Opinions tend to create an effective way to look into one’s beliefs or feeling, and are used well when spoken at the right time. Though they may not always be looked upon as exactly accurate, they seem to explore our old view points and challenge us. This is exactly what Paul Young managed to do in his book The Shack. His creative outlook on issues such as the Trinity creates a unique learning outcome for many people. And though not all issues were entirely Biblically supported, he has many refreshing explanations concerning the inner workings of the Trinity.
In the Bible, there is much said about the triune unit and how it functions. God the Father chooses who will be saved... the Son redeems them... and the Holy Spirit seals them (NIV, Ephesians 1: 4-13). Also, though there are three people, there is only one God who works through the three. This concept was followed loosely in Young’s book, with “Papa” being the creator of ideas, Jesus as the friend-type being and Sarayu being more interested in Mack’s innermost feelings.
Sarayu, the first being in the Trinity, was revealed as a small Asian woman used to represent the Holy Spirit. Sarayu was the one to collect his tears at the beginning of the book, and it was she who eventually helped Mack realize the truth of Jesus’ love for him. She was soft-spoken and very wise, and much like the dove mentioned in Biblical accounts (NIV, Luke 3:21,22). She had good advice and always seemed to know what to say, yet could get straight to the point if she needed to clear up Mack’s thinking. Also, her characteristics to describe her as a human seem to be very close to what people think of when they picture the Holy Spirit. She was shown as “shimmer[ing] in the light” and had a voice like a song (Young, pg. 89). “Jesus” also seemed to reinforce this in the book when he said, “she is creativity, she is action... she is my spirit” (Young, pg. 112). And though these images are not entirely biblical, they help to reinforce the thought of the Holy Spirit as kind and loving, which Young seemed to imply.
Jesus was presented as being Mack’s heavenly pal. As shown in Luke 20:5, Jesus was referenced in this book as a person to depend on and to be able to grapple about hard concepts with. He was wise, yet Mack said in the book that he felt more comfortable around Jesus then he did around the others (Young, pg 112). Yeshua is more tangible to mankind because he was once “like us” and made the Word into flesh (NIV, John 1:14). Because of the human characteristics we are familiar with due to his time lived out in a human body, he is more easily associated with the human race then the other two deities in the trinity. And though this concept wasn’t disputed in The Shack- in fact it was somewhat promoted- the aspect of Jesus being as “god-like” as the rest of the trinity was well emphasized (Young, pg. 112). With Jesus saying things like, “believe me, Papa and Sarayu are just as real as I am...” (Young, pg. 112), it...