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What Is The "Holy Trinity?"

Updated on November 5, 2013
Traditional symbol for the Holy Trinity
Traditional symbol for the Holy Trinity

Are you familiar with the doctrine of the Holy Trinity?

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What is the Holy Trinity?

The Holy Trinity is the official designation of the Triune God of Christians. This God has three persons, yet is one God. Christians believe in one God, but that God has three distinct persons that make it up.

It might be difficult to wrap your head around, and that's okay. Most Christian theologians themselves don't fully understand how it works. This is because it is something that is beyond human understanding. It is outside anything we can conceive with our human logic or reason. However, that doesn't mean we don't try.

Let's dig a little deeper into the subject, and see if we can begin to wrap our heads around this thing called the "Holy Trinity."

God the Father is depicted by the hands, God the Holy Spirit is depicted by the dove, and God the Son is depicted by the lamb.
God the Father is depicted by the hands, God the Holy Spirit is depicted by the dove, and God the Son is depicted by the lamb. | Source

One God, Three Persons

The Holy Trinity is considered one God, but three distinct persons, all at the same time. What are these three persons?

1. The first person of the Trinity is God the Father, or God the Creator. This is the person of the Trinity that is credited with creating the universe and sustaining it.

2. The second person of the Trinity is God the Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the person of the Trinity that is credited with saving creation from sin, death, and evil.

3. The third person of the Trinity is God the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is credited with giving people faith and equipping them to do God's work. The Spirit is considered the "helper" of Christians.

These persons are not in a hierarchy, as some would believe. Nor does one of these persons control the other two. They are equal, they are distinct, and yet they are still "one."

1. God the Father/Creator

God the Father or God the Creator is talked about most often by Christians, and most people assume that this is the God of the Old Testament. When a Christian says "God" they are most likely thinking of this particular person of the Trinity.

The Milky Way Galaxy
The Milky Way Galaxy | Source

Who is God the Father/Creator?

The first words of the Bible talk about how God created the earth. In fact, the entire first chapter of the bible talks about how god the Creator spoke the universe into existence.

This is where we first find evidence of the person of the Father/Creator. God creates and sustains the earth, caring for it and all that is in it. We see that He gives the earth to man and woman to take care of. He uses humankind to care for His earth.

The Creator is also known as the Father, a name that was given Him by Jesus. Jesus, being the Son of God, called the first person of the Trinity his "Father in Heaven." He also encourages his followers to do so as well, as he states in the Lord's Prayer found in the books of Matthew and Luke.

The book of 1 John calls Christians "children of God" and that they will be like Christ, made pure in the sight of God. This passage, like many others, plays to the idea of God as Father, giving further evidence of this first person of the Trinity.

2. God the Son

Jesus is the Son of God, who is considered by Christians both fully God and fully man. Jesus is the savior of creation, and the example of the way that God wants humanity to live.

Jesus Christ on a cross (the crucifix)
Jesus Christ on a cross (the crucifix) | Source

Who is Jesus Christ?

The second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, is the savior of creation. He is the Son of God, yet God himself. He is fully God and fully human, and is an example of how humanity should live according to God's will.

Jesus is often mistaken for a simple prophet, or downplayed as "second" to the Father. However, Jesus is equal with the Father and with the Spirit. He plays the part of the redeemer, God incarnate on earth in order to save humanity from itself.

Because of sin, there is death and sickness in creation. The perfect world that God created was broken, so He, as Jesus, saves creation. Jesus dies, sacrificing himself, so that all humanity dies with him. He then rises from the dead three days later, bringing all humanity with him as well. In this way, he saves humanity from death by conquering death forever.

Because of Jesus the Redeemer, humanity can once again live with God forever.

3. God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, is probably the least known person of the Trinity. It is usually depicted in Christian tradition as tongues of fire or a dove.

Holy Spirit depicted as a dove in Christian art
Holy Spirit depicted as a dove in Christian art | Source

What is the Holy Spirit?

Or rather, "Who is the Holy Spirit?" The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. The Spirit of God is probably the least known person in the Trinity, and many people don't think to acknowledge the fact that the Holy Spirit is God, equal with the Father and Son.

The Spirit is God's way of interacting directly with the Church and with humanity. The Holy Spirit grants faith, and strengthens it. The Holy Spirit is who inspired the authors of the Bible, and it is how God speaks to people.

