Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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To say ‘God is three separate beings’ alludes of polytheism. As we approach those in Islam or Judaism, aren't we risking truth to defend a Godhead idea that does not even reflect the image to which man was created? As a human we are one being with existence of spirit, soul, and body all dying for control of our direction due to Adam's sin. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we can learn to put the physical and soulish in subjection to the Spiritual recreated man. Thus we overcome the love of this Cosmos for the kingdom to come, unless our minds are not yet renewed in the spirit of His word. My heart is to see the word of the Lord Jesus Christ infiltrate the thinking of the Jew and Moslem, but as long as stumbling blocks of tradition block the LOGOS from entering their hearts.

The Holy Trinity in not an easy thing to explain but it can very simply be accepted with an open heart. If someone asks us, "Oh, you have three gods in actuality" our response is definitely no. We believe in ONE God, three in person. The Lord Jesus Christ revealed the dogma of the ONE essence to the Jews when He said to them, "How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the ONE God" (John 5:44).

What do we as Orthodox mean by the three Hypostasis or EKNOUM (Arabic)? EKNOUM is a Syrian word meaning the "unique un-separated person." It gives the accurate meaning differentiating between--Three Divine Hypostasis (Persons). It is the title given to each of them: the EKNOUM of the Father, the EKNOUM of the Son, and the EKNOUM of the Holy Spirit.

Some people incorrectly think the Three Persons are simply three different names. One Person though speaks to another Person throughout the Holy Bible; "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son that Your Son may also glorify You" (John 17:1).

"I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last."

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things" (John 14:26).

Thus we know three names cannot speak to one another. Three names though are ONE in essence:
Each Person is called God. The Father is called God. "Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this..." (James 1:27). The Son is called God, "...Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifested in the flesh" (I Timothy 3:16). The Holy Spirit is also called God, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit...You have not lied to men but to God" (Acts 5:3-4).

In His Grace Metropolitan Phillopos book, "How?" lives these examples of clarification on the Holy Trinity:
In Botany every plant is composed of three major parts: root, stem, and leaves; three structures--one edifice.

The human is composed of three components: spirit, mind and body.

Every finger is formed of three connected, inseparable bones (carpals) yet all three are one finger.

The sun is a disc, a source of light, and a source of heat. If you look at the sun disc early in the morning sky, you would say, "The sun has risen." At sunset, you will see that the same beautiful luminous red disc is lower and may say, "The sun is setting now." On a cold day, you may want to "sit in the sun." What you mean is to sit in the sun's rays and heat. On a hot day you might state, "the sun is very hot today," pointing out the intensity of the heat. Yet, the sun's disc with its light and heat are one sun and not three.

Fire is a flame, a source of light and a source of heat. These three are distinguishable from each other, yet all are the same fire.

A man once asked another man: "Explain to me the process of igniting a candle." The other answered, "This is a simple task. The wax, wick, and oxygen unite together and constitute the light seen." The man then asked another question, , "Do you totally understand how the three components form one light?" "No" replied the other. He then further asked, "Do you believe the concept thought you do not fully understand it?"

"God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth; likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.' He seals the hand of every man, that all men may know His work. The beasts go into dens and remain in their liars."
Some quotes from the early church fathers which pertain to the Holy Trinity include:

"If there are three Persons (hypostases) this does not mean that they are divided. There are three whether they like it or not. Otherwise, let them get rid of the divine Trinity altogether." Dionysius of Alexandria c.262 as quoted by St Athanasius

"It would be just to dispute against those who destroy the Monarchy by dividing and rending it...into three powers and distinct substances (hypostases) and deities...In a certain manner, these men declare three Gods, in that they divide the Holy Unity into three different substances, absolutely separated from one another. For it is essential that the Divine Word should be united to the God of all, and that the Holy Spirit should abide and dwell in God. Therefore, the Divine Trinity should be reduced and gathered into one, into a certain Head, that is into the Omnipotent God of all. For the doctrine of the foolish Marcion, which cuts and divided the Monarchy into three elements, is certainly of the devil. It is not of Christ's true disciples...for these indeed correctly know that the Trinity is declared in the divine Scripture. However, the doctrine that there are three Gods I find neither taught in the Old nor in the New Testament." Dionysius of Rome c.265, as quoted by St Athansius.

"It is after the image and likeness of the uncreated God: the Father planning everything well and giving His commands, the Son carrying these into execution and performing the work of creating and the Spirit nourishing and increasing."--Irenaeus c.180

"The most true God, is the Father of righteousness...We worship Him and adore Him, the Son (who came forth from Him and taught us these things, along with the host of the other good angels who follow and are made like Him) and the prophetic Spirit."--Justin Martyr c.160
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