The Trinity June 6, 2020
As beings created in the image of the omniscient God we want knowledge. As children we demand answers to our What and Why. Humans tend to love mysteries… ones we can neatly solve.
We’re really not thrilled with mysteries that we can’t sleuth out answers to. We want to make sense of the unknown, to solve them with our reasoning and understanding.
There is one mystery that we humans simply do not have the capacity to fully unravel and comprehend. Not for lack of trying! We use various illustrations which we think helps us to grasp the concept. Eggs, water/ice/steam, triangles, to name a few. But none of them really works.
The concept of God as three in one: One God yet three distinct persons has long been a concept that is hard to wrap our finite minds around.
Three distinct Persons in One God. All three — Father, Son, Holy Spirit — have been around for all eternity; all three co-exist so that all can be apparent at the same place at the same time, as at Jesus’ Baptism:
God the Father speaking
God the Son being baptized in the Jordan,
Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus.
Each of the Three present, talking to each other as distinct Persons.
In grappling with the Mystery, St. Augustine came to equate the life of the human soul with the Triune God’s image. The soul remembers, it knows, it loves. These are three activities, and yet they are the activity of one soul. But it still falls short when we contemplate “God in three persons, blessed Trinity.”
With Him, these three are one.
God is omnipotent
God is omnipresent
God is omniscient – all knowing
God the Father
God the Son
God the Spirit
Three persons and one God: all equally divine, all absolutely God, one nature, one reality.
God is one.
We’re firmly told in Deut 6:4, and numerous times throughout the Old Testament:
The Lord our God, the Lord is one. I am the Lord; Besides Me there is no God. Is 45:5 No other God, no other God.
So, what about the Three in One God, what we call the Trinity?
The first revelation comes in the beginning when God said “Let Us make man in Our image… And God created man in His own imagine in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Gen 1:26, 27
John the Apostle wove God as One yet three throughout his gospel. In fact he bookended declarations of Jesus as God at the beginning and end of the Gospel of John.
John 1:1,2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 5 is full of declarations of Jesus’ authority and equality, especially vs 18 He was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
John 8:58 Jesus said, Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” Ex 3:13, 14
In the Jewish understanding of God, the Great I AM, there was no debating that Jesus was declaring Himself as God. The Jews were so outraged by Jesus’ statement that they picked up rocks to stone Him to death.
Throughout John 14 Jesus claims His relationship with God, the Father: 10 – 11 I am in the Father, the Father is in Me. The Father will be glorified in the Son.
Then Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter to be with you forever. But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you. But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” 16, 17, 26
John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.”
John 16:7 Jesus sent the comforter, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.”
John 16:13-15 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
John 20:28, 29 When Thomas worshiped Jesus and declared, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus does not correct Thomas. Instead, he calls him blessed. As the Truth bearer Jesus would not have allowed Thomas to worship him as Lord and God, if He wasn’t.
Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Later when he told the disciples that he would send the Spirit of Truth He was equating Himself to the Holy Spirit.
Let’s look at some verses which distinctly show the existence of the three persons of the Trinitarian Godhead existing at the same moment of time.
Matthew 3:16-17“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’”
Jesus states in Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …”
The Apostle Paul made many references to the God who is Three in One:
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.”
2 Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”
I Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles believed on in the world, received up into glory.
The Bible ends with Jesus declaring “I am the Alpah and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
God doesn’t expect us to be able to fully understand how He is One, yet Three, He only desires that we believe – to fully embrace Him and be devoted to Him in order that we might live for Him and have eternal life with Him.