When God wants to talk to human beings and tell them something they do not know, He sends prophets to speak for him.
By Msgr. John Wynand Katende
Monotheists (Jews, Christians and Muslims) believe that God is much too great for any human to fully understand. There is a huge gap between God and mankind.
God belongs to the invisible world and we belong to the visible world. So God must reveal Himself to us, and enable us to understand Him. In so doing, He also manifests His closeness to mankind.
When God wants to talk to human beings and tell them something they do not know, He sends prophets to speak for him. In order for people to understand Him, God uses not a heavenly language but human means of communication. When God spoke to Moses in the Burning Bush in the desert he limited himself to the level of Moses and spoke the language of Moses ((Exodus 3). This shows God’s humility and love for human beings.
The Christian belief in a Trinitarian God (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) is, however, blasphemous/scandalous, especially in Islam. In Deuteronomy 6:4 God says: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” And in Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
From Hebrews 1:1-3 we learn that “in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son… The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” So, God reveals himself in a more perfect way than a voice or book. He revealed himself through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the exact representation of God, His image. Jesus’ name is Emmanuel, God-with-us.
In John 3:12-13 Jesus reveals himself to be the physical, tangible manifestation of God. He said to Nicodemus, a high ranking religious Jew who could not understand him: “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven — the Son of Man.” Jesus is physically man, yet in his Spirit he is God. A simple example is like water in a bucket. The bucket is like the body of Jesus, the water is like the Spirit of God.
In Exodus 33:20 God said to Moses: “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” It is like we cannot ever go to the sun because of the distance of millions of miles away and because of extreme heat. But the sun can come to us in some limited form, by its light. This is how God came down to us. Jesus refers to himself as the light that came down from heaven (John 9:5).
As fire has light and they are not separated even though the light travels millions of miles, God the Father and Jesus the Son are inseparable. They possess the same nature. We cannot possibly go to God ourselves. He came down to us because he loves us and wants us to live in spiritual light, not in spiritual darkness.
What about the Holy Spirit? Because God is Spirit, He is spiritually discerned. According to 1 Corinthians 2:14, it is the Spirit of God that makes us understand the Trinity as the true nature of God. As light brings heat with it, so does the Son of God. Jesus is the light and the Holy Spirit is the heat, the energy or the power of God. One can also explain the Holy Trinity using the analogy of water as solid ice, liquid water and gaseous steam.
God answers the prayer of a genuine seeker. If we want to understand the Trinity we must pray, and ask God to open our spiritual eyes. In so doing we shall be able to experience God’s saving love, which corresponds to His revelation as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The writer is a Catholic priest in Kampala