"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!" (Deuteronomy 6:4)
The first line of the Nicene Creed, "We believe in one God..." acknowledges that our God is "the LORD" of the Hebrew scriptures and denies the many gods of the pagan Greek and Roman cultures of the day.
The Creed teaches us that our God is one; however, it also teaches us that He is three. A bold declaration of the Trinity is woven throughout the verses of the Creed by its acknowledgment of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as God.
How can three exist and yet be completely one? It is a mystery, but perhaps we can see its possibility in the following small ways. Ice, steam and liquid are all water. I am a daughter, a mother and a sister. An egg consists of yolk, white and shell. These may help a little, but for me, awareness of the Trinity quickens when I see God as a relationship within Himself; in other words, when I recognize Him as love.
St. John tells us "God is love" (I John 4:8). What is love? Love by its very definition must exist in relationship. If God is love, then God is relational. He extends His love to those of us He created in His image, and His entire creation is an expression of His love. We who seek Him walk on His path of love and are learners in His school of love.
But who did He love before we existed? Who did He love before the angels were there to receive His affection? He loved within Himself. His very nature exists in relationship: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a trinity of love. His Trinitarian nature shouts of love; because He is three in one, we know that any encounter with Him is an encounter with love itself.
He is one, He is three, He is love.
"I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through the belief in the threeness, through the confession of the oneness of the Creator of Creation." (From St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer)
Next time: "...the Father, the Almighty..."