Pastor’s Page – The Trinity

Remember ISIS? They remember us. As reported by a news brief in the February 2 Catholic Star Herald, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on a Catholic church in Istanbul on January 28. In their statement, they explained that they “attacked a gathering of Christian unbelievers during their polytheistic ceremony.”

Islam generally holds that the doctrine of the Trinity means that Christianity is not a true monotheistic religion. One plus one plus one does not equal one.

A year ago, Dr. Ryan Messmore spoke to about forty parishioners about the Trinity. He began with what I have since called the “Messmore equation”: 1 x 1 x 1 = 3. Multiplication is more powerful than addition and divinity is more powerful than humanity, so the Messmore equation is the more appropriate mathematical formulation of the Trinity.

I usually take three approaches to the Trinity.

In Scripture, the Trinity is discussed mostly in relation to us and our path to salvation, that we Christians are sons and daughters of the Father, brothers and sisters of the Son, and living temples of the Holy Spirit.

In the psychological approach, I ask people to consider that they have both an image of themselves and an opinion of that image. How do I imagine myself? Am I satisfied with that self-image? In our case, these are thoughts and feelings. In God’s case, they are distinct persons. God’s image of himself is the Son, also called the Word of God. The Father sees himself perfectly reflected in the Son – he loves the image – and the Son sees his exclusive origin in the Father. Their bond is the Holy Spirit.

In the love approach, I start with the biblical declaration that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). The Scriptures do not merely say that God loves; they say that God is love. Love requires relationship, so there must be relationships within God. The Father is the Lover, the Son is the Beloved, and the Holy Spirit is the Bond of love.

Christians are not polytheists, but they do have a distinct doctrine of God, shared by no other religion. Let’s proudly profess the Trinity whenever we make the Sign of the Cross.