Friday, April 14, 2017

The Biblical Basis For The Trinity

  • Defining The Trinity: 
          1.) God is three persons (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). Each of these persons are fully divine in nature.
          2.) Each person is divine. One person does not equal the entire Godhead. The three persons of the Godhead are related to each other, but distinct at the same time.
          3.) There is only one God. The Bible affirms monotheism (Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:6-8). The Trinity is three persons in one essence.
  • Biblical Texts Showing Unity Among The Three Divine Persons Of The Trinity:
          -"I and my Father are one." (John 10:30)
            *Christ shares the same divine nature as God the Father, but are distinct persons ("I" stands as separate from "my Father").
            *We know that this statement implies the deity of Christ because the Jews wanted to stone Him for making it (John 10:32-33). They accused Him of blasphemy.
          -"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen." (2 Corinthians 13:14)
            *This is Trinitarian logic in that three divine persons are given equal exaltation. Christ bestows divine grace. We are bound in purpose and devotion to God through the Spirit.
          -"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:4-6)
            *Christians experience unity with the three persons of the Godhead through worship and prayer. Three persons share the one divine essence.
  • Biblical Texts Showing That Christ Is Co-Eternal With The Father:
          -"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)
            *The "Word" is spoken of as having a continued existence, without a beginning. It is described as being God yet distinct from God Himself. Jesus Christ is the divine logos. He is the way that God has spoken to man and reached out to him. 
            *John was versed in both Greek philosophy and the Old Testament Scriptures. He introduces his gospel narrative with an allusion to creation in Genesis and God speaking everything into existence by the power of His own Word. John communicated in a way that could be understood by both Jew and Gentile.
          -"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." (John 8:56-58)
            *Christ spoke of Himself as existing before Abraham. He did not speak of Himself as, "I was." Christ affirmed His own preexistence. God in the Old Testament called Himself the "I am" (Exodus 3:14). Jesus applied that language to Himself. The Jews tried stoning Him for that reason.
          -"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:6-8)
            *This text speaks of Christ as being both fully human and fully divine. God the Son in His humility took on human flesh. He temporarily suspended His divine prerogatives. Christ did not set aside His deity or any divine attributes.
  • Biblical Texts That Explicitly Call Jesus God:
          -"And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God." (John 20:28)
            *The Greek of John 20:28 literally reads, "The Lord of me and the God of me."
            *If Thomas was speaking blasphemy, then why did Christ not rebuke him for making such a statement? Instead, Thomas' profession of Jesus' identity as God was accepted (John 20:29).
          -"whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen." (Romans 9:5)
            *Whenever Paul used the expression "blessed forever," he was making a statement about the subject (Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 11:31). Thus, he uses "God blessed forever" to describe Jesus.
            *The assertion of Christ's deity balances the statement "according to the flesh."
            *The Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah because of His claims to being God (Mark 2:7; John 5:23; 19:7).
          -"But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." (Hebrews 1:8)
             *The author of Hebrews interprets Psalm 45:6-7 in a Messianic sense. He understood that passage to mean God the Father anointed God the Son. 
  • Do Statements Concerning Jesus Christ Not Knowing About Certain Things Prove That He Is Not God?:
          -Many reject the deity of Jesus because of His statement regarding His lack of knowledge regarding the day and hour (Mark 13:32). This is used to deny that He is all-knowing. However, this objection does not hold water because He was speaking from the aspect of His human nature. He was thus not speaking concerning His divine nature. Christ in His divine nature knows everything. He took on human flesh so that He could make atonement for our sin.
  • If Jesus Is God, Then Why Did He Pray To God The Father? Would God Pray To Himself?:
          -This argument is fallacious because it fails to recognize the two separate natures of Jesus Christ: human and divine. He prayed to the Creator in the state of His humanity. That is something which we as human beings ought to do. This action was appropriate and thus does not diminish Christ's intrinsic divinity. Him praying to God the Father is a necessary part of His intercession on our behalf (Hebrews 7:24-28).
