Theology: God (TRINITARIANISM)

When waiting for a train in Ireland, I was reading the Graffiti on the wall. One caught my sense of humor. “Do you have a split personality? Good. I do too. That makes four of us.

 

1+1=4

 

God the Father + God the son + God the Holy Spirit.

 

1+1+1=1

 

It is amazing what you can do with mathematics.

 

The trinity of God is His tri-personal existence as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

Dr. Miller mentions, “The essence is simultaneously three persons and three persons are simultaneously one essence.” (Used by permission. Miller, Dr. David; Theology Class Notes; Western Baptist College; Salem, OR)

 

The Athanasian Creed states: “We worship one God in trinity and trinity in unity, neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.” (Quoted in Bancroft’s Elemental Theology. Taken from the book, Elemental Theology by Emery H. Bancroft. Copyright 1977 by Baptist Bible College. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. p 65)

 

Bancroft mentions, “The trinity is therefore three eternally interconstituted, interrelated, interexistent, and therefore inseparable persons within one being and of one substance or essence.” (Taken from the book, Elemental Theology by Emery H. Bancroft. Copyright 1977 by Baptist Bible College. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. p 65)

 

Trinitarianism Involves: 1. His unity as god and the distinction of persons in the Godhead.

 

 

Can we illustrate the Trinity? We can come close; it is impossible, due to the fact that we cannot really fully understand the Trinity. Nor is there anything like the trinity which can be our illustration.

 

Let us look at some illustrations of the Trinity.

 

1. St. Patrick used the Shamrock to explain the Trinity to the Irish. There are three petals that are unique and distinct while the three are one plant.

 

2. Some have suggested an equilateral triangle. This type of triangle has three equal angles and sides. If you take one angle away then you do not have a triangle.

 

3. Others suggest three matches held together and burning. One flame, however there are three distinct parts to the flame.

 

4. An egg. There are three distinct parts. Put in a blender and you have one mix. (Probably the essence of the three is different.)

 

5. A rope with three strands, yet one rope.

 

6. A tree. Branch, leaves and root.

 

7. The sun. Light, heat and motion.

 

8. Water. Solid, liquid and steam.

 

9. Butterfly. Egg, larva and butterfly.

 

10. Plant. Seed, flower and stem.

 

11. The color television is of interest. It produces on a black and white program a distinctly black and white picture however if you look closely you will see that the screen is made up of blue, green and red dots or lines. Your eyes perceive black and white. If you take any of the three colors away you no longer have a black and white picture to watch. All three colors are showing the same picture however there are three distinct colors.

 

12. Dr. Miller suggests a picture made up of a circle with lines going diagonally, vertically and horizontally.

 

This gives the three differences while making up one whole.

 

 

The problem with these illustrations is that they all fail in some way or another.

 

FALSE VIEWS OF THE TRINITY

 

Unitarianism: The unitarians trace their roots to Arius or Arianism. They feel that the Father created the Son.

 

Sebellianism: The Father was the God of the Old Testament, The Son was the God of the New Testament and The Holy Spirit is the God of this time. There is only one God but He has manifested himself in three different ways in three different times.

 

Tritheism: This holds to three separate Gods.

 

Swedenborgianism: There are three elements to God. Just as there are body, soul and spirit in man, there are Father, Son and Holy Spirit in God.

 

WHO IS GOD?

 

A. He is the Father: John 6:27, “for him hath God the Father sealed.”; Romans 1:7; Galatians 1:1,3. He is not only the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, but He is the Father of all living, and in a special sense the Father of the believer.

 

B. He is the Son: Matthew 1:22-23 tells of the announcement of the incarnation of God as the son of Mary. (Luke:35 mentions the incarnation as well.) He is declared to be the Son of God in John 5:25. John 20:28 shows that Thomas knew that Christ was God.

 

C. He is the Spirit: Acts 5:3,4 tells of Ananias and Sapphira lying to the Holy Spirit. They would not have died if this had not been God. Attributes of deity are used of the Spirit as well (Hebrews 9:14; 1 Corinthians 2:10).

