Doctrine of God 0003 - Lesson 2

  1. THE NATURE OF GOD (Continued)
    1. The Basic Proofs of the Trinity (Continued)
      1. God is three persons. (Continued)
        1. The statements of trinity in the New Testament
          1. In the formula for baptism (Matthew 28:19)
          2. The Father, the Son, and the Comforter (John 14:16, 26; John 15:26)
          3. In the work of the ministry (Romans 15:16, 30).
          4. In the working of the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-6); Note: in the epistles of Paul, he normally (as here) uses “God” to refer to the Father, “Lord” to refer to the Son, and “Spirit” to refer to the Holy Ghost.
          5. In the blessing of Paul (2 Corinthians 13:14)
          6. In the adoption of the believer (Galatians 4:6)
          7. In our access to God (Ephesians 2:18)
          8. In the oneness of the Godhead (Ephesians 4:4-6)
          9. In the election of the believer (1 Peter 1:2)
          10. In our faith in the incarnation (1 John 4:2)
          11. In the formula of John (1 John 5:7)
          12. In the life of the believer (Jude 1:20-21)
          13. In the introduction of Revelation (Revelation 1:4-6)
      2. Each of the three persons is fully God.
        1. The deity of the Father (John 8:41; John 20:17; Romans 15:6; James 3:9)
        2. The deity of the Son (Matthew 1:23; John 1:1-3; John 20:28; Acts 20:28; Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20)
        3. The deity of the Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; Hebrews 2:4)
      3. Each of the three persons is distinct from the others.
        1. Between the Father and the Son (John 5:23, 30, 36-39; John 17:25)
        2. Between the Father and the Spirit (Genesis 1:1-2; Psalm 104:30)
        3. Between the Son and the Spirit (John 14:16-17)
        4. Note: one doctrinal error argues that the Spirit is merely an extension of the power of the Father and not a separate person of the Godhead. It is true that the Spirit often works as an extension of the Father, but He is also referred to in ways that require Him to be a separate person.
          1. He is continually referred to as a separate person alongside the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; see above passages).
          2. Jesus speaks of the Spirit as a person (John 14:17).
          3. The Spirit speaks in the first person as “I” (Acts 10:19-20; Acts 13:2).
          4. The Spirit has a mind (Romans 8:27).
          5. The Spirit does things that only a person would do: teaching, comforting, revealing, interceding, speaking, etc.
          6. The Spirit can react to others. For example, He can be vexed (Isaiah 63:10) and grieved (Ephesians 4:30).
      4. The three persons are related as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Note: this is clearly seen in the proofs given above.
    2. The Doctrine of  the Trinity Illustrated
      1. Scripture, nature, and human knowledge are filled with examples of related threes: triads. They do not prove the trinity, but they do demonstrate the significance of three in God’s idea of being. In fact, three is clearly the number of perfect being in scripture (with seven being the number of perfect work). Here are some examples of triads.
        1. Examples from the Bible
          1. Prophet, priest, and king (1 Kings 1:32, 45; Jeremiah 13:13).
          2. Revelation, inspiration, and preservation.
          3. Holiness, truth, and love. These are the central expressions of God’s attributes under which all other attributes can be found. Using different words, this triad is found in numerous passages: 2 Chronicles 31:20; Psalm 45:4; Psalm 85:10; Ephesians 5:9; 2 Timothy 1:7.
          4. Threefold repetition of “holy” in Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8.
          5. God as life (John 14:6), light (1 John 1:5), and love (1 John 4:8, 16).
          6. Signs, wonders, and mighty deeds (2 Corinthians 12:12).
          7. Heaven, earth, and sea (Exodus 20:11).
          8. Sun, moon, and stars (Deuteronomy 4:19; Psalm 148:3).
          9. Man as spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
          10. Law, prophets, and psalms (Luke 24:44).
          11. Three stories in Noah’s ark (Genesis 6:16).
          12. Three sendings of birds after the flood (Genesis 8:6-12).
          13. Three sons of Noah (Genesis 6:10).
          14. Three visitors to Abraham (Genesis 18:1-2).
          15. Three original patriarchs (Exodus 3:6).
          16. Three divisions of the tabernacle: courtyard, holy place, holy of holies.
          17. Three early feasts: Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:4-14).
          18. Three later feasts: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:23-44).
          19. Three sweet-savor and free-will offerings: Burnt, Meat, and Peace.
          20. Leper cleansed with the placing of blood and oil on the ear, the thumb, and the toe (Leviticus 14:14, 17).
          21. Staples of food given as corn, wine, and oil (Deuteronomy 11:14; 2 Chronicles 32:28; Nehemiah 13:12; Hosea 2:22; Joel 1:10; Joel 2:19).
