Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why 3 in 1

Should we expect to understand God? Even the physical laws are beyond our comprehension. Should not our Maker be even more so (Romans 11:33; Isaiah 55:9; 1 Corinthians 3:18)? One of the most basic teachings of Christianity is that God is Three in One at the same time. And one of the most difficult to understand. But it cannot be dispensed with without changing the entire nature of what is taught.

We say that God is love (1 John 4:7-16; John 3:16-18; Romans 5:5-8). Now the problem is, we need more than a vague benevolence. We are sinners and need someone to rescue us (Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 64:6). We need even less the stern taskmaster who forces us to perform. We are not able to do it (Romans 3:19,20; 8:8; John15:5). We need the kind of love that sends His Son to save us. We need the type of love that comes down from His throne to deliver us (Philippians 2:5-11; John 1:1-18; Hebrews 2:9-18). We need a God who will pay the price for our sins (1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13,14; 2 Corinthians 5:21). We also need God to work within us to understand and accept what He has done for us (1 Corinthians 2:14-16; John 3:3-8; 1:12,13). We also need God at work within us to transform us (2 Corinthians 3:17,18; Galatians 5:16,17; Ephesians 5:18). And we need God to unite us in a new community involving unity and diversity (1 Corinthians 12:11-27; Ephesians 4:11-16; Romans 12:3-8).

But there are requirements for this type of love. For it to be fundamental, there must be an object of that love. And for it to be part of the nature of God, God must be more then one within Himself. He must be Three in One. A unitary God can be benevolent. A unitary God can be strict. But a unitary God cannot be love, in the deep sense. And for the ideal among people to be unity in diversity, it makes sense for God to be unity in diversity. From this love in diversity comes the various roles that accomplish our salvation. There is the Giver, the Gift, and the One who delivers the Gift. We have the Father, who gives the Son and receives the payment for sin. We have the Son, who becomes incarnate and pays the price. We have the Holy Spirit, who works in our hearts that we might receive the payment. And together They work in different roles to bring about our salvation. I like C. S. Lewis' analogy which likens our relationships to God and each other to a cosmic dance. A dance where we relate to each other in complicated and varied interchanges of roles. And to make sense, this dance needs to originate in the very nature of God Himself.  

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