Wednesday

Explain The Holy Trinity...Someone! Please?

Explaining the Holy Trinity to children? Now there's a knee knocker!

From my children’s earliest school days, I still vividly recall some of the church school assemblies I would conduct on Wednesdays. Every inch of every pew would overflow with children –some of them as young as four, all the way up to teenagers. Each with wide-opened hearts and minds, eager not only to participate, but to absorb knowledge. And I was determined to create a homily that not only involved the children, but hopefully inspired them to think and talk about their experience afterwards. It’s a tall task, as any minister will attest.

One of the most challenging days was when Holy Trinity came around. Even for adults the Trinitarian concept is almost humanly incomprehensible. So how do you thoughtfully and effectively convey one of the cornerstones of our faith to a church full of children? I was always pleased to see my own children, sitting ever-so politely, trying to absorb what I would say, knowing full-well that there would be a barage of questions at home later that evening. But I wasn't so certain that other children would be as prone to 'chat' with their parents about what they had heard during the day.

The first Sunday after Pentecost is the Festival of the Holy Trinity. It is when the Church celebrates the impenetrable mystery that God is triune or three-in-one; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And although we don't see scientific proof of the triune, we accept this as a fundamental article of our faith.

One year I recall lugging into church an electrical lead, long enough to stretch from the organ loft to the transept, where I set up my small table containing an electric whistling kettle, a sizeable block of ice, and a carafe of water. It is a concept often used by clergy to help us understand the concept of three-in-one. But the truth is that this isn’t a perfect parallel to offer, whether for children or adults.

The following year I scoured London in search of a giant prism. White light consists of three primary colours: Blue, Green, and Red. By capturing the white light, you can project the primary colours onto a white board. But again, in sharing an understanding of the Holy Trinity, it isn’t perfect.

There are other parallels, but because our natural inclination is to limit ourselves only to what we can see, we either instinctively reject or foment doubt about the Trinity. In fact, the word ‘Trinity’ doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible. It didn’t come into use as a religious term until after the Council of Nicaea in AD325 – long after the last books of the Bible were completed. Clearly, even the great scholars found it difficult to put to words.

There are, however, many references to the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. Zechariah 4:6, Micah 3:8, 2Timothy 1:7, all make reference to the Holy Spirit. Luke 4:14 records that Jesus began His ministry ‘in the power of the Spirit.’ And Acts 1:8 profoundly refers to life after death: ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.’

Astronomers and scientists continue to reach further and further beyond the realms of our abilities and comprehension to explore the heavens. The truth is, however, that we haven’t yet the intellectual capacity to fully understand what is beyond our reach.

Perhaps now is when we must rely upon our faith.

Holy Father, we long to fill our hearts with the knowledge of Your truth. We pray that you draw us closer that we may better understand, that we may always, and faithfully, serve Your will. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen


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7 Comments:

At 13:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always needed help in explaining the trinity to children. I think you made it much more simple the way you write about it. I wish you were my teacher. ha ha! I guess you are actually! And I like what you wrote about the science of faith!

 
At 14:05, Anonymous Dickenson_S said...

That was cute. I dont think you need to be more complex than what you did for small minds. I looked at your diary about the science. I think each of us looks at it differently but you seem to have a easy grasp on something so complex.

 
At 10:41, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this about the Holy Trinity. I have a class next week and am going to use your example.

 
At 20:32, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Father Bill

I have been visiting several of your blogs for many years. You have such a lovely simplicity yet eloquence in the way you write and I find it inspiring. As a fellow clergyman we often find ourselves challenged to offer new and creative ideas when it comes to presenting faith. But I think in truth you have proven that the most simple way is the best. You remain in my prayers.

+Carl

 
At 07:06, Blogger anon mouse said...

These are thoughts on trinity which I found from my personal study of the Bible! Let me apologize for this very lengthy comment! But it is just to make it clearer!

The word trinity has become a stumbling block to many people. But this is the cornerstone for our Christian belief and our salvation. I'll try to explain it briefly!

OLD TESTAMENT/ OLD COVENANT PERIOD:

The time during which he made a covenant with Abraham and then gave the ten commandments to Moses. God spoke to people through his holy spirit.