 

GOD IS ONE.

 

God is a unity even though there are three persons within that unity. This is seen in both the Old and New Testaments. Deuteronomy 4:35, I Ki. 8:60, Isaiah 45:5, Mark 12:29-32, I Co. 8:4-6.

 

 

GOD IS THREE.

 

he term Trinity is not used in Scripture, however, the trinity is hinted at in the Old Testament.

 

1. Many times God is a plural noun Genesis 1:1,26; 3:22; 11:6,7; 20:13;

48:15; Isaiah 6:8.

 

2. Genesis 11:7 is concerned with the tower of Babel and the Lord is going to go down to see. The verb “come” is plural and this requires a plural speaker. The speaker is speaking to two or more. “Come let us go down….”

 

3. Lord is distinguished from Lord. Genesis 19:24, “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;” Hosea 1:7, “But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord, their God….”. (This is God speaking of Christ.)

 

4. The Lord has a Son. This is a little used text, yet is of great importance. Psalm 2:7,

 

“I will declare the decree The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

 

5. Genesis 1:1,2, mentions that God created and that the Spirit moved upon the waters.

 

6. Genesis 6:3, “And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man….”

 

While the trinity is hinted at in the Old Testament the Trinity is taught in the New Testament.

 

1. In the baptismal scene we see the Trinity clearly Matthew 3:16,17. Christ is being baptized, The Father is speaking, and the Holy Spirit is descending.

 

2. John depicts the trinity quite clearly John 14:16,17. In this text we see Christ asking the Father to send the Spirit.

 

 

3. Matthew 28:19 mentions all three in the baptismal formula for the church age.

 

4. Peter clearly mentioned the trinity, 1 Peter 1:2.

 

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

 

5. Paul also mentions the trinity in one of his prayers, 2 Corinthians 13:14.

 

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”

 

We can see the Trinity in the creation, if we draw a number of passages together. When we view creation, WHO DONE IT?

 

1. The Spirit: Genesis 1:2

 

2. The Word: John 1:1-14; Hebrews 11:3

 

3. God Through Christ: Ephesians 3:9

 

4. The Son: Colossians 1:15-19

 

5. God By Christ: Hebrews 1:2 (Christ upholds all things. Hebrews 1:3)

 

6. The Father And The Son: Proverbs 30:4

 

7. The Father For His Pleasure: Revelation 4:11

 

WITHIN THE GODHEAD THERE IS A SUBORDINATION

 

Some theologians get upset when you speak of subordination, or differences in duties within the Godhead, yet the Scripture clearly teaches this aspect of God. A few points and references on this subject will suffice.

 

1. God Sent Christ: John 6:29; John 88:29,42

 

2. Christ Was Fulfilling God’s Plan: John 10:18

 

3. God Is The Head Of Christ: 1 Corinthians 11:3

 

4. God Is Christ’s Father: John 20:17

 

 

APPLICATION

 

1. Each person of the Godhead has a different ministry to us, thus fulfilling all our needs.

 

a. The Holy Spirit teaches, convicts, illumines and helps us in our prayers.

 

b. Christ takes our burdens and saves us. He also presents us to God righteous

 

c. The Father controls our lives — guides our lives. He is our Father and someone that is approachable on a very intimate basis.

 

If the above is true then we have no reason to look outside of the Trinity and the Scriptures for fulfillment in any area of our lives.

 

2. When we study the word, we must not overemphasize any one of the God head to the exclusion of the others. The exclusion will cause an unbalanced view, if not a cultic view of God.

 

He is God, He is plural in persons, He is all that we have in the way of deity, and He is all that we need in salvation. He is all that is needed by man, creation, or the spirit world. He has brought all into existence and He continues to uphold that creation. He may present Himself in different duties or places of ministry, yet He is fully God in all three of these persons.

 

SERVE HIM AS HE OUGHT TO BE SERVED.[1]

 


[1] Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.

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