A Short Dictionary on Trinity Words

For the sake of knowing God, our faith, and avoiding error, consider then the following short dictionary of Trinity words.

One reason to use Trinity words is to know God. They provide a big picture understanding of God based on the whole Bible and spiritual reflection on the Bible’s meaning. Since the Bible’s story unfolds over centuries and its themes unfold across sixty-six books, it can be hard to keep track of everything. That’s why teachers use concise definitions to help us organize our minds. John the Apostle did this when he said, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He summarized what he knew about the Bible and of Christ. 

 

Probably no area of Christian thinking has produced as much controversy as thinking on the doctrine of God. And this only makes sense. God is not like us. So we find it incredibly hard to speak about God.

But avoiding the discussion leads to more problems not less. In the first place, the doctrine of God is the primary foundation of Christianity. So not knowing how to talk about God places us in an awkward position. On top of that, most heresies start by talking about God in ways that conflict with the Bible’s meaning and right reflection on the Bible.

So we should know God and how to talk about God. For Christians, this means learning how to talk about the triune God. For the sake of knowing God, our faith, and avoiding error, consider then the following short dictionary of Trinity words.

Words that Define God as a Trinity

Aseity. The Latin phrase aseity derives from a + se and means “from itself.” Basically, it means that God derives from himself. He does not rely on some other being to create him. God has life from himself. He also has life in himself.

Life marks the inner-life of God. He eternally gives life to himself by eternally generating the Son (see below). Since God’s nature is life and the benevolent gift of life, he fittingly created the world and offers it eternal life through his Son Jesus Christ. That is who God is.  

Eternal generation. God lives eternally, and he has given life eternally. From the beginning, the Word was with God (John 1:1; 17:24). And the divine relationship involves life-giving. Jesus explains, “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself” (John 5:26). Having life in himself, the Father grants the Son the same privilege. Yet since the Son has always been with the Father, then this grant of life in the Son must have occurred eternally—or without beginning.

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