How do you explain the Trinity?


#1

This is a hard theological question. I would be interested what you have to say.

God Bless–JMJ

Charlie:amen:


#2

JMJ



The Father
(God in Heaven)

Genesis 1:1

1. In the beginning God created heaven, and earth.

**The Son **

( Jesus, human and Devine, God in the form of man)

John 1:1
**
1. In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word (Jesus) was God.
**The Holy Spirit **

{God appearing to man in another form / and in man.)

Exodus 3;4

And when the Lord saw that he went forward to see, he called to him out of the midst of the bush. and said: Moses, Moses. And he answered: Here I am.

John 1:32

And John gave testimony, saying: I saw the Spirit coming down, as a dove from heaven; and he remained upon him.

**Luke 1:41 **

And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.

The Trinity****

**
*The Trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian religion - the truth that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another. Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: “the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.” In this Trinity of Persons the Son is begotten of the Father by an eternal generation, and the Holy Spirit proceeds by an eternal procession from the Father and the Son. Yet, notwithstanding this difference as to origin, the Persons are co-eternal and co-equal: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent. *
**
**
I hope this helps.

Yours in Christ,

**


#3

A friend once was struggling to believe in the Trinity and her mother explained it like this: there are three matches in a bundle all alight as one. You can take a match away from the group but the flame is still the same flame it was when the matches were all together. The Trinity is three persons - signified by the matches - but one substance - like the flame.


#4

In another thread I had ventured to describe the Holy Trinity as three perfectly parallel lines stretching out infinitely into space in both directions [they are co-eternal], so perfectly parallel that they never meet [they are personally distinct], yet are so intimately close to each other that no matter how close we look, they appear as though they are only one line [one divine nature or godhood].

Gerry :slight_smile:


#5

As a way to help my children understand I used ME as an example…

Me…Wife
Me…Mother
Me…Daughter

I am one person, but at the same time I have three very different roles to play.

It might not be the best explanation on the Holy Trinity, but it worked with my kids.


#6

I really like the three parallel lines image, and also the wife/mother/daughter.

Being Irish, I will add the St Patrick explanation, using the shamrock… I’m sure everyone knows what a shamrock looks like!

Legend says that St Patrick was asked by the King to explain how God could be Three and One at the same time. Patrick bent down and picked a shamrock, and asked the king: Is this three leaves or one?
The king had to reply… "well, it’s both at the same time!"
Patrick explained - “it’s the same with God” and the legend goes that the king was so impressed that he allowed Patrick to continue preaching Christianity in Ireland!!! :slight_smile:


#7

How do you explain the trinity? By going to the Apologetics section of the Forum, and leave this part to the meaningless trivia that I specialize in.


#8

Try using water. Water can be present in three different ways. Ice, vapor, and it’s liquid form. They may all be in different forms but it’s still water.


#9

For my 3rd/4th grade CCD class I explained the Trinity is like playdoh. It is all comes from the same container and can take many shapes and forms. It may look like something else when you build things, but it will always be playdoh.

I like the water idea too! Maybe I will also use that this year!

For younger kids they don’t understand the abstract thinking so you need to put it into concrete terms. Sometimes we adults need that too!


#10

I normally use the apple analogy. You have the skin, the core and the seeds. Each of these things make up a whole apple, yet, when separate, they are still an apple :slight_smile: I have lots of people who never could understand, “get it” with that analogy.

I also used the example of myself.


#11

[quote=StratusRose]Try using water. Water can be present in three different ways. Ice, vapor, and it’s liquid form. They may all be in different forms but it’s still water.
[/quote]

And in a fourth way - as liquid crystal :slight_smile:


#12

[quote=KiwiCatholic86]A friend once was struggling to believe in the Trinity and her mother explained it like this: there are three matches in a bundle all alight as one. You can take a match away from the group but the flame is still the same flame it was when the matches were all together. The Trinity is three persons - signified by the matches - but one substance - like the flame.
[/quote]

I’d say that is about as close to a human understanding as you can get. (Which is why it is in the creed as well.)

“God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father.”


