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1 and 1 and 1 Makes One. A meditation on the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity

June 2, 2012

There is an old Spiritual that says, My God is so high, you can’t over him, he’s so low, you can’t under him, he’s so wide you can’t round him, you must come in, by and through the Lamb.

Not a bad way of saying that God is other, He is beyond what human words can tell or describe, He is beyond what human thoughts can conjure. And on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity we do well to remember that we are pondering a mystery that cannot fit in our minds.

A mystery though, is not something wholly unknown. In the Christian tradition the word “mystery,” among other things, refers to something partially revealed, much more of which lies hid. Thus, as we ponder the teaching on the Trinity, there are some things we can know by revelation, but much more is beyond our reach or understanding.

Lets ponder the Trinity by exploring it, seeing how it is exhibited in Scripture, and how we, who are made in God’s image experience it.

I. The Teaching on the Trinity Explored – Perhaps we do best to begin by quoting the Catechism which says, The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons: [Father, Son and Holy Spirit]…The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire. (Catechism, 253).

So there is one God, and the three persons of the Trinity each possess the one Divine nature fully. The Father IS God, He is not 1/3 of God. Likewise the Son, Jesus, IS God. He is not 1/3 of God. And so too, the Holy Spirit IS God, not a mere third of God. So each of the three persons possesses the one Divine nature fully.

It is our experience that if there is only one of something, and I possess that something fully, there is nothing left for you. Yet, mysteriously each of the Three Persons fully possess the one and only Divine Nature fully, while remaining distinct persons.

One of the great masterpieces of the Latin Liturgy is the preface for Trinity Sunday. The Preface, compactly, yet clearly sets for the Christian teaching on the Trinity. The following translation of the Latin is my own:

It is truly fitting and just, right and helpful unto salvation that we should always and everywhere give thanks to you O Holy Lord, Father almighty and eternal God: who, with your only begotten Son and the Holy Spirit are one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single person, but in a Trinity of one substance. For that which we believe from your revelation concerning your glory, we acknowledge of your Son and the Holy Spirit without difference or distinction. Thus, in the confession of the true and eternal Godhead there is adored a distinctness of persons, a oneness in essence, and an equality in majesty, whom the angels and archangels, the Cherubim also and the Seraphim, do not cease to daily cry out with one voice saying: Holy Holy, Holy….

Wowza! A careful and clear masterpiece, but one which baffles the mind as its words and phrases come forth. So deep is this mystery that we had to “invent” a paradoxical word to summarize it: Triune (or Trinity). “Triune” literally means, “Three-one” (tri+unus) and “Trinity is a conflation of “Tri-unity” meaning the “three-oneness” of God.

If all this baffles you, good! If you were to say, you fully understood all this, I would have to call you a likely heretic. For the teaching on the Trinity, while not contrary to reason per se, does transcend it and surely it transcends human understanding.

A final picture or image, before we leave our exploration stage. The picture at the upper right is an experiment I remember doing back in High School. We took three projectors, each of which projected a circle: One was red, another green, another blue (the three primary colors). As we made the three circles intersect, at that intersection, was the color white (see above). Mysteriously, in the color white (or clear) three primary colors are present but only one (white or clear) shows forth. The analogy is not perfect (no analogy is, it wouldn’t be an analogy) for Father, Son and Spirit do not “blend” to make God. But the analogy does manifest a mysterious three-oneness of the color white. Somehow in the one, three are present. (By the way, this experiment only works with light, don’t try it with paint!)

II. The Teaching on the Trinity Exhibited : Scripture too, presents images and pictures of the Trinity. Interestingly enough most of the pictures I want to present are from the Old Testament.

Now I want to say, as a disclaimer, that Scripture Scholars debate the meaning of the texts I am about to present, that’s what they get paid the big bucks to do. Let me be clear to say that I am reading these texts as a New Testament Christian and seeing in them a Doctrine that later became clear. I am not getting in a time machine and trying to understand them as a Jew from the 8th Century BC might have understood them. Why should I? That’s not what I am. I am reading these texts as a Christian in the light of the New Testament, as I have a perfect right to do. You of course, the reader are free to decide if these texts really ARE images or hints of the Trinity from your perspective. Take them or leave them. Here they are:

1. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… (Gen 1:26) So God speaks to himself in the plural: “let us….our.” Some claim this is just an instance of the “Royal We” being used. Perhaps but I see an image of the Trinity. There is one (“God said”) but there is also a plural (us, our). Right at the very beginning in Genesis there is already a hint that God is not all by himself, but is in a communion of love.

