If you know anyone who is a Christian or if you yourself ever went to church, you probably heard someone mention the Trinity. When first hearing that, you have no clue what they are talking about. When you first start learning the basics of Christianity, you will learn that the belief is in one God. However, it can get confusing to someone new to the faith, because of that one nagging question, if its one God, then what does the Trinity mean?
At first glance it can be easy to assume that the trinity means that God is changing His personality by putting on a different hat every time that He wants to be the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. This is a common misconception that gets funneled around the church, especially when first being introduced to the faith. This is called modalism and people who believe this, think that God is one person who revealed himself into three separate form or modes. This belief has widely been refuted and rejected by the church, yet some sects do go by this belief.
Another common misconception that is easy to pick up when first starting in the faith, is the belief that God created the Son. This is called Arianism, which basically believes that God created the Son and that Jesus is basically a demigod. It reintroduced polytheism, which is a belief that there can be many gods. This belief system is popular in other religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, but undermines the Christian belief of monotheism, which is the belief in only one God.
So, if these are not the trinity, then what is?
The trinity is a complicated, yet simple understanding of who God is. The trinity in a nutshell is the belief that God is a trinity of divine persons. In other words, it is one personal divine being essentially composed of three divine persons. We can see this modeled in the gospels through the examples that Jesus Himself shows. In Mathew 26:39, we see Jesus praying to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane, which highlights the relationship, between Father and Son. Note Jesus is not praying to himself, yet He is praying to the divine person none as the Father. We can also see this mirrored out in our own personal lives, as we know the Holy Spirit, who communicates to us in our daily walk. We know that Jesus Himself is not a god, just like the Holy Spirit is not a god, but collectively they all make up the Godhead.
In the letters to the churches we see this played out. In 2 Corinthians 13:14, we see that he includes all three in the Godhead when making this prayer. We also see the same thing written in Ephesians 1:17 and Ephesians 2:18. There are even more examples of this in scripture, you just have to look for them.
Another way I can put this, if I had to explain this to a new believer would be by asking them to tell me what is said when someone is being baptized. In every baptism, you will hear the pastor say I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This is done this way because Jesus strictly commanded it to be done this way in Mathew 28:19. He could have said you will baptize them in the name of the Father or of the Son or of the Holy Spirit, but instead He intentionally included all parts of the Godhead.
I hope this helps clear up this confusing topic. I know at first it is so confusing to understand, but as we grow in our relationship with Christ, we start learning more of His character. This is what clears the path of confusion and shows us the narrow way.
What questions do you have for God?