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". . . baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit . . ." (Mt 28:19).

In order to abandon oneself to God one must first know who God is, thus, the principle object of Christian Faith is God.  Christians believe that there is only one God and that the one God is a Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We believe that God is a loving God full of mercy and love toward His creation, especially man and woman.

The Trinity is the greatest mystery of the Christian Religion and is divine revelation in the fullest sense.  This means that the reality of God being a Trinity could have never been discovered by human reason and is far above human reason to completely comprehend.  Our belief rests upon God and His self-revelation.

Since God is infinitely perfect our belief in the Trinity can rest entirely upon His truthfulness.  To lie is a defect, which is incompatible with God.  In this section we will present an introduction to the Trinitarian God.

Trinitarian Foundations

The plurality of persons in one God can be glimpsed through the doctrine of relation.  Jesus revealed this truth when He came and revealed Himself as the eternal Son of God.  To convey the meaning of this teaching, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, in An Introduction to Christianity, quotes St. Augustine’s statement - the Father is a Father only in relation to the Son; in His own being He is simply God (pg. 183).

Within one divine substance there are three persons but these three persons are separate solely in relation to each other, of themselves they are one God.  The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son.  They are separate only in that one is not the other, but their essence, will, and power are one.  They live totally for each other and in total oneness with each other.

Given the teaching on God's inner life we can understand Jesus' words.  When Jesus said, “I cannot do anything on my own” (John 5:30), He is not stating that He is unequal to God.  He is stating that because of His total union and oneness with the Father and the Holy Spirit, He does not act apart from the Father and the Holy Spirit (pg. 185).

In Scripture many things are said of Jesus.  Some statements refer to him as God and others to him as man and this has confused many people throughout the two thousand years of Christianity.  The Catechism of the Council of Trent states that, “from his two natures he received the different properties which belong to both.  Hence we say with truth that Christ is Almighty, Eternal, Infinite . . . [and] we say of him that he suffered, died, and rose again . . .” (pg 38).  Jesus is both God and man and possesses the properties peculiar to both, but He is one person.

The truth that God is a communion of persons living in total union and oneness with each other has tremendous implications for humanity.  One implication comes from the fact that God made man and woman according to His image and likeness.  Therefore, in order to experience true peace and happiness, a person must live his life in communion with others and live his life for others.  As Pope John Paul II often said, man must give himself as a gift to others and in doing so he finds himself.

God's Revelation to Moses

Moses accepted the call to reveal God to Israel.  Before Moses left to Egypt he asked God to tell him His name.  God replied to Moses, “I Am Who I Am” (Ex 3:13-15). 

In regard to the name God revealed to Moses, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that, “This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery” (CCC, 206).  Catholic Tradition teaches that the name, YHWH, reveals God's nature as pure being, pure life, eternal, and unchangeable.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger highlights the point that with the phrase, “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” God revealed to Moses that He is the God who is close to His creation (pg. 123).  He is a personal God who can be called upon.  This is expressed by the word “El” in the divine name Elohim, which means “near.”

Another revelation to Moses was when he asked God to reveal His glory.  After God passed before Moses all he could say was, “YHWH, YHWH, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (CCC, 210).

The Eternal Son

Unlike Moses who asked God for His name, Jesus proclaimed, “I revealed your name to those whom you gave me . . .” (John 17:6).  Unlike Moses who worked God's miracles with his staff, Jesus worked them “by the finger of God” (Luke 11:20).  Unlike Moses who received the law from God on Mt. Sinai, Jesus went to the top of the mount and gave the true meaning of the Law and fulfilled the Law with His own life.  Unlike the manna in the desert that lasted no longer than a day, Jesus claimed to be the true manna from heaven that gives eternal life and who will raise people from the dead (John 6:48-58).

Jesus did not need God to first teach Him so to teach others; Jesus revealed God's name with His very life.  As the Father revealed the identity of Jesus to Peter so Jesus revealed the Father to the world.

Jesus' fundamental teaching about God is that the Father is a Father from all eternity because He has an eternal Son, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30-37).  Whoever has seen Jesus has seen the Father (John 14:9).  The Son has always existed with the Father (John 8:58).  This revelation from Jesus about the true nature of God is the reason why He was hung on the cross.  Jesus proclaimed to be the eternal Son of God unto the very end (John 10:33).

Jesus revealed the true nature of God and God's love for humanity.  Jesus made present the words Moses spoke about God after his mystical experience of God's inner life.  In Jesus Christ God seeks out the lost sheep, He desires all men to be saved, He desires the repentance of sinners, He is mercy (the woman caught in adultery and the healing miracles), and He is reconciliation and steadfast love. 

The Spirit of Truth and Life

Jesus' second fundamental revelation about God was that there is a third divine person that exists with the Father and the Son.  Jesus taught this when He told his disciples that there is another Advocate, “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate . . . the Spirit of Truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it” (John 14:15-17). 

As the world did not know Jesus, and the people could not understand Jesus' words because they did not know the Father (John 8:42-44), so too the world does not know the Spirit of Truth.  St. Paul wrote, "For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God" (1 Corinthians 2:10).

The Spirit was at work in creation, He Spoke through the Prophets, He brought about Jesus' conception in Mary and overshadowed her, and He now leads the followers of Jesus into all truth.  The Spirit is the one who gives life to Jesus' disciples, “it is the Spirit that gives life” (John 6:63).

The Holy Spirit gives rise to faith, hope, and love for God within the disciples of Jesus.  On Pentecost He gave power to the Apostles to preach the Gospel, to forgives sins, and to heal the sick.  It is the Spirit that initiates Christians’ prayer to their Father (Romans 8:26).  The Holy Spirit gives life to the Roman Catholic Church as the human spirit gives life to the body, which is why the gates of hell will never prevail against it.



Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004).

The Catechism of the Council of Trent (Rockford: Tan Publishers, 1982).

John Paul II, A Catechisis on the Creed: Jesus Son and Savior (Boston: Pauline Books & Media, 1996).


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