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WELCOME TO PART 2 OF THE SERIES ON GOD
AND THE TRINITY!
God and the Trinity has been an exciting subject to pursue. Evidently, others have enjoyed it as well. Since Part 1 was originally posted, 1,600 people logged on to read it.
The purpose of this series is because of the confusion that exists on the subject of the Trinity, even by some Christians. Therefore, I felt that readers would appreciate a series of articles that pull it all together. Some Christians may find parts of it elementary; but on the other hand they may catch new insights as well as find their testimony about the Trinity and Jesus' deity strengthened . . . and yes, a comparison will be made to the Mormon Church's belief, but that will come in Part 3.
For those of you who missed out on Part I, it will be helpful to read it first because I will be referring to points I made in it which give more detail—especially on the explanation of the Hologram and its comparison to the Trinity. You can view it by going to the Dashboard. Click on “Archived Articles” and scroll down to the title. (It might also appear right after this article, below.)
GOD AND THE TRINITY – PART 2
In Part 1 you discovered:
- A new analogy for the three-in-one Trinity . . . the Hologram.
- An explanation of the holographic principle in the subatomic world and quantum physics.
- How the holographic concept of God explains how Jesus can contain the whole image of the Trinitarian God.
- That God's omniscience and omnipresence is only possible if he is a Spirit.
- Why God cannot possibly be a man.
- Why God is not a cosmic force but a person.
- Why God did not acquire his attributes (no one can acquire attributes)
- There are no other Gods (as stated by God Himself).
- An explanation of the plural noun of Eloheim used in Genesis.
- The logic of why God could not have had a beginning.
- God's name (the Tetragrammaton).
Part 2 will contain the following:
- The human tendency to disengage the members of the Trinity into separate and distinct persons.
- Does the word "Trinity" appear in the Bible?
- If a Council established the "Trinitarian" term long after the last apostle died, does that negate a previous existence of a Trinitarian God?
- A summary of the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds used by Protestant churches to describe God.
- Why John called Jesus the "Logos," or the "Word."
- The begetting of the second Person of the Trinity into humanity as Jesus.
- Is there a difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost? What is his purpose?
- Is the Holy Spirit a person or a cosmic force? A definitive analysis.
- Was the universe created ex-nihilo (out of nothing) or ex-materia (out of preexisting, eternal matter.)
- If Jesus is God, was he praying to himself in the garden?
One of the most important components to the spiritual life is to understand who and what God is. Knowing who God is necessarily means the Trinity. Therefore, here are some clarifying statements about God:
|Shield of the Trinity|
“The Triune God is not the Father. He is the one God, consisting of Father, Son and Holy Ghost;
Neither is He the Son. He is the one God, consisting of Father, Son and Holy Ghost;
Neither is He the Holy Ghost. He is the one God, consisting of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” (1)
Within God’s inner, implicate Being there are three personages, or distinctions, who are members of an undivided and indivisible whole.
We do not baptize in the “nameS” of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, but in the “name” of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
There are not three beings within one being.
There are not three persons within one person.
There are three persons in one Being.
Now, on to Part 2 . . .
So far, I have found no greater example to illustrate the oneness of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in its aspect as a unified Trinitarian God than the hologram.
In Part 1, I described what a Hologram is. You learned that any isolated "part" cut from a holographic photograph will always reconstruct the entire image of the original photo instead of the cut-out part. In the same manner, if you could step into eternity and take a holographic photograph of the three-in-one God, cut one of the three personages out, say God the Son, and enlarge only that piece of God the Son, you would see, not the Son by Himself, but God in his whole and complete triune reality. This applies to any of the three coexisting members of the Trinity who are all holographic in nature and essence. You see the complete image of God. 1 Tim. 3:16 says that Jesus is God manifested in the flesh. He is not another God.All three function in specific roles as an extension, or manifestation of the one God consisting of three coexisting persons in the divine nature. (Use of the word “manifestation” is not meant to suggest Modalism.) Thus, the whole image of God is contained in the Son whether he is still in heaven as the second Person in the Godhead or on earth in human form. Therefore, Jesus can correctly be called God. The hologram also helps to clarify the statement in Col. 2:9, “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
Does the word Trinity appear in the Bible?
