Trinity: What do Christians believe about the Trinity?
God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God. Three persons. While the word Trinity does not appear in Scripture, this One-who-is-Three concept very clearly does. The word Trinity is used as a shorthand way of explaining a great deal of biblical truth. It was first used by the church father Tertullian (AD 155–220). To say that God exists as a Trinity does not mean that there are three Gods, or that one God merely manifests himself as either Father, Son, or Holy Spirit on various occasions.
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) summarizes the doctrine by saying, “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.”
For our purposes, we will use the following definition: The Trinity is one God who eternally exists as three distinct persons—Father, Son, and Spirit—who are each fully and equally God in eternal relation with each other.
To clarify, to say that each member of the Trinity is a “person” does not mean that God the Father or God the Spirit became human beings. Rather, it means that each member of the Trinity thinks, acts, feels, speaks, and relates because they are persons and not impersonal forces. Further, each member of the Trinity is equally God, which means that they share all the divine attributes, such as eternality, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence.
The doctrine of the Trinity brings together three equally essential biblical truths without denying or diminishing any.
First, there is only one true God. The Old Testament contains a number of clear statements that there is only one God.1 Likewise, the New Testament clearly states that there is only one God.2 Together, the unending thunderous chorus of Scripture from beginning to end is that there is only one God.
Scripture also clearly teaches that there is no one like God.3 Scripture teaches that any claim to be like God is a satanic lie.4 Practically, this means that in addition to there being only one Trinity and no other, there is no other God who is eternally existent and uncreated, all-powerful, all- knowing, or all-present.
Do you struggle relating to any member of the Trinity as a person who loves you and desires a relationship with you? If so, spend a moment asking that member of the Trinity to help you grow in your personal relationship with them and understanding of them.