The self-giving God

Whereas Western theology tended to begin with the unity and nature of God and then sought to explain the three persons, the East began with the three persons and then sought to resolve the nature of their unity. From the Eastern Orthodox perspective, therefore, it is out of the Godhead’s personal relatedness that all else flows: the creation of angels, man in the imago dei, and the great plan of redemption — all in order that finite beings might enter into the joyous fellowship of the Holy Trinity. Put another way, creation and salvation begin and end with God’s self-givingness, both internally (each to the other within the Godhead) and externally (the Triune God to all creation). And so, in the most profound sense as Trinity — and finally only as Trinity — God is love.

. . . If God were selfish, it would be hard to understand why he would create something outside himself. Perhaps a God who is only one person would create in order to satisfy his own desire (or need) for glory, for relationship or so that he might exercise his sovereignty. But in an eternal Trinity where each member glorifies the other, where profound interpersonal relationships already exist and where God is completely self-sufficient, what would be the motive for the creation? As has been alluded to earlier, various scholars conclude that the Triune God created the vast realm of heaven — with its diversity of angelic beings — and our immense universe and tiny earth — with its vast diversity of plants, animals and people — as a overflow of the life and creative love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This divine overflow is not in pantheistic or deterministic senses, but rather God’s creative artistry that gives being to the other while maintaining God’s own freedom and independence. If such a deduction is true, then all creation exists as the result of God’s own self-giving beyond the internal personal relations of the Godhead. As Luther said, creation is grace.

If earth’s very existence owes itself to divine self-giving, then the local church created in the divine image would seem called to give itself to the world as well. Believers are called to manifest the saving presence of Jesus Christ through their own collective sacrifice among a hurting and hopeless humanity.

. . . In Beasley-Murray’s words, this is “the law of the kingdom of God: life is given through death,” exemplified powerfully by Jesus giving his own life for the sins of the world. The Savior emphasizes the principle of daily sacrifice of oneself in love and obedience to God — a continual letting go of life that daily refills the believer with the life of God. Cuban evangelist B. G. Lavastida put it this way: “There are three paradoxes of the Christian life: You must give in order to receive, you must let go in order to possess, and you must die in order to live.” Together with the commands to love wholeheartedly the Lord God, our brothers in Christ and our fellow human beings, the command to let go of self is one the most repeated of all the Savior’s admonitions.

–adapted from J. Scott Horrell

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The Inner Life of God

The scriptures speak much about divine life or eternal life.  We need to understand that it is not only the quantity of life that is depicted, but it is the quality of life that is most important.  Eternal life is divine life, that is, the very life essence of the Triune God.  Eternal life is the “stuff” that makes up the Divine Trinity.  This is a community life.  This is a life of oneness.  This is a life of co-working and co-operation.  This is a life of profound fellowship and unity.  This is a life of complete self-dedication to one another and a laying down of life for one another.  This is the inner life of God!

–Milt Rodriguez

Unity and diversity

[U]nity and diversity is at the heart of the great mystery of the Trinity. Unity without uniformity is baffling to finite minds, but the world shows different types of reflections of this principle of oneness and distinction at every turn. What is the source of the transcendent beauty in a symphony, the human body, marriage, ecosystems, the church, the human race, a delicious meal, or a perfectly executed fast break in basketball? Is it not, in large part, due to the distinct parts coming together to form a unified whole, leading to a unified result? Unity and distinction—the principle at the heart of the Trinity—can be seen in much of what makes life so rich and beautiful. Woven into the fabric of the world are multiple reflections of the One who made it with unity and distinction as the parallel qualities of its existence.

–ESV Study Bible

Published in: on 05/29/2012 at 8:31  Leave a Comment  
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Three-fold Chords

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote many a choral piece for the Church, and the words of those pieces reflect his deep faith . . . Every part of Christian devotion is expressed in his music . . .

