The Nature of God: The Trinity

The Godhead Together

This is our beginning point.  God is one God, but He is three persons — the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.  In Christianese, we call this the Trinity.  I know, I know.  It’s hard to understand, mainly because we have little in our everyday world to compare it to.  He’s not a person with split personalities; He is three persons, who are distinct from each other and yet have one essence.  In other words, They think alike, are alike in Their nature, and are completely unified in heart – so unified that They are One.  An egg is a fairly good, although limited, illustration: one shell, one white, one yolk = one egg, but three different parts.

The Bible never uses the word Trinity, but it does give us indications of God’s three-person nature.  Genesis 1:26 tells us, “And God said, Let us make man in our image.   God, in this verse, is Elohim in the Hebrew, and it is a word indicating plural persons.  It is used over 2,000 times in the Old Testament.

In Matthew 3:16, 17, we see all three persons of the Godhead appearing at the same time, but operating distinctly separately from each other: When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”

Some people think that Christians are actually worshipping three Gods, but this is not the case.  Although there are a number of places in the Bible where the persons of the Godhead dialog using the terms “we” and “us” among themselves, the Bible consistently speaks of God as “He,” not “They.”

Incidentally, God speaks of Himself in the masculine sense.  Yes, there are places in the Bible where He speaks of His tenderness toward us as being like a hen with her chicks (Matthew 23:37) or like a mother who would never forget her baby (Isaiah 49:15).  But you will not find the Bible ever referring to God as “She.”  The Son is always the Son, not the Daughter, while the Father is always the Father, never the Mother.  This is important to keep in mind.  There is a bestselling “Christian” novel which portrays two persons of the Godhead as feminine Beings. Many Christians heatedly argue that, because the storyline is allegorical and is heartwarming and makes them feel good, it is perfectly all right to portray God in this fashion.  Be careful.  There is subtle deception afoot whenever we deviate from or distort the true nature of God.  We are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26, 27), not vice versa.  Making Him into an image of our choosing because it makes us feel good is a form of idolatry.

Previous: The Nature of God — Intro
Next: God Is Eternal

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

BeforeWhomWeStandsm

Advertisements

4 responses to “The Nature of God: The Trinity

  1. Apart from Revelation, the Essence of the Godhead is incomprehensible. So to speak of ‘thinking’ in the Godhead goes beyond what we have been revealed of the Essence of the Godhead, for the Essence is incomprehensible. That is why adoration in its highest form is wordless. On the other hand, According to the Energies of God, there is ‘thinking’ if you wish to use that word, in that the Logos is the Expression of the Father. However, in the Trinity, according to Essence, what we know is limited- The Son is eternally begotten of the Father, not that we know what begotten means in this context, and the Spirit proceeds, not that we know what proceeding means in this context. We are hopelessly muddled concerning the Godhead until we grasp the patristic distinction between the Essence of God and His Energies. His Energies is the presence of God outside of His Essence that is knowable by men.

    Like

    • Hi Ben,

      Thanks for commenting!

      The Bible often speaks of God thinking. In Jeremiah 29:11, He says, “‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the LORD, ‘thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.'” Psalm 139:17 comments, “How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” There are many more. And just the fact that we are made in His image seems to indicate that thinking is one of the things God does — because He made us able to think.

      From one vantage point, God IS incomprehensible: He is vast beyond what we can imagine. And yet, He also wants us to comprehend Who He is — to know Him (comprehend, or understand His great goodness) intimately. I am not sure exactly what you mean by the “energies of God,” but I do know that He is not an impersonal force, or combination of forces. He has feelings, a will, and desires, and He expresses these through His Word, the Bible.

      Like

  2. Pingback: The Nature of God: God Is Eternal | Out of the Fire

  3. Pingback: The Nature of God — Intro | Out of the Fire

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s