2. Elohim?? In the quote above, the word used for God is אֱלֹהִ֔ים (Elohim). Now it is interesting that this word is in a plural form. From the view point of pure grammatical form Elohim means “Gods.” However, the Jewish people understood the sense of the word to be singular. Now this is a much debated point and you can read something more of it from a Jewish perspective here: Elohim as Plural yet Singular. My point here is not to try and understand it as a Jew from the 8th Century BC or a Jew today might understand it. Rather, what I observing is that it is interesting that one of the main words for God in the Old Testament is plural, yet singular, singular yet plural. It is one, it is also plural. God is one, yet he is three. I say this as a Christian observing this about one of the main titles of God. I see an image of the Trinity.

3. And the LORD appeared to [Abram] by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I fetch a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on — since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” (Gen 18:1-5). Now this passage from a purely grammatical point of view is very difficult since we switch back and forth from singular references to plural. Note first that the Lord (singular) appeared to Abram. (In this case יְהוָ֔ה Yahweh (YHWH) is the name used for God). And yet what Abram sees is three men. Some have wanted to say, this is just God and two angels. But I see the Trinity being imaged or alluded to here. And yet when Abram address “them” he says, “My Lord” (singular). The “tortured” grammar continues as Abram asks that water be fetched so that he can “wash your feet” (singular) and that the “LORD” (singular) can rest yourselves (plural). The same thing happens in the next sentence where Abram wants to fetch bread that you (singular) may refresh yourselves (plural) In the end the LORD (singular) gives answer but it is rendered: “So they said” Plural, singular….. what is it? Both. God is one, God is three. For me, as a Christian, this is a picture of the Trinity. Since the reality of God cannot be reduced to words we have here a grammatically difficult passage. But I “see” what is going on. God is one and God is three, he is singular and yet is plural.

4. Having come down in a cloud, the Lord stood with Moses there and proclaimed his Name, “Lord.” Thus the Lord passed before him and cried out, “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity” (Exodus 34:5). Here we see that when God announces his name He does so in a threefold way: Lord!…The Lord, the Lord. There is implicit a threefold introduction or announcement of God. Coincidence or of significance? You decide.

5. In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the Seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory. (Is 6:1-3) God is Holy, Holy, and yet again, Holy. Some say this is just a Jewish way of saying “very Holy” but as Christian I see more. I see a reference to each of the Three Persons. Perfect praise here requires three “holys”, why? Omni Trinum Perfectum (all things are perfect in threes), but why? So, as a Christian I see the angels not just using the superlative but also praising each of the Three persons. God is three (Holy, Holy, Holy) and God is one, and so the text says, Holy ”IS the Lord.” Three declarations “Holy”: Coincidence or of significance? You decide.

6. In the New Testament there are obviously many references but let me just refer to three quickly. Jesus says, The Father and I are one (Jn 10:30). He says again, To have seen me is to have seen the Father (Jn. 14:9). And, have you ever noticed that in the baptismal formula Jesus uses is “bad” grammar? He says, Baptize them in the Name (not names as it grammatically “should” be) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19). God is One (name) and God is three (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

Thus Scripture exhibits the teaching of the Trinity, going back even to the beginning

III. The Teaching of the Trinity Experienced – We who are made in the image and likeness of God ought to experience something of the mystery of the Trinity within us. And sure enough we do.

For, it is clear that we are all distinct individuals. I am not you, you are not me. Yet it is also true that we are made for communion. Humanly we cannot exist apart from one another. Obviously we depend on our parents through whom God made us. But even beyond physical descent, we need one another for completion.

Despite what old songs say, no man is a rock or an island. There is no self-made man. Even the private business owner needs customers, suppliers and shippers, and other middle men. He uses roads he did not build, has electricity supplied to him over lines he did not string, and speaks a language to his customers and others he did not create. Further, whatever the product he makes, he is likely the heir of technologies and processes he did not invent, others before him did. And the list could go on.

