Trinity Analogies

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by gekko, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. gekko

    gekko
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    Hey all - heard a bit here and there about the Trinity on the board - so i thought i'd bring this up. i sure hope nobody's done this already.

    why dont we list off any of the analogies that we know or heard of that could possibly explain how the trinity works.

    and then we can debate if you like which ones have more biblical precedent then others.
    ---

    i'll go first:

    The Apple

    there's three parts to the apple:
    1)skin
    2)"meat"
    3)core

    all three of these make an apple - can't really have an apple without the core - can't really have an apple without the meat... then there's the problem with the skin - its still an apple without the skin... it may be mistaken as something else. but you know there's something missing - the skin.
    ---

    anybody got any more?
     
  2. LeBuick

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    I just read a fairly good one using water. Sure hope that person enter theirs here.
     
  3. Marcia

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    Most analogies I've heard are not that good and actually end up somehow making the Trinity sound different from what it is.

    I can't think of one I like and so I don't use them when talking about the Trinity. :smilewinkgrin:

    I would rather say:
    The Trinity is one Godhead comprised of 3 distinct, co-equal, co-eternal Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the HS, who are the same divine substance.

    Part of the Athanasian Creed:
     
  4. Jim1999

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    I suppose the most famous analogy is that of the three-leafed clover...three in one.

    The early Church of England used the egg to demonstrate the trinity: shell, yolk and white.......three in one.

    I think all the anologies break down if we press them too far. The trinity is a great mystery and will remain so until we see Jesus face to face.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. DeeJay

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    All analogies breakdown because there is nothing in our experiance that is anything like the nature of God. That is also why we can not fully grasp in our minds what He is like. Same goes for eternety, they are things that will be compleatly new, different and amazing when we get there.
     
  6. Eric B

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    To help people try to picture "trinity in unity", trinitarian writers began referring to examples of triunity in nature. "The Heavens declare the glory of God..."(Psalms 19:1), and for many things there is a source to which it is 'referenced', or 'identified in/as', a visible manifestation which it is seen in, and a third manifestation, which it is experienced in. So God Himself is identified as the F[SIZE=-1]ATHER[/SIZE], (1 Cor.8:6), seen in the S[SIZE=-1]ON[/SIZE], (John 14:9, Heb.1:3), and experienced in the H[SIZE=-1]OLY [/SIZE]S[SIZE=-1]PIRIT[/SIZE] (Romans 5:5, 1 Cor.2:10).
    The universe is identified as the physical realm, which is manifest in space, and experienced in time. Space is referenced to a 1st dimension (l=length), seen in two dimensions (l 2=area) and experienced in three dimensions (l 3=volume). Time has its source in the future, is manifest in the present, and was experienced in the past. Now, the most striking analogy is a light source. The burning or glowing object is the source. it is seen in the light it emits, and felt in the heat which is emitted by both the source itself, and also by the generated light. Now this turns out to be practically the exact model of the Godhead. In fact, this analogy is even recognized in scripture, where Jesus is called "the light" (John 1:4-9, 8:12, 12:46, Rev.21:23), and along with the Spirit, proceeds forth from the Father; and the Spirit is sometimes associated with fire (e.g. Luke 3:16, Acts 2:3,4), and is also described in a similar analogy involving wind (John 3:8), and proceeds from both the Father and Son (John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7). Moving on to living beings now, another excellent analogy is what is called the trichotomy, or "triunity of man". Man, made in the image of a plural God (Gen.1:26), is identified in/referenced to his [SIZE=-1]SOUL[/SIZE], seen in his [SIZE=-1]BODY[/SIZE], and in a sense, can be experienced by his [SIZE=-1]SPIRIT[/SIZE]. Now the distinction between soul and spirit is pretty fuzzy, and the two are frequently confused, but they are shown to be separate in 1 Thess.5:23 and Heb.4:12. The soul is shown to be the person's self, basically the invisible person. So your soul is you. The body is also you, representing the person in the physical visible realm. Whereas it can be shown that animals are souls, (Gen.1:20-21, 30; 2:19, 9:4, 10, 12, 15; Lev.11:10, 17:11) they are never shown as having spirits, but it is man's spirit that gives him his understanding (1 Cor.2:11, Job 32:8), setting us apart from the animals, and is the part of us that communicates with God (Rom.8:16). No doubt, God's creating us "in His image" was His adding, breathing into us that third part of us that gave us our intelligence. Body and spirit are in a sense, manifestations of your soul. They are your soul, or person in the sense of being different parts or aspects of it. When something troubles your soul, they trouble you; when your body is hurt, you are hurt; when God 'touches' or 'moves' your spirit, He does those things to you.
     
