The Trinity: a Simple Parallel


One of the best-known doctrines of the Christian faith is that of the Trinity, or the Triune God — that is, that God is one God but exists in three distinct persons at once: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (also known as the Holy Ghost; this wording comes from the King James Version of the Bible). Nearly all evangelical Christians hold this doctrine, since the three persons of God are mentioned together in various places throughout the New Testament.

The concept can be quite confusing and consequently difficult for some to accept. My purpose on this page is to draw a vivid parallel from our own human experience. I must admit, however, that the parallel is not an exact one but is actually quite a crude parallel. But since our human minds cannot fully grasp the reality of a three-in-one God, perhaps a bit of simplification wouldn’t hurt for us.

OK, here it goes: take me for example. Yeah, I know, I’m not God, nor would I ever pretend to be; I’m only drawing a parallel.

As a man, I can be several things: a husband, a father, a Christian, a musician, a photographer, a Web designer, a cook, a fitness buff, a grocery bagger, the Ummamum guy. These are all different things that I do, sometimes at once. For example, I can stand in a room with my wife and son, and do the Ummamum thing. I am now the husband, the father and the Ummamum all at once. But I am limited because I am in one location, doing one thing at a time. I am not three distinct persons; I am but one man playing three different roles at once.

God, on the other hand, is at once Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Father can oversee a weather disturbance in one country while the Spirit indwells a new believer in another, and the Son makes intercessory prayer for a troubled soul in another! And yet all three distinct persons are one God.

It’s easy to see the parallel here, but the differences are also quite apparent. Hopefully my humble analogy will help at least one Christian gain a better appreciation of our wonderful God, the Three-in-One.