Three-in-One = Trinity?


Why is it that God must be three persons? It doesn’t seem to make sense to believe in something that is not logical. For instance:

God the Father + God the Son + God the Spirit = God the ?


(1) God the Father + (1) God the Son + (1) God the Spirit = (1) God?

It bothers me - I haven’t lost the Faith, but this issue is nudging at me. Can’t God be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and yet be strictly one God in one “person?” Thanks!

Prayers and petitions,


I have left the Church, and I asked exactly the same question you did. I can’t see any intellectually honest way to solve the problem.

At best, it’s “a mystery”…and if that’s the case, why would God force us to believe in something that makes no sense in order to achieve salvation?


The equation I’ve seen for the Trinity is 1 x 1 x 1=1 :slight_smile:

The Trinity isn’t illogical or unreasonable, just beyond reason. God is spirit, so He isn’t composed of parts as we are. He can be three distinct Persons without being divided up. If God were just one Person, it would make nonsense of much of the Gospels.

“For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.” John 12:49

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, *trust also in me.John 14:1
The Father sent Jesus and Jesus says to trust the Father and “also” in Him – He and the Father are distinct Persons
"Believe me when I say that I
am in the Father and the Father is in me.***" John 14:11

“On that day you will realize that ***I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” ***John 14:20
Jesus is in the Father and the Father in the Son but they are distinct just as we are in Jesus and He in us, but we are distinct from each other.
“Jesus replied, 'If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him , and ***we will come to him and make our home with him.” ***John 14:23
Jesus says “we” (He and the Father) will come to and make their home with the one who loves Jesus – if Jesus and the Father were the same Person, “we” would be a strange way of referring to Himself
"And I will ask the Father , and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth." John 14:16-17 Again, Jesus “asks” the Father (why ask if He’s the same person?) and says the Father will give “another Counselor” – again, another Person, not the same as the Son or the Father.

The voice of the Father at Christ’s Baptism “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matt 3:17) This is the Father speaking of Jesus as another Person, His Son --a strange manifestation if the Father and Jesus were the same Person. This is repeated at the Transfiguration.

One thing that might help you is to read about what the Trinity means for us. When I was Protestant, I always accepted the doctrine of the Trinity, but I didn’t really understand the implications of the teaching for us. Of all places I found that in John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body.” Christopher West has written two excellent books that make it understandable for the average layman, “*Theology of the Body for Beginners” *and “*Theology of the Body Explained.” *If you study this, I think the meaning of the Trinity will become clearer to you.

God bless!


An orange has a peel, wedges, and seeds. All three are completely individual and separate things. It’s all still an orange though. :rolleyes:


Alexius, a book that is often recommend for those who have questions about the nature of the Most Holy Trinity is Frank Sheed’s Theology for Beginners. This work would be immensely helpful to you, especially if you truly seek to be faithful to the Church and all that Christ presents through it for our assent of Faith.


Not this again… :banghead:

Most of the standard methods of explaining the Trinity, I’ve found, tend to cause more confusion than anything else. The only explanation worth its salt that I’ve found is in Frank Sheed’s book Theology and Sanity.


The Trinity is not against reason. God is who He is. We are used to one person with one nature because that’s what we are. God is three Persons with one Nature. He can be that way because He is not bound by space or time as we are. Granted we can only begin to understand the Trinity by faith, but it isn’t unreasonable.


If it’s not accessible by reason, it can’t be explained by reason either. So you need faith to buy it in the first place. In other words, you need blind faith first, and then the trinity will make sense. But if you don’t presume that the trinity is true, then it will never make sense.

Interesting formula for a God that wants us to rely on our powers of reasoning in discerning the truth.


I’ll try to add a little bit more for now… Frank Sheed’s book used to be posted online somewhere but now unfortunately the link seems to be dead.

You mentioned, first of all, “one ‘God’ in one ‘person’” which would be a contradiction. But this isn’t what the Trinity is; the Trinity is “one God in THREE persons”. God is one in nature, and three in persons.

Basically the first step is to honestly ask yourself whether you know the difference between the terms “person” and “nature” before you proceed to go any deeper into discussing the Trinity. If not, you are only left with two contradicting numbers “1” and “3” with no wider context to put them in. Sadly this is about as far as most people get.


Hi, I’m just new to this forum or thread should I say and excuse for barging in. The Trinity is by far the most doubted doctrine these days. I even once questioned it. I bought a book entitled “The Faith Explained” by Fr. Leo J. Trese. it also helped me a lot in “understanding” the Most Holy Trinity of God in a way our intelligence could grasp it the most. He said in the book that we will have problem understanding the Trinity because God is infinite while we are bound on this world. God’s wisdom is infinite compared to all human wisdom and intelligence combined, so we may not see how the Trinity came to be until we see the coming of God’s glory.