No. The word “trinity” does not appear in the Bible. However, the concept behind the word is in harmony with scripture. Jesus’ baptism in Matt. 3:16-17 is the most vivid example of the Trinity. Jesus stands in the water, God's voice acknowledges him as his son, and the Spirit of God descends upon him like a dove.
The fact that the term came into being long after the last apostle died does not negate a Trinitarian God. Things can exist before they are discovered by man. For example, the planet Uranus existed long before it was discovered and given a name. Quarks existed in the atom long before they were discovered. And the twenty-seven moons found by the Voyager spacecrafts existed long before their discovery. Similarly, the Trinity existed prior to when it was acknowledged. We can also see the existence of the Trinity in the use of Eloheim, a plural noun, used in Genesis; also when God uses the words "we" and "us." Therefore, the term Trinity was rightly coined.
As mentioned in Part 1, to fully comprehend the totality of the Trinity in its ultimate and eternal form is impossible because God is so far above us and is invisible. Can you imagine Moses trying to write it down? Scholars Dr. William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Horton state: ". . . as to its mode [it] is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained (Matt. 11:25-27; 28:19; Luke 1:35; 1 Cor. 1:24; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Jn 1:3-4).(2) If an angel tried to explain it to us fully, we’d probably end up with a blank look on our face, like a first grader trying to grasp calculus.
God said, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:9) So, we must settle for some limitations. Nevertheless, we do find enough on God, as Dr. Henry C. Thiesen points out in his Lectures in Systematic Theology, through the active manifestations of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He gives this example:
The only way fire can be comprehended is in its manifestation of three-fold
nature of light, wave and particle, and the only way God can be comprehended is by acting in his manifestation of his three-fold nature, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.(3)
I like Dr. Edward Dalcour's definition: "There is one true God who is revealed in three co-equal, co-eternal, co-existent, distinct Persons, the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit." (Dr. Dalcour is President of the Department of Christian Defense, a Christian Apologetic Ministry at www.christiandefense.org)
The urge to disengage members of the Trinity
Because of the complexity in understanding the Trinity, the human tendency is to liken God to human beings and picture God and the Son as two separate and distinct persons, with the Holy Spirit being an indistinguishable cosmic force. There are also some Christians who admit that they picture the Trinity as three different Gods (similar to Mormons.)
But the Godhead does not contain three separate “individuals” (although manifested separately for our human sake). If the Godhead did contain three separate individuals it would mean that God could be divided into parts and He would no longer be One. This would be contrary to scripture. Further, the Father would have two other Gods co-eternal with him, which would then raise a debate as to which one of the three is superior.
Before going on, here is a special note that pertains to Part 1 as well as Part 2, describing my limitations about some word usages:
I sometimes use the term “part(s)” when referring to the members of the Trinity. My use of the word is simply because, as a human, I can’t think of another term to use. However, dividing something into parts, while characteristic of human thinking, cannot be considered at all when it comes to God. It would incorrectly suggest that a part of God separated from God (as in the incarnated Son as Redeemer, or the Holy Spirit as Comforter), which would leave God devoid of a part of Himself.
So, in spite of my poor choice of word(s), remember that each of the three Persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit fully partake of the one undivided nature of God and all three are completely and literally God Himself. They cooperate simultaneously in the inner implicate Being of God. (Take another look at the Shield of the Trinity at the top.) The three Personages are not separate, but distinct—that is, distinctive Personages who have their own function while at the same time sharing the same Deity and having the same essence, substance and attributes. Think of the hologram. As any part of a hologram will reconstruct the entire image, so any one of the three Personages will reconstruct the entire image of God:
The Father contains the whole image of God
The Son contains the whole image of God. (Col. 2:9)
The Holy Spirit contains the whole image of God.
The whole image of God contains Father, Son and Holy Spirit
The Nicene and Athanasian Creeds
Below is a summarization of the Creeds that define the Christian Trinity that will reinforce our understanding. I have condensed them into composite and paraphrased statements to cut down on the length and make them easier to understand. They are taken from the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds and also from the book, Bible Doctrines by Menzies and Horton, including a brief quote from James White.(4)
In the following, notice how the terms, “Tritheism" (3 separate Gods) and “three Gods” are shunned—purposely avoided because both the Old Testament and the New Testament confirm only One God despite the plural usage of "Elohim" in Genesis where God refers to himself as "we" and "us." Here they are:
There is one true God, eternally self-existent, the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. (Deut. 6:4; Isa 43:10-11; Matt 28:19; Luke 3:22)
There is only one God, one divine, tri-personal nature and being. These three are joint partakers of the same nature and majesty of God.