          22. In the ministry of Christ: three years of ministry, three temptations, three times the Father speaks from heaven, three disciples in the inner circle, and three crosses.
          23. Three great commandments of love: love God, love neighbor, love the brethren (Matthew 22:36-40; John 13:24-25).
          24. The gospel: death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
          25. Faith, hope, and charity (1 Corinthians 13:13).
          26. Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life (1 John 2:16).
          27. The world, the flesh, and the devil
          28. Thoughts, intents, and actions (Hebrews 4:12).
          29. Lust, sin, and death (James 1:14-15).
        2. Examples from nature
          1. Three dimensions: height, width, and depth.
          2. Three aspects of time: past, present, and future.
          3. From physics: field, wave, and particle.
          4. Three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas.
          5. Primary colors: red, blue, and yellow (from which all other colors can be made).
          6. In music: melody, harmony, and rhythm.
          7. In music: the three primary chords (I, IV, and V).
          8. Three parts of the egg: shell, white, and yoke.
          9. Three parts of a tree: trunk, root, and branches (Romans 11:17).
          10. In the family: husband, wife, and child (1 Samuel 30:22).
        3. Examples from human thought
          1. Beginning, middle, and end.
          2. In logic: major premise, minor premise, and conclusion.
          3. Hegel’s thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.
          4. In language: subject, verb, and object.
          5. Three tenses: past, present, and future.
          6. Three persons in pronouns: first (I, we), second (you), and third (he, they).
          7. In writing: introduction, body, and conclusion.
          8. In government: executive, legislative, and judicial.
          9. The classic trivium: grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic.
      2. Illustrations of the Trinity
        1. The Trinity can be illustrated by thinking of God has one “What” and three “Whos.” The one What is His essence; the Godhead. The three Whos are the three persons of the one What; or, of the Godhead. God has an unity of essence (what He really is; His essential nature) in a plurality of persons. “Since God is one in His basic essence, how can He also be three? First, it must be pointed out that ‘one’ and ‘three’ are not being used in the same sense. The word ‘one’ applies only to the nature of the divine being; there is only one God. The word ‘three’ refers to the three Persons or personal distinctions within the divine oneness. It is just as wrong to state that God is one Person as to claim that there are three gods.” –from The Virgin Birth by Robert Gromacki (p.20).
        2. The Trinity can be illustrated mathematically by distinguishing between addition and multiplication.
          1. Those who deny the Trinity look on it as addition: 1 + 1 + 1 = 3. This, they correctly declare, is tritheism; or, a belief in three different gods.
          2. The Trinity can be illustrated by multiplication: 1 x 1 x 1 = 1. The trinity has three persons, but they are one God. They are like the number one cubed (13).
        3. The Trinity can be illustrated geometrically with a triangle. One triangle has three corners which are inseparable from and simultaneous to the each other. The “divine mystery of the Trinity in Unity allows itself to be represented to the spiritual human eye by the mathematical figure of the triangle... The church fathers had already pointed this out early in the history of Christianity. For of all forms the triangle is the first. Neither the point as a mere object of thought, nor the line as mere extension, has shape. But the triangle, though containing three lines and three corners, is of all forms the first, or, so to speak, form ‘One,’ that has completeness and unity, thus uniting in itself harmoniously the numbers three and one and therefore it was early employed as a symbol of the Godhead… The most detailed elaboration of the ‘trinitarian’ triangle was that by Raymond Lull, the great and well-known missionary to Moslems (died as martyr, 1315). It is a triangle with its centre of gravity and with lines which connect the corners of the three angles with this centre. At the corners and the centre of gravity there are the words ‘Father, Son, Spirit, God,’ and on the sides and lines there are the small words ‘is’ and ‘is not.’ This is to indicate that the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not the Father. But the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God.” –from From Eternity to Eternity by Erich Sauer (p.13-14).
        4. A moral illustration: “God is love (1 John 4:16). Love is the deepest element of His life, the innermost fount out of which His nature eternally flows forth, the creative centre that begets all His working and ruling. But love is a trinity…
          1. “it always proceeds from the Lover:
          2. “it always moves toward the Beloved:
          3. “it always intertwines the two together through the common Spirit of union…
          4. “But the fact that three persons of the Godhead actually correspond to these three fundamental conceptions of the idea of God, this only the revelation of the eternal God Himself can make known. The Father is the One out of Himself existing, the Son is the One to Himself attaining, and the Spirit the One in Himself moving God. The Father is the Lover, the Son the Beloved, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Love.” –from The Dawn of World Redemption by Erich Sauer (p.19).
David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 28:2

For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.