God, Party of Three

Obviously, Christians are not the only ones who believe there is one God. But other faith’s perception of this one God are very different than ours. Some view God primarily as a law-giver or judge. Deists see God as a “watchmaker”—the creator who ordered and wound up the cosmos and now doesn’t interfere. The Christian vision of God is different. We believe that if you peel back the layers of time and space, if you could peer back long before the creation of the world, if you could look back to when there was nothing but God, we would see LOVE. John tells us “God is love.” But how is that possible? Love is an interpersonal quality. In order for love to exist it requires both a lover and a beloved. It takes two to tango, as they say. But if God is only one person, love—even divine love—could not exist before creation because there would be nothing for God to love. This has led some to incorrectly believe that God created humans because he was lonely and he wanted somebody to love. But this is absolutely unbiblical. If God needed us that would indicate some deficiency in his being. Kevin DeYoung articulates this truth really well:

With a biblical understanding of the Trinity we can say that God did not create in order to be loved, but rather, created out of the overflow of the perfect love that had always existed among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who ever live in perfect and mutual relationship and delight.

The Christian vision of God as revealed in Scripture tells us that before there was anything there was love—because at the foundation of the universe is not matter or laws or energy or even will, but RELATIONSHIP. We believe in a relational God—a God who has existed forever in perfect, loving, relationship with himself—Father, Son, and Spirit. Before there were planets, stars, or galaxies—and long before there was you or me or anyone else for God to love—the Trinity has been a community of perfect love. Robert Farrar Capon was a pastor and author who wrote beautifully about the Trinity. He described God as an eternal party—these three persons experiencing joy and love and unity for all eternity in a way we can hardly imagine—and that from this party, which is God, creation burst forth. Capon wrote an analogy of this event I want to share with you.

Let me tell you why God made the world.

One afternoon, before anything was made, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit sat around in the unity of their Godhead discussing one of the Father’s fixations. From all eternity, it seems, he had had this thing about being. He would keep thinking up all kinds of unnecessary things—new ways of being and new kinds of beings to be. And as they talked, God the Son suddenly said, “Really, this is absolutely great stuff why don’t I go out and mix us up a batch?” And God the Holy Spirit said, “Terrific! I’ll help you.” So they all pitched in, and after supper that night, the Son and the Holy Spirit put on this tremendous show of being for the Father. It was full of water and light and frogs; pine cones kept dropping all over the place, and crazy fish swam around in the wineglasses. There were mushrooms and mastodons, grapes and geese, tornadoes and tigers—and men and women everywhere to taste them, to juggle them, to join them, and to love them.

And God the Father looked at the whole wild party and said, “Wonderful! Just what I had in mind! Good! Good! Good!” And all God the Son and God the Holy Spirit could think of to say was the same thing: “Good! Good! Good!” So they shouted together “Very Good!” and they laughed for ages and ages, saying things like how great it was for beings to be, and how clever of the Father to think of the idea, and how kind of the Son to go to all that trouble putting it together, and how considerate of the Spirit to spend so much time directing and choreographing. And for ever and ever they told old jokes, and the Father and the son drank their wine in the unity of the Holy Spirit and they all threw ripe olives and pickled mushrooms at each other for ages and ages.

It is, I grant you, a crass analogy; but crass analogies are the safest. Everybody knows that God is not three old men throwing olives at each other. But I give you the central truth that creation is the result of a Trinitarian bash. The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is a party—that this world is built on the foundation of a relationship. This is why we can say that Christianity is a relationship and not merely a religion. This is what separates the Christian vision of God from all others—including all other monotheistic faiths. The message of Jesus Christ is not that we are to adhere to a set of laws like Islam or Judaism. Jesus didn’t give us a set of rituals to perform or practices to follow like Hinduism or Buddhism. Jesus’ message was that we are invited to join the party that the Trinity has been enjoying since before time began. This article was excerpted from a sermon Skye gave at Blanchard Alliance Church in Wheaton, Illinois, in 2014. photo credit: Lawrence OP via photopin cc

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