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Q. I want to understand the trinity. But, I just can't. It makes no sense to me. How can God be the Son at the same time? Why, then, did Jesus pray to the Father if he Himself is God? If Jesus really died on the cross then did God die? Who was running the universe if God actually died? (J.M.,WA)
We have discussed the Trinity in other articles. But, you have excellent questions and there are no easy answers. One of the reasons there are no easy answers is because we are created beings who are designed to live in or comprehend less than four dimensions in our finite world. How can most of us understand the term "trinity" describing one God is three persons?
For example, we can understand height, width, length, and time, up to a certain point. Yet, we can only go forward in time by plodding through the present - we can't even move backwards in time. So we really live in just three and one-half dimensions, if even that. That's not very many when scientists say there may be far more than ten dimensions in our universe.
Physicists tell us there are at least ten dimensions (some say 11) to true reality. Currently, men are only living in a subset of the "true" reality of many more dimensions. They know this from a study of advanced mathematics.
So how can we understand things which are outside of our limited scope of three and one-half dimensional reality? We are "stuck" and dumbed-down within only a few dimensions. This is one reason it is so incredibly arrogant for certain scientists wedded to evolution to insist their reasoning is the only true "science."
For example, suppose there are creatures who live in "flatland" inside your computer. You want to communicate with them. So you put your thumb on the screen for them to see. What do they see? They see a round-shaped flat image of your thumb. They can't understand or comprehend the rest of you. They don't realize that this round thing in their two-dimensional world is connected to a four-dimensional being on the other side of the screen.
Another example is to think of a helicopter flying above a parade. The news reporter in the helicopter can see the beginning of the parade and the end of the parade. Yet, bystanders can only see each float as it passes by. This is like our perception of time. We observe events moment to moment. But, we can't see the end or beginning of the parade. Only God sees the future, present, and past at the same time. He is outside of time. The Bible puts it this way:
"For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity…" (Isaiah 57:15, NKJV).
How can humans fully understand the trinity when we can't even get a handle on the nature of time? Only God inhabits eternity and understands these things.
Physicist Hugh Ross believes that Jesus exists in at least "11 dimensions: nine spatial dimensions (which mathematically would permit rotation in and out of three-dimensional spaces) and at least two dimensions of time" (Ross 1999, 46, 59).
We suggest that all believers read at least one or two books on quantum physics before posing challenging questions about the trinity. Just remember we are subject to frail, human logic. But, thankfully, there are Christian physicists who have helped us with this subject.
- Only through the world of particle physics will we learn that it is possible to exist "always" in eternity while at the same time existing time-bound within a 70 year lifespan on earth - like Jesus.
- Only through physics is it possible to understand that Jesus can pray to "himself" while He hung on the cross.
- Only through physics is it possible to imagine a God who can run the universe of swirling galaxies while hanging dead on a cross at Calvary.
Keep an open mind and keep reading…
Missler, Chuck. 1997. The ultimate hyperdimensional from: Alien encounters. Coeur d'Alene, ID: Koinonia House. www.Khouse.org.
—-and Mark Eastman. 2001. The creator series. (MP3 CD.ROM). Coeur d'Alene, ID: Koinonia House.
Ross, Hugh. 1999. Beyond the cosmos. Colorado Springs: NavPress. www.Reasons.org.
Tipler, Frank J. 2007. The incarnation (p.227). The three persons of the trinity, figure 9.2 (p.233) in The physics of Christianity. N.Y.: Doubleday.
Authors Valorie Mays Emilio holds an MA in History from UCLA and Ken received his MA in Biblical Studies from Louisiana Baptist University. The author of this question, Jeffrey L. Mays, passed away in 2010.
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