When Heresy Crept Into the Church

On social media these days, the word heresy is tossed around all the time.

What does real heresy look like?

In the early eleventh century, a movement appeared in southern France reminiscent of the Gnostics—a heretical group from the Church’s early history that believed in the goodness of spiritual things and the evil of material things. 

Despite the preaching and conciliar condemnations, the heresy spread rapidly, especially in the region of Albi, whence the heresy derived one of its names, Albigensianism. The dangerous heresy was also known as Catharism from the Greek katharos meaning “clean or pure.”  

The Church in the territory suffered from crooked, worldly, ignorant, illiterate, and unchaste clerics. Ecclesial abuses were prevalent with celibacy flouted, and simony, absenteeism, and pluralism were rampant. Priests could not rely upon bishops for proper leadership or direction, as they were the worst offenders.
The poor example of Catholic clergy contributed to a general acceptance of indifference in the face of heresy, which was not the case in other areas of Christendom.

The general feeling in the region was that accepting false teaching was not wrong and heresy was not a serious problem. 

The Cathars believed in a dualistic system of good and evil, wherein the world was the stage of conflict between the god of light (spiritual things) and the god of darkness (material things). 

In Cathari theology, Satan, the highest of angels, rebelled against God and created the material world, including the first man and woman. The first humans were only created from material elements and did not possess a soul.

God took pity upon these creatures and gave them souls, but they rebelled and committed the original sin of engaging in the sexual act, which imprisoned a good spiritual soul in an evil material body. 

Trapped in an evil material body, humanity required intervention from the spiritual world to escape the physical world.

So, God sent Jesus to humanity. According to Cathari belief, Jesus was neither God nor man but rather a phantom that preached spiritual release so that the soul could be freed from the confines of the evil prison of the body.

Jesus, as a spiritual entity, only appeared to suffer and die on the cross and was not truly present in the Eucharist. Jesus’ original teachings, they claimed, were garbled by the Catholic Church but faithfully preserved in the Cathari church. Membership in that church provided access to Jesus’ original secret teachings and helped humanity achieve freedom from the evil effects of the material world.  

One of the most dangerous and disruptive Cathar beliefs was this claim that the Catholic Church distorted Jesus’ original teachings. Its ancillary teaching that only the Cathar church was the true church was a dire threat to the peace and unity of Christendom.

King Charles III affirms importance of Christian faith for his reign

King Charles III speaks to the nation and Commonwealth on Friday

King Charles III delivers his first address as United Kingdom’s new sovereign, and links his “deeply rooted” Christian faith and values with his sense of duty and respect for traditions and freedoms.

By Devin Watkins

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, the new king of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth states delivered his first televised address.

King Charles III praised the dedication and service of his mother, the late Queen, and renewed his promise of “lifelong service”.

He said Queen Elizabeth bore witness to an “abiding love of tradition, together with that fearless embrace of progress”, which he said won her the “affection, admiration, and respect” of so many people.

“I pay tribute to my mother’s memory and I honour her life of service. I know that her death brings great sadness to so many of you and I share that sense of loss, beyond measure, with you all.”

Christian values

King Charles also professed his intention to continue to embrace the values and faith embodied by his late mother, who reigned for 70 years.

“Our values have remained, and must remain, constant. The role and the duties of Monarchy also remain, as does the Sovereign’s particular relationship and responsibility towards the Church of England – the Church in which my own faith is so deeply rooted.”

The 73-year-old grandfather of five added that his Christian faith will inspire his service to the people of the United Kingdom.

Woman Beheaded with Sword in Front of Onlookers in California

San Carlos, California – A young mother of two was beheaded in front of horrified witnesses Thursday morning.

The suspect, identified as Jose Landaeta Solano, severed his ex’s head with what was described as a “samurai sword.”

A woman’s head was severed with a sword in San Carlos Thursday, authorities with knowledge of the investigation told NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit.

Solano has a violent criminal past, NBC Bay Area reported.

The victim, who has not been identified, had a restraining order against Solano, according to the outlet.

