Thursday, December 10, 2009

3 in 1

Trinity. The word "Trinity" never occurs in the Bible, but it has been well argued elsewhere that this understanding of the plurality of the Godhead is found throughout Scriptures. Anyway, I've heard plenty of times that people often use water as an example to teach the Trinity (i.e., solid phase, liquid phase, and gas phase... but all water). I've also heard people assert that this is a poor way to teach the Trinity because it leads to modalism, which is a Trinitarian heresy that understands Godhead to be expressing itself in "modes" (in our example of water, at one point it's ice, then it is liquid, then it would be gas). Therefore, the wise Christian believes that using water is a bad way to teach the Trinity. I want to propose a new alternative: The person asserting that another person using water as a method to teach the Trinity is wrong, is also wrong!

I was a science major at UCLA and I've learned a little bit about phase diagrams, and the property of water. If you know what I'm talking about, you should be familiar with the picture below:


















If you notice, around the lower left quadrant, there's a point marked as the triple point, and thermodynamically speaking, this is where all three phases can coexist in equilibrium! Of course it is not an easy thing to witness, as you notice the atmospheric pressure is so low that it's almost vacuum-like. However, it does disprove the assertion that by using water, it must favor a modalistic understanding of the Trinity. Not so!

I propose, the next time you want to teach the Trinity, bring a phase diagram with you and I think it'd be alright.

6 comments:

broadcastdepth said...

Nice. I will use that next time someone asks.

Nick Norelli said...

I still won't be using it. ;-)

Mike S. said...

Matt: Glad to hear it!

Nick: Aww, man. Should've known you would've figured a way around that hole a long time ago... darn.

jhlee19 said...

oh man, mike. you have NO idea how much i enjoyed this post. NOOO idea!

Janice said...

hahaha you're funny :)

Mike S. said...

Jinny: Glad you liked it!

Janice: Thanks!