For Christians, these two realities of the Triune God—three persons and one God—cannot be separated. The identity of the one God in whom we believe is given to us through the three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are other gods that claim to be one. But we do not believe in the God of the philosophers, as Pascal correctly saw in the fiery mystical vision that stood behind his Christian work. We do not worship as god some anonymous “psychic force” that binds humanity, nor do we worship as god some demiurgic cosmic life force that permeates the universe. We do not believe in any other “one god” than this “one God:” the God revealed to us in Jesus Christ as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We might have arrived at any of these other gods on our own. We could have fashioned them through our art or discovered them through our science. But the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is not a God that we could have fashioned or discovered for ourselves; this God can only be known through his own free, loving, self-giving revelation offered to us in Jesus Christ, who says, “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness” (Jn 12:46). But do we want to be enlightened by the true light, or do we prefer some other light?
Perhaps one reason we might prefer the gods that we fashion ourselves (whom we may even worship and call “God”) over the Triune God revealed to us in Jesus Christ, might be that we seek from the god we imagine some sort of advantage (“blessing”) when we need it, and then just want to be left alone. But the Triune God is never alone, and the life that it offers is never a life-alone, but always a life-in/with. We may want a solitary god who gets his (supposedly benign) way, because we also might wish to be left alone to get our (benign?) way, so long as no one else is hurt or bothered. But the Triune God is no such libertarian! The will of the Son is always to do the will of the Father (Jn 6:38); what the Son says, he says as the Father told him (Jn 12:50), to such an extent that, “whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me” (Jn 12:44-45). Let us ask for the grace to also live in and for Another, so that we might not merely believe in some generic “one god” (which we might mistakenly call “Christian”) but rather that our faith may be that faith offered to us by the Holy Spirit, through which we are truly given, as our own, the life of the Son who brings all things back to his Father, in love.