Understanding the Trinity Pt. 1
The doctrine of the Trinity is something that confuses many people: Christians and non-Christians. If you find yourself lost when trying to understand the triune God, you are not alone. In this episode of Napkin Theology, Pastor Mike Hilson sits down with friends to help understand the mystery that is the Trinity.
Real Questions from Real People
- "Did the Trinity exist at the very beginning with Adam and Eve? And if it did exist, then the Holy Spirit would have been in Adam and Eve. Why did they sin?"
- "So we have this God that created everything and he always was and so on and so forth. But one thing that kind of confused me is you talk about this Trinity, this three headed God, but you just say you have God, but you have this three headed God. Three in one. Didn't make sense. It was if he's so great and he's so sovereign and he's so special, then why does he need buddies?"
- "From all the teachings that I've learned, we were created to worship God. And we're also taught that God cares about us, He's here for us. That logic is that God created beings solely to worship Him. Somebody that has to have worshippers. And that's all we were here for. We just failed in our mission. Am I missing something with that understanding?"
- "God obviously knew that they [Adam and Eve] were going to sin. So a lot of times we ask ourselves, 'why does God allow things', right? If he loved us from the very beginning and he seeks a relationship with us, an individual relationship with us, then what's the point of allowing us to almost self destruct?"
Pastor Mike's Answer:
There's a core question to what you're missing, and it's common, actually. But let me begin with the question, does God need us? Because to be honest, if God needs us, this is a horror show.
All right, let's start with the basics for people who don't understand the Holy Spirit and the Trinity. Because in the beginning, God. We know it says that. So we know that in the beginning there was God. Now we also know that God the Father is the one that creates. So when we think of "in the beginning, God", we think of God the Father.
Okay, you're asking a question about the Holy Spirit. So we now know through Acts, chapter two and other places that the Holy Spirit exists. But you're asking about this in the Garden of Eden, which predates the third person we have to talk about, which is Jesus. Jesus ultimately comes to fix what got broken in the garden.
And your question is, if the Holy Spirit was with them in the garden, why did they fall? So let me answer this question first. Let's be careful and understand that there's God the Father, God the Son, Jesus and God the Holy Spirit. Now. God, the Father is God. When I do this part, it throws some long term believers. So stay with me. Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.
Very difficult for us to understand, frankly, beyond our understanding, but our God is huge. If our God is bigger than us, then He shouldn't be something we can comprehend. And what the Capidocian fathers pointed out was that the Father is God, Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God, but the Father is not Jesus. They're separate, but they're one.
You say, "well, that doesn't make sense". Yeah, but it's God. This is part of that. He's more than we comprehend. Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is God. But Jesus is not the Holy Spirit. They're not the same, but they are all God. I'm going to show you something else in just a minute. The Holy Spirit is God, but He is not the Father. And the Father is not the Holy Spirit. So you have this: They are all God, but They are all separate.
But because you've got Father, Son, Holy Spirit, all three are God and all three are separate. The God of the Bible, by existing in the Trinity, is community within Himself. And because God is community within Himself, He does not need us. Therefore, why did He create us if He did not need us? And I believe the answer is the same.
I'm a grandpa. Let me go to being a grandpa. It's one thing when my kids hand me one of my grandkids and say, "okay, you got to go with your grandpa now", and she screams and it's awful. It's a whole different thing when I walk into the house and their faces light up and they run papa, and they come running to me and they hop up in the arms. Whole different thing. We experienced this with our kids, too.
And I think when God created mankind; He desired that worship relationship. It says in Genesis that God walked in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve. And I think that what you're looking at in scripture: is not God needing us, but God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, loving our adoration of Him, of Them. Because in the end, God could have created us just to be mechanical worshippers. Just computers or robots, if you will, but He didn't. He created us with a free will.
This also answers to another thing. In the garden was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There was the potential for sin in the garden. And a lot of people have argued, if God knew we would sin, why would he be even given the potential? If the Holy Spirit living inside of Adam and Eve would have kept them from falling, then the Holy Spirit living inside of you and me would keep us from committing sin now. And that's not always true.
So I think humanity just plays a role in this. The Holy Spirit was there. The Trinity was present at the very beginning, but no, the Holy Spirit didn't keep them from falling. God obviously knew that they were going to sin. So a lot of times we ask ourselves, why does God allow things, right? If He loved us from the very beginning and He seeks a relationship with us, an individual relationship with us, then what's the point of allowing us to almost self destruct?
When He created us, He had the option of either making us robotic beings who must follow Him at every turn: we don't have options, we don't have choices, no Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would have been put in the garden, just wouldn't have been a choice. Or He could make us creatures of free will who had to choose to follow Him, because if there weren't a choice, we couldn't choose to follow Him. We couldn't choose to love Him.
Therefore, if He was really to have have people that actually loved Him, they had to have another choice. God gives us a choice. And I think that's the answer to why Adam and Eve, the Holy Spirit, did not stop them from falling.
If you have real questions that deserve real answers, Napkin Theology is for you! Watch the whole series of concise theology for real people here.