The Trinity is one of the most important doctrines in Christianity. Roughly 80% of all Christians believe in the Trinity, the other 20% often held as being non-Christians, cultic, and striding in controversy.
The Trinity describes God as being one God in three persons, God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. Each of these persons is distinct and a different person than the other, yet are all the same being in essence, nature, and substance. It is considered a mystery, and something the limited mortal mind cannot comprehend. The three persons are considered equal.
The doctrine of the Trinity stretches back as far as the time of Justin Martyr, where he writes "in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit." Another early example of the Trinity is by Saint Ignatius, when he claims that obedience belongs to the Father, the Son, and to the Spirit. The earliest example of the word comes from Saint Theodiphilus.
The doctrine was officially canonized in the Council of Nicea, one of the most important Christian councils to ever take place, where various Bishops looked to the scriptures and voted to determine on whether or not the Trinity was to be adopted as a sound doctrine or not. Anything that contradicted that doctrine would be considered heresay.
Trinity comes from the Latin word trinitas, which means triad. The word Trinity means threefold. The Greek word is Τριάς which means a set of three.
Controversy and Alternatives Edit
Controversy stems from the fact that the word "Trinity" doesn't appear in the Bible, and that it isn't explicitly spelled out in the Bible. Various interpetations go along with this, and have gone on to explain the "Trinity" (Or lack thereof or a different doctrine altogether) differently than the traditional Trinitarian doctrine.
- Nontrinitarianism - One who believes there is one God, who is indivisable. The typical belief is that Jesus was merely a prophet and not the Son of God, though there are alternatives to this.
- Sabellianism - One who believes that there is one God in three "faces" which are percieved by the Christian. They are merely different aspects of a single God, and not three distinct beings.
- Social Trinitarianism - One who believes that the members of the Trinity are three seperate beings united in one goal or love, the same in essence, but not the same in being.
- Binitarianism - One who believes that there are two members of the Godhead, as opposed to three as in the Trinity.
- Arianism - One who believes that Jesus was a lower "god" than God the Father. Subordinationism is similar to this in that it believes that the Holy Ghost is equal or lower than Jesus, but God the Father reigns supreme.
- Adoptionism - One who believes that Jesus was born as a mortal, but became the Son of God during his Baptism, or was "adopted" by him.