Trinity 2: And It Was Called “Trinitas”
This is a continuation of a series of posts on the Trinity started here.
Tertullian, an early church father, was the first person to use the term “Trinity”. (Actually, it was trinitas because Tertullian spoke Latin, but, close enough.) Tertullian was born around 160 AD to a pagan Roman family, became a Christian around 197, and sometime before 207, began to defend the heretical Montanist movement that proclaimed the immanent end of the world. I know, it’s a little odd that this guy first talked about the Trinity, but the history of the church can be crazy like that.
Tertullian began using trinitas when writing against the heretical movements of Marcion (who blended Gnosticism with Christianity) and Monarchianism (which stressed the strict monotheism of God). To refute the Monarchianist argument that the Father is the Son is the Holy Spirit, Tertullian first stated tres personae, una substantia, God is one substance in three persons. Tertullian argued that God was not just three modes of being of the same reality (one God in three roles), but that there was a real difference between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while still being one. Trinitas.
And then he began following this guy. But, at least we learned a little something about God first.