TRENDING: Most Dishonest Sec of State In America REFUSES To Investigate Explosive 13-Minute Video of Michigan Ballot Trafficking

NBC Bay Area reported:

A woman’s head was severed with a sword in San Carlos Thursday, authorities with knowledge of the investigation told NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit.

The suspect, who returned to the scene, was arrested in connection with the woman’s death, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. The suspect was later identified as Jose Landaeta Solano.
Deputies near the intersection of Laurel Street and Magnolia Avenue were flagged down at about 11:50 a.m. by witnesses who reported an assault in progress, the sheriff’s office said. When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the woman dead.
San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Eamonn Allen said during an afternoon media briefing a “stabbing instrument” was used, but he did not provide further details as the weapon is still outstanding.
“Anytime someone loses their life, it’s certainly a tragedy,” Allen said. “As far as the shocking nature of it, I do know that the deputies that first arrived on scene were a little beset by the scene. We are providing them peer support. We are also providing support for the witnesses that were on scene as well because there were several civilian witnesses.”

The 3 Secret Blunders Leaders Make

By Dan @ Leadership Freak

The most damaging blunders leaders make are the ones they ignore.

A blunder you DON’T notice leads to a dead-end.

The most damaging blunders leaders make are the ones they ignore. Image of a chameleon looking away.

The 3 secret blunders leaders make:

#1. Leaving your best self at home:

The draining blunders leaders make include pretending you’re someone you aren’t.

The bigger the gap between your home-self and your work-self, the more drudgery you experience.

How to bring your best self to work:

Describe yourself at home. What are you like when you’re doing life with friends and family? What are you like when you’re having fun?

Describe yourself at work. What are you like when you’re working to get something done or solving problems? What are you like when you interact with team members?

How can you bring more of your home-self to work?

“You know far less about yourself than you feel you know.” Daniel Kahneman

#2. Getting lost in the weeds:

Lousy leaders keep their heads down. Successful leaders keep one eye on the horizon.

You’re lost in the weeds when:

  1. Every day is a grind.
  2. Energy is consistently drained.
  3. Frustration is your first response to everything.
  4. Purpose is a fantasy.
  5. Expectations are blurry.
  6. Progress is undefined.
  7. Direction shifts every hour.

5 ways to see the horizon:

  1. Define progress.
  2. Set a near-term goal.
  3. Describe your fears. Ask, “What’s the bravest thing I can do?”
  4. Ask yourself why you do what you do.
  5. Explore your aspirations with someone who doesn’t try to fix you.

#3. Thinking you know when you don’t:

You make up your mind quickly and feel like you know something. The act of deciding doesn’t increase your IQ.

You’re just as dumb after a decision as you are before.

  1. Search the unknown. “What am I missing?”
  2. Create alternatives. “What else might we try?”
  3. Seek suggestions. “What do you suggest?”
  4. Test assumption. “What do we assume is true?”

Islamist Imam Flees France Before Expulsion

Which country took him in?

Hassan Iquioussen, an imam who had been accused by the French government of hate speech, has fled the country. (YouTube screenshot.)

ByMartha Lee

September 9, 2022

France’s Council of State, the highest French administrative court, recently gave the green light to the expulsion of Moroccan-national Hassan Iquioussen, an imam who had been accused by the government of hate speech. Police officers were sent to Iquioussen’s house shortly after the ruling on August 30th to take him into custody, but he had vanished. This is the latest development of a saga that started in late July when the French Minister of Interior Gerald Darmanin declared his intention to expel Iquioussen. According to Le Figaro, Iquioussen is now believed to be in Belgium and a European warrant for his arrest has been issued.

The government’s evidence against Iquioussen consisted of his antisemitic and misogynistic sermons as well as his ideological affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2003, he denounced Jews as “ungrateful” and said they “need to be called to order.” A year later, he mentioned French laws that had been “instituted by a government manipulated by Jews.” In 2005, he condemned Jews’ “international and ancient plot against the Prophet” and called on “real Muslims” to join the “resistance against the American occupation” in Iraq. In 2012, he referred to “pseudo terrorist attacks that seek to instill fear in non-Muslims.” And in 2018, he insisted that a man cannot “let his wife leave the home alone” and must ensure that “she wears the veil,” “does not apply makeup” and does not “frequent places where alcohol is served.”

