The Trinity

A speaker on EWTN’s Women of grace once described the Holy Trinity as one Person in three Persons. I found this very insightful, like a deer with three spirits in it, and since it makes the Trinity more of a mystery. Three Persons in one Nature isn’t much of a mystery, to me at least. Pagans use to believe that the gods all had divinity in them. Then Christianity said there was basically THREE Gods in One. In One how? Like in one Person, I think. Doesn’t the Church need to start defining more again?

The Athanasian Creed

I’m just thinking there may be a deeper mystery here. Muslims seem to have reason to say we are polytheistic. Jews died for the belief that there is one God. Saying that two other Gods proceed and share His nature, without them being somehow ONE, seems wrong to me

Read Athanasius, Saint Basil, Saint Gregory Nazianzus, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Maximos the confessor and John Damascene.

We often simplify our use of the trinity, these men and those who know their theology can go into intricate detail of the trinitarian and christological debates and positions which have been formulated over the centuries.

If you don’t feel like reading all those wonderful church fathers, read Jaroslav Pelikan’s Church doctrine series.

One Person in three Persons is a good analogy, because it shows the same essence, but it is nontheless an imperfect analogy. Without saying One God and One essence in three persons, we may fall into either modalism, or any other kind of god with avatars on the earth.
I hope she made the distinction.

God is a Trinity, One God in 3 indivisible Persons, not a Triad like a group of three gods

Christianity has never said that that there were “THREE Gods in One”. It has always claimed that there are three PERSONS in one GOD and the Church has very well defined what it means by this. The Persons are distinct but not separate. Their distinction lies only in terms of relationship with each other; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are all of the same divine substance and where the Father is, there also are the Son and the Holy Spirit. Where the Son is there are also the Father and the Holy Spirit. Where the Holy Spirit is, there also are the Father and the Son.

Christianity did (some heretical part of it), The Church was there to define the Truth :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve never heard of a heresy promoting “three Gods in One”. Maybe you could enlighten me.

I apologize, I meant three Gods, not three gods in One. God the Father as a God, the Son as a God and the Spirit as a God. A sort of Triad and that would be polytheism. Jehova’s Witnesses also think the Word was a god (a lesser god).

Adoptionism also thought that Jesus became a God, so that the God was possibly One or a Duality, and then they were three (no Genesis quotation meant :p)

That sounds like Modalism to me, which was an early heresy. I don’t understand why the need for analogies arises among christians – and I don’t mean that to be rude. The Trinity is unlike things you can see or hear in the natural world [like deer], so what’s the point of trying to ‘water it down’, as it were?

I don’t understand the practical purpose of it. I’ve heard the water, ice and steam analogy, the egg analogy, the apple analogy, the cerberus analogy [the worst one, in my opinion], but none adequately describe the three Persons and their relationship with one another; and at the same time how these persons are one in Essence. It doesn’t work for me. :shrug:

The cerberus analogy? WOW :stuck_out_tongue: Yeah it is not the best one.

Well we would like so much to know God, sure it is the only practical reason to use analogies, because we have intellect and use it, so we want to understand the best we can. Also, it is useful against detractors, to be able to explain the best we can.
It can never fully work. Even if it did, how would we know…

The very fact that what you describe is polytheism rules it out completely as being Christian. I have never heard of a Christian, heretical or not, that promoted polytheism.

And Jehovah’s Witnesses are not Christian.

You are making a huge leap by using heretical doctrines to try and prove that Christianity promoted three Gods in One. Heresies are heresies because they are in error and are opposed to the deposit of faith given to the Apostles and their successors. They, therefore, cannot be categorized as Christian teaching.

What I intend to show is the bona fide of the heretics. Not every heretic came with the intention to demolish the Church, they had wrong interpretations.

Some denominations are indeed not Christian, but they call themselves so, in a proper sense of follower of Christ. I wouldn’t agree with that definition, but I can see why they think they are.

But anyway my point at the beginning was only to be careful with analogies. I doubt as a Catholic that i would ever want to prove something against my faith :slight_smile:


Your contradiction and confusion begins with the difference between God’s Essence which never comes down to us, which both Catholics and Islam teaches and the presence of God which comes down to us the divine revelation of God in Trinity of persons.

Faith is a gift from God, faith supersedes the carnal mind and understanding of the natural order of things, for the faith God gives reveals from which all things came into being from the spiritual eternal reality existing, while the old order of things are close to disappearing.

God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything even the depths of God…no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world,** but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.**

The unspiritual (natural) man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1Corinthians 2:6-16)

The subjects (deer, water, ice, vapor) that only reflect what the intellect can grasp at the Trinity they never define the Trinity. These describe spiritual realities described in spiritual terms that God reveals from His Spirit to our humanity, that parts to us the gift from God, Faith.

Because the blessed Trinity reveals the True presence of God such as in the burning bush, whispering wind, rock, fire in the desert at night and cloud in the day etc… the True Essence of God does not come down to our humanity. Although the three persons of the blessed Trinity are con substantial in True divine Essence one God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are distinct in person and revelation of God to our frail humanity.

We do not call the rock, fire, cloud in themselves God, we believe God revealed His presence from these, when God our Father in the fullness of time, reveals His presence in the person of the Son and in the person of the Holy Spirit all three distinct from one another, True faith does not limit God to what God can do, for God can do all things, and nothing is impossible for God, when God reveals to our Spirit all three distinct persons in the blessed Trinity is One God.

Jesus has revealed to our humanity, “The Father and the Son are One”, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father”. Our human analogies of the One God in Trinity falls short every time of Jesus own teaching and revelations of God’s presence in the Trinity.

Peace be with you

Hi Drac. How do you know about Modalism? Is there any Islamic sources that discusses Christian heresies? Any Islamic writings available from the early days of Islam?


If I may (you were not talking to me), here is an excellent article which took me 2 seconds to find. It exposes islamic views of the Trinity, based on how we expose it. That show errors on both sides :slight_smile:

Hey MJ,

I hope you’re doing well.

I know about Modalism because I’ve heard about it from Dr. James White (he’s a very prolific Protestant apologist). I’ve followed his ministry’s work for 4-5 years and he’s mentioned Modalism from time to time (James White is not a modalist, though).

Your other questions are very good questions, but unfortunately, I don’t know of any Islamic sources that go in-depth about Christian history (to the extent of talking about Modalism and other heresies). If I want to learn about Christianity, I go to christian sources-- not to islamic sources. Muslims are always complaining that other people should go to islamic sources to learn about Islam, so I have to be consistent when I learn about Christianity or any other faith.

Ok, thank you for you in-depth answer, Gabriel. The reason I didn’t quote your entire post was because it was very long-- and one of my pet-peeves is when people quote long posts, only to leave a small reply.

But rest assured, I read the whole thing. Peace be with you as well.

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