We are individual, but we are social. We are one, but linked to many. Clearly we do not possess the kind of unity God does, but the three oneness of God echoes in us. We are one, yet we are many.

We have entered into perilous times where our interdependence and communal influence are under-appreciated. That attitude that prevails today is a rather extreme individualism wherein “I can do as I please.” There is a reduced sense at how our individual choices affect the whole of the community, Church or nation. That I am an individual is true, but it is also true that I live in communion with others and must respect that dimension of who I am. I exist not only for me, but for others. And what I do affects others, for good or ill.

The “It’s none of my business, what others do” attitude also needs some attention. Privacy and discretion have important places in our life, but so does having concern for what others do and think, the choices they are making and the effects that such things have on others. A common moral and religious vision is an important thing to cultivate. It is ultimately important what others think and do, and we should care about fundamental things like respect for life, love, care for the poor, education, marriage and family. Indeed, marriage an family are fundamental to community, nation and the Church. I am one, but I am also in communion with others and they with me.

Finally there is a rather remarkable conclusion that some have drawn, that the best image of God in us is not a man alone, or a woman alone, but, rather, a man and a woman together in lasting a fruitful relationship we call marriage. For, when God said, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26) the text goes on to say, “Male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). And God says to them, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). So the image of God (as God sets it forth most perfectly) is the married and fruitful couple.

Here of course we must be careful to understand that what we manifest sexually, God manifests spiritually. For God is not male or female in His essence. Thus, we may say, The First Person loves the Second Person, and the Second Person loves the First Person. And so real is that love that it bears fruit in the Third Person. In this way the married couple images God, for the husband loves his wife and the wife loves her husband, and their love bears fruit in their children. [1]

So, today as we extol the great mystery of the Trinity, we look not merely outward and upward to understand but also inward to discover that mystery at work in us who are made in the image and likeness of God.

Here’s another song that reminds us that we were made for communion:

Comments (41)

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  1. Alicia G. Mendiola says:

    Amen! When we learn to love as how the love relationship of the Holy Trinity, the essence of Communion becomes alive! When we are broken, the love pour out to us by the Holy Trinity will make us whole. Happy Feast Day of the Holy Trinity!

  2. Doug Lawrence says:

    As part of an appeal to secular mathematicians, I prefer to use 1 X 1 X 1 = 1, since the equation actually works!

    The definition of a “person” is also worth considering, since at minimum, a rational “person” is one who acts in his own best interest. The same definition seems also to apply even to babies in the womb. Evidently, God wasn’t kidding when he said he made us in his own image and likeness.

    Just sayin’!

    • well. of course, my intent is that the formula not make mathematical sense, for if it does, mystery solved. As for the definition of a person, the classical definition is “an individual substance of a rational nature.”

      • Stephen from New Orleans says:

        No math makes sense to me….I’m mathematically declined.

  3. RichardC says:

    Pardon me if I quibble. I quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia at newadvent.org , the entry for the word ‘substance’: “St. Thomas further teaches that the name substance cannot properly be applied to God, not only because He is not the subject of any accidents, but also because in Him essence and existence are identical, and consequently He is not included in any genus whatever.” This could be why the ICEL translation of the Nicene Creed changes ‘consubstantial’ to ‘one in being’. It also makes me wonder if your translation, “of one substance”, is the best.

    My favorite description of the Trinity is in The Apocalypse Of Saint John (22:1): “And he shewed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

    Excellent reflection. Thank you.

    • Well my translation renders the Latin of the preface: non in unius singularitate personae, sed in unius Trinitate substantiae (not in the oneness of a single person, but in a Trinity of one substance). Hence I guess your “quibble” is with the author of the preface who probably predated scholasticism by many Centuries. One of the challenges Scholasticism faces (as do other systems of thought) is that its very precise terminology (a necessary and good thing within the discipline) is not always reflected in the way people actually talk. This is especially true as we get centuries on either side of the scholastic line (well before or well after). It would seem therefore that the word substance in the more ancient preface text is likely using a meaning of substance not in full conformity with the precision and meaning later assigned it by St. Thomas et al. At least that is my theory here.

