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The German word dreienigkeit is a much more descriptive and accurate word for the Trinity. Directly translated it means three-oneness. English fails to capture the true essence with the word Trinity. Tri-unity has also been suggested but still falls short. The Trinity is three persons, Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. They are one God. They are not three different manifestations of God or three individual people who are in unity. They are one but three and three but one.
The Old Testament does not refer explicitly to the Trinity, but we find them right in Genesis 1. This makes perfect sense. To understand creation and who we are the very first point is to understand Who created it all. In Genesis 1:1 we meet God, Elohim, the plural God. In verse 2 we meet the Holy Spirit. In verse 26 we know that there is definitely more than one person as God refers to Us and We and again in Genesis 3:22 and Genesis 11:7.
Father is called God. The Son Jesus Christ is called God. Holy Spirit is called God. God is one God. (1 Cor 8:6, Heb 1:8-10, Acts 5:3-4, Deut 6:4) The fact that they are all God means that they are equal, have the same authority, are united and cannot be separated from one another. John 5:21 confirms that Jesus has the same authority as the Father. Acts 5:3-4 and Matthew 12:31 explain that the Holy Spirit has the same authority as the Father and Jesus.
Jesus, the Son of God.
The fact that Jesus is referred to as the Son of God and the only begotten Son can seem confusing. If Jesus is begotten, then surely He had a beginning? But this is not the case. Jesus is God and has always existed. He is worshipped by the angels and only God is worshipped. (Mic 5:2, Heb 1:6) An important point is that God is far beyond our understanding and in our limited understanding we try to explain a limitless God. (1 Cor 13:9-12) The words begotten, and firstborn and only begotten Son do not mean Jesus came into existence. They are simply words to describe His humanity. He was begotten into humanity. He is the firstborn in status. He is the only begotten Son in His uniqueness.
Plural God acts as one God
Plural God moves and acts as one God. The three persons work together as one. Matthew 28:19 shows us the three working together. Jesus is baptized, the Holy Spirit appears as a dove and the Father speaks. In Isaiah 48:16 and 61 we find God the Father sending Jesus empowered by the Holy Spirit. Once again three parts working as one God.
Isaiah 6:8, Psalm 110, and John 14:16 show us that the Trinity speaks to each other. They confer and decide together as one God. Jesus pressed home the fact that He is part of one God over and over again. He only does what He sees the Father do. He does what the Father taught Him. He does not speak on His own authority but on the orders His Father gave. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Him. (John 5:19, 8:28, 12:49 and 14:10)
Unique Function and Distinct Personality
Each person of God has a unique function and a distinct personality. The grace of Jesus, love of God, presence, and fellowship of the Holy Spirit. (2 Cor 13:14) When Jesus was preparing to leave earth, He told His disciples that He would ask Father God to send another Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who would remain with us forever. (John 14:16) Jesus’ Name is Emmanuel, God with us. (Is 7:14) His function was to be with us for a time. The Holy Spirit is with us forever. Both are called Comforter. Isaiah 48:16 is about the three separate persons of God each with their own function. Isaiah 61:1 confirms this again.
This article was reproduced with the permission of Rosalind Schlabitz. She is wife to one husband, mother to 2 girls and 1 boy and the eldest of seven children. She is the managing director of Hope for Life, CFC’s vision in action and a qualified biblical counsellor.
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