What is the Trinity?
The trinity is believing there is one God eternally existing in three persons (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). It is NOT belief in three separate gods…that is tri-theism. It is also NOT a belief in one god who appears as three separate entities or takes on three different faces at different times…that is Sabellianism. The trinity is impossible to conceptualize because there is nothing like it in our existence. This shouldn’t be surprising, since the very make-up of God should be hard to explain. I mean, heck, we can’t even understand the universe, which is His creation. How in the world will we be able to understand the Creator of the universe? We can only understand what He has revealed to us. The trinity is expressed in this diagram…
There have been several ways used to illustrate the trinity, like the triple point of water (where water exists in all three states at one time under pressure…gas, liquid and solid) or like a three-legged stool or one apple that ha three parts to it…the skin, the center part and the core. All of these analogies break down at some point. The best one I’ve heard of is 1 x 1 x 1 = 1.
The 1’s on the left side of the equation are all 1 but they are separate and distinct from each other. Yet they equal the 1 on the right side of the equation.
In Deuteronomy 6:4 it says, “Here O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” In the Hebrew language, there are two words for the English word “one”.
-Yachid means one as in only one…like I have one pencil.
-Echod means one as in a unity…like I have one bunch of grapes.
The word used for ‘one’ in Deuteronomy 6:4 is ‘Echod’. So you could translate this as “…the LORD our God is a unity.”
This is further supported by Genesis 1:26 where God says, “Let us make man in our image and in our likeness” but in verse 27 it says, “So God created mankind in HIS own image, in the image of God HE created them; male and female HE created them” and in Genesis 11:7 where God says, “Let us go down and confuse their language”. Some say God is talking about Himself and to the angels, but God NEVER shares His glory with any other created being (Isaiah 48:11), so He must be speaking to His other selves in the trinity. If there is no trinity, then Genesis 1:26, 27 & 11:7 are wrong because God is speaking in the singular and the plural when referring to Himself.
Many other times in the Old Testament, it says there is one God…
Isaiah 44:6, 8 45:5, 6, 18, 21, 22 46:9
It might be instructive to point out the places where the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit are called God.
God as Father…Deut 32:6 Isaiah 63:16 Galatians 1:1 Ephesians 1:2 Philippians 1:2
Colossians 1:2 1Thess 1:1 2Thess 1:2 1Tim 1:2 2Tim 1:2 Philemon 1:3 Titus 1:4
2Cor 1:2 1Cor 1:3 Romans 1:7
Jesus referred to as God…
God: Son (Jesus): Both are called:
Exodux 3:14 John 8:58 YHWH (God, I AM))
Isaiah 44:6 Revelation 1:7 the 1st & the last
Isaiah 48:11 & 42:8 John 17:5, 24 God’s glory
Isaiah 62:5 Matthew 25:1 Bridegroom
Psalm 23:1 John 10:11 Shepherd
Psalm 27:1 John 8:12 Light
Joel 2:12 Matthew 25:31 Ultimate Judge
Isaiah 10:21 Isaiah 9:6 Mighty God
Psalm 45:6 Hebrews 1:8 Father calls Son, God
Exodus 20:1-5 Matthew 8:2 14:33 Receives worship
Isaiah 45:23 Philippians 20:10, 11 Every knee will bow
In Hebrews 1:8, it talks about the Son (Jesus) being the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being. This is saying that Jesus is made up of the same ‘stuff’ that God is.
All the fullness of God dwells in Jesus – Colossians 1:19.
In John 1:1, the Word is called God but in verse 14 the Word is identified as Jesus.
Exodus 3:14 (and also Isaiah 42:8 & 43:10) says God’s personal name is YHWH (we translate this as I AM). But in John 8:58, Jesus applies this to Himself and the Jews understood what He was saying because they took up stones to stone Him for blasphemy (claiming He was God).
FYI…the term 1st born is not the same as 1st created. 1st created in a family means the oldest child. 1st born means the pre-eminent one in the family. King David was called the 1st born but he was the youngest in his family. The church is called the 1st born (Hebrews 12:23). Israel is called the 1st born (Exodus 4:22). Jesus is often called the 1st born but that doesn’t mean He was created. It means in the human race, He is the pre-eminent one.
John 14:28 says that the Father is greater than Jesus. At the time Jesus is saying this, the Father was greater because Jesus gave up His Godly powers when He was on the Earth (Philippians 2: 5-8).
The Holy Spirit referred to as God…
-in John 14:16, the phrase ‘another comforter’, in the Greek language, has the prefix ‘homo’ (and not heteros) attached to it. The prefix ‘homo’ means of the same kind. So this other comforter is of the same kind as Jesus.
Some people have said that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force (like in Star Wars).
-how can an impersonal force teach & remind people of Godly things (John 14:26)?
-how can an impersonal force be grieved (Ephesians 4:30)? Grief is an emotion.
-why is an impersonal force called a personal pronoun of ‘Him” (John 14:16,17)?
-how can an impersonal force be lied to (Acts 5:3,4), or can speak (Acts 21:11) and can think (Acts 15:28) or be resisted (Acts 7:51) and can teach (Luke 12:12) and is all-knowing (1st Corinthians 2:10,11). The Bible says that lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God (Acts 5:3,4).
So, if there is one God but 3 persons are called God, then God must be a tri-unity or trinity.
For His Kingdom,