      • RichardC says:

        Monsignor, I agree with everything you say in your reply. Here is a brief argument as to why we should, as much as possible, us St. Thomas’ terminology. In my effort to acquire a rudimentary knowledge of Aristotelian/Thomistic metaphysics, I have learned that the word substance pairs with the word accident, as act pairs with potency, as form pairs with matter, as existence pairs with essence. Now all of these words were put forward by men, throughout time, in an effort to give a coherent account of just one word: being.

        That is why I like the ICEL translation: ‘one in being’ so much better than ‘consubstantial’.

        “The concept of being is the first which the human mind can grasp, and to
        that concept all others must be reduced.”–Aristotle

        • Well OK, but apparently neither ICEL, nor the Fathers of the Council of Trent (who promulgated the ancient Preface of the Trinity and commanded its use for most of the Sundays and Feasts of the year) got your memo. I would counsel caution by you in asserting particular theologies (good though they are) in an absolutist sense wherein other valid and approved terms and views are set forth and accepted by the Church. Perhaps the best we can do is to assert that the Church is a big enough tent that certain different theologies and terms (within limits) are used validly. You may personally prefer a certain system, in this case Thomistic Scholasticism, but there may be other valid and acceptable terms as well, which I think may be the case here.

          • RichardC says:

            I have only been to one English speaking Mass since the changes. From something I read on the ‘net, I got the impression that ‘one in being’ is being used in the English Mass. I consider Original Sin to be the source of the fog machine and the memory hole, and so, even if I say ‘one in being’, I understand that I could easily have a foggier understanding than if I said, ‘consubstantial’. So, I say, amen and no problem to your reply.

          • Stephen from New Orleans says:

            In the Spanish liturgy, the phrase is “de la misma naturaleza” which throws another semantic curve ball at Richard.

          • RichardC says:

            For me, it was a neat little investigation, seeing how people used some words and reacted to other words. Please give a literal translation for ‘de la misma naturaleza’. Honestly, I really am able to resist holding my breath, closing my eyes, and putting my fingers in my ears when people say ‘consubstantial’.

          • JARay says:

            Well Richard, sorry to interupt, but my knowledge of Spanish is good enough for me to be able to translate “de la misma naturaleza”. It goes, in exactly the same word order, “of the same nature”.

          • RichardC says:

            Hey, JARa, THANKS for the interruption. Your translation was about my guess. Nature basically means form which basically means essence, to my best understanding.

  4. Cynthia BC says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXwpNBlpJsE

    just for you, something on an organ (that looks as if it has 1,000 stops) playing an arrangement of the tune Grosser Gott by Flor Peeters

    • Thank you that is wonderful. It is a video that also shows well how an organist pull stops and presses combination actions to alter the sound. Playing the foundation with the feet permits the left hand to get free occasionally without great detriment to the sound. I think I will mark this video for a later blog that has now started to stew in the back recesses of my mind! The “32 foot” in the pedal also sounds nice on my Bose computer speakers (a gift to me).

  5. JARay says:

    Thank you very much for this excellent article. I see that RichardC (above) quotes the ICEL translation of the Nicene Creed of consubstantial as “one in being”. Well I must remind him that we now say “consubstantial” and I am happy with that since it means “together in substance”. The Latin word “con” means “together” as in “contact” which is “touching together” from “con” and “tacere” or in “confusion” which is “blowing up together” with ‘fusion’ meaning ‘blowing up’ and ‘con’ being ‘together’.
    By the way, I love the correct mathematics of 1x1x1=1. You could add further mathematics, which I cannot type, in that 3 to the power of 0=1, but perhaps that is not such a good analogy since any number to the power of zero is one, and that might be another case of ‘confusion’!!!(any number divided by itself is one)
    When I first heard St. Thomas Aquinas’s philosophical explanation of the Trinity I felt a moment of elation as if I understood the Trinity and then I realised that it merely leads one on, on the right lines, without finally explaining how it all is. It is pretty good though! What a mind that man had!

    • RichardC says:

      My best understanding is that St Thomas Aquinas would prefer ‘one in being’.

