Trinitarianism Part 2 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 097:386 (Apr 1940)
Article: Trinitarianism Part 2
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Part 2

Lewis Sperry Chafer

[Author’s Note: This discussion, the second in a series on the doctrine of the Trinity, will be continued, it is purposed, in several succeeding issues of Bibliotheca Sacra.]

I. The Fact of the Trinity (cont.)

4. Proof of the Trinitarian Doctrine.

Proofs of the essential doctrine of the Trinity may be drawn from both reason and revelation, though the usefulness and validity of the former have often been challenged. The fact that men of equal sincerity disagree relative to the possibility of reason serving in the field of this doctrine is evidence that unaided human minds fail in their attempts to search the deep things of God. But more objectionable than the attempts of reason, are the efforts to illustrate that which has no counterpart in human life or in nature. The triune existence of God is vastly more than the exercise of three primary functions such as power, intellect, and will; or correspondence to three divisions of a human being into body, soul, and spirit; or any suggestion created by motion, light, and heat as related to the sun; or three tones blending into one chord effect; or (as suggested by Sir D. Brewster) that a single ray of light may be decomposed by a prism into three primary colors-red, yellow, and blue with their varying intensity of chemical powers. Because of their irrelevance, such illustrations may be said to “darken counsel” with words which are void of import. Richard Baxter (1615) states: “But for my own part, as I unfeignedly account the doctrine of the trinity the very sum and kernel of the Christian religion, (as exprest in our baptism,) and Athanasius his creed, the best explication of it

that ever I read; so I think it very unmeet in these tremendous mysteries to go farther than we have God’s own light to guide us.”1 Not so much as a fraction of relevance can be established between such incidental occurrences within finite realms and the infinitude of reality which the triune mode of the existence of the One God presents. An illustration which fails to illustrate is somewhat worse than nothing.

a. Reason.

This approach to the doctrine of the triune mode of the existence of God is properly a continuance of that already presented under the rationalistic arguments for the reality which God is, and such qualifications as were there advanced and imposed respecting the scope and value of reason in the pursuance of things divine apply at this point as well. As before asserted, reason cannot give intelligent assent to all that revelation discloses; which fact is due to the limitations of reason. Neverthel...

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