While a picture may speak a thousand words, a one dimensional image of a person only offers a static view with limited insight into whom they really are. However, a two dimensional motion picture brings the person alive, revealing an animated view of them in action. But, look at the same animated picture through 3D glasses and it invites you to fully engage with the image from a variety of angles, providing an up close and personal multi-dimensional view of the person.
When it comes to an image of God, many people have only a one dimensional view which centres on a particular characteristic they are familiar with. They may know Him by name, but do they really know Him? The Scripture takes our knowledge of God to another dimension by revealing to us a three dimensional image which has come to be known in the church as the ‘Trinity’. This Trinitarian image of God provides us with a three dimensional view of His three distinct identities – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each dimension reveals the whole by allowing us to fully engage with God from all sides.
Theologian Stanley Grenz describes how the Jewish early Christians moved from a one dimensional understanding of God to a three dimensional relationship with Him: “These Christians confessed the one true God of the Old Testament. They proclaimed the Lordship of Jesus of Nazareth who differentiated himself from his Father. And they knew the reality of the ongoing presence of God through the Holy Spirit who is distinct from both the Father and the Son.” By looking at God through three dimensional lenses the early Christians were able to fully engage with a dynamic image of their God who came near and entered into their existence.
God’s self-revelation through a Trinitarian view reveals the diversity and unity of His nature and how the cooperation of this three dimensional identities of God fulfils His divine activity on earth (Grenz). Father, Son and Spirit is a dynamic image of a three dimensional God who desires His creation to enter into this divine relationship and “be one as [God is] one” (John 17:22).