God as the Trinity

The Trinity is the idea that God is one but exists in three different ‘persons’. The word ‘Trinity’ comes from the words ‘tri’ (meaning ‘three’) and ‘unity’ (meaning ‘one’).

Many Christians believe that one God exists simultaneously as three distinct persons, who together form a unity:

The Trinity is a central concept in Christianity.

A triangular diagram to explain the Trinity, with God labelled in the centre, and the three distinct parts labelled on each corner - The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.

God the Father

God the Father is the creator of all things, and many Christians think of him as a loving parent. In the Bible, God the Father calls upon humans to always try to do good: Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48)

God the Son - Jesus

Jesus is the incarnation of God as a human being. According to Christian belief, God the Father sent Jesus to show people how to live good lives. Jesus died to make up for humanity’s sins and was resurrected three days later.

According to the Gospel of John, Jesus said: I and the Father are one (John 10:30). Christians believe that Jesus was fully God and, at the same time, fully human.

In the Bible, St Paul explains this to the early Christians. He instructs them to be humble and live a life of service to God and to others, following Jesus’ example: In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5)

God the Holy Spirit

Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is the power of God at work on the Earth. In the Bible, it is often depicted as wind or fire, or in the form of a dove.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells his apostles that when he has to leave them, God will send the Holy Spirit, who will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26). Many Christians believe that the power and workings of the Holy Spirit enable them to understand what God wants them to do.

The Holy Spirit is often represented as a dove with an olive branch, which symbolises it spreading God’s grace and peace throughout the world

To which of the three persons of the Trinity does the term ‘incarnation’ apply?

Jesus. He was incarnated – born as a human baby – and Christians believe that he was both fully God and fully a human being.