What is the Trinity?

This question is one that millions of people have asked since the doctrine of a three-in-one God was constructed by Roman Church theologians during the period of time from about 325 a.d. to 481 a.d. Actually, I cannot explain the Trinity so I will defer to The New Bible Dictionary, a well-respected work among Christians. Here is its answer:

“In most formularies, the doctrine is stated by saying that God is One in His essential being, but that in this being there are three Persons, yet so as not to form separate and distinct individuals. They are three modes or forms in which the divine essence exists. ‘Person’ is, however, an imperfect expression of the truth inasmuch as the term denotes to us a separate rational and moral individual. But in the being of God there are not three individuals, but only three personal self-distinctions within the one divine essence. Then again, personality in man implies independence of will, actions, and feelings, leading to behavior peculiar to the person. This cannot be thought of in connection with the Trinity: each Person is self-conscious and self-directing, yet never acting independently or in opposition. When we say that God is a Unity, we mean that, though God is in Himself a threefold center of life, His life is not split into three. He is one in essence, in personality, and in will. When we say that God is a Trinity in Unity, we mean that there is unity in diversity, and that diversity manifests itself in Persons, in characteristics, and in operations. Moreover, the subsistence and operations of the three Persons are marked by a certain order, involving a certain subordination in relation, though not in nature. The Father as the fount of deity is First: He is said to originate. The Son, eternally begotten of the Father, is Second: He is said to reveal. The Spirit, eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son, is Third: He is said to execute. While this does not suggest priority in time or in dignity, since all three Persons are divine and eternal, it does suggest an order of precedence in operation and revelation. Thus we can say that creation is from the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit.”

Got it?

Me neither. I do know that if I’m ever lost and needing directions, I don’t want to ask the guy who wrote it. Maybe I’m just thick, but I have no idea what he is talking about.

What I can grasp are clear biblical statements, like what Jesus said in John 17:3—”Now this is eternal life: that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” And 1 Timothy 2:5—”For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” And 1 Corinthians 8:6—”yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”

From the above verses, and many more like them, it seems elementary: God is the Father and Jesus Christ is His Son. Even more simply put, 1 + 1 = 2. Maybe that’s why in Revelation 22, the last chapter of the Bible, when all is said and done and Paradise is regained, there are only two seats on the final throne—for “God and the Lamb.” By the way, a study of the Word will show that the “Holy Spirit” is simply another title for God, and the “holy spirit” is the gift of His nature that He gives to each person when he gets born again.

Many Christians are adamant that the Trinity is the “cornerstone” of the Christian faith. If that is true, what I don’t understand is why it is not clearly emblazoned on the pages of Scripture. Surely there should be terms like “God the Son,” “three-in-one,” “dual nature,” “God-man,” “Incarnation,” etc., etc. When such critical doctrines like salvation are so clearly set forth, surely the bedrock of Christianity would be plainly spelled out. But even Trinitarian scholars admit that it is not. Have you ever wondered why?

Perhaps our book, One God & One Lord: Reconsidering the Cornerstone of the Christian Faith, will help you understand the relationship between God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, His Son, as well as who the “Holy Spirit” is and what the “holy spirit” is. It will also show you where the idea of the “Trinity” came from.

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