One of the most common descriptions of God is the trinity. This should always make one on guard when unable to use biblical names. However, there is nothing wrong with using non-biblical names as long as they are accurate. For example, the word Bible is not found in the scriptures, but it is an accurate statement of what we have in our hands. The greater questions we must ask are these: are the tenets of the belief of the trinity accurate? How does God describe Himself?
Is God one or is God three? These are the things we will look at in this lesson. There are clear biblical teachings that tell is that there is one God.
But this immediately should leave in our minds a dilemma. If there is one God, how is it that Jesus claimed to be God? How could Jesus be God? Make no mistake about it, Jesus claimed to be God, was proven to be God, and the apostolic writers verify that Jesus is God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. The multitudes and religious leaders understood that Jesus claimed to be God. Again, we must ask the question, how can it be that God is one when we see that Jesus is God and the Father is God?
From the beginning God revealed that there was more than one person that make up God. While this may be true concerning other texts, it cannot be true here because the plurality is more distinct later in Genesis 1. John tells us that there the Word was there in the beginning, creating with the Father.
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While we are considering these things, it is as good a time as any to also point out that the Holy Spirit is God also. In Hebrews we read that the Spirit is eternal. In 1 Peter we read that the Holy Spirit was sent from heaven, yet another indication that the Holy Spirit is God. By person I am simply describing an essence with a center of intelligence that is distinct from the other.
What Is the Doctrine of the Trinity?
I will deal with more of this later. This leaves us with some interesting questions that we will now address: how can we say that there is one God as the scriptures teach, yet also notice that there are three people who claim to be God? This view is so named because it began with a man named Arius, who flourished in the early fourth century. According to this view, God is so transcendent and so separate from everything else that He needs a mediator for every relation He has with the world. Thus, He created the Son or Logos as a kind of semidivine being to act as His agent in creating the physical universe.
After being created and creating the world, the Logos became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth and lived such a perfect life that he was honored further by being given the title of Son of God. Thus Jesus is not eternal as God is. Instead he is a creature who had a beginning. In other words, the essential equality of Father and Son is denied.
Jesus is not God, nor is Jesus merely man. Even with the passages that we have already studies we can see that this view is incorrect. John is very clear that Jesus, the logos, is not a created being, but is God. However, in his external relationships with his creatures, God assumes different modes in which to make himself known and accomplish his purposes among men. Thus, these modes of relationship are successive, not simultaneous.
This view tries to emphasize and takes solace in the oneness of God. With this view, God is one person who reveals himself in three different ways to various people during different times in history.
Trinity: One God, Three Persons (The People's Bible Teachings)
The most common group that holds to this view is the Oneness Pentacostals and United Pentacostal Church. It should also be noted that many from the Restoration held this view, including Alexander and Thomas Campbell and Barton W.
This view has also made a great resurgence today among Christians. I believe this is also an errant view because it simply cannot do hermeneutical justice to many scriptures. Too many times we read of all three persons of God acting. Other times we read two persons acting. Let us consider some of these passages.
This makes nonsense out of what Luke is communicating to us. The Father is the fountainhead of the Trinity, the Creator, the first cause.
He is the primary thought, the concept of all that has been and will be created. Jesus said, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working" John The Son is the "Logos" or expression of God--the "only begotten" of the Father. If you want to know what the Father is like, look at the Son. The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, proceeds from the Father and is worshiped and glorified together with the Father and the Son.
The Father, as prime mover, brings forth the creative thought. The Son, as agent of creation, expresses that thought. The Spirit activates the creative word and relates it to that which is created. He inspired the Scriptures and empowers God's people. He takes the things of Jesus and brings them to our remembrance. All three Persons of the Godhead are eternal.
The Father exists and has existed forever. With Him always existed His expression, the Son. Always the Father loved the Son, and the Son loved and served the Father. From that relationship of love arose the Spirit of God, who is eternal and has existed forever. There was, therefore, not a time when there was only the Father, then later the Son, and still later the Spirit. They all three have existed from before there was anything that could begin--three distinct Persons all functioning as One.
There are trinities in nature. Light can be divided into three primary colors; yet light is one. A prism will reveal the individual colors separately that are unique yet unified. God does not consist of parts so He cannot be divided into parts.
20 Bible verses that mention all Trinity members
He is one. But it cannot be done. There is one God, undivided and indivisible, who has one mind, one plan, one purpose, and one ultimate goal. We can be thankful for that. Trying to please many gods would only lead to mental confusion and turmoil. Missionaries testify to the utter relief expressed by animistic and polytheistic peoples when they discover that there is but one God. Submitting to the will of one God brings wholeness and unity of purpose to life. But Scripture reveals that there are, in that one divine essence, three eternal distinctions.
Those distinctions seem best described as persons, known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three have identical attributes, however, and therefore they are one—not merely one in purpose, but one in substance. To possess all the exact same attributes is to be one in essential nature.
Three persons with identical sovereignty, for example, would be one sovereign. Three persons with identical omnipotence would be one omnipotent being. We humans may have characteristics similar to others, but not identical to them.