John’s view of God keeps haunting me. He boldly proclaims “God is love” (1 John 4:16). In these words John captures the very essence of God and perfectly explains one of least understood doctrines, the doctrine of the Trinity.
If wind doesn’t blow, it is simply air. In the same way love is only love if it flows from one entity to another. This flow, this relationship requires a definite distinction between the entities. By showing us the substance of God is love, John shows us that “in the beginning”, when there was only God, God was not alone (John 1:1). The relationship between the Father, the Son and the Spirit has always existed, uninterrupted.
John then also captures the essence of the oneness of God. Instead of looking at the three personalities between which the love flows, John defines God as the love itself.
At first this might be hard to comprehend, because we are still desperately clinging to a view of God as an old white man with a big gray beard (i.e. Zeus). While we still think like this, we will completely miss the Trinity. We will spend our time studying the misconceptions about it; at best, define it as a “mystery”; and then put it back in its place on the dusty shelf labeled “DOGMA”. This is catastrophic, as we do not delve into the very real the implications of the Trinity on us and the world.