And yet, Bach’s music expresses the truth even when no words are used. The very order and logic of it speak of a universe ruled and governed by its Creator. Even more, Bach was able to put theology into the music itself.

. . . Arius, the fourth-century heretic . . . could not believe that it made any sense that Christians worship a God who is three Persons. The doctrine of the Trinity offended his sense of mathematical purity, a purity based upon a simplistic, undeveloped understanding.

. . . Athanasius, spent a lifetime refuting the error of Arius, and did so at great personal expense, going more than once into exile. For centuries, Christian theologians have refuted the Arian heresy, mostly by proving that the Trinity is a doctrine revealed clearly in the Scriptures and understood to be true by the Church in every age . . .

The Christian artist Johann Sebastian Bach did something, however, that theologians and scholars cannot do with all of the words of every language. Bach did not refute Arius; instead, he showed musically how the problem that vexed Arius could be solved. The “St. Anne” Fugue does not explain the truth; it demonstrates it with mathematical complexity, and yet with the simplicity of genius.

Is the “St. Anne” Fugue one or three? The answer, which every ear can hear for itself, is that “these three are one.”

-adapted from Robert Hart

Read more: http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=17-08-014-v#ixzz1w0X0oPhj

Not good for God to be alone

To us Trinitarians (if I may say it with reverence) — to us God Himself is a society. It is indeed a fathomless mystery of theology, and even if I were theologian enough to deal with it directly, it would not be relevant to do so here. Suffice it to say here that this triple enigma is as comforting as wine and open as an English fireside; that this thing that bewilders the intellect utterly quiets the heart: but out of the desert, from the dry places and, the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone.

–G.K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936)

Why do you balk?

Why do you balk at the doctrine of the Trinity – God the three in One – yet meekly acquiesce when Einstein tells you E=mc2? 

–Dorothy L. Sayers (1893 – 1957)

Published in: on 05/26/2012 at 14:12  Leave a Comment  
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Lasting Joy

God’s eternal experience of love results in a constant state of joy. God is “the blessed God” (1 Timothy 6:15). This joy springs from God’s delight in the self-giving, mutual, shared love and life of Father, Son, and Spirit. How could such a relationship not bring joy?

As with his love, God invites us to share his joy. This joy was the constant experience of Jesus during his earthly ministry. In the face of certain doom, God’s joy sustained and carried him. On the night before his crucifixion, he called his disciples to share his joy – the divine joy: “Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:9-11). In his high priestly prayer, he made this request to the Father, “But now I come to you; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves.” (John 17:13)

C. S. Lewis wrote, “Joy is
the serious business of heaven.”

God takes joy seriously. It is not a marginal experience for God. It is the passionate overflow of delight and desire between Father, Son, and Spirit.

Unlike happiness, joy is not rooted in circumstances. It is rooted in our relationship with God. In God, joy is an unchanging reality because the shared life and love between Father, Son, and Spirit never grows old or dies out. The eternal reality of divine love and life is the eternal basis for unending joy and delight: “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16); “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

The joy of God is not superficial, but deep. It is a joy that persists in the presence of trials, suffering, and even sorrow. These negative experiences come and go. Though difficult to endure, they do not remove or negate the glorious presence of God in our lives. As such, we continue to rejoice in spite of our suffering and sorrow. “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

–Richard J. Vincent

Published in: on 05/25/2012 at 9:06  Leave a Comment  
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Trinitarian-Shaped Spirituality

Our walk with God is shaped by our view of God. A non-trinitarian understanding of God leads to a spirituality fundamentally different from that which results from believing in a self-giving, self-sacrificing God who exists in a community of oneness. Theology radically impacts behaviour.

If absoluteness, power and transcendence are the essential characteristics of God, then performance, not relationships, becomes the main issue. The Solitary Sovereign looks for obedience, not intimacy; he seeks compliance, not community. Faithfulness entails keeping the rules and maintaining proper behaviour. It is not surprising that a non-trinitarian view of God typically leads to a legalistic obsession with externals, proper formulas, and “getting it right.” We end up with a kingdom of “correctness.”

