Malankara World

40 Questions Answered

By H.G. Dr Geevarghese Mar Osthathios

QUESTION 7. How can the Belief in the Holy Trinity be Explained?

The Holy Trinity is not the discovery of human reason, but the self-revelation of God through the Jewish monotheism, Christian experience of Jesus Christ as the very God of very God and the Holy Spirit as True God. The Holy Trinity is neither Tritheism nor exclusive monotheism, but the fullness of the Godhead as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, One in Three and Three in One. Any understanding of God as other than Trinity is only a partial understanding of God, partially discovered by the devotee and not fully disclosed by God Himself. There is no Truth more ultimate than the Trinity as it is the final truth about God disclosed by God Himself through the Incarnation, the Pentecost and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

(a) Though the word Trinity does not appear in the Bible, all the data of the Trinity such as God's unity (Dt. 6: 4; Mk. 12: 29),

the Fatherhood of God
(Mt 5: 48; 6: 26; Mk. 13: 32; Lk. 10: 22; Jn. 1: 14 etc..),

the Godhead of the Son
(Jn. 1:1-18; 20:28; Act. 20:28; Phil 2-5; Col. 1:15-20; Heb. 1:3; Col. 2:9; Jn. 10:30; 1 Jn 5:20; Tit. 2:13; 22:13) and

the Godhead of the Holy Spirit
Lk. 1: 35; Act.2: 17; 5: 3-5; Jn. 5: 5-8 ; 16: 7-15)

are clearly seen in the Holy Writings. Furthermore, there are Trinitarian passages such as the Baptismal formula (Mt. 28: 19) and the Benediction (II Cor. l3: l4) in which the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are equated.

There is no way of explaining the central Christian teaching 'God is love' (I Jn. 4: 8) without the doctrine of Trinity. God has to be Trinity if He is Eternal God in eternal action of love as a Monad cannot be love in action, a Diad in love is not sharing their love on a third point, but only giving and receiving love. All the elements of love are present in 360 degrees of Trinity. The love of a nuclear family makes the family three and one at the same time.

The Cappadocian Fathers explained the Trinity as one essence or substance and three hypostases or persons. This is too philosophical to understand and so we may say that God is one Eternal Nuclear Family with God the Eternal Father, Christ the Eternal Son and Holy Spirit the Eternal Mother. These three have a deep solidarity and unity in the unity of the Family. God is one Person with the Conation of the Father, the Cognition of the Son and the Affection of the Holy Spirit. God is one Mind, with the Father as the Unconscious Mind, the Son as the Conscious Mind and the Holy Spirit as the Subconscious Mind. Hegelian dialectics of Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis is found in the One Godhead.

God does not lack unity or plurality as He is the Trinity. If He is not Trinity, there was a time when His love was not in action, but only potential as Monad has nothing to love. God is not a growing God whose potentiality was once without actuality, and then grew into actuality with the creation of angels or man. Furthermore, the command "be ye therefore perfect even as your Heavenly Father is perfect", is the command to grow to the unity and solidarity of the Family hood of God. God is a Co-Being, Being and not an exclusive person. The command to become perfect is both personal and social as God Himself. If God is Nirguna Brahma of Kevaladvaita, He is not Love. If He is Love, He is Trinity. There is no uniqueness in Christian theology without the uniqueness and centrality of the doctrine of Trinity. It is the only all-inclusive teaching about God.

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