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He says that while no analogy will ever be complete ("I'm slightly resistant to your term 'bad illustrations' because it suggests … Only one divine being, and yet three distinct and identifiable persons who are all truly and fully divine. What exactly do we mean when we speak of the Trinity? Does your head hurt thinking about that? There’s a simple reason they don’t work: The Trinity, as such, isn’t like anything in creation. Should we give up attempting to explain the Trinity and just accept that our language will never be able to fully embody all that God is? It is a great joy to teach children the deep truths of the Christian faith. I am a father (to my daughter), a son (to my father) and a husband (to my wife). I am of the same essence in all three roles. Why do Christians believe this essential doctrine? One side of the triangle is just that, one side. They reason that if Jesus were truly God, then He would be completely equal to God the Father in all areas and would not, therefore, be subordinate to the Father in any way; but this objection is not logical. That’s what made it click for me. I like a triangle; without any part of which it would no longer be a triangle. Here we have the three within the one, however, each ‘part’ is not a full expression of the one. It is crucial for properly understanding what God is like, how He relates to us, and how we should relate to Him. However, ice, water, and vapor are three modes of being of H 2 O. All attempts to equate the Trinity with some analogy will miserably fail. Water can exist in three different states but not all at the same time. This is the Christian doctrine of God. beings. Covenant, Justification, and Pastoral Ministry, Indy Reformed Holding Services January 17 and 24, 2021 (Updated), Some Reasons Why Visitors Do Not Stay And What To Do About It, Heidelast 169: As It Was In The Days Of Noah (15): Living Among The Pagans, A New Calvin Title In English: God Or Baal—Two Letters On The Reformation Of Worship And Pastoral Service. We will explore just two of them here that I have found helpful. But it does help us to get at this reality of relational distinctions in one being. Analogies helps bring this error to mind quickly and then demonstrates why it fails. At bottom, the answer to this question is a matter of keeping reason in its ministerial place and Scripture in its ruling place. Paul affirms what can be known about God from nature: his existence and some of his attributes, “namely his eternal power and divine nature” can be perceived from nature. Its so exasperating discussing issues like this with atheists and non - … Why Analogies for the Trinity All Fail Consider the list (states of water, shamrock, 1x1x1=1, etc.) Others compare God to an egg, which is part shell, part white, part yolk. Our professor asked if we had any great ways to explain the concept of the Trinity – a word picture we might use when teaching a class. “That’s Modalism!” Why is it wrong? Louis Berkhof explains it this way: “The Trinity is a mystery… It is especially when we reflect on the relation of the three persons to the divine essence that all analogies fail us and we become deeply conscious of the fact that the Trinity is a mystery far beyond our comprehension. I think the egg analogy is a good one, within certain limits. We see in Colossians 2:9: However, Jesus is not the Father or the Holy Spirit—see also the ancient Trinity diagram. People try to explain it using analogies which generally don't match the doctrine very well. That, by the way, is the number one question I have been asked about the Holy Spirit since writing Names of the Holy Spirit. I intended but failed to reply earlier. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. The Good News of Jesus’ incarnation, life, death, and resurrection for the justification (free acceptance with God for the sake of the crediting of Jesus’ righteousness to those who believe, received only through resting, trusting in Christ and his finished work for sinners) is only found in Scripture. All through the Bible, God is presented as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Analogies of the Trinity. The Christian doctrine of Trinity is a great mystery, just as marriage is: "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. How does that fit with the egg analogy? Americans Are Going Home. It just doesn't compare to the complexities of the Trinity.---So what's the point in these illustrations? It is the incomprehensible glory of the Godhead.” God is kind of like a man who is a father, a son and an uncle, God is kind of like a three-leaf clover, or a triangle; one object, but three different, identifiable leaves, or sides*. The Trinity. Could we not say that on a created level this reflects or bears testimony to the Unity and Diversity within the Godhead?). Again, both ancients and moderns have been tempted to take this path at times but the church universal has always rejected it because it is not taught in Scripture nor confessed in the catholic creeds (Nicene, Athanasian, Apostles’) and Reformed confessions. (For example, we can observe both unity and diversity within the created order. So the human analogy fails to describe the Trinity and would in fact confuse this doctrine if we took the example seriously. Timely as always; I’m taking the church through the Athanasian creed at the moment, encouraging them to avoid analogies..Something of a first for the creedless and confessionless Baptists, (I’m sure a number had never even heard of the Athanasian Creed before) linking to our Lord’s Day studies in John 1. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Yet most Christians have difficulty explaining the Trinity clearly. Since our discipleship rests on our growing knowledge and love of God, it seems to me that we have to be particularly wary of using these poor understandings of God in the way we … Stop overcomplicating everything. You can almost bank on the fact that they will think of the Trinity as modalism or partialism. only go to prove The Trinity doesn’t exist as they define it: “three seperate co-equal, co-eternal persons”. To think we will ever fully understand the Trinity is to make the mistake of thinking God is fully understandable. Not trying to attack or anything, but this never really made sense to me. All exist simultaneously (particularly in the scientific understanding of space-time). One thought I wanted to share, although it’s absolutely true that no analogy can explain the Trinity, that doesn’t mean they aren’t helpful. Children will trust a good and loving teacher, even when they don’t understand the maths concept that is being taught. Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all God yet are three separate persons, existing separately at the same time. No analogy captures this truth. I thought each person in the Trinity was supposed to be fully God. According to Holmes, absolutely not. If any analogy were to describe the Trinity perfectly, it would cease to be an analogy and it would become the Trinity itself. Ah, the Trinity. Christians believe that there are three persons in the Godhead, and yet we are not polytheists (believing in three gods). God the Son is the rays of sunshine. When I teach, I use THE ‘SUN’ to help us understand or give us a glimpse of the TRINITY… The shell is useless once the egg hatches and the yolk and white disappear. Children’s ministry leaders know all too well the difficulty of having to work hard with language in order to communicate to our youngest sisters and brothers in the faith. I know clergy who take vacation days to avoid preaching on Trinity Sunday. “YHWH is one,” so says Deut 6:4. On a side note, the best analogy I have found is time. Thus, in article 9 of the Belgic, where the truth of the Trinity is demonstrated, the Reformed churches do not appeal to nature but to Scripture. The Athanasian Creed is one of the clearest, detailed and yet (relatively) succinct expressions of the early church’s wrestling with the doctrine of the Trinity as revealed in Scripture. God does reveal himself in nature but there are limits. They do not share the same essence or being or divine attr ibutes. As a matter of method, if the doctrine of the Trinity were evident from nature then why not the doctrines of the two natures of Christ or the atonement or perichoresis or justification or glorification? He is beyond us. However, since analogies of the Trinity are seeking to help us understand the very nature of God, faulty analogies are going to result in faulty knowledge of God. The Doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most central doctrines of Christianity. That’s not to say that it’s not reasonable to believe the Trinity (it isn’t! Receive notifications of new HB posts by email. For this reason, I encourage children’s leaders to develop appropriate metaphors, analogies and other ‘shorthand’ for concepts that they will be using frequently with children. Paul teaches the Trinity explicitly but not here and not from nature. Despite the fact that nothing in our world can fully illustrate the Holy Trinity, teachers and theologians through the years have offered several analogies drawn from the realms of nature and mathematics in order to help explain the unexplainable. He talks about the mind's ability to remember, to understand, and to will. It seems to be an unwritten rule that whenever an analogy for the Trinity is given, one must begin with the disclaimer that “all analogies break down.” The reason, though, that all analogies break down is simply because analogies compare things that are not exactly alike (if they were, it would not be an analogy!). Yet each thing in a way includes his whole being: All of the man is the subject, and all of the man is the object, and the thoughts (though in a lesser sense) are thoughts about all of himself as a person.We said above that no analogy teaches the Trinity perfectly, and this one has several shortcomings as well: this man remains as one person; he is not three persons. True, we humans are image bearers but nothing in creation serves as an analogy for the Trinity because the Trinity is a doctrine of special (biblical) revelation not nature or reason.”, GW: I agree that all analogies and illustrations for the Trinity taken from nature end up in heresy, at least when left unqualified or taken to their logical end. Such, isn ’ t after all as en-explainable as people think it ’ s nature! All analogies fail in some way or other that fully explains it alone can fully understand the Trinity at level... Take away from the Bible and you are on your way to seeing what it tells us about from... 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