Even though Jesus who is God's word and the holy spirit existed along with the father from the beginning they were not explicitly expressed as trinity during the old covenant time. I have seen some theologians quoting John 1:1 to say that Jesus existed apart from the father from the beginning. They use the verse "the word was with God". Because the word 'with' is used instead of "the word was in God". They say that they existed as trinity right from the beginning but that is a wrong understanding of concept. A word is considered as a word only when it is spoken out and a word is never inside a person. A word is spoken out by the movement of articulators and it always proceeds out.
We see that after Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice, he was seated at the right side of the father (Hebrews 10:12). Eventhough Jesus existed as the word from the beginning God designed a body for him when he came to this earth (Hebrews 10:5).

As a part of the old covenant when men disobeyed God and willfully obeyed satan an animal sacrifice was performed to atone for it. When man disobeyed God he sold his life to satan. So a blood was offered to redeem the life of the man as we know that life is in the blood. In the old testament it was a blemishless animal that was offered. But it became ritualistic and meaningless.

NEW TESTAMENT:

God wanted to pay a price to redeem mankind from satan forever. So he wanted to replace the animal's blood with his own blood as a price once and for all. So he himself wanted to come to this earth and pay the price (Romans 8:3). But the father God is holy, he can not see sin and no one has ever seen him. So he sent his word in the form of a flesh to atone for the sins of men.

That's why the incarnate word of God is called the son of God. (Just because the term son of God is used his birth cannot be compared to the birth of a human child. THIS TERM IS USED BECAUSE THIS IS THE CLOSEST TERM WE CAN USE TO MAKE HUMANS UNDERSTAND.

After Jesus death, resurrection and ascension the holy spirit was sent to the listeners to empower them and guide them.

Jesus and holy spirit were sent by the father to fulfill his will on this earth! That's why the three of them are going to witness about the work they did here on this earth (I John 5:7). This is also understandable by the command which God gave to Moses in which he said any issue should be accepted with the testimony of two or three witness (Deuteronomy 19:15).

That's why it became important to explain God in terms of trinity in the new covenant period or the new testament period!!

 
At 07:07, Blogger anon mouse said...

FATHER GOD:

The father God is the creator , holy, who cannot see sin and whom no one has seen (I Timothy 6:15,16). It is his will that happens in all the world (Ephesians 1:12; Matthew 6:10; II Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 1:9, 10).

JESUS:

Jesus is the incarnate word of God. I don't see many people explaining about Jesus this way. But our fore fathers were familiar with it as we see in the Christmas hymn " O come all ye faithful". Every year we sing "Word of the father now in flesh appearing"

The father God honored his word above all his names (Psalms 138:2). None of the words of God is spoken in void. It accomplished its purpose and returns to the father (Isaiah 55:11)

Isaiah who prophesied about the birth of Jesus has also mentioned it in Isaiah 9:6-8 (particularly verse 8). Jesus is the word of God who became flesh or the word of God took the form of a man and was born in Bethlehem as a baby John 1:1-3, 14, I John 5:7; Rev 19:13, Hebrews 4:12, 13 (note these two verses talk about the word of God verse 12 starts with the word of God; verse 13 says nothing is hidden from ‘his’ eyes and not ‘its’ eyes.

He is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of God's being Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3. That's why Jesus said whoever has seen him has seen his father. This is the reason why he is also called the son of God!

Because God created everything with his word, we also read that God created everything through Jesus (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:16). In II Peter 5-7, it clearly says that the world was created by God’s word and through the same word it is going to be judged. We read in John 5:22 that the father has handed over the authority to judge to Jesus!

Jesus was sent to this earth to fulfill some actions in this earth decided by the father (Jesus does not do anything on his own will) John 5:19- 21; John 17:4; John 4:34; John 12:49, 50; John 6:37,38; John 5:36; John 15:10,15; John 5:17; John 6:45; Hebrews 10:7-10; John 14:10.

