For the last few weeks, I have been writing about the Trinity. Together, these four parts add up to over 12 pages of a school paper – but don’t just copy my words for your upcoming theology exam. Instead, if you liked what I wrote, it might be worth saving the four parts into a document that you can refer to in the future. I only say that because people seem to ask me, year after year, about the Trinity.
One of the biggest complaints people have is that the Trinity (God is three and one) doesn’t make sense. From a mathematical standpoint, this is correct. But God isn’t a math problem; God is love. You can’t love if there is no one to love. Therefore the Trinity is the only thing that makes sense. How could God be love if there was no one to love? By this thinking, God could not be love until He made angels, or someone to love. This would almost seem to teach that God was desperate to love someone, and be loved by someone, and so He created humans in His loneliness. That is not true, and we know that is not right. God is love, and He has eternally existed as love. Inside of God’s own self there is relationship, love so powerful that it perfectly unites Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Creation was an act of invitation; creation was evangelism. God didn’t create us because He was lonely. God exists in Trinity; this is perfect love. Perfect love, though, is meant to be shared. God created humans so that we could be invited into the Trinity, into that perfect love. He created us with freedom to choose because perfect love must involve freedom. Adam and Eve were created sinless, but they were not complete – they needed to accept the invitation. The perfect love of the Trinity is not about power but serving; the Father, Son, and Spirit are always serving each other and giving glory to the other. Adam and Eve abused their freedom; they wanted to be their own gods rather than serve God, and we repeat their sin every day. God hasn’t given up on us, though; He has continued to invite us in, and He even came to earth to call us and lead us home. We were created to live inside of the perfect love of the Trinity.
When Jesus was born, human nature itself was redeemed. Salvation does not begin at the cross; it begins in Mary’s womb. The Incarnation shows that human nature can be fully united with God. The goal of our existence is to unite with God, with love itself; this is salvation. We do not lose our identity in this uniting, just as the persons of the Trinity do not lose their uniqueness; uniting with perfect love is the only way we discover who we truly are. The cross and resurrection are the events that allow this salvation, the transformation of our natures, to happen in each of our lives; Christ takes away our sins so that we can be united to the nature of God. We are invited into the Trinity. John 17 talks about this. Jesus lives in the Father, and in us – in perfect, serving love – and we live in Christ and in the Father. Our love shows the world we belong to God, as we – like God – invite others to experience the love of the Trinity.
When Christ ascended into heaven, something new entered into the Trinity – a human being. Jesus has not ceased being a human being; He is still fully human, even now. God’s plan from creation was for human beings to live in the Trinity, experiencing His perfect love. Jesus lives in us and we live in Him; since Jesus is living in the Trinity, we are also living in the love of the Trinity – experiencing His perfect love now, and fully when we die and rise again with new bodies.
I hope you can spend some time to reflect on these things. This is different than the (true and helpful) picture of Jesus dying in our place to take away our sins. I have been describing a biblical picture about the corruption and redemption of our very nature. God has revealed His own nature (Trinity) so that we can understand the purpose and destination of our own natures. We are made to become like Christ, to serve, sacrifice, forgive, shine, experience joy, and deeply love God and each other. Forgiveness of sins is just the beginning – when Jesus comes in and transforms our nature as we submit to His love again and again – and our very human nature is redeemed and we are transformed into the people God created us to be. This transformation is hard, but each step with Christ brings greater and greater joy. Our destiny is to eternally live in the perfect love of the Trinity, the love that created the world, the love that sacrificed when we rebelled, the love that is working to change us every day.
The Trinity reveals the nature of reality. God is love, and He is gently yet relentlessly calling us home, transforming our very natures, and inviting us into reality itself: the love of the Trinity.