Because we are made in the image of God, we get important insight into both natures, how our natures coincide, and how they work together.
Trinity means functioning simultaneously in three different ways.
God uses three-in-one design extensively throughout his creation. For example, space is one nature, but a trinity: height, width and depth. Time is one nature, but a trinity: past, present and future. Matter is one nature, but a trinity: solid, liquid and gas.
Man is one nature, but a trinity: body, soul and spirit.
We know about our own trinity from inside information; not just from something we observe, but from something we experience, from our own understanding of ourself. We have:
• Body - physical
• Soul - mental (mind, will and emotion)
• Spirit - God connection
We say things like, I tell my body to get going, but it just doesn’t want to move.
We come to know God by knowing ourselves.
Animals have bodies and souls. Some people may argue that animals don’t have souls, but, to test, just kick a dog and observe not only the physical, but also the mind, will and emotion.
But among all earth’s creatures, only man has the SPIRIT part, the God connection.
The Bible says that God himself is a trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and that man was created in God’s image.
Therefore, because we resemble God, and God resembles us, we get important insight into both natures, how they coincide, and how they work together.
The concept of God’s trinity is cause of considerable confusion and friction. For example, Muslims think Christians worship three Gods. No! God is one God, not three Gods.
For centuries, God has been referred to as the three persons of the trinity. That’s confusing because the word person now means something very different than in times past. Today the word refers to a self-conscious autonomous individual, but then the word referred to patterns and qualities of behavior.
Trinity in the Bible is not individual persons but functional behaviors.
In mathematical expression, it’s not 1+1+1=3, but 1x1x1=1.
Our computer age gives us a practical understanding of the three-in-one concept:
Imagine a company with 100 stores, all computerized. There’s the main server in company headquarters, there's a terminal in every store, and there's a network of digital phone lines connecting them all together.
Now, which is 'the computer' – the server, network or terminal? We can’t say. They are all intertwined as one. Everyone in the company simply calls it 'the computer' – just as we say 'God' – even though there are three distinct parts functioning at once in different ways at different times in different places. Simultaneously!
The Bible says there is hierarchy within the trinity. The Father sends the Son, and the Son sends the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit draws people to the Son, and the Son draws people to the Father.
Anything we say about God is an over-simplification due to limitations of our finite minds. But, very simply, from the Bible, we see that the Father is in charge of the universe, the Son is in charge of the world, and the Holy Spirit is in charge of us individually (if we let him be in charge).
God-the-father is the supreme God of the universe, generally recognized and acknowledged by people everywhere.
He is the designer-creator, and he established the physical and spiritual laws by which we live and die. He is not a body or a gender. He is all-powerful, all-knowing and everywhere present.
Nearly everyone throughout history has known he's out there, but without the Son and Holy Spirit, he would be only a remote power, and no one could really know or understand him.
As an analogy, suppose you want to communicate to a colony of ants. You could shout, gesture and drop notes, but all to no avail. The only way is for you to become an ant and go down among them.
Similarly, God had to become a man to communicate with us.
True, he could continue sending prophets, as he did in the Old Testament, but people would not be able to distinguish between who is real and who is fraudulent or misguided. Many would claim to be prophets, and most people would not believe them, and we would be left in in the dark.
So, for a brief time, the Son came into our world bodily as the god-man, being born of the Virgin Mary.
The Son is Jesus Christ. He was human body with divine soul and spirit. Jesus is His name (like James or Robert). Christ is his title (Christos in Greek, meaning the one sent by God).
He authenticated his deity with miracles and eye witnesses. He told us everything we need to know about God.
Jesus physically appeared at the time in human history – which we mark as the starting date of our calendar – when people had developed to the point that they were able to comprehend a fuller revelation of God and understand a new spiritual concept based on trinity ... the new agreement, the New Testament, as explained in Bible credibility ... the key features of this new agreement being a once-for-all forgiveness of sin and a new kind of personal relationship between God and man ... through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Because Jesus had a human body, he was limited to one place at a time. Even though he came into the highly developed Greco-Roman culture, most people still could not read or write, and there were no printing presses, no radio or television, no cars or planes. He couldn’t physically be with everyone, then or now.
And that's where the third part of the trinity comes in.
Just as a part of God came into the world, a part of God can come into every person, individually, if invited. His spirit in our spirit.
Now it’s more than God among us; it’s God in us!
The Greek word for spirit literally means wind or breath. A Christian can have the breath of God within him.
So far we have considered God only from the viewpoint of how he functions (his trinity), but that’s as limiting as trying to know a person solely by observing WHAT he does without regard to WHY he does it.
The Bible reveals two dimensions of God: what he does and who he is.
It’s the distinction between doing and being. One dimension is FUNCTION (explained in this section), the other is CHARACTER (explained in next section).