The Council of State’s decision is the latest legal ruling in a controversial affair that has been the subject of extensive French coverage since late July. French President Emmanuel Macron has made clear that countering Islamist ideology is one of his priorities in a country where hundreds of people have been killed by Islamist terrorists. Some commentators, including the expert on Islamism Bernard Rougier, praised the government’s decision to expel Iquioussen as a step inspired by France’s 2021 counter-islamist legislation, but others disagreed: a representative from the French Human Rights League denounced it as a “political and opportunistic temporality” and Islamists condemned it as evidence of institutional “Islamophobia.”

Perhaps the French government did not expect that it would prove so difficult to expel the French-born Iquioussen, who was raised in France and received French citizenship when he turned 18 but, according to him, turned it down after being pressured by his father.

While Darmanin had confidently announced in July that Iquioussen would be expelled from the country, Paris’ administrative court suspended that decision on August 5th. The court acknowledged that Iquioussen’s statements regarding women were “retrograde”, but concluded that expelling him would be a disproportionate infringement of his privacy and family life as the imam’s wife, children and grandchildren all live in France.

Adding to the controversy, French news site Mediapart then published an investigation alleging that the Darmanin himself had had dinner with Iquioussen in 2014. The current Minister of Interior apparently hoped that the imam would assist him in obtaining Muslim vote in the then-upcoming local elections in which he was running. Iquioussen has openly bragged about his strategy to exert influence over local officials by guaranteeing them the votes of the local mosque’s congregation.

The Ministry of Interior nonetheless appealed the Paris court’s decision in front of the top administrative court and, at the subsequent hearing, their representative described Iquioussen as a “charismatic preacher” who had engaged in doublespeak for years and was “propagating insidious ideas” that were “a fertile ground for separatism and terrorism.”

The Council of State overruled the lower court’s decision, stating that Iquioussen’s “antisemitic statements as well as his speech regarding women’s inferiority” constituted “acts of deliberate and explicit provocations to discrimination or hatred” and justified the decision to expel him. The Council of State rejected the argument that expelling Iquioussen would seriously and “illegally” affect his personal life, noting that his children are adults and that his wife, as a Moroccan-national, could follow him to Morocco.

However, it also rejected the Ministry of Interior’s claim that Iquioussen had questioned the reality of terrorist attacks and that he had rejected the laws of the Republic in favor of Islamic law, as the Ministry had apparently not submitted sufficient evidence of these allegations.

Iquioussen’s lawyer, Lucie Simon, bemoaned a “weakened rule of the law” and “an alarming context of the executive pressuring the judiciary.” Two days prior to the decision, the French government’s spokesperson, Oliver Veran, had declared that it would be “a very bad signal” if the Council ruled in favor of Iquioussen.

But French legal expert Laurent Lemasson warned that the Council of State’s decision is unlikely to bring a conclusion to the affair as the most recent ruling resulted from a brief examination of the case, rather than an in-depth study of the facts. Lemasson concluded that the French authorities do not have the “legal and material resources to systematically expel foreigners” like Iquioussen.

Given this eventful procedure and Iquioussen’s subsequent disappearance, Darmanin’s recent announcement describing the court’s decision as a “great victory for the Republic” was not well received.

Marine Le Pen, head of the main far-right party, Rassemblement National, noted that “the only Islamist that Darmanin was about to expel” was now missing. Members of her party joined in: an elected official pointed out that Darmanin wasn’t “even capable of monitoring the islamist imam” while another declared the state to be “inadequate.”

Meanwhile, the president of the center-right party Les Republicains in the National Assembly, Olivier Marleix, denounced the events as a “farce” and complained that “we’ve hit rock bottom.” Another center-right lawmaker described the latest development as a “new humiliation” for France.

On the left, reactions ranged from stating that the “court has made its decision” to denouncing the said court’s decision as “opening the door to arbitrary expulsions.”

