What is the Trinity?

Someone requested a What Why Wednesday to explain the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity states that the three persons of God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; exist together in unity as one God, while simultaneously existing as three distinct persons. Christians believe that there are three distinct persons of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but that none of the persons are independent from one another because there is only one God. It’s a mystery that people find it hard to wrap their heads around because it doesn’t make logical sense. It doesn’t help that any analogy that we can come up with to try to understand this doctrine falls into one of various common heresies, because they either describe the persons of the Trinity as simply an expression of God (e.g. water in the form of steam, water, and ice), imply that the persons of the Trinity simply make up a part of God (e.g. a three leaf clover), or claim that the Son and Holy Spirit are merely emanations of the Father (e.g. the sun, the light from the sun, the heat from the sun).

To understand the Trinity is to understand that, for God, all things are possible—that God is not constrained as we are to our simple version of reality and our limited understanding. So while, for us, something cannot be both one and three simultaneously (1 cannot equal 3), for God 3=1 or 1=3 can happen.

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
-1 Corinthians 13:12


Do you have any other questions about the Trinity or anything Episcopal-related? Click here to suggest a topic for another What Why Wednesday!