In many denominations the Church’s Year is divided into two halves. The first half from Advent to Pentecost takes us step by step through the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus culminating in His Ascension and the outpouring of The Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
The second half, starting on Trinity Sunday, is a wider approach to the Christian Faith under the general overall heading of Sundays after Trinity. The word Trinity does not appear in the Bible. It is often thought have been first used by Tertullian in his writing around 213 A.D.
However the word finally came into general use when it was used at the First Council of Nicaea in 325. The Athanasian Creed was finally written around the 5th Century and named after Athanasius of Alexandria because of his staunch defense of Christian Trinitarian orthodoxy at the Council of Nicaea. It is included in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer to be recited at Morning Prayer on certain special feast days. It is a lengthy statement about the mystery of our loving God who is “three in one” which, of course, cannot be explained! Sceptics, agnostics and many others say that the idea of a God who is three in one is impossible!
However when we look at various fundamental facts in creation, which we often take for granted, we see a pattern of “three-in-one” emerging. I like to think this is a bit like God’s “finger print” in creation.
For example, every element can potentially exist in three different “states” – solid, liquid and gas. Chemically ice is the same as steam, yet they have different qualities, and can be changed to another state by altering their temperature.
Every electrical device in our lives depends on these “three in one” factors – power, current and resistance. For example the power and current engage with the resistance in the wires of an electric stove and are converted into heat.
We measure time in terms of past present and future. Two people eagerly anticipate their wedding day which is in the future. The marriage takes place at a particular time which we speak of as “the present moment”. Moment is a good description because the present immediately becomes the past. I find it reassuring that Jesus told his disciples before his Ascension “I am with you always to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Then there is “Boyles Law” basically about the interrelationship between the volume, mass and temperature of a gas. Your refrigerator relies on this law to work. Our computers enable us to print lovely coloured illustrations. Yet we only need three coloured inks, red, yellow and blue, to produce all these beautiful colours.
For me the idea of a loving God who is “three in one” will always remain a mystery. However, just because we cannot possibly explain it, does not mean that it is not true. The one God has been revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Scripture and creation often echoes this profound mystery. These indications which are so much part of our everyday life are to my mind simple reminders of the wonder of the loving God we worship. They are, if you like, His “Finger Print” in creation.