The theology of the Trinity has been debated for centuries, as well as how God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three separate identities, but all one God, all divine in nature. One must look at the early forefathers of theology and their doctrine on the Trinity and how the location such as East and the West looked at it from different views. To understanding the term Trinity, one must ascertain how it came together, along with the relationship of the three identities that make up the Trinity and how they are divine nature.
The Trinitarian theology comes out of the fourth century, and takes the divine nature of the Trinity in being of one God, but in three identities. The doctrine of the Trinity is an inseparable work of God, starting with the founding church fathers of the patristic age from both the East and West as they shared and defended their theological views of the Trinity doctrine. The doctrine of the Trinity raises hard questions about how the Trinity is equally important, while being seen as one God, at the same time being seen as three identities, while all three are divine in their own nature (Claunch,2013).
The Cappadocian Fathers of the East, theologians Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, played a major role in Greek and Russian Orthodox churches, by looking at the Trinity differently, starting with how the Trinity is experienced individually separate of each other. The East and the West differed in their theology of the Trinity, in the East, they emphasized the three identities of the Trinity, while in the West theologian Augustine of Hippo started with the unity of Trinity, emphasizing being of one God.
Theological leaders would point out how well the doctrine is articulated in this spectrum, while being an identifying marker of the pro-Nicene theology. The pro-Nicene theology of both the Latin and Greek is focused on the need of understanding the nature of the Trinity. The term Trinity, is used to show the unity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three very different identities, but all of one God. One of the key truths in Christianity is the Trinity, as it is central to the doctrine of the Christian faith.
The early church used the Trinity to combat heresies through the ages (Made, 2012). As Christians find the distinctions of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all being separate identities, they are all found to be made divine through one God. The understanding of the Trinity is important for the Gospel and for the understanding of the scriptures, as it talks about how God uses each identity to fulfill His will. One place during the patristic period that made important theological statements about the Trinity was the city of Antioch.
Antioch was one of the three centers of theological reflection during this period. One of the important theologian of this time period was Tertullian, as he defended the unity of the Old and New Testaments. He is known for his work in laying the foundation for the Trinity. Augustine of Hippo is also known for his theological work during the patristic period. During this period, it became clear that Jesus was of the same being as God. At the same time the doctrine of the Trinity became linked to the divine nature of Christ.
This is the starting point of presence of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit as Christ lived on earth. The relationships of the Trinity, is important as to how they all play a part in God’s plan. The Ecumenical councils produced the doctrine of the Trinity, which stated that the Godhead was the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are all divine, with equal status. It was after the Ecumenical council, in the Council of Nicea that the divinity of the Spirit was established.
It is through the Holy Spirit that God and His Son Jesus Christ are connected, and it is through the Holy Spirit that God communes with His children. It was through Christ dying on the cross that Christians find His grace and mercy that they can commune with the one true God once more. The amazing ability to understand Godhead as Christians use the term Trinity, but when they want to separate and talk about the individuals one on one, then the term triunity is used (Moltmann,1999). While the Trinity is the Godhead three in one, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Father and the Son are connected through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Christ is the same Spirit of God, as Christ is the Son of the Father, as the bible says How the Word of God was with Him in the beginning and nothing was created without Him, and the word became flesh, and dwelt among His people. Calvin states the Father has expressed Himself in the Son, is showing here how Christ the Son is divine in nature with the Father, but in his next breath that the Son distinguishes himself differently from the Father.
Showing how they are two different identities and as the same holds true about the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is a key fixture of Christianity, as Christians believe the Bible is the breathed word of God, the Trinity is necessary to explain parts of the Bible from the beginning to the end. In Genesis 1:2, it refers to the Spirit of God hovering over the waters. Starting in Genesis 1:3, it says “and God said”, this is showing the word of God creating, and in John 1:1 it says the word was with God, and the word was God.
The doctrine of the Trinity is important as it reflects all aspects of God, and His loving nature, as His desire to commune with His children. In John 3:16 it says, God gave His son, meaning Christ is divine in nature and it was through the Holy Spirit that Mary conceived being a virgin. The Trinity is at work throughout time in God’s plan of salvation, knowing that humans could not save themselves, but needed a spotless offering in their place. The God of heaven and the earth shows His perfection in every way, and it is this perfection that we see in the Christ and the Holy Spirit.
For even though they are three different identities they are of one God. Starting in the Old Testament there is many insistences where God refers to himself and the rest of the Trinity as “US” (Grudem,1994). In Genesis 1:36 the Bible says, “let us make mankind in our image”. Here there are “us” and “our” is speaking of the Trinity. In Genesis 3:22 it points out how man has become like “us”, again this verse showing the Trinity, while in Genesis 11:7, it points out the Trinity wanting to take actions, by going down from heaven and confusing everyone with different languages at the tower of Babel.
As the Trinity has been shown as an important of Christianity, it is also very important to understand the roles to the each of the identities and how each of them works for the purpose of God’s will. The Son of the Father, came to earth to redeem God’s children by providing something that they themselves could never provide. While Jesus provide a living example for Christians to follow, He also paid the price of all sin from the beginning to the end of time. The Holy Spirit is a gift from the Father that guides and directs Christians in their walk of faith.
Just as how God used the Holy Spirit to commune with Christ, Christians use the Holy Spirit to commune with the Father and the Son. Scripture is another important part of the Trinity. For there could be no scripture without the Trinity. The Father spoke the word, the word became flesh and the Holy Spirit through the direction of the Father enabled the writing of the word, ensuring that every word came from the Father. There are passages in the Bible that use different names for God.
Now this can be explained as there being more than one with God in heaven. The trinity is three separate personalities, but all are God, meaning that they share one being, or one essence. The Trinity is necessarily for the creation of the world, God spoke the words that created, the Son carried out His Father words, while the Spirit was active all around creation. The Trinity is very important to the Christian church, by showing the divine deity of the Son and the Holy Spirit it shows the work of the Father through them.
The Trinity has come a long way since the fourth century where the West and the East had differently opinions on what it meant. Throughout history the Trinity has been refocused and defined to what is accepted today. That the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit make up the Trinity, while all being of one God, they have different identities. As the four resource pointed to the Trinity, and the acceptance of what it means, while using the Bible scriptures to point the differences of the three identities and how God uses the Son and the Holy Spirit to do His work.