“Because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of [literal] unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name is one.”(5)
God is one Being of three persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He does not consist of parts nor can he be divided into parts.
Within the Trinity, “there is THAT in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is THAT in the Holy Ghost which constitutes Him The Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son.”(6)
None of the three are greater or lesser than another, but all three Persons are co-eternal and co-equal together.
God’s being is simple, numerically one, free from composition. The Father is God as a person, the Son is God as a person, and the Holy Spirit is God as a person; but not three gods. (Matt 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Jn 14:16-17) The three distinct personalities are “each wholly deity, yet so harmoniously interrelated that they are one essence.”(7)
There are not three beings within one being, or three persons within one person. There are three persons in one being. That one being is shared fully and completely by three persons. “One what, three who’s.”(8)
None of them were brought into being by a greater God. The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated. They have always existed eternally.
God the Father creates the plan. In the scriptures, he is principally credited with creation.
God the Son implements the plan. He is the principal agent in the creation, applies the work of redemption to humanity, implemented His plan in the Old Testament as Jehovah, and incarnated into humanity as Jesus the Redeemer.
God the Holy Spirit administers the plan and transforms lives. He hovered over the waters during creation to energize and bring life to it. He also gives new life to believers, and is the deposit, or first installment, guaranteeing believers’ future inheritance.”(9)
Is there a difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost?
In Christian theology there is no difference between the two terms, Spirit and Ghost; they are synonymous. The difference in usage pertains to language, not theology. Pastor Walter Snyder explains how the shift in language went from the old usage of Holy Ghost to Holy Spirit:
Ghost came from the Old English ‘gast,’ related to the German ‘geist.’ “Gast sneaks into modern English in "aghast" (be shocked, terrified, rendered breathless) and "flabbergast." The German “Zeitgeist” directly entered English; it means "the spirit of the times."(10)
He further explains that over a period of 300 years, language and its meanings slowly evolved and changed. In King James and Shakespeare’s day, “Ghost” eventually came to mean a demonic apparition or the appearing of a dead person. "Spirit" became the term for life or living essence. Because of this change in language, Bible translators replaced “Ghost” with “Spirit,” although it was still a difficult switch. The Hebrew word for both ghost and spirit comes from a single word in the Hebrew, “ruach.” Besides meaning the appearance of a dead person, it could also mean, wind, breath, spirit or mind. Translators further had to contend with the meaning of the Greek word, “pneuma,” and the Latin word, “spiritus.” Nevertheless, despite these problems, whichever word the translators used for the Holy Spirit, they made it clear that it meant the third Person of the Trinity. (In Part 3 you will discover that Mormons believe they are two separate entities, one of which is a man who will some day take on a body.)
Is the Holy Spirit a person or a cosmic force?
The Holy Spirit is the immediate source of all life, physically, intellectually, and even of the universe. This is shown when He hovered over the waters of creation in Genesis One and brought life at God’s command, “Let there be…,” but is the Holy Spirit a Person?
Since God is a person and the Son is a person and all three are holistically united as one God, out of necessity the Holy Spirit must also be a person.
A.W. Tozer, in “The Counselor,” says:
Spell this out in capital letters: THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON. He is not
enthusiasm. He is not courage. He is not energy. He is not the personification of
all good qualities like Jack Frost is the personification of cold weather. Actually, the Holy Spirit is not the personification of anything . . . He has individuality. He is one being and not another. He has will and intelligence. He has hearing. He has knowledge and sympathy and ability to love and see and think. He can hear, speak, desire, grieve and rejoice. He is a Person."(11)
Neither is he a random, ethereal life force, or a symbol. A symbol would not be able to:
- communicate (speak-Acts 13:2),
- intercede (act on behalf of someone-(Rom 8:26),
- testify (John 15:26)
- guide (John 16:13)
- command (Acts 16:6,7)
- appoint (Acts 20:28)
- lead (Romans 8:14)
- reveal to someone how wrong, foolish, or sinful he/she is (John 16:8)
- seal God's promise in believers' hearts (Ephesians 1:13-14)
- shape the life of each person and community to Christ (Rom 8:1-17)(12)
The Holy Spirit is the power of God in action, a manifestation of God, for in the scriptures God identifies the Holy Spirit as “MY spirit.” (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:27-29). The Holy Spirit is the same person as the Holy “Ghost” in the KJV who gives special gifts to believers in I Cor. 12:3-11. The I Corinthian passage emphasizes that all the gifts are given by the “same spirit, same Lord, same God.” The Holy Spirit shares the same Deity, but functions differently.
