“Some Jews and Muslims accuse Christians of being idolatrous for believing in the Trinity. My response to both groups is that they fundamentally misunderstand the Christian understanding of the Trinity.”
In short, the Trinity is God. Yet, many have falsely assumed that Christians believe in three gods. Such is the misdirected view of many Muslims, Jews, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Belief in three gods would be tri-theism—a slimmed down version of polytheism. Christians aren’t tri-theists. They’re monotheists who believe in one God revealed in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Think of it like this: there’s one what and three whos. There’s one what—God. And three whos— the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For obvious reasons, this has caused great consternation for many. Some even conclude that the Christian view of the Trinity is a contradiction. At first sight, this may seem to be the case, but it’s not. Remember, Christians aren’t claiming that God is three persons revealed in one person or one God in three gods; Christians believe there is one God revealed in three persons. See the difference?
Perhaps I can illustrate. But not without warning. Illustrations of the Trinity are far from perfect. Almost all quickly break down, even into heresy. No illustration can perfectly depict God, but illustrations can help us grasp God’s three and oneness. For example, the Trinity is not 1+1+1 = 3, but 1x1x1 = 1. Or consider that a single triangle has three sides. Such illustrations help us to see how something can be three and one, but they can become very unhelpful when they move beyond that.
In conclusion, Christians aren’t tritheists, their view of the Trinity isn’t a contradiction, and they must be cautious using illustrations to depict the Trinity. And at the same time, Christians can worship both the clarity and the mystery of their Triune God.
Thought to Ponder
The doctrine of the Trinity has mystified both children and scholars alike.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).
Question to Consider
What are some illustrations people use to explain the Trinity that actually teach heresy?
One Minute Apologist Video
Brett Kunkle, “Is the Trinity Unscriptural and Unreasonable?” www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NuKvP81hSQ