The Holy Trinity Explained (Kind of)
Updated: Aug 4, 2019
One of the hardest mysteries of the Christian faith to comprehend and explain is the Trinity, the idea that the Godhead is one God in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Theologians, philosophers, preachers, and many others have tried for centuries to explain this mystery. No doubt they studied Scripture, the great religious thinkers, and Christian mystics to understand the idea of a God who is purely relational, one being and yet distinctly three persons.
Each ultimately looked inside their own heart and soul, as well as their personal experience, to mold their understanding of the Trinity.
Morning Prayer Revelation
During morning prayer one day, my mind began fashioning words around the Trinity, first addressing God the Father, then Jesus Christ, God the Son, and finally the Holy Spirit.
My words seemed to flow without even a thoughtful pause as I addressed Father God as the planner of my life, Jesus Christ as the presence in my life, and the Holy Spirit as the power in my life as a Christian.
After I finished praying, I reflected on the words I just spoke. It struck me that I just explained the Trinity (kind of). I had done what I’m sure many have done throughout the ages since the coming of Christ. I addressed the Trinity in terms that made sense to me, not in a deliberately thoughtful way, but in an experiential way deep from my heart and soul.
The Roles They Play in My Life
Father God was not only responsible for creating and sustaining all that exists, including me. He planned every second of my life and continues to sustain me.
Jesus Christ was not only the person of God suffering and going to the cross for my sins. He is with me every step of my way the presence of God. God is with me, Emmanuel.
The Holy Spirit was not only the power of God at work at the creation of the world and throughout history, he is the power of God at work in my life, giving me access to the wisdom and spirit of God.
Does It Make Math Sense?
Looking at the Holy Trinity from a mathematical standpoint, even with the “new” math, the idea of the Trinity just doesn’t add up. If the mystery is reduced to a formula, it would be 1+1+1=1. The message of Cross of Christ isn’t the only thing that is foolishness to man (1 Corinthians 1:18).
The idea that the Godhead is one God in three distinct persons may be the ultimate Rubik’s Cube. No matter how you twist and turn it, the concept just doesn’t fit.
Jesus Christ entered our world to save us from our sins and provide us an opportunity to join him in heaven. Until we get to heaven and experience God in all his glory, we are left with the understanding of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit offered by Jesus in his own words and that of disciples like Paul.
My Own, Personal Conclusion
I believe the words the Lord inspired me to pray summarizes this understanding, at least for me. Father God is the planner and the sustainer of my life. Jesus Christ is God’s presence in my life. The Holy Spirit is the power of God in my life as a Christian.
Listen to God's Words
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)
"I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Also read: Isaiah, 9:6, Colossians 2:9, 1 Peter 1:2
In the Words of Others
"The 'Word of God' is not simply the Christian Bible but exists in a threefold form: 'The Word' incarnate (Jesus Followers’ King), the word prophesied and proclaimed (Prophets), and the word in scripture (Bible). All three are the self-disclosure of God, The One & Only ...in three, distinct & unique Persons, Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.” Gary F. Patton
“In the seventh century, John of Damascus described the relationship of the three persons of God as perichoresis. This word literally means "the circle dance.” Tobin Wilson
Think About It
Define your understanding of the Trinity. How does it match with my understanding as explained above? Ask a friend or family member to explain their understanding of the mystery. What do you think about the similarities and differences?
When you pray, do you pray to one person of the Trinity or all three persons? What roles do you give each person in your prayers?
Describe how you believe the three persons in one Godhead plays an active role in your life and the lives of your friends and family.