Is God a Trinity or a Triad?

by Matt Slick

The doctrine of the Trinity has often caused confusion among Christians. Some people have mistakenly seen the Trinity as a Triad. What is the difference?

The Trinity is the teaching that there exists only one God in all the universe, none before and none after Him (Isaiah 44:6, 8) and that God consists of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is not the same person as the Son who is not the same person as the Father, who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit. Yet, there are not three gods, but one.

In contrast to the Trinity, a triad is three separate gods. Each is a god. Therefore, in the doctrine of the triad, the Father is a god, the Son is a god, and the Holy Spirit is a god. This is not the doctrine of the Trinity, and it is not biblical.

Mormonism holds to the doctrine of a Triad, not a Trinity. Even though it claims the word Trinity as its teaching, it does not hold to the doctrine of the Trinity. In Mormonism, the Father has a body of flesh and bones and used to be a man on another world who became a god and came to this world. Jesus is the first-born between god and his goddess wife. Jesus has become a god. And, the Holy Ghost is a god as well. Note: In Mormonism, the Holy Spirit is god's emanating presence by which he is able to be omnipresent. This is not a Trinity. This is a triad. They are not the same.

The Jehovah's Witness organization very often misrepresents the Trinity doctrine by replacing it with the Triad teaching. They often are taught that Trinitarians believe in three gods. This is not true.

An Illustration

Basically, the universe consists of three elements: Time, Space, and Matter. Each of these is comprised of three 'components.'

Time Past Present Future
Space Height Width Depth
Matter Solid Liquid Gas

As the Trinity doctrine maintains, each of the persons of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is distinct, yet they are all each, by nature, God.

With time, for example, the past is distinct from the present, which is distinct from the future. Each is simultaneous. Yet, they are not three 'times,' but one. That is, they all share the same nature: time.

With space, height is distinct from width, which is distinct from depth, which is distinct from height. Yet, they are not three 'spaces,' but one. That is, they all share the same nature: space.

With matter, solid is not the same as liquid, which is not the same as gas, which is not the same as solid. Yet, they are not three 'matters,' but one. That is, they all share the same nature: matter.

Note that there are three sets of threes. In other words, there is a trinity of trinities. If we were to look at the universe and notice these qualities within it, is it fair to say that these are the fingerprints of God upon His creation? I think so. Not only is this simply an observation but also it is a good source for an analogy of the Trinity.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.