“Unity without multiplicity 
is the route to tyranny.” 
–Blaise Pascal

A very different spirituality develops from a belief in relational God who exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the divine community of love. He is the Three-in-One God who said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gn. 2:18). He is the Father who races to embrace and kiss his returning prodigal son, and throws a party to celebrate his homecoming (Lk. 15) He is the God who sent His Son and poured out His Spirit to redeem and include sinners in the eternal joy of the triune fellowship of love. Community, mutuality and love are at the core of who He is. And we should not expect His blueprint for us to be otherwise.

Trinitarian spirituality responds to the unconditional love of God—the staggering fact that we are loved with the same love the Father has for his Son. It dares to believe that at the centre of all things is a Fountain of Triune Love. It involves possessing “eternal life”—which is knowing the Father and the Son (Jn. 17:3), and actually becoming “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). Faithfulness to the Triune God entails much more than behaviour modification; it means living within His loving embrace. It means knowing that growth and change happen inside the embrace—not as a condition for receiving it. And in this trinitarian atmosphere of grace and goodness we are increasingly prompted to move in the direction of wholeness, holiness, obedience and service.

“Your image of God 
is the single-most important
element of your spiritual journey.”
–Graham Cooke

If the God we worship is the Solitary One who reigns in sovereign aloneness, we will arrive at a spirituality built on fear not love, on performance, not fellowship. It will be all about correct belief and behaviour—and make sure you get it right! If, on the other hand, we worship a Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who live in the togetherness of their mutual delight, passion and goodness, a very different spirituality emerges. We can learn to be vulnerable and authentic, to value relationships and beauty, to love, serve and give, to live with gratefulness and joy. We can stumble and fail and know we are still accepted. We have become amazed participants in God’s abounding triune love that will not let us go.

The contrast between the two spiritualities is stark.

John Wesley declared that the Trinity is a truth of crucial importance that “lies at the heart of all vital religion.” Robert W. Jenson stated, “The Western Church must either renew its trinitarian consciousness or experience increasing impotence and confusion.” German theologian, Jürgen Moltmann, insists that the renewal of Christianity must find its source in the doctrine of the Trinity.

A trinitarian-shaped spirituality is not only Biblical—it’s transformational.

The believer in Christ has been brought into the Triune circle of life and glory. Could anything be more wonderful than that?

–Jurgen Schulz

Holiness is perfect love

The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God’s own being resides in the inter-relations between Father, Son and Spirit. The foundational underlying reality of God’s being is not the individual persons of the Godhead, but their communion of love with each other. Since humans are made in God’s image, this tells us that . . . the essential indivisible constituency of humanity is not the individual, but the community. The existence of the community is ontologically and biologically prior to the individual. Our true humanity is only expressed, not as individuals, but as persons in loving relationship.

This illuminates the fundamental characteristic of holiness – perfect love. The holy person is the person who loves in relationships. Notions of holiness cannot be abstract, detached or impersonal. Rather, they must be concrete, involved and relational.

–Richard Liantonio

A Relational God

The Trinity is the origin of human relationships. This is the essence of our being made in God’s image. ‘God is love’ because He has always had someone to love – the Persons of the Godhead. He did not need us, but He wanted a bigger family to share His happiness with. The loving inter-action and inter-dependence of Father, Son and Spirit from all eternity, means that society and fellowship began before angels or men existed. We reflect the perfect matrix of the Trinity in our relating well together . . . At the root of all present-day oppressive dictatorships, divided or monochrome societies, devaluation of certain individuals and the inability to cultivate loving community, is a denial of the Trinity. The Trinity models an image of mutuality, reciprocity and a totally shared life.

–Greg Haslam

The Rhythm of the Trinity

Father, Son, and Spirit . . . [are engaged in a] dance which is their life together, a dance without beginning and without end, a dance which is joy beyond all telling.

