Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Trinity Explained...Sort Of

If you're like me the doctrine of the Trinity has always befuddled you. The idea that God is one Being that exists in three Persons is confusing, to say the least. It also always seemed a little contradictory to me. How can Christians be monotheists yet believe that three separate beings are God? How can three be one? I've finally hit upon a way to explain the Trinity that works; an explanation that's both spiritually and intellectually satisfying, at least to me. I've come to think of the Trinity as a set of divine identical triplets. Before you accuse me of blasphemy or stupidity, hear me out.

My main sticking point with the doctrine and concept of the Trinity has always been that three is more than one. When you have two or more of something you can't call it one, unless you're dealing with identical multiples. The doctrine of the Trinity says that the members of the Godhead--Father, Son, and Holy Ghost--are three beings who are one in essence. And it's that "oneness of essence" that makes them one God. But they're still three Persons, so how could they be one in any way? Answer: they're identical triplets.

Think about it. Identical multiples are called that NOT because they look exactly alike, but because their DNA is 100% the same. Thus, while identical multiples consist of two or more separate people, their genetic essence is the same making them, genetically speaking, one person. This is how you can have two, three, or four separate individuals who, beneath the skin, are actually the same person. This is how you can have the Trinity. This is how Christians can believe that three persons are God while remaining true monotheists. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are all God because their "genetic essence" is the same. This essence is what defines them, not their existence as separate beings.

This is how I understand the Trinity. An image of God as a set of divine, identical triplets may offend some people. I understand that. But I think it's more offensive to be unable to give a reasonable explanation of a key Christian doctrine. Pratically every church I've ever attended did a terrible job of explaining the Trinity. This contributed significantly to my divine discontents. Realizing that there are instances in the physical world where two or more beings are really one helps me to grasp this fact in the spiritual realm. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost really are one God. They are triplets. Understand?