Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity Understanding the Holy Trinity How Can God Be Three Things? Share Flipboard Email Print Johner Images/Getty Images Christianity Christian Life For Teens Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Catholicism Latter Day Saints View More By Kelli Mahoney Christianity Expert M.P.A., University of Illinois–Springfield B.S., Psychology and Criminal Justice, Illinois State University. Kelli Mahoney is a Christian youth worker and writer. She previously worked as an administrator for NXT, a high school Christian youth group. our editorial process Kelli Mahoney Updated December 29, 2018 Many non-Christians and new Christians often struggle with the idea of the Holy Trinity, where we break up God into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is something very important to Christian beliefs, but it can be hard to understand because it seems like a total paradox. How can Christians, who talk about one God, and one God only, believe in him being three things, and isn't that impossible? What Is the Holy Trinity? Trinity means three, so when we discuss the Holy Trinity we mean the Father (God), Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit (sometimes referred to as the Holy Ghost). Throughout the Bible, we are taught that God is one thing. Some refer to Him as the Godhead. However, there are ways that God has chosen to talk to us. In Isaiah 48:16 we are told, "'Come closer, and listen to this. From the beginning, I have told you plainly what would happen.' And now the Sovereign Lord and his Spirit have sent me with this message." (NIV). We can see clearly here that God is talking about sending His spirit to talk to us. So, while God is the one, true God. He is the only God, He uses other parts of Himself to accomplish His goals. The Holy Spirit is designed to speak to us. It is that little voice in your head. Meanwhile, Jesus is the Son of God, but also God. He is the way God revealed Himself to us in a way we could understand. None of us can see God, not in a physical way. And the Holy Spirit is also heard, not seen. However, Jesus was a physical manifestation of God we were able to see. Why God Is Divided Into Three Parts Why do we have to break God up into three parts? It sounds confusing at first, but when we understand the jobs of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, breaking it up makes it easier for us to understand God. Many people have stopped using the term "Trinity" and started using the term "Tri-Unity" to explain the three parts of God and how they form the whole. Some use math to explain the Holy Trinity. We cannot think of the Holy Trinity as a sum of three parts (1 + 1 + 1 = 3), but instead, show how each part multiplies the others to form a wonderful whole (1 x 1 x 1 = 1). Using the multiplication model, we show that the three form a union, thus why people have moved to calling it the Tri-Unity. The Personality of God Sigmund Freud theorized that our personalities are made up of three parts: Id, Ego, Super-ego. Those three parts impact our thoughts and decisions in different ways. So, think of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the three pieces of God's personality. We, as people, are balanced out by the impulsive Id, the logical Ego, and the moralizing Super-ego. Likewise, God is balanced out to us in a way we can understand by the all-seeing Father, the teacher Jesus, and the guiding Holy Spirit. They are the different natures of God, who is one being. The Bottom Line If math and psychology don't help explain the Holy Trinity, maybe this will: God is God. He can do anything, be anything, and be everything at every moment of every second of every day. We are people, and our minds can't always understand everything about God. This is why we have things like the Bible and prayer to bring us closer to understanding Him, but we won't know everything as He does. It may not be the cleanest or most satisfying answer to say that we cannot fully understand God, so we need to learn to accept it, but it is part of the answer. There are so many things to learn about God and His desires for us, that getting caught up on the Holy Trinity and explaining it as something scientific can take us away from the glory of His creation. We need to just remember that He is our God. We need to read the teachings of Jesus. We need to listen to His Spirit talking to our hearts. That is the purpose of the Trinity, and that is the most important thing we need to understand about it.