Justin Taylor gives a very helpful and simple diagram of the Trinity which he made to help explain the doctrine to his daughter. I found it to be very helpful way of seeing the truth of the trinity. Justin writes,

Now that you know that I’m a non-expert on teaching at this level, here’s at least the essence of what I went on to try to convey, in illustrated form:

Basically, there are three persons, each person is God, each person is distinct, and there’s only one God.

One simple way to get at the difference between person and substance/essence/nature is to say that the Trinity is “three who’s” and “one what.”

To help my daughter try to think through the difference between a “who” and a “what,” we thought about some examples:

Who are you? Jasper Michael Justin
What are you? Dog Archangel Human Being

Applied to God, it looks like this:


Who are you? Father Son Holy Spirit
What are you? God God God

Father Son Holy Spirit Jasper Michael Justin
Person? X X X X X
God? X X X
This at least seemed to help my daughter. At least until next year!