  7. gekko

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    the water analogy of the trinity:

    liquid - ice - vapor
    3-in-one.

    but that doesn't work because they all can't be the same at the same time - liquid can't be ice as much as vapor can't be liquid.
    ---

    the egg analogy:

    shell - yolk - white
    3-in-one

    again - the shell can't be the yolk - the white can't be the shell. doesn't work.
    ---

    the best analogy i've heard thus far is this.

    Space

    the space around you - it has three attributes:
    1)height
    2)width
    3)depth

    space can be all three at the same time and still look like space - the height can be the width - the width can be the height - the depth can be either height or width.

    3-in-one.
    ---

    kinda work?
     
  8. gekko

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    haha. i didn't even read the previous post...

    i guess i just simplified it... :)
     
  9. LeBuick

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    I don't know, you've seen ice water where you have cubes in water which are made of water and steam or vapor condenses back to it's liquid state.

    I heard the egg analogy also. I was using one day in class and forgot about the shell so I only had two parts. Luckily they all know I'm human! :laugh:
     
  10. Gold Dragon

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    This is a common bad analogy because of your last point.

    A better analogy using water is the Triple Point of water or any physical substance. At a very specific pressure and temperature, any substance has a point when all three states (liquid, solid and gas) can co-exist in equillibrium.

    It still is a very weak analogy of the Trinity but is a little closer.


    I've always felt that the particle-wave duality of light and matter is something that approaches some concepts in the Trinity. Basically the idea is that light and matter have properties of both a wave (diffraction & interference) and a particle (quanta). Still not quite the Trinity but the hurdle in understanding particle-wave duality can help us with our difficulty in understanding the Trinity.


    I agree with some posters above that pretty much every analogy I've heard of the Trinity is problematic and even heretical in some way when taken to its logical conclusion, mostly because the concept of the Trinity is not logical or based on logic but based purely by faith in the scriptures. However, analogies can be useful to grasp a small portion of the mystery that we believe of the Trinity.
     
    #10 Gold Dragon, Aug 12, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2006
  11. BobRyan

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    Water. H2O
     
  12. Mishelly

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    Time

    Past Present Future
     
  13. God's Word is TRUTH

    God's Word is TRUTH
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    someone told me this one one time.

    God has three parts: father, son, holy spirit.

    We are created in the image of God, we have three parts: soul, body, spirit.

    In Christian Love,

    Dustin
     
  14. Marcia

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    I liked your post, Gold Dragon, but want to comment on this.

    I don't think that the analogies fail because of being taken to a logical conclusion, but they fail because there is no earlthy analogy to God. I think logic is part of God's character and comes from God Himself, as do reason and order, so I don't think that the Trinity is not logical. It's just beyond our ability to comprehend because our logic and minds are finite. I think the Trinity, like other things about God that can't be explained fully, can be apprehended, however, even if not comprehended. :flower:
     
  15. Gold Dragon

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    I agree that logic is definitely from God and so are reason and order. But that doesn't make the Trinity a logical concept. But logic doesn't define all of reality and there are many beautiful and wonderful things that God has created that just aren't logical. There is nothing wrong with that unless you believe that there is something inherrently wrong with things that are not based on logic, which I don't. For example, my love for my wife is not a logical love but it is wonderful and beautiful and definitely from God.

    My love for the order found in the sciences, reason and logic are also beautiful wonderful things from God. The Trinity just doesn't happen to be one of them.
     

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