Do you like ice cream?
I LOVE chocolate ice cream.
Especially this time of year, as it just starts to get warm. Honestly, when it’s cold, I’m mostly ambivalent—I can take it or leave it. But as soon as the weather warms up even just a little bit, I need a cone of soft serve. I’m sure some weekend soon, we’ll be driving home from a Mantour, it’ll be over sixty degrees, and I’ll make Jamie detour to our favorite ice cream stand.
Of course, ice cream isn’t just my favorite warm-weather indulgence. It’s also one of my favorite ways of explaining one of the most overcomplicated theological aspects of God’s nature: The Trinity.
Some may ask, “The what? What is the Trinity, and why is it important that I know this about God?”
The Trinity refers to the fact that: "The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent "I AM," the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” (Assemblies of God Sixteen Fundamental Truths #2)
Here are some Scriptures that demonstrate this principle:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4)
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. (John 14:16-17)
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)
The clearest picture we have of this in Scripture is probably during Jesus' Baptism:
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)
Here we see that the Trinity consists of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
But what does this have to do with ice cream?
Well, here’s the thing: growing up in the church, I’ve often found that too many people have tried to make the Trinity difficult, mystical, and hard to understand. How can there be one God in three persons? Theologians have many long, complicated explanations. For me, the simplest way to understand the Trinity is to compare it to Neapolitan Ice Cream.
Before you smirk, think about it:
Neapolitan ice cream is chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream that comes in the same package.
Now, you can't have Neapolitan ice cream if you remove any of those flavors: they are all essential.
Each one of those flavors is still 100% ice cream. Yet, they all have their own flavor, their own color, and their own taste. It all forms one flavor: Neapolitan.
It's the same with the Trinity: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have their own individual roles and responsibilities. They each have their function.
Yet, together they form the Godhead.
You cannot have the Godhead if you remove any of them; they are all 100% Divine.
Since creation, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have always existed and have always been at work.
Each has the attributes of Deity and is eternal, unchanging, all-powerful, present everywhere, and has all knowledge.
Like Neapolitan ice cream, they are separate and distinct, yet one.
So, yes, this is a simple explanation of the Trinity…but it’s practical.
If you’d like a more in-depth discussion, you can visit the Assemblies of God Sixteen Fundamental Truths #2.
While you're reading, maybe have a bowl of ice cream... preferably Neapolitan.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life. When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."