What Does It Mean For Each of Us That God Is A Family?

“See how great a love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God!” You can feel the excitement and awe about this fact in John’s words. It’s an incredible thing to realize that “now we are the children of God” and in the future “we will be like him; for we will see him just as he is” (1 John 3:1-2, WEB).

One of the greatest truths we can realize about the nature of God and the Christian faith is that God is a family and He is inviting us to become part of that family. God’s most-used analogies for how He relates to us are family-based, focusing on marriage and children. Both the Father and Son deeply desire a relationship with us and to make us part of Their family. In fact, as far as we can tell, that’s the main reason They created people in the first place.

Unity and Oneness

People ask me on this blog and also in-person why I don’t use the word “Trinity” to describe the nature of God. It’s not a description God uses for Himself and I think “God-family” is a more scripture-based phrase, so that’s why. I think we should stick as close as possible to using the analogies and descriptions that God uses to reveal Himself when we’re talking about who He is and how He relates to us. Read more

What Is The Holy Spirit?

One of the big ways that my faith diverges from “standard” Christian doctrine has to do with the Holy Spirit. I don’t believe that a Trinity is the best way to describe the nature of God as revealed in scripture. If you’re reading how I talk about the Holy Spirit and how more well-known Christian authors talk about the Spirit you’ll notice few differences, but we are approaching this topic from very different assumptions.

This post is week 3 of 7 in our count to Pentecost, which makes it a good time to talk about the Holy Spirit. I grew up in a church that teaches that the Holy Spirit is the power of God and the part of Him that communicates with our spirits rather than a third person in a Trinity. We believe the Godhead consists of two Beings — God the Father and The Word who became Jesus Christ.

As I’ve studied the topic for myself, this has become my belief as well. The governing principle for how I (try to) approach faith and study is that because the Bible is God’s word it acts as the ultimate authority on any subject. Church traditions and teachings can be valuable resources, but if they ever contradict the Bible then they’re the ones who are wrong. That’s how I approach the topic of the Holy Spirit. Start with the Bible, then see which teachings and traditions line-up with what God has revealed through His word.

Understanding And Relationship

One of the core principles of the doctrine of the Trinity is that it cannot be understood. Walter Martin says, “the Trinity is still largely incomprehensible to the mind of man. Perhaps the chief reason for this is that the Trinity is a-logical, or beyond logic” (Essential Christianity, 1975, page 21). Proponents of the Trinity get around this problem by saying we shouldn’t try to fully understand God anyway because He is so far above us.

This sounds good at first — after all the Lord’s judgments are “unsearchable” and “His ways past finding out” (Rom. 11:33). It would be the height of hubris to think that a statement God makes about Himself is invalid because we can’t understand it. However, He does not tell us He exists as a Trinity. I find it hard think that the God who makes eternal life contingent on knowing Him would make the most basic fact of His nature so obscure, hidden, and mysterious. Read more