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52 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed

ing us as sons and daughters in Baptism and by being rich in mercy to

forgive our sins. Scripture constantly praises the universal power of God

as the “mighty one of Jacob” and the “Lord of hosts” (Gn 49:24; Is

1:24ff.). God’s power is loving, for he is our Father.

God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of

motherhood, which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy

between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws

on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first

representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells

us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face

of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall

that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes.

He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends

human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin

and standard: no one is father as God is Father. (CCC, no. 239)

Jesus revealed God as


in a new sense. God is Father in his

relation to Jesus, his only begotten Son. At the Last Supper, Jesus calls

God “Father” forty-five times (cf. Jn 13-17). The Son is divine, as is the

Father (cf. Mt 11:27). In a later chapter, Jesus as the Second Person of

the Trinity will be discussed further.

Before the Passion, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit as

teacher, guide, and consoler. The Spirit’s appearance at Pentecost and at

other events in the New Testament gives ample evidence of the Holy

Spirit as the third Person of the Trinity. This, too, will be discussed in a

later chapter.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian

faith and life. God reveals himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The

doctrine of the Trinity includes three truths of faith.

First, the Trinity is One. We do not speak of three gods but of one

God. Each of the Persons is fully God. They are a unity of Persons in one

divine nature.

Second, the Divine Persons are distinct from each other. Father, Son,

and Spirit are not three appearances or modes of God, but three identifi-

able persons, each fully God in a way distinct from the others.