In most of the mainstream denominations in Western Christendom one of the outstanding doctrines is the dogma of the Holy Trinity. According to this doctrine the Christian Godhead consists of the Trinity of three people who form the unity: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The doctrine is one of the oldest and the most universal beliefs found in the Catholic Church. Notably, it is central to the teachings of the Church including Catechism and an affirmation of the Trinity which are significant to the church rituals such as baptism ceremonies. This essay seeks to analyze the doctrine of the Trinity from a Catholic perspective.
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Examination of the Doctrine
Trinity as a term is used to signify one of the most central doctrines of the Catholic Church. It represents one of the universal truths of Christianity which Jesus taught to his disciples. Namely, it explains that the Godhead has three individual people: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Athanasian Creed thoroughly clarifies the dogma by elucidating that “Father is the God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God…yet there are not three Gods but one God.” It illustrates the very essence of the doctrine where the three are one, and yet they are still three different persons.
Each Person is Fully God
Over the ages there have been a multitude of questions if God involves three people and whether that would mean that each of them would represent only a third of the Godhead. The economic view of the Trinity discusses how the three relate to the creation: “The three have different roles regarding creation process, salvation and other instances in which God manifests or deals with humankind and other beings.” For instance, as the Catholic Catechism highlights, Jesus is the God who showed himself to the humanity as the “mediator and fullness of all revelation.”
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Nevertheless, the dogma of the Trinity does not detach God into three unalike parts because all the actions performed by any of the three are done by the same God since all three are God. It is apparent from the Scripture that each of the three people is God. Making all of them a portion of the Godhead would transform every person into something less than God. Consequently, an indication of subordination of one over the other does not arise except of the human form of Jesus as that would imply that the Son is of less importance than the Father and “result in more than one God.”
This is obvious for the Son in Colossians 2:9 that explains Jesus as God who dwells in the form of human. Thus, the Son is not a third of the Godhead but he is God himself in all the ways. The same principle applies for the Holy Spirit and for the Father. The plurality of the individuals is also apparent during creation. For example, in Genesis 1:26-28 God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our own likeness”. It is clear that the “us” is referring to the other three people in the essence (i.e. the being) who are also fully God and fully participating in the creation process.
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There Is Only One God
The doctrine of the Trinity explains that there are three different human beings in yet the same essence. However, these three individual people are also concurrently God, both in their separate capacities and in their capacity as the three. The Bible makes it clear in numerous places that there is only a single God. The Scripture accentuates this in Isaiah 45: 21-22 by affirming that “…for I am God. And there is no other.” Taking into consideration that the three are separate and yet they are all fully God forming part of the same being, then it is distinct that there is only one God.
The unity of the Godhead in the Bible is evident in several occasions. While giving the disciples the mission to evangelize, Jesus insists that the twelve devotees should turn all the peoples into followers “…baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” in Mathew 28:19”. Therefore, it befits that these three are distinctive people. Moreover, they are so since the assignment of getting coverts and the baptism of any new coverts is to be completed in the name of all the three persons. Furthermore, it is manifest that they are co-equal individuals of the same being which is the Godhead and, subsequently, there is only one God.
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The Mystery of Eternal Procession
Majority of people who are not Christians usually understand the doctrine as a protracted affair. For most of them it is hard to realize how a son whom the father begets could be co-equal with him. The elucidation reveals that in the doctrine the Father has caused the Son to be in a generation that is interminable. This infers that that the Father has been always extant and so has the Son. The Holy Ghost, who is the third co-equal person in the Trinity, ensues from the Father and the Son in a perpetual procession. More than that, while it might seem that the three persons have different origins, they are also co-equal, co-eternal. This means that they are all powerful, uncreated, and eternal. The Christian mystery of the Triune God expresses three dissimilar characteristics of the Trinity: the three are different persons, each person is fully God and, lastly but most importantly, the three people are one God.
Whether the Trinity is Contradictory
The fact that God is one essence existing in three persons may seem logically contradictory to many people. However, for an illogicality to occur in anything there has to be a contravention of the law of contradiction. A contradiction occurs when a statement denies another in a way that suggests that the two statements cannot exist mutually and both be valid at the same time. There is no contradiction in Christianity’s monotheism and the Triune God simultaneously for the reason that God is one (essence) in three unalike ways (persons). To illustrate, Jesus, while still co-equals with the other two, took the mission of salvation in human form and was crucified. Consequently, the three persons make the same being.
The essay analyzed the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity. As the discussion shows, the doctrine affirms the Christendom’s belief that the Christian God is the Triune God. This means that God is three persons in the same essence. All the three people in the Godhead are equal and have existed for eternity. However, in relation to creation (economic Trinity), they have had different roles in history considering their dealing with humankind, for instance in the creation exercise, salvation, and other issues. In spite of the Godhead being three personages, Christianity is monotheist since the three persons are one being. Moreover, the mystery of unending procession explicates that the Son is created out of the Father in an everlasting generation while the Holy Spirit everlastingly generates from the Father and the Son. As a result, while some individuals see this doctrine as erratic, it is the outcome of the careful analysis.