Am I correct on the doctrine of the Trinity?


#1

From my understanding, God is one being which manifests himself in three forms: God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I’ve had difficulty in understanding how three beings can be united and yet distinct, so I’ve tried to understand it like so…

The prophets of the Old Testament such as Samuel were God’s mouthpieces; so God has created instruments through which he may reveal himself to us…

So in such manner has he revealed himself to us as the trinity. As creator of Heaven and Earth, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.


#2

I would not say that God manifests Himself in three forms, because there is no distinction among the Persons in the interactions that God has with His creatures.

Without some background in philosophy, it will be extremely difficult to get any sort of handle around the Trinity (not that we can ever understand completely). If you would like a good start, I would suggest Frank Sheed’s book Theology for Beginners.

However, as a primer: the only thing that is distinct between the Persons is their mutual relationships. Hence, the only distinction between Father and Son is that the Father is the Source and the One Who begets; and the Son is the One Who is begotten. Between Father and Son, there is no other distinction; hence the Holy Spirit is related to Father and Son as to one Principle only. The Father and Son spirate (as the Eastern Fathers put it, they “breathe” or ”sigh” their love for each other), and the Holy Spirit proceeds.

That means that the Divine Nature or Substance is unique and utterly one; and yet the Persons are three.


#3

I’ll take a shot at it:

First most seem to think of the Trinity as ‘three guys in the sky’ which is where the confusion arises in my opinion. The key to understanding the doctrine is the manner of the generation of the Son. This is an ‘intellectual generation’. The Son is intellect from the father or the father contemplating himself; The father’s knowledge of him self. This self knowledge is perfect. And from this perfect self knowledge comes perfect self love (the holy spirit).

Or perhaps I confused you more :stuck_out_tongue:


#4

It just like the Scripture says about a husband and his wife: “And the two shall become one flesh.”—Genesis 2.24, Mark 10.8, Ephesians 5.31.

The “one flesh” of matrimony is made up of two persons, a husband and his wife. They are two separate people, two individuals. They can be in two different places at once. One can know more than another at times, the other might take the lead in doing something or even a greater role. But they are always united even when separated by distance.

But in the end it is still one marriage, one union, “one flesh,” at least in the eyes of God. The husband has his own flesh and the wife her own, but they are two fleshes but one.

While one might take the lead, neither is more superior of a human being. They are both equal yet different with different roles. And they are united by love.

Since God is greater than humans, it should make sense that where it takes two humans to make “one flesh,” that God that is greater than us should be composed of three Persons.

Each Person in the Trinity is an individual; they each can be in different places, play completely different roles, one can take the lead or play a greater role, but in the end all three make up one God. They are always united. They are equal even one takes the lead and the others follow. The Father and Son and Holy Spirit are each God, but they are not three Gods but One.

God is a being made up of three individual Persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) just as the one flesh of humanity is made up of two individual persons, husband and wife.

ONE GOD = Three Persons.
ONE FLESH or HUMAN UNION OF MATRIMONY = Two Persons.


#5

Augustine and the Seashell

Augustine meets a boy on the beach
He was walking by the seashore one day contemplating and trying to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity when he saw a small boy running back and forth from the water to a spot on the seashore. The boy was using a sea shell to carry the water from the ocean and place it into a small hole in the sand.

The Bishop of Hippo approached him and asked, “My boy, what are doing?”

“I am trying to bring all the sea into this hole,” the boy replied with a sweet smile.

“But that is impossible, my dear child, the hole cannot contain all that water” said Augustine.

The boy paused in his work, stood up, looked into the eyes of the Saint, and replied, “It is no more impossible than what you are trying to do – comprehend the immensity of the mystery of the Holy Trinity with your small intelligence.”

The Saint was absorbed by such a keen response from that child, and turned his eyes from him for a short while. When he glanced down to ask him something else, the boy had vanished.

traditioninaction.org/religious/h065rp.Shell.html


#6

Sometimes in nature two people are born sharing one human body. They are called conjoined twins. Although I have never heard of it occurring in nature, it is possible to imagine what conjoined triplets might look like…

On the spiritual order, the Trinity are sort of like conjoined triplets, three divine Persons who share one divine nature.


#7

The “manifest in three forms” idea is a heresy called Modalism.

I have found that when it comes to the Trinity, do not even try to explain it or use analogies beyond what the Church has already defined, the best expression of which is laid out in the Athanasian Creed. If you try to even wade outside of the Athanasian Creed, you pretty much ending up confessing some awful heresy.


#8

Arianism. Even though conjoined, the three triplets are still distinct persons and still have each their own substance, even though they may be conjoined due to a defect. They do not share the same substance, and are therefore still three distinct beings. The orthodox teaching is that God is one substance.


#9

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