“It is this eternal unbeginning Trinity in Unity of Fire, Light, and Spirit that constitutes eternal nature. … Perhaps an easier, better, more beautiful example of these abstract symbols of the Trinity than Law’s Fire, Light and Spirit is that of light, Life, and Love: a threefold picture of the real which is constantly dwelt upon. …
“LIGHT, ineffable and uncreated, the perfect symbol of undifferentiated Being: above the intellect. …
“LIFE, the Son, hidden steersman of the universe, the Logos, Fire, or cosmic Soul of things. This out-birth or Concept of the Father’s Mind, which He possesses within Himself. …
“LOVE, the principle of attraction, which seems to partake at once of the trancendental and the created worlds. ‘The best masters say,’ says Eckhart, ‘that the love wherewith we love is the Holy Spirit.’
“’God wills,’ says Ruysbroeck, gathering these scattered symbols to unity again, ‘that we should come forth from ourselves in this Eternal Light;…’” ~Evelyn Underhill
Fire, Light, Spirit
While I find much of what she says worth reading, and quoting from, it must be noted that Ms. Underhill, while a student of mysticism, always remained a Catholic, and shows a marked preference for Christian mystics and spiritual teachers. It is not surprising, therefore, that she quotes almost exclusively from Christian mystics, mostly Catholic ones. That doesn’t make them any less significant, though, since mystics are really non-denominational and you can find mystics, saints and prophets of all religions and spiritual schools saying much the same thing.
It should not be a surprise to anyone that fire was used as a symbol of God. In the Christian world, that would mean God the Father. The most primitive people looked upon fire as a miraculous thing that could be very destructive, but also helpful. The most common reason for associating God with fire, however, was that God was associated with the sun, and the sun was thought of as a big ball of fire. The true mystics knew that God was found in the spiritual sun, not the physical, but the average person didn’t get that.
Light also comes from the sun, but once again, when talking about God we are talking about spiritual Light, not the ordinary physical light of a fire or a lamp. This Light is not even visible to the physical eyes, though it can affect them, and the pineal gland, in beneficial ways.
Spirit is the most difficult of the three to explain. In its widest interpretation, it means anything that is non-physical, anything that was part of reality before time and space were brought into existence by the Great Fall. It is also that aspect of God which reaches out to us, tries to awaken our spirits and souls, and redeem us. It is that part which most closely relates to the idea of a Holy Spirit as part of the Great Trinity.
Light, Life, Love
This version of the Trinity may not seem accurate unless you read the definitions shown in the quote (the actual definitions in the book run several pages. I have used only a small part above.)
The Quantum scientists of today tell us the physical world is nothing more than a very large and detailed hologram: an image made of light. If the physical world is just a great weaving done in physical light, than it seems reasonable to say that the spiritual realms from which it was generated is a hologram of spiritual Light. But the light of the hologram must have a source, a point of origin, and for the Spiritual Light that source is God. God is the Great Light, the One Light, the Light that is The All.
Since spiritual life comes from that spiritual Light, and physical life is degenerated spiritual life, it is also sensible to equate Christ, the creative power of God, with Life. Some of you might be astute enough to ask, “But what about all the created things that are not living?” The answer is they don’t exist. Everything is alive, even if on a level so sluggish that science cannot recognize it as life. Remember that science is still not certain what life is or where it comes from, so don’t take their word for it when they say something is non-living. Even the atoms are alive.
Love relates quite well to the Holy Spirit. Love is a reaching out to others, by us, by God, by all. It is, on some level, a recognition of relationship, of oneness. There is no better way to express our oneness with others than through love, and when God does that, we call that reaching out the Holy Spirit.
Regardless of what terms you use, the idea of the trinity is an important one. One of the oldest versions has it as Father, Mother, and Child, and that may be the best way to put it. The idea is when two opposite forces are brought together, something new is created. So Father and Mother creates the Child, hot air and cold air creates wind, etc. God has many lesser aspects, but those three are the most significant.
So what does all that have to do with our personal spiritual growth? It’s simple. We grow by taking in the spiritual Light. We grow by uniting. We grow by being creative, and we create by bringing together all things into One.