The Beauty and Significance of the Trinity
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I am not a doctor, none of the information on any of these pages pertaining to the Ketogenic Diet or Adrenal Fatigue should be considered medical advice and should not replace the care of your personal physician. I am simply eager to share the information I have learned while on my own journey to health. Before you embark on this journey, please consult with your physician.
I recently had a reader write in and asking me to explain my beliefs about the Trinity. It was such a good question, and one that I wanted F Dean Hackett – Foundational (my dad) to answer because of his expert way of being able to take theological concepts and explain them in simple terms. I pray that this post will be a blessing to you!
Dr Hackett writes:
The Holy Scriptures open with declaring, “In the beginning God (Êlōhîm) created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
Êlōhîm, grammatically it is in plural form but the meaning is singular, revealing the majesty and beauty of God, Himself.
Later in the same chapter, verse 26 records, “The Êlōhîm said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,” thus, emphasizing again the plural form with singular meaning.
There is only one God, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strenth” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NKJV).
“The Lord (Yahweh) our God (Êlōhîm) is one!”
Yahweh is the proper and formal name of God. Êlōhîm, again, is the plural form grammatically with singular meaning.
The Scripture clearly declares God is one.
Almighty God has chosen from the very beginning to reveal Himself as one being, yet in plural form. There is only one God, but He eternally exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.
Theologians and many doctrinal statements refer to this as the Trinity.
While that word is not found in Holy Scripture, the truth is revealed in several passages of the Holy Scripture and in multiple ways.
An understanding of the concept is not easily attained and will never be fully grasped by human reasoning.
As Dr. Duffield and Dr. Van Cleave wrote in their volume on systematic theology, study of the Trinity needs to be approached
“with a deep sense of awe. All study of the Nature of God defies our full comprehension, but the tri-unity of God is the greatest of all the Divine mysteries.”1 Guy P. Duffield and Nathaniel M. Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology (Los Angeles: L.I.F.E. Bible College, 1987) 86.
The Trinity Revealed In Holy Scripture
While the concept of the Trinity is a mystery, there are clear references to the trinitarian manifestation in Scripture. One scene is the passage where Gabriel, the angel, announces to Mary she will give birth to the Son of God.
When Gabriel came to the virgin Mary and told her she would carry the Son of God in her womb, she asked, “How can this be since I do not know a man?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:34-35 NKJV).
Do you see the Trinity revealed in Gabriel’s answer to Mary?
He told Mary Holy Spirit will come upon her; the power of the Highest (Heavenly Father) will overshadow her; and the Son of God will be in her womb.
Jesus prepared for public ministry with two significant spiritual experiences.
He spent forty days fasting and praying in the wilderness of Judea which concluded with a direct and victorious encounter with the Devil.
He preceded the days of fasting and prayer with water baptism by His cousin, John the Baptist.
The water baptism experience included Holy Spirit descending on Jesus in the form of a dove and Heavenly Father speaking aloud, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17 NKJV).
Once again, the trinitarian concept is clearly revealed as Heavenly Father affirmed His Son, who was baptized, and Holy Spirit descended upon the Son in the form of a dove.
Every Human Is Created in the Image of God
Grasping the beauty and the significance of the Trinity is aided when we remember humans are made in the image of God.
God is creator of the heavens and the earth.
Mankind is creative like no other living being (computers, amazing skyscrapers, airplanes, and rockets to the moon, just to list a few).
God has a volition and chooses to love and to give mercy and grace. Men and women have a self-will and the volition to choose or not choose.
God is love and human beings have a love capacity that is not scene in any other creature.
God is triune and every human being is one person in three forms, a spirit, a soul, and a body.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now, may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thessalonians 5:23 NKJV).
The spirit of a person has their conscience, communion, and five spiritual senses, giving them capacity to live in relationship with Almighty God.
The soul has the mind, will and emotions, giving a person the ability to live in relationship with other human beings.
The body has the five senses, enabling us to live in relationship with God’s creation. Just as Almighty God is trinitarian, One God eternally existing in three persons, so mankind is made in His image.
Each person is one being with a body, soul, and spirit.
God is a Spirit and Does Not Have a Body
Jesus met a woman at Jacob’s well in Samaria and began talking with her.
He shared how she could receive abundant life and revealed His identity as Messiah. In His explanation, Jesus said, “God is spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
God is Spirit, He does not have bodily form. He is not confined to one local at a time nor is He limited by time and space.
All Scriptural references to God with physical features, such eyes, ears, an arm or a hand, are anthropomorphic terms, used to aid finite humans in grasping an infinite being.
Anthropomorphism, attributing human form, is the literary style used by Almighty God to share with mankind the love, mercy, and grace of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God.
He greatly desires a personal relationship with each person.
We are limited in understanding His nature and character because He is outside of time and space.
Everything known and understood by human beings is confined within the limits of time and space so He chose to reveal Himself in His written word through using anthropomorphisms.
There were occasions when the Son of God made pre-incarnate physical appearances during the time of the Patriarchs and the kings of Israel.
