TODAY, Sunday, May 30, 2021, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. As Christians, we profess our fundamental belief in the existence, not of three gods, but One God in Three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – consubstantial, co-eternal, and co-equal in everything.
From Deuteronomy 6:4, the Jews recite, “Hear, O Israel. The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” And in the first of the Ten Commandments, in Exodus 20:2 we read, “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall not have other gods beside me.” Clearly, then, there is only one God.
This One God, however, has revealed himself in other parts of the Scripture, as existing in Three Persons. Right in the creation story, we are told, “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness’” (Genesis 1:26a). Then in the following verse we read, “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Notice the shift from first-person plural in verse 26 when God was talking to himself as a Trinity, to third-person singular in verse 27, where the creation of mankind was attributed to a single God.
In the baptism of Jesus, we see another direct interaction of the Three Persons in the Holy Trinity. ”After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:16-17). The same Three Persons were mentioned in the call for our baptism and in the Great Commission, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Other references to the Holy Trinity can be seen in the epistles. Opening his first letter, Peter wrote, “In the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification by the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ, may grace and peace be yours in abundance” (1 Peter 1:2). For his part, Paul, in concluding his second letter to the Corinthians (Chap. 13, v. 13) wrote, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Many other pages of the Bible, both Old and New Testament, too many to mention here, are filled with shadows or direct mentions of the existence of God as a Trinity. Question: Do these prove the validity of the most precious doctrine of the Holy Trinity?
As spiritual persons, we say yes because we believe that the Bible is the word of God. God is truth, and in him, there is no lie or falsehood.
Admittedly, however, the doctrine is not easy to understand. In fact, given our finite minds, we can never fully understand it, as it escapes human logic or reasoning. How can someone exist as three and yet remain as one? How can 1 plus 1 plus 1 be equal to 1?
We can gain relief from this quandary if we remember who we are and who God is. As human beings, we are powerless in many things. The God we worship, on the other hand, is omnipotent; he is all-powerful. As human beings, we are confined by space and time; we can only be in one place at one time. Not so in the case of God. God is omnipresent; he is everywhere every time. And lastly, as human beings, our capacity to know and understand is very limited. On the contrary, our God is omniscient; he is all-knowing.
It takes faith to know God, to love him, and to serve him. In believing in the Trinity, we humble ourselves and acknowledge that we are smaller than a dot before the great God of heaven and earth. But the good news is that this omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God who created us, loves us, desires to unite us with himself, and share with us everything that he has. “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:16-17).
Amen. Blessed be God forever.
Happy Trinity Sunday, everyone.