If the Trinity is a “mystery,” can we know anything about it with certainty?
Certainly, there is much that we know about the Holy Trinity. In Catholicism, a “mystery” is not something utterly inaccessible to us, something about which we can say nothing, but a reality so profound that we will never reach the end of its depths.
Imagine yourself blindfolded in a helicopter. When the blindfold was removed, could you discover with certainty that you were flying over your hometown? Certainly. But would you know where each car was going or how many blades of grass grew in each lawn? We can know many things about God with certainty, but we will never exhaust his mystery. His glories shall fascinate us forever.
How are human beings made in the image and likeness of God?
Like the three divine persons, humans have intellects for knowing, free wills for choosing, and the capacity for loving. We also have preeminence over the earth like God has universal dominion. Yet our humanity also reflects the Holy Trinity’s communion of persons. From the eternal self-gifting between the Father and Son, the Holy Spirit proceeds. Likewise, the self-giving love of a husband and wife can bring forth a third person.
Are there any indications of the Trinity in the Old Testament?
Though the mystery of the Trinity was not fully revealed until Christ’s, there were hints of it throughout the Old Testament. In the beginning, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26) Likewise, Isaiah the prophet heard the voice of the Lord say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8)
The Hebrew word translated “God” in the Old Testament is El or Elohim. (Elohim is the plural form of El, though both take on singular verbs.) It is the plural form, Elohim, that is used in 2,607 of the 2,845 instances where “God” appears in the Old Testament.
Deuteronomy 6:4 declares that “God is one,” but instead of the Hebrew word for solitary, absolute oneness (yachid) this passage employs the word for unified oneness (echad.) The word yachid is never used in reference to God (Elohim) in the Old Testament. What is the earthly likeness for such unified oneness? “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one (echad) flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)