Two Ways to Explain the Holy Trinity

By pintswaquinas May 30, 2024

The Most Holy Trinity is the foundation of our faith and all of reality. It’s also one of the most difficult teachings of our faith.

So what exactly is the Trinity? We hear all the time that God is “three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — one God.” But what does this mean?

While it’s a mystery that can never be fully grasped, there are two explanations that give us something to work with.

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Communion of three persons with one nature.
Some people see the Trinity as a contradiction, as if we were saying that “three equals one.” You don’t have to be a mathematician to see the error here.

We believe that God is three persons who share one nature, not one person with three natures.

We humans are different persons, but we all share in human nature. However, each of us doesn’t possess the entirety of human nature. John – in a sense — has his own “slice” of human nature. Jim doesn’t possess John’s share.

The Trinity is different. Each of the three persons possesses the entire divine nature, not individual slivers of it.

Analogy from acts of the mind and will.
Form an image of yourself in your mind. Hopefully, you love yourself enough to have some love for your image.

Understand that this image is not a distinct person from you, nor can it love you back.

In God, the Father eternally begets and loves a thought which is a distinct person, the Son. This thought is capable of knowing and loving the Father back. The love between the two is real enough to be a third person, the Holy Spirit.

These are analogies, so they fall somewhat short. But analogies contain truth. These two beautiful reflections take the Trinity from the realm of an abstract idea to something closer to God’s real nature: a dynamic communion of love. He invites each of us to share in this communion after death.


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