. . . The music of this eternal dance echoes in the vast reaches between the stars, and pulses in worlds inside of atoms, and travels on every breeze across the earth, and surges with the blood through our veins. From time to time, we hear the music of this eternal dance. During the silences when everything makes sense; during the celebrations when we taste a bit of heaven . . . When we are thankful for what we’ve been given, proud of what we’ve done, hopeful about what the future holds. It is on these great and good occasions that we hear the music of the eternal dance, the rhythm of the Trinity . . .

The Trinity is unending, joyous dance, yet the miracle is that the circle breaks open, and the Son and Spirit, still holding hands with the Father, extend their other hands to us, inviting us into the circle, drawing us into the dance, that we may become their partners, participants in their life.

–Author unknown

Published in: on 05/20/2012 at 16:12  Leave a Comment  
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The beauty of God

Loving mutuality and relationship belong to the essence of God. In recognizing this, theology makes explicit what the heart has always known. Let God be defined not so much by holiness and sovereignty in which loving relatedness is incidental, but by the dance of trinitarian life. And let us see Spirit as effecting relationships, connecting Son to Father, and us to God. Spirit is the ecstasy of divine life, the overabundance of joy . . .

When we render God in this way, not only atheists might come to love Him, but even Christians, for we ourselves often lack a sense of God’s beauty and adorableness. God is the ever-expanding circle of loving, and the Spirit is the dynamic at the heart of the circle. Through him we all have access in one Spirit to the Father, on behalf of whom Spirit and Bride say, “Come!” Let us all join in the dance.

–Clark Pinnock

The crucial truth

And now, dear brethren . . . allow me now, most earnestly, to impress upon you the absolute necessity of being sound on the doctrine of the Trinity . . . A gospel without the Trinity! it is a pyramid built upon its apex. A gospel without the Trinity! it is a rope of sand that cannot hold together. A gospel without the Trinity! then, indeed, Satan can overturn it. But give me a gospel with the Trinity, and the might of hell cannot prevail against it; no man can any more overthrow it than a bubble could split a rock, or a feather break in halves a mountain. Get the thought of the three persons, and you have the marrow of all divinity. Only know the Father, and know the Son, and know the Holy Ghost to be one, and all things will appear clear . . . he who understands this, will soon understand as much as mortals e’er can know.

–C.H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)

Published in: on 05/18/2012 at 8:26  Leave a Comment  
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Learning how to dance

As human beings, we relate to one another in the “dance of life” on this planet. The relationships between the three Persons of the Trinity—”dynamic, interactive, loving, serving”—form the model for our human dance steps. Unfortunately, through sinfulness we corrupt the dance into a choreography of conflict.

However, now through the Gospel, Christians have been brought into a special relationship with the triune God. Through Christ’s incarnation, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension, and by the regenerating action of the Spirit, we prodigals have been brought home and embraced by our Father. Gathered into the household of faith, we now enjoy the feast of the fatted calf, and participate in the dance party that is taking place in the Father’s house. In this way we exemplify the reality and nature of God and bring his Good News to a world that has forgotten how to dance.

–Michael Spencer

Trinity is Essential

Christians say God is who you know when you know Jesus.

Jesus introduces us to the Triune God.

Only the Son knows the Father, and anyone to whom the Son makes him known.

Start somewhere else and you end up somewhere else.

If the Father did not send his Son in the power of the Spirit to bring us home into the life of God then we have no gospel, we have no Christianity. No other god is worth knowing or telling about.

“Without the gospel everything is useless and vain”, as John Calvin put it. “Seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father.”

Trinity is gospel.

Or in the immortal words of Athanasius’ creed: the saved are those who hold to Trinity.

Strong stuff, but what is salvation if not entering into the life of the Triune God?

What else is a Christian but someone who knows this God?

Christianity isn’t a ticket to heaven.

