Two become three because they are now one
How can God be both one and three? But then how can a subatomic element be both a particle and a wave? It is a mystery we cannot understand. But then this mystery of two become three because they are now one is all around us. You encounter it every time you turn on the tap and water pours out. Water, we know, is formed by two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen in a chemical reaction with each other to form a liquid. Why is it a liquid? Because the atoms are not so tightly bound to each other as they would be if it were a solid. But this liquid is more than not very tightly bound atoms. It is transparent, life-sustaining, beautiful. Water is more than hydrogen plus oxygen, it is a new thing. Yet if you ask a scientist what water is he (OK she) would still say it is hydrogen in a chemical reaction with oxygen and they would be right There is no third thing floating on top of the entities that make it up. It is that when hydrogen engages with oxygen under the right conditions they are themselves transformed by their engagement with each other. It is as if a capacity that was, as it were, dormant before has been drawn out of them. In their unity with each other they become not more than themselves but more themselves than they were before.
Anybody who has experienced a happy marriage will know this as well. There is no third thing called a marriage. There are only the same two persons that there were before but now transformed by their relationship with each other. In marriage each partner becomes more themselves by absorbing something of the other. Except that at this level it is no longer simply the electrical engagement that there was in the case of the hydrogen and oxygen – although it is still that too, we are the atoms that we are – but consciously experienced love. Every happy marriage – for surely unhappy ones dissolve themselves whatever canon law might say, marriage is about happiness – is an image of the Trinity. In becoming united into one, two are transformed by the relationship that is between them. In the case of water it was simply a mechanical transformation. In the case of marriage it is a personal, though still limited, transformation into unity. In the Trinity it is the total transformation of two into one by love. We need to take seriously too those New Testament texts about all things becoming one in Christ. In the further dimension of reality that is pressing in upon us from all sides, although we are largely unconscious of it, of which I believe quantum physics is just beginning to lift a corner, all things are one. There is no third thing called God, as there is no third thing called marriage. A subatomic element is not a particle plus a wave but in so far as it is a particle it is a wave and in so far as it is a wave it is a particle. Everything has in it the capacity to unite with everything else in the further dimension even while it remains separately itself in this one. The Trinity is no third thing floating above us. The Trinity is the law of the universe whereby separate things become more themselves by uniting with other things come to its fulfilment.