Anyone who knows me at all well knows that I’m very interested in the doctrine of the Trinity. So I want to begin this blog with a series of posts looking at the Trinity.
Often, when I tell Christians I want to do a PhD in the doctrine of the Trinity, they don’t know what to say. They’re normally nice enough to say something positive about the idea – perhaps they suggest that I must be incredibly clever for being able to study it (I wish!), or they suggest that my studies might be helpful apologetically. But, too often, I can see that behind what they say is a feeling of confusion that someone would bother studying the Trinity – a feeling that it is difficult and boring. They don’t understand why I would care enough about it to spend so much time on it.
Given the state of Trinitarian teaching in churches, their response is predictable – but it is still sad, and it is still wrong. In fact, the Trinity is phenomenally exciting – and incredibly useful. (I’ll accept that it’s often difficult – but it’s a good difficult, not an impossible intellectual challenge.)
Why? Well, because the Trinty is who God is.
People often assume that the Trinty is irrelevant. But how could who God is ever be irrelevant? People sometimes say it is boring – are they calling God boring?
On the contrary, I believe that the Trinity is one of the most exciting things that Christianity has to say. When I first seriously studied it, it utterly smashed apart my view about God, only to rebuild it again in a much greater and more glorious way. Over this series, I hope to show you just how wonderful a truth the Trinity is.
The Trinity is, at root, about God’s love. Whatever perspective you take on it (and I’ll look at the two main ones – the “psychological” and “social” trinities – in this series), it involves the relationship between Father and Son (and Holy Spirit… but it’s not quite as clear how he fits in… we’ll probably come to that!) The Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father.
Love isn’t something that you add on to God when he has the opportunity – he loves within his very being. He loved before the world was created, and the love that exists within himself is the very love that is expressed in the creation of the world. By studying the Trinity, we learn about the essence of God’s love.