These were literal physical manifestations of the Son of God before He was conceived in the womb of Mary.
He appeared to Abraham and shared a meal with him (Genesis 18:1-8). Many scholars believe the appearance of Melchizedek is a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus (Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 7:1-4)
Jacob wrestled with Him (Genesis 32:22-30; Hosea 12:1-4). Joshua saw Him as the Captain of the Lord’s host (Joshua 5:13-15).
Nebuchadnezzar saw Him in the flaming furnace with Shadrack, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Daniel 3:24-27).
Many more occasions in Scripture have the Son of God appearing in physical form before His incarnation in the womb of Mary.
This is a compact presentation on a beautiful and significant portion of Christian doctrine.
One that is so significant and powerful, when confused or distorted, all other Christian doctrine becomes confused or distorted with it. It is my prayer this blog will be of great help and meaning to you.
F. Dean Hackett has served in full time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered through out the United States, Canada and Eastern Europe, serving as an evangelist, pastor, and conference speaker. He has planted four churches and assisted in the planting of many others and is known for training many workers who are presently in full time ministry as pastors and missionaries. He holds a Masters degree in Ministry, a Masters of Theology and a Ph.D. in theological studies. His enthusiastic and challenging ministry has made him a popular teacher and conference speaker. He has written a number of books including his Discipleship Series Discovering True Identity; Made by Design, Promise of the Father; as well as is the founder of Leadership Development Institute, which includes online classes such as Leadership 101, Where Are We At On God’s Time Clock, and The Book of Revelation. Dr. Hackett began Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate and support outreach ministries in the USA, Croatia and other regions the world that open for ministry. He is the author of F Dean Hackett – Foundational. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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With all due respect to your article, I don’t agree. The Trinity doctrine as taught by churches today did not come into being in a “Christian” form until around 300 AD, at least two centuries after the death of the last of the Apostles. Even then it was hardly adopted without controversy, and the political systems of Constantine were largely to blame.
And who says it was right? Who says that was true doctrine? It was an idea from one man and ever since that first concilie 300 AD Christians are trying to explain that idea with difficult explenations. I always wonder if they even believe it themselves? It is easy for us to call what we don’t understand, a mystery with difficult theology most lay men don’t even think about, many people just accept what is being taught without thinking twice. But I still have a lot of questions.
If the Trinity theory is true, then who ruled the earth when Jesus came to the earth as a baby? The Bible says He grew in wisdom, so as an infant I asume Jesus didn’t know about other countries because He was growing in wisdom, so who was taking care of the rest of the world?
About Christ’ baptism the Bible says: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he SAW the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice FROM HEAVEN, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He SAW the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) and He HEARD the voice of His Father, still in Heaven, saying, this is My beloved SON, hear Him. That voice didn’t come from Christ. At that moment, all three of them were present: Jesus, who was being baptized; the Father, whose voice was heard from heaven; and the Spirit, as indicated by the sign of the dove.
To whom was Christ praying all those times when He withdraw from the crowd? He was living on this earth and His prayers were to “Our Father who art in Heaven”. For me it is obvious He wasn’t praying to Himself.
Christ said, be one as my Father and I are one. He didn’t mean that literally or all people would end up as one person or spirit in Heaven, so He meant that we should be one in Christ, one in purpose, one in serving and one in so many other ways as He and His Father (still living in Heaven and taking care of the rest of the world) were and still are one in purpose. He tells married couples to become one, I think He meant that in many ways but as one as they may become they remain two different persons.
Jesus also tells people many times, He came to earth to do the will of His Father, if He is the Father and Son in one, why would He point that out?
How come that Jesus, in agony on the cross, felt His Father had forsaken Him if we was also the Father?
After His resurrection He went to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. How can He sit at the Fathers right hand if He is the Father as well as the Son?
If you ask a young child to draw the Father and the Son he or she would draw two separate persons, a Father and His divine Son. It is grown ups, who turned it into such a complicated mystery. Children are born with an innate wisdom, perhaps we should really become more like the children that God knew before they were formed in the belly.
“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:14–16). “And a little child shall lead them” (Isa. 11:6).
Even as a child and teenager in a mainstream Christian Church I couldn’t understand these complicated explenations. As a grown up well advanced in years I still wonder why people are so afraid to believe God the Father and his Son Jesus are two different persons? When people give that truth a chance they will read the entire Bible with different eyes and so many things are suddenly easier to understand, like puzzle pieces falling into place. Perhaps even as an old person I still think with the logic of a child. Children tell you how it is, they don’t make things complicated, they are honest until growns ups teach them they see it wrong and teach them to see things in complicated ways with difficult theories.
One more thought, you wrote God is a Spirit, I do believe He has a spirit just as we have, but does that exclude He also has a body, afterall we were made after His image and we are not walking around here as spirits. And if God is a Spirit, who than is the Holy Spirit as the third one? Would He be holier than God?
I hope I didn’t offend anyone because that is not my intention, I just have these questions and this article didn’t give me any answers, just more complicated stuff.