Islamists immediately mobilized in support of Iquioussen. Perspectives Musulmanes, an organization that opposes French counter-Islamist legislation, organized a protest on September 3rd that was attended by hundreds of people and warned that Iquioussen’s expulsion was a sign that the government was targeting all Muslims. Idriss Sihamedi, a well-known Salafi whose charity was shut down by the French government, declared that “supporting Iquioussen against Macron’s anti-Islam government is an obligation for all Muslims.” And LES Musulmans, an Islamist-linked platform, in a call for support, referred to the latest ruling as evidence of the French Muslim community being targeted in an “increasingly hostile and explicit” manner.

Interestingly enough, at no point did anyone, Iquioussen included, argue that the he wasn’t an Islamist. Iquioussen’s own lawyer described him as “conservative,” “retrograde” and a partisan of “political Islam.” The question, therefore, revolved less around Iquioussen’s ideology, and more around whether the said ideology was sufficiently dangerous to justify expelling him from the country. While the top administrative court has ruled in the affirmative, this latest attempt on the part of French officials to show their commitment to counter Islamism has not gone smoothly and Darmanin’s declaration of “victory” appears to have been premature.

Queen Elizabeth II: 1926—2022

ELIZABETH ALEXANDRA MARY WINDSOR was born on April 21, 1926, during the reign of her grandfather, King George V. She died peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at age 96 on September 8, 2022 after having recently celebrated 70 years on the throne. She was the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch.

Although the Queen shared a name with Elizabeth I they are not related. Elizabeth I was the last of the Tudor royal line, whereas the Elizabeth II is of the Windsor family.

When King George V died in 1936, his son David took the throne as King Edward VIII, only to renounce it within a year to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Consequently he abdicated and brother Albert was proclaimed King George VI. Upon his sudden death in 1952, he was succeeded by his elder daughter, Elizabeth II.

Elizabeth World War 2In 1945, after months of pleading with her father, 18-year-old Elizabeth joined the war effort. She trained as a driver and mechanic in the women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, becoming the first female member of Britain’s royal family to serve as a full-time active member of the armed forces.

In 1947, 21-year-old Elizabeth married the man she had fallen in love with when she was 13: Greek-born British naval officer Philip Mountbatten, a distant cousin. Two years later, they moved to Malta, where Philip was stationed with the British Navy. Royal observers have thought that these were some of the happiest years of her life. In Malta she was able to drive her own car and mingle with other officers’ wives without the layers of security and protocol that have defined her reign.

Philip died in April of 2021, just a few months shy of his 100th birthday. He and Elizabeth were married for more than 73 years, and the Queen often spoke of Philip as her “strength and stay.”

Elizabeth’s coronation took place on June 2, 1953, coming to the throne as a 25-year-old mother-of-two. Winston Churchill was the first of 15 prime ministers to serve under her. She met every U.S. president during her time as Queen except Lyndon Johnson.

The vast majority of Britons have never known another monarch, and she was overwhelmingly popular until her death. But it was never easy. As a leader she was authentic and a stabilizing force leading Britain through its reinvention after World War II. She enthusiastically enabled a community of nations as the Empire came to an end and bridged the gap between past and present. Through tragedies and triumphs, she kept calm and carried on.

1947 SpeechShe was a servant first and foremost. In a broadcast on her 21st birthday on April 21, 1947, she defined what it meant to be a monarch. She said, “Now that we are coming to manhood and womanhood it is surely a great joy to us all to think we shall be able to take some of the burden off the shoulders of our elders who have fought and worked and suffered to protect our childhood.” And she pledged that “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” She kept her word.

“Criticism is good for people and institutions that are part of public life. No institution — City, Monarchy, whatever — should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t.

“But we are all part of the same fabric of our national society and that scrutiny, by one part of another, can be just as effective if it is made with a touch of gentleness, good humor and understanding.”

—Speech: November 24, 1992

“All too often, I fear, Prince Philip has had to listen to me speaking. Frequently we have discussed my intended speech beforehand and, as you will imagine, his views have been expressed in a forthright manner. He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”

—On the death of Prince Philip: April 9, 2021

“I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me,” she said, adding, “and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”

—Celebration of her Platinum Jubilee: February 6, 2022

The Friends of God

Editor’s note: This article is part 7 of a series, “The Kingdom of Grace.”  Part 6 can be found here. 

