Trinity

the-Baptism-of-Jesus.jpg
~ The Baptism of Jesus (I love He Qi’s art works)

How does one share about “the Trinity” to a bunch of secondary school students for two Fridays in February without being stuffy and inaccessible?

Thanks Winn for this quote to start the ball rolling:

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The word Trinity is a time-honoured shorthand for speaking about the unique claims of the Christian understanding of God. Because Christians believe that there is only one God, they have typically been classified with other monotheists, such as Jews and Muslims. But, unlike the adherents of these faiths, Christians believe that God has entered fully and directly into the created order, and has become concretely embodied in the world, in two ways: God became incarnate in the womb of a Jewish woman named Mary; she gave birth in Palestine some two thousand years ago, and her child was named Jesus. In addition, God has also been poured out on the world, into the communities of believers known as Israel and the church; this concrete embodiment of God is called the Holy Spirit. These two concrete manifestations of God are considered sufficiently different from the One who forever dwells in ‘light inaccessible” that the designation “monotheism” may simply be inadequate as a description of the Christian faith. For Christians, the one God is also three: the Father or Source, who is the origin of all things; the Son or Word, who comes forth from God and takes on human flesh; and the Spirit, the “Giver of Life,” who dwells in human hearts and animates the believing community.

While certain strands of Christian faith have explicitly denied a belief in the Trinity, these have always had some difficulty accounting for the special status given to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit among most Christians. If Jesus is not understood as God incarnate, why would his teachings and his actions have any special significance? Nor would it make sense to worship and pray to Jesus, as Christians have done for centuries and continue to do today. Similarly, if the Holy Spirit is not divine, the claim that God dwells within the heart of believers, inspiring and directing them in specific ways, becomes very difficult to sustain. Nor would it make sense for the community of believers to speak of themselves as “the body of Christ” and “the vehicle for God’s work in the world.” Thus, despite the philosophical difficulties (and even the mathematical ones!) of asserting the simultaneous oneness and threeness of God, the claim is deeply embedded in the Christian faith.

From Kevin J. Vanhoozer, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology (Cambridge, 2003) 312 pages. (186)
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