The Holy Spirit is intrinsically composed of the same attributes as God. He has:
- Intellect, emotions and will. “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 Cor. 2:11)
- Emotion and capacity to love. “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” (Rom. 15:30)
- Is eternal. (Heb. 9:14)
- Is omniscient ( all-knowing). (I Cor. 2:11
- Is everywhere (omnipresent). (Ps. 139)
- Has passions and can be grieved. (Eph. 4:30)
- Is also God. (Acts 5:3-4) In the case of Annanias and Saphira’s deceit, Peter says they lied to the Holy Spirit, and in the same breath he says it is the same as lying to God.
The Holy Spirit is equal in every way with God the Father and God the Son. According to the ESV commentary (Easy Standard Version), “Anything that is necessarily true of God is true of Father, Son, and Spirit. They are equal in essence yet distinct in function.”(13)
What is God’s purpose in sending His Holy Spirit?
- He guides, and is a revelator. “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come.” (Jn. 16:13)
- A Counselor, comforter and teacher. “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.” (Jn. 14:26)
- Lives inside believers to establish a relationship between men and God. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (I Cor. 3:16)
- Empowers us. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." (Acts 1:8)
- Directs us. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14)
- Helps us in prayer and in our weaknesses. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”(Rom. 8:26)(14)
The Trinity is admittedly something one has to chew on for a while. For more on the Holy Spirit I recommend the site, “Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry” at: http://carm.org/holy-spirit. There you will find more detail in an article by Matt Slick outlining the Holy Spirit’s names, symbols, attributes, sins against Him, and more. If you rest your cursor on every scripture he references, a box automatically pops up showing the text so that you don’t have to run to your Bible to look it up.
Now, we come to the most momentous event in all of eternity—God’s plan to reveal Himself to the world and redeem mankind from the Fall!
THE LOGOS (THE WORD) AND THE BEGETTING OF THE SECOND PERSON OF THE TRINITY INTO HUMANITY
Jesus is God manifested in the flesh. He is not another God.
(I Tim. 3:16)
In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word
was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him;
and without him was not any thing made that was made. And the Word was made
flesh and dwelt among us . . . (Jn 1:1-3, 14)
The apostle John begins with the Greek word “Logos” (Word) and nails it down to not only mean something said, but as a personal title for a “He”—which turns out to be the second Person in the Godhead, the pre-mortal Jesus.
Why does John call Jesus the “Word?” Because the role of the second Person in the Trinity is and ever has been to eternally express the mind of God. As a member of the Trinitarian Elohim, the pre-mortal Jesus expressed the mind of God in the creation ("Let there be"), also as Jehovah in the Old Testament ("I Am"), and as the incarnated Jesus in the New Testament.
John begins by explaining that the “Word” (which later became flesh) already existed WITH God in the beginning (v.1) He was the second Person in the Trinity.
In Koine Greek the preposition “with” is pros (short for prosopon pros prosopon) meaning “face and person.” Therefore, according to the Apologists’ Bible Commentary, a face-to-face kind of phrasing was intended to show intimacy and personal relationship. Thus, for John to say the Word was “with” God, meant that the Word was “face to face with God,” or the Word had intimate fellowship with God.”(15) (This is an apt description for any of the three personages.(16) See Jewish sources in endnote 16 showing their interesting distinction between the Word and God.)
