“Have your read The Shack yet?” That is a question running rampant in both Christian and non-Christian circles today. The Shack is a book written to help people understand one of the deepest doctrines of all Scripture: the Trinity. With millions reading this book, we are seeing a begging and pleading from people to know God better.
When it comes to understanding who God is, we first need to look at some gross heresies that Satan has cast out there to draw us away from Truth. Hinduism says that there are so many gods, you can’t even count them all. Islam says that Allah is the only God and He has no son. This is obviously a blatant Satanic attack on the Son of God, Jesus Christ! Modalism says that the God of the Bible is only one person, but He shows Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit at different times. Adoptionism says that Jesus isn’t eternally, fully God, but that God chose to adopt him as His Son at his baptism. The Shack is also a heresy because it makes God into a graven image, it turns God into a mother, it encourages modalism, etc. If you’ve read it or know people who have, search the internet for a video by Pastor Mark Driscoll who gives a great explanation of why it’s a lie. A great alternative book to understand the Trinity is “Father, Son and Spirit” by Dr. Bruce Ware. Let’s take a look at what it means that God exists eternally as Trinity.
What does it mean that God is Trinity? The term Trinity speaks of the one, true God existing in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each Person of the Trinity is fully and equally God, but also They are different from one another in their Personhood and role. In other words, God the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father. They are distinct from each other. Also, they each have different roles such as (but not limited to) the Father is the creator, the Son is the sacrifice, and the Spirit is the life-giver. They are distinct (the Father did not die for us).
I think it’s so important for us to see that God exists in Trinity (one God in three persons) all the way from eternity past to eternity future. He has never and will never cease to exist as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If He ceases, then He is no longer God and we no longer have salvation through Him. We see in eternity past that God existed as Trinity by God the Father creating the universe, the Spirit is present and hovering over the waters, and the Son is the one Word the Father created everything by and for (John 1:1-3, 17:24). In the New Testament at Jesus’ baptism, we see the Son being baptized, the Father speaking out, and the Spirit indwelling Jesus as a dove (Matt 3:16-17). In eternity future, we see the Father and the Son (the Lamb) ruling from the throne, and we see the Spirit continuing life like a river does for fish, plants, etc (Rev 22:1-2, Ezekiel 47:1-12). Forever and ever, God is Trinity. Do you know Him like this? Do you pray to the Father, through the power of the Spirit for the glory of the Son (Eph 3:15-17)?
If the Bible is right (and it is!), then God has created us in His image…and God is Trinity! This means that He has created us for community and not merely for our individual lives. We often think that the height of our relationship with God is when we’re all alone with Him and with Bible on our lap. But that is not the case. Because God exists in community within Himself, He has given us the church to enjoy community just as He does within Himself. The height of our relationship with God is when we are in community with other believers in a local church (community of pastors, deacons, and people). The church’s purpose is not to equip us for personal devotions, but our personal devotions are to equip us for the church. The church is the best reflection of God as Trinity (community). The church is also the best reflection of what eternity will be like – the people of God ruling and reigning with Christ. We know God, we grow to be like God, and we worship God the best in the community of committed believers to Jesus Christ – the church (not the shack)!