Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Great Visual on the Trinity

God is Spirit. We cannot see God in any material form. Only in Jesus can the early disciples touch and experience the physical presence of God. In the New Testament era, believers will learn to sense the presence of God primarily through the Holy Spirit.

The doctrine of the Trinity has been a core belief through the Church era. There had been multiple heresies surrounding the doctrine. The Muslims and Jews often accuse Christians of believing in 3 Gods. Others simply failed to understand why there is 3 persons, yet 1 God. The Unitarians decided to forget about the Trinity doctrine and to simply profess one God, period. In other words, there is only one God, meaning that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are 'less' than the true God. In the 3rd and 4th Century, the Arian controversy arose out of Arius assertion that Jesus is created by God, and thus not God. As the movement gained traction, people are increasingly getting confused about the doctrine of God and the Trinity. Out of this formidable challenge arose the Cappodocian Fathers. The three great scholars and theologians, namely Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil of Caesaria, and Gregory of Nyssa, contributed greatly to the Fourth Century meeting of the Council of Nicea, out of which we get our Nicene Creed. This creed essentially puts away all doubt regarding the doctrine of the Trinity and enabled the Church to be united once again.

Through the ages, there has been other controversies surrounding the Trinity doctrine. There is Docetism in which some theologians argue for the person of Christ being 'seem to exist.' Nestorianism asserts that God has 2 natures that Jesus is God in heaven but human on earth, and the two natures are separate. In other words, God cannot be both man and God at the same time. Sabellianism is a form of modalism in which the Trinity is seen as 'modes' rather than persons. In other words, the identities of Father, Son, and Spirit, are primarily understood in terms of the ways the Three deities work. It is easy to be confused by all of these heresies. That is why I find this visual done up by Tim Challies a helpful summary of the Trinity.

I like this visual because it is simple. It highlights the potential heresies. It helps us to understand the doctrine a little better. For a better resolution, you can download the file here. Like all illustrations, we need to understand that such a picture only points, not describe who the Trinity is. Like the sun, we cannot directly stare at it in order to make out what the sun looks like. We can only see it from a distance, and only with safety goggles. This visual is like that safety goggles.


1 comment:

Adam Pastor said...

Greetings Conrade Yap

On the subject of the Trinity,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you to reconsider "The Trinity"

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

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