How to explain the Trinity simply

Could some folks chime in with helping me understand the Trinity(in the most simple way, like you would to a child)

I’ve been rambling in my head about it…see below…


  • I am a human being
  • I am a daughter
  • I am a soul
    Each are separate, yet each are together as one, me.

(I am many other things(not all nice, but who is)…widow, retired teacher, artist, knitter, various hobbies and occupations which are not part of me, but are things which interest my personality)

(But the core, below, for the sake of trying to explain my comparison)
-I am a human being …but:

  • that person was/is a wife(I still feel like a wife, even though he is gone)

  • That person is also a daughter

  • That person has a soul

  • I am all of these, and yet still one person.

Without meaning to be in the slightest way cheeky - I am not comparing myself to God, just trying to get my autistic and very literal thinking brain to find a way of understanding the Trinity.

Any help? I’m not yet Catholic, and am learning a lot, but I need to understand this as a child would, despite being a not very healthy of’ girl in her 60s.

I suggest a book called Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed.




I also have ASD, I just think of it as: "God is a substance like iron with properties (omniscience, omnipotence, being eternal, etc) and three individuals share it. To the extent that this substance is one thing, God is one, when talking about the persons, God is three. Because they share it, they each have the properties of it. "

Or I might say to myself: “God is absolutely three people, each with their own experience of living. All similarities between them ( being eternal, etc) is what we call the “oneness.””

That’s just some of the ways I explain it to myself. I have a hard time with it


The classic explanation is a three circle ven diagram…all three circles intersect as God…0ne is the father one the son, one the Holy Spirit, showing the father is god, but is not the son, nor the Holy Spirit…the son is god, but is not the father nor the Holy Spirit…the Holy Spirit is god, but is not the father nor the son…three persons in one god.

All analogies will fall short, of course. To completely understand God would be a tragedy, as that would make him only as big as our own minds. But I’ve heard the trinity explained using a nuclear family as an analogy. We are all “Johnsons”, but we each have our own unique identity within that larger common identity.

1 Like

this(particularly because it’s an image)is incredibly helpful. It helps with the way my mind works autistically ; there are some things I can’t make sense of in words alone. This combination of words and image, all bound up together, makes perfect sense to me.

And the image is something I can copy out, as often as I want to. That will help whenever I start the “but…” conversations in my head.

And it also makes me think of the scientific theory “Schrödingers Cat”, which basically says that something can be both yes and no at the same time.

The way autism affects me has a lot to do with colour and sensory things. One of the things I love about rosaries is just holding, letting each bead ‘feel’ the words from my heart. It’s very hard to put into words, as I said.

Thank you so much for this.

1 Like

I am always very grateful to get book recommendations; Ilove my iPad, but there’s nothing to beat a proper book. Many thanks!

Thank you…that’s very helpful. ASD makes life … different, or interesting, or awful, sometimes. I don’t think it had been heard of when I was growing up(born in the 50s) but looking back I see so much that makes sense to me now.

1 Like

Thanks…that’s one I can use to visualise.

Thanks for your reply :grinning:

Actually Cajun Joys post put it visually…I think I was typing while he posted

1 Like

Actually Cajun Joys post put it visually…I think I was typing while he posted”

I’m a she but that’s ok.

We can see traces of the Trinity in self-referential internal acts… Loving yourself, thinking of yourself… You are the object and subject at once, in ways that are opposed to each other - yet it’s you in both cases.

God knows and loves Himself perfectly, such that there are real internal processions (like thought, or interior love) which are identical with His Essence. The thought by which God knows Himself is the Word, and the impulse of Love is the Holy Spirit. The Divine Intellect is more directly related to the generation of the Word, and the Divine Will is more directly related to the procession of the Holy Spirit. You might think of the Trinity as the Father knowing God (the Word, or the Son) and the Father and Son loving God (the Holy Spirit). God knows and loves God.

1 Like

The best analogy I ve heard,

the flame of a candle ,
1)you have the flame its self ,
2) the light that preseeds from it
3) the heat that proceeds from the flame and light.

Each distinct in one flame.

Nor perfect explanation, but helps


It’s got to be made explicit however that the Persons are not parts of God nor effects of God…

This is one I’ve kept in my notes to read and think more on…I like to keep posts and passages and quotes which get me thinking more deeply. Many thanks!

I love that, as it’s visual and also gives me a different way to associate candles other than fire(my mother was burned to death in a fire seven years ago. Not caused by a candle, but I’m phobic about real ones…am ok seeing them online, but can’t have them in the house. We had a very strained relationship, and were estranged when it happened. Still can’t talk about it much)

Sorry Cajun…am a follower of yours!

1 Like

You must thank Augustine! He explores the “psychological analogy” in depth in his book on the Trinity (starting around Book 8 maybe?)…

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