The Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Much confusion exists in the minds of God’s people concerning the Holy Trinity of Heaven — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Some believe that they are three aspects of just one person. This they illustrate by speaking of the sun as having light, heat, and power. Others think that there is only one person who is God, and that person is the Lord Jesus, and that no other person will be seen on the Throne in Heaven but the Son.

There are others who believe that God is a person who manifests Himself sometimes as Jesus, and sometimes as the Spirit, and eventually as the Father. The Bible, however, displays clearly that the Godhead is an actuality of separate persons of the Trinity, and that there are three distinct and definite Persons who are in this Holy Trinity, whom we call the Godhead. Therefore, Father, Son, and Spirit are equally God over all, blessed forever, the Triune Jehovah, in whose name alone we trust, on whose arm we rely, and whose majesty alone we adore and love (THE TRINITY, by Edward H. Bickersteth, pages 3, 4, 5).

The Bible Teaches The Trinity

The Bible teaches that God is three persons in one nature. The three persons are equal in nature, separate in person, and submissive in duties. This is difficult for our finite, limited minds to understand. Nevertheless, God is three persons in one nature. Jesus is a person. The Holy Spirit is a person. The Father is a person. I John 5:7 is as follows: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. Bible scholars point out that this verse may not be in some of the oldest manuscripts on the New Testament. However, there are many other passages, where there is no textual problem, which teach God is three persons, yet one person. The apostolic church taught the best place to see the Trinity was to visit the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized.

The Father spoke from Heaven audibly, the Holy Spirit came down visibly, and Jesus the Son was being baptized (Matthew 3:16,17). “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.” While Jesus the Son was on the cross, he prayed to God the Father (Luke 23:34): Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. In Psalm 2:7, God the Father said to God the Son: …Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. In John 10:30, Jesus said: I and my Father are one. Again, Jesus said in John 14:9: …He that hath seen me hath seen the Father…

In Colossians 2:9, we are told about Jesus: For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Jesus, Himself, spoke of the Holy Spirit as a person. Notice John 14:16-17, and 26: “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” You can see from these many passages God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons and yet you can also see from John 14:23 that God is one essence.

Jesus teaches in this verse that he and the Father will dwell in Christians by means of the presence of the Holy Spirit: “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).

Trinity AND Unity

It should be noted that the Godhead is both a Trinity and a Unity, three yet one, God of very God. The unity of God means that there is but one God and that the Divine nature is undivided and indivisible. There can be, therefore, only one infinite and perfect being. That the Divine nature is undivided and indivisible is presented in Scripture–Here, 0 Israel! The Lord is our God, is one Lord! (Deuteronomy 6:4- see also Mark 12:29; James 2:19). God does not consist of parts, nor can he be divided into parts. His being is simple, numerically one, free from the composition of man’s composition, which has both a material and an immaterial part. But God is Spirit and is not susceptible of any such division. The concept of the unity of God is not, however, inconsistent with the concept of the Trinity, for a unity is not the same as a unit. A unit is marked by mere singleness.

The unity of God allows for the existence of personal distinctions in the Divine nature, while at the same time recognizing that the Divine nature is numerically and eternally one. Unity does not imply that the three persons of the Trinity are not separate essences within the Divine essence. The doctrine of the Trinity is not a truth of natural theology, but of revelation. Reason may show the unity of God, but the doctrine of the Trinity comes from direct revelation. …We of Christianity worship the Triune God. Although the term “Trinity” does not occur in the Bible, it had very early usage in the church. The Athanasian Creed expresses the early church Trinitarian ‘belief ‘by stating, “We worship one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in unity- we distinguish among the persons, but we do not divide the substance… The entire three persons are co-eternal and co-equal with one another, so that … we worship complete unity in Trinity and Trinity in unity.” (LECTURES IN SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, by Henry C. Thiessen, pages 89, 90.)

The Bible is a miracle book, a supernatural book, and just like the concept of the Trinity, it is far greater than our finite and limited minds can fully comprehend though we keep on learning its precious truths day after day through all the years of our lives. In like manner also, the suffering and death of Christ on the cross and the wonderful redemption and gift of everlasting life which are ours because of what He wrought for us are far greater than our finite and limited minds can fully understand, though we will continue to glorify Him throughout the endless ages of eternity because of our wonderful, wonderful salvation through Him.

What was hidden in the Old Testament is clearly revealed in the New Testament. The doctrine of the Trinity that was implied in the Old Testament is clearly taught in the New Testament. There is an element of mystery in doctrines that first appear in the Old Testament before they are more completely revealed in the New Testament. Throughout the Old Testament there are continuous signposts that point to the existence of the Trinity. These are seen in the names of God, the worship of God, and the distinctions made within the Godhead.

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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