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And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” a 1 and He said, “You will say this to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” — Exodus 3:14

The Trinity Is Not Like Anything Else

God is not like anything else. You will find no corollary in nature. God is. God is who He is. We don’t have any choice about what kind of God exists. He comes with the package of life, so to speak. He didn’t have to create us, love us, reveal Himself to us, die for us—do anything for us. And He doesn’t have to fit our mind’s ability to conceive of Him. The fact that He does do all those things is serendipity, or rather, mercy.

Fortunately God uses illustrations to reveal Himself to us. The concepts of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are His words, and they reveal aspects of triunity. Jesus is not a son in the same sense as in a human family, but the picture of sonship tells us much about the relationship of the Father and Son.

John Calvin described God’s pictures to us as the kind of language we use with an infant. The little one does not understand language yet, so we make sounds for the infant to model in its very first efforts to talk. God describes Himself with the metaphors of a father, an eagle, a shepherd, a rock, and a king. These pictures are ideas we can understand. But when Moses asked God His name, the name given was “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). We must hear that bottom-line answer. God can use our categories of knowledge, just as we can use an infant’s categories to begin teaching about the world. But the categories only go so far until the infant grows. In the end, God simply is, as opposed to every other sort of god, who isn’t. God IS WHO HE IS, whether we understand or not.

There is but one only living and true God.…In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 2.1, 3