Pastors and other workers of the Church are believed to be "called by God" to enter the ministry, and it is this "calling" that is the work of the Spirit. Probably the most radical example of the Spirit in action is on the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts. The Spirit comes to rest on the disciples of Jesus, who begin to speak the Gospel in languages that they didn't know, but that foreigners could understand.

A visual representation of the extremely brief summation of the Athanasian Creed
A visual representation of the extremely brief summation of the Athanasian Creed

One God in Trinity

There is a Creed, called the Athanasian Creed, that specifically addresses the doctrine of the Trinity. It is not so much an explanation as it is a representation of the eternal dissonance (at least to us humans) of "one in three, three in one" that the Trinity really is.

"And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal."

The Trinity is not three Gods, but one God with three distinct but equal persons. These persons are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (Spirit). All glory is equal, none is above the other, and they are all eternal.

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    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 8 weeks ago from Planet earth. between the oceans

      what is it? It is neither Holy nor is it truth, it is a satanic lie of satan, made up by the satanic catholic church.

      The early church , the disciples of Christ and the disciples they made of Christ, NEVER taught this lie because they understood that Jesus is the Son of God, not God. anyone that teaches this satanic lie cannot understand the things f God and are following false doctrine of men. Schofield , Darby and many other apostate men popularized this false doctrine and many other false doctrines which have been accepted by the church system and others that have not learned the truth from the Holy Spirit, the only source of all truth.

      Jesus Christ is the Son of God, no one man can be His own father and Jesus was born a man according to the plan of God, He entered the world through the womb of a woman.

    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 21 months ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      I wrote a nice piece titled, "How to teach the trinity." Basically, just use scripture. Avoid the actual word, "trinity." Some denominations condition (read: brainwash) their people to believe anyone using different esoteric denominational doctrines is a lost soul.

      But, every denomination, despite the fact most are lead by those wolves who snuck in unaware, still makes the lipservice statement, "We believe the Bible." So, you can use scriptures. Both sides will agree on the Word. Problem solved.

      PS- the symbol you have at the top of this piece, the one on the cover of the Scofield Bible after c. 1902, is actually a Satanic symbol. It represents the unholy trinity.

      Satanists bought the rights to the Scofield Bible, and started adding. They added footnotes. This replaces learning from our teacher, the Holy Spirit, and also permitted them greater leverage to spread doctrines from Hell. The pre-trib rapture is one idea. Satanists had already been spreading it by word of mouth, and their double agent embedded wolves. But, once it was in print... the gullible were much more susceptible.

    • profile image

      Cruxxer 2 years ago

      I believe in Holy Trinity for Infinity.

    • amer786 profile image

      amer786 3 years ago from Los Angeles

      The Trinity is time broken from eternity past to our present time back to a never ending eternity ??? Think I'll pass on making sense of that.

      Anyway, why not?

    • profile image

      Rayne123 3 years ago

      Great answer sinbad, thank you

      Laurie

    • Sinbadsailorman profile image

      Donald Beres Jr 3 years ago from Valparaiso, Indiana

      If you have seen the Father you have seen the Son where ever these two are the third is there also. I believe this is in the Holy Scriptures yes? It is often down played But Jesus is GOD In the Flesh as a Human for the sole purpose to test the Position of the Fallen Lucifer

      It was in Lucifer's Power to Not Kill the Father as the Son of a Man it could never be possible for Lucifer. If God took any other form other than a Human form. Let Us make Man In Our own Image. This was GOD speaking Directly to the Fallen Lucifer not unto the Angels or to the other two persona's of GOD.

      The Story Makes it very Clear when one reads it completely. The Original Sin was Not Man's in the Garden. This is a Lie Of Satan's it has always been the Adversary of GOD that created the Original Sin. Which was the Failure to Repent from his Pride and self deception of who he was and who GOD was. The trinity is never mention as it is portrayed today three individuals or a God Head of State.

      It is however an example of TIME broken from Eternity past to our present period of TIME back to a Never Ending Eternity or a restored eternity. Eternity was Broken when Adam ate the Apple because Eve had already done so. Adam was too broken by GOD split into halves Man and Woman much like Time was Split into before and after Both Adam and Eve choose what Lucifer desired also to be Gods not of GOD's this became their Original Sin not because that ate an apple but they too desired what Lucifer desired To be greater than the Almighty Himself.