      • JARay says:

        Yes Richard, I have seen your replies and also I have seen the reply to your objection by Mgr Pope. First I must say that I have no objection to your reasoning. It makes sense to me. However, I understand that the purpose of the new translation was to get back to the Latin as far as possible because the Mass, as handed down to us throughout centuries, was/is in Latin, and we need to strike a harmony between the various venacular translations and bring them all in line as far as possible. Now the Latin has “consubstantialem Patri” which I would translate as “together in substance with the Father”…. or, “consubstantial with the Father”. That translation brings the English into line with the Latin whereas “one in being with the Father” clearly does not.

  6. JARay says:

    I must make a correction to my posting above. There is an exception to any number divided by itself equalling one and that is the number zero. Anything divided by zero is infinity, even zero itself.

  7. Kathleen Miller says:

    The revelation of the Trinity is also part of God’s mercy to us. Some of us enjoy communicating about things (including science), others about people, and still others about ideas. God is a Person comfortable with all of these, but also so “well-rounded” that the Father points to the Son and Spirit, the Son to the Father and Spirit, the Spirit to the Father and Son. Why would the Lord reveal hints of a mystery so beyond earthly math? For the pleasure of His company. And as a blessing to us. Happy Feast!

  8. Don G says:

    In Gen 1:26 when God says let us make man in our image, we attribute the “us” to being the Trinity. In Gen 3:22 after Adam sinned, God says, “behold, the man has become like one of us.” Who is the “us” in this case, since the Trinity has not experienced sin?

    • JARay says:

      Don G. You should read a little more of Gen3:22. There is a comma in my Bible after the words “….the man has become like one of ourselves, with knowledge of good and evil; now he has only to lift his hand….to eat from the tree of life as well, and he will live endlessly. So the Lord drove him out from that garden of delight….etc”. I see that this verse is saying that Adam has gained the knowledge of good and evil just as God has knowledge of good and evil. Having knowledge of good and evil is not the same as saying that the Trinity has committed evil but that the Trinity knows what good and evil are. Indeed, the very beginning of Chapter 3 talks of all the beasts that God had made “….there was none who could match the serpent in cunning”. So the Trinity already knew what good and evil was because Lucifer had already shown his propensity for evil! Now Adam had joined that band and learned what good and evil were! Gen 3:1

  9. TaylorKH says:

    Excellent teaching! 🙂

  10. Doug says:

    “Perhaps we do best to begin by quoting the Catechism which says, The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons: [Father, Son and Holy Spirit]…The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire. (Catechism, 253).”
    Works for me. When we Jehovah’s Witnesses go to Catholic doors we rarely have to discuss the Trinity. Because of the Creeds and Catechisms lay Catholics have never had a good mental grasp of the doctrine. And why should they? The last response of the priest whom they may have asked about it was, “It’s a mystery.”
    We, OTOH, show them scripturally God the Father (named Jehovah), his son the Christ (sent one) named Jesus, and the actions of Jehovah’s active force … which has no personal name. And the nature of God can’t be a mystery beyond human understanding if Jesus’ last words are not to be a practical joke: “Now this is eternal life: That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
    John 10:30 and 14:9? They are taught by the Bible itself that they refer to the only perfectly obedient son the universe has ever known.

    • JARay says:

