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The Basic Christian Teaching About The Trinity

June 20, 2011

What is the basic Christian teaching about the Trinity?

St. Augustine in his great work, On the Trinity, makes 7 statements about God: The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. The Son is not the Father or the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not the Son or the Father. And then, after these six statements, Augustine adds one more. There is only one God.

Within God’s own mysterious being God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The designations are just ways in which God is God. Within the Godhead there are three “persons” who are neither three Gods nor three parts of God, but coequally and coeternally God. 

This is, of course, beyond our ability to comprehend. But when we push to the limit of our understanding, we can see that what we are talking about is not a contradiction or nonsense statement, like a square circle.

(One of my favourite reflections on this is C. S. Lewis’ cube analogy. This can be accessed from Google Documents by clicking on https://docs.google.com/#all; typing in as your email address stpaulscalgary; and then typing in as your password God’s Grace. It’s included in the document entitled “0001. C. S. Lewis on the Trinity (2007)”).

Rather, it is a Mystery.

(From June 19 Sermon)

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