18 Intriguing Facts About the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity

SharePinEmailChristians believe in the Holy Trinity as one of the foundational tenets of their faith, detailing God as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, or the Holy Spirit. But there is much more to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity than you might realize. Here are 18 Holy Trinity facts that will surprise…

Christians believe in the Holy Trinity as one of the foundational tenets of their faith, detailing God as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, or the Holy Spirit. But there is much more to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity than you might realize. Here are 18 Holy Trinity facts that will surprise you.

Non-Biblical Term

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When reading the Bible, you will not find the term “Trinity” written anywhere. Instead, the phrase was coined centuries after the creation of the New Testament.

Scriptural Basis

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The basis of the Holy Trinity is found in The Great Commission under the Gospel of Matthew. In this scripture, we learn the instructions Jesus Christ gives to his disciples.

Matthew 28: 16-20: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”

Doctrine Formalization

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Instead of being found in the Bible, the term “Holy Trinity” was created by the Romans in the early stages of Christianity. Roman Emperor Constantinople formed a Council that declared equality between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, thereby forming the Holy Trinity. 

Homoousios

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The formation of the Holy Trinity came about as a result of previous developments by the Council of Nicaea in 323 which first stated that the Son and the Father are “of the same essence”, adopting the term “homoousios”.

Importance of the Doctrine

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Many Western denominations of Christianity believe in the Holy Trinity, holding the doctrine as central to their faith. This includes Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Protestants.

Controversies

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As the Holy Trinity is the product of religious interpretations, there are some Christians who challenge its veracity. Arianism opposed the idea of the Holy Trinity but was consequently considered heretical by other Christian denominations.

“God alone is immutable and self-existent, and the Son is not God but a creature with a beginning.” (Arius, Alexandrian presbyter)

The Trinity and Feminism

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Some critics, such as theologian Janet Soskice, have claimed that the Holy Spirit should be feminized to “offset the language of fatherhood in Christianity”.

Christianity’s Trinity

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Christianity is the only religion that believes in the Holy Trinity, including the other Abrahamic religions. Jews believe that God is the ultimate cause of existence and is solely an indisputable and indivisible being. 

Referenced by the Saints

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As the doctrine of the Holy Trinity had been fully formalized by the end of the 4th century, key figures in Christianity began to reference the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost more often. One leading theologian of the Middle Ages was Saint Thomas Aquinas, born in 1225: 

“The Father loves not only the Son but also himself and us, by the Holy Ghost.” 

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Artistic Representations

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Through artwork and celebrated pieces, the Holy Trinity is represented symbolically with the Holy Ghost constantly appearing as a white dove. Jesus Christ is shown in his crucified state, typically with his arms spread out. The Father is depicted as an older bearded man, wearing robes and sometimes wearing a headdress and seated on a throne.

Symbols of the Trinity

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There are several symbols of the Holy Trinity that we still see today, even if you are unaware of the connection. The ancient triquetra symbol and the Borromean rings both represent the three links of the Holy Trinity and the intimate connection between each one.

Eastern Orthodox Controversy

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As the years went by, the western Roman Catholic Church added “and the Son” to the Nicene Creed. This addition caused controversy for the Eastern Orthodox Church and contributed to its separation from Rome.

Perichoresis

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The Holy Trinity symbolizes that God is “one in essence”, yet takes the form of three figures. These figures are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The term “perichoresis” summarizes the interpenetration of the three figures, teaching us the intimacy present under the Holy Trinity.

Scriptural Links

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The idea of the Holy Trinity and the depictions of each figure has not been created independently from the Bible. During Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist, we are taught that as the Son is baptized, the Father’s voice is heard from above and the Holy Ghost “descended like a dove”.

Matthew 3:16: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment, Heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him.”

Incorporated Into Prayer

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The Holy Trinity is incorporated into many prayers used by Christians of several denominations. Most commonly, Christians use the phrase “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, before and at the end of saying their prayers. This is a direct reference to the Holy Trinity.

Baptism Significance

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When a child, or an adult, is baptized, they are baptized “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, signifying the importance of the Holy Trinity.

Denomination Rejection

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Some Christian denominations reject the idea of the Holy Trinity entirely. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was a created being and that God’s force is the Holy Spirit, dismissing the Holy Trinity. Mormons, also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, also reject the Holy Trinity, teaching three distinct beings who are not “united in substance”. Mormons believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate yet share the same purpose. Additionally, the Unitarian Christian denomination believes in the “oneness of God”, dismissing the Holy Trinity and believing that Jesus was a human teacher and prophet.

Differences With Other Faiths

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As well as some Christian denominations, other Abrahamic faiths do not believe in the Holy Trinity either. Both Islam and Judaism share many similarities with Christianity as they all believe in the Old Testament. Jews and Muslims both believe in the oneness of God without any possible division present.

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