Myth 3. The Trinity can be illustrated by water, ice, and steam.
I’ve heard this one preached a lot of times. I have to say that any illustration is going to have problems when it comes to explaining the Trinity. But is there a particular problem with this illustration?
I don't want to be harsh on the guy in this video because he is spot on in his theology of the Triune God. It is just that he is using a bad illustration, one of which I am also guilty of using. Water ice and steam is actually a good illustration for the heresy of modalism/sabellianism which goes back to the second century AD and was a reason for the Athanasian Creed. I won’t delve into an in-depth study on the Trinity right now but I recommend Paul Washer’s book “The One True God” for an excellent and simple study on the subject.
The Athanasian creed is very long but it if you need to summarize it in three points regarding the Trinity as taught in Scripture they are these:
1.There is one God.
2.This one God exists in three persons.
3.These three Persons are each fully God.
Modalism however does not teach one God in three Persons. It teaches one god in three manifestations. So the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit become different roles that God uses at different times – just like water, ice, and steam is h2o appearing in different forms. The modalist has major problems with issues like Jesus praying to the Father or Jesus’ baptism where the Father spoke and the Holy Spirit descended. For the modalist Jesus is not eternal, but how the Father appeared for 33 years. For the modalist Jesus cannot be a mediator between sinners and the Father. For the modalist Jesus cannot suffer the Father’s wrath on the cross. I could say more but I think you can see modalism is a big problem – it is idolatry.
Modalism is alive and well today. Popular “evangelical” preacher TD Jakes is a modalist as well as the singing group “Philips, Craig, and Deane”. Todd Friel told me he once met “Philips, Craig, and Deane” though obviously not all of them at the same time.
Although the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal and exist in perfect unity, they often carry out distinct functions as distinct persons.
1. The FATHER is the invisible God who no man has seen (John 1:18).
2. The SON is God made flesh and the perfect revelation of the Father (John1:1, John 1:14, John 1:18, John 14:9).
3. The HOLY SPIRIT is God living in the Christian (Romans 8:9, John 14:16-17, John 14:23).
Truth 3. The Scripture clearly teaches that there is One God. This One God exists in three Persons. And these three Persons are each fully God. If you define God differently to this you are an idolater.
Go On To Part 4
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