In his very great goodness and love, God has opened up his own Life to us and called us to share in it. By the gift of his sanctifying grace, given to us in our baptism, he has lifted us up to live on his level – to live something of his own divine Life. In our baptism, when he gave us the gift of sanctifying grace, he also gave us the light of grace. He gave us the virtue of faith together with the Spirit’s gifts of understanding, knowledge, wisdom, and much more. 

By believing in all that God has revealed to us, and by accepting the gracious Love revealed to us, a real union with God himself has begun in our souls. So, too, has eternal life – personal familiarity with God. So, too, has contemplative prayer or the gaze of faith fixed on Jesus. The pathway to increasingly more profound union with God is now open for us to walk under the influence of still further graces given to us. 

What God is doing in the whole mystery of his grace is actually befriending us personally. Perhaps Christianity, and the proposal of a personal relationship with Jesus, has become too familiar to many of us. Perhaps it no longer really astonishes us to hear that God has set about befriending us to himself. 

The more common tendency today is often for us to think that a deep and rich friendship with God is simply natural for human beings or that it is in the normal and ordinary course of the development of human nature for us to become friends with God. 

It is not. 

To be friends with God is a special gift from God, a gift not of this world, a gift of a special and gratuitous Love on God’s part. No human being can make such a friendship happen by his or her own natural strength. 

It would be easier for a human being to jump over the moon than for any one of us, by his or her own natural strength, to pass beyond all finite things and enter into a personal friendship with the living God. For “God dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:16).

High above all things, existing for all eternity, the very being of God is utterly incomprehensible for human beings, and union with him is beyond the reach of our natural powers. As far as human nature goes, friendship with God is out of the question. The ancient pagan philosopher Aristotle saw this truth clearly. In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle delivered one of the most illuminating and compelling accounts of friendship anyone has ever produced. Much of it rings true to this day. 

In one place, he takes up the question of whether there can be friendship between those who are not equals such as between parents and their children. It is possible, he says, to some extent and with many qualifications. But “when one party is removed to a great distance, as God is, then the possibility of friendship ceases” (Bk. 8 c.7). Friendship with God is simply impossible, Aristotle says, and there is simply no further discussion of the matter. Human beings and God have nothing in common. 

Aristotle’s point stands as far as human nature goes, but Aristotle knew nothing of grace

As a pagan, he knew nothing of what had been revealed through the prophets of the Old Testament. Furthermore, since he lived hundreds of years before Christ, he knew nothing of what Jesus Christ revealed to the apostles and what we have learned from them. What we have learned from Christ and the apostles makes all the difference. When God gives us his grace, he gives us something that Aristotle and the pagans could never even have so much as imagined. God gives us something of his own divine Life, and so by grace we now have something in common with God. Grace establishes the possibility of friendship with God. 

Grace establishes the possibility of friendship with God.

In the process of opening up and sharing his life with us, God revealed his intentions to befriend us. At the Last Supper, the Lord Jesus said: “I no longer call you servants… but I have called you friends” (Jn. 15:15). The Lord did not call the twelve his friends because they were particularly good at being his friend. In fact, their human ability to be friends with the Lord was something of a farce. Peter denied the Lord, Thomas doubted him, and all but one of the twelve abandoned him to die on Calvary. Through it all, however, the Lord Jesus was loving them beyond anything they could fathom. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (Jn. 13:1). 

The Lord Jesus died for them – even while they were weak, even were still sinners, even while they fled. He died for us too, each one and all, even though we are weak and even though we sin. The Catechism says very clearly: “Jesus knew us and loved us each and all during his life, his agony, and his passion, and gave himself up for each one of us” (CCC 478). Saint Paul never knew the Lord Jesus on earth, but Saint Paul did not hesitate to speak of “the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20). 

Every one of us can say the same. The Lord has revealed his plan and purpose of making us into his friends. We have no natural ability to be friends of God, and we are weak in every way, but he loves us nonetheless. Knowing our weakness and sorry condition, the Lord loved us first and died on the cross in order to demonstrate how God first loves us (1 Jn. 4:19). “No man has greater love than this, that he lay down his life for his friend” (Jn. 15:13).  

