In the current age, the concept of the Trinity has been attempted to be explained by books such as “The Shack” (which acknowledges itself as an allegory and not as doctrine, a key response to those who decry it), or an egg (shell, white, yolk), water (which, under special circumstances, can exist as solid, liquid, and gas at the same time).
In older ages, the three-leaf clover, the sun (sun, light, heat), and the Triquetra and triples circles (the symbol on the featured image) were used in an attempt to explain the Trinity. All of these are allegorical (whether current or older). While, if used wrongly, they may lead to false theology, there is no adequate way to really describe the Trinity.
The Athanasian Creed is an attempt to define the Trinity, but honestly is a theologian’s way to describe and cover all the bases and is really (overly) complicated. It is traditional in liturgical churches to read it today, as today is Trinity Sunday. It is long, so I will not include it in the devotion itself (you can read it here). While it is complicated, it is essential. Even in its complication and desire to cover the entirety of the Trinity, it cannot explain the Trinity fully.
The reality is that the Trinity is indeed one of the hardest things to understand, and on this side of life barring perhaps someone at the theoretical physics level and higher plane theological level (there’s an interesting combination), none of us will fully get it. It is truly a matter of faith.
It is also an important one. If you have been baptized, the baptizer should have said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Though in some churches they may eschew “the Father” for “the Mother” (which is an issue, but probably not one that is salvational, though that is up for discussion), or use “God” (which is definitely an issue, as Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God), the Trinitarian form is still followed.
Much of the theology of the church (and thus orthodox Christianity) is built upon the Trinity. We can see glimpses of the Trinity in the Scriptures, but it is (when we’re honest) threads woven through the tapestry of Creation and the Scriptures that we, as humans, try to codify and define in our constant attempt to understand God, Creation, and ourselves.
Even devotionals (like today) get stuck in theology when talking about the Trinity, for we just want to understand.
- How would you explain the Trinity to others?
- How do you explain to yourself, or understand for yourself, the Trinity?
- Why do you think it could be an important part of your Christian faith?
Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. —Book of Common Prayer, 2019