QUICK HIT: Best known for his academic work in theology and philosophy, Dr. William Lane Craig shifts gears in What is God Like? to bring these often complicated doctrines about God to a level that children can understand. In God is Three Persons, Craig manages to break down the complex doctrine of the Trinity into a simple and accessible way for young readers.
Ah, the Trinity. Probably the most misunderstood and mis-analogized concept in all of theology. I’ve heard non-Christians accuse Christians of worshipping three gods and I’ve heard Christians use analogies to describe the Trinity that actually miss the point entirely and slip into heresy.
For instance, I’ve heard the Trinity describes as like water, which exists as a gas, liquid, or solid. So too, God exists in three “states”—Father, Son, Spirit. The problem there is the word “or.” God is not one of three of the Trinity at any given time, he is all three Persons at once. So, with this analogy, instead of the Trinity, you get the heresy of modalism (God is one essence but not three distinct persons). I’ve also heard the analogy that God is like three links in a chain, but that is a better analogy for teaching that God is three of one substance and you get tritheism (three gods). All of these analogies are usually well-intended, it’s just a difficult concept to grasp and analogize. So I was curious to see how Dr. Craig would handle it.
Of course, he does so wonderfully, clearly debunking the idea that the Trinity means three gods and instead clarifying that God is three persons. He uses the example of a triangle, saying that the Trinity is composed of three persons like a triangle is composed of three angels. Or, just as a tricycle as a three-wheeled thing, then God is a tri-personal being.
Craig then goes on to say that, because each one is fully God, they always agree and act together in everything. And, in perhaps the strongest part of the book, writes that their different names come from their different functions in relation to salvation. As always, this is done in a way both simply and accessible. Seriously, seminary students should read this series just to understand how to communicate in non-theologese.
Whether your child is asking the question or you’re being proactive by bringing it up first, this book (and the rest of the series) is an excellent way to introduce to your child the doctrine and attributes of God.