Doctrine of God 0003 - Lesson 3

  1. THE NATURE OF GOD (Continued)
    1. The Doctrine of the Trinity Illustrated (Continued)
      1. Illustrations of the Trinity (Continued)
        1. The nature of man is probably the most powerful biblical illustration of the Trinity.
          1. Man was made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Very likely, the "image" has to do with the basic form of man's being and "likeness" has to do with basic qualities such as a sense of justice, an appreciation of beauty, an understanding of love, and other things.
          2. Therefore, the image of God in man probably refers to man being a three-in-one being just as God is a three-in-one being. Man is made up of spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
            1. The body is that part of man which is seen. This matches Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the only person of the Godhead to be manifest in the flesh.
            2. The soul of man is the center of control and matches much of what is said in scripture about the Father.
            3. The spirit of man matches the Spirit of God.
          3. This illustration is not perfect. Man is certainly NOT three persons in one being. However, his body, soul, and spirit have some form of independent existence.
            1. The body: death occurs when the spirit and soul leave the body. Yet, men commonly refer to a person being buried in a certain place--though it is just his body. And people speak of how good someone looks at the funeral home.
            2. The soul: the Bible refers to the souls as being the people themselves. In Revelation 6:9-10, the souls of those who have been slain are seen and they cry unto God for vengeance. In Luke 16:24, the soul of the rich man in hell speaks and mentions his tongue.
            3. The spirit: the spirits of men also have some sort of independent existence. By comparing Ecclesiastes 3:21 with Ecclesiastes 12:7, we see that the spirits of men return to God in heaven after they die.
          4. Yet, even though each part of man has a form of existence apart from the other parts, man is not fully complete unless all three parts are combined into one person.
            1. By application, although the three persons of the Godhead seem to operate separately and distinctly, they work in perfect harmony and are one.
            2. There was a time when they separated. The Son proceeded forth from the Father (John 8:42) and the Spirit proceeded forth from the Father and the Son (John 15:26).
            3. There will also be a time when they come back together in full unity. 1 Corinthians 15:28 states, "And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."
            4. In the same way, the three parts of man may be separated for a time. But there will also be a time when the three will all be joined together again. This is called the resurrection.
    2. The Relationships of the Trinity
      1. Their mutual indwelling
        1. “Loraine Boettner wrote: ‘The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can be distinguished, but they cannot be separated; for they each possess the same identical numerical substance or essence. They do not merely exist alongside of each other, as did Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin, but they permeate and interpenetrate each other, are in and through each other.’ He further stated: ‘What the one knows, the others know; what the one desires, the others desire; and what the one wills, the others will. Independence and self-existence are not attributes of the individual persons, but of the Triune God.’” –from The Virgin Birth by Robert Gromacki (p.25).
        2. The scriptural teaching
          1. The Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father (John 10:38; John 14:10-11, 20; John 17:21).
          2. To see the Son is to see the Father (John 1:18; John 14:9) because the Son and the Father are one (John 10:30).
          3. Both the Father and the Son are in the Spirit and the Spirit is in them (Romans 8:9).
          4. When Jesus went away, He sent the Spirit to take His place (John 16:7). Yet, at the same time, Jesus came to the disciples in the Spirit (John 14:18; Romans 8:9).
      2. Their mutual glorification
        1. The Father glorifies the Son (John 8:54; John 12:23; John 17:1)
        2. The Son glorifies the Father (John 13:31-32; John 17:4)
        3. The Spirit glorifies the Son (John 16:14)
      3. Their mutual cooperation
        1. “The Persons of the Godhead, being one, have one will. They work always together, and never one smallest act is done by one without the instant acquiescence of the other two. Every act of God is accomplished by the Trinity in Unity. Here, of course, we are being driven by necessity to conceive of God in human terms. We are thinking of God by analogy with man, and the result must fall short of ultimate truth; yet if we are to think of God at all, we must do it by adapting creature-thoughts and creature-words to the Creator. It is a real if understandable error to conceive of Persons of the Godhead as conferring with one another and reaching agreement by interchange of thought as humans do. It has always seemed to me that Milton introduces as element of weakness into his celebrated Paradise Lost when he presents the Persons of the Godhead conversing with each other about the redemption of the human race.” –from The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer (p.28).
