Worldview Basics Pt.5-The Trinity

-Dylan R.

At last, we have reached the end of examining four important concepts in obtaining and maintaining a Christian worldview. As you might recall, John Frame states that the notion of God’s absolute personality, the clear Creator-creature distinction, the complete sovereignty of God, and the doctrine of the Trinity are vital metaphysical characteristics of a Christian worldview.[1] For our concluding discussion we will be reviewing the necessity of advocating a Trinitarian conception of God in our Christian weltanschauung.[2]

To begin, it would be wise to define exactly what it is that we are attempting to understand. Wayne Grudem, in his Systematic Theology, defines the doctrine of the Trinity as follows, “God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.”[3] In other words:

  1. God is three persons.
  2.  Each person is fully God.
  3. There is one God.

Even from this seemingly simple definition, it is abundantly evident that this doctrine is far above anything anyone will ever be able to address in its entirety. Even the historical theological issues concerning the early church’s language about how to even speak about the relationship between the Persons of the Trinity is often difficult to wade through.[4] Nevertheless, I’ll give some sort of effort to try and explain further.

Frame, too, recognizes this threefold distinction and offers a bit of Scriptural support to back the claim. The Christian God is three in one. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is only one God (Deut.6:4ff). But the Father is God (John 20:17), the Son is God (John 1:1; Rom. 9:5; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:10ff), and the Holy Spirit is God (Gen. 1:2; Acts 2; Rom. 8; 1 Thess. 1:5)[5] Essentially, we are looking at a Tri-personal being; one being that exists as three Persons (for a more detailed look at what this looks like, please reference my Doctrine of Trinitarian Perichoresis). However, the point of this post is to offer some suggestions as to why maintaining a Trinitarian theology of God makes sense for the Christian. Here are some, what I hope to be, helpful considerations.

1. Louis Berkhof, in his Systematic Theology, contends that an argument from personality demonstrates the necessity of God’s Triune nature. He says the following,

“Among men the ego awakens to consciousness only by contact with the non-ego. Personality does not develop nor exist in isolation, but only in association with other persons. Hence it is not possible to conceive of personality in God apart from an association of equal persons in Him. His contact with creatures would not account for His personality any more than man’s contact with the animals would explain his personality. In virtue of the tri-personal existence of God there is an infinite fullness of divine life in Him.”[6]

Berkhof’s insight specifies the coherence of the metaphysical aspects of a Christian worldview we’ve been discussing. In order for the Christian to argue for a supremely personal God as the transcendental source of reality, this God must possess personality by nature—thus, the interaction within the Godhead. Also, this personal interaction between the Persons of the Trinity clearly highlights the Creator-creature distinction. The Creator does not rely on His creation in order to achieve personality—thus, the Trinitarian God of Scripture is a se.[7] Obviously there is tremendous apologetic value to be spoken of in this case.

2. In light of God’s revelation of His Trinitarian nature, Christians now have a deep and profound reason to defend a traditional view of marriage. The Scripture boasts that man was made in the image of God, “male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). Since man was created in the image of the Triune God, one may see why the union between husband and wife is so intense. In a sense, the two become one flesh while keeping their individual identities (1 Cor. 6:16-20; Eph. 5:31). Perhaps this understanding of marriage would help many couples in our society.

3. The Trinitarian nature of God is also reflected inside the church (1 Cor. 12:12). As Christians, we must understand that we are saved individually into a body of believers that make up the bride of Christ. This bride, though very diverse in all the varying gifts and callings, is also in unity with Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-27). This is why Christians need to be at church (Yes! I think it is very hard, maybe close to impossible, to be a Christian apart from the church—don’t do be that person…Hebrews 10:24-25).

4. And finally, just to state what I believe the above implies, is that since we are all created in the image of the Triune God, this is why we long for human contact. This can be described as an existential appeal, and I would agree, but there is just something deep within us that longs for others. The reason why we are able, and even seek, to love others is because God loved first (1 John 4:8). However, this love existed independently of creation, for God love before creation existed. There was, and still is, mutual love between the Persons of the Trinity. Our love is merely a reflection of that perfect love.

 

WORKS CITED

Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1996.

Frame, John. Apologetics to the Glory of God. Phillipsburg: P&​r Publishing, 1994.

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.


[1] John Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God (Phillipsburg: P&​r Publishing, 1994). 34

[2] See first post of the series for a clearer understanding of this word.

[3] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 226.

[4] Which is why it will not be addressed here. Look for future posts that will discuss the Trinitarian development throughout church history.

[5] Frame 46

[6] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1996), 84-85.

[7] Aseity- The doctrine that God is essentially completely self-sufficient. He does not rely on anyone or anything else.

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