The Trinity

Hello lovelies,

LeaFiore here once again with Take me to Eternity. I want to announce that I am starting a four-part series on the trinity. Today I just want to set the foundation for what the Trinity is and how we rightly understand it. In the next episodes I will establish who each person is. We have as they like to say three who’s and one what to discuss. 

The first question is, is the trinity a salvation issue? Is this a divider? I have to answer yes and no. Unless you understand this properly it will completely change who you see God to be, and I really believe it is a salvation issue to a point. Not that every person needs all knowledge and understanding of it to be saved but this is who God showed us he is therefore if you CHOOSE to REJECT this that means you choose to reject God as he has shown himself. We have to look at and believe God as who he says he is and not make up our own.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul talks about the gospel and the importance of it. He says over and over again according to the scriptures and I think that is a very important part of understanding the gospel is understanding it according to the scriptures. 

Now I am not saying that any person who does not strictly understand and adhere to the trinity is unsaved or damned to hell. I am sure the man on the cross next to Jesus didn’t comprehend a lot of things about the nature of God yet he was told I will see you in paradise. But like I said if you CHOOSE TO REJECT this with knowledge and understanding of what the Bible says you are rejecting God. We have to be willing to not understand every aspect but take God as he reveals himself to be saved no other God will save.

I really believe that the doctrine of the trinity and knowing what the Bible says about the trinity helps to inoculate you against heresy. The greatest heresies are against the trinity. I really believe that the question Jesus asked “who do you say I am” is one of the most important questions there is. This is one of the things that we can say is a dividing issue. 

Some say the trinity is a made-up doctrine. Something that didn’t come for hundreds of years after the death and resurrection of Christ but although the word isn’t used in the Bible (like many other words) it is plainly spelled out through the entire thing. One God, three persons. Father, Son and The Holy Spirit.

I understand the confusion so many have but we do have to remember that we are trying to understand an infinite God with our finite brains.

The more I study the trinity the more I see it even in the Old Testament. Though it literally unfolds as the Bible goes, you can see the three-fold throughout the entire bible. Throughout the Old Testament you see the Father and you also see The Holy Spirit coming on people, but they also talk about the messiah to come. What’s interesting is Any time you read about God being seen in the Old Testament that my friends could be argued to be Jesus. 

“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” John 1:18

“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,” Colossians 2:9

For the fullness of Deity to dwell in bodily form and to explain God is showing that Jesus is God and has been the physical representative of the God head. The complete revelation of what that meant unfolded when Jesus came but you can still see him through it all. Especially when we have the revelations opened for us in the New Testament.

So, I guess let’s start at the beginning. God is God. I know that sounds like a weird statement, but God is different. He is unlike anything or anyone. He is unique in the truest sense of the word. I read The Forgotten Trinity by James White and I love that he starts off with the understanding that it is easier to say what God isn’t than it is to say what he is, because there is nothing like him. It makes sense then why any attempt to explain him as like anything else we fall into one heresy or another. So, we must start off with the fact that we can only understand him as he has revealed himself and to the extent that he revealed himself. We are finite humans trying to understand an infinite God. 

The Trinity is the understanding of The Godhead. That There is One God. Only one. Revealed to us in three persons. Each person intertwines with the other. Same will, same mind, same essence, One God, Three Persons.

As the Athanasian Creed says ” We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in unity: Neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one Peron of the Father, another of the Son and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father of the Son an of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated, The Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensibles, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible. So likewise, the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty; And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty. So, the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise, the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord; And yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every person by himself to be God and Lord; so are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say: There are three Gods or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So, there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. And in this Trinity, none is afore, nor after another; none is greater, or less than another.

Now I know some will get caught up in the catholic religion part but back then it was used to mean the Christian church in general not Roman Catholic as it now denotes.

““Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” Deuteronomy 6:4

That is an interesting thing to say, don’t you think?  The Lord our God, the Lord is one….. A little like a view into the trinity maybe?

As I was studying the trinity that verse came to mind and I looked it up in The J Vernon McGee commentary which says and I quote “that is a tremendous statement. “THE LORD” is the Hebrew tetragram transliterated YHWH translated In English as Jehovah. “God” is the translation for Elohim. Elohim is a plural word. Since there is no number given with it, one can assume the number is three. In the Hebrew language a noun is singular, dual, or plural. When it is plural, but no number is given, one can assume it to be three. This is therefore a reference to the trinity. It could be translated, “ hear, O Israel: Jehovah, our Trinity is one Jehovah.” Israel lived in a world of idolatry. The nations were polytheists who worshiped many gods. The message that the nation Israel was to give the world was the message of the unity of the Godhead, the oneness of the Godhead” end quote

I really think that if we knew Hebrew and read the Bible in Hebrew we would have a much fuller understanding of why we believe what we believe. Not that reading a NASB or other translations is bad, we still have the same message we would just have a better understanding as to why some things are translated the way they are. We would see more in the words. So often words are used that have multiple meanings and the words are used to give us greater understanding yet we miss a part of it by not knowing the original language.

