What is the Trinity?
Jesus rose from the dead to prove He is the Son of God, but He is also called God himself so which is it? How could this be? One of the hardest things to comprehend is the
trinity, a single God in three persons, or entities, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is also one of the most difficult things to explain, our minds are finite and can’t comprehend all
of God, but I‘ll do my best to explain.
The first thing to understand is there is only one God, not three separate gods ruling equally. Dueteronomy 6:4 says
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
This is pretty clear! Timothy 2:5 separates Jesus from the one God. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
Genesis chapter 20 verses two and three when Moses was given the ten commandments says this
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.
Here God clearly says “I” which is singular and gods which is plural. We are to worship Him alone.
God also is not just one god who has appeared in three different ways, or has evolved through three different forms. Matthew 3: 16-17, when Jesus was baptized, says
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
These verses describe the Father, the Son and the Spirit all different and all at the same time. In John 14: 16-17 Jesus says
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
Here, Jesus refers to the Father and the Spirit in the present tense and separates himself from them. Also all three have been around since the beginning, Genesis 1:26 says
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
Here the plural noun “us” is clearly used, but a little understanding of Hebrew is helpful with this. The Hebrew text uses the plural noun “Elohim”. In English there are only two forms, the
singular “I”, and the plural “us“. But Hebrew has three forms, singular, dual, and plural. The dual form is used for two only, things that come in pairs only like ears eyes and hands. Elohim is the
plural form which refers to more than two. Here the “us” is referring to all three not just two.
All three although separate, are God. The father is God
To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)
The Son, or Jesus is God
To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen (Romans 9:5).
And the Spirit is God, Acts 5:3-4 says
But Peter said, “Amanitas, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not
remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Here Peter says lying to the
Holy Spirit is lying to God.
And although they are equal there is definitely a hierarchy between the three. God the Father sent Jesus the Son. Jesus says in John 5: 23
that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, He says in John 16:7
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
This helper is the Holy Spirit. This hierarchy does not mean that one is greater than another, it just shows their relationship with each other.
Still it is difficult to explain and comprehend, God is infinite and our minds are finite. I have heard of some popular illustrations to explain the trinity like an egg (the shell, the white and the yolk) or water (liquid, vapor and ice) but neither explains it accurately. The best way I can illustrate it is with a balloon. Take a long balloon, like one you use to twist and make shapes with. The air inside the balloon represents God. Now twist the balloon so you have three sections. Each section of air is separate, but the air in one section is the same air as the air in another section. It is the same with God. Before anything was created, God the father created the Son and the Spirit, wholly out of Himself. Think of it as cloning himself. Then everything else was created separately. This is why even Satan, who was the first of the angels, the first of the other created beings, is not as great as Jesus who is the creator. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, are all one.
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 . Standard Bible Society: Wheaton (all verses)