        2. This mutual cooperation can be seen in almost all of the great works of God. See above for fuller notes on these works:
          1. Creation (see Genesis 1:1-3)
          2. Revelation
          3. Incarnation
          4. Crucifixion
          5. Resurrection
          6. Redemption
          7. Preservation
      4. Their structural relationship
        1. The procession passages: although there is complete equality of being and attributes among the three persons of the Godhead, there is a predetermined order of authority between them. This is clearly seen in two verses in John that speak of one proceeding out of the other.
          1. The Son “proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me” (John 8:42).
            1. The divine nature of things is that a son is to submit to his father.
            2. The fact that the first two persons of the Godhead are revealed to us as Father and Son anticipates such a relationship.
            3. The Son was clearly sent to earth (given to the world) by the Father (John 3:16; John 7:28-29; John 12:49; John 17:8, 25; Galatians 4:4; 1 John 4:9-10).
            4. While on earth, Jesus fully submitted Himself to the will of the Father (Mark 14:36; John 4:34; John 5:30; John 6:38).
            5. At the end of time, the Son who proceeded from the Father will return to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:26-28).
          2. The Spirit proceeded from the Father and is sent forth by the Son (John 15:26).
            1. Careful reading of the scriptures will demonstrate that the Spirit of God does the work of God.
            2. The work of the Spirit in relation to the Son is seen in John 16:13-14.
              1. He will not speak of Himself.
              2. He will only speak what He hears.
              3. He will glorify the Son.
              4. Note: the Spirit fulfills the work of the Father and the Son and glorifies them without glorifying Himself.
          3. Note: this proceeding forth does not indicate any sort of creation or bringing into being. The three persons of the Trinity are co-eternal in their existence and are without beginning. However, this does indicate that the separate works of the three persons in time is different in some ways to their relationship to each other in eternity. They have not changed, being the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). However, the work of redemption gave varying duties to the three persons; duties in which they work always for the same purposes and toward the same goals.
        2. The Father, Son, and Spirit cooperate in their work in a way can be generalized by considering some carefully placed prepositions.
          1. 1 Corinthians 8:6 states: “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
            1. The Father is the One “of whom are all things.” He is the source and the origin of the works.
            2. The Son is the One “by whom are all things.” He is the One who executes the work.
          2. Romans 11:36 states: “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Note: although the persons of the Godhead are not directly mentioned, this is an excellent description of their actions.
            1. The phrase, “of him,” would match the Father as seen in “of whom” in 1 Corinthians 8:6. All things proceed, or come forth, from Him.
            2. The phrase, “through him,” is similar to “by whom” and would look to the work of the Son. Both “through” and “by” indicate process.
            3. The phrase, “to him,” indicates purpose or completion. The work of the Spirit tends to enable or to adorn the work of the other persons of the Godhead.
          3. Conclusion of this study
            1. The Father originates.
            2. The Son executes.
            3. The Spirit enables.
          4. The example of creation.
            1. The Father was the source of creation. Therefore, Genesis 1:1 and Exodus 20:11 refer to Him.
            2. The Son carried out the work of creation as seen in various scriptures (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2). Ephesians 3:9 speaks of “God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”
            3. The Spirit enabled and adorned creation.
              1. The Spirit moved on the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2)
              2. The Spirit “garnished” the heavens (Job 26:13).
              3. The Spirit renews the face of the earth (Psalm 104:30)
          5. The example of the work of salvation. In The Doctrine of God (p.264), Herman Bavinck states:
            1. “The good pleasure, foreknowledge, election, power, love, and kingdom pertain to the Father (Matthew 6:13; Matthew 11:26; John 3:16; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:9; 1 Peter 1:2).”
            2. “Reconciliation, mediatorship, redemption, grace, wisdom, and righteousness pertain to the Son (Matthew 1:21; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:10; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 2:2).”
            3. “Regeneration, rejunenation, sanctification, and communion pertain to the Holy Spirit (John 3:5; John 14:16; Romans 5:5; Romans 8:15; Romans 14:17; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 5:6).”
          6. One way to look at it is to say that the Father originates, the Son accomplishes, and the Spirit completes. In salvation, the Father planned redemption and sent the Son, the Son became the Saviour and saved the lost, and the Spirit gives the believer new life through regeneration and enables him through sanctification. The three always work together to accomplish the same things but their specific actions may not be the same.
David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 22:10

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.