The Holy Trinity
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Understanding God can be one of the most difficult things to grasp. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the Trinity “is the central mystery of Christian life and faith (CCC, 234).” The Church acknowledges that it is a mystery. We cannot see Him, touch Him, or even smell Him. He is beyond our normal comprehension.
The idea of the Trinity itself can be confusing. How can one God be three things at once? Men have spent their whole lives trying to grasp these types of concepts. God is the Father, He is the Son, and He is the Holy Spirit. It is not three separate Gods, but one God in three manifestations. Confused yet?
In the Beginning
One of the questions that I have heard from many non-Christians, and even a few Christians, deals with the Trinity in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, God is clearly defined as the Trinity. In the Old Testament, it primarily references a single God. Where is the Trinity in the Old Testament?
“In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth…” -Genesis 1:1 NAB
If you did not know already, Genesis 1:1 is the first verse in the Bible. In the original Hebrew of that verse, “God” was translated from the word elohim. Elohim, a word used for God repeatedly in the Bible, is a plural word. What does that mean? That means that from the very first verse in the Bible, the original text sees God as plural. That does not mean that there are multiple gods, but it does mean that even the earliest text recognizes God’s plurality. From the first sentence of the Bible, we can see traces of the Holy Trinity.
Three Persons, One God
This may seem very complex, and it is a difficult concept to understand. How can there be three separate forms of God, but only one God? The Catholic Church refers to each entity of God as Persons. The Divine Persons together make up our one God.
“We do not speak of three gods but of one God. Each of the Persons is fully God. They are a unity of Persons in one divine nature.” (USCCA)
In essence, God is an undefinable being that is encompassed in one “divine nature.” But, that nature comes through as three Persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each Person is distinct from the other, but they are all part of one Holy God.
A Matter of Faith
One of the most difficult aspects of faith in God is that we do not fully understand Him. How can we understand the Holy Trinity? Can we imagine the Creation? Can we even begin to understand how God is ever-present and all-knowing? There are no real answers to these questions. Understanding who God is and what God is will always be beyond our comprehension.
If we cannot see Him, touch Him, or feel Him, then how can He expect us to believe in Him? Faith. Faith is not about believing in what you can see right in front of you; faith is about believing in the unbelievable. But, once you do have faith in Him, you will begin to see and feel Him in ways that you never thought were possible.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” -John 20:29 NAB