Questions 6, 7 & 8

Trinity*

 

‘There is only one God. This God exists in three persons.

 

All Christians believe this. They believe it because that is what the scriptures* teach. When they want to talk about this idea, they use a special word. That word is trinity.

 

This word is never found in the Bible.* But it helps to teach an important truth about God. The word is made from putting two other words together. Those words are ‘three’ and ‘unity’. So, trinity means ‘three in unity’ or ‘three in one’.

 

What are people saying when they use this word?

 

There is one God. And this one God exists in three persons.

 

We can not explain how this can be. But this is what the scriptures say about God.

 

  1. There is only one God[1].

 

  1. We read about a person called Father. He is called God. We read about a person called the Son. He is also called God. We read about the Spirit*. He is also called God[2].

 

We are told that all three persons are the one true God. All three persons can do what only God can do. They are all to be given honor* that belongs to the one, true God. When believers* are told to praise* God, they are told to honor all three persons as one God.

 

When we put those things together, this is what we can say. There is only one God. But this God exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

 

We may also say it this way. The Father is the same God as the Son and the Holy Spirit. But the Father is not the same person as the Son or the Holy Spirit. The same is true for the Son and the Spirit. They are all the same God. But they are not the same person.

 

God has always been one God in three persons. God will always be one God in three persons.  Each of these persons is equal with the other. They are equal in power, wisdom, glory*, and honor. They are always in perfect agreement. They share the same love for each other. They are completely one.

 

God did not become Trinity only when Jesus came. God did not become this way only to do a special task. God does not merely seem to be this way. This is who God is.

 

This is very difficult to explain. God is like no one else. He is far above us and beyond us. He knows and understands all things. What we know is limited. We can not understand his ways. We can see what the scriptures say about him. We can use those scriptures to describe him. But we can not completely understand how these things can be so.

 

Sometimes, people use examples to help us understand.

 

Some say that God is like an egg. One egg is made of three parts. The shell is the egg. The white part inside is the egg. The yellow part inside is the egg. It takes all three parts to make one egg. But God is not divided into parts. God is not like an egg.

 

Some say that God is like water. Water is always water. It can be ice when it gets very cold. Sometimes, it can become steam when it is very hot. Most of the time, it is a liquid. But water can not be ice, steam, and liquid at the same time. God is not like water.

 

Some say that God is like a person. One man can be a son, a father, and a brother at the same time. One man is three different men in that sense. But a man can not be a father and a son and a brother to the same person. God is not like a man.

 

These pictures can sometimes be helpful. They do explain how something can be three things and also be one.  But they are not three in one in the same way that God is. We have no perfect example of anything else that is just like God is.

 

So, we can say that this is what the scriptures teach us about God. We can describe what it teaches by using the word trinity. We can not completely understand how God can be as he is. But, when we look at the scriptures*, we can not deny that this is what it says.

 

The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God.

 

The Father is not the Son or the Spirit. The Son is not the Spirit or the Father. The Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son. But all three persons are fully God.

 

There is one God. This one God for ever exists in three persons.


[1] Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Isaiah 45:5-6; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6
[2] Philippians 1:2; Hebrews 1:8; Acts 5:3-4