The persons in the trinity


Is a spirit the soul of a person? If it is and that’s what I always thought; then why do we call the Holy Spirit a person in the Trinity? Is the Holy Spirit the Spirit of the crucified Christ? When He (Jesus) left the Holy Spirit to guide us, was He leaving us His Spirit? It makes sense to me to say The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; but if a spirit is not an actual person why do we say there are three persons in one God? This is probably a crazy question but I am curious. Thank you.



I think we struggle the best we can with the limited words we have to try to describe the indescrible! :slight_smile:



It’s not a crazy question, but rather a CRUCIAL question! :wink:

It’s VERY IMPORTANT to understand that the Holy Spirit is A PERSON of the Trinity, just as much as the God the Father and God the Son. There ARE THREE PERSONS in ONE GOD.

However, All Three Persons are still of ONE substance; meaning GOD. So where you have the Holy Spirit, you also have God the Son and God the Father. They are not separate GODS, just separate persons. Humanly impossible to comprehend. :o



It would be more accurate that, for human beings, the soul is a spirit.

But the Holy Spirit is not the soul of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is a distinct person of the Godhead. Jesus, as a human being, has a human soul, which is a spirit. But in his personhood, he is a divine person, not a human person, because the Second Person of the Holy Trinity became man. He is one Person with two natures, divine and human. The Holy Spirit is one Person who is distinct from the Father and Son, but equally possesses the one divine nature.



The Holy Spirit is a person, having his own mind, intellect, emotion, and will apart from the
Father and the Son, who also have like. One of the most fundamental characteristics to be-
ing a person (having a personal identity) is having the ability to say ***“I”***, which of course the
Holy Spirit can do.

The Holy Spirit is not the Spirit of the Father or
the Son, he is his own existence, so to speak.

God is the Father, the Son, & the Holy Spirit, each personal and self-aware subjects who
are seen interacting eternally with one another, Father to the Son, Son to the Holy Spirit,
Holy Spirit to the Father, and so forth. There is a metaphysical difference to what a Being
is and what a Person is. I am one being, human being, and I am one person. God is One
being, Divine Being, and God is also Three Persons. So we are talking ONE WHAT and

I’m sure you don’t believe this, but there is an ancient heresy called “Modalism” (Also
called “Sabellianism”), which holds that God is one person in one being, that he is the
Father who became the Son who after ascending into Heaven became the Holy Spirit.
Do Not Believe that! :smiley:



It is hard to understand sometimes that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are all one idea, I agree, because human logic would want us to believe that the Trinity is of three separate persons if you really think about it.



If by that you mean that the Holy Trinity is three separate persons in One God, then yes.

It is a large stumbling block to the Jews who keep thinking that Christians worship 3 gods. But IN FACT Christians are Monotheists just like Jews. The only difference being is that we UNDERSTAND more about God’s nature than they do, strictly because of the Divine Revelation which came from Jesus Christ Himself.




Modern Catholic Dictionary:

SPIRIT. That which is positively immaterial. It is pure spirit if it has no dependence on matter either for its existence or for any of its activities. God is uncreated pure Spirit; the angels are created pure spirits. The human soul is more properly called spiritual. Although it can exist independent of the body, it nevertheless in this life depends extrinsically on the body for its operations, and in the life to come retains a natural affinity for the body, with which after the resurrection it will be reunited for all eternity. (Etym. Latin spiritus, breath, life, soul, mind, spirit, power.)



I don’t try too hard to understand the Trinity because its impossible to fully understand this great mystery! An example that I like is one from St. Augustine that made a comparison of a spring coming out of the ground, that becomes a river, and then people collect the water into a vessel. The spring is like the Father, the river the Son, and the vessel that people collect to drink is the Holy Spirit. It is all the same water, but are 3. The river precedes from the spring as the Son precedes from the Father, and the vessel of water precedes from the river as the Spirit precedes from the Son.



An interesting analysis.


closed #12

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