A Triune God
Posted August 8, 2012on:
One of the greatest mysteries of Scripture is what’s known as “The Trinity”. The Trinity is made up of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Although the word “Trinity” is not found in the Scriptures, the Trinity is at the very heart of the Christian faith. God is a triune God. God is one in essence, one in Godhead but 3 in person. He is 3 persons yet one God.
The following 3 statements are taught in Scripture:
- God forever exists as 3 persons – Father, Son, Holy Spirit
- Each person is fully God.
- There is one God.
God reveals Himself as 3 persons in both the Old Testament and New Testament. In Genesis 1:26, He says, “let us make man, after our likeness”. Who is He speaking of? He is speaking of the Son and the Holy Spirit. In Romans 1:7, we are told that God is our Father. In Colossians 2:9, we are told that Christ is all God in a human body. In the book of John 14:16,17, Jesus speaks of giving us the “Comforter”, who is the Holy Spirit.
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are equal in deity and power yet they have different primary functions when relating to the world and creation.
- God the Father planned deliverance and salvation and sent His Son into the world.
- God the Son obeyed the Father and carried out redemption for us.
- God the Holy Spirit transforms us after salvation. He gives us a new spiritual life and dwells inside us giving us strength and understanding.
There are many mistaken views about God and the Trinity. Scripture is often misinterpreted and taken out of context. One of these mistaken views is called Modalism. In Modalism, it teaches that there is only one God but that God appears in different “modes” or forms, such as the Son and the Spirit. It denies the fact that God is three distinct persons as clearly reflected in the Scriptures. When Jesus was baptized, the Trinity was represented all at the same time. God spoke from heaven and the Spirit descended in the form of a dove when Christ was baptized. If Modalism were true, then the baptism of Christ is compromised and doesn’t make sense.
Another mistaken view is called Arianism. Arianism was developed by a bishop named Arius. Arius died in A.D. 336 and his teachings were condemned by the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. Arius taught that Jesus, the Son of God, did not always exist but was “created” by God and also was inferior to God. He based his views largely on the wording “only begotten” as written in John 3:16. The word “begotten” is a derivative of the word “beget”. Beget means to procreate or to generate. So Arius believed that if Jesus was created than He didn’t always exist.
There is little debate that God the Father is fully God. But what about the Son and the Holy Spirit? Although Jesus is called the Son of God, he was not created by God. Christ is the eternal Son and existed from the very beginning. There are many references calling Jesus “God” in the Bible. John 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t make.” Jesus is the “Word”. Romans 9:5 also states that Jesus is God, “…and he is God, who rules over everything…”.
The Holy Spirit is also a distinct person and not just a force or power. The Holy Spirit is referred to as “He” in John 14:16,17. The Holy Spirit has many personal activities such as teaching, bearing witness, interceding or praying on our behalf to God, distributes gifts to believers, and he knows the thoughts of God.
It is interesting to note that all three persons of the Trinity took part in creation. When God the Father spoke, His glory was manifested in creation. The Bible tells us that all things were created through Christ, the Son of God. The Holy Spirit hovered over the surface of the earth in Genesis 1:2 as God was forming the world.
We as human beings can never fully understand God. God is infinite, as we are finite, or limited. God has always existed and will always exist. He is eternal just as the Son and the Holy Spirit are eternal. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. That is where our faith comes into play. We trust God and learn of Him and His ways through the Scriptures. What we don’t understand we put our faith and trust in the Lord and continue studying His Word and spending time with Him through prayer and meditation on a continual basis.