Some Jews and Muslims accuse Christians of being idolatrous for believing in the Trinity. My response to both groups is that they fundamentally misunderstand the Christian understanding of the Trinity.
In short, the Trinity is God. Yet many have falsely assumed that Christians believe in three gods. Such is the misdirected view of many Muslims, Jews, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. That would be tritheism—a slimmed-down version of polytheism. Christians aren’t tritheists. They’re monotheists who believe in one God revealed in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Think of it like this: There’s one “what” and three “who’s.” There’s one what—God. And three who’s—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For obvious reasons this has caused great consternation for many thinkers. Some even conclude that the Christian view of the Trinity is a contradiction. At first sight this may seem to be the case, but it’s not. Remember, Christians aren’t claiming that God is three persons revealed in one person or one God in three gods, rather Christians believe there is one God revealed in three Persons. See the difference?
Perhaps I can illustrate. But not without warning. Illustrations of the Trinity are far from perfect. Almost all quickly break down, even into heresy. No illustration can perfectly depict God, but illustrations can help us grasp God’s three and oneness. For example, the Trinity is not 1+1+1 = 3, but 1×1×1 = 1. Or consider that a single triangle has three sides. Such illustrations help us to see how something can be three and one, but they can become very unhelpful when they move beyond that.
In conclusion, Christians aren’t tritheists, their view of the Trinity isn’t a contradiction, and Christians must be cautious using illustrations to depict the Trinity. And at the same time, Christians can worship both the clarity and the mystery of their Triune God.
Thought to Ponder
The doctrine of the Trinity has mystified both children and scholars alike.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14).
One-Minute Apologist Video : Brett Kunkle, “Is the Trinity Unscriptural and Unreasonable?”
It is simple; it is complex. You’ve done an admirable job of making clear, things so often muddled. I like the 1+1+1= 1. And the triangle analogy. Simple. Deep.
Often I’ve equated the concept of Oneness with the way a person is one person but has a mind, a body, and a soul.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .
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