One of the things I used to do (in my other life) was teach Sunday School, or Children’s Church, which is just regular Sunday School, but taught in front of the entire congregation. One topic that kids (and grownups) had trouble with sometimes was the Christian concept of the Trinity, or the God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit. Muslims have so much trouble with this concept, that they actually think Christians are polytheistic (worshipping many Gods). That was a surprise when I got to Morocco and got into my first theological discussion, because the concept was perfectly clear to me, and I had never before actually considered that the Trinity made us look like worshippers of many Gods to those who don’t understand.
The way I taught the Trinity to children was to use an apple. Most apples come in three colors: red, yellow (or golden), and green. If you cut the apple in half width-wise (the direction that nobody ever cuts it), you will see that the growth marks around the core, where the seeds are, is shaped like the Star of Bethlehem. The Trinity is like an apple – how?
The outside of the apple (the colorful peeling) is the part we see first. That is Jesus Christ, the Son, who was sent to Earth for us to see and touch God. Red apples remind us of His sacrifice of Himself for us upon the cross. The peel helps protect the apple from bugs and other bad things in the same way that Jesus protects His children. Golden apples remind us that Jesus is the King of Kings, who will one day return in glory. And green apples remind us that nothing grows and flourishes without God.
The core of the apple, containing the seeds, represents God the Father. He is the center of everything (the core) and He is the great creator. All the apples of the future are contained in those seeds. God could have just made apples, but He didn’t….he made seeds that grow into trees, and the trees make the apples. His wisdom, and patience, for this process He designed is one of His hallmarks: we must wait on God’s process, HIS timing, to see the fruit.
The meat of the apple, that we eat for nourishment? That is God the Holy spirit, that nourishes us in our spiritual growth and journey through this life. All the three parts of the apple are different and distinct, and they all have different functions, but they all are apple: parts that make up the whole in the same way that the three parts of the Trinity make up the one God.