Errors in Trinitarian Thought: Analogies

Okay. Now I’m going to take a shot at my fellow Trinitarians. I think one of the great dangers we have is when we start using analogies. We don’t often come up with analogies for omniscience or omnipotence, but somehow, when it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity, we think we have to have analogies.

Now I realize this has gone on in the past, but I don’t think that the early church fathers were trying to show analogies so much as types of trinities. When Augustine uses the mind as an example of the Trinity, I don’t think he’s making an analogy of what the Trinity is like so much as he’s showing that this is a type of Trinity in the created order and that could very well be the case because the God who creates is Trinitarian.

The problem is that so many of our analogies are either completely inadequate and give people the wrong picture, or even worse, they’re heretical. While we want to show people the Trinity that is there, we end up supporting heresies that the church spent centuries dealing with.

I’ve told how over the summer, my roommate and I had Mormons visiting us. At one point, one of them in trying to argue against the Trinity with me went to the baptism of Jesus and I was stunned. This is a passage you’re going to use to argue against the Trinity? That’s interesting….

And so he says, “How can they be three if they’re all one person?” I told him that’s now that the Trinity is. He was stunned now and then said the line that has remained with me and been a major impetus. “I thought all Baptists believed that. That’s what they’ve told me.”

I honestly want to scream at times.

I went back to my hometown shortly after that and was talking to my old associate pastor at the church I used to attend and telling him about that meeting. I told him that since they have a new senior pastor, they really need to get a series of sermons started on the Trinity because the church is woefully unprepared to deal with the cults and then I gave an example of the mistakes they usually make.

I told him how many people use the analogy of a man who is a father, a husband, and a son. That’s not an example of Trinitarianism though, but modalism. It’s one person who is simply fulfilling three different roles. For those who need to know, I’ll state for what comes next that I’m blunt.

He first told me that he thinks Billy Graham has used that illustration to which I said “Then Billy Graham needs to stop using that illustration.” Then he said “I think I’ve used that illustration,” and he got told “Then you need to stop using that illustration.” (Note: The same problem comes with the idea of water being liquid, steam, and ice.)

Why not simply go with what the Scriptures say instead of using analogies because if we’re dealing with God, we’re not going to find an analogy of the Trinity. It’s totally unique. Now we might find types of trinities here, but none of them can really be like the Trinity that is God himself. Analogies have tended to get people off of Scripture and focusing them on a false idea. I recommend simply sticking with Scripture.

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