#13

For concise treatise on Catholic Dogma (inluding “The Unity and Trinity of God”) I highly recommend, “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” by Dr. Ludwig Ott. The ISBN is 0-89555-009-1 you can find it at many online book sellers.

A very rich source of information online is New Advent at www.newadvent.org I often “get lost” there for hours :slight_smile: On the Blessed Trinity see: newadvent.org/cathen/15047a.htm

Regards,
Richard


#14

In Ireland St Patrick used a three-leafed clover leaf to explain to the illierate people the Trinity. All are the same yet separate.


#15

I direct adults to ‘Theology For Beginners’ or ‘Theology and Sanity’ by Frank Sheed. The examples of play doh, water, the shamrock etc is ok for primary school age children but they have problems for more mature people.


#16

The nature of the Trinity is of course still a mystery. All the analogies we have stated so far are merely tools designed to allow us to gain some insight as to its unfathomable nature. To describe what is otherwise indescribable.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#17

[quote=Exporter]In Ireland St Patrick used a three-leafed clover leaf to explain to the illierate people the Trinity. All are the same yet separate.
[/quote]

I liked that about the three-leafed clover! When I was a girl, my teacher used to draw three equal lines. She arranged them in a triangle (the tree persons become one). Inside the triangle she draw Gods eye.

Even if the triangle is not a perfect explanation, I still like it as a grown up. Scoth Hahn has descibed the triinity as a family, and that is exactly what the triangle reminds me about, the unity of the perfected family we all will belong to one day if we let God dwell in us.

Blessings!

G.Grace


#18

You have to start with a review of the qualities or attributes of God: God is eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, etc, possessing all good qualities to perfection. God has the faculties of intellect and will. (Because we are made in His image and likeness, we also possess those faculties in a more limited way.)

From all eternity, God knows Himself.

Now, you or I may think we know ourselves. We form an idea of ourselves, but it is imperfect. Our idea of ourselves does not correspond exactly to the reality.

God also knows Himself, but He knows himself perfectly. His “idea” of himself is so perfect that there is nothing lacking in it. Every perfection, every attribute, that is present in the original is present in the idea—even personhood. God’s idea of himself, generated from all eternity, is a Person—the Word, spoken by God from all eternity, the only Son of the Father.

The beginning of John’s gospel spells this out poetically:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

So we can think of the Son as an eternal idea generated from the intellect of the Father.

From all eternity, the Father and the Son love each other. And just as the love of a husband and wife can result in a third person, so is their love so perfect, that their expression of love is itself a third person, the Holy Spirit, eternally generated by the love of the Father and the Son–three distinct Persons, each wholly possessing the One nature of God.

That briefly summarizes what I remember of Frank Sheed’s discussion of the Trinity. But it would be best to read the book—Theology for Beginners.


#19

I totally forgot about the three-leaf clover! Thanks for reminding me :smiley: !


#20
  • JMJ +

I saw the title of this post and it brought to mind a conversation I had ont his very subject.

I remember in a flight to Salt Lake City, Utah last spring, I was praying my Rosary during the take -off (I don’t fly very well). Next to me was a Mormon missionary who was returning home to Salt Lake City after his 2-year mission. Obviously, he figured out that I was Catholic and I think he was hoping to turn me on to Mormonism - one more to top the mission off I guess. He asked me about the Rosary and I explained to him about it. And then he asked me if I believed in the Father. I said, “Of course I do! I believe in the Sona nd Holy Spirit also!” I blew that young man’s mind when I told him that the Three were in fact one God. He was totally stumped. He kept trying to explain the fragmentation of the Trinity as the Mormons believe, and I kept explaining how that was not possible because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were Three Persons in One God. Then he challenged me on the fact that Jesus could not be God because he was human. I think I scrambled his brain by saying that Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine. The whole conversation was him asking me questions and trying to get me stumped. He tried to stump with with Mormon teaching. Soon they announced we would be landing. I know he was blown away by something so contrary to what he was raised with. I know he was so confused by the time we had finished our conversation. I pray that the seed was planted and from time to time I try to remeber that young man in prayer - gotta water those seeds to make them grow.


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