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The Bible and the Trinity Part 1
False Views of the Trinity
There are many mysteries in the world. A mystery is something which cannot be fully understood with human reason. An example of this is the atom. Science teaches that the whole universe is composed of these tiny invisible particles. The interesting thing is that within each atom are protons and neutrons. Protons are positively charged and neutrons are negatively charged. The mystery about this is the fact that positive and negative charges repel one another. The question of what keeps atoms from blowing apart is puzzling. For lack of a better term, some have called that which holds it together, an atomic glue. Otherwise, the whole universe would blow up in a gigantic atomic explosion.
I could name others, but the mystery which this article is discussing today is that of the Trinity. This is a truly distinctive doctrine of the Christian faith. There is no other world religion which teaches this concept. Islam and Judaism teach that there is one God. But it is Christianity alone which tells us that there is one God, eternally existing in three persons- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Not only that but the Christian faith teaches that these three persons are each co-eternal and co-equal. In other words, one is no less God than the others.
Science, with all of its sophisticated instruments and all of its advances, still knows relatively little about the universe which surrounds us. It is so vast that we have only scratched the surface of learning of its many secrets. How much less do we know the God who created that universe. After all, He is one of a kind. There is no other being to compare to Him. God is spirit, so He is outside this material universe. He is invisible, and beyond the reach of our instruments. Apart from His revelation in His Word, the Bible, we can never truly know Him.
If we don't follow what God says about Himself, it will lead to some false understanding of who He is. And down through the centuries, man has formulated some false, unscriptural views about the Trinity. Let us look at a few.
This view holds that there are three distinct gods. This is obviously wrong, because the Bible teaches that there is only one God. Indeed, Deuteronomy 6:4 says: "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God; the Lord is one."
This teaches that there is one God who has revealed Himself in several modes. To use myself as an example, I am obviously one person. Yet in the church I attend , I am the pastor. To my parents, I am a son. To my siblings, I am a brother. If I go to a store, I am a customer.
In the same way, some people teach that as Father, God is the creator and lawgiver. As Son He is the redeemer. And as the Spirit, He is the regenerator and the sanctifier. Or, to put it another way, God may be considered Father in the Old Testament, Son during the Gospels, and Spirit in this period in which we live.
A big problem with this false view is that the Bible shows all three persons of the Trinity together, at the same time, in places. An example of this is Jesus' baptism in Matthew 3:13-17. Verses 16 and 17 depict Jesus coming up out of the water, the Spirit descending out of heaven to light upon Jesus, and a voice coming out of the heavens saying: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." This and other passages depict the Father, Son and Spirit as three distinct persons.
III. The Created Trinity View
Some have taught that only the Father is a divine being, who was absolutely without beginning. They have said that the Father created the Son out of nothing, as His first act of creation. In this view, the reason the Son is called God is because he is the direct offspring of God and has been endowed with divine power to create.
This idea is apparently based upon the statement in Colossians 1:15, which says of Christ that he is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn of every creature. This title of 'firstborn' is taken out of context by those who espouse this view. It is merely a title of inheritance, which simply proves that he owns it all. If you continue to read this passage, it also states that Christ created everything that has been made. All things were created by him. This excludes him from being created himself.
Obviously, there is much more to say about the Bible and the Trinity, and further articles will uncover far more. But for now, we can see from the study of the false views that there are not three Gods. And there is not one God with three jobs or modes. Further, there is not one God who created the Son and the Spirit. There is one God, eternally existing in three persons. Someone has said that to try to explain the Trinity will cause one to lose his mind. To deny the Trinity will cause one to lose his soul. Frankly, to miss this doctrine is to miss what Christianity is all about. We worship the Triune God who, in the person of Jesus Christ, became 'God with us.' It is that Triune God that has saved us and given us an eternal hope through Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. To worship anything less is to miss who He is and what He has accomplished for us.