|The Holy Trinity|
Those who deny the Divinity of Jesus are compelled to deny the Divine nature of the Holy Spirit. For them, “The Trinity of God” is beyond human understanding. So they deny it. They just forget the fact that God, who created man, can never be a slave of human intelligence. The Holy Spirit is considered only as an angel or one of the seven spirits. They, try to confuse “Trinity” as “Tri-theism” (Three-gods) and criticize Catholics as ‘Trinitarians.’ Did God reveal Himself as ‘Trinity’ in the Bible? Why do we believe in this Great Mystery?
The term ‘Trinity’
As we all know, Divine Revelation is explained through the centuries by some theological terms. Although they are insufficient to explain the truth revealed in depth. We can never find the word ‘Bible’ in an authentic translation of the Bible. The word ‘Bible’ itself is a term that appeared in history in the 4th century. But we believe in it. Similarly, we don’t see the word ‘Trinity’ in the Bible. But to explain the Divine Mystery revealed to us about God the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit, we use the term ‘Trinity.’
The word ‘Trinity’ is first used by St. Theophilus of Antioch in his book ‘Epistle to Antolycus’ in A.D. 180 (Greek: Triados). Remember, at that time there was no ‘Bible’ in the Church. In fact the term ‘Trinity’ is more ancient than the word ‘Bible’ itself. Before the formation of the Bible, those who worked behind the creation of a canonical book ‘Bible’ believed and accepted ‘The Trinity’ as God’s revealed truth handed over to them from the apostles. After some years, Tertullian (A.D. 160-250) used a Latin term for Trinity (Trinitas) in his work “Modesty.’ He wrote: “Trinity of the one Divinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit” (chapter 22).
ETERNAL EXISTENCE OF HOLY TRINITY
Plurality of God in The Old Testament
In the Old Testament, God reveals Himself not as a single person, but ‘persons.’ In Hebrew, the word for God is not ‘El,’ singular noun, but plural ‘Elohim,’ which can never be translated as a single person ‘god’ as we usually do. Elohim is a plural noun with a singular form. It has a plural morphological form in Hebrew (Ref: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). This plural word ‘Elohim’ occurs 2700 times in the Bible. Hebrews called God “Elohim,” which really meant ‘Divine Persons’ (Ref: Jerusalem Bible Footnote). There are evidences to prove this plural personality of God, in the Bible:
Genesis 1:26-Then God said: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air…” Here, the ‘likeness of God’ is plural as He creates ‘Man’ as ‘male and female.’ Therefore, Adam and Eve shared one flesh, just as Father and Son shares one substance. Adam and Eve were one spirit, just like Father and Son shares one Spirit (Malachi 2:15). Thus, the whole creation becomes the ‘image’ reflection, or mirroring of the manifold life of Divine nature of Trinity.
Genesis 3:22-Then the Lord God said, “Behold the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil….”
Genesis 11:7-God said, “Come, let Us go down and confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech…”
Isaiah 6:8-“I heard the voice of the Lord, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for Us?’” But only Jesus can call God the Father in singular form. So, he did it while he was dying on the cross. “El, El, lema sabachtani.”-Matthew 27:46
Anti-Trinitarians always quote Deu.6:4 to deny this mystery, which says: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One Lord.” In fact, the biblical word here used for ‘One’ is “echad” which is a corporate oneness. Not a numeric count.
The Bible says to us that there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost (1Jn.5:7). The Bible reveals “God has a Son” Prov.30:4; “Who knows the name of God and the name of His Son!” The Bible also says the Holy Spirit exists with God; “Now the Lord has sent me and His Spirit.”
God is defined as Love in the Bible. If God is a single individual, this definition becomes invalid as He could never give and experience love. C.S. Lewis, the famous thinker says: “If God was a single person, then, before the world was made, he was not love.”
HOLY TRINITY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father in union with Jesus. John 15:26-“But when the Comforter comes, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify me.” The Bible uses the Greek word ‘pneuma’ (pnyoo’-mah’) for Holy Spirit, which means ‘breath’ or ‘life-giving spirit.’ When God created man, He ‘breathed’ on Adam and gave him life. Jesus breathed on apostles and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn.20:22). The Holy Spirit is the Breath of the Father and the Son, who is proceeding from both of them.
Jesus himself reveals the unity and equality of three persons of Trinity when he commanded: Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Here, the ‘name’ singular is used for the plurality of “Father, Son and the Holy Spirit” (not the plural ‘names’). This singular ‘name’ implies the fundamental unity of Three Divine Persons. Those who deny the divine nature of Jesus and the Holy Spirit are baptizing their members “In the name of the Father,the God, Son the man, Holy Spirit an angel.” Through baptism, God, who is the Trinity, chooses us. 1 Pet. 1:2, “…who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ.”
St. Paul explains this mystery more clearer when he says: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit, there are different kinds of service, but the same Lord, there are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men” (1 Cor. 12:4-6). The creative work of Heavenly Father, the redemptive work of the Son and sanctifying work of the Spirit are same work of the Almighty.
There is only one God; the Creator! He has only one son; Jesus Christ! He founded only one Church; upon Peter! Only the Catholic Church has divine origin!