…Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness,
of the Creator of creation…
The Lorica of Saint Patrick (St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer)
Why does the Trinity matter?
Many people call upon the strength of God, or at least some higher spiritual power. Yet Christians insist on complicating the identity of God with the inconceivable doctrine of the Trinity; three persons, yet one God. Are we simply trying to be obtuse and exclusive, or might this threeness and oneness actually make a difference?
Isn’t it interesting that of all the religions in our world, only three insist that there is only One God; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? All three, though often embroiled in fierce war without and within, claim the same source; the self-revelation of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The very existence of even one, let alone three such long-standing monotheistic religions amid an endless spiritual smorgasbord, speaks volumes about the truth of this one God and Creator of creation. In a world where people can worship or not worship anything or nothing, why would anyone conceive of monotheism in the first place? Such single-minded worship would have been absurd and unthinkable. Even Abraham could not have imagined that there might only be one God, unless of course this one and only God reached out to a feeble and limited human being with just the slightest inclination to believe the impossible. (Genesis 12:1-9)
God, by definition, must be self-sufficient. Therefore, God did not “need” to create. God certainly did not “need” to create or “give birth to” such selfish free-willed beings who would do so much harm to one another and to all of creation.
That’s where the Threeness and Oneness thing comes into play. If God’s very nature is Triune, then God did not exist from all eternity as an isolated, independent being. Rather, God’s very nature is relational. This is what it means to say that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8)
How can love exist apart from relationship? Relationship with humanity, sure; but what about God as love before humankind took their first breath? God is, was, and always will be love, with or without created beings. Therefore, God must be a relational being, existing in an eternal dance between Father, Son & Spirit.
In this case, God’s nature compelled the creation of free-willed beings in the same way that our relational nature compels us, even the most isolated and independent among us, to long for some form of connection with others. Our desire to be known and to be loved is as inherent as our need for food or water. And so it is with God. Father, Son, Spirit, eternal relationship; love freely chosen from everlasting to everlasting. This is the very nature of God. Apart from relationship, God would no longer be Love. God could no longer be God.
Our desire to be known and to be loved is as inherent as our need for food or water. And so it is with God.
And so, whether in a day or over a thousand years, God created human beings in the Divine Image, to love and to be loved and to share in the eternal joy that is the Threeness and the Oneness of the Creator of creation.
In what ways have you encountered or experience the relational nature of God?
How might the threeness and the oneness of God affect the way you pray?
In light of the nature of the Trinity, what does it mean to you that you are created in the Image of this three-one God
Our journey through St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer continues next week:
… I arise today,through the strength of Christ’ birth with His baptism …