Why Bother with the Trinity?

Why bother with the Trinity? You know what I’m talking about, right? The Trinity refers to our three-in-one God. God has eternally existed as three persons, Father, Son and Spirit. If you’re like me, you’re comfortable that the Scriptures reveal a Trinitarian God to us,[1] but you don’t necessarily know why it matters all that much, or why it makes much difference to life. At least, that’s how I used to think. Now, I love the doctrine of the Trinity. One of the reasons I appreciate it is because of that little word I just used, ‘love’. The Trinity shows us that the reason love matters so much to human beings is because it is grounded in ultimate reality. To desire love and to express love is not incidental to our existence. The reason there are countless works of art about love… the reason a human’s wellbeing deteriorates without love… the reason we want to be loved is not an accident. It is not an evolutionary adaptation for the survival of our species. It’s the result of being created in the image of our Trinitarian God (Genesis 1:26-27).

Now, let me introduce you to Glen Scrivener. Glen is an Aussie working as a minister in the UK, and he is one of the persons who has helped me appreciate this ancient doctrine of Christianity. Below, he explains more about why ‘love’ is woven into the fabric of reality. It’s a little wordy, but it’s worth pondering:

“From all eternity the Son has been ‘in the bosom of the Father’. That’s the King James phrase that shows up once more in John’s Gospel – at the last supper. It was a good meal, with good wine, great company, singing and conversation. Young John leans back onto his Master’s chest (John 13:23). He’s resting ‘in the bosom of Jesus’. Yet, in John 1:18 we learn that this was the eternal repose of the Son with the Father. John in the arms of Jesus was just the faintest snapshot of God’s life. For eternity, Christ has been ‘in the arms of’ the Father.

‘You loved me before the foundation of the world’ – that’s how Jesus describes eternity in John 17:24. Before there was anything, there was love. The Father, by the Spirit, has eternally poured his love onto and into his Son. In other words: ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). God is this loving communion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

And this relationship is the explanation for everything else. Their love was too good to keep to themselves. From the overflow of their life together, the Father has created a world, through his Son and by his Spirit. We have been birthed out of love and destined to share in it.

The world carries on as though love, community, compassion and personal relationships are the greatest things. Yet the world cannot ground this intuition in ultimate reality. The materialist says we are the product of time and chance, the unitarian says we are the product of a supreme will, the polytheist says we’re the product of chaotic forces. Love, in such universes, is only a gloss. Push deeper and it’s impersonal powers that rule.

No-one can ground our dearest ideals in a reality that befits them – except the Christian. Only the Christian can make sense of the feeling that ‘love is the greatest thing.’ Because only the Christian can say that ‘the greatest thing’ – God – is love.”

Incredible isn’t it? God is love (1 John 4:8). God has not existed as a solitary, independent individual for all eternity. Rather, God is a ‘tri-union’ of love. For all eternity, Father, Son and Spirit have loved one another. And this God created our reality. Love is woven into its fabric. This God created us in his image. This is why love matters so much to us. And this is just one reason why we should bother with the Trinity!

Learning with you,


[1] If you’re not sure, check out this article: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-is-the-doctrine-of-the-trinity