Analogy Problem Solving Regarding The Trinity

Great Trinity Analogy

Photo Attribution: Wikipedia

A Unique Definition

In one’s quest to try and explain the Trinity, the attempt is often followed by an analogy. Some may feel that none are suffice and will be happy to just say that it’s a mystery, that none can comprehend. Since the Trinity is unique in the universe (concerning one being in three persons) how could we make an accurate comparison anyways? Though I would agree that no one can fully understand God and his triunity of being, that doesn’t mean we can’t have any grasp of it at all. With prayer and study, I’m confident that God will give us the clarity we desire.

I have heard many of the various Trinity analogies out there and I’ll say that most are not accurately descriptive. In fact, some confuse people even more which is rather counterproductive. Many of us have heard the egg analogy where the shell, yoke, and white are all said to be God. The problem with this analogy is that they are compartmentalized and none of the three parts are the full essence or completeness of the egg. At best, this would be describing Tritheism. Another popular analogy is water, ice, and steam existing in different forms. Unless we are talking about the triple point of water, this analogy is describing Modalism.

There are many others out there that we could discuss, but I’d like to share my favorite one (which I feel is one of the best analogies) that I learned from a friend. Lets talk about the sun, ya that big bright object in the sky. The sun (God the Father) is the source of life. From it proceeds light photons/rays (God the Son) and from the rays proceeds the energy/heat (God the Holy Spirit). Now, the ray is not the sun itself but you can’t say it’s not the essence of the sun either, as it can’t be separated. The same can be said for the energy, it’s not the ray itself nor the sun, but it still is the same essence of both. So you have three parts of the one source which are distinct from each other but yet they are all one in essence.

Edit: The comments by Yeremyah brings up some valid points about the sun analogy and shows its weakness. Perhaps this analogy is not as strong as I previous thought. However, an analogy does not need to be an exact match to its comparison. [1] Gloria brought up a good one about space as well. If anyone else has any others that they would like to add to the list, feel free to put them in the comments section.

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Endnotes

1. 2000 A Rulebook For Arguments pg. 35

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About Razor Swift

Rich Christian who is the founder of Razor Swift, seeks to open hearts and minds through the platform of apologetics. It's his desire to approach Biblical, faith, and other issues from a different perspective rather than just preaching to the choir in the Christianese dialect. He maintains that faith and reason mustn’t necessarily be at odds with each other, but can be complementary. May no stone lay unturned.
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3 Responses to Analogy Problem Solving Regarding The Trinity

  1. Gloria Davis says:

    I love your analogy! Another good one is the definition of the word “space” is height, width and depth. Without any of those three, you do not truly have “space”.

    Gloria

  2. Razor Swift says:

    Gloria,

    I really like that one too! Thanks for checking out the blog.

  3. Yeremyah says:

    Enter science. The sun, its rays, and the heat generated from such can all be separated or compartmentalized. You could place a giant lead plate in front of the sun and although not a single ray could get past it, and we here on earth would continue to receive its rays for another eight minutes. If we were on Saturn we would continue to receive them for another 72 minutes. Many of the stars you see in the night sky no longer exist, but the rays of light once emanated from them still do. So we can not say the rays are the essence of the sun – especially when the sun no longer exists.

    Now say you have a black painted metal barrel filled with water, and these rays are heating that water inside. Now after the sun sets the water inside still retains the heat which provides you a nice hot shower at 1 am even though there is no sun and no rays. All three totally separated.

    In reality none of those three are the same substance at all. The sun is made up of hydrogen – there is no hydrogen in rays or heat. Hydrogen has no light or heat. Light has no heat or hydrogen. The Sun has gravity but neither light nor heat have gravity. The sun loses mass particles, something neither light nor heat does. And heat has no mass unlike the other two.

    Trying use this to prove three instances of one substance is futile. It just doesn’t work at all. If you want to find a better analogy try cloning, or as it not so uniquely occurs in nature, “identical triplets”. Yes they are all exactly the same substance but as three persons. Now let’s call one of the triplets the Father, another his Son, and the third is a ghost. Of course one can not have literally fathered the other and how one is a ghost, well as they say, it’s all a mystery.

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