Where Does the Doctrine of God Being a Trinity Come From?

Who is God? Who is it that billions of Christians worship? For the great majority, at the heart of their answer lies a mystery: the idea that God is one deity divided into distinct-yet-merged hypostases: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This is the trinity doctrine. And note the candid admission made by a world-famous evangelist who teaches it: “When I first began to study the Bible years ago, the doctrine of the trinity was one of the most complex problems I had to encounter. I have never fully resolved it, for it contains an aspect of mystery …. [I] do not totally understand it to this day.” Many have expressed similar sentiments.

When leaders of a religion that the Bible calls “the simplicity that is in Christ” admit that they don’t comprehend who they worship, that should be a red flag to seekers of truth.

Some trinity adherents acknowledge that the teaching doesn’t come from the Bible. “[T]he word ‘trinity’ is not itself a New Testament word” and “is not directly New Testament doctrine,” wrote a famous Church of Scotland minister. “It is rather … an interpretation.”

Likewise, the New Catholic Encyclopedia admits, “The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the fourth century.”

So if the paradoxical trinity doctrine that dominates so much of Christianity didn’t originate in the Bible, where is it from?

First, we must grasp a fundamental truth revealed in Revelation 12:9, which is not about the nature of God but rather the nature of our world. This verse shows that the whole world has been deceived! Satan is not only real, he is also incredibly successful: He has deceived not only atheists and non-Christians, but almost all Christians too.

Satan did not accomplish this feat by denying Christ outright. He did it by creating a powerful false church—one that still bears Christ’s name today.

The origin of that counterfeit Christianity is recorded in Acts 8. Two years after Jesus founded the Church of God, the deacon Philip went to Samaria and preached Christ’s gospel. Samaria was under the influence of Simon, a sorcerer who had bewitched the region’s people (Acts 8:9-11).

Simon and many of his followers went to hear Philip’s message; they believed it and were baptized. Then when the apostles visited Samaria later to lay hands on the newly baptized so they could receive the Holy Spirit, Simon attempted to buy what he thought was the power to impart God’s Spirit. This shows that though he had been baptized, Simon had not been converted to true Christianity. Peter knew Simon only wanted more power to further exalt himself, so he refused to lay hands on Simon and instead rebuked him. Simon responded with an insincere plea that fell far short of true repentance (verses 12-25).

The account ends there. But Simon’s work did not. The sorcerer went on to declare himself an apostle. He proclaimed the name of Christ and accepted some of His teachings. He even called his religion “Christianity.” But he mingled “Christian” ideas with his own pagan religion. Using the power of Christ’s name, he taught un-Christian doctrines. He aspired to turn his religion into a universal faith that would gain worldwide political rule!

Simon—the “Pater,” or father, of this counterfeit religion—didn’t accomplish his goals in his lifetime. But succeeding leaders, with the church’s headquarters moved to Rome, did later gain political control over the Roman Empire and its successor, the Holy Roman Empire.

Even in that first century, Simon’s religion grew rapidly. The Apostle Paul indicated that by the a.d. 60s, much of the Middle East had turned from the true gospel to a counterfeit (Galatians 1:6-7).

This “Christian” counterfeit is the actual source of the trinity doctrine.

In a.d. 325, the Roman emperor Constantine called the Nicene Council to settle several religious controversies, including arguments about the trinity. Constantine wasn’t a “Christian” then, but as political ruler, he assumed control of the church. The religious council approved the trinity doctrine, and Constantine made it law throughout the empire. But he was not able to make it the truth!

The reason why neither the word “trinity” nor the doctrine are in the Bible is that God is not a trinity. The main passage trinitarians point to to try to prove the doctrine is 1 John 5:7-8. In the King James Version, this passage indeed says, “the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit … are one.” But those words were added to the text.

Most modern Bible translations omit them—for good reason: They are fraudulent. They didn’t appear in any respectable Greek manuscript. They appear in a fourth-century Latin text, probably as a marginal note by a copyist who believed in the trinity doctrine. Soon after, these extra words entered the text of the Latin Vulgate. But editors of Bible commentaries both liberal and conservative, old and new, agree that the origin of that text in 1 John 5:7-8 is fraudulent.

Numerous Bible passages—including Genesis 1:1-3 and Psalm 104:30—show that the Holy Spirit is not an independent entity, but is the power by which God creates, rules and does His will. It is not another person!

And the false trinity teaching is not a harmless misunderstanding. By making the Holy Spirit into a person, it implies that God is forever limited to three individuals, with no possibility of expansion. Thus, it denies the heart of the gospel that Christ preached and the very purpose for which God created mankind! This is why Satan wanted this false doctrine introduced into false Christianity. It is his attempt to destroy the truth—the gospel that Jesus Christ brought from the Father—that God is not a trinity, but a Family! That is truth Satan wants to hide from mankind with the trinity doctrine!

To understand the life-changing truth about God and the divine Family you were born to enter into, read Chapter 1 of Mystery of the Ages,Who and What Is God?