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Christian doctrine that God is three persons / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (Latin: Trinitas, lit.'triad', from Latin: trinus 'threefold')[1] is the central doctrine concerning the nature of God in most Christian churches, which defines one God existing in three coequal, coeternal, consubstantial divine persons:[2][3] God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit, three distinct persons sharing one homoousion (essence)[4] As the Fourth Lateran Council declared, it is the Father who begets, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.[5][6][7] In this context, the three persons define who God is, while the one essence defines what God is.[8][9] This expresses at once their distinction and their indissoluble unity. Thus, the entire process of creation and grace is viewed as a single shared action of the three divine persons, in which each person manifests the attributes unique to them in the Trinity, thereby proving that everything comes "from the Father," "through the Son," and "in the Holy Spirit."[10]

A compact diagram of the Trinity, known as the "Shield of Trinity". The Shield is not generally intended to be a schematic diagram of the structure of God, but it presents a series of statements about the correlation between the persons of the Trinity.

This doctrine is called Trinitarianism and its adherents are called Trinitarians, while its opponents are called antitrinitarians or nontrinitarians. Christian nontrinitarian positions include Unitarianism, Binitarianism and Modalism.

While the developed doctrine of the Trinity is not explicit in the books that constitute the New Testament, the New Testament possesses a triadic understanding of God[11] and contains a number of Trinitarian formulas.[12][13] The doctrine of the Trinity was first formulated among the early Christians and fathers of the Church as they attempted to understand the relationship between Jesus and God in their scriptural documents and prior traditions.[14]

Though the Trinity is mainly a Christian concept, Judaism has had parallel views, especially among writings from the kabbalah tradition.[15]