The Biblical Description of The Trinity

There is one God, whose nature consists of three persons. However, a cautionary note must immediately be given for the usage of the word 'person'. The church fathers were the first to describe the Trinity in this way, but the modern word for person has far more sense of individuality to it than at the time of the church fathers. The intended meaning is midway between function and person (see The Trinity Creeds). 'Aspect-person' may give a more suitable shade of meaning.

So there is one God, whose nature consists of three persons. These are:

  • Father, who is the source of everything, including (although outside time and so non-creatively) Son and Spirit. The Father is the creator of all created things, and all things originate with him.
  • Son, who is the image and fullness of the Father. The Son was set apart to be sent into the world.
  • Spirit, who is the essence of the Father sent out from the Father by the Son. The Spirit makes us alive to God.

All three persons are eternal and the same in essence.

The difficulties of using 'person' without a cautionary note soon becomes obvious - three individuals leads inevitably to tri-theism; one person leads to modalism; and avoiding the use of person leads to a description which is less than person, an unthinking Force.

The biblical basis for this definition is given in the following sections.

< The Development of the Creeds - The Incarnation The Father >

"Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine" - modern, scriptural, worshipful: Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine