Ask any children’s Sunday school teacher what the most difficult thing to teach is and he will almost certainly tell you: “The doctrine of the Trinity, that God is one but exists in three persons.” Ask them how they do it and you will probably find them outlining an analogy: “God is like water, ice, and steam” is one of the more popular.
The problem with such an analogy — indeed, with any analogy — for the Trinity is that it is actually more misleading than helpful. What it describes is not really something akin to the biblical Trinity but rather to the ancient heresy of modalism. The detailed problems of this heresy, which sees God as one and as turning from Father into Son and then into Holy Spirit, need not delay us here. My point is that analogies for the Trinity are unhelpful because the Trinity is absolutely unique. There is no analogy to the created world that is more helpful than it is misleading.
Keep Reading Problematic Analogies and Prayerful Adoration, Carl Trueman's contribution to this month's issue of Tabletalk.