Christ died in order to reveal to us, indeed to prove to us, God’s eternal will to mercy. His death was a free choice of love for the Father and for us. Because he freely chose to die out of love and obedience to the Father and to lay down his life for us, Jesus Christ obtained from the eternal Father the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Holy Spirit poured into our souls changes us inwardly, establishes us in friendship with God, and unites us to God more and more. 

The name of this friendship is charity

Charity is a created grace. God produces it in our souls along with sanctifying grace, faith, and the light of grace. As a created grace, however, it adapts us to live God’s own Life. For charity is love for God himself, and those who love God, those who cling to him in love, become “one spirit with him” (1 Cor. 6:17). Those who love God in charity live his very own divine Life.

14 copywriting tips for outstanding content

By Susanna Gebauer

Content creation is at the heart of all online marketing.

But creating content that works for people and algorithms is not as easy as it might look.

There is a lot to learn about great online content. It took me years to get where I am today. Some things I figured out by chance, some I learned by getting feedback for guest posts and a lot of things I learned from you all, through your feedback and questions you sent me. Thanks for that!

Here are 14 quick copywriting tips to help you create better content that your audience will read and love:

#1 Start with research

The more you know about a topic the more valuable content can you create. Plus, research will help you to create the best content people can find on this topic. Find out what content exists on this topic and create something more thorough, better structured, easier to read, more entertaining…

#2 Make it more interesting


Add structure, add (helpful) images, make it entertaining, tell stories, add controversy.

#3 Add personality

It is you and your personality that makes your content unique. Successful content is personal.

#4 Focus on your headline

Learn to create better headlines. It is one of the most important copywriting skills.

Once you have the content and the headline, double-check if the content delivers on the claims of the headline. Don’t promise something in the headline that the content does not deliver.

#5 Simplify

Reread your content. If any passage is hard to understand, rewrite it. Your readers want to understand what you are telling them even if they only skim the content.

#6 Tell stories

Stories make content more interesting. Stories help to build curiosity and emotionally draw your audience in.

#7 Make the content visually appealing

Online content is harder to read than a book. That means that you need more structure:

Easy-to-read type font, short paragraphs, use bold, italic and underlined text to highlight important passages, bullet points and numbered lists, headings, subheadings.

#8 Purpose

Don’t just create more and more content. Make sure that you know for every piece of content why you create it. For SEO traffic? For social media shares? Because your audience will love the topic? To sell? To get more signups?

#9 Mix up sentence length

I often read that you should use shorter sentences. And that is good advice. But a text full of 5-word sentences can become VERY boring.

A good mix of different sentences that are easy to understand is usually best.

#10 Find a unique angle

You should be trying to create the best content on the topic you are covering. Sometimes that is not easy.

What can help your content to stand out is a unique angle or a piece of information that other existing content does not have.

#11 Don’t make empty claims

If you make a claim, always add a reason why it is so.

Good ways to back up your claims are quotes, statistics, case studies, testimonials.

#12 Use images

Images help to keep the attention of your audience. They add focus points for the eyes and make the text easier to read. Visuals also add something people’s brains will remember.

#13 Use examples

Can you remember school mathematics? Many students have trouble understanding an equation. But when you add an example, for many of them it gets far easier to understand it.

That is also true for copywriting.

#14 Build credibility

Always deliver what you promise and add proof where you can. Proof can come in your own story, testimonials or case studies or quotes from experts.

There is a lot to learn to master copywriting but you should not get intimidated.

The best way to learn to create better content is to read a lot and figure out what you like and why you like it.

What are some popular illustrations of the Trinity?

The Trinity is the Christian doctrine that teaches that God is triune, or one God in three distinct persons. Although the word “Trinity” does not appear in Scripture, the concept is clearly taught. Jesus commanded His followers to baptize disciples “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Paul closed his letter to the Corinthians saying, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). Even in the Old Testament, when God created mankind, He said “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). This plural nature of God being three distinct persons is consistently shown in Scripture. And yet Scripture also teaches that God is one. Deuteronomy 6:4 clearly states, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Jesus reiterated that thought when He said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Paul, in writing to the Corinthians also said, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone” (1 Corinthians 12:4–6). So although God is three distinct persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, He is also only one unified Godhead.