The “Word” WAS God. (v.1) The Greek word for “was” signifies the Word’s position and existence as God, indicating his having the same equality, identity and association with God. He was not a subordinate being or second in command. The Word was the eternal Jehovah and the pre-mortal Jesus. (Ex. 3:15)
The “Word” is called by a personal pronoun—HIM (because the totality of God is a personal being.” All things were made by Him, and creation came into being via the preexistent Jesus speaking the “Word” of the Elohim God. (v.3)
The definition of “Logos” in Strong’s Concordance is: “Something said, including the thought.” Therefore, we are speaking of the Word that resides within the thoughts of the Trinitarian God, utilized and expressed by Jehovah, the pre-existent Jesus. The Apologists Bible Commentary defines Logos as an expression of “personality in communication.” But communication with whom? . . . all members of the Trinitarian Godhead. Jesus could do nothing unless the Father and the Holy Spirit were in 100 percent total agreement.
Did the universe come into being ex-nihilo or ex-materia?
Creation did not come out of eternally pre-existent matter (ex-materia); for if matter existed as such, it would be co-eternal and possibly co-equal(!) with God. This would demote God’s sovereignty and, in view of His declarations about Himself in the scriptures, make Him a liar. When He spoke, His word had power to bring things into existence. Creation came ex-nihilo, out of nothing.
The Psalmist verifies that all God had to do was speak:
The Lord merely spoke and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born . . . For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command. (Ps. 33:6-9. NLT)And from the early Bible that Christians used (the Greek Septuagint) comes the following:
"I implore you, my child, observe heaven and earth, consider all that is in them, and acknowledge that God made them out of what did not exist, and that mankind comes into being in the same way." (2 Maccabees 7:27-19.(fn17) See also Heb. 11:3).
So God the Logos, the Word, the second Person in the Trinity, the Almighty Jehovah, the pre-mortal Jesus, performed His distinctive function of creation for and in behalf of all three members of the Triune God by merely speaking. In the Genesis account, this tri-cooperative act was represented by the use of the plural name of Elohim, even though the pre-mortal Jesus (the Son) was doing the speaking:
And God (Elohim/plural) said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Gen. 1:3)
And God (Elohim/plural) said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. (v. 6) etc.
And God (Elohim/plural) said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . . (v. 26) [“image,” meaning the invisible aspects of mind, free will, emotion, intellect, ability to communicate, etc.]
The “Word” later became flesh in the form of Jesus. (v.14)
If the Elohim could bring the universe, planets, stars, oceans, mountains, flora, fauna, and humans into existence, then it should require no stretch of the imagination to believe that the Elohim could beget (project or extend) that part of Himself, the second personage from His “bosom” (Jn 1:18) into Mary’s womb that was prepared by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, as the power of God in action, overshadowed her and brought life into her womb the same as He did when He hovered and overshadowed the waters of creation in Genesis 1:2.
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest (meaning the Holy Ghost that proceeds from the throne of God) shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)
The purpose of the Word becoming flesh was to reveal God to the people at a level they could relate to and understand; also, to act as savior and mediator, redeem mankind from the Fall, and provide eternal life instead of spiritual death. (I Tim 2:5) Who else could possibly reveal God to the people except God Himself, or a Person who was actually within the heart and bosom of God? (Jn. 1:18)
Testifying to the fact that prior to creation, the “Word” in eternity was not the man Jesus, but the second distinction or Personage in the Trinity (God the Word/God the Son/God the Logos), the Old Testament prophet Micah stated that this ruler of Israel who would eventually come forth had his origin in eternity:
But thou, Bethlehem . . . out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)
Therefore, to Mary, the angel rightly called him “Immanuel,” God with us. Jesus the man was not separated from God in his essence or attributes, even though, so to speak, he was in a different geographical location during His incarnation. He did not lose his identity as God or the second Person in the Trinity. He continued to maintain a holistic union with the whole nature, essence and image of God. (Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (Jn 14:9)
Also, the incarnation didn’t mean that the Trinity was now devoid of one part of itself. Jesus holistically continued to contain the whole image of God (as with a hologram). In his incarnation dwelt a fully divine nature and a fully human nature; “two natures unconfused resid[ing] in one Person.”(18) Menzies and Horton explain:
[Jesus] was not part God and part man. He was and is 100 percent God and at the same time 100 percent human. That is, He held a full set of divine qualities and a full set of human qualities in the same Person in such a way that they did not interfere with each other. (See Acts 1:11) (19)
This holistic nature of the Trinity accounts for the statement in Col. 2:9 that says, “In Him resided the whole Godhead bodily.” Thus, Jesus became the visible image of the invisible God (Heb. 1:1-2); a manifestation of God. Thus, the "mystery" of God existing up to that time became resolved in the physicality of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 2:5-11) He did not lose his God status, which is why Gabriel could announce to Mary that her baby would be “Immanuel, God with us” (Isa 7:14; Matt. 1:23). His divine and human nature was acknowledged by the disciples (Mt. 16:16; Jn 20:28), by the people (Mt. 2:2,11; 14:33; 28:9) and more importantly, by Jesus Himself (Jn 14:9).
