Throughout history there has been resistance against the concept of the Trinity, or Tri-unity of God. “How could God be one, and how could God be three?” This seems to be a contradiction. Disciples of Jesus, however, find this answer in the Scriptures: There is only one God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three eternal and co-equal Persons; the same in substance or essence, but distinct in subsistence or existence.
Today’s message is about the Trinity.
Concerning the Godhead, the Bible teaches three great truths:
- The plurality of the Godhead: there exists a plurality of personalities within the Godhead.
- The unity of the Godhead: the plurality is not a plurality of gods as in polytheism, for there is only one God.
- The Trinity of the Godhead: the plurality of the personalities of the one God is limited to three: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, no more and no less.
As noted, the concept of the Trinity has been a bane of contention. During the Church age, five major errors concerning the doctrine of the Trinity have been noted, errors that have been swirling around for literally thousands of years and yet are still misleading people, if not by the thousands, then by the tens of thousands. For example, the ideas of Arianism and Socinianism are as old as the mountains, but which cults still adhere to this false teaching today? Or which Swiss “theologian of the century”, known for his commentary on Romans (1918), held to Sabellianism? The article by Dr Fruchtenbaum referenced below, tells you more about the five errors regarding the doctrine of the Trinity.
The only way to prove the Trinity of God is with God’s special revelation, that is, with the Bible. The proofs are mainly grammatical-linguistic.
Regarding the plurality of the Godhead, one can focus grammatically and linguistically on the Bible’s use of the plural noun Elohim, on the plural verbs used with Elohim, on the fact that the noun Elohim is applied to two Persons, or to show that the Name YHVH is applied to two Persons. Another way to show the plurality of the Godhead (among others mentioned in Fruchtenbaum’s article), is to focus on the Angel of the LORD, or on the Holy Spirit. This study is done for both the Old and New Testaments.
A similar grammatical-linguistic study will show, regarding the unity of the Godhead, that the Bible uses singular verbs with plural nouns (regarding Elohim), or uses the compound One (echad “vs.” yachid) with reference to God. Again, much more can be said about the unity of the Godhead, but we are summarising a lengthy study.
If the Bible teaches that there is a plurality in the Godhead and that this plurality is a unity of only one God, does it say how many Persons are in the Godhead? The Bible shows that three Persons, and only three, are ever called God. No more than three Persons are ever seen together in the Godhead. Only these three Persons have the attributes of God and know the works of God, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Both the Old and New Testaments teach this.
This message is a partial summary of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s article about the Trinity – we encourage you to read it. While reading the article, you may discover some interesting things, such as:
When Eve had her first son, who did she think he was?
Whenever the Old Testament refers to the Angel of the LORD, what is this Angel also named in the very same contexts?
Which four texts in Isaiah clearly teach the Trinity of the Godhead?
Which three Persons, and only these three Persons, have the attributes of eternality, omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence?
What are the works of God and Who is capable of doing these works?
Our next post will focus on God the Father.
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