Understanding the trinity is difficult for many Christians. Imagine how hard it would be for someone who doesn’t know Christian doctrine or has never studied the Bible. The trinity is an obstacle that keeps plenty of earnest searchers from ever moving forward in the faith.
- Put the concept into words. I struggled with understanding the concept of the trinity a long time ago. With my Christian upbringing, it was something I was just told to understand. The answer to my probing question was always, “That’s just the way it is.” But when it came time for me to answer that same question for others, I found myself at a loss and no one should ever believe in anything they don’t understand themselves, even if it is only a slight understanding of such a huge concept as the trinity.
- Find an analogy. I finally developed a novice expression that I could explain to others. But, it is merely an analogy and should never be taken for anything more than that. In our world and in our faith, there are often confusions when a person simply tries to bring a tough issue to light. Analogies are no more than taking what we do understand and applying them to concepts we don’t.
- Put God into analogous terms. In my analogy, I look at myself as God and my own child as the Messiah. In that sense then, my thoughts are my spirit. As humans, we often think of ourselves as two different entities. Our bodies and our minds are separate in a way because our body is a physical thing and our thoughts are intangible.
- Put the Spirit of God into analogous terms. Our thoughts are who we are just as much as our bodies are who we are. But, we can’t touch thoughts. They’re just simply there. In that way, we can understand the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit. Even though the Holy Spirit is a very real and separate being from God, it is God who came to earth and stood before Moses. So bright was His light and so powerful His presence that Moses could not lift his eyes to God, he had to remain with his head bowed while he spoke to the God of Israel. With that imagery, you can understand how powerful God’s presence is and yet, the Spirit is among us all the time. When we pray, when we worship, when we drive and when we sleep, the Spirit is always among us. Of course, God is too. But remember, this is merely an analogy.
- Put the Messiah into analogous terms. When I look at my daughter, I can see so much of myself in her. She has the same eyes and the same nose. She has the same hair even though I am bald. When I was young, my hair was like hers. She also has the same sort of intelligence I have. She likes to solve tough problems and she likes reflecting on issues. She is still a kid, but I can see these things in her.
That’s how I managed to bring myself to a better understanding of how the Messiah could be the Son of God and yet God at the same time. My daughter is so much a part of me, it’s like she is me. She is a small version of me. It is like we are one and yet, we are two separate people.
This is about as far as my verbal expression of the trinity goes. Once you think of yourself, your thoughts and your children as an analogy of the trinity, you can begin to understand it at deeper levels for yourself. Then, you can have fun coming up with your own analogies. It’s much better when we all can express our system of beliefs in our own terms.