Yesterday was Trinity Sunday, the traditional festival–now that Ascension and Pentecost are over–to honor and contemplate the one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As we confess in the Athanasian Creed that is customarily confessed on that Sunday, God Himself is a unity of distinct persons.
That is to say, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Love is a unity of distinct persons. The doctrine of the Trinity shows how love is inherent in the very essence of the Godhead.
Charles Williams, C. S. Lewis’s friend, suggested that just as there are heresies in regards to the being of God, there are related heresies of love. Some heretics affirm the unity of God and deny the distinctness of the Persons. Similarly, in relationships, some, in the name of love, demand utter conformity, often manifesting itself in one of the lovers dominating or even obliterating the other person. There is unity in the relationship, but no distinct persons. This is heretical love.Other theological heretics teach the separateness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, denying their essential unity. Similarly, in relationships, sometimes the people in them go completely in their separate ways. The persons are affirmed, but not the unity that love needs.
Only God, of course, gets love exactly right. And, indeed, His love is not just self-contained in the Godhead, but it extends to us. And He doesn’t obliterate our persons, even as He brings us into a unity with Himself, through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son. May God’s love shape all of our loves!