That Jesus declared Himself God is substantiated by the scriptures. He definitely knew where He came from, and who He was—God. This is the primary reason the Jews wanted to stone him!
. . . Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. (Phil. 2:5-6)
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (Jn 8:58-59) [I am=Jehovah God]
Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. (Jn 5:18)
Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which
of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we
stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself
God. (Jn 10:32-33)
If Jesus is God, was he praying to himself in the garden?
Some struggle with the question: “How, if Jesus was supposed to be God, could he pray to his Father in heaven? Was He praying to Himself?” No, he was not praying to himself. He was praying in his humanity to God, but also in his divinity. Remember, that the nature of all three Personages, even in eternity past, has been relationship and communication with each other.
Thus, understanding Jesus' role in eternity past helps us to comprehend the following scriptures:
- Why Micah prophesied that the baby to be born in Bethlehem had his origin in eternity and was “from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)
- John’s statement that Jesus preexisted “in the Father’s bosom.” (Jn 1:18)
- Why the scriptures say Jesus was the Logos (Word) who created the universe. (Jn 1:14)
- How Jesus could be Jehovah God of the Old Testament.
- Why Jesus said: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” (scriptures about his divinity in endnote 20)
- Why the angel in Matthew 1:23 said that Jesus would be called “Immanuel, God with us.”
- How Jesus could maintain both his divine nature and human nature at the same time.
- Jesus’ statement to his disciples that He and his Father were one and that if they have seen him they have seen the Father. (Jn 14:9)
- The reference in Col. 2:9, that the fullness of the Father was in Jesus, and that in him resided the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
In this post, we have looked at:
- The Hologram (briefly; more completely in Part 1)
- The Athanasian and Nicene Creeds that describe God, which purposely avoid using the terms, “Tritheism” and “three Gods” because both the Old Testament and the New Testament confirm only One God.
- Why Jesus is called the "Logos" or the "Word." This, because he always expresses the mind of God. Earlier, as a member of the Trinitarian Elohim the pre-mortal Jesus also expressed the mind of God in the creation ("Let there be"), as Jehovah in the Old Testament ("I Am"), and as the incarnated Jesus in the New Testament.
- The manifestation of the third person of the Trinity into humanity as Jesus. God, the Elohim, begat (projected or extended) that part of Himself from His “bosom” (Jn 1:18) and produced life into Mary’s womb through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit that gives life to all things, similar to when the Holy Spirit brought life to the world when he hovered and overshadowed the waters of creation in Genesis 1:2. (God did not come down as a man and literally have sex with Mary to produce Jesus, as many Mormons believe.)
- The difference between the Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost; his mission; and that he is a person.
- The implausibility that the universe was created out of pre-existent eternal matter (as Mormons believe), which is illogical. If eternal matter existed apart from God it would be co-eternal and possibly co-equal with God. This would demote God’s sovereignty, and in view of His declarations about Himself in the scriptures, make Him a liar.
Summary Wrap up on the Trinity
- The Triune nature of God consists of three distinctions or Personages—not three separate Gods floating around inside a kind of God-cocoon.
- The three personages in the Trinitarian nature of God are co-eternal, co-equal, and “one” in essence, nature and deity.
- All three function holistically in specific roles as an extension, or manifestation of the one unified God.
- As with a holographic photograph (See Part 1 of this series), if you could withdraw one of the three personages out from God and take a holographic photo of that single personage, you would not see the personage by himself, but God in his whole and complete triune reality. Thus, the whole image of God is in the Son (even when on earth as Jesus); also, the Holy Spirit. All three members of the Trinity are holographic in nature and essence, clarifying the statement in Col. 2:9, “For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
- The only way that God can be comprehended is through his manifestations. Fire would not be visible if it did not manifest itself in its three-fold nature of light, wave and particle. Similarly, God can only be comprehended when he manifests Himself through his three-fold nature of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
- Although our finite minds are not able to grasp every aspect of the Trinity, the scriptures have provided the essentials.
