By: Starr Meade
After the initial statement of belief in “God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,” the Apostles’ Creed goes on to spell out belief in the other two persons of the Trinity. This sets Christianity apart from other religions—even monotheistic ones—and cults. Orthodox Christianity, like Judaism and Islam, believes in one true and living God; unlike those religions, Christianity teaches that the one God exists in three persons. Each person is distinct and separate from the other two, and the three persons can have communication and fellowship with each other. Yet they are not three Gods, but one.
Older children may be interested to know that nowhere in the Bible does it say that God is one God in three persons. Yet it is the clear teaching of Scripture. You can remind them of the big moral issue of so many Old Testament stories: idolatry. From the building of the golden calf through the fall of Jerusalem, God’s people continually tried to worship God and. The prophets warned and threatened for centuries, to no avail, as the people tried to cling to idols along with God.
You can direct your children to God’s words in Deuteronomy 6:4, words memorized early in life by every Jewish child: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Then you can point out what it would have been like to have been Jesus’ disciples, Jewish men who had grown up saying those very words every day, but who watched Jesus do one thing after another that only God could do, until they understood that Jesus—who spoke to God his Father—was truly God.
Then you can point them to Jesus’ words in his final discourse with them (John 14–17), where he promises to send “another Helper” (14:6), who would be in them all and who would be with them always. Who can be in all places at one time, forever, if he is not God?
As for how to explain how one Being can exist in three persons, there simply is no adequate comparison or illustration to make. We must begin our earliest teaching of our children with mystery. God is unique. It isn’t that there are three different forms of God, manifesting themselves according to the need of the moment (like H2O in water, steam, and ice). There are three separate persons in one, and only one, God.