  • If Jesus Is God, Then How Can He Be Called The Son Of God?:
          -Some believe that Jesus Christ is lesser than God the Father in terms of authority because He is called the "Son of God" (John 3:16). However, this title only lends credence to the divinity of Christ, since it means having the same essence as God. In other words, both are equal in the sense that they possess the same divine power and authority. They are equal in essence. The Lord Jesus Christ became a servant by taking on the form of a man. He is positionally lower than God the Father.
  • The Holy Spirit Is God:
          -"But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things." (Acts 5:3-5)
             *Lying to the Holy Spirit is said to be lying to God Himself.
  • The Holy Spirit Is All-Knowing:
          -"But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." (1 Corinthians 2:10-11)
             *The Holy Spirit searches even the depths of God, which would be impossible for any created being. The power of omniscience is something only associated with deity.
  • The Personality Of The Holy Spirit And Neuter Gender:
           -"...the argument that is often heard is that the phrase "Holy Spirit" in Greek is in the neuter gender, and it is. But Greek genders do not necessarily indicate personality. Inanimate things can have masculine genders, and personal things can have the neuter gender. We cannot automatically insert the pronoun "it" when referring to every neuter noun any more than we should always insert the pronoun "she" for "love," since love in Greek is feminine. Instead, we determine whether the Holy Spirit is personal the same way we would demonstrate that the Father or the Son is a person." (James R. White, The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering The Heart Of Christian Belief, p. 141)
           -Languages such as German assign gender to inanimate objects as well as living things. The Holy Spirit does things that only a personal being would and could do. An inanimate object cannot bear witness as does the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:12-17). An inanimate object cannot intercede for us as does the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26). An inanimate object cannot be lied to as can the Holy Spirit. An inanimate object cannot reveal the things of God as does the Holy Spirit. Any claims that such language is "personification" abuses the term and makes excuses to make the theory fit the facts.
  • Titles Shared By God The Father And God the Son: 
          -King of Kings (Deuteronomy 10:17; Daniel 2:47; Revelation 17:14); Lord of Lords (Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 136:3; Revelation 19:16); the only Savior (Isaiah 43:10-11; Acts 4:12; Titus 2:13; 3:4-7); The First and The Last (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 22:13); Rock (Isaiah 8:14; 1 Peter 2:7-8); Shepherd (Psalm 23; Hebrews 13:20-21); Lord (Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 4).
  • Identical Functions Of God The Father And God The Son: 
          -Both are worshiped by angels (Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:6); both are unchanging (Psalm 102:27; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8); both created everything (Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:10); both answer prayers (Matthew 6:6-14; John 14:13-14; Acts 7:59); both give eternal life (John 10:28; 1 John 5:11); both judge the world (Psalm 96:13; John 5:22).
  • How Could Monotheistic Jews Come To Embrace A Doctrine Such As The Trinity?:
          -"The ancient Israelite knew two Yahwehs—one invisible, a spirit, the other visible, often in human form. The two Yahwehs at times appear together in the text, at times being distinguished, at other times not. Early Judaism understood this portrayal and its rationale. There was no sense of a violation of monotheism since either figure was indeed Yahweh. There was no second distinct god running the affairs of the cosmos. During the Second Temple period, Jewish theologians and writers speculated on an identity for the second Yahweh. Guesses ranged from divinized humans from the stories of the Hebrew Bible to exalted angels. These speculations were not considered unorthodox. That acceptance changed when certain Jews, the early Christians, connected Jesus with this orthodox Jewish idea. This explains why these Jews, the first converts to following Jesus the Christ, could simultaneously worship the God of Israel and Jesus, and yet refuse to acknowledge any other god. Jesus was the incarnate second Yahweh. In response, as Segal’s work demonstrated, Judaism pronounced the two powers teaching a heresy." (

1 comment:

Justin Horn said...

Great article Jesse. Loved it.