Triune, Trinity, Godhead?

We have often been faced with questions regarding the Triune God/Godhead/Trinity.  The following is a general discussion of some of the questions.   These are marked with a # and put in italics.  

# …in the Holy Scriptures (i.e. the Old and New Testament) there is no such thing as the trinity.

In regard to the word ‘Trinity,’ it is true that it does not appear in the Bible.  Yet God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are often mentioned together in the New Testament as a unity.  

Jesus said to the disciples, 

‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  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….’  Matthew 28:18-19

Paul’s blessing at the end of his second letter to the Corinthians, 

‘May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.’  2 Corinthians 13:14  

 Even in the final chapter of the Bible, we meet them together, 

‘The throne of God and of the Lamb [Jesus], will be in the city…. The Spirit and the Bride say….’  Revelation 22:3b,17a

Thus it is not necessary to argue about the term Triune or Trinity.  Anybody should have the freedom to invent another term.  As long as it does not impinge on the integrity of Scripture or deny the reality of the Three Persons of the Godhead.  

All three created: 

‘In the beginning God [plural, Elohim] created [singular] the heavens and the earth….and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.’  Genesis 1:1,2

‘He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn over all creation [His resurrection].  For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.’  Colossians 1:15,26

‘In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed Heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.’  Hebrews 1:1-2

The following verse lets us understand the status of Jesus as Co-Creator with God, 

‘…yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.’  1 Corinthians 8:6

  • God created. 
  • Jesus created. 

What is interesting is that the Spirit of God [Holy Spirit] hovered over the waters and  was also involved in creation, 

  • ‘By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.’  Psalm 33:6

We understand ‘the breath of God’ to be the Holy Spirit,

‘The Spirit of God made me [Job]; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.’  Job 33:4

All three Persons of the Godhead were involved in creation.  

All three are said to be eternal: 

‘Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the Name of the Lord, the eternal God.’ Genesis 21:33

‘But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King.’  Jeremiah 10:10a

‘Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.’  Hebrews 13:8

“I tell you the truth, ‘Jesus answered, before Abraham was born, I am.'”  John 8:58.  

The ‘I am’ refers to God’s description of Himself to Moses, 

”God said to Moses, ‘A am who I am.'”  Exodus 3:14 

The reference to the Holy Spirit being eternal, 

‘How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.’ Hebrews 9:14

All three are involved in salvation:

‘But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.’  Titus 3:4-7

#  …whilst God is an eternal Spirit, Jesus had a birth (a beginning) and really died (God cannot die) After his resurrection he clearly said he was no spirit (like his heavenly father is a Spirit).

It is true that Jesus had a beginning when He was born as the Son of Man (the title He often used for Himself), 

‘Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him [Satan] who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.’ Hebrews 2:14

Which means Jesus the Son of God became Jesus the Son of Man to save mankind.  Which specifically excluded salvation for Satan and his demons.  Jesus has a ‘twofold’ nature, both supernatural and natural.  

It should be clear that Jesus in His post resurrection body is different from God.   

Jesus is not God.  He is Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man, sent to redeem man.   We will be like Jesus one day, 

‘Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’  1 John 3:2

The miracle of the Triune God/Godhead’s plan is that natural man dies, and will be resurrected in a new supernatural body like Jesus after His resurrection,

‘….Look at my hands and feet.  It is I Myself!  Touch Me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’  Luke 24:39

The disciples were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.  Luke 24:37

In Scriptures is also clearly indicated that Jesus was first lower than angels, but Jehovah God was, is and always shall be the highest. 

Jesus was never shy to talk about His close relationship to God, 

  • ”’My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working.’ For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him; not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His Father, making Himself equal to God.”  John 6:17-18

It is true that Jesus was lower than the angels for a while.  Yet it was for a reason, 

‘…we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.’  Hebrews 2:9 

It isalso true that Jehovah God is the highest.  Jesus said, 

‘…the Father is greater than I.’  John 14:28b

It is only logical that there should be some order of authority.  Whether in a family, or a business or government, there is always some order.  Otherwise it would be chaos.  

‘Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.’  1 Corinthians 11:3

The order is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit’s function is very clear, 

‘He [the Holy Spirit] will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and make ti known to you.’  John 16:14 

Despite the fact that God is the Head of Jesus, Jesus is the Son of God,

‘…the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgement to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.  He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.’  John 5:222-23

Jesus is now sitting next to God, i.e. not on God’s throne, but at God His side.

Does Jesus sit only next to God or with God on His throne?  Jesus said, 

‘To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.’  Revelation 3:21

Jesus sat down with His Father on the Father’s throne.  However, He also sits on His own throne, 

‘Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.’  Revelation 22:1,2a  

Jesus will sit on the Father’s throne.  Jesus will sit on His own throne.  

The Bible tells us also that Jesus is now a high priest before God and the mediator between God and man. In case Jesus would be God he can not be those two previously mentioned characters

Why can’t He be High Priest and Mediator?  In essence He is God, in person He is Jesus.  

Jesus took the form of a man, since His Father sent Him to save the people,  

‘Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.’  Philippians 2:6,7

Jesus’ mission? 

