JANUARY 7, 2023
by Michael Reeves
Enter the word mystery, a word so soothing it lets us feel that our absolute cluelessness about how God can be both one and three is actually how things are supposed to be. “God is a mystery,” we can whisper in our most piously hushed tones. “We are simply not meant to know such things.” But while such sentiments score high for their ring of reverence, they score pretty low for accuracy. When in Ephesians 3, for example, Paul writes of the “mystery” that the Gentiles are now included in salvation, the word mystery simply means secret. Paul is sharing a secret with us. Now we know. We are not left wondering what he could possibly mean. The Gentiles are now included. There is nothing of what we would call “mysterious” about this mystery.
So it is with God. God is a mystery, but not in the alien abductions, things-that-go-bump-in-the-night sense. Certainly not in the “who can know, why bother?” sense. God is a mystery in that who he is and what he is like are secrets, things we would never have worked out by ourselves. But this triune God has revealed himself to us. Thus the Trinity is not some piece of inexplicable apparent nonsense, like a square circle or an interesting theologian. Rather, because the triune God has revealed himself, we can understand the Trinity. That is not to say we can exhaust our knowledge of God, comprehend and wrap our brains around him, simply cramming in a few bits of information before moving on to some other doctrine. To know the Trinity is to know God, an eternal and personal God of infinite beauty, interest and fascination. The Trinity is a God we can know, and forever grow to know better.
All of which is to say, the Trinity is not a problem. In looking at the Trinity we are not walking off the map into dangerous and unchartable areas of pointless speculation. Far, far from it. Pressing into the Trinity we are doing what in Psalm 27 David said he could do all the days of his life: we are gazing upon the beauty of the Lord. And as we do so, I hope you will begin to feel as David did, and that you could do the same.