Though I don’t believe it can be expressed fully in mortal terms- the idea is certainly not unreasonable.

We accept that we experience a world with three spatial dimensions but only one reality in which we move about. These dimensions are not modular for us; and even though they can be discussed individually, they are impossible to truly separate. So why is a Being with three persons hard to grasp?


God needs to be The Father, because He is The Creator; Nobody else can create the world and life.

God needs to be The Son, because He is the perfect sacrifice for our sins; Nobody else is sinless and pure enough to atone our sins.

God needs to be The Holy Spirit, because He comes into our lives to teach us the truth; Nobody else can understand God and counsel us into a Father-child relationship with The Creator.

:twocents: Anyway, these are just my thoughts… I’m no scholar and don’t claim to have any authority on the matter.

:twocents: It’s clear in the bible that the Holy Spirit is a person; Even though I don’t understand the difference between the Holy Spirit and the Father, I still have enough faith in christianity to believe the bible contains truth.

I don’t think God really cares if we understand the Trinity; I think God wants us to believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins. If you don’t believe that, then nothing else really matters.


My dog = 1 being , zero persons.

Me = 1 being, 1 person.

God = 1 being , 3 persons.

It is God’s nature to exist as a family composed of 3 persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our earthly families are but a dim foreshadowing of this true family.



The Blessed Trinity
God is Three Persons in One Nature

*]There is one divine Nature.

NATURE – *What *something is. Answers the question, *“What *is it?”

*]There are three divine Persons.

PERSON – *Who *someone is. Answers the question, *“Who *is it?”

*]Each Person is distinct and wholly Himself — Not one Person is either of the others.

The Father is neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit.
The Son is neither the Holy Spirit nor the Father.
The Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son.

*]The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God.

The three Persons do not *share *the one divine Nature, as if the Father, Son and Holy Spirit each are “one-third” God.

Rather, each Person totally possesses the one divine Nature: The Father totally possesses the one divine Nature.
The Son totally possesses the one divine Nature.
The Holy Spirit totally possesses the one divine Nature.

Each Person, therefore, is God.

*]There are not three Gods but only one God.

The three Persons are distinct, but not separate.

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit each do not possess *separate *divine Natures, which would mean They are three Gods. On the contrary, each Person totally possesses the *same *one divine Nature.

Thus, the Trinity is one God, not three Gods.



The Dogma of the Holy Trinity[LIST=1]

*]The Trinity is One.

We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”.[1]

The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire:

The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.[2]

In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), “Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature.”[3]

*]The divine persons are really distinct from one another.

“God is one but not solitary.”[4]

“Father”, “Son”, “Holy Spirit” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another:

He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son.[5]

They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: “It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.”[6]

The divine Unity is Triune.

*]The divine persons are relative to one another.

Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another:

In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance.[7]

Indeed “everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship.”[8]

Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son.[9]


1 Council of Constantinople II (553): DS 421.
2 Council of Toledo XI (675): DS 530:26.
3 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 804.
4 Fides Damasi: DS 71.
5 Council of Toledo XI (675): DS 530:25.
6 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 804.
7 Council of Toledo XI (675): DS 528.
8 Council of Florence (1442): DS 1330.
9 Council of Florence (1442): DS 1331.

Catechism of the Catholic Church


How does the Church express her trinitarian faith?

The Church expresses her trinitarian faith by professing a belief in the oneness of God in whom there are three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

[INDENT]The three divine Persons are only one God because each of them equally possesses the fullness of the one and indivisible divine nature.

They are really distinct from each other by reason of the relations which place them in correspondence to each other.

The Father generates the Son; the Son is generated by the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.[/INDENT]

Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church


Some put it down to

1 x 1 x 1 = 1


Thats a false conclusion. The concept of a mystery in Catholic theology simply means our finite minds cant fully comprehend it. That is the difference between man made religion and divine revelation, heresy is man made because it oversimplifies a complex Truth so that the heretic can wrap their mind around it.

You cant have religion without divine mystery because if you knew it all and could comprehend it all you wouldnt need faith.


Ah, so here’s where you’ve popped up!

You’re now a Moslem. Moslems believe that your god is inconceivable. You’re expected to believe in that. Why would your god require you to believe in something beyond understanding?

How did your god create the universe. Please provide an ‘intellectually honest way to solve the problem’, or are you give a vague explanation and just expected to believe in it?

I have no problem that God would be beyond my understanding. That *would *in fact be the nature of God - unless you think man should be so super-smart?


You are absolutely correct. I’ve yet to see Islam (which is his faith) set out a conclusive work explaining in steps about the nature of everything so that everything can be known.

That’s what separates religion from, for instance, coastal navigation

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