The Trinity


While other religions include a "trinity" in their pantheon of gods, Christianity is the only religion that distinguishes itself with a general belief about a real, living God who exists as Three distinct Persons who are equal and eternal:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The Three Persons in this divine Trinity are immortal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

The God of the Bible is infinite and far beyond all human comprehension.  Yet, we can know these Persons of the Godhead to the extent that They have revealed Themselves to us.  They have made Themselves known through the work of Their "hands" as seen in nature, through the circumstances of providence, through the written Word, the Bible, and especially through the Living Word, Jesus Christ.  The Bible teaches that God exists as Three distinct Persons whom we call the Trinity:



God the Father: "Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came" (1 Corinthians 8:6).  "One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4:6).

God the Son: "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9)..."while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).

God the Holy Spirit: "Then Peter said, 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit...?...You have not lied to men but to God' "(Acts 5:3, 4).  "God has revealed it to us by His Spirit...For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God" (1 Corinthians 2:10,11).

The Bible presents the Three Persons of the Godhead as related to each Other in the same way that humans are related.  The Bible uses personal pronouns when it speaks of the Members of the Trinity (see Matthew 17:5; John 16:13, 28; 17:1).  They love and glorify each Other (see John 3:35; 15:10; 16:14).  The Father sent the Son (Matthew 10:40), the Son prays to the Father (John 17:18), and the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit as Their Representative (John 14:26; 16:7).


Each One of Them has His own special work to carry out, even when They are cooperating in joint activities such as Creation and Redemption.  The biblical statement that, "God is love" (1 John 4:8) applies perfectly to each Person of the Trinity.  The fact that God is love from eternity presupposes that there is more than one Person in the Trinity.  If there were just one Person from eternity, that One's love would be for Himself only.



While no one passage of Scripture defines the doctrine of the Trinity, the Bible writers assumed it as a given, and they spoke of it repeatedly.  The teaching of the Trinity is implied in Genesis 1, which presents God and the Spirit both acting in Creation (See Genesis 1:1, 2).  The New Testament points out that Christ also participated in the Creation, and that He is in fact the Creator (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16, 17; Hebrews 1:2).  In Matthew 28:19 Jesus directed that baptism be performed, " ' the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.' "  Here the doctrine of the Trinity is presented in a way that gives it strong support as an article of faith.  The Trinity was evident at Christ's baptism, where all Three Members of the Godhead were manifested at the same time.  Matthew 3:16, 17 shows God the Son being baptized; God the Spirit manifesting Himself in the form of a dove that descended on Jesus; and the Father proclaiming, " 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.' "


Luke 1:35 includes the Three Persons of the Godhead in the angel's announcement to Mary that she was to be the mother of the Messiah.  The angel said that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, the power of the Most High would overshadow her, and Jesus would be born of her.  Jesus recognized the difference between the Members of the Godhead when He said, " 'When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me' " (John 15:26).


Paul's apostolic benediction also supports this teaching.  He said, "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (2Corinthians 13:14).



 We can accept the existence of the Trinity only by faith. Nevertheless, reason does provide evidence that confirms our belief in God.  Throughout the centuries, theologians have suggested various arguments for the existence of God.  These are:


  1. The moral argument: The search of every human being for "the best good" implies the existence of a moral Being.  Our conscience and our moral understanding distinguish us humans from the animals.  There must be a source for this moral insight that is independent of humans, and that Source is God.
  2. The mental argument: Our mental faculties, our imagination and intelligence, can be explained only by presupposing the existence of a super-intelligent Source.
  3. The cosmological argument: in view of the fact that every effect must have a cause, a never-ending chain of cause and effect must go back to the great "First Cause."  Nothing can proceed from nothing.
  4. The teleological argument: The intricate structure and design seen in nature, from the butterfly to the human brain, requires the existence of an intelligent Designer.  Anyone who has ever put together a computer should find it easy enough to understand that the incredibly complex "computer" that we know as the human brain could not develop purely through natural causes.
  5. The ontological argument: Anslem, the eleventh-century arch bishop of Canterbury, defined God as "than which nothing greater can be conceived."  He reasoned that life must be a necessary part of such a perfect Being, and therefore He must exist.  To put it another way, if it's possible to conceive that such a Being exists, then He must in fact exist.
  6. The argument from experience: Human religious experiences, which are such a common part of our human existence, indicate that there must be something or someone behind them.  The fact that so many people everywhere have had both their defenders and their detractors.  Several of the last of these evidences have been argued more in the past 100 years than the first ones.  More recently, many philosophers and theologians who devote themselves to these issues have given greater attention to the ancient evidences for Gods existence, adapting them to our current thought patterns. However, beyond these rational evidences, God invites us to know Him in our own experience.  The triune God promises, " 'You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart' " (Jeremiah 29:29).