A Glimpse, and Only a Glimpse

An instructor in seminary told the story of his little boy asking him a question about the Trinity. After he had ‘explained’, the child said, ‘You don’t understand this any better than I do, do you?’

I’ve often thought about that when trying to ‘explain’ the Trinity to my children or to the church. How do you explain the unexplainable?

And so I appreciate the caution and care reflected in John Frame’s The Doctrine of God as he wrestles with this difficult subject.

The emphasis is mine.

“I agree with Anselm that when we use terms like substance and person to refer to God, we do not entirely understand what we are talking about, but we should not embrace total agnosticism on this matter. We should avoid deductions based only on the extrabiblical philophical uses of these terms. Use of the terms is legitimate, but only as markers to be filled witht biblical content. To say that God is three persons does not add anything to what we learn in Scripture about the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Rather, the term person should include all and only the content of the biblical teachings. Person is simply a label for the ways in which the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are alike, in distinction from the Godhead as a whole.” – page 699

“Again, we must acknowledge our ignorance of the precise distinction between substance and person in God and of the precise interactions between these. God has given us, in Scripture, a glimpse into his inner life, but only a glimpse. The Trinity is not an irrational doctrine, but it is highly mysterious. It is not contradictory, but we do not always see clearly how apparent contradictions can be resuloved.” – page 705

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One thought on “A Glimpse, and Only a Glimpse

  1. MagistraCarminae

    Excellent quote, Randy. I think in my younger days I was tempted to remove all mystery from our beliefs, but much mystery remains and is at the heart, isn’t it? It’s all about God being God and us, well, not being God.Chris

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