I’m currently at one of Sweden’s biggest Christian conferences called Torp where I am co-responsible for evangelism. We’re teaching biblical principles on how to share the faith in the afternoons, and in the evenings we do outreach in the local town of Örebro with the Pancake Church. It’s tiring but awesome!
The other day a group of Muslims came to us and started to ask us questions like how do we know that the miracle claims of the Gospels are true, and how does one know which religion is true. And of course, one of them raised an issue that Muslims are often concerned with: how can you believe that God is three?
The answer I gave him made him say “Now I understand! Now I understand!” Which is great since a common response to Christians explaining the Trinity rather is “Now I’m just more confused”. But he isn’t the first one to appreciate the analogy I often use to portrait how God can be three in one: the human trinity.
Paul writes in 1 Thess 5:23 that consist of spirit, soul and body. All three share the human nature and they are interdependent and interconnected, but still distinct. Our spirit connects us with God and the supernatural realm, our soul controls our mind, thoughts and will, whereas our body locates us in nature and channels our senses.
This is analogous to the divine Trinity. The Father is like God’s soul, immaterial and intelligent. Jesus is like God’s body, incarnated and physical. And the Holy Spirit is obviously God’s Spirit. This doesn’t mean that there are three gods, just as the human trinity doesn’t mean that I am three humans.
Some theologians might object that the analogy isn’t perfect, since the human soul, body and spirit aren’t three persons. God is three persons sharing one divine nature, whereas a human being is one person with one human nature (and Jesus is one person with two natures). However, the purpose if the analogy is, as with most analogies, not to be a perfect copy if what is being described, but to be a parable that can help us understand. In my experience, the analogy of the human trinity is very effective when explaining the divine Trinity, and thus I highly recommend using it.