Knowing there is but one God, that being established we can move on.

In the one God. The one being. One essence there are three distinct persons. The word persons carries a ton of baggage with it so lets knock out the idea that it is three people because it isn’t. That is a human understanding of persons. Got questions defines it like this 

“When we talk about God, we are using the word Person to show that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each have personhood or personality. That is, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each have intellect, emotion, and volition. Any being with rationality, emotion, and a will can be considered a person; thus, human beings are persons, but so are angelic beings and the Divine Being. The definition of person cannot include physicality for the simple reason that human beings do not cease to be persons after death. A dead person’s body is left behind to decay, but his true self—his personhood—lives on in either heaven or hell.”

That being said we have one divine being with three distinct persons all coequal all coeternal all have equal power and authority all equally God. Now let that sink in for a minute. We are still only talking about one God. One God three persons each fully God. Not one of them is just part but wholly God yet distinct in personhood. The father is not a third, the son a third and Holy Spirit a third they are all completely God. 

Our first glimpse of the Trinity is literally in the first verses in the Bible. 
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3

Now this is another instance where the singular, dual and plural comes into play. Because the word Elohim is used we know that it is plural yet coupled with a singular noun it can be said in the beginning Elohim he created the heavens and the earth meaning another instance among many where a plurality for God is coupled with the singular. We aren’t talking about multiple Gods, we are talking about one, but one with a plurality of personhood. Makes me want to learn how to read Hebrew. We know from John 1 that the world was created by the father through the son, so we know that in the beginning was the Godhead. We can see the Godhead created the heavens and the earth. The power of the father creating through the son and by the spirit. 

Later in the chapter we see another distinction
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”” Genesis 1:26

“Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—” Genesis 3:22

Now I have heard people argue that when it says let us make man in our image that they think God is speaking to the angels but that doesn’t make any sense. We are not made in the image of the angels, we are made in the image of God. So again another view of the Godhead. The plurality of the singular God. 

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”” Isaiah 6:8

Here again we have God speaking of himself in singular and plural terms. whom shall I send, who will go for US? Jesus speaking to The Father.

One thing I have to speak against is that God does not have different modes. He is not simply showing himself in different ways. Sometimes the father, sometimes the son and sometimes the spirit. When you begin to look at the Bible and you think about this you can see where things stop making sense when you look at it like that. 

“Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.” Genesis 11:7-8

Notice that it says let us go down and then it says the Lord scattered them. 

“Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.” Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.” Isaiah 48:16-17

In this passage we hear Jesus talking while mentioning both the father and the Holy Spirit. He says he is the redeemer sent by the Lord God and his spirit. There is a distinction between the three of them yet at the same time he is able to say I and the Lord your God. Which also shows the unity. 

“Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”” Luke 3:21-22

When you look at this verse you can see the distinction of the three. And what’s more is that you see that Jesus has a body, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove while at the same time you hear God the Father from heaven speak. When you look at modalism or the idea that God just shows himself in different forms you can see that this doesn’t fit because they also say that God can only be one at any given time. But here you see all three distinct and separate, showing themselves but you also see the unity of will. The unity in purpose. This isn’t three Gods. This also isn’t God throwing his voice in heaven as he flutters down like a dove on Jesus. We are told over and over that there is but one God none before him and none after, so we need to take him at his word and understand that we are talking about God, we need to be ok with having some mystery. We don’t need to fully comprehend all things and in fact I really believe that he did this on purpose. We are to spend eternity learning to understand God better.

God knows that humans have the want to know everything. That we think that we should be able to fully grasp all things and that if we don’t understand it than it has to be wrong. But God. If faith is the hope for what is unseen it would make sense that there would be some mystery to understanding God. That we would have to “take him at his word”. And remember that his ways are not our ways and we aren’t meant to know all things cause we aren’t God. 

I have to say anyone that I have heard argue against the trinity generally isn’t actually arguing against it genuinely, they are arguing against modalism which is known by a host of other things. Sabellianism, Oneness Pentecostalism, and the Jesus only movement.  Apostolic Pentecostals largely believe the same thing also. This is the argument that God is like water. Sometimes liquid, sometimes solid and sometimes vapor. It’s the idea that God being one God just shows himself in different ways, sometimes acting as the father, sometimes acting as the son and sometimes acting as the Holy Spirit. But what we see in the Bible is that he is God and never changes. He is always God and God uniquely, wholly and completely. We also see a distinction of his personhood while at the same time the unique ability to be completely unified. 

