Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

When we talk about the Trinity, we have a customary order. Father first. Son second. Holy Spirit third.

I’m wondering if there’s a deeper reason for this.

I’ve heard that it might have something to do with the Son proceeding from the Father, while the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Maybe just me, but that doesn’t seem like a compelling reason. I might use that logic to reverse the order, as I did in the first sentence of this paragraph.

But it’s not like this order creates confusion or misunderstanding. Perhaps it’s just a custom that’s grown up over the centuries and there was never a reason to change it.

When you see artwork of the Trinity, they’ll often place God “up there” in the heavens, Jesus “down here” on earth, and the Spirit – when it’s shown at all – as a bird up in the air. But that’s by no means universal, and rarely implies an order.

The clearest explanation, for me, seems to be:

  • You can’t understand Jesus or the Spirit outside the context of God the Father.
  • Without understanding the Son, the Holy Spirit just becomes an even-harder-to-understand emanation from God.

It’s quite possible that I’m overthinking this way too much. But it’s something I ponder.

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