The Father, Son, And Holy Spirit-The Trinity

The Three Niagra Falls: Horseshoe, Bridal Veil, & American-picture taken by me
The Three Niagra Falls: Horseshoe, Bridal Veil, & American-picture taken by me

At a young age I asked my family, namely my brother who is a theologian, to explain in detail how the Trinity really exists. Hopefully the following will help you understand the term Trinity, as it has me.

Though the term "Trinity" is not in the Bible, the term is biblical in its meaning. Look, for example, at the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:16-17. There, happening at the same time, we find Jesus coming up out of the water, the heavenly Father saying from heaven that he loves his Son, and the Holy Spirit being poured out upon the Son from the Father as an expression of that love. All three divine persons are there interacting with each other. God is revealed in this event as the heavenly Father who loves the Son, as the Son who is also devoted to his heavenly Father, and as the Spirit who enriches that bond of love between them both (and who proceeds forth to draw us in to that loving communion shared between them). God is defined there as a circle of love that comes to earth in order to embrace us by taking us in to it.

In fact, every event of Jesus' life involves an interaction of these three persons: Jesus' conception in Mary's womb (Jesus as the Son is sent by the Father to be conceived in Mary's womb by the Spirit, Luke 1:35); Jesus' death on the cross (where he offered himself to the Father by the power of the Spirit, Hebrews 9:14), Jesus' resurrection (which was done by the Father in accordance with the Holy Spirit, Romans 1:4), and Jesus' ascension to God's throne (where he receives the Spirit from the Father once more in order to pour the Spirit out upon us, Acts 2:33). All of these events in the story of Jesus reveal that God is by nature an interactive circle of love involving three distinct (though inseparable) persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is also important to note that this interaction always existed from time eternal, way before the worlds were created, since Jesus said that he and the Father loved each other before the worlds were made (John 17:24), for Jesus shared the glory of deity (and of the Spirit) with the Father from time eternal (John 17:5), a glory to which he was restored upon his ascension to the right hand of the Father (see Acts 2:33). Jesus was there at the creation of the worlds, for the Father created all things through him (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2). The Spirit was there at creation too as the power of life (Genesis 1:2). Jesus was the divine Word who existed with God the Father from time eternal (John 1:1-3) and who came into flesh to reveal the Father (John 1:14); he is the Son who came forth from the Father to reveal him (John 1:18). Thus, these three divine persons interacted with each other and loved each other from all eternity. The Father is the source of all things, the Son comes to die and rise again to defeat sin and death for us, and the Spirit proceeds forth from the Son to draw us into the Son's victory for us so that we can participate in the Son's loving communion with the Father. Creation and salvation were performed by these three in loving action for us and in interaction with each other. In fact, salvation is an invitation to enter this circle of love and to become a part of it, to let it transform and direct our lives.

Three things to avoid here:

1) We avoid the idea that there are three separate Gods. The Bible says that God is one and there are no others ("there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other" Isaiah 45:6). God is one being but he is so infinitely complex that he can and does interact eternally with himself as three distinct persons. This is a mystery. So, it is important to say that the three persons of the Godhead are distinct but inseparable persons of one God. When addressing humanity, God speaks as one, using "I" ("I the Lord do all these things"- Isaiah 45:7). But when God interacts with himself as three persons, God speaks in the plural as "we" ("let us make man in our image"- Genesis 1:26).

2) We need to also avoid the idea that Father, Son, and Spirit are only three "manifestations" of one divine person. Manifestations cannot love each other! Only persons can do that! Yet, we have already seen that the divine Father, the divine Son, and the divine Spirit love each other and have done so from all eternity. So, God is definitely one God who exists eternally in three persons.

3) Lastly, we have to avoid the idea that only the heavenly Father is divine and that the Son and the Spirit are lesser beings. Jesus is clearly called God in Scripture (our great God and Savior- Titus 2:13; see also John 1:1) as is the Spirit, for to lie to the Spirit is to lie to God (Acts 5:1-5). Besides, only God can save (Hosea 13:4). Yet, Jesus saves (2 Timothy 1:10) and the Spirit saves by raising us from the dead (Romans 8:11). If ONLY God can save and Jesus saves, Jesus must be God too! Salvation belongs to God (Revelation 7:10). Yet, God saves as Father, Son, and Spirit. Thus, Father, Son, and Spirit must all be divine.

When I questioned: How can the Holy Spirit be a person, it was said....

The Spirit is a person. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit can be grieved (Isaiah 63:10; Ephesians 4:30), lied to (Acts 5:3), and blasphemed (Matthew 12:31), which only makes sense if the Spirit is a person. One cannot lie to or grieve a force. The Spirit also speaks (Acts 1:16; 28:25; 1 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 2:7), speaking only “what he hears” (John 16:13), testifies (Romans 8:16; Hebrews 10:15; 1 John 5:6), wills or determines (1 Corinthians 12:11), contends (Genesis 6:3), reveals (Luke 2:26; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Ephesians 3:5), intercedes (Romans 8:27), convicts (John 16:8), and even searches out the deep things of God for us (1 Corinthians 2:10). These activities are done by a personal agent. The fact that the Spirit intercedes for us to God the Father or searches out the deep things of God the Father for us implies that the Spirit is a personal agent distinct from the heavenly Father. About Jesus, he did lay aside his divine glory to become human (Phil 2) and he did say that the Father is greater. But these things should not be interpreted to mean that he is not divine. It only means that he subordinates himself to the Father in function in order to win salvation for us.

Consider this: Hosea 13:4 says that there is no Savior except God: "But I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me." No Savior except God allows for no exceptions. There is no savior but God! Now, Jesus is freely called the Savior in the New Testament. Now if there are no saviors but God, and Jesus is the savior, what is the only conclusion? Jesus is God! Some say, well God saved through Jesus' ministry. But this is not what the Bible says. The Bible says that Jesus conquered death (2 Timothy 1:10) took away sin (Matthew 1:21), and breathed forth the Holy Spirit like God did in Genesis 2:7 (John 20:22). These are things that only God can do. Also, only God is to be worshipped. And yet, the heavenly host gives Jesus the same worship that they give the heavenly Father (Revelation 5:13). ALSO, the terms God and Christ are used interchangeably in the New Testament (Spirit of God is also the Spirit of Christ, grace of God is also the grace of Christ, church of God is also the church of Christ, etc.). Plus, Jesus is called God in several places (John 1:1; Titus 2:13).

This may take some time to research and comprehend...but, the above explanation was enough to explain to me the meaning of the word Trinity.

Comments 2 comments

yolanda yvette profile image

yolanda yvette 5 years ago

Nicely done.


smarty2pop profile image

smarty2pop 5 years ago Author

Thank you Yolanda, I'm glad you enjoyed the read.

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