January 03, 2005
image: Triquetra (cc) bella731
I think a part of the difficulty in understanding the Trinity is that people interchange "God" with "God: the father." For this essay, I will refer to "God" as "GOD" and "God: the father" as "Yahwey" - the name given to the hebrew for the name of the one they were to worship. FYI, Yahwey is rendered "Jehovah" in the greek. I like Yahwey better. I think it sounds cooler.
The passage in John 1:1 when it says that The Word (which is later defined as Jesus) was with GOD, and that the Word was GOD, there is something that needs to be understood. By the Greek, the literal meaning requires a one-way translation. You can translate it it to mean that the Word was GOD, but not that GOD was the Word. Ie., "all baseballs are round" doesn't equal "all round things are baseballs."
This is an important distinction. Jesus is GOD. Yahwey (the name of the hebrew God) is GOD. The Holy Spirit is GOD. But Jesus is not Yahwey. And the Holy Spirit is not Jesus. But all three are GOD.
Jesus prayed to Yahwey, and then later said that another would come (the Holy Spirit). Right there, we have three distinct characters. But each character is a "face" of GOD. You need all three to get the clearest picture of who GOD is. Remove one, and you have an incomplete picture. But at the same time, each one accurately reflects the nature of GOD.
When Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22, there is an illustration that a lot of people casually overlook. Abraham (representing Yahwey) was willing to sacrifice his precious son Isaac (representing Jesus). Isaac, obedient to his father's will, allowed himself to be bound on the altar to be sacrificed. Both characters are necessary to see GOD's active will. You can't just look at Isaac and see Jesus; you have to look at Abraham and see the will of Yahwey.
When Abraham sends his servant Eliezer (who's name means "comforter, counselor, guide"... just like the way the Holy Spirit is described by Jesus) to get a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24), the picture we get is that of the father sending the servant to seek out a bride for the son, or rather Yahwey, sending the Holy Spirit to seek out the church (greek Ecclesia, which means "called out ones.") for Jesus. When Eliezer does the will of Abraham, the father, he finds Rebekah, and when he is convinced that Rebekah is the one that is right for Isaac, he adorns her with gifts (gifts of the spirit, if i want to stretch the analogy out that far), praises God and then tells her of the household of Abraham, and then of Isaac. Shortly after, Rebekah is taken to the house of Isaac where they are joined as one.
In this story, Abraham, Eliezer, and Isaac are vital to understanding the nature of GOD. Each of the three reflects the characteristics of GOD in ways we can understand. And each are necessary; remove one, and you have an incomplete GOD.
Does that make sense? This clears up the "how can Jesus pray to God if they're the same person" question. Jesus prays to Yahwey, the father. But they are both personifications of the bigger picture of who GOD is. When you look at Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac, and then look at Abraham, Eliezer, and Isaac's relationship with Rebekah, you get a BIG picture of who GOD is. GOD is bigger than Jesus, bigger than the Holy Spirit, and bigger than Yahwey; GOD is the big picture, using the personification of the three of them in unison to give us an idea of who He is.