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“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” ~Ephesians 4:4-6
The Doctrine of the Trinity is the teaching that God the father, God the son, and God the holy spirit is three distinct divine persons are one God. As we all know, we cannot know everything there is to know about God, because God himself is self-revealing. Theologians have many reasons why the Trinity has meaning on our lives today. Although this doctrine is not defined in scripture, there are many scriptures that point to the Trinity. Since God’s transcendence is utterly incomprehensible, which is beyond our capacity to understand fully, the trinity is very difficult to grasp or comprehend. That is why this doctrine brings up questioning aspects of Christianity.
Rausch introduces the Trinity as another self-revelation of God, which is a divine mystery within its self. He contemplates that the Trinity is “at the heart of the Christian faith” (Rausch 59). In order to really understand the Trinity, you have to have an understanding and belief in God the father, God the son, and God the holy spirit as three in one. The question that commonly gets asked here is, if there is one God, how can there be three? There are several Old Testament scriptures that allude to more than one person within the Godhead. Two scriptures that allude to the Godhead as three in one are Psalm 45:6-7 and Isaiah 6:8. Although they don’t specifically say it but they set the basis for the plurality of God. As said before The Doctrine of the Trinity is not found in scriptures but it is grounded in it. The New Testament has many scriptures that give evidence to the fact that early Christians had some sort of awareness of God’s work taking place through Christ and the Spirit. Matthew 28:19 Jesus instructs his disciples to baptize people “in the name of the father, of the Son, and of the holy Spirit” (Rausch 61). This clearly states that the Godhead consist of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. These three are not separate but united as three distinct divine persons.
In the Article “Three in One” by William C. Placher, he mentions how the traditional Trinitarian terminology does not embody the aspect on how the Trinity fits together. But, rather the terms were developed to sustain the mystery of God. He also reviews the relationship of Immanent Trinity and Economic Trinity, which are two ways of contemplating upon the trinity. Immanent Trinity focus on the inner divine life of god while the economic Trinity focuses on how God is revealed as triune. Rausch goes further to explain that Karl Rahner insisted that immanent and economic trinity is inseparable from each other. Placher also says that the doctrine of the Trinity is about believing “God is really like Jesus,” or basically “to understand the story of Jesus as the story of God” (Placher).
I have not fully understood the development of the trinity. But what I do know is that it is the foundation of the two main creeds, the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ creed. They both have a different way of contemplating on the Trinity, but what they do have in common is that they affirm that Jesus is God. I have found that when I read about the doctrine of the Trinity, there is a lot of confusion or division among the procession of the Holy Spirit or in other words the filioque. The East wanted to emphasize the monarchy that the Holy Spirit comes from the father and the father alone. But the West churches added to the creed without the consent from the East churches that Holy spirit is relatively a bond between father and son (Rausch 66). Although there are ways the trinity can influence life today, because “relationality is at the very heart of the mystery of the divine” (Rausch 67). That is why we cannot fully understand the trinity.
Growing up I thought the Trinity simply consisted of God the father, God the son, and the Holy Spirit. It is actually way more complex than that. These readings and class discussion have taught me to look and question what I actually believe in. I have experienced other views to the trinity but I was so stuck in what I believe in that I never questioned why I believed in such things until now. I really didn’t understand things I was reading until I started reading with an open mind. These articles have meaningful things for life like: God is love, to trust in God’s revelation, and unity and diversity. Those three thing theologians see as essential to life to today are all grounded in scripture just like the Doctrine of the Trinity. A scripture that prove that god is love is in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If he didn’t love, we would have salvation in Jesus Christ. We also have been taught to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). That alone says we should trust that he knows and not our own understanding of what we know. There are many scriptures that point to the diversity but yet the unity of people. We all are made in God’s image but in diverse ways. By reading and discussing about this doctrine, I have yet to understand and justify the truth behind it, but I guess that is the meaning behind the divine mystery which we are always contemplating upon.
The one quote that stood out to me throughout the readings all of these articles is that “God is in all; all is in God” which is in the article by. That quote sums up a lot of questions I had about the Trinity and I will forever remember that when someone asks me about because although they are three they are one, just divine and distinct.
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