Have I understood the Trinity (at least on an intellectual level)?

God the Father is God at Time=0. The Alpha and the Omega. Pure, undivided being.

God the Son is the nature of God’s presence once time has begun, out of which all limited things derive their structure. Also known as the Logos, which was completely manifested in the flesh as Jesus of Nazareth.

God the Holy Spirit is the flow of love between the Father and the Son, which continually calls creation towards reunion with the Father through the Son.

Did I get it right?

Not quite. God does not exist in time. He exists in eternity. Disregard creation for a moment. Consider that God (Father) is all knowing. Well, what does He know. Forget creation—that’s outside of him and created by him. Of course he knows creation. But primarily, God knows himself. He knows himself perfectly. We might think of God having an idea of himself. There is nothing in God’s idea of himself that is lacking. Whatever is in the original is in the idea, including even personhood. That person—God’s perfect knowing of himself—we call the Son.

Father and Son love one another perfectly, so perfectly that their mutual love is personified in the Holy Spirit.

But note: there remains only one God, because God has but one essence. The three persons all possess wholly and entirely the one divine essence.

All of this “happens” outside of time. No time elapses in the Father knowing himself and generating the Son. No time elapses in Father and Son loving each other and generating the Spirit. It is all an eternal “now.”

I wasn’t claiming that God is subordinate to time. But to deny that God exists in time, as you did, is to deny that God is omnipresent, isn’t it?

Well, omnipresent refers more to space than time. But God doesn’t exist in space either. He has no extension in space or in time. When he creates, he creates space and time for creatures to extend themselves in those dimensions. But for God, every time is “now,” and every place is “here.”

Doesn’t Christianity believe that G-d the Son co-exists with G-d the Father eternally? Jesus Incarnate may be manifest in time, but surely that cannot be His starting point if He is co-eternal with G-d the Father.

As I understand things…

True for God the Father

True of God the Son.

Correct.

God the Son is the nature of God’s presence once time has begun, out of which all limited things derive their structure. Also known as the Logos, which was completely manifested in the flesh as Jesus of Nazareth.

No. God the Son does possess the same nature as the Father, but He has existed from all eternity with the Father. It wasn’t just when time began.

Your second sentence is correct though.

God the Holy Spirit is the flow of love between the Father and the Son, which continually calls creation towards reunion with the Father through the Son.

Did I get it right?

Yes the Holy Spirit proceeds from the love of the Father and the Son, but He too has existed from all eternity.

Yep. This is what we believe.

We can’t even understand our own minds and bodies!

Any attempt to wrap our heads around the Holy Trinity is bound to fail. IMNAAHO.

ICXC NIKA.

Jesus of Nazareth was a historical person that had a specific beginning, so you are right in saying that the Son did not begin with Jesus. That’s why I noted that the Son is also the Logos.

The Nicene Creed
<…>
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.

so in op, that has missed the mark… the Father and the Son are both outside of time and space…

Read here: vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p2.htm

and here:

Not even close.

  1. God is Eternal and there never was a time the He did not exist.

  2. No, The Son is Eternally begotten of the Father.

  3. The Holy Spirit is neither made nor begotten but proceeds from the Father through the Son.

The Athenasian Creen give a very clear and concise explanation.

Would it be fair to call the Son/logos the “plan” or “intention” of God the Father?

My only problem with calling the Son the "plan’’ or ‘‘intention’’ of the Father is those words have a pretty utilitarian connotation. If something is your ‘‘plan’’ that means you are using it to achieve some other end, which isn’t what we believe about the Son.

We would say the Incarnation is the plan or intention of God, because that’s how God chose to redeem us, but the Son himself can’t really be called that since He exists for His own sake.

I think a better way to describe the Son would be to call Him the perfect expression of God the Father. Because the Father’s perfect expression of Himself would also possess the divine nature and thus also would be God.

Of course, ultimately all attempts to describe the Trinity will fall short, since God is far beyond our comprehension. But this gets a little closer to what we believe about it.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.