God is a Trinity
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Bible related
God as a Trinity means that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one. This seems a real mystery. How can three persons be one? Let us examine some verses in the Bible that shed light on the term ‘one.’
In Mark 10:6-9 is written, ‘But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one.’
In Philippians 2:2 is written, ‘... make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
In these passages those who are as one, are distinct personalities with their own specific functions and bodies.
In the doctrine of the Trinity we find three distinct persons who are all God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They have different functions, but the same ‘substance’ or essence. Can we with our finite human minds understand it? No, as God (the Bible) says: ‘The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may follow all the words of this law’ (Deuteronomy 29:29). What we do know is that in practice it works, as millions can testify. We can roughly divide the ‘job description’ of the Trinity as follows:
The Father planned salvation (John 3:16).
The Son accomplished it on the cross (John 17:4).
The Holy Spirit applies it to the lives of believers (John 3:5; Titus 3:5-7).
God doesn’t explain all things in great detail: Mark Twain made a remark: ‘It is not the things that I do not understand about the Bible that bother me, but the things I do understand.’
The following are some thoughts on Jesus and the Holy Spirit as two of the Persons of the Trinity:
A. Jesus was eternally God.
He was the Creator. He created the universe. (Colossians 1:16 ‘by Jesus all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible’ [John 1:3], ‘through Jesus all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.’)
He was the Savior. He was sent to earth by the Father (John 5:36) to do a work. He experienced life as any other human being (Hebrews 2:14). When He came to earth Jesus ‘changed’ from being very ‘big’ (in heaven with the Father, as the Creator), to become very ‘small’ (like one of his creatures, man). Jesus ‘being in very nature God ... made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:6,7). He had to take the form of man to accomplish salvation, as it would only be for men, not for any fallen angels or the devil (they saw God’s glory in heaven, were part of it, and therefore their defection is unpardonable). After he was resurrected He returned to heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father until his enemies have been destroyed (Psalm 110:1).
He is the Judge. Since nobody can really tell Jesus about the difficulties of human life, and serving God, He is qualified to judge man, which He will do. (‘The Father has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.’ Acts 17:31)
Thinking purely in human terms, could it work if God was only one person? When he became man (He really did, since Jesus is God), heaven would have been ‘empty,’ meaning that the CEO would have been absent. If he was only one there could be no Spirit to ‘oversee’ the whole world to help those whose hearts trust in God. No, God is three persons and has a principle of two witnesses: Deuteronomy 17:6, ‘on the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death...’ While Jesus was on earth, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit were in heaven as two witnesses. Then when Jesus went back to heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent to earth to indwell believers. Heaven still has two witnesses (God the Father and Jesus). The Holy Spirit on earth also has another witness, namely the Word of God, the Bible.
It was necessary for Jesus to be God, since only as God could He redeem sinful man. God is sinless, and in love He gave His own Son to be the supreme sacrifice. It was necessary that the Holy Spirit is also God to be able to be omnipresent to indwell all believers all over the world at the same time. From the beginning God has been with man: with Adam, Abraham and Moses. Then he was present in the tabernacle. Later the temple testified to God’s presence in the midst of the Israelites. After Jesus, the child of God became the temple of the Holy Spirit and the physical temple was destroyed (John 14:26). God is again with his people through the Holy Spirit.