Trinity Changes Everything

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Travel back in your mind for a moment to the beginning of time, before Creation, and imagine a God who is not a Trinity: a solitary, all-powerful, self-sufficient Supreme Being. He relates to no one, answers to no one, speaks to no one. He is independent and alone, living in secluded splendor.

His thoughts do not go beyond Himself, because He is all there is. He knows nothing of relationships, dialogue, intimacy, love, friendship, serving, or giving. He has no need to practice consideration, patience, respect, generosity, self-sacrifice, compassion, or kindness. He takes no one else into account, because no one else is there. His existence revolves entirely around Himself.

If such a God were to create a universe, would He make a world of people where it’s all about family, community, and relationships? Would He come up with the idea of something called marriage, where two lives merge and live together as one? Would He establish love as the supreme virtue?

It is highly improbable.

Would He give us the capacity for humor and enjoyment and laughter?

Not likely.

Would it ever occur to Him to become human and to share His glory with us?

It would never cross His mind.

If the Solitary Deity had created us it would be to obtain service and worship. It would be all about His supremacy and our subservience; He would be king and we would be servants. It is not people and relationships that would interest Him but compliance. This God would demand that we bow and obey—you get with the program or you’re in big trouble.

That’s the kind of universe we would expect from the all-powerful Unaccompanied Boss.

You end up with a heavenly Hitler.

Trinity 30But … what if this God were actually a Trinity: a community of love and goodness and creativity and joy? What if this Divine Being were made up of a Father and a Son who love each other with eternal passion in the abounding fellowship of the Spirit? His creative activity would be entirely different, would it not?

We would envisage such a God to make a world where people experience the joys of marriage and family and friendship, and where love is valued as supreme. A realm where there is joy and goodness and beauty and wonder. A planet of sunsets, strawberries, butterflies, waterfalls, roses, and hummingbirds.

Such a God would create people in His image in order to lavish upon them His love and goodness. And it would not be surprising that, if things went awry, He would respond in mercy and compassion, and, if necessary, act sacrificially to rescue His creation.

It is also conceivable that this Divine Community of love would go a step further and invite humans to be part of His family as sons and daughters.

A totally different scenario develops when we have a Father- Son-and-Spirit God, instead of a Celestial Caesar. The Trinity is more than just another item in the creed. It is bedrock truth about God that radically transforms the whole story.

The Solitary Deity ends up looking a whole lot like a Middle Eastern deity who rewards suicide bombers and terrorists with heaven.

The Triune God ends up looking like Jesus giving His life for His enemies on a cross.

Slight difference.

This is the God Jesus made known to us—the stunningly beautiful God of overflowing love and joy, who is Father, Son, and Spirit.

–J. O. Schulz,
What Jesus Wished People Knew About God

Tyrant or Trinity?

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The late Christopher Hitchens, author of the book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything . . . said in an interview: “I think it would be rather awful if it was true, if there was a permanent, total, round-the-clock divine supervision and invigilation of everything you did. You’d never have a waking or sleeping moment when you weren’t being watched or controlled and supervised by some celestial entity from the moment of your conception to the moment of your death. It would be like living in North Korea.”

Mr. Hitchens presents a good case! However, it is most helpful to note how he describes the deity in whom he does not believe: an all controlling Divine Despot who is keeping tabs on everyone—the Heavenly Policeman.

To be honest, I find myself in hearty agreement with Hitchens on this point because, quite frankly, I don’t believe in that god either. Who would want to be a worshipper of such a god?

Such a deity, in fact, does not exist.

The God revealed in Christ shows Himself to be not a self- centered dictator but an other-centered fountain of goodness. He is not a tyrant, but a Triune community of love.

And that makes all the difference.

J. O. Schulz,
What Jesus Wished People Knew About God

The God Who Is Outrageously Good

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If God were as many perceive him to be, we would do well to reject him. A celestial caesar who is harsh, implacable, demanding, easily annoyed, fussy, vindictive, overbearing, and unforgiving is not worthy of worship. To those who turn away from such a deity, I would say, “You’re absolutely right. I can’t bring myself to believe in that God either.”

If, however, God were as compassionate, humble, kind, genuine, irreproachable, and furiously good as Jesus—that changes everything! We have never seen anyone as irresistibly wonderful as Jesus, and if God were like him—that would be the best news ever broken on planet Earth! Before a Christ-like God we would gladly bow, amazed and entranced.

The Christian message affirms that Jesus came not only to redeem but to reveal the true nature of God. Christ declared that if we have seen him, we have seen the Father. And what we see when we take a close look takes our breath away.

There’s a story that Jesus told that distils the key features of his vision of God into one concise parable. Christ’s narrative brings to light the unspeakable goodness of God’s heart. The story is loaded with spiritual dynamite that blows away the falsehoods that many have believed about God.

There is so much to be learned about God from the Parable of the Prodigal Son that I ended up writing an entire book on it. If people are to know God as He truly is, Jesus’ story is a fabulous place to start.

If you dare to let Jesus overhaul your view of God, you might want to check out the book, WHAT JESUS WISHED PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT GOD. You can find it on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, etc.

The Erosion of Meaning

foundationNo great, inspiring culture of the future can be built upon the moral principle of relativism. For at its bottom such a culture holds that nothing is better than anything else, and that all things are in themselves equally meaningless. Except for the fragments of faith (in progress, in compassion, in conscience, in hope) to which it still clings, illegitimately, such a culture teaches every one of its children that life is a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing.  –Michael Novak

A Lesbian Professor’s Journey to Faith

risenmagazine_2013summer_rosariabutterfield_03In the LGBT community, the opposite of pride is self-hatred. But in the Bible, the opposite of pride is faith. Was pride keeping me from faith, or was pride keeping me from self-hatred? That was when the question inserted itself like a foot in the door: Did pride distort self-esteem the way lust distorts love? This was the first of my many betrayals against the LGBT community: whose dictionary did I trust? The one used by the community that I helped create or the one that reflected the God who created me? As soon as the question formed itself into words, I felt convicted of the sin of pride. Pride was my downfall. I asked God for the mercy to repent of my pride at its root. . . .

My conversion left my former friends and family thinking I was loony to the core. How could I leave a worldview that was open, welcoming, and inclusive for one that believes in Original Sin, values the law of God, seeks conversion into a born-again constitution, believes in the truthful ontology of God’s Word as found in the Bible, claims the exclusivity of Christ for salvation, and purports the redemptive quality of suffering? Only one reason: because Jesus is a real and risen Lord and because he claimed me for himself.

―Rosaria Champagne Butterfield,
Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