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analogies

Analogies are arrows pointing down the right road.

People sometimes reject analogies because they do not represent the exact truth.

But that is not the purpose of an analogy!

Analogies make something easier to see.

They show how two things are similar in some way.

An analogy does not perfectly represent, or equal, the thing it analogizes.

For many, the greatest obstacle to the triunity of God is the proposition that three can be one. But there are many entities in the natural world which exhibit a complexity of elements, yet are one entity.

There is nothing wrong with analogies. Avoid phrases like "The Trinity is exactly like...." But don't let people tell you analogies are "wrong" or "heretical." They often help!

Below are some common analogies to God's triunity, along with notes on their Pros and Cons. The best analogy is the last one.

"Three in one" is not contrary to mathematics, logic, or language.

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It is said that St. Patrick used the shamrock to point to the Trinity.

Pro: Shamrocks are vegetation, existing in the natural world.
3 leaves are part of 1 plant.

Con: The 3 leaves do not overlap, but spring and remain separate from each other.

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An egg is composed of three visible parts: the shell, the albumen (which is clear uncooked or white cooked), and the yolk.

Pro: Eggs are dietary staples in many corners of the world.
3 parts are nevertheless "1 egg."

Con: None.

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Water is solid (snow/ice), liquid (water), and gas (water vapor).

Pro: A variety of climates experience 2 or 3 of these states.

Cons:
Typically the 3 states of water do not exist in one place simultaneously.
Different terms are used for each state.

The human body has parts, and are referred to separately, but we still call these one entity. E.g., a man has a brain, a heart, and a hand. If he were to touch a carpet, we would usually say, "He is touching the carpet," not "His hand is touching it."

Pro: Of brain, heart, and hand: 2 are not visible because they are inside the body. Similarly, Father and Spirit are invisible.

Con: There are more than 3 common parts of a body.

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The Sun is a ball of fire [hot plasma] too bright to look at directly, remote from us.

But by its light, we see all things: sky and earth, men and camels, sand and water.

Even in the small corner of a tent, away from the light, we feel the heat.

 

The celestial object one cannot gaze at.

Its rays by which all other things are seen.

The invisible heat which pervades the day.

 

The fire is not the light.

The light is not the heat.

The heat is not the fire.

 

But you do not say there are three suns.

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