“This is my beloved Son.” Every eye was fixed on Jesus. The voice from the heavens spoke. This is My Son.
Every once in a while, I think it pays to review the basic doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. The Catholic doctrine of the Trinity comes directly from the life of the Christ. To believe in Jesus is to believe in the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity. All ‘mainstream’ Christians share these same dogmas, which go back to the Ecumenical Council of… Nicaea!
Okay. Point one: It makes no sense to say that there are multiple gods, or that there is no God. God, the genius and the power behind and above and in everything, the artisan of all things: there can only be one, and there must be one. If there were more than one, then none of them would be God. And if there were less than One, then we have no rational explanation for the existence of, the order of, the goodness of, and the beauty of all the things we experience.
God is the one and only being Who always has been. God’s infinitely powerful existence gives existence to all other existing things. One Creator, one Lord, one absolute, ultimate good and beautiful Truth with a capital T.
So: the religious teachings of the world can be divided into doctrines of God that make sense and doctrines that don’t. The world is divided into Jews and Gentiles, into those who recognize the one true God as the most important fact of life, and those who don’t. We are Jews.
We are the Jews who believe in the divine Jew, Jesus Christ. The Jew who did not put Himself forward merely as a wise sage or a professional nice guy, but Who unequivocally presented Himself as the only-begotten Son of the eternal Father. We believe in the Jew about Whom the God of the Jews audibly said, at least twice: “This is My Son.”
God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father.
To hold the doctrine of the Trinity requires casting aside many delusions about what our minds can now grasp about God. We do not delude ourselves into thinking that we can understand the divine substance, like we can understand the substance of an apple, or the substance of an argument in favor of the pro-life cause.
Nor do we delude ourselves by thinking that we can fathom or imagine how, or in what manner, or after what fashion, the eternal and infinite Father has begotten the eternal and infinite Son. We can try to formulate analogies, but the analogies and explanations always fall short. Nor do we pretend to offer exhaustive explanations about how the eternal begetting of the Son means also the eternal proceeding forth of the infinite Holy Spirit. We do not understand; we believe. We believe that the eternal begetting of the Son and the eternal proceeding of the Spirit are facts. They are the most certain of all facts.
One Creator, one Lord, one God, Whose divinity is more simple, more clear, more undivided and brilliant than the rays of the sun. This perfectly united God has a perfect Son and a perfect Spirit. Three divine ______________. One divine ______________.
(We have got to be able to fill in these blanks. No watching any football until you can fill in these answers!) (I just checked, and even Google quick-search knows.) (“Essence” and “nature” are synonyms and both count as right.)
The three Persons: Equally infinite and eternal, equally transcendent and powerful, equally mysterious and awesome and wise. Each distinct from the other. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father, (What absurdity to say that the Son is the Father!*) and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one, the one true God.
Eternally distinct, therefore, the Persons, by the unique divine act of eternally begetting the Son and eternally breathing forth the omnipotent, life-giving Spirit. But the eternal distinction of the Persons does not divide God from Himself, does not make three divine “Beings.” The eternal begetting and the eternal procession of love: these unique and mysterious divine ‘acts’ actually make the perfectly united God to be the sole, simple, absolutely singular Being that He is.
The Trinity, the one God, in the bosom of eternity, chose to create the universe. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have created all created things–by a free, utterly unencumbered decision.
All three Persons have created, all three Persons have loved what they together have made, and two of the Persons have undertaken missions in time, in order to save creation and bring it to fulfillment.
The Father is, from ages unto ages. The Son is, from ages unto ages, and the Son has been sent into time. He has become one of us, through the mystery of the _________________. (Again, this is a must-know. No football until you get it.) The eternal Son of the eternal Father has lived a pilgrim human life, measured by time. The eternal Son’s human life has given our human race a door into eternity.
The Holy Spirit also is, from ages unto ages, and He also has been sent into time in order to… Sanctify us in truth! He comes into the world to abide in our souls. To make wise and united what had been ignorant and at-odds.
Blessed be the holy and undivided Trinity! Blessed be the Father! Blessed be the Son! Blessed be the Holy Spirit! Praise You, Jesus, for revealing the eternal Truth!
* That’s called Sabellianism or Modalism or Patripassianism.