      Doug. The problem with you Jehovah’s Witnesses is that you fail to understand Scripture. You close your eyes to “The Father and I are ONE” as also you close your eyes “Anyone who has seen ME has SEEN the Father”.
      You deliberately mistranslate the opening of St. John’s gospel which actually says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the word WAS God” Your deliberate mistranslation reads “In the beginning….and the Word was A god” The Greek does not say that. Greek is not so lacking in precision that one cannot differentiate between the NATURE of the Word and what kind of BEING the Word is.
      I cannot type in Greek here and I can only anglify the Greek:-
      “En arke ein ho Logos, kaiee ho Logos ein pros ton Theon, kaiee THEOS ein ho Logos”
      If it were to say, what your mistranslation says, then the third bit “kaiee THEOS ein ho Logos” would have to read “kaiee ho Logos ein THEOS” which it certainly does not say. The word order makes it clear that it can only be “and GOD was the Word”. The noun “God” comes before the verb “was”, not after it. So “God is the NATURE of the Word. The Word IS GOD. And in due course of time, the WORD became a MAN called Jesus Christ.
      Because Jesus is God, then he has the AUTHORITY to forgive sins. He also has the AUTHORITY to give that AUTHORITY to his Apostles “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven….etc.” And the Apostles have the power to pass that AUTHORITY to priests since this process has to go on for generation after generation, so that we, thousands of years later, can have our sins forgiven by those who act “in the person of Christ” i.e. priests, which Jehovah’s Witnesses do NOT have. Nor do they have the AUTHORITY to teach in the name of Jesus. You lack so much! Come and join the TRUE Church with REAL AUTHORITY.
      You also fail to understand that what you call the active force of Jehovah is in FACT the third PERSON of the Trinity. The Apostles were AUTHORISED to BAPTISE in the NAME of the FATHER and in the NAME of the SON and in the NAME of the HOLY SPIRIT. Each PERSON has a NAME. And they were AUTHORISED to TEACH. They were authorised to teach, by God himself, in the person of Jesus.

      • Doug says:

        JaRay, you need to learn one fact of biblical research, which you can check on any suitable non-Witness place: The “oldest and fairest” NT manuscripts [Gibbon] are written in Greek with all capital letters and NO punctuation. So most lay comments on John 1:1 are irrelevant, since a direct transliteration is
        INTHEBEGINNINGWASTHEWORDANDTHEWORDWASWITHGODANDTHEWORDWASGOD.
        (From the Douay)
        So you and I can write “God” or “god” for the last word, yet neither is incorrect. Modern capitalization depends ONLY on the bias of the translator. ONLY. I myself have seen this in the Alexandrian and the Sinaitic mss. in the British Museum. (Both since transferred to the British Library.) Please remember this in any replies to me.

        John 10:30 in the Douay: “I and the Father are one.”
        Only six words, and it’s a sentence that lends itself to exegesis. Please let me throw out some alternatives.
        “I and the Father are one.” means ‘I and the Father are always one and the same Person.’
        “I and the Father are one.” means ‘I and the Father are always one and the same Person, along with the Holy Spirit Person.’
        “I and the Father are one.” means ‘I and the Father are _____’ [You fill in the blank, if you have another idea.]
        “I and the Father are one.” means ‘I and the Father are always one in thought and purpose.’
        Which best matches your theology? My choice is of course the last one.

        • JARay says:

          Doug, I am aware that the Greek was writen in capital letters.
          “The Father and I are one” means that the Father and I are one being…but NOT one PERSON!
          Jesus constantly refers to “the Father” and this surely means that he is not referring to himself. Therefore, the Father and Jesus are not the same person but different persons although they ARE the same BEING. That is something which we do not see in this world where each person is a DIFFERENT being from the next person. This is the essence of the Trinity.
          There is only ONE BEING. But there are THREE DIFFERENT PERSONS.
          That is why Jesus told his Apostles to baptise in the name of the Father and (in the name) of the Son and (in the name) of the Holy Spirit. At the baptism of Jesus by John in the river Jordan we have the Son being the one baptised and the Holy Spirit descending in the FORM of a dove and the voice of the Father saying “This is MY SON”. All three persons are clearly depicted separately, but what cannot be SEEN there, is that they are ALL THREE the SAME BEING.
          I would remind you that the Jews killed Jesus because he had BLASPHEMED, so they said, because he clearly had claimed to be GOD. They got that bit right. They also got it right when they understood that Jesus had fortold that he would rise again on the third day. That is why they asked Pilate to put a guard over his tomb and he refused, telling them to put a guard there themselves. And those guards ran away when Jesus rose again because they feared him. Funny, how the chief priests understood what Jesus meant when he said “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will rebuild it”, whereas his Apostles didn’t understand until they actually saw him again.
          The Apostles remembered everything more clearly when the Holy Spirit came upon them, not as a dove this time, but in the form of tongues of fire. God, being God, can appear in whatever form He chooses.
          One of the attributes of the Catholic Church is that it has the AUTHORITY which Jesus conferred upon the Apostles. That authority has been maintained in unbroken succession ever since Jesus set up his Church with the power to forgive sins, the power to teach, the power to determine what Scripture really says…because all those who wrote the New Testament were Catholic. Her priests were first ordained by Jesus Christ when he broke bread and transubstantiated it, and the wine, into his own flesh and blood (without which, you do not have “life in you”), and said the words “DO THIS” to his Apostles.
          The Catholic Church is the true, authentic, Church ordained by Jesus Christ, the second person of the Blessed Trinity.

