Left to ourselves we may think about God in ways that are abstract, remote, static and impersonal. However, we are not left to our own thinking about God because he has revealed himself to us through Jesus by the Spirit. Through this unveiling of God, we now know him as essentially relational.
The main focus of the Jesus story is the Father-Son relation. The Father is always moving towards his Son with delight as his beloved. The Son is always moving towards his Father returning his love with joyful thanksgiving expressed in trustful obedience. Jesus was always talking about his Father as he served his Father. He was always giving himself to accomplish the work his Father has given him to do. And the Father was always giving himself to Jesus, the beloved Son, with whom he is well pleased.
In this relationship of joyful love Jesus knows, is known by, and makes known his Father. As Jesus says, “No one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” So now, in union with Jesus by the Spirit we share in this knowing. The Spirit of God’s Son brings us into living union with the Son so that we actually share in his relationship with the one he calls Father. We are not standing at a distance observing the Father-Son relationship we are actually sharing in the relationship on the inside. In this way, God draws us near to himself within the circle of his own knowing of himself.
To know the Triune God more deeply we always stay within the Jesus story. We stay within the story because we know that who God is in Jesus he is eternally within himself. He is not different in himself from who he is towards us in Jesus. So we continually move through the story centred on Jesus to discern ever more clearly and deeply who the Triune God is within himself. For reflection on Trinity is not a movement away from Jesus, but always a movement further into Jesus. We move into ever more deeply into the one who is alive here and now revealing himself to us by his Spirit.
As we immerse ourselves in the Jesus story, God opens himself to us through Jesus and the Spirit showing us more and more that he is the communal being who eagerly seeks communion with us. He also opens us to himself in the Spirit through Jesus enabling us to draw near to him as our own Father sharing in his circle of love. In this loving action, God continually creates an intimate two-way relation between himself and us and us and himself. This is an ongoing and dynamic relating in love that fulfils God’s purpose for us. For he always wants to be God with us and he always wants us to be with him in deep union and communion. Within this dynamic and relational knowing we know ever more fully the love that surpasses knowledge.
When considering knowing God the very first thing we say is Jesus. For Jesus is the unveiling of God to us. And as so we say Jesus we also say that God IS Father, Son and Spirit as one communion of love. We say God IS Triune simply because that is the way God has made himself known to us in Jesus within the gospel story. As T. F. Torrance says, “Through his self-revelation in the incarnation God has opened himself to us in such a way that we may know him in the inner relations of his divine Being and have communion with him in his divine life as Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. Trinity isn’t added on to everything else we say about God, Trinity is who he is. So we begin with Jesus and the Triune Communion and continue with this view of God all the way through. Everything else we say about God must be Jesus shaped and thus trinity shaped.
However, when we start speaking about God as Trinity we must be careful to always stick with Jesus. As Geordie Zeigler says reflection on Trinity is not a movement away from Jesus, but a movement further into Jesus. So we don’t attempt to know more of Trinity by leaping into abstract and speculative thinking about the three in one. We stay focussed on Jesus as his Spirit takes us ever deeper into who he is. Then we discover God opening himself to us in such a way that we know him in the inner relations of his divine Being as we share in the Son’s communion with Abba Father by the Holy Spirit”.