question and response

Belief in the Trinity

Do you think it is important to God that we believe we understand the Holy Trinity or do you think He wants us to constantly be trying to understand?

I think that it is important that we have faith that seeks understanding of the Trinity and many other theological concepts – atonement, salvation, forgiveness. Some of these we experience, some of these we seek to understand, and for many of them we do both. In regard to the Trinity, I believe that it is more important to seek a relationship and experience interaction than to think about or try to understand.

I do not think that it is a faithful response to say that we fully understand the Trinity. I think that there is a balance between knowing / understanding and fully understand the Trinity. Our journey at Resurrection is one of knowing, loving and serving God and this is a journey that will likely not be complete in this life.

This question came out of a young adult small group taster last Sunday morning in which I taught about the question “What is the Trinity?”

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

2 replies on “Belief in the Trinity”

Do you think it is important to God that we believe we understand the Holy Trinity or do you think He wants us to constantly be trying to understand?

I think it’s kind of a both/and, as you have said. Since the dogma of the Trinity is part of divine revelation, it would stand to reason that there are some aspects of the Trinity that are capable of being understood, to some extent. However, equally dogmatic is the ineffable-ness of the Trinity, in that due to the infinite nature of God, there is no possible way one could ever say, even after an eternity of knowing God, “Yes, I understand now.”

I think that the seeking of relationship and interaction is a means towards understanding, rather than in opposition to it. Certainly the dogmatic definitions of the Trinity were born out of serious thought, reflection and the teaching of the church handed down from Christ and the Apostles, yet at the same time there was the undeniable experience that the Church had of the Trinity- inherited from its Jewish roots, mediated through its experience of Christ, and brought to fruition through the Holy Spirit’s work in and through the church.

Throughout church history there seems to be a dual stream of experiencing God- you have the highly intellectual approach typified in Aquinas and yet the mystical/experiential approach typified by Teresa of Avila. I find it interesting that two seemingly distinct and different approaches (and persons) find a place in the church’s thought and religious life, as evidenced by both Aquinas and Teresa both being Doctors of the church. That encourages me a lot.

deviantmonk – You definitely get vocabulary points for using “ineffable.” I really like the point that you place in the interaction and intersection of the intellect and experiential ways of being a disciple. There is richness in each tradition, but even deeper meaning and more beautiful richness in the combination and interaction.

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