It is written:
1 John 5:7-For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
One of the great teachings of the Bible which has been attacked through the ages is that of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity states that God eternally exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. While none of us can perfectly understand this concept, it is one which the Bible clearly teaches.
Indeed, the very nature of love itself points to the idea of plurality in the nature of God. The very greatest form of love is that characteristic which kindly and unselfishly gives to another for the sake of the beloved.
One author has written:
“Prior to the Creation, God was all there was. Just God! The blessed Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—had, for eternity past, existed in a state of uninterrupted fellowship. The Father and the Holy Spirit enjoyed an eternal loving intercourse with each other and with the Son. So momentous was this divine love that near the close of his three-year ministry on Earth, Jesus—in his prayer to the Father—spoke of eternity past as a matter of memory: “Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17: 24 NASB). Augustine once commented: “If God is love, then there must be in Him a Lover, a Beloved, and a Spirit of love; for no love is conceivable without a Lover and a Beloved.” A captivating thought, to be sure! If there is a weakness in this statement, it is that some may wrongly conclude from it that the Holy Spirit is just a “Spirit of love” between the Father and Son. This is not the case, however, for the Holy Spirit is himself one of the persons loving the other two in the Trinity and himself being loved by them.” (Ron Rhodes, Christ Before the Manger: The Life and Times of the Preincarnate Christ, 8 (Kindle Edition))
In commenting on the momentous power of the idea of the Trinity in the bestselling book, the Shack, another author has elaborated:
“For Young’s Papa, if God were alone and solitary from eternity, then being other-centered would be out of the question, for there would be no other to be centered upon. Relationship itself and fellowship, even being open, personal, and approachable, would be quite foreign to the very nature of such a solitary God. “Love,” C. S. Lewis says, “is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love.” 2 According to Saint Victor, “No one is properly said to have charity on the basis of his own private love of himself. And so it is necessary for love to be directed toward another for it to be charity. Therefore, where a plurality of persons is lacking, charity cannot exist.” 3 Young, Lewis, and Saint Victor raise a great issue. If there is no relationship within God’s eternal being, then there is no real basis in God’s nature for caring about something other than himself, no basis for altruistic devotion to others or for loving a thing for its own sake. The love of a single-personed God would be inherently self-centered, narcissistic, and ultimately about God, not others. A solitary God could love others for their benefit only by shutting off, as it were, the fountain of his deeper and true nature. That would mean Papa would have only been pretending when she embraced Mackenzie on the porch. Hiding her real nature—self-interest, or private love—she put on the mask of acceptance, all the while waiting to see if her desires would be fulfilled. Her embrace (in this scenario) would be not for Mack’s sake, but ultimately for her own, and thus would have been conditional upon a proper response at some point. This, it seems to me, is a huge point. Are we loved for what we can potentially bring to God’s table, or are we loved for our own sake? Does the love of the Father, Son, and Spirit come with strings attached? Is our existence about relationship, or is it about performance? Is the universe the product of divine self-interest, or need, or perhaps boredom? Are we here to do something for God, for God’s benefit? “What’s important is this: If I were simply One God and only One Person, then you would find yourself in this Creation without something wonderful, without something essential even. And I would be utterly other than I am.” “And we would be without…?” Mack didn’t even know how to finish the question. “Love and relationship.” (103) If God is alone and solitary, then in one way or another we were created for God’s benefit, not ours. 4 But given that God is Father, Son, and Spirit, and given that relationship and love form the core of the trinitarian being, then we were “created to be loved” (99), and to live loved, and to love others without agenda (181f.). As Lewis says, “God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them.” 5” (C. Baxter Kruger, The Shack Revisited: There Is More Going On Here than You Ever Dared to Dream, 117-119 (Kindle Edition); New York, NY; FaithWords)
Those who claim that God is a solitary Being (i.e., the doctrine espoused usually today and known as Oneness Pentecostalism, similar to the “oneness” doctrine of Muslims) cannot deal with the fact that love by its definition is other-centered. The very nature of love points to the Trinity.
Mankind-even the universe itself-were created by a sheer act of grace. God did not need anything from the creation. Indeed, the Psalmist points out that God created the universe as a sheer act of selfless love!
Psalm 136:5-9-To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, For His mercy endures forever; 6 To Him who laid out the earth above the waters, For His mercy endures forever; 7 To Him who made great lights, For His mercy endures forever— 8 The sun to rule by day, For His mercy endures forever; 9 The moon and stars to rule by night, For His mercy endures forever.
