Over the next several posts I’ll be covering the topic of the Trinity. In the life of a Christian, when we consider the nature of God, there is nothing more essential or basic than the understanding that God is three persons, in one God. This dogma is so foundational and important for Christians it usually becomes a line in the sand in terms of who can rightly be considered a Christian. So while there are some groups who profess Christ, because of their rejection of the dogma of the Trinity most mainline Christians would consider them to not be Christian.
In this section I’ll cover a bit of the history of the development of this dogma, and also delve into the Scriptures that both support this teaching along with the ones that are often used to challenge it. But I want to start with one simple verse that is the heart of the Trinity, and that is 1 John 4:8 – “He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.”
Bishop Barron speaks to this in this clip. The claim most distinctive to Christianity is not just that God loves, but that God IS love. Love is not just something that God does, it is who God IS.
Why is this topic that important? This Orthodox deacon (Dn. Joseph Gleason) says it very well:
“Love itself could not be eternal, if God were not multiple persons. Because if in eternity past there was only one person . . . to whom would he show love? Well, you could say he could create a world and then show love. But then God’s love would be dependent on us. God’s not dependent on anything, or else he’s not God.
Creation is not eternal. You mess around with the Trinity, you mess with everything. You either have to say God is not love, or if you keep saying that He is love, now you have to make creation just as eternal as he is. Which now we are into pantheism, where everything is God, or at the very least God is dependent upon the existence of things. That’s a different kind of God.
The God we serve in Scripture says, ‘God is love.’ We also know that He doesn’t depend on us for anything. He didn’t need to create the world. He didn’t have to. Well, if He didn’t have to create the world, and if He is love, then that means that in eternity past, before the universe was ever spoken into existence, that God is love. The Father loved the Son and the Spirit, the Son loved the Father and the Spirit, the Spirit loved the Father and the Son, before Adam and Eve were ever created. God is love.”
Reflecting on the truth that God is a community of love, and that we are invited to share in this communion of love is foundational to the Christian faith.