Many people have tried to explain this divine mystery using a variety of illustrations over the centuries. Unfortunately, every earthly example we have falls short, in some way, of fully encapsulating God’s triune nature. In fact, when these inferior illustrations are taken at face value and applied to God, they can actually lead to heresy, or incorrect understanding of God. However, since incomplete earthly examples are all we have, following are a few illustrations of the Trinity that have been used throughout history.

One popular story relates that Saint Patrick used a clover to teach the Irish about the triune nature of God. The clover has three leaves that branch off from one stem. He explained that just as the clover is one plant with three leaves, so too God is one God with three persons. However, one clover leaf on its own is not the full plant, whereas Scripture teaches that each of the persons of the Trinity is in Himself fully God. So the clover plant, while helpful as an illustration, is not an exact replica of God’s triune nature. Other popular illustrations of the Trinity along the same lines are an apple with its outer peel, inner flesh, and centralized seeds; or an egg with its shell, white, and yolk. These illustrations refer to one item, made up of three parts; but each part on its own does not constitute that item so these illustrations fall short, too, because they lend themselves to the misunderstanding called partialism.

Similarly, the sun has been used as an illustrative example of the Trinity because it gives off three different types of rays providing light, heat, and radiation. All these rays come from the same sun and without any of the three, the sun would cease to be the sun. However, light rays or radiation rays or heat rays by themselves do not constitute the sun so this example falls short in the same way as the clover, egg, and apple. The same is true for the example of the universe being made up of space, time, and matter because each element on its own is not the universe.

One illustration that avoids the partialism pitfall of the previous examples is the three states of matter of H2O. As a solid, H2O is ice; in liquid form, it’s water; and in its gaseous state, H2O becomes steam. Regardless of the form in which it is found, the chemical makeup remains the same. However, the three states of matter illustration falls short because ice, water, and steam cannot coexist in the same space and time. Father, Son, and Spirit do coexist and commune together. They also remain distinct whereas ice becomes water and water becomes steam and vice versa. But the Father never becomes the Son, nor does the Son turn into the Spirit—that misunderstanding is called modalism. So the three states of matter example breaks down farther.

Another illustration of the Trinity has to do with light: The Father being the source, the Son being the way, and the Spirit being the power. In this illustration, the Father decides or decrees there should be light, the Son flips the switch, and the Spirit is the electricity giving power to the light. The source of the idea was the Father, it was implemented by the Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit. In this example, however, none of the actors are united as one, but rather remain three separate actors working toward the same goal. But the Bible teaches that the Godhead is one, so this illustration fails to encapsulate God’s triune nature as well.

Perhaps the least flawed illustration we have of God’s triune nature is a musical chord of three notes. The three distinct notes work together to make one melodious sound, existing in the same time and space, and unified in purpose while remaining separate and distinct. Each note on its own fills the auditory space and creates a beautiful sound, and yet when combined with the other two notes continues to make a unified melodious sound that fills the auditory space while remaining distinct from the other two. So this example comes close to showing how God’s triune nature exists.

Others have tried to represent the Trinity visually. Some have used a simple equilateral triangle where the three persons of God are represented by each side of the triangle. The triquetra uses three congruent interwoven arcs to display the same idea while bringing to mind God’s infinite nature. It is pictured below.


There’s also the Shield of the Trinity (Scutum Fidei) where the word “God” is in the center and Father, Son, and Spirit are written outside with lines saying “is” connecting each one to the center and lines reading “is not” connecting each to the other. It is pictured below.

Trinity illustration

Because God is divine and infinite, our limited, human minds will never fully or completely understand His nature (Job 42:3, Isaiah 55:9). Each illustration we have for the Trinity fails to fully encapsulate God’s triune nature. However, sometimes, these examples can help us engage our minds on this complex topic and help increase our understanding of God, as long as we recognize the pitfalls of each example and return to Scripture as the only reliable source of understanding who God is.