          • JARay says:

            Doug, with regards to your quote all in capital letters, you are right, that is what the Douay version does say:-
            “INTHEBEGINNINGWASTHEWORDANDTHEWORDWASWITHGODANDTHEWORDWASGOD.”
            That is what it says in English, but it is not what the Greek has, as I explained. The word order is:-

            INTHEBEGINNINGWASTHEWORDANDTHEWORDWASWITHGODANDGODWASTHEWORD
            That is why it cannot be written as:-
            INTHEBEGINNINGWASTHEWORDANDTHEWORDWASWITHGODANDTHEWORDWASaGOD. which is what your version says in order to try and deny that Jesus is, in fact, GOD.
            Perhaps a quick summary of my argument is:-
            The Father and Jesus are NOT the same person. Each refers to the other and therefore they are NOT the same as Persons.
            Only God has the power of giving LIFE.
            Jesus gave LIFE to three people after they had died. Therefore he had/has the same power as God. Therefore
            he IS GOD.
            His enemies clearly understood his claim to be God. That is why they put him to death. They said that he had blasphemed in claiming to be God. So he clearly CLAIMED to be God. His enemies said so.
            There is only ONE GOD.
            That ONE GOD has three persons. Jesus who is God told us so. God cannot lie. Lying is a sin. God cannot commit sin. Therefore there ARE three PERSONS in the ONE GOD.
            Q.E.D.

          • Doug says:

            JARay, you misunderstand my post on Greek manuscripts, the ones all translators have to use for original work. If you do the [non-JW] research I recommended you’ll find that “a god” is acceptable as a translation of the key word at John 1:1. In fact, you’ll find that same word at Acts 28:6, Douay: “… But expecting long and seeing that there came no harm to him, changing their minds, they said that [Paul] was a god.” This is exactly the same word as the last “GOD” in John 1:1; the other “GODs” are different in at least one letter. This is critical in a language of which it’s often said, “The Greeks had a word for it.” Further discussion of manuscripts here is nonproductive.

            “Only God has the power of giving LIFE. Jesus gave LIFE to three people after they had died. Therefore he had/has the same power as God. Therefore he IS GOD.” In the Douay I find other resurrections:
            1 Kings 17 “And he stretched, and measured himself upon the child three times, and cried to the Lord, and said: O Lord, my God, let the soul of this child, I beseech you, return into his body. 22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elias: and the soul of the child returned into him, and he revived.”
            2 Kings 13 “And some that were burying a man, saw the rovers, and cast the body into the sepulchre of Eliseus. And when it had touched the bones of Eliseus, the man came to life and stood upon his feet.
            Acts 20:9 ff: “… by occasion of his sleep fell from the third loft down and was taken up dead. To whom, when Paul had gone down, he laid himself upon [Eutychus] and, embracing him, said: Be not troubled, for his soul is in him … And they brought the youth alive and were not a little comforted.”
            Your explanation?

            “His enemies clearly understood his claim to be God.” Here is what the rest of the Word of God says about this, at John 10:33 ff. (So we aren’t accused of taking only one verse from the Bible and … umm … pontificating on it. That would make us like cult members or something. 🙂 )
            33 “The Jews answered him: ‘For a good work we stone you not, but for blasphemy: and because that you being a man, make yourself God.’
            34 Jesus answered them: Is it not written in your law: ‘I said, you are gods?
            35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God was spoken; and the scripture cannot be broken:
            36 Do you say of him whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world: You blaspheme; because I said: I am the Son of God?’ ”
            V. 33 the Jews recognize that he is a man (as do I) and accuse him of ‘making himself God’. V. 34,35 he answers with scripture, from … well, I’m sure you know the citation as well as I do. V. 36 Jesus corrects their false accusation (they’re “His enemies”, remember?) by correctly identifying himself as “the son of God”. Cf Peter’s statement at John 6. You do accept Peter’s testimony, do you not? I tend to reject the teachings of Jesus’ enemies and accept the teachings of his friends; I’m sure you and I are one on that issue.