Christianity is what happens when you’re joined with Jesus and step inside his life.

Do you need to be able to articulate that fully? No – but it’s not exactly complicated, it’s beautiful.

Just look at Jesus.

–Dave Bish


People become like their God

“Show me your gods and I will show you your people.” This adage holds true. If our concept of God is that of a Solitary Divine Dictator, it follows that we will be suspicious, critical, harsh, cold and condemning. Strong on “truth” and short on love. Joyless members of the righteous remnant. We unconsciously reflect the character of the Divine Being we believe in.

Not exactly inviting when your God is like Caesar.

If, on the other hand, we have been caught up in the self-giving love of the Triune God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit; if we have tasted and seen the unspeakable goodness and grace of the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, how can we not be humble, grateful, and generous?

We will reflect the overflowing kindness and magnanimity of our God.

Forgiven people forgive; welcomed people welcome others; the recipients of grace bestow grace. Their failures have been overwhelmed by mercy—and they can now act accordingly. Those who have been drawn into the abounding life of the Triune God find themselves spreading kindness and goodness and joy.

They have been blessed and can afford to bless others—even the ones who are not very agreeable, or doctrinally correct. They don’t need to zero in on other’s errors, because their heavenly Father doesn’t. They can be generous with words, attitudes and resources, because they have come to know a God of unstoppable goodness. They can value relationships, because that is what the Three-in-One God is all about. They can love the lost in all their lostness, because that’s the kind of love heaven lavishes on sinners.

People become like their God.

And if that is the case, you will want to make sure you’ve got the right God—the Triune God who lives in the Eternal Dance of glory, goodness and grace. The God of Calvary love. The God Christ came to reveal.

There is one way of knowing what He is really like—look at Jesus. Look at the cross. Only the Son knows the Father, and those to whom the Son makes Him known.

He is a God who lays down his life for others. That is what actually goes on inside the Trinity! Self-sacrificing love. One author described Him as a Supreme Being of “fathomless unselfishness.” The cross was not an accident. It is what this Triune Community is all about. It is what the Bible means when it says, “God is love.” What an amazing Deity He turns out to be!

And to believe in Him is to become like Him.

A belief in the Divine Dictator tends to produce mean-spirited people. And there’s no reason to become a part of that crowd—because that god doesn’t exist.

Moreover, it is highly desirable to pattern one’s life after the true God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He looks exactly like Jesus—and we have never ever seen anyone as wonderful as Him!

–Jurgen Schulz

Overtaken by Love

The origin and cause of our redemption is the ineffable love of God the Father, who willed to redeem us by the blood of His own Son . . . who freely took our curse upon Him, and imparts His blessing and merits to us; and the Holy Spirit, who communicates the love of the Father and the grace of the Son to our hearts. When we speak of this . . . we speak of the inmost mystery of the Christian faith.

–John Wesley (1703 -1791)

Invited to the Party

God created us so that the joy He has in Himself might be ours. God doesn’t simply think about Himself or talk to Himself. He enjoys Himself! He celebrates with infinite and eternal intensity the beauty of who He is as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we’ve been created to join the party!

–Sam Storms

Published in: on 05/12/2012 at 6:05  Leave a Comment  
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The Trinitarian Dance

The theologians in the early church tried to describe this wonderful reality that we call Trinity. If any of you have ever been to a Greek wedding, you may have seen their distinctive way of dancing . . . It’s called perichoresis. There are not two dancers, but at least three. They start to go in circles, weaving in and out in this very beautiful pattern of motion. They start to go faster and faster and faster, all the while staying in perfect rhythm and in sync with each other. Eventually, they are dancing so quickly (yet so effortlessly) that as you look at them, it just becomes a blur. Their individual identities are part of a larger dance.

The early church fathers and mothers looked at that dance (perichoresis) and said, “That’s what the Trinity is like.” It’s a harmonious set of relationship in which there is mutual giving and receiving. This relationship is called love, and it’s what the Trinity is all about. The perichoresis is the dance of love.

–Jonathan Marlowe

Trinitarian Love

The doctrine of the Trinity! you ask me what it is. I answer, it is that doctrine that shows us the love of God the Father in giving His Son; the love of God the Son in giving Himself; and the love of the Lord the Spirit in His work of regenerating us, that we may be able to lay hold of the love of the Father by His Son.

–John Bunyan (1628-1688)

Published in: on 05/10/2012 at 9:22  Leave a Comment  
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Love Letter One: Genesis

Did you ever stop to ask why I made everything; why My Spirit, My Son, and I created the stars, moon, planets; and why We made paradise on earth? The three of Us were making preparations to throw a party, to invite others to a dance, to the dance We’ve been enjoying since before time began. But there were no ‘others’ to invite.

So at a family council, We decided to create people, human beings just like you whom We could enjoy as they enjoyed Us and all the beauty We had made. That’s why We created Adam and Eve with desires that only We could satisfy. Plans for the party were under way.

But the story got off track. We knew, of course, that it would. Adam and Eve foolishly decided they could be happier looking out for themselves than trusting Us. They did exactly what you would have done had you been there. They chose to throw their own party, without Us. That’s as foolish as trying to breathe in a room without air or trying to sing when you have no vocal cords. It can’t be done. There is no party without Us, only the prison of loneliness.

–Larry Crabb

Home is a Relationship

[T]he shared life of Father, Son, and Spirit – the home-life of the Trinity – is the place where we truly belong. It offers us the fullest experience of the love, joy, and peace we all desire. It is our true home.

Perhaps the thing that keeps us from experiencing the love, joy, and peace of our true home is our constant attempt to find these things in a “home away from home.” Do we really believe that our heart’s deepest longings are fulfilled in God? Do we truly believe that our longings for home are ultimately satisfied in God? . . .

We must realize that we are not homeless. The truth is that we all have a home. We have been created out of the overflow of love between Father, Son, and Spirit. Home is not a place, but a relationship to which we belong.

— Richard J. Vincent

Perichoresis

Genuine acceptance removes fear and hiding, and creates freedom to know and be known. In this freedom arises a fellowship and sharing so honest and open and real that the persons involved dwell in one another. There is union without the loss of individual identity. When one weeps, the other tastes salt. It is only in the Triune relationship of Father, Son and Spirit that personal relationship of this order exists, and the early Church used the word “perichoresis” to describe it. The good news is that Jesus Christ has drawn us within this relationship, and its fullness and life are to be played out in each of us and in all creation.

–Baxter Kruger

Infinite Enjoyment

What is the essence of heaven?… [It is the] beatific vision, love, and enjoyment of the triune God. For the three divine persons have an infinitely perfect vision and love and enjoyment of the divine essence and of one another. And in this infinite knowing loving and enjoying lies the very life of the triune God, the very essence of their endless and infinite happiness. If the blessed are to be endlessly and supremely happy, then, they must share in the very life of the triune God, in the divine life that makes Them endlessly and infinitely happy.

–E. J. Fortman

The Stunning Plan

From the beginning, God is Father, Son and Spirit, and from the beginning, this God has determined not to live without us. Before the blueprints for creation were drawn up, the Father, Son and Spirit set their abounding love upon us and determined that we would be adopted, that we would be given a place inside their circle of life, and made participants in the very fellowship and joy and glory of the Triune God. There and then, before creation, it was decided that the Son would cross every chasm between God and humanity and establish a real and abiding relationship—union. He was predestined to be the mediator, the one in and through whom the very life of the Triune God would enter human existence and human existence would be lifted up to share in the Trinitarian life. The gospel is the good news that this stunning plan of the Triune God has now become eternal fact in Jesus Christ. In his incarnate life, death, resurrection and ascension, he laid hold of the human race, took us down in his death, recreated us in his resurrection, and lifted us up into the embrace of the Father in his ascension.

