The Saturn V Rocket with the Apollo 8 spacecraft lifts off from Cape Kennedy, Florida, Dec. 21, 1968. The spacecraft is carrying astronauts Frank Borman, commander, James A. Lovell Jr., and William A. Anders to a seven-day mission scheduled to include 10 orbits of the moon. Blast-off location is launch complex 39A. (AP Photo)

But the Word Is Not Used

I climb in through the metal door. It’s thickness and design will, when sealed from the outside, protect me from the cold nothingness of space. It is cumbersome and unusual to be here surrounded by buttons, knobs, and switches and crammed in with two others at the top of a cylinder, which is as much a bomb as machine.

To sit is to lie on my back. My feet are in the air, but tucked and resting on metal. Above me are the small port holes of my new home. I see only the frame around us from which we will depart and the blue of a sky that will soon turn to blackness and stars. Soon there will be no up or down, just floating freely.

This home is a safe haven that will take me to another world, a world of gray and stillness around which we will orbit and then see our home planet as a blue marble. In the vacuum of space, our capsule will rendezvous with another craft into which my colleagues will climb. Then we shall separate and they will descend as Armstrong did onto that other world, so distant from ours, but so close. Then again we will journey home, pivot and reorient the unwieldy machine so that again we rest on our backs and its flat bottom angles into our atmosphere protecting us from friction and heat.

Parachutes will deploy and through the air, filled once again held tight to the earth by the gravity that pulls us down, we will land in the sea.

I am, of course, describing Columbus’s first voyage across the Atlantic to the new world. Huh?

How do you know that is not true? How do you know what I’m describing — a rocket ride through space and a landing on the moon before returning home? How do you know I mean the moon? I never used that word.

I never used the word “rocket.” How did you know that is what I was describing? And how did you know that is what I was describing and not a Space Shuttle?

The rocket is there for you to see if you open your mind to it as is the moon.

There is an old argument made new again that the trinity is not in the Bible and is just a creation of man. Well, in the same way the word “rocket” may be the creation of man and never appear in the story above, it is there for all to see — a single, yet triune God.

Christianity embraces the God of the Jews further revealed. That God says he is unchanging and eternal. But the Apostle John said, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The Word was God. But there is only one God and he is unchanging and eternal. That must mean Jesus is eternal and Jesus is God.

In the same way, Paul writes

But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

1 Cor. 2:7-12 (ESV)

David in Psalm 139:7 writes, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?”

God is one, but Christ commands us to baptize in the name of the Father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit must be God if God is unchanging, but the Spirit knows the mind of God.

The word “trinity” may not be used, but it is spread throughout the Bible — a single God in three persons, the blessed trinity.

The trinity is a necessary component of Christianity. If God just changed forms, as the Sabellian heresy claims, then he died on a cross leaving no one in charge of Heaven. It was the son on the cross, but the Son is God and there is only one God. If Jesus was just a man and not God, then he lies about himself as do the Apostles and we are all damned.

You may not understand it, but I do not understand the finer points of gravity. I do know, however, that what goes up must come down.

Christianity has boundaries. Within those boundaries there is movement and debate and even disagreement. But there are still boundaries beyond which there is only heresy. Rejecting the trinity is rejecting the eternal God. We no longer get to define orthodoxy. That was done long ago by the saints who came before us, many of whom suffered, were tortured, executed, or were exiled. Today, orthodoxy defines us, we do not define it.

To say you reject the trinity because it is not in the Bible may make you feel intellectual, but it reveals how little you grasp the faith you profess. To be a nontrinitarian is to not be a Christian. It is why Mormonism falls outside Christianity and why Apostolic Oneness falls outside Christianity. You may certainly claim to be a Christian in the same way the gay rights movement claims a boy can be a girl without the girl parts. It’s an appropriate and fitting claim for the 21st century. But just as it does not make the boy a girl, it does not make you a Christian.

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Erick Erickson

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