In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Most still agree with this. Despite scientific arguments and evolution theory, we sense that we have a higher purpose and calling from an intelligent creator. We know intuitively that scientific theory can not answer our deepest longings for love and acceptance. We’ve all heard the creation story in Genesis and various interpretations of it. My favorite part is when God says, “Let us” in Gen 1:26. “Let us” sets up the ultimate model of community.
Who are the others in “us.” Who is God referring to? This is where the triune God comes into play. The trinity can be a difficult idea to get across. However, one way of thinking about it is with the concept of love. We say things like “God is love.” But to love there has to be relationship – there has to be an “us.” We can’t be all alone and love. Love requires others. It’s more accurate to say, or at least closer to the core characteristics of God, that God is relationship.
Christians refer to this relationship as the Trinity – Father/Son/Holy Spirit. Christians don’t own this – they’ve just identified it. In Genesis we have God, the spirit hovering over the waters, and God’s word – Jesus. The trinity can be seen throughout the Bible. It’s a dance of glorification where each part unselfishly loves and celebrates the other.
What this glorification of each part of the trinity suggests is that loving relationship is at the core of God. Loving relationship is true reality. If this is true, we have a lot to think about for us individualists. I’m quite used to doing whatever I want, when I want. I am who I am – I create my own identity and my own agenda – or so I have thought for many years. But the reality of relationships in my own life tells a very different story.
When my wife and I first got married I was still quite used to doing whatever I wanted. I very quickly discovered that didn’t work for my wife. What I found, though, in this loving relationship, was a deeper understanding of myself and who I was. My character flaws and my positive character traits came into sharp focus. When kids came along, a whole new dimension of self-discovery – of reality – came into view. My successes and failures as a father and husband began to show me who I was on a much grander scale.
The same happens as I expand my friendships and community – I find who I am. With God, a God who invites me into the ultimate loving relationship of the Trinity, I’m home. I find myself loved and accepted fully. My needs are met, allowing me to live fully, completely, and without fear. I find my true identity, not so I can box myself into a faith title, but rather to reach out, not as an “other,” but as a “lover” seeking to expand loving relationships to the glory of God.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson