Friday, May 28, 2010


Have you read the book, The Shack? I have, several times. It’s a great story. It is highly theological. In my personal opinion, it has provided an understanding of The Holy Trinity. The book gives us an insight into what God is all about.

However, this book, nor any other book, nor any treatise, essay, or analytical book can possibly explain the Trinity. It is impossible to do so. As I have heard and said many times, “If you can explain God, it isn’t God.”

There are many thoughts about the Holy Trinity, just as those shared in the book, The Shack. Let me share mine, which are in line with many Lutheran theologians, and might help us understand where the author of The Shack is coming from.

First of all there is the understanding that The Holy Trinity is one God, three persons. We usually say that God is three in one and one in three. Yet that does not really convey an overall concept of The Trinity. First, the “persons” are not persons as we understand them. The word “person” is used, albeit weakly, to denote a sense of being. (However, The Shack does identify three people who appear to be human persons – Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu.

There is a diagram above that is used quite often to “explain” The Holy Trinity. On the outer points of the triangle, there is the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Father. In the center is God. The diagram acknowledges that the Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. Yet, the outer circle recognizes that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father. It recognizes that the Son is not the Spirit, nor the Spirit the Son. Finally, it says that the Father is not the Spirit, nor the Spirit the Father. This diagram is helpful in one way. It shows us that there is no way to explain The Holy Trinity. God is God. God is who God wants to be.

Let’s look at God through another perspective. Scripture says that God is love. This statement is true. So, let’s think about it. Love requires relationship. Love cannot exist all by itself with one person. We know that the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. The power of that love, the existence of that love that flows from both the Father and the Son, is the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Spirit has been called the power of love.

If we embrace this understanding – which is not an explanation – of the dynamics of The Holy Trinity, then there is another concept we might embrace. The Holy Trinity is community. It is the community of love. Knowing that God is love, this is the community of love.

Jesus said the Father is in him and he is in the Father. Jesus also said that he is in us and we are in him. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are invited into this community of love.

Just think what this means for us as we travel our human journey as spiritual beings. Just think what it means to live in this world but also live in a community of love at the same time. Just think what it means to live with love and to live in love.

The Shack is a wonderful book from which to get an inkling of The Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But that is all that the book can do. God is mystery. We embrace that mystery in faith.

We are invited to live in the mystery of God.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings

    On the subject of the Trinity,
    I recommend this video:
    The Human Jesus

    Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you to reconsider "The Trinity"

    Yours In Messiah
    Adam Pastor