Can Anyone Explain the Holy Trinity?

February 28, 2009 at 11:14 am 17 comments

The christian concept of God as a holy trinity has me baffled.  I get that Jesus can be distinguished from God the Father in that God the Father somehow spawned Jesus, and later was rejoined by Jesus in Heaven just as a computer process can fork another process and later join on it.  But, what distinguishes God the Father from the Holy Spirit?  Can anyone explain that to me?  And I’m not being entirely facetious, either.

In order for there to be a trinity, the Father and the Spirit must be different somehow.  But, what is it that distinguishes them?  What can the Father do that the Spirit cannot, and vica versa?  Does this not mean that they are one and the same?  Maybe the christian god is not a trinity, but a duality.  And if the Father has some ability that the Spirit does not, or if the Spirit has some power that the Father does not, then isn’t one of them less than all-powerful?  Or maybe both of them?

Is it possible that the Christians have misinterpreted their own god?

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Why is Belief in Christ Necessary? (part 3) The United States is not the Land of the Free

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Viking  |  February 28, 2009 at 11:23 am

    You wrote: “And I’m not being entirely facetious, either.”
    When that is gone you will probably get an answer.

    Reply
  • 2. Thaddeus Dombrowski  |  February 28, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I think I am somewhat facetious because I was a very earnest christian for close to thirty years and never got answers to questions like this.

    Reply
  • 3. rosaryoncd  |  February 28, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    This old man will have a whack at it… In common terms.. If you please … and will attempt to keep it within a human logic.. other then the ONE TIME in the Bible when John the Baptist announced that Jesus was the “One” and The Fathers Voice came from “above” (heaven we presume) and the Spirit decended as in the form of a Dove …. Get it?? all three present in one from or another = Trinity … but back to less dramatic terms …

    One solid way to make “human sense” of it all … so it takes less Faith … is as a Family – in Unity – In Deep and serious LOVE … and in business, like a family owned corporation …
    Or maybe even the MOB…… When one member is speaking to “customers” or employees …Is there a need for any “Owner’ to have more Power.. NO … when you are talking to One you are talking to all of them …
    or yet another take would be …. In the case of The Triune Diety, 1/3 equates fully into 100%………

    BTW… a reaonable way to “see” the Holy Ghost(Spirit) is something to the effect of … That ‘Third Person” of the Trinity is THE LOVE that the Father and The Son have for each other and THAT LOVE is so totally strong (yes beyond anything we can fully comprehend in this finite realm) that IT IS actually A Third seperate Entity or Being.

    Having more Faith than smarts …It is wished that You
    Have a Nice Life…

    Reply
  • 4. Justin Cofer  |  February 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    The best explanation for the Trinity is that it is a Tri-unity. There are Three distinct Persons of the Trinity. All Three Persons are equal in essence (power, knowledge, holiness, etc.)

    Christians do not hold to tritheism (three gods). There is only one God.

    The Father is God.
    The Son is God.
    The Holy Spirit is God.
    There is one God.

    Quite simply, 3=1.

    Reply
  • 5. Cindy Hanson  |  February 28, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    The best analogy I’ve read is in a fiction book called “The Shack” by William Young… I’d quote the specific part, but I gave my book away. It’s a book worth picking up, none the less because it explains in real story telling ways concepts like this….
    the Holy Spirit comes from the greek word that also means breathe and wind… how is THAT for evasive! God uses this breath to do work in many ways… creation of the world, animals, land, etc, but this ‘wind’ must have it’s own identity to work efficiently.
    If you had a personal assistant, you’d want someone who knew automatically to write your appointments down for you, to help care for the details of your professional and personal life without a lot of maintainence. You would be two people working as one.
    Now I’m no scholar, but I am an idealist, how did I do??? Cindy

    Reply
  • 6. infantrymen11b  |  February 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    One of the main differences is that God the Father is not present here on earth and the Spirit is. The Spirit is the one that lives among us and lives with in us. Does that make sense at all?

    And the the Trinity has always been, all parts from the beginning.

    Reply
  • 7. Thaddeus Dombrowski  |  February 28, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    I appreciate all of the attempts to explain it. I must admit that none of it makes sense.

    #6 is a good example. “One of the main differences is that God the Father is not present here on earth and the Spirit is.”

    If they are one and the same, how can the Spirit be here on earth and the Father not be?

    Either there are multiple gods, or there is one God and this trinity stuff is just there to prevent you from thinking to clearly about Him.

    Reply
  • 8. rosaryoncd  |  February 28, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Me thinks that being we were all created in “The Image AND Likeness of The Triune God” … in may be easier still to find a suitable analogy in that creatoin, and the way that Creation conducts business.
    Three seperate “Persons” own a Corperation and that corperation IS their career, to the point that when second parites ask third parties about the identy of any one of the three.
    WHO IS THAT GUY (or gal)???. The answer from the third party (that has some knowlege of the Firm) will usually be. Oooh He (she) IS THE OWNER OF “MegaSave Corp”.
    On that same day either or both of the “Other Owners” may have the same thing take place in differant towns.
    Does it matter that each is being refered to as “THE OWNER” ? NO, they each have the same “powers” the same prestiege and trust (LOVE) each other as a Unified Triune Entity.
    Any Deal (Covenant) made by any one of the Three is Honored and upheld by the Other Two and all three are ONE.

    And if this don’t help someone out there get at least a “C” on that Paper that is due on Monday, my shoe strings will be boiled and eaten with spaggatte sause.

    Reply
  • 9. infantrymen11b  |  March 1, 2009 at 1:28 am

    I also think it could be perhaps you might be putting God in a box. I mean we as humans can not truly expect to fully comprehend everything. I believe God is omnipresent meaning He is everywhere at once. The spirit being what inhabits the earth but yet is also with God and Christ. Perhaps you could look at it kinda of like a body. The foot is different from the arm, both have different jobs and are in different places yet they are still part of one body. Im not great at explaining it but a great book thats fiction but address this issue and does a great Gob of it is called “The Shack” Its a great book i think. Its a story about a mans daughter getting murdered and just about him experiencing God in a way no has ever has and as far as i know will. It address, the trinity, God’s love, and kinda of goes into why horrible things happen to good people. Worth taking a look at for the trinity question.

    Reply
  • 10. Cindy Hanson  |  March 1, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Heh Thaddeus! at least you can’t say no one tried!!! best of luck to you!
    I did see on the History channel that the concept of the trinity dates back to ancient epypt…. previous to the hebrew monotheism… not saying the histroy channel is the BEST plae for info, but they have some interesting facts to search into. this ancient trinity did not survive as a religion… obviously. cindy

    Reply
  • 11. Thaddeus Dombrowski  |  March 1, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Cindy,

    You’re right. I appreciate everyone weighing in on this.

    Reply
  • 12. Jeremiah  |  March 2, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Hi Thaddeus, it’s me agian. # 4, Justin is 100% true. Not that no one else’s isn’t, just that, that’s what I would’ve said. Thaddeus, the best thing I can tell you is,read the Bible, and ask God to reveal Himself to you. Ask for the knowledge to understand.

    Reply
  • 13. Cindy Hanson  |  March 2, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Well, I can’t leave Jeremiah alone on this… YES the Bible is a great place to go, but I’m a big believer in finding a scholar that has strong knowledge of all the text… the Bible is a BIG place to try to find and understand ONE concept without a ‘professional’!!!

    Perhaps I am remedial in the Bible business, LOVE the book, but if it weren’t for the amazing pastors and instructors I know that instruct on these matters, there is NO WAY I could navigate it on the soul train!

    I enjoy every Bible class I take and where it leads me…. but one thing I’ve learned, never try to take one or two passages and leave it as the end all…. there is an entire narrative from beginning to end that should be understood to get the ‘smaller concepts’. BUT I’m no professional.

    Reply
  • 14. Jeremiah  |  March 4, 2009 at 12:33 am

    I agree with Cindy also, but, you CAN read the Bible without another person’s help. I mean, wouldn’t GOD be the ULTIMATE expert on the Bible?

    Reply
  • 15. WithLove  |  March 23, 2009 at 3:58 am

    God granted us the ability for thought, which is left brained, and emotions, which are opposite, right brained. I believe it is much easier to understand the Holy Spirit from the right brains perspective. The Holy Spirit enters when you relinquish control, have faith, and stop using the left side of your brain. This analytical view of the trinity is difficult to describe when its VERY essence is spirit based; everything the left hand side of our brain is not.

    It is physically impossible to use both sides of the brain at the same time. By relieving “the left hand side of the brain of its responsibilities the right hand side of the brain is aloud to “feel”. This may be an explanation why some have more difficulty understanding “spirit”. If you sir are very intelligent, mathematical, scientific, or have an occupation as an accountant, or an engineer, the very essence of God may be trickiest.

    As far as the Holy Sprit goes I think the fact that you are searching for understanding is fantastic. I have to agree with others in this post. A). God is omnipresent and not “boxed”. B) The analogy of the body part and different functions is fantastic.

    How about this: The Holy Spirit is God’s Voice. For example, if I were to call you on the phone. You can’t see me but it’s MY voice. Am I there with you? Yes and no. Try explaining that to someone before there was a telephone. “Well, there’s this device that lets me communicate with you”.

    God speaks to us in spirit, by the Holy Spirit. I think the closest example of what that feels like would be one’s inner voice, or conscious. However, it is not your own. God’s uses the Holy Spirit to speak to our spirit. It is an extension of him.

    When you are ready to let go, ask God to meet you where you are. You may be surprised what he shows you.

    God Bless!

    Charissa

    Reply
  • 16. Charissa  |  March 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    God granted us the ability for thought, which is left brained, and emotions, which are, right brained. I believe it is much easier to understand the Holy Spirit from the right brains perspective. The Holy Spirit enters when you relinquish control, have faith, and stop using the left side of your brain. This analytical view of the trinity is difficult to describe when its VERY essence is spirit based; everything the left hand side of our brain is not.

    It is physically impossible to use both sides of the brain at the same time. By relieving the left hand side of the brain of its responsibilities the right hand side of the brain is aloud to “feel”. This may be an explanation why some have more difficulty understanding “spirit”. If you sir are very intelligent, mathematical, scientific, or have an occupation as an accountant, or an engineer, the very essence of God may be trickiest.

    As far as the Holy Sprit goes I think the fact that you are searching for understanding is fantastic. I have to agree with others in this post. A). God is omnipresent and not “boxed”. B) The analogy of the body part and different functions is fantastic.

    How about this: The Holy Spirit is God’s Voice. For example, if I were to call you on the phone. You can’t see me but it’s MY voice. Am I there with you? Yes and no. Try explaining that to someone before there was a telephone. “Well, there’s this device that lets me communicate with you”.

    God speaks to us in spirit, by the Holy Spirit. I think the closest example of what that feels like would be one’s inner voice, or conscious. However, it is not your own. God’s uses the Holy Spirit as an extension of him.

    When you are ready to let go, ask God to meet you where you are. You may be surprised, he may just speak to you, or maybe the Holy Spirit rather =)

    God Bless!

    Charissa

    Reply
  • 17. The New Heretics  |  April 3, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    The concept of the trinity was borrowed into Xian philosophy from surrounding popular theories in philosophy and pagan religions. Many Xians had the belief in One God and only saw the son to be a prophet or in other cases just a new revelation of the One. The Spirit an even more recent addition borrowing from the concept of the female Sophia in a godhead similar to their beliefs.

    Reply

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