            I’ll restate my John 10:30 questions in another reply.

          • JARay says:

            You are good at avoiding the issue.
            Clearly, Jesus is God.
            Clearly also, Jesus is a man because, as God, he became a man in order to fulfil all of the Scriptures and to offer himself as the unblemished sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb, for the expiation of sin.
            Sin is an infinite offence against the Father. It required an infinite sacrifice for the expiation of the sins of each individual person who has ever lived and who ever will live. The only infinite sacrifice POSSIBLE is God himself. So, God, in the person of Jesus, offered that sacrifice. If he were only a man it would NOT BE GOOD ENOUGH. But Jesus is MORE than a man. He is God himself and could therefore offer that infinite sacrifice. He did, and I am eternally grateful that he did, because by his death and resurrection, I am able to obtain the glory of heaven and be a part of his mystical body of which, Jesus is the head.
            Those who are outside of the Catholic Church have only a very, very, very, little chance of obtaining heaven.
            When you face Jesus, on the day of your judgement, your pleas of ignorance may help. For your sake, I hope they do.

          • Doug says:

            I don’t plead ignorance of Jesus and Jehovah, when I use God’s word regularly to “know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent”, as our Lord himself said.
            “Clearly, Jesus is God.” which is the mantra of trinitarian churches; not in the bible. Unless … you mean John 10:30, to which I await your reply. That’s the [only] issue you and I have under discussion.

        • Doug says:

          JARay, let’s try again:
          John 10:30 in the Douay: “I and the Father are one.”
          Only six words, and it’s a sentence that lends itself to exegesis. Please let me throw out some alternatives.
          “I and the Father are one.” means ‘I and the Father are always one and the same Being.’
          “I and the Father are one.” means ‘I and the Father are always one and the same Being, along with the Holy Spirit Being.’
          “I and the Father are one.” means ‘I and the Father are _____’ [You fill in the blank, if you have another idea.]
          “I and the Father are one.” means ‘I and the Father are always one in thought and purpose.’
          Which best matches your theology? My choice is of course the last one.

  11. Garth says:

    A passage I’ve always seen as reflecting the Trinity is Isaiah 30:20-21. You have ‘the Lord’, and ‘your Teacher’, and ‘a word behind you’. (I’ve always seen that last as a beautiful image of how the Holy Spirit guides us.) I also note that our eyes are to see our Teacher, adumbrating the Incarnation too, perhaps.

    • Doug says:

      Garth, a better one, not “reflecting” but stating the Trinity, is 1 John 5:7,8 in the KJV, Douay and possibly others of that era:
      And there are Three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit and the water and the blood. And these three are one. (Douay)
      For comparison:
      For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (KJV)
      (The slight difference in these two firmly Trinitarian Bibles is not important, as can be seen. The KJV rendering is better attested here BTW.)

      I leave it as an exercise for the reader to look up the same in the NIV, the Jerusalem or any others of this era.
      An exercise I set for myself when those rascally Jehovah’s Witnesses first suggested the Trinity was balderdash was to write the KJV and the NWT versions side by side, making short lines with breaks at the same or equivalent word. I can’t do that here, but this is how one might start:
      Douay: And there are Three NWT: For there are three
      Douay: who give testimony NWT: witness bearers
      and so on. I found it an interesting experience.

      I haven’t seen 1 John 5 referred to in any of several Trinity discussions. Why not?

  12. Peter Wolczuk says:

    So, with Jesus being at the right hand of the Father, would The Spirit be at the left hand of the Father? It’s a concept I’ve heard.
    But then, right hand/left hand. If some one uses their will so that this will has their right hand and left hand working together to place a foundation stone for a new church and carry on with the leading will, the right hand and the left hand combining fro many tasks wouldn’t the will, the right hand and the left hand be the one individual?

  13. Doug says:

    Peter writes: “It’s a concept I’ve heard.”
    … but not read, not anywhere in the Douay, the NIV, the St. Joseph’s …
    Mr 7:9