Any time we try to explain God as something that we already know or understand we not only fall short but we create a wrong understanding of him in the process. Which is dangerous for our spiritual walk.  For instance God is not like an egg. Shell, white and yolk that is partialism. The father is not one part of the God head, Jesus one part and the Holy Spirit one part they are all completely God and entirely one. Yet distinctly three. 

Are you confused yet? Just remember we are talking about God. He is unlike anything else. 

Every false religion, cult, or wrong ideology has one or more misunderstandings or rejections of the person of Christ. In every wrong idea of faith Jesus is warped or denied. In changing or denying Christ you are denying the only salvation there is. Therefore, you cannot be saved.

God being Love and triune in nature is an amazing thing. In order to love you need an object to love. You cannot simply love yourself and call it love. If God IS love and we know he never changes it can be assumed that he had to in eternity past have an object to love. A someone. And though yes, all three are one God the separation of the personhoods denotes that God loves the son and the son the spirit and so forth. In looking at that we can see God has the complete and perfect love relationship. The father, son and spirit have always loved each other and in loving each other have done that eternally and perfectly. In other words, he doesn’t need anyone to love because his love is complete in itself. 

So, all three persons are perfectly unified as one God. Same nature, same essence, same God. Yet each individually unique and distinct with different roles. 

There is a sense that through the father’s power and love things come to be. 

““For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” John 10:29

Jesus is our atonement through his death and resurrection. The perfect lamb without blemish that paid for the sins of us all.

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” 1 John‬ ‭2‬:‭1‬-2

“The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

The Holy Spirit works to regenerate us, to circumcise our heart, to Seal us. 

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30

“But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” Romans 2:29

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
‭‭Titus‬ ‭3‬:‭5-‭7‬ ‭

So, we see different roles but that doesn’t make one over the other. They are still all equal in all ways. We see distinctions between the personhoods throughout scripture. I will talk more about the role and personhood of the Holy Spirit in the Fourth blog which will be devoted to him.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28‬:‭19-20‬ ‭

Here we see that we are to baptize in the name which is singular of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Once again you can see the complete unity of the Godhead and the distinction perfectly wrapped up together. It’s not the names of as separate beings it is the name of the one being but then distinctly separates the persons. The Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit. 

“The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35

Here we see the trinity all together once again at the conception of Christ. 

We also see the Father and the son when we come to 
“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”” Matthew 17:5

We have places where the Lord is distinguished from the Lord. Yes I just said the Lord is distinguished from the Lord like in genesis 19:24

“the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and Fire from the Lord out of heaven. That is absolutely talking about Jesus on earth and the Father in heaven. Otherwise, it would make no sense at all. “

God loves the son and says blessed are all who take refuge in him psalms 2:12

“kiss the son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” 

The spirit is distinguished in Numbers 27:18

“So the Lord said to Moses, take Joshua the son of nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him. “

And in John 14:16
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”

When you read this you can see that the father, the son and the spirit are all distinguished and yet we know there is one God and only one God. Jesus will ask the Father and give ANOTHER helper. And that is the spirit of truth.

Over and over again it is said I am the Lord and there is no other, besides me there is no God. Yet we know that the word used is Elohim which is plural. So, in the fullness of Hebrew, he was showing us that the plurality of God is fully unified. That in the plurality it is not divided in being. It is wholly and completely united in what and distinctly divided in who.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

The writers of the Bible had no problem both saying that there is only one God and at the same time distinguishing and spelling out the triune nature of that one God. These verses really don’t make sense in any light but the doctrine of the trinity. To say anyone fully understands it would be a lie. To try and say anyone could fully understand God would be bringing him down to our level and making him less than what he is. There are many things we don’t fully understand about God, and we won’t possibly ever.

All we can do is take him for his word. Know him as he presented himself and accept that he is who he says he is and he is beyond our comprehension.

To recap. The trinity is the threefold personhood of the Godhead. One God, three distinctly separate persons. One being, one nature, one essence, one substance. All Co Equal all Co eternal. It can be said that each member of the Godhead permeates the other, indwells the other, is related to the other, and yet each also retains distinction.
I hope that this was helpful and not just more confusing for you. I really love you guys.

Until next time

Thanks for Listening


By Takemetoeternity

I am a God fearing mother of two. A wife to a wonderful husband. A crafter of junk. A baker. And anything the LORD puts in my path.

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