The Trinity, the belief in “One God in Three Persons,” is a core doctrine of Christianity. But, there are some religious groups that do not hold to this central Christian doctrine. Groups such as:
1.) “Oneness Pentecostals,” ( The Oneness position is “the doctrine that God is absolutely one in numerical value, that Jesus is the one God, and that God is not a plurality of persons.”
2.) Jehovah’s Witnesses, (They view God as the Father, an invisible spirit “person” separate from the Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is described as God’s “active force.”)
3.) Mormons, (The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man,” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35).
The doctrine of the Trinity started to reveal itself at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan; “And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased'(Matthew 3:16-17).” In time: the Father (the Creator), the Son (the Redeemer), and the Holy Spirit (the Sanctifier), would be made more clearer.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
“Christians are baptized ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Before receiving the sacrament, they respond to a three-part question when asked to confess the Father, the Son and the Spirit: “I do.” The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity (#232).” Jesus revealed God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in texts such as: Jn 17:5-6, Jn 10:30, Jn 8:58, Jn 14:26, Acts 2:14-18.
Even though the word “Trinity” cannot be found in the Bible, it still teaches that there is One God, and that there are Three Divine Persons. The term “Trinity” looks to have been first used by Theophilus, the bishop of Antioch in 180 AD. The Trinity is one of the greatest mystery of the Christian religion. Now, when we use the word mystery, it doesn’t mean that we cannot know something about a particular truth, but that we cannot know everything about this truth.
So, how can we start to understand what the Trinity is? Well, first of all, when we are talking about three persons in the Trinity, we are not talking about three separate beings. God is not a person in the same way that we are persons.
To help explain this, Jim Blackburn (an apologist at Catholic Answers), wrote this about the Trinity: “…a helpful start to recognize the distinction between a “being” and a “person.” is that God is one Being (the one and only divine Being). This divine Being exists as three Persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). This is unusual to us because each human being is only one person and it might seem that every being has to be one person: one being = one person.
But that’s simply not always the case. For example, a dog is a being but is not a person. A tree is a being but is not a person. In these cases, one being = zero persons. On the other hand, an angel is a being and is a person. In their case, angelic beings are similar to human beings: one being = one person.Once you recognize that not every being is always exactly one person, it might be easier to grasp God’s unique reality, the Trinity: one Being = three Persons.”
Frank Sheed, in his book “Theology for beginners,” says this about the Three Divine Persons:
“The heavenly Father has a Son; the Gospels tell of their relation…that Father and Son possess the one same nature, might remain wholly dark to us if St. John had not given us another term for their relation—the second person is the Word of the first. In the first eighteen verses of his Gospel we learn that God has uttered a Word, a Word who is with God (abiding therefore, not passing in the utterance), a Word who is God; by this Word all things were made.
So God utters a word—not framed by the mouth, of course, for God has no mouth. He is pure spirit. So it is a word in the mind of God, not sounding outwardly as our words sound, akin rather to a thought or an idea. What idea produced in God’s mind could possibly be God? Christian thinking saw early that it could be only the idea God has of himself…Thus, because God is infinite, eternal, all-powerful, his idea of himself is infinite, eternal, all-powerful. Because God is God, his idea is God. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. And the Word was God…’
Our Lord tells of a third person. There is a Spirit, of whom Our Lord will entrust his followers when he himself shall have ascended to the Father…The Spirit, like the Word, is a person—he, not it…God’s idea is someone, and an infinite someone; between thinker and idea there is an infinite dialogue, an infinite interflow. Father and Son love each other, with infinite intensity. What we could not know, if it were not revealed to us, is that they unite to express their love and that the expression is a third divine person. In the Son, the Father utters his self-knowledge; in the Holy Spirit, Father and Son utter their mutual love (pgs 33-36).”
Until next time, God bless.