Father God has given authority over everything to Jesus (John 3:35; Colossians 1:16; John 5:27; John 13:3; I Peter 3:22; Ephesians 1:20 - 23) but after Jesus defeats all the enemies he will hand back the authority to father God (I Corinthians 15:24 - 26).

Because Jesus is the word of the father God, the word that comes out of the father God's mouth is first conceived in the thoughts of the father God. Then it is spoken out. This is the very reason Jesus said his father is greater than him (John 10:29). This is also the reason why Jesus said he does not know the hour of his coming. Because Jesus is the word of the father, the word is realized only when it is articulated. That does not make Jesus any inferior to the father God. By commonsense will anyone say that a person's word is greater or lesser than the person himself. The relationship between Jesus and the father is also similar.

Jesus is the incarnate word of God. The Bible is the inspired word of God. The Bible is the word of God written down by the inspiration of the holy spirit for our benefit (II Timothy 3:16, 17). This is why the Bible says we are born again through the word of God (I Peter 1:23). That's why the Bible has got the same power which Jesus had! This inspired word of God which is the verses of the holy Bible is written in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (II Corinthians 3:3).

 
At 07:09, Blogger anon mouse said...

HOLY SPIRIT:

Holy spirit is the spirit of the father God who is sent to this earth to empower believers and to carry out the father's will after Jesus left this earth (I John4:13; I Peter 4:14.

When Jesus was in this earth he was in the form of a human flesh 100% human 100% divine. (Hebrews 5:7,8; Philippians 2:5-9). Jesus was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3) Thats why Jesus said if anyone blasphemes against him that will be forgiven. Whereas there is nothing human about a holy spirit he is the spirit of the father god, thatswhy if anyone blasphemes the holy spirit there is no forgiveness in this life or after life!

The Holy spirit is a spirit. The holy spirit does not have a separate body, soul and spirit. The holy spirit is a spirit. He is the spirit of God. He does not have a body. He does not speak, listen etc. as understood by human mind. He convicts, inspires and instigates the heart of men. THE WORD "PERSON" IS USED BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE A BETTER TERM TO EXPRESS HIS IDENTITY.

The holy spirit does not do anything on his own will but he fulfills the will of the father (John 16:13 - 15; Romans 8:27; I Corinthians 2:10-12). Can you imagine your spirit doing something different from what your mind thinks?

Some people mistakenly think that the Holy spirit has independent will and for that they quote I Corinthians 12:11. But if we read Hebrews 2:4 we see the same work being done by God. In I Corinthians it says holy spirit distributes the gifts to show how inseparable God and Holy spirit are in their decisions! When Peter says that Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit in the next verse we see Peter telling him that he lied to God. (Acts 5:3,4).

If a persons spirit is grieved the person is automatically grieved. We can read in Psalms when David says that his spirit is grieved. That does not make his spirit into an independent person. So if the holy spirit is grieved we grieve God automatically. But many insist that the holy spirit can be grieved alone.

Holy spirit is a subsistence of the trinity God and not a person as commonly used in human terms! We also should understand that as humans we are not able to send our spirits out of our body but the all powerful God can do that. Even satan also does a similar work by sending his evil spirit into this earth to accomplish evil works. We read an example of this in Mark 5:1-13.

Because the father God is omnipresent, omnipotent and eternal. His word (Jesus Christ) and his spirit (Holy spirit ) are also omnipotent, omnipresent and eternal. The father God created this world through Jesus his word which was brought alive by his spirit (the holy spirit). We can see this very clearly in the creation of Adam Genesis 1:26 - 28; 2:7,8.

IF ANYONE WANTS A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THE TRINITY JUST
TAKE FEW MOMENTS TO THINK AND LEARN ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOUR BODY, THE PRODUCTION OF WORDS FROM YOUR MOUTH AND YOUR SPIRIT.

THE TRINITY CONCEPT BECOMES PRACTICAL, THE BIBLE COMES ALIVE AND NO ONE CAN DENY TRINITY!

I ALSO WANT EVERYONE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS NOTHING INCORRECT IN COMPARING THE IMAGE OF GOD AND THE IMAGE OF MAN BECAUSE GOD CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE (GENESIS 1:26)!

 

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