Thoughts on the nature of  the Trinity
three crosses

I have heard many sermons on the subject of the Trinity.  They all tend to center on explaining the three states of God using many clever and sometimes silly metaphors.  The metaphor becomes the subject of the sermon as if we were unable to understand the Trinity without endless explanations.

But why do we speak of the Trinity and why do we make it so hard to understand? There are two reasons for this. The first is the desire for dogma. The Trinity is defended by Episcopalians the same way that fundamentalists defend the letter of the Bible as absolute truth and fact. The second is that, because of the first, we have never tried to examine the Trinity for what it is, a metaphor.

The metaphor of the Trinity, and it is a metaphor, unless that you believe that God is some old guy in the sky that sees and remembers everything that you do, was created to help our understanding, not to limit our understanding. If you accept the reality of God, you must also accept that anyone who created the box in which we live (the universe), could not have been in the box before it was made. He is not limited by the realities that he created for us and therefore we can never understand him.  We have no common reference with God or the timeless world in which he exists.   Where God exists there are no rules such as the ones that let us live in this world that provides us limits and structure.

God made the box, and moves it through time in order that we can exercise our freewill and hopefully choose to love and serve Him by loving and serving each other. Time helps us to achieve a sense of urgency with our lives. He gave us time as a yardstick in order to measure how we have spent and will spend the days we have.  He who created this process is not man. He took part of Himself and accepted the limits of the reality of the box (time, life, death, pain, physical limits, dichotomy, etc.) and placed himself in the box. This was and is Jesus.

In an effort for man to understand the nature of God, Jesus referred to him as a loving father and gave many examples of father’s love for their children and how much more our heavenly Father’s love for us must be.  Jesus is the only form of God that we can know. He exists in and out of the box. He presents us to God and God to us. When he said, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” this was not an exclusionary wall.  This was an opportunity for all to have a path to God by the only highway to heaven.  Regardless of your religion or faith, you will go to the Father through Jesus. There is no other way. This is not to exclude, this is merely to point out where the bridge is from our world to God’s world. You may not know Jesus until after you die, but you will know him and it will be OK.

Therefore the metaphor of the Trinity explains how God exists in different forms and in different places.  God the holy spirit, who created all, is the God we are incapable of understanding. God in Jesus who showed us how to live in the world that God created is the example we can follow. God the father is the one who is in charge, who loves us, and that we can go to with our problems. The father is the metaphor for how we should feel about God.   But to believe the Trinity as fact, denies the greatness of God and attempts to put him within the confines of our space.

Pat Bratton

Please take the time to e-mail me the metaphors for the Trinity that have been presented to you.
My personal favorite was a supply priest that used a can of Three in One oil, “It lubricates, it cleans, it prevents rust.” Three in one, one in three.

Extra Point - Snapper, Holder, Kicker
Water - Steam, Liquid, Ice
Apple - Peel, Meat, Core