    • amer786 profile image

      amer786 3 years ago from Los Angeles

      But scripture has not just mentioned Jesus Christ (peace be on him) as a God. In the Book of Exodus 7:1, God says to Moses (pbuh) “I have made thee a God unto Pharaoh”. Also, when The Sanhedrin had tried Jesus (pbuh) for blasphemy he had defended that he only called himself a God or Son of God in the same spirit that prophets have been called Gods in the Old Testament. Prophets are representatives of God who deliver his warnings and glad tidings. They are an official spokesperson for God. In Islam, we have a term for prophets called ‘Khalifatullah’ or ‘The representative of God’. The Holy Spirit is also mentioned in the Quran as a support for Jesus (pbuh).

      One can see where this concept comes from but where the notion of The Trinity takes it is questionable especially as the commentator before me said that there is no direct mention of it in the Gospels. The Creeds you mention are 300 years or so after Jesus Christ (pbuh) that had interpolated information from The Gospels. As religion meddles in with power and politics, distortions sooner or later have crept into all religions.

    • pmbrandvold profile image
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      Phillip Brandvold 3 years ago from Saint Paul

      The Trinity is not named in the bible, as are many Christian doctrines and traditions...you will not find the word "Trinity" anywhere. It is a doctrine that is based on Scripture, but is not necessarily named in any part of the bible. However, the early Christian church confessed the Trinity from the very beginning, as professed in each of the Christian Creeds (The Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed).

    • profile image

      Taalib Pugh 3 years ago

      Who originally introduced the Trinity? When I read the old Testament it was not mentioned at all, there was no clue, or revelation mentioned about it. Also according to the Injeel (Gospels of Jesus in Aramaic and Arabic) you did not find him mentioning the Trinity.

      Also which monotheistic understanding of The One GOD makes more sense and is truly monotheistic in origin? Is it there is only One GOD worthy of worship and anything other than GOD is worshipped this is false, or GOD the Father, the son, holy spirit? Why would God give us His Word that doesn't make sense?

    • Sinbadsailorman profile image

      Donald Beres Jr 3 years ago from Valparaiso, Indiana

      Yes I agree Most definitely they are all in all are in all three Periods. But as I stated They were most noticed by us humans as their perspective selfs as these persons. The Father Before the Fall as in the garden all three are there. Father, Son [the word] and the Holy Spirit. Yes I agree Time and Its periods due not restrict the Creator in any way. Father 1st period eternity, 2nd period Jesus, and the third will Be the Holy Spirit until after The Great white throne of Judgment when all is righted and The Creator is again One complete being for all eternity again Forever and ever

    • pmbrandvold profile image
      Author

      Phillip Brandvold 3 years ago from Saint Paul

      I think it's easy for us to think of God working through three persons of the Trinity in three different time periods, but I would propose that all three persons of the Trinity are at work at all times.

      God the Father/Creator spoke the universe into existence through the Word (Jesus) and His Spirit was over the water.

      Jesus was incarnate, taking on human flesh, but God the Father was also working through him and the Spirit tended to him.

      The Spirit is working through the Church, yet the Father and the Son are constantly with all Christians as well.

    • Sinbadsailorman profile image

      Donald Beres Jr 3 years ago from Valparaiso, Indiana

      When I add my belief of the Three periods of Time this makes prefect sense As the three person would reside One in each and all in each of these Periods of time The Creation before the fall of Lucifer and a third of Heaven the father Creator of All

      The fall until the Christ is crucified would Be Jesus's Time The Son of God upon this Earth as we are in Human bodies. The Spirit Of God walks freely in all three But will be most recognized After the Christ was risen and then ascended again into Heaven. The Holy spirit will again be as we are when Jesus returns Because when He returns All flesh will melt away and every tongue and knee shall bow and confess the Christ was, is, and will again and forever be Jesus Christ Emanuel Or to say God with Us. GOD is an consuming fire and the purest light of truth. When He acceded He sent another in His place This is the comforter of God or the Holy spirit or so I believe. Three periods of Time three Persons perceived by His children who also will conform to these Periods of time as the fallen the reformed and the reborn. Nice Hub Some day soon I will write a hub on what I stated here About the three periods of Eternity. Donnie/ Sinbad the Sailor Man

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      The Stages Of ME 3 years ago

      Great hub love it :)

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 3 years ago from India

      Well written and very informative hub. I hear the word Holy trinity and now i have come to known more about the same. Thank you for this good hub. VOTED UP and useful.

    • profile image

      Rayne123 3 years ago

      Nice hub and well written

      I am not sure , but I think we all may look at that scenario differently but all in all God is the most high.

      I believe that this is why we in prayer say

      "The father, the son and the Holy Spirit" and in that order

      Thank you

      Laurie