Father, Son and Holy Spirit
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It is recommended that readers should first gain a quick
overview of Christianity by accessing the Lead Article for this section
of the website titled, “Christianity explained”, before reading this
It is true to say that Christianity
does have a level
of complexity within its
own monotheist model
– a so-called triune God – that is not
present within Judaism
or Islam. This
“Holy Trinity” consists of God the Father, God the Son (i.e. Jesus the Son of God) and God
the Holy Spirit. Christian theology essentially offers one God in three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit); three
belief of a triune God confuses many people, including writers from
religions, notably Islam. They rightly believe that there is but one
God within their own religion, and
often view Christians as paying homage to three gods. However, this is
definitely not the case. There is absolutely only one God,
as far as Christians are concerned.
WHY A TRIUNE GOD?
God obviously, and undeniably, has the capacity to do anything he
chooses to do!
And, once an understanding of God’s motives are clear, it is
also clear why the complexity of the Trinity was necessary. God had a
need to ratify his relationship with us, and it
was necessary for him to
come amongst us, as one of us, to give; to guide. But,
God must continually nurture our universe on a moment to moment basis;
he underpins reality; makes everything “be”. He is also present within each individual human being’s
life. He tries to assist and guide each person, whether they have
learnt to recognise this or not.
physical and spiritual dependence on him, meant that he could not
simply leave the universe to
itself and just become human, to go about his work with us; for us. He had
to do both simultaneously. And after Jesus’ physical death and ascension
to Heaven there was a further need to have an intimate presence within
the Church and in our lives; our hearts. This further essence of God came to
be known as the Holy Spirit.
thousand years later, somewhat distanced from the
event, we might merely understand the Trinity as
the three roles of God, or even the different ways he operates. And
perhaps it would do little harm to grasp the complexity in that manner.
However, the Bible does
seem to take it further.
It gives each person of the
Trinity definite separation from the others. But all importantly, on
the other hand, it still makes
it clear that God has only one will, i.e. God definitely does not
need to reach a consensus amongst himself.
So, to play it safe, the
traditional explanation of three persons in one God, as stated
is the best we have – three persons of the very same essence.
The Gospel of John lays a sound groundwork for the
concept of the Trinity. In John 1:1-5 it is made very clear that Jesus
was God (The Word). Then in John 15:26 he included the other persons of the
the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the
Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.”
PERSONS OF THE TRINITY
As far as we Christians are concerned, the concept of
allows us to
approach God in slightly different ways on occasions, which does give
us the ability
to best match our needs and feelings to the characteristics of God. But
there is much more intended by God with regards to the Trinity.
Let us have a look
at the persons of the Holy Trinity.
3.1 God the
The nature of Father God is easily
Father is fundamentally the God of the Old Testament
(“Yahweh” to Jews and
“Allah” to Muslims), truly a force to be reckoned with; to
be respected and revered. He is in a personal sense comparable, in a
manner of course, to our earthly
parents. Father God loves us and wants a committed one-on-one loving
We also think of the Father as our creator,
creator and sustainer of ‘everything
We can approach God as our loving Parent through
this person of the Trinity.
3.2 God the Son
years ago, whilst still retaining his separate existence, God placed
eternal ‘essence’ within a virgin human woman (Mary). This
occurrence is not to be compared to human sexual processes in any way
is purely spiritual. The
child Jesus who
developed, although divine, was also truly human. Jesus, Son
of God, came with the passing of time to recognise that he was One
with the God of the Old Testament. The
previously mentioned theological
by St John the Apostle, of Jesus as “The Word”
further clarifies the divine connection between Jesus and God.
Jesus in his
human form was destined to lay down his life to pay for all of humankind’s wrongdoings. Christians are called to ‘believe’
that Jesus died to ensure that they can all enjoy eternal life. It is
said that by doing so we are “saved by faith”.
The person of Jesus, within the Trinity, offers us the
loving brother and comforter. Jesus intercedes
Through the person of Jesus, God fully experienced human temptation and
Therefore, Christians believe that they have a God who has actually
human life. Prayer with such a God is, as a result, potentially more
intimate and ‘easy’.
3.3 God the Holy
The Holy Spirit
can firstly be understood as proceeding from both the Father and the
Son. The Spirit can be viewed as God’s presence here on earth, within us Christians.
of his functions are to help make us holy, to assist us with obeying
God; to encourage us to draw closer to the Father and Jesus. The Spirit
guides Christians within their faith, to better understand the Bible so
as to know Jesus better.
It is within the Born Again/ Charismatic Movement, that the presence of the “Spirit”is
the most obvious within the Church; here on Earth.
I am talking about the Pentecostal church and the so called Charismatic areas
of other churches. This general section of the greater Church is the
fast growing for good
reason. Amazing stuff happens there, empowered by the Spirit, just as
it did in the early
Christian Church more than 2000 years ago. He does so not to glorify
himself but to draw us to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus plus the Father of course.
Please see the explanations under Heading 4, “Experiencing the Holy Spirit’s Presence” within the article, “God within the Church”.
encourage you to read about the Born Again/ Charismatic movement within
the greater Christian Church, even though I have had no
direct involvement with it for many years. I presently belong
to a traditional Protestant church. My own experiences in that
area of the Church are detailed in the article mentioned above.
God as the person
of the Holy Spirit can make himself
dramatically known to each of us, whether a member of ‘the movement’ or not. He can grieve with us, support us in other life challenges, and empower us
to ‘overcome’ if we care to involve him.
The Spirit’s absolute
with each of us provides God with the ability to: reach us spiritually;
assist and guide
us towards our ‘right path’ where we can reach our full
personal, spiritual and
social potential; guide and support our role in spreading his message
of love and fulfillment that is primarily available through Jesus.
The Spirit undoubtedly communicates powerfully
within this life. God’s presence within our lives is actually the
subject of the article, “Finding God within our lives”. That article is included in the section of this
website titled,“Believing in God”.
emphasise that most so-called
Christian churches categorically believe that the three identities,
and Holy Spirit constitute one God. This outlook is essential to
accepting the fullness of God's love for us; the principle of grace