Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.
The word mystery describes something or someone impossible to articulate or describe by the excellency of the human intellect. Some things that are mysterious for human beings may not be the same for pure spirits like angels because they enjoy some levels of knowledge that are beyond humans.
One of the first things I learned in my theology class about the Holy Trinity is that it is a mystery that surpasses human understanding. Unfortunately, however, we see ourselves struggling every year trying to explain how God is One in essence and three in persons.
A Holy Mystery and Holy Confusion
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not an idea we need to prove but a mystery we need to accept with faith. No being outside the Godhead can comprehend God fully (1 Cor 2:11).
As close as angels are to God, they cannot unravel the mystery of the Holy Trinity just as they do not have access to the end of time (Matt. 24:36). David understood this limitation when says he does not concern himself with marvels beyond him (Psalm 131:1).
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity tells us that there is One God who exists eternally as three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So, each of the three persons is God and Lord (but they are not three Gods or Lords). They all share one essence and substance.
The mystery of the Holy Trinity, which presents a holy confusion to every attentive mind, is how three persons can be one simultaneously. But, each is fully God and Lord while retaining their distinct personalities.
The scriptures are not silent about the Trinity of Persons in the One Godhead. For example, the first mention of God in the bible from the original Hebrew is “Elohim,” which is the plural form of “Eloah” (God). However, note that the plural form does not suggest the multiplicity of gods. It is more like a single entity addressed as “they.”
Going through the Book of the Beginnings, we notice some instances where God as a single entity said, “let us” (Gen. 1:26; 11:7). Moreso, at the Baptism of the Lord, we see a grand manifestation of the Holy Trinity as the Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove and the voice of God the Father said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:16-17).
Furthermore, while Jesus was giving the missionary instructions to the disciples, he added that they should baptize the converts in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19).
The Holy Lessons
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not an argument that logic can prove, or an equation that mathematics can solve. Even the scriptural references are not proofs but dependable foregrounds to sustain our faith that there are three divine co-eternal, co-equal, consubstantial persons subsisting in One God.
Beyond the Holy confusion about the Holy Trinity, we can only settle for the Holy lessons we can learn from this eternal reality.
We are the reflection of the Holy Trinity: When God made man in his image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27), God reproduced Himself on earth. That means replicating His structure in humans—for instance, every human person comprises three distinct parts: body, soul, and spirit.
Furthermore, God created one human race, just as we have one God, with diversities regarding gender, color, location, and other things. So, the diversity in our world is a divine construction that reflects God.
Unity Beyond Diversity: The difficulty we have in understanding the unity of the three divine persons is a testimony that unity is difficult but not impossible. The problem with most people in our world today is that they are searching for uniformity (sameness) instead of unity (alignment beyond differences).
Unity cannot be possible without love. People can come together, but without the gluing power of love, they stand the chance of dispersing. So, love is what keeps people genuinely together, not just what brings them together.
Collaboration: We Need Each Other: Take a moment to reflect on God the Father’s invitation to the other persons of the Holy Trinity: “let us”! Here we see the desire to collaborate and work with others.
God knows that we need each other, which is why we have neighbors, siblings, moms, and dads. Notice also that we have two hands, one to help ourselves and the other to help others. Finally, remember that we are created in God’s image and should function like God; collaboration with others is a pathway to reflecting God’s image and likeness.
As we celebrate the deepest mystery of God, the Holy Trinity, let us continue to align ourselves to the core values of the persons of the Trinity, which include unity and our readiness to work and collaborate with others.
God bless you.