Delighting in the Trinity – Steve Lambert
I recently reread a little book called Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves. I reread it because the first time I read it I didn’t understand part of it and I thought that if I reread it I would understand it better. I didn’t. Some of the things Reeves says in the book still made my head spin. I guess that’s to be expected from a book about the Trinity.
However, the point of the book is that the Trinity isn’t supposed to confuse us, the Trinity is supposed to delight us. The Christian teaching that our God is Three-in-One isn’t shouldn’t be a strange, mysterious teaching that only deep theologians and scholars care about. The Tri-unity of God is a good, beautiful truth that we should celebrate and be glad of!
You may be wondering how this can possibly be true. If you are, I suggest you pick up the book. It’s short and written in a fun and breezy way and is mostly really easy to understand. However, let me give you one example of how Michael Reeves taught me to delight in the Trinity through his book.
All throughout human history people have wondered why God (or the gods) created the world. Some creation myths state that it was an accident. Other myths state that the gods wanted slaves. Still others imply that God was bored and wanted something to do. All of these myths of creation make some level of sense. If God is a singular God with nothing to do he could create playmates to meet his needs or to serve his whims. Or if there are many gods who are at odds with each other and battling, they might create us by an accidental side effect of their battles, or even as pawns to use in their machinations against each other. But in all of these creation myths, humans don’t have much dignity. We are either mistakes, pawns, or slaves. And what’s worse, the gods in these myths aren’t very great gods. They battle each other. They make mistakes. They are needy and lonely and bored. They need us to be complete. If God or the gods are like that, they can’t really care about their creation. Their act of creation was self-centred. Humans, at best, can keep on their good sides through religious obedience, but nothing more.
However, the God of the Bible is completely different. He didn’t create by accident and He didn’t create because He was needy. The God of the Bible was and is complete without creation. He doesn’t need us. But He created us on purpose. And not on a whim. It was something He planned for all of eternity. Why? Out of love.
The God of the Bible isn’t just one of many gods who are at odds with each other and He’s not a lone God who can’t relate well to others. The God of the Bible is a Father. He didn’t become a Father at some point, He always has been a Father, which means He has always had a Son. But this Father and Son aren’t like Odin and Thor. First of all, there was never a time before the Son was with the Father. He was with God in the beginning. But more than that, the Son and the Father, though they are distinct, are also completely unified. They are completely One in every way. So much so that the Son isn’t just with God, the Son is God. Similarly, the Son and the Father exist together with a Third Person, the Spirit. This Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and is distinct from the Father and the Son but also One with them.
All of that is mind-boggling and defies our understanding. But it’s also incredible news. Because the Father, Son, and Spirit, don’t just exist together in unity (which already makes them better than the multiple gods of the pagan myths), they LOVE each other. They aren’t just impersonal forces in the universe, they are persons who interact and relate. And they relate with each other with perfect, eternal love. They don’t need us, They delight in each other.
So why did God create us? He created us because the love that exists in our Three-in-One God overflows and must be shared. God created us to include us in His love. Because of this, human beings have so much dignity. We were created for love, to love and be loved. We were created to love each other, but even greater than that, we were created to love God and be loved by Him!
That’s beautiful reality is only true because our God is Three-in-One. Because our God is love and always has been. So let’s be thankful to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and delight in Him.