Another author has pointed out how the Bible doctrine of the Trinity makes such a profound difference in helping us to understand why humanity was created by God:
“God’s first gracious act toward humanity was not the Exodus nor the Cross, it was Creation. When God created, he acted freely and without compulsion. Humanity did not deserve to be created; it had no inherent right to exist. Neither was there some need which God had to satisfy through creation. God was not compelled by some inner necessity to create in order to preserve his own mental health. Creation was an act of unmerited love which arose freely out of God’s will. God is praised in Revelation 4: 11 because he created all things by his will. Creation was God’s free decision and determined by his own will. But why does God seek a communion of love with creatures? Is God a solitary figure who needs to create in order to have fellowship with others? Does God need company? The Christian doctrine of Trinity, which is the triune nature of God’s life, answers these questions. In the light of God’s revelation in Christ, we understand more about God’s creative intent than is revealed in Genesis 1. While the doctrine of “Trinity” (however that word may be defined, and it has variant meanings) seems remote, speculative and cumbersome to some, it is helpful in understanding God’s purpose in creating the cosmos. 2 One does not have to be an astute theologian to recognize the impact that Trinitarian theology can have on understanding God’s creative act. Indeed, Scripture reveals that creation was a Trinitarian act of God. God the Father is the fountainhead of creation; he is the source and origin of everything that exists. Everything in the universe originated with him; it was “from” him (Rom. 11: 36; 1 Cor. 8: 6). Yet, the Son is the instrument of creation. He is the means by which the Father created (John 1: 1-3; 1 Cor. 8: 6). The Father created nothing without the agency of the Son. The Spirit, as the breath of life, is God’s dynamic presence which energizes life in the world (Job 26: 13; 33: 4; Psalm 33: 6; 104: 30). The Spirit was present at creation, and was the power by which life invaded what was lifeless (Gen. 1: 2; 2: 7). Creation, therefore, is from God the Father through the agency of the Son by the power of the Spirit. The one God, then, performed the mighty work of creation as a community just as that same God performs the mighty work of redemption as a triune community (cf. Eph. 2: 18; 1 Pet. 1: 2). Both creation and redemption are the work of the triune community. The doctrine of the Trinity teaches that the divine reality is a community of loving fellowship between the Father, Son and Spirit. It is a community of holy love. This communion of love explains why God created the cosmos. Even before the cosmos existed, there existed a community of love between the Father, Son and Spirit. Jesus prayed that his disciples might see the glory the Father had given him, and the Father gave him this glory because he loved him “before the foundation of the world” (John 17: 24). This text provides a glimpse into the common life of the Father and Son before the act of creation. Before the cosmos existed, there existed a community of shared love (agape) between the Father and the Son. The high priestly prayer of John 17 also points us to the redemptive love of God which flows from the love the Father has for the Son. Jesus promised his Father that he would continue to make the Father known to his disciples “so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them” (John 17: 26). The intent of redemption is to bring the fallen world into the orbit of God’s agape fellowship where just as the Father dwells in the Son and the Son in the Father, so God’s people may dwell in them and they in God (John 17: 21). God has acted in Christ Jesus in order that we might have fellowship with him. God’s intent is that our fellowship might be with the Father and the Son (1 John 1: 3). If the intent of redemption is modeled after creation, then the intent of creation is clear. God intended to create a people to share his loving community; to have fellowship with God through the sharing of his love. Creation is an expression of grace and love which engages his people in the fellowship of the Spirit (2 Cor. 13: 14). But this fellowship was not created by a solitary, lonely God. Before the creation of the world, God existed as a community, not as a solitary being. God did not create because he needed fellowship, since he already enjoyed fellowship through the triune communion of the Father, Son and Spirit. This fellowship was not created by God, as though at some point in time God became a fellowship. Rather, it is who God is. God is a community of love because God is agape (1 John 4: 8). Consequently, God did not need to turn to anything outside of himself in order to experience loving fellowship and community. This was experienced in the mutual indwelling of God’s Trinitarian fellowship. The grace of God was expressed in the act of creation. The gracious act of creation, an act of agape love, is God’s decision to share what he already possessed. It was not to gain something he lacked. Rather, God decided to share his own loving fellowship within the triune community with others. This is an astounding but wondrous thought. God, without compulsion, decided to share his holy communion with those whom he created. God created out of the overflow of his love. It flows from the inner-Trinitarian love which decided to share itself with others. God decided to express his love by creating us. Just as God so loved the world that he gave his Son, he also so loved that he created a world with which to share his love. God’s love, by his free decision, is self-giving and other-centered so that it seeks to share the joy of the divine communion with others.” (John Mark Hicks, , Come to the Table: Revisioning the Lord’s Supper, 69-108 (Kindle Edition); Abilene, TX; Leafwood Publishers)
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit created this universe-and YOU-out of selfless lovingkindness.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.