Why is the Doctrine of the Trinity a Hill Worth Dying On?
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Why is the Doctrine of the Trinity a Hill Worth Dying On?

You Are the Handiwork of God

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

—Psalm 139:15–16

In the age of celebrity icons, influencers, and internet fame, being known and yet feeling unloved is a common fate. Even in our own personal worlds of social media—or perhaps also in our schools, workplaces, and communities—it’s easy to feel invisibly adrift, unanchored in anonymity. Timothy Keller writes in his book The Meaning of Marriage, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”[1]

Although Keller penned these words of encouragement to couples, he hits on an important truth: the fullest we can be known and loved is by the God who made us.

Psalm 139 is often used to highlight the scriptural basis for life begun in the womb: “For You created my innermost parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb” (Ps. 139:13). And though there is hope and beauty in knowing that we are designed before birth by a skillful artist, from the freckles on our faces to the marrow in our bones, this psalm actually goes much farther.

The first stanza is filled with all the ways God knows the psalmist—sitting or standing, rising or lying down, and every word that passes the tongue before it’s even conceived in the mind—“Behold, Lord, You know it all” (Ps. 139:4). And yet, this knower is not anonymous, not far off—this knowing God is present: “If I take up the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will take hold of me” (Ps. 139:9–10).

This second stanza describes God’s inescapable presence—he’s active in the life of the psalmist: leading, guarding, protecting. But this should be of no surprise, because next we see that God has been intimately involved in this man’s life from the beginning! The psalmist is knit together, he is fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:13–14). “Your eyes have seen my formless substance; And in Your book were written all the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them” (Ps. 139:16).

Yet, he does not leave the story there to unfold on its own. Psalm 139 shows us that God is an ever-present creator, that he takes care not only to design us completely, but also that he himself will be with us for every day of our lives and lead us “in the way everlasting.”

To this God who has kneaded your form and given you a soul, you’re not simply the pictures you post, the work you accomplish, the mouths you feed—you are the handiwork of God, and your body, personality, experiences, circumstances, and purposes are all intentionally fashioned. And for those who believe in the work of God’s Son, you are also his child who has been redeemed from sin, preserved for life eternal, and loved to the fullest measure.

[1] Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, (New York, NY: Riverhead Books, 2013), 101.

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Arie Van Weelden

Arie Van Weelden is a book nerd, sports fan, and movie lover from Wisconsin. He’s in his third year at Westminster Seminary pursuing his M.Div. and serves as a pastoral intern for a local church. He and his wife love bird-watching and trips to the beach. When he’s not reading theology, he’s actively engaging in his role as the World’s Greatest Uncle.

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Mary Van Weelden

Mary Van Weelden is a writer and a journalist, and is currently working on a double M.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies at Westminster Seminary California. She and her husband are actively searching for the best taco place in Escondido, CA. Come talk to her about practical theology and comma placements on Twitter at @agirlnamedmary.