The Trinity and Plate Tectonics – Dr Marty Folsom

Many claim they do not see the Trinity in the Bible, so we should just go with what are obvious topics, not those “created” by later theologians. Many do not see God as self-evident in the world, and so remain agnostic. Many do not see that the human as anything more than physical matter arranged into a chance object in the universe. But are the immediately seen things what defines our reality and its foundations?

I have never seen the plates that move and form mountains and oceans floors. But they are dynamic, ancient, and literally shape the continents we live on. We cannot see them, but we can trace their history, patterns of motion, and predict where they are going based on what is seen.

God is seen in the Person of Jesus Christ. He came to show us the Father, and through Him comes the Holy Spirit to keep God’s movement active in the world. Through the seen we gain access to the unseen that shapes not only this little planet, but a solar system and universe fine-tuned so that the miracle of life could exist for us humans. The seen in our family members is only a tip of the unseen that connects us together.

We can look at the surface of the earth as geographers, but not get all that is known to a geologist. The first geologist, James Hutton presented a paper in 1785 that made him “the first geologist.” Sometimes it takes a long time for people to see what has already been around for centuries or millennia. The first theologian to identify the Trinity after Christ was Tertullian in the 200s, not long after Jesus walked down dusty roads. Some would like to say that this term, “Trinity,” was a created idea, rather than recognized. Why are we only allowed to call discovering plates “science” and then diminish the life of the Triune God as a human creation? Both name the unseen based on what is seen and reveal what undergirds our existence.

Science is always selective. But it must acknowledge that there is a larger context that always shapes the focus of one’s study. The focal can only be understood in light of the larger subsidiary contexts. So with the world, we are still unaware of much of the mystery we walk upon, but live upon the unseen with confidence.

Theological Science is a valid pursuit of walking with the unseen as the larger context of our personal lives. We walk with a Mystery, but not one who is unknown, just not available to our senses on demand. We can understand earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and know their source. We see in the Person of Jesus, the gathering of His people, and the ongoing work of the Spirit to change lives, the Tectonic, Trinitarian God who is unseen, but undergirds our very existence.

The hope for the future of the world is that we align with all of reality, seen and unseen, and align with its reality with respect, wonder, and wisdom.