I’d almost be willing to bet that your reaction to my title was along the lines of, “Yeah, right,” especially if you’re familiar with the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.
It’s commonly presented as a mystery, roughly stated as, “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are God, co-equal Persons, with each bearing all the divine prerogatives. Jesus Christ is simultaneously, fully God and fully man.”
Well … maybe the Trinity isn’t such a mystery after all. Just maybe, there’s a valid analogy that we all understand, based on the human family. I’ll present my idea as fact, even though I’m just suggesting it as a possibility, so don’t get all offended at my “heresy.” That said, I invite any thoughtful broadsides.
My Whacked-Out Trinity Theory
As the word “man” is both a singular reference to a unique, male human being, and a plurality, synonymous with “mankind,” so the word “god” is both a singular reference to a deity, and a plurality, synonymous with, if you’ll allow me to coin a phrase, “God-kind.” In Genesis 1:26 and other places, God referred both to himself and to man as pluralities. A gospel account that supports God’s tri-unity is Matthew 3:16-17 (EMTV) And having been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon Him. (17) And behold, a voice came out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I have found delight.” That’s a fairly common “proof” verse, though. (I quoted proof because only the totality of God’s Word is proof of anything. Folks love to quote a verse or two to “prove” just about anything.)
MACMILLIAN‘s dictionary defines “kind” as, “all the people who are similar to a person, for example, because they come from the same social class.” So, “kind,” bunches all similar people into one category, type, or class. Applied to mankind, it includes all members of the family Hominidae (billions of us). “God-kind,” then, is all people who are like God, or three in total: Father, Word, and Holy Spirit.
Maybe it’s best to begin with the basics: Isaiah 45:5
I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God …
So the Divine Name, which means “Existing One,” refers to God’s totality. I take that to mean the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.
Did you notice Jesus’ name isn’t in the list? That’s because, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) The eternal Word of God “became” God’s unique, human expression when he took on human form at conception and grew into the man, Jesus of Nazareth. I think that’s what some brethren mean when they say, “Jesus isn’t God, because he had a beginning.” I agree that Jesus had a beginning (obviously), but from conception he was, and still is, God’s eternal, divine Word.
No doubt you’re wondering where I got that whacked-out theory. Well, everything I read in the Bible suggests it.
Jesus: Fully God and Fully Man
Now, let’s tackle the idea of Jesus simultaneously being fully God and fully man. Wouldn’t you think that would equal 200%? Not when the two are substantially different. Think of a bowl filled with sand. Is there room for anything else? Of course not, except, perhaps, for a different kind of substance, like water. You’d be surprised how much water that bowl will take. Maybe that’s why God’s Word uses the figure of water to represent his Holy Spirit (just kidding).
Now, please, don’t jump up and down shouting, “I gotcha!” I fully realize my illustration doesn’t apply exactly. Body and spirit aren’t like sand and water, except in principle. God’s Word says in 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (EMTV) For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, (6) who gave Himself a ransom for all, the testimony in due time. What more perfect mediator could there be than one who is both plaintiff and defendant, or lawyer and judge? Yeah, go sue yourself.
So there you have my whacked-out theory. Mind you, I’m not a theologian by a long shot. But part of the beauty of God’s revealed Word is anyone can study it and arrive at their own conclusions, and I can’t be excommunicated from God’s church for making a mistake. When I do—that’s not if—God is perfectly able to correct me, and I love correction, if it makes me more like my Lord.