Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trinity- God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit

Another important theological subject of great importance that should be addressed when referring to God is the doctrine of the trinity. The Bible states that God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are three separate beings but one at the same time. One way to describe this is one in essence and three in person. It is not easy to describe what the trinity actually is but there are certain things that it is not. Although God is one in essence, this does not limit only one part of the trinity being a deity. God is three persons in one and all three are divine. They are the same but separate all at once. The Bible tells us that all three persons are God. Also, God is one in essence but that does not mean the trinity is a single person. The trinity is three people who are considered one unit. Thirdly, the trinity consists of three people but no one part of the trinity is any less important than the other parts. There is no hierarchy in the trinity. As well, just because God is three persons, that does not mean there are three different gods. There is one God who is manifested as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Because the concept of the trinity is a hard one to grasp, people have attempted to create analogies to make it easier to understand. Some such examples are the trinity triangle, the illustration of the family of man, the illustration of the human mind, illustrations from the world of nature, and illustrations from the physical realm. To understand the trinity, one should first delve into the separate parts of the Trinity and try to understand each person before studying the concept of the three being as one.

The New Testament is able to give us a good picture of the nature of the trinity. Matthew states "Now once Jesus had been baptized, He immediately came down out of the water, and behold, the heavens opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and lighting upon Him. And behold, a voice from heaven was saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." This passage shows the three separate parts of the trinity acting as different people: Jesus, the Spirit, and the voice which belonged to God.

John 1 states "And I will ask the Father and He will give you a Comforter, that He may be with you forever." Here Jesus is speaking and he says he will ask God to send the Holy Spirit to the people so that he may be with them forever. 2 Corinthians also says "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." Again we see the New Testament talking about the three separate parts of the trinity being different but at the same time equal.

Each part of the trinity also has different roles to play within the world. With Gods plan, it is authorized by the Father, carried out by Christ, and administered through the wisdom of the Spirit. With creation, it was directed by the Father, carried out by the Son, and empowered by the Spirit. In regards to salvation, the Father directs the son to go on the mission, Christ completes the mission, and the Spirit supports the mission during and afterwards. With the spiritual gifts of the believer, they are given by the Holy Spirit, with certain ministries assigned by Christ and ordered by the Father.

The idea of the trinity is also mentioned in the Old Testament but not as clearly defined as in the New Testament. The image of the Son as the Messiah is spoken about several times in the Old Testament. It is foreshadowed in the references to blood sacrifices, the prophecies, and the appearances of Christ in the Old Testament.

With regards to Christ appearing in the Old Testament, some would argue that it is the Father that appears and not the Son, but there are several proofs which state it was Christ which appeared. One such proof is that the Bible teaches that God is invisible and therefore sent the Son to be visible on His behalf. Also, we cannot come to the Father without first going through Christ, so we cannot see God directly. Some examples of where Christ appears on behalf of the Father in the Old Testament would be many cases where "the angel of the Lord" appears, the angel of the Exodus, the "man" who wrestles with Jacob, the "man" who appeared to Abraham, the "man" who appeared to Joshua, and the angel of the Lords appearance to Samson.

In conclusion, man can never really know the nature of God. All we can do is look at the evidence that is around us and try to put what we know and feel into human terms. We can never do justice to God by describing how we think He really is, but because He gave us the ability to think and reason and know Him, all we can do is try our best and live for the glory of God.




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