‘And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even death on a Cross!  Philippians 2:8

Because of it, God exalted Jesus,

‘Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’  Philippians 2:10,11

 Apparently the idea is that Jesus is God.  That is not what Scripture teaches.  God was on His throne in heaven when Jesus was on earth.   We will be like Jesus one day, 

‘Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’  1 John 3:2

We will not be like God.  We will be like Jesus.  The miracle of the Triune God/Godhead’s plan is that natural man dies, and will be resurrected in new bodies.  But in the whole ‘process,’ Jesus had to be both High Priest and Mediator.  The High Priest who presented His own body as a living Sacrifice, 

‘Such a High Priest meets our need — One who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.’  Hebrews 7:26

Remarks

There are certain core doctrines without which there is no Gospel at all.  One of it is the Triune nature of the Godhead.  Jesus is part of the Godhead.  Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, writes, 

‘Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly the word I preached to you.  Otherwise you have believed in vain.’  1 Corinthians 15:1,2

The Gospel? 

  • ‘I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen — that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to His own people and the Gentiles.’  Acts 26:22b,23

Our wonderful God

We have such a wonderful God who gave us such a wonderful book. For example, there is 1 Kefa, written Electby Kefa, an emissary of Yeshua the Messiah. Translated it means the first letter written by Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. This is just an aside to remind us that our holy Bible is a Jewish book.

First Peter was written before the Roman emperor Nero’s persecution of Christians began in 64 AD. Peter addressed the letter to God’s elect, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. These were all real countries (consult a Bible atlas). Today the letter also applies to the faithful followers of Jesus, scattered around the United States, Canada, Africa, Europe, Asia, et cetera.

The letter is addressed to God’s elect. God chose certain people to have a relationship with Him. Does that mean God chose some and left others out? Not at all. When people asked Peter what they should do after his sermon on the resurrection of Jesus, he said, ‘Repent and be baptised, all of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.1  God calls, we respond.

What is remarkable is the different functions of the Trinity:

  1. The Father calls into His kingdom. He is in charge, the CEO. We can either reject or accept. This explains why the devil and many atheists hate the elect: they chose to reject the call, and so they became the ‘outcasts’ of God’s Kingdom. They decided by their own volition to reject, but still hate us because we accepted the call.
  2. The glorious Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself willingly for us. He ‘sprinkled’ His blood for us. This remains an enigma, a King died willingly on a cross for the people of God: to gather a Bride from among the nations.  This is the ‘foolishness of God:’ Christ the Crucified became the power of God and the wisdom of God. 2  Justin said, ‘They say that our madness consists in the fact that we put a crucified man in second place after the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of the world.’
  3. The Holy Spirit sanctifies, separates for God. Sanctification has two aspects. The one is to be declared holy (your sins are forgiven). The other is to be trained to act out holiness (to live the kingdom life).

Because of the combined actions of the Trinity, our eternal inheritance will never spoil, fade of perish. Isn’t it wonderful? We will be rich, exceedingly rich, eternally. What a future, what a hope. No wonder we are told, ‘My purpose is that they [us] will be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they [we] may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that we may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.4

What a wonderful Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

References

  1. Acts 2:38-39
  2. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24
  3. Just, Apology I, 13.4, cited by M Hengel, Crucifixion, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1977, p 1
  4. Colossians 2:2-3

Guy Harrison’s misunderstanding of the Trinity

50 Questions

Guy Harrison’s objection of the nature of the Trinity is based on a misunderstanding.

Jesus, Son of God:ManHe writes, ‘God is Jesus and Jesus is God. How can we say that God sent His Son and sacrificed Him for us when they are the same being? 1 These words show that Guy’s theology about the Trinity is deficient.

The following 2 principles explain the true nature of the Trinity according to the Bible (as recognised by reputable theologians):

 

#Principle 1. God is one in essence, three in Person. That means God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons. Yet they all share in the God attributes. The Trinity can be compared to a family of a father, mother and son. One doesn’t find it often, but there are families where the father, mother and son function as one. They have the same purpose, the same interests and the same loyalty. Yet they are three distinct persons with distinct functions. That gives one an idea of what the Trinity is like.

  • God the Father is in heaven. He is the head of the Trinity. He planned the Kingdom (the eternal King, people and country). That is why Jesus said that the Father is greater than He.
  • Jesus is the Son, looking for a Bride. He made the Kingdom possible. He finished his assignment on earth and sits at the right hand of His Father in His resurrected body.
  • The Holy Spirit fulfils the functions of the mother: birthing, caring, comforting, helping, guiding,  teaching, et cetera. After Jesus went back to His Father, the Holy Spirit was sent to earth. He indwells believers and prepares and trains them for the coming eternal Kingdom.

The following verse is an example of the Trinity as three distinct persons with different functions: ‘To God’s elect, strangers in the world, …who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood.’ 2

 

#Principle 2. Jesus is one in Person, 2 in nature. He is both God and Man (the Son of God and the Son of man). If people object to that, ask them how the DNA can be both material (the carbohydrate phosphate backbone) and immaterial (the information in the nucleotides)? Why is Jesus one in person, two in nature?  He had to be the innocent Lamb of God to die in the place of His Bride. Only God is innocent, thus God the Son became a human being (the Son of Man) to die for human beings only. The angels who rebelled are not included since they saw God and yet rebelled. We have not seen God physically, so we are given a chance of salvation, while they are not pardoned.

 

If people object that the doctrine of the Trinity and of the twofold nature of Jesus doesn’t make sense, ask them how logical it is that first life evolved from non-living elements? There is no evidence for it and yet they believe it. What we do know, however, is that it cannot be too difficult for God who created the miracle of life, to be Three that function as One, and to be fully man and fully God like Jesus.

 

References

  1. Kindle Edition, Location 170 of 5739
  2. 1 Peter 1:1-2

 

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