinity as the name into which we are to make disciples, baptize and teach all people.
Yet we don’t have three Gods. Father is not one God, the Son is not another God, and the Holy Spirit is not yet a third God. There is only one God. But he is revealed in three persons.
“And in this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another; but the whole three persons are coeternal with each other and coequal, so that in all things … the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity is to be worshiped.” (Athanasian Creed, Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, p 320)
How can this be?
I don’t know. I can’t explain it. No one really can.
We can try. One way I’ve seen it tried is the symbol of water.
Water is two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen – H2O. Yet it can exist in three states: solid, liquid, and gas. Still it is water – H2O – no matter what state it is in.
This analogy breaks down eventually. It is not perfect. But it may help us to begin to understand the Holy Trinity.
At the very least it reveals that one thing can be three distinct things as well.
But even though we can’t explain the Holy Trinity, it is still important to believe in the Holy Trinity.
God the Father created you (and me and all things) and still sustains you. God the Son – Jesus Christ – saved you from sin, death, and the power of the devil. God the Holy Spirit sanctifies you and keeps you in the Christian faith.
For all this it is our duty to thank and praise, serve and obey the Holy Trinity!
And to share the Good News of salvation with other people. If they ask us about the Holy Trinity just be honest! You can’t explain it, no one can. But it doesn’t really matter, does it? There are lots of things that we can’t explain and yet we believe them to be and use them and enjoy them!
Let’s do that with God as well!
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