MOST HOLY TRINITY: HOMILY
By rev. fr. Boniface nkem anusiem Ph.D
The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most profound mysteries of the Christian faith. It is a mystery because human mind alone unaided by faith cannot grasp it. Thinkers down the centuries have had difficult moments reflecting on this mystery.
A story has it thatSt.Augustine of Hippo, was deeply worried about this mystery and took sometime to take a walk along a seashore. As he was meditating on this, he came across a child playing by herself. On a closer observation he discovered that the child dug a small hole and was going to the sea to scoop some water with a small spoon to the hole.St. Augustinewas curious and asked the child what she was doing. The child said that she was trying to fill the hole with the entire sea water. St. Augustine was amused by the child’s action and told her that it would rather be very impossible. The child turned to him and said “that is how it will be impossible for your small head to understand fully the mystery of the Trinity” and the child disappeared instantly.
The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct persons- The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Seen in another way, it states that God is One in essence and Three in person. The divine arithmetic is 1+1+1= 1. Logic has no relevance here because the result will be fallacious. However in the realm of God what is humanly impossible is divinely possible, what is humanly insurmountable is divinely surmountable, what is humanly fallacious is divinely a truism.
Today we will be making effort to use the physical and spiritual sciences to establish our understanding of the Holy Trinity. Obviously things created bear the imprint of the creator in one way or the other.
In applying the physical sciences in demonstrating the Most Holy Trinity, we will be making use of analogies. To state the fact very well, they are mere analogies, hence they do not perfectly exhaust the mystery of the Trinity, if they do, then, the doctrine of the Trinity will no longer be a mystery. Actually the perfect explanation of the Trinity is the Trinity!
- EGG: Using a boiled egg we can demonstrate three aspects exiting in one. A boiled egg has the outer shell, the inner albumen and the innermost yoke. We can say that the first is egg the shell, the second is egg the albumen and the third is egg the yoke. All these make up one egg just as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit make up one God. This analogy is still not perfect because each of the aspect cannot stand as egg like each of the persons in the trinity can stand as God.
- MATTER: Matter has three states, solid, liquid, and gaseous. These are seen for instance in water. Hence water can manifest itself in three different forms but the same water. This analogy is also not perfect because the personalities are not merely manifestations of ONE GOD.
- LIGHT: Any colour of light is formed from three primary colours: red, green, and blue. Even the light that appears to us as white is a manifestation of three colours in one. This analogy is imperfect. In the Trinity none of the personalities can function without the other. They are eternally inseparable unlike the colours that can be separated.
- FORCE: In physics force is a pull or push which makes an object with mass to change velocity. Three forces control all interactions in matter: gravitational force, electromagnetic force and nuclear force. All these are manifestations of one force. I have earlier indicated that the persons in the Trinity are not mere manifestations of the Godhead.
- Atoms: An atom is the smallest indivisible particle of an element. As small as an atom is it is made up of: (1) positively charged protons, (2) negatively charged electrons and (3) the neutrons. All these exist in one atom. But unlike in the Trinity each of them cannot be called atom.
- TIME: In the universe time exists in three dimensions found in the past, present and future. This is still a single continuum and exists only in the present. God is timeless and this analogy is imperfect.
- SPACE: In our universe space is the three dimensional extent in which events and things occur. In space we have length, width, and depth. Each of them cannot however stand for space in isolation.
- HUMAN COMPOSITION: A single human person is made up of body, mind and spirit. These complete a single individual. Hence we reflect the trinity in our composition. Our human composition shows our limitation but God is unlimited. This is an analogy in any case.
- LIFE ON EARTH: Life on earth can be possible only on three levels: land, sea and air. Each of the spatial habitation is just an aspect and cannot describe the whole. Furthermore there is no equality because water for instance occupies more space on earth than land.
We can at this juncture move in to inquire what the spiritual sciences speak about God. Our source remains the bible. Notable the word Trinity is not used in the bible, but this does not vitiate the fact that the Trinity does not exist. Even the word bible is not found anywhere in the bible but we have it expressed in other words like inspired words. Here we have allusion that more aptly understands the Trinity.
- Genesis 1:26: God said “Let us make man in our image and in our likeness”. God was not referring to the angels because they do not share the same image and likeness with God and they are created, so they cannot create. They are messengers of God. Hence God the Father was referring to the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- Genesis 11: 7 : God said “Let us go down and confuse their language so that they will not understand one another” Here builders of thetower ofBabel were attempting to reach God and God reacted through the action of the three persons in One God.
- Genesis 18: 1-2: God appeared to Abraham at the sacred tree of Mamre. As Abraham was sitting at the entrance during the hottest part of the day, he looked up and saw three men. God came to Abraham in the Trinitarian form.
- Isaiah 6:3: Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory. Note the three times “Holy” “IS” the Lord nor “ARE” the Lords.
- MARK 1: 10-11: As soon as Jesus came out of the water he saw the heaven open and the Spirit coming down on him like a dove and a voice came from heaven “You are my dear son I am pleased with you”.
- 2nd Cor. 13:13: St Paul says “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ the Love of God and The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’
Some people would argue that Jesus Christ is not God. And we reply through the bible:
- Isaiah 9: 6: “Unto us a child is born to us a son is given. And he will be our ruler. He will be called wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace..”
- John 1:1: “In the beginning was the WORD, the WORD was with God and the WORD was God. Verse 14 says “and the WORD was made flesh and he dwelt among us”.
- John 8:58: Jesus said “Before Abraham I AM” We remember this I AM in Exodus 3:14 as the name God told Moses that is the name he should tell the people if the ask him who sent him.
- Philippians 2:6-8: “Though he was in the form of God Jesus did not count on his equality with God, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death,…” Jesus is God but when he came to the earth he lived us humans in humility and for our salvation.
We also establish to those who doubt that the Holy Spirit is equally God.
- Genesis 1:2: “The spirit was moving over the face of the deep” This was before God began active creation. The Holy Spirit has been with the God head from eternity. Hence the Holy Spirit is God.
- Isaiah 61: 1: “The Spirit of God is upon me. He has chosen me and sent me to bring good news to the poor, heal the broken hearted, announce release to captives and free those in prison”. It is God who chooses and sends. Hence the Holy Spirit is here depicted as God.
- John 16: 13: “The Spirit will reveal the truth about God”. Only God can reveal Himself to us. Therefore the Holy Spirit is here depicted as God.
With all these and more we have sufficiently, comprehensively, and painstakingly established that there are three divine persons in on God; the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit.
At this juncture it will be good to ask what we are able to learn from the Trinitarian union of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. From the Trinity we learn
1) Unity in diversity
2) Community in functionality
3) Equality in personality.
4) Sharing with and helping one another
5) Faith and Trust
6) Keeping to our positions in life