“We worship one God in trinity and the Trinity in unity,
neither confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being.” －From the Athanasian Creed
(Photo of “Figure 2” from Christian Dogmatics, volume 1, chapter 4, “The One and the Three,” by Robert W. Jensen pg 157. Fortress Press, 1984.)
I truly enjoy and appreciate this diagram to help explain the relational aspects of the Holy Trinity. What I like about this diagram is that is shows not only the traditional aspects of God the Father begetting the Son and God the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son, but it shows how God the Holy Spirit witnesses to Jesus and how the Holy Spirit and Jesus together free God the Father from not having a relationship with the rest of Creation. The three person Godhead is not merely a contrivance, but is foundational to the whole of the Creation as well as to the story we proclaim.
The Three persons of God are so interwoven with each other that we cannot separate the works of one person of the Trinity from the other. While some like to say God the Father was the sole person of God who Created, was not the Spirit of God also brooding over the waters? And wasn’t it that God created the universe by speaking a word? Or might we say, speaking the Word of God (and “the Word of God” is just another name for Jesus!).
The relationships within the Divine person help to explain the story of salvation. As happens in Romans 8:12-17 and John 3:1-17, the members of the Trinity are mentioned in quick succession in a seamless flow. It is through the relationships within the Trinity that we see God’s story of salvation making sense. The doctrine and dogmatic nature of the Trinity is not an inane matter: it is dealing with matters that are of eternal significance.
Thankfully, even if we do not fully understand the teaching of the Church, that does not revoke the love God has for us, nor does it prevent God from rescuing us. Out of God’s abundant love, we find comfort and restoration. Still, God’s Grace does not make the doctrine of the Trinity unimportant, and due to its continued importance we designate one Sunday a year when we celebrate this doctrine!
God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, continue to be with you,
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul+