Do You Believe in the Trinity?

The trinity is clearly put forth in the Scriptures. We will examine where Scripture puts forth evidence of the trinity and exactly what the trinity means about the nature of God.


Scriptural Evidence of the Trinity


The reality of the trinity of God is first introduced in Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The word translated "God" in this Scripture is the Hebrew word elohiym which means gods. It is the plural form of the Hebrew word eloahh which means deity or god. The extension "-im" is consistently used in the Hebrew language to illustrate plurality. In fact, the majority of the references to God in the Old Testament are in the plural form of elohiym.


As you examine the story of creation, you can see the trinity in operation. Let's look at Genesis 1:1-3, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
The presence of both God and the Spirit of God in these verses is obvious. However, Jesus is represented in the spoken Word of God indicated by "God said..." How do we know that the voice of God refers to Jesus? First we know this because the Bible indicates that the voice of God is a person. After the fall of man Scripture states in Genesis 2:8, "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden." Here the Bible says that God's voice was walking and that it had a presence. Also, in John 1:1-3 we are told that Jesus is the Word of God, that He was with God from the beginning, and that nothing was made without Him.


We can see further evidence of the trinity in God's discourse on the creation of mankind. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." (Genesis 1:26a) In this Scripture, God refers to Himself in the plural. He says "Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness." In agreement with His Word, God created man as a triune being - a reflection of God's image. Mankind is a spirit, housed in a body, that has a soul. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1st Thessalonians 5:23)


We also see the concept of the trinity of God carried over to the New Testament. A physical manifestation of the trinity is seen in 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." Here we have three distinct yet simultaneous presentations: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is being baptized, the Holy Spirit descends on Him in the form of a dove, and God the Father is speaking from Heaven at the same time.


The trinity is defined explicitly in 1st John 5:7, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." God cannot be more clear than in this Scripture. There are THREE bearing record in Heaven and these three are ONE. The three being one means that there are three in unity or tri-unity resulting in the word trinity. It does not say that there is ONE who manifests as THREE.


The Trinity and the Nature of God


The problem that many seem to have is in knowing exactly HOW the three are one. The concept of the trinity is not some mystery that we cannot understand. In fact, as Christians, we know that we are the Church of God, we belong to the Body of Christ, and we are being prepared as the Bride of Christ. Although Church, Body, and Bride are singular expressions, we have no problem understanding that these terms actually represent a multitude of believers. It is clear that although we are many, there is something that unifies us into one body. This "something" is the one mind under which we all operate (the mind of Christ) which brings us into obedience to God. The trinity is the same way. God the Father, Jesus the Son , and the Holy Ghost are not one because they are one vessel. They are one because they are three eternal beings that are always in agreement with each other; they are united in will and therefore always operate in unison.


An excellent presentation of how the trinity functions, according to Scripture, is the earthly family. In His divine wisdom, God has set-up the family unit in such a way as to reveal the authority and order of God to us. The roles God has designed for the family unit is a direct reflection of the roles of each member of the Godhead. God is the Father, Jesus is the Son, and the Holy Spirit as the Comforter is the equivalent to the role of a mother. Remember, we are not talking about genders here. We are talking about "roles" and how those roles relate to each other.


Although comprised of more than one person (father, mother, and children), a family functions as one entity because all of the members of the family are to be in subjection to the head of the family - namely the father. Scripture tells us that it is the same way with God.


Jesus' "role" in relationship to the Father was in obedience and subjection to His will as His Son. He takes commands from His Father and subjects His will to that of the Father (John 5:30-37, John 6:38-39, John 6:57, John 10:18, John 12:49, John 14:31, John 15:10, Luke 2:49, Luke 11:2, Matthew 26:42). This is consistent with the "role" given children in earthly families (Ephesians 6:1, Colossians 3:20).


The "role" of the Holy Spirit is to perform God's Word as the life-giving power of God. The Holy Spirit also operates in obedience to the Father (John 16:13-15). As a life-giver, comforter, and nurturer of God's people, the spirit's "role" is like that of the woman (John 6:63, John 14:16, Romans 8:11, 1st Peter 3:18). The woman also produces life in the earthly family and is a comforter and nurturer. Also, we know from Scriptures that the woman is the glory of the man (1st Corinthians 11:7). Likewise, the Holy Spirit reveals the Glory of God (2nd Corinthians 3:18, 1st Peter 4:14).


1st Corinthians 11:3 states, "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." God tells us two important things about the structure of a family and the order of God. The head of the woman is the man just like the head of Christ is God. In each instance, we see that the final authority rests with the father (both in the earthly family and in the family of God).


Further Ephesians tells us specifically that the order of the earthly family is also a direct reflection of Christ's relationship with the Church.


"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." (Ephesians 5:22-33)


So, how are the three members of the Godhead one? Because God is like a family. An earthly family is one because the wife and children are in subjection to the head of the family - the father. God the Father, Jesus the Son , and the Holy Ghost are one because the Son and the Spirit subject their wills to the Father's allowing them to always be in agreement with Him. The church is one body because the Spirit of God allows us to be in agreement with and in submission to Christ and therefore in obedience to the Father. In all cases (earthly and spiritual), it is obedience to the Father that brings about unity or oneness.


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