–Athan Smith

What difference would it make?

Travel back in your mind before the beginning of time, before creation, and imagine a God who is NOT a Trinity. A solitary, all-powerful, self-sufficient Supreme Being. He relates to no one, answers to no one, speaks to no one. He is independent and alone. His thoughts do not go beyond himself, because he is all there is. He knows nothing of relationships, dialogue, togetherness, fellowship, love, friendship, serving or giving. Never does he have to practice consideration, patience, respect, generosity, self sacrifice, compassion, or kindness. He takes no one else into account, because no one else is there. His existence revolves entirely around himself.

If such a God where to create a universe, why would he do so? And what would it be like? What would he expect from us, his creatures?

Would he make a world of people where it’s all about family, community, and relationships? Would he come up with the idea of creating something called marriage where two lives merge and live together in love? Highly improbable. Would he give us the capacity for humor and enjoyment and laughter? Would he establish love as the supreme virtue? Not likely. Would it ever occur to him to become human and to share his glory with us? It probably wouldn’t cross his mind.

If the Solitary Deity should create us it would be to obtain service and worship. He is king and we are the servants; he is great and we are small. Our duty is to carry out his orders. It’s all about his supremacy and our subservience. When he shows up, we bow down. When he commands, we act accordingly. Such a God is to be feared, revered and obeyed. That’s the kind of universe we would expect from the Unaccompanied Monarch who reigns on high.

But, what if this God were actually a Trinity? A community of love and goodness and creativity and joy? What if he were a Triune God—a Father and Son who love each other with eternal passion in the abounding fellowship of the Spirit? We would then expect his creative activity to be entirely different. We would then envisage a world where people experience the joys of marriage and family and friendship, and where love is valued as supreme. A realm where there is joy and goodness and beauty and wonder. A planet of sunsets, butterflies, waterfalls, roses and hummingbirds.

Such a God would create people in his image in order to lavish upon them his love and goodness. And it would not be surprising that, if things went awry, he would respond in mercy and compassion, and, if necessary, act sacrificially to rescue his creation. We could also imagine this Divine Community of love to go even a step further, and invite humans to be part of his family as sons and daughters.

A very different scenario develops when we have a God who is a Trinity instead of a Celestial Caesar. The universe would be diametrically different if we had the one instead of the other. The Trinity turns out to be more than just another item in the creed. It radically transforms absolutely everything.

The Solitary Deity ends up looking a whole lot like the Allah, who rewards killers and terrorists with heaven. The Triune God ends up looking like Jesus giving his life for his enemies on a cross.

Slight difference.

–Jurgen Schulz

Published in: on 05/03/2012 at 13:14  Leave a Comment  
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The matrix of everything

The Triune God lives in an incomparable celebration of eternal joy. The Father, Son and Spirit have a rich and overflowing life with or without us. They did not decide to create us for their benefit, but for ours—because that is how God lives. That is how God LOVES!

The Father lives for the Son and the Son lives for the Father, and they share all things together in the Spirit. Not self centered, but other centered. Totally other centered—because that is the essential meaning of “God is love.” And this is what “Trinity” is all about. The Three-in-One God is a fountain of blessing and joy and goodness that spills over, that gives and gives and gives. This is who our Creator is, and this is why he creates.

C. S. Lewis pointed out: “We were made, not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too), but that God may love us.”

In so doing, He brings glory to His Name, which means—displaying the wonders of his grace. This is God’s highest glory—his goodness, love and grace. What an awesome and astounding God he is! This overflowing love is what prompted him to create—and to redeem. He is intent upon bringing others into the Triune celebration of eternal joy.

–Jurgen Schulz

The beauty of God

For it is only when you grasp what it means for God to be a Trinity that you really sense the beauty, the overflowing kindness, the heart-grabbing loveliness of God.

–Mike Reeves

Published in: on 05/01/2012 at 7:05  Leave a Comment  
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