allegorizing the Trinity?

One interest of mine that continually challenges me…and never really leaves me satisfied…is looking for ways to communicate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.  The communication of this doctrine, I believe, is an essential element of Christian teaching.  Often, though, especially in evangelical circles, we are so concerned with the application of doctrine, that we tend to neglect doctrines that don’t seem as readily applicable.  If there were any doctrine in my growing up years that seemed irrelevant to the daily decision I had to make, it would have been the doctrine of the Trinity.  When I finally began to understand the relevance this doctrine has for our daily lives, my interest in communicating it exploded.

One of the difficulties we have communicating this doctrine is that there is no single verse in Scripture that articulates a complete picture of the doctrine.  Another difficulty communicating this doctrine is that all analogies drawn from nature tend to fall apart rather quickly.  Some of the more helpful analogies are those drawn from human relationships.  That is why I’m really intrigued to read William Young’s book, The Shack, which is, I believe, in the top 100 best-selling titles on Amazon currently.  I haven’t read it yet, but I know a number of people who are or have read it.  And there is a LOT of buzz around this book right now.  I can’t review a book I haven’t read, but from what I’ve read about it, I know that it is a fictional novel driven by an allegory of the Trinity based several people relating to each other.  Sounds pretty intriguing, no?

Here are a couple reviews that caught my eye:

on Christianity Today’s website

on Amazon

posted by: caleb

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3 thoughts on “allegorizing the Trinity?

  1. I heard a lot about that book, but seeing as my “need to read” list of books is an ever growing list — more of a scroll or collector’s set right now — I am leery of picking up another one.

    When you finish it let me know what you think through whichever means you feel like letting me know.

  2. The sun is the best example on human terms for representing the Trinity. My interpretation follows: We see, and see by the light of the sun which represents the Son. We feel the heat of the sun which represents the Spirit. Last, but not least, is the radiation which represents the Father.

  3. All examples from nature tend to fall apart rather quickly…and usually in the direction of modalism. The “water” metaphor is also one that many people mention as being the best example. Both water and the sun fail to represent the distinct fullness of deity that Christians believe exists in each member of the Godhead, while at the same time maintaining the distinctions between them.

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