(Imperfect) Metaphors for The Trinity

posted in: Teaching, theology | 0

I have heard different people try to describe this mystery of the Trinitarian nature of God through various metaphors. How do we attempt to describe and understand it?
Egg shell, white, yolk- not best choice….different and distinct and even disposable parts.
3 leaf clover- Three parts, same substance…Each identical to the other and related to one another in common connectedness. An elementary way to view the Trinity
Ice, water, vapor- close…..H2O in substance is always the same substance- one’s experience and understanding of it is a function of the different circumstances that cause a difference in how its physical state is perceived in the moment.
Three blind men describing an elephant- body (wall), trunk (hose), leg (tree) – None can see or conceptualize the entire elephant except by exploring all of the elephant at various points of encounter. The elephant is simply the elephant. The difference is how one approaches it and experiences it.
Prism- The prism is a single entity, it is uniformly of one substance, but how we see it is as a function of one’s position. Multitude of colors reflected that are a function of the way something external to the prism (light) hits it and the position from which one is viewing it as the light is refracted by reflection or shining through the prism. The more of the facets of the prism one can see, the more variety of colors emanating from it we can see, the more we will see the reason for the prism…..to magnify and cast the light coming through it or reflecting off it as it exists in its specific component parts.
Any others that you have heard or considered?
Does any one of these seem to give us a better representation
of the reality of the Trinity than another or do all of them leave some mystery still to be discovered?






Terri Renfrew, who read this post added this tip:     In children’s ministry, I will bring a boy to the front and ask him his name. I will tell everybody this is Todd. Now Todd do you have a brother and as he affirms this I ask, what does he call you and his answer is Todd. Then I ask what his father calls him and the answer is Todd. Asking a third time do you have cousins oh yes, several and they call me Todd. So, You are one person, yet you are a son, a brother and a cousin. This is elementary, and we of course reference scriptures and illustrate the trinity also using songs.



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