The doctrine of the Trinity is perhaps one of the most confusing among Christians. Admittedly, it is easy to misunderstand and misrepresent. But forget defining the Trinity, how would one defend it to a skeptic? The evidence for the Trinity is found within the Scriptures, and the skeptic does not believe the Scriptures to be divinely inspired.
A Web of Beliefs
I’ve referred to a “web of beliefs” before, but I think it is important to continually highlight. Our belief system as Christians (the same is true for any belief system) is like a spider web. Some of our beliefs are attached to external evidence and reason, making them more convincing to all people because all people value evidence and reason. Other beliefs are based upon those beliefs, making them “internal arguments”. I’ll use the Trinity, which I believe to be an internal argument, to make my point.
I’m a Christian because I believe Jesus rose from the dead. If Jesus rose from the dead, His teachings are vindicated. He taught that (1) the Father is God, (2) He is God, and (3) the Holy Spirit is God. This is what we mean by Trinity – One God in three Persons. Therefore, I believe in the Trinity.
Do you see how this “web” begins with Jesus’ resurrection. This can be defended by “external” historical evidence. My belief in the Trinity follows upon that belief and is therefore “internal”. It can then be proven true or false depending on the truth of the premises, or the coherence of the logic. It looks like this:
- Jesus rose from the dead.
- Jesus’ resurrection vindicates His teachings.
- Jesus taught that God exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I’ve already linked to articles I’ve written before concerning the first two premises. I would now like to defend the proposition that Jesus taught a Triune God.
Jesus taught the Trinity
There are plenty of places in Scripture to turn to find evidence that Jesus taught a Trinity, but these three should suffice:
Jesus teaches that the Father is God:
This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent — Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3)
Jesus teaches that He is God:
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58
Jesus teaches that the Holy Spirit is God:
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:29; Only God can be blasphemed against).
The Trinity is not an easy doctrine to deal with, but I believe it can be properly defended. If Jesus rose from the dead and taught that God is Triune, then I believe it is so.