(This is a continuation of a previous excerpt from Chapter Four of What Story Have We Fallen Into?)
Trinity is possibly the most delightful truth we know about the Lord of glory. It has been sadly neglected and frequently reduced to a philosophical debate that entirely misses the sheer beauty and main point of it all.
The truth of God’s tri-unity is not meant to mystify; it is cause to marvel. It is not a philosophical puzzle we are meant to unravel; it is reason for wonder.
“The triunity of God is the secret of his beauty,” argues Swiss theologian Karl Barth. “If we deny this, we at once have a God without radiance and without joy.”
God’s beauty is not found in eternal motionless serenity but in free-flowing togetherness. In the full, rich, and passionate concert of life shared by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This Three-In-One God dwells in the fullness of loving, holy, joyful togetherness. He has never been bored or lonely or listless! He lives in a circle of endless goodness, blessedness, and glory. He knows only fullness, only thriving, only limitless flourishing, joy, and delight.
Our Story begins with this God, for there is no other. It begins with this Trinitarian togetherness of other-focused love, indescribable goodness, and unbounded joy. Trinity is the deepest truth about God—not holiness, not sovereignty, not power—but Trinity. The essential bedrock truth about God is that He is the eternal loving union of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This relationship is the heartbeat of reality.
Michael Reeves writes in Delighting In The Trinity:
The Trinity is not some inessential add-on to God, some optional software that can be plugged into him. At bottom, this God is different, for at bottom, He is not creator, ruler, or even “God” in some abstract sense: He is the Father, loving and giving life and love to his Son in the joy of the Spirit. A God who is in himself love, who before all things could “never be anything but love.” Having such a God happily changes everything.
Trinity is a game-changer. It is bedrock truth that alters the whole logic of the universe, and the logic of our existence. At the center of reality is the stunning beauty of the Triune Community of love—and this transforms the entire Story.
Far from being theological baggage, Trinity is what makes our Story indescribably beautiful. It takes a black-and-white picture and fills it with living color. It provides a breathtaking backdrop to our drama.
Trinity is the good news that rich exuberant togetherness lies at the epicenter of reality. It tells us that at the heart of all things rules a relational God. Trinity is the biblical answer to the lurking fear that we may be lost in an impersonal and loveless universe. Trinity dispels that false narrative. It informs us that love, personality, and communication have always existed and have eternal value.
A Creator whose very essence centers on relatedness explains a lot of things! One of the deepest longings in human beings is to relate to others. We want to connect and belong. Our greatest joys are associated with family, friends, and falling in love. Nothing in life contributes more to our well-being than the experience and quality of our interpersonal relationships, and nothing can cause greater pain.
“Adam wasn’t lonely because he was imperfect,” states Timothy Keller, “but because he was perfect. The ache for friends is not the result of sin.” The “ache for friends” is the result of being human. It wasn’t enough to live in paradise. Human life requires friendship, conversation, and community.
We long for intimacy because we were made in the image of a Father-Son-and-Spirit God—a community of Three Persons inseparably united in love. The Christian understanding of God as a 3-in-1 Divine togetherness makes sense of our deepest longings.
In his book, Experiencing the Trinity, Darrell Johnson writes:
At the center of the universe there is a relationship… It is out of that relationship that we were created and redeemed, and it is for that relationship we were created and redeemed.
It is fascinating to notice how each member of the Holy Trinity is focused on the others.
My Father . . . is the one who glorifies me (John 8:54).
He [the Spirit] will glorify me (16:14).
I have brought you [Father] glory on earth (17:4).
Each person of the Trinity seeks to deflect praise and glory to others. The Father honors the Son, the Son glorifies the Father, and the Spirit deflects all glory to the Son. The inner life of the Trinity is a crossfire of selfless, blissful, other-centered love. No one is promoting himself. Each one selflessly draws attention to the other. God exists as Father, Son, and Spirit in a community of stunning humility, servanthood, honor, and mutual delight.
We discover the ultimate pattern for human relationships in this loving, serving, giving interaction of the three members of the Trinity. This is the bedrock upon which our universe was made to function. This is how life was designed to operate. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created human beings with the intention of sharing this love with us and leading us to engage in this beautiful kind of social interaction with others.
Before the universe came to be, before the heavens and the earth were called into existence, before there was anything else, there was the great fountain of life of the triune God. The center and the matrix of the universe is not an equation—it is a dance, a symphony, a circle of passion and glory, an interaction of love between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This is the deepest mystery at the heart of all of reality.
• God is not a bachelor
• God is not a solitary divinity
• God is not an impersonal force
• God is not a despotic ruler
God is a holy circle of love, light, and life—a Tri-unity of abounding goodness and splendor.
This alters the logic of the whole universe.
In The Reason for God, Timothy Keller states,
This astonishing, dynamic conception of the triune God is bristling with profound, wonderful, life-shaping, world-changing implications.
If an incomparable celebration of eternal joy upholds and undergirds reality, if this is the matrix of our existence—this is the best news we have ever heard.
This transforms the entire Story.
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Bio: Jurgen Schulz is a Canadian missionary from Victoria, B.C., who, along with his wife Wendy, has served in Bolivia for over forty years. He is currently an instructor at the Seminario Bíblico Evangélico in the Andean city of La Paz, Bolivia.
You can read more about the ministries of Jurgen and Wendy at this link on the MSC website.
This excerpt is from Jurgen’s book, What Story Have We Fallen Into?, which you can purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, and other stores.
Photo credit: Provided by the author. In the public domain by Creative Commons license.
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