Dena Jackson told me about five key lessons she’s learned at Biola University’s Apologetics Summer Residency. You’ve heard the first two. Here are her top three:
3. I don’t understand the Trinity…and that’s ok. I’ve spent much time trying to come up with an analogy for the Trinity so that I could better understand it. Is it like an egg? The three phases of water? A 3-leaf clover? In Essential Doctrine I, Dr. Lewis assured us these are all heresy. So…out with those analogies. What if we can’t find an analogy that works? Is that proof that the Trinity is contradictory?
Dr. Lewis wisely pointed out that you can’t have an analogy to something wholly unique. I scrambled to write that down as it clicked in my brain. Just because I don’t entirely understand something or can’t see how all the pieces fit together, doesn’t mean it’s illogical. If something’s illogical it contains a contradiction or leads to a contradiction. But what’s the contradiction in the doctrine of the Trinity? I sat in class trying to come up with one. There’s none as far as I’ve seen. God’s unique and his Trinitarian nature is one of the things we cannot fully grasp. And that’s ok.
4. We can’t fully understand God…but we can partly understand him. God is unique…but he is not wholly other. Some say that God is so entirely different from us that we can’t have real knowledge of Him. But God made us in His image. Having created us, He created us in such a way that we are capable of understanding certain things about Him. He gave us a grasp of logic and the capacity for language. He knows how to utilize these tools to reveal Himself to us. Even if we only partly understand what it means for God to be three persons, yet still one being, we can know that this is the case and worship the Father, Son, and Spirit. As Paul said “now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face (1 Cor 13:12).” Though we see dimly, we see.
5. There’s no greater teacher than Christ. At orientation banquet, Dr. R. Scott Smith shared Colossians 2:2-3.
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Dr. Smith is a humble, earnest man of great conviction. He treats the views of others with grace. Hearing him speak of his work, it’s clear that he views what he does in apologetics as an urgent and vital mission from God. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ. Seek Christ, the revealer of truth. Be his disciple. Humbly submit your mind to him for instruction. There is no greater teacher than Christ…and even study can be an act of worship. On to a new week of worship!
[Mikel] I appreicate Dena sharing these. You can be a part this, too! If you’re interested in Biola’s Apologetics program but don’t live in So Cal, check out the distance-learning option or test the waters with a distance certificate in Christian Apologetics (which is open to everyone regardless of educational background). I’m looking forward to being back on campus this weekend!