Had to try and explain the incarnation of Jesus and the Trinity to my 8 yr old daughter last night. Don’t think 3 into 1cut it. So any layman’s explsinations welcomed
Father, Son holy spirit / water, ice, and steam
This is a great simplified explanation.
Thanks for acknowledging your kid’s questions, and not brushing it off because it is a “mysterious” one to explain.
So if “3 in one” didn’t cut it for your child, which I wouldn’t blame her one bit , then maybe (if you haven’t yet) you might also tell her that it is a complex thing to explain and understand, that even as her father it is difficult to explain and understand.
Then I would suggest you to pray aloud with her, and to ask God to guide you two while reading sections of the Bible that touch on the 3 persons of God.
In the Lord’s time this mystery will be less of a mystery for her (and for us too)!
Brought tears to my eyes watching Nabeel speaking, if it wasn’t for Nabeel’s vlogs during his treatment I don’t think I’d be alive today.
Thanks everyone for your posts, with my daughter it’s engaging her when she’s interested. Problem being our 10yr old son is anti-christian talk in the house and kicks off when she asks questions. I think some of his issues are due to he has ADHD and Autism and blames God and some members of the extended family especially the mother-in-law over spiritualises everything. Just need to keep praying and trusting in God that he will open the necessary doors.
These are difficult subjects brought together! You have to make sense of the Trinity and of the Incarnation - and then relate them to one another. I am confident that many eight year olds can understand both of these and their connection to one another. However, I do think that it requires asking, “Do you really want to understand this?”
Imagine a tough subject in school. At first, it seems impossible to ever make sense of it. For instance, I found this math problem: “If angle PDQ = 23º and angle SDQ = 11º what is the measure of angle PDS?” Now, for someone who is familiar with geometry, I understand that this is an easy problem. But if you’re just starting, it might seem like a mystery that defies explanation. How does knowing these angles help me know that angle? It takes hard work and study to make sense of the problem.
Similarly, there are parts of Christianity that stretch our minds. That’s why I love Proverbs 25:2, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” We are meant to search out answers and explore reality in a curious way.
I’m reminded of the Sunday school story. The teacher says, “Ok class, I want you to guess what I’m talking about. They are brown, quite small, bury nuts in the ground, and climb trees.” Little Johnny tentatively raises his hand and says, “Well, it sounds like a squirrel, but since this is Sunday school, I’m going to guess you’re talking about Jesus.”
Yes, we’re talking about Jesus, but the simple answers sometimes keep us from exploring the complexity of the Trinity and the Incarnation. We’re talking about three persons in one God and one person with two natures. So, we need to do our homework.
One resource that I think is worthy of careful study can be found here:
Margaret Manning has also shared a reflection on how important the Trinity is for making sense of love:
To understand the Trinity is not simply to analyze it logically “through a crude and perverse love of reason.” Rather, to understand the Trinity is to live in the light of its implications for human communities. Far more than a logical construct of a paradoxical nature, the Trinity is to be the way in which we image God in this world through the community of believers—and not as isolated individuals. We are to call others into that community enfolded in the life of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—love, lover, and beloved in divine community.
Jo and Vince Vitale have done an Ask Away podcast on the topic:
We also have a collection of resources on the Trinity here:
Thank you Carson, I will look into resources and links.
I think you can use this metaphor for a child, so long as you make it clear that H2O would have to be water/ice/steam all at the same time; otherwise you would have modalism. Still, that can highlight the profundity of the Trinity. H2O has three modes, and is only one thing; God is three persons and is only one thing, but He is those three persons all at the same time, eternally, and forever.
Now, what is also interesting is this, I found this video about the triple point of H2O. Apparently there is a physical set of conditions where H2O is all three at the same time! So, if we can understand, and even experience three-in-oneness in the physical, then it is not that hard to understand it in the immaterial.
Thanks Anthony can’t wait to watch it I have nephews that might ask one day all knowledge is helpful.
Yeah, I thought it was pretty cool, and a maybe a good pedagogical tool for teaching the kids about God.
Hi by coincidence also I will present a research paper about the Holy Trinity, after some much research I have to end with my own examination and founded that in order to believe , and grasp in this crucial doctrine, we should receive and know Him,we must to have a deep relation with our Lord. So just only I can suggest, be yourself , share your testimony and let the Power of His Holy Spirit speak for you. Ephesians 2:8-22