For myself, and hopefully for you, the analogy of the hologram (discussed more fully in Part 1 where the parts are in the whole, the parts have access to the whole, and the whole is in the parts), offers an excellent illustration of how the three can be one. It also helps to picture how Jesus could still retain the whole image and essence of God, therefore could be called God.
Having an accurate understanding of the Biblical God and His Trinitarian nature provides a yardstick that enables us to more clearly detect religions that embrace a contradictory view.
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1. “The Doctrine of the Trinity” by Charles H. Welch, quoting a “Dr. Chalmers,” Ch. 7, p. 22. Published by The Berean Publishing Trust. (Emphasis mine) See also: www.bibleunderstanding.com/Is%20God%20a%20Person.PDF.
2. Bible Doctrines: A Pentecostal Perspective, William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Horton (Logion Press, Springfield, MO, 1994) 44.
3. Henry C. Thiessen, Ph.D. Lectures in Systematic Theology. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Dec. 1980), Page unknown. [Brackets mine.]
4. Menzies and Horton, Op. cit., 44-45.
5. Menzies and Horton, Op. cit. 45.
6. Menzies and Horton, Op. cit., 44-45.
7. Menzies and Horton, Op. cit., 54.
8. “A Brief Definition of the Trinity” by James White. http://vintage.aomin.org/trinitydef.html.
9. Menzies and Horton, Op. cit, 54 (bulleted formatting and parentheticals are mine; plus, I have inserted words of my own)
10. “Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost? A Spirited Comparison” by Pastor Walter Snyder. http://www.adishakti.org/_/holy_spirit_or_holy_ghost.htm and http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081023111755AAMdSiO
11. The Counselor” Straight Talk about the Holy Spirit, A.W. Tozer. (Wingspread, Nov. 18, 2009.) Cited at http://www.spirithome.com/spirpers.html.
13. “Is the Trinity Biblical?” ESV Study Bible commentary at Www.Jesus.org.
14. Reformatted and paraphrased from commentary given at http://www.allaboutgod.com/holy-spirit.htm.
15. Http://www.thriceholy.net/truegodf.html16. http://forums.carm.org/vbb/archive/index.php/t-168648.html. And the Word was God. In John 1, he speaks of the Word as a distinct person from God the Father. So do the Targums (Aramaic paraphrasing of the Old Testament for the common people), and Chaldee paraphrases, as in Ps. 110:1, making a distinction between God and the Word, with both still being “God.” In the creation, the Jerusalem Targum of Johathan ben Uziel renders Bereshit 1:27 [Gen. 1:27] as follows: “And the Word [Memra] of the Lord created man in His likeness, in the likeness of the Lord, the Lord created, male and female created He them.” Another example is: “Ye have made the word of the Lord King over you this day, that He may be your God.” (Deut. 26:17). In one Targum, Hosea 1:7, it says: “I will redeem them by the word of the Lord their God.” Gen. 28:20 in the Onkelos Targum reads: “If ‘the Word of the Lord’ will be my help, and will keep me, etc . . . then “the Word of the Lord” shall be “my God.” Also, in the Jonathan Ben Uzziel Targum, Lev. 26:12: “I will cause the glory of my shekinah to dwell among you, and my word shall be your God, the Redeemer.” Other Targums: Deut. 2:17. “The Truth of the Trinity” at www.doxa.ws/Trinity/More_memra.html; also, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible at http://bible.cc/john/1-1.htm.
17. Cited at http://www.religioustolerance.org/crebegin.htm.
18. Menzies and Horton, Op. cit. 63.
19. Menzies and Horton, Op. cit. 63.
20. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am (KJV)
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM (NLT)
Before Abraham was even born, I have always been alive (NLT; footnote alternate)
See also: Jn 8:58, Jn 17:5; Jn 6:62; Jn 3:13; Jn 6:46; Jn 8:14; Jn 16:28.http://www.blogpingtool.com http://www.hypersmash.com/dreamhost/