A gracEmail concerning God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit provoked a cross-section of responses. One reader pointed to Old Testament references she regarded as trinitarian. Another subscriber remarked that he has “never seen a trinitarian who can explain the nature of God.” A third correspondent expressed appreciation for what he considered the “clear, practical, and biblical” exposition set out here. And a fourth confided that she was uncomfortable with the doctrine of the Trinity and probably would be barred from joining the congregation she attends if church officials knew of her conscientious qualms.
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I have never met anyone who can explain God’s nature, whether trinitarian or otherwise. We are speaking of the God who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16), whose ways and thoughts are infinitely higher than ours (Isa. 55:9), whom no ordinary human has ever seen (John 1:18). Unlike philosophers both ancient and modern, we need not try to understand God through human observation and logic, for Jesus the only-begotten Son of God has already revealed him (John 1:18). Any sincere seeker can find God and call upon him — not through intellectual prowess but through a lowly and repentant heart (Isa. 55:6-7; 59:1-2).
What is important, it seems to me, is that we readily confess all that Scripture affirms about God and about Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be God’s unique Son and whom the apostles testified God raised back up from among the dead (Rom. 1:4). That includes the biblical testimony that Jesus was the incarnation of the divine Word (John 1:1-3, 14); that he was active in creation (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2); that God was his Father in a unique sense and that God sent him into the world (John 3:16-17); that Jesus had authority to forgive sins (Mk. 2:5-10); that the fullness of deity inhabited him bodily (Col. 2:9); and that he returned to a heavenly glory which in some sense he shared with the Father before the world began (John 17:5).
To a church that prided itself on knowledge, Paul wrote, “for us there is but one God, the Father . . . and one Lord, Jesus Christ. However, not all men have this knowledge” (1 Cor. 8:6-7). Theology, wrote an ancient church father, is “faith seeking understanding.” One need not attain sophisticated theological understanding in order to believe and be saved. The person whom God loves, says the Apostle, is the individual who loves God — not the one who best analyzes him (1 Cor. 8:1-3).