Trinity: How Could There Be Three in One?

This is offered to enable my esteemed Jewish friends to understand why Christians believe in the Trinity.  Often when asked to name the members of the Holy Trinity the answer is: God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Wrong. The three are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three constitute one God comprising the Tri-Unity, three in one. Some people refer to them as the Godhead.

The Bible speaks of the Father as God (Phil. 1:2), Jesus as God (Titus 2:13), and the Holy Spirit as God (Acts 5:3-4).

The concept of three in one is found throughout nature.

H20 as a liquid is water, as ice a solid, as a vapor steam.

One egg has three different parts – the shell, the white, the yoke. Similarly, one apple has three different parts – the skin, the flesh, and the seed.

In math 1+1+1 = 3.  However, 1x1x1 = 1. Each is multiplied by self to make one. The latter represents the Tri-Unity.

Sigmund Freud, by no means a friend of theology, nevertheless theorized that human personalities are made up of three parts: Id, Ego, Super-ego. As people, we are balanced out by the impulsive Id, the logical Ego, and the moralizing Super-ego. Likewise, God is balanced out to us in a way we can understand by the all-seeing Father, the teacher Jesus, and the guiding Holy Spirit. They are the different natures of God, who is one being.

John 1: 1, 2 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”

The word, Word is a reference to Jesus Christ who was with God and He was God. Logically, the question is often asked how could He be God and be with God.

His very essence, His intrinsic nature or indispensable quality that determined His character was God. His essence was God as much as the Father and Holy Spirit are God. Summarily He was God the Son.

Physically He was with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

During an era when nations worship multiple gods the Hebrew Shema was penned: “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6: 4). Historically Jews have repeated it together in the synagogues. The Hebrew word “echad” translated “one” refers to a compound unit. It reveals a plurality, more than one. It is used instead of another Hebrew word, “yacheed” which speaks of a single unit.

Echad, meaning one compound unit, is used rather than “yacheed,” A compound unit, (echad) for example, might speak of one compound unit of gum (stick) in one yacheed pack. One pack having five units, five in one.

The first name for God in the Bible is the one used here, “Elohim.” Though grammatically plural it is used as though singular. This is the case in Genesis 1: 26 also, “Then God (Elohim) said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness….:’” Elohim, translated here “us” and “Our” is plural. This reveals the Tri-Unity, God as one.

(This is a complex subject, one of the most complex. Don’t be concerned that it might have to be read more than once and studied to be better understood.)