Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.
One reality that has eluded complete human comprehension and clarity is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which is the language all Christians speak. It states that there is One God who subsists in three co-equal, co-eternal, and con-substantial Divine Persons. Put in another way; God is One (in Essence) and Three in Persons; does that make logical or mathematical sense? No! The Holy Trinity is a mystery that surpasses human understanding.
While the Bible did not use the word Trinity, however, we have lots of passages that indicate the reality of Three Divine Persons in One God. When God said, “let us make human beings in our image after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). He was not referring to angels because they are creatures and cannot create. God, the Father, was referring to God, the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We see the same invitation during the building of the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:7) when God the Father said: “come let us go down and confuse their language.”
Understanding Divinity’s Creative Plan for Humanity
On this day, we shall be focusing on the timeless lessons we could learn from the doctrine of the Holy Trinity instead of recycling the usual arguments for the tenability of the fact that there are three persons in one God. The Holy Trinity does not need our rational arguments and proofs to exist.
What lessons can we possibly learn from the Holy Trinity? There would be a need for us to revisit a vital information from the Book of Genesis (1:26-27 NAB):
Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth. God created mankind in his image; in the image of God, he created them; male and female, he created them.
The central point of the passage relates that the Godhead, consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, made human beings (humankind) in the image and likeness of God. The question we need to ask is, “what is this image and likeness of God?”
Image refers to the representation of a thing like one’s picture, and likeness refers to resemblance or similarity. Putting these together, we understand that God created human beings to resemble or reflect God. The image and likeness of God that human beings reflect is the Trinity, which also means unity in diversity.
Individually, we reflect God by having three components: spirit, soul, and body. We could remember that God fashioned man from the dust of the earth (body), breathed on him (spirit), and he became a living soul (Gen. 2:7). In his concluding words to the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:23), St. Paul asked God to preserve their spirit, soul, and body at the coming of the Lord.
Collectively as human beings, God created us to reflect the diversity of the Trinity while maintaining the unity of our shared humanity. Essentially God created one race: namely, humans consisting of males and females of all colors big and small; rich and poor. All the multiplicity of races we have in the world today are distortions that are not part of God’s plan.
Timeless Lessons from the Holy Trinity to Humanity
In the Godhead, there are three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Here, we see a community of persons who share one Essence. We have so much to learn from the diversified unity that exists in the Holy Trinity.
Collaboration, not Competition: Despite their distinct personalities, the three persons of the Holy Trinity are eternally collaborating. We could also recall their respective roles during the Baptism of the Lord. We can do better and achieve more when we work together than when we indulge in useless competition. From the Trinity, we learn to help and not to hinder.
Unity in diversity: They are three distinct persons, yet they are One in Essence. We are different individuals from various backgrounds, ideas, and dispositions. However, we are united in one Christian community. Our diversity should be at the service of a functional unity because, as St. Paul would say in Christ, our diversities give way to unity (Gal.3:28).
Equality: In the Godhead, there is absolute equality, given the fact that they share one Essence. Within our human experience, we all share in one humanity. However, some people keep creating unjustifiable barriers of inequality on the foreground of discrimination about gender, color, class, and others. God created us with diversity as a gift, and we should appreciate it. Nobody chose to be white or black; you don’t choose your parents, nor did you choose your color. Discrimination is not only a sin against our common humanity; it is also like blaming God for creating someone different from oneself.
Moving Forward: We can Breathe and Be Together
At the time of the writing of this prose, the United States of America is heated up by protests following the killing of George Floyd by a Police officer, Derek Chauvin. The deceased was restrained on the ground by the officer who knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes as he cried out, “I can’t breathe.” The unsympathetic officer and his colleagues watch as the young man passed.
The death of George Floyd and similar acts of killing are sins against our common humanity that should reflect the Holy Trinity. Nobody has the right to take a human life in or outside the womb. Life is a precious gift from God and should not be violated.
My dear friends, we can breathe and be together like the Holy Trinity by pulling down the unjustifiable walls and barriers we build around us to the exclusion of others. The Covid-19 pandemic should have taught us a life-time lesson that we are connected and interdependent. Can’t we see that what touches one of us affects all us!
Today, I plead that we breathe and be together like the Holy Trinity. Let us remember that our kneels are useful for prayer, not for killing.
Have a beautiful celebration of the Feast of the Holy Trinity, and may God bless you!