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God is. The Trinity

A classic question asks, “If god is completely complete in and of himself, if he is totally fulfilled, fully self-sustaining, lacking nothing; then why does anything exist beyond god?”
New Agers work around this question with an adaptation of eastern religions, claiming everything exists within god (or perhaps god is in everything). Either way, for some this solves the existence of anything by putting everything within god.

On the other hand, the Athenian philosopher
Aristotle reasoned god as the first cause and as good. (He threw out the plethora of mythical Greek gods.) However, because god is both good and is the unmoved mover, divine goodness necessitates an eternal universe by which his goodness might act. So, Aristotle reasoned, if god is both eternal and good, the universe too must be eternal.

Prior to Greek philosophers, the
Enuma Elish, a Mesopotamian creation myth tells the story of supreme god Marduk creating humans so that lesser gods might have servants. Apparently, prior to creating the world, Marduk was content to exist as a lone, solitary, self-gratifying being; outwardly aware, perhaps even concerned. But his decision to create servants reflects a distant, unloving deity.

Islam claims
Allah has 99 names that describe him as he is and always has been. One of his names is “The Eternal,” another is “The Loving.” The question is asked, how Allah could be eternally loving (the Arabic term refers to love for another) before anything beyond himself existed to love? If the eternally loving Allah loved his creation, then creation is also eternal. Is Allah dependent upon creation? Yet a cardinal belief of Islam is that Allah is dependent on nothing.

Christianity claims Jesus accurately reveals the divine.

Jesus claimed God as His Father. He taught us to pray not to some indifferent deity, but to
our heavenly Father. He said, “Before Abraham was born, I Am.” Christians claim a unique, complex, mysterious divine concept: The Trinity. In his book The Reasons for God, Timothy Keller writes, “The Trinity overloads our mental circuits. Despite its cognitive difficulty, however, this astonishing, dynamic conception of the triune God bristles with profound, wonderful, life-changing, world-changing implications.”

The Athanasian Creed states Christians “worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in unity; neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one—the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.”

Around 1150 Richard of St.Victor wrote, “If God were a single Person, He could not be intrinsically loving, since before creation He would have nobody to love. Being triune, God is a sharing God. God creates because love is not about keeping but about spreading.” Just as water must be wet, so a loving God must be spreading, sharing Himself, creating.

According to C.S. Lewis, “God is not impersonal nor static—not even one Person, but a dynamic pulsating activity, almost a dance.”

The unique Christian concept of The Trinity arises from Jesus’
baptism, teaching, prayers, and His final command. Every material illustration of The Trinity is flawed. Still, thinking of a star may help. Just as light and energy radiate from a star (it’s what makes a star, a star), so God the Son and God the Holy Spirit eternally radiate from the Father. Or try a fountain. Life-giving water flows from the fountain, refreshing mist surrounds the fountain. In a similar way God the Son flows from the Father, and God the Spirit hovers with the Father.

These are poor illustrations. Push them and they quickly fall apart, or worse distort The Trinity. But they may help you began to grasp the powerful New Testament concept of the Triune God. Far better than these feeble, flawed illustrations;
read and meditate upon the words of Jesus. ~

Dan Nygaard