“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city”.
“And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life”.
The doctrine of the Trinity requires some explanation, it is not a mystery as it suggested by some bible teachers. I will not be able to completely address it here as it is a substantial study, but the basics are that the trinity is at the very center of the Christian faith. That God is triune in nature and is affirmed not only in Scripture but also in the early ecumenical creeds of the church—specifically, Nicaea (A.D. 325) and Constantinople (A.D. 381).
The doctrine is essentially that God is one in being while existing as three co-equal, co-eternal Persons, namely, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three make up the God head and explains who God the Father was speaking to when He said “us”.
One often-heard objection to the Trinity is that the doctrine logically entails tritheism(a belief in three gods).
Is Trinitarian theology at odds with the clearly taught monotheism of the Hebrew Scriptures? Or did the early Christians get it right when they upheld the monotheism of the Old Testament while at the same time affirming the full deity of three distinct Persons?
To answer this question, we need to look over the biblical data. The Bible clearly affirms that there is but one God. “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me”. Isaiah 43:10
“As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one”. 1 Corinthians 8:4
The Bible teaches the deity of the Father (John 6:27; Romans 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2), the Son (John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:2; Titus 2:13; Colossians 1:16-17), and the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16). Moreover, the biblical writers go out of their way to affirm that all three Persons are distinct from each other (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16). So, while it is true that the word trinity is not found in the Bible, the concept most certainly is.
Does the fact that there exist three divine Persons entail that there exist three separate gods? The same Scriptures that affirms that all three Persons of the Trinity are divine also unequivocally affirm monotheism (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Timothy 2:5). So, what are we to do with this tension between the idea of three divine Persons and monotheism? A helpful clarification involves what we mean by the word person.
Person can be defined as “a center of self-consciousness.” A person has a mind, emotions, and a will, can communicate with others, and is capable of performing actions. When we speak of the concept of personhood as it relates to the Trinity, we are describing self-distinctions in God. All three Persons of the one triune God possess the complete attributes of deity. All three Persons are truly divine, yet eternally distinct from one another.
The divine Persons can and do communicate with each other (John 8:28–30, John 17:1-26; Hebrews 1:8-9). There are distinctions within the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. While being one in Spirit they are separate individual spirits. It is a fact that Jesus is God the Son in the flesh, but He is NOT God the Father in the flesh. The distinction applies to whatever extent God and Jesus themselves say it is.
As a man come to Earth, Jesus defers to God the Father and makes himself subject to the Father. He does not make Himself equal to the Father as a man. In this regard we examine the breath of the distinctions between God the Father and Jesus the Son. The assertion that Jesus is God is typically taken out of context, because the references usually refer to Jesus as a man, calling him God. To say Jesus is God is not incorrect, as long as the reference distinguishes Him as God the Son.
When the reference attempts to state that Jesus is God the Father in the flesh, it’s an error.
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they bethrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell. Who is the image of the invisible God”. Colossians 1:15-19
“Who is the image of the invisible God”
This refers to Jesus, who in His life and behavior, emulated God. Jesus is “like” God, in a similar way a son is the image of his father. The son may look like his dad, he may have some of his father’s attributes and talents, the son will remind you of his father, but the son is “NOT” the father and the father is not the son.
Consider what Jesus said in John 14:9-11
“He that has seen me, has seen the Father, and how sayest thou then, shew us the Father? Believest thou that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words I speak unto you, I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works sake”
When Jesus said this, He was not saying that He was God, He was speaking to the aspect of His will and that of the Father as being one and the same. To be of one mind, one Spirit, one faith and to be on the same page completely.
Jesus said.. “I and my Father are one” John 10:30
The context of what Jesus meant is the closeness they share. Not that Jesus and God are one in the same (Ephesians 4:4-6), one faith, one baptism, one God of all.
Jesus said in a prayer to the Father..
“That they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” John 17:21-23
Jesus makes plain here the aspect of what He means when He uses the phrase “ONE”
As Christians, Christ lives in us, but this is manifest in us through the Holy Spirit. It is referred to as the “fruit of the Spirit” which enables us to have Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Faith, Meekness, and Temperance. (Galatians 5:22-23; Col. 3:8-10)
“the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” 1 Corinthians 3:16
This Spirit that is in us, gives us the heart of Christ and the capacity to be children of God. As Paul states “all things become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
To be one in the Lord is to be in complete agreement with the Father, as Jesus is in complete agreement with Him. As an example, or type and shadow of this effect in our lives, God gave us marriage and family. Which is why in part family is a sacred office of man, this began with Adam.
“Therefore shall man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh” Genesis 2:24
This account in Genesis, is the first time the admonition of becoming “ONE” is seen in scripture. It is where the concept of becoming one mind and of one agreement, being one as a couple is introduced. Adam and Eve were not the same person, but it is easily understood, that a marriage is to become one. This is actually a spiritualconcept manifested in the flesh through marriage. It is this reality that Jesus always referred to between Himself and God the Father.
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife. And they twaine shall be one flesh, so then they are no more twaine, but one flesh” (Mark 10:7-8, also Matthew 19:5-6; 1 Corinthians 6:15-17, Ephesians 5:31)
One mind, one faith, one Agreement, with the husband as the head of the household, as the Father is the head of Christ (Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Corinthians 11:3)
“the first born of every creature” (Colossians 1:15)
There are a few things this verse does “NOT” mean. Jesus was “NEVER” born “Spiritually” in the same way man is born with a body and a spirit. Jesus was only born “Physically”. Jesus’ birth made Him the first person to be born that belonged directly to God. Jesus did not have to be reconciled to God, because He was never created as a spirit and subsequently flesh like a man. Jesus was born to
Mary of the Holy Spirit, making Him “NOT” born of the seed of man (Matthew 1:18-25).
“Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost” Matthew 1:20
This in part, is why Jesus Himself never had to be reconciled to God, having not been born into sin. But Jesus did reconcile all believers to God.
“and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” Revelation 5:9
Another point about the “creature” reference, is Jesus’ birth had nothing to do with animals or other creatures, other than mankind. Jesus’ entire life, work, death and resurrection was about humans. Animals don’t go to Heaven.
“Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” Ecclesiastes 3:21
The reference to Jesus being the first born of every creature, is about the salvation of man in the big picture. Jesus is the first person to experience the transition His life and resurrection was all about. He physically transitioned from death to a glorified body. The same as every Christian will experience. Jesus let the disciples examine this manifestation as well.
“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself, handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when He had thus spoken, He shewed them His hands and feet” Luke 24:39-40
There are some nuances and subtle points to pick up about Jesus’ glorified body, it has flesh and bones. It is recognizable to those who knew Him before He died. It had scars or in His case, holes in His hands and feet. At the very least, it had markings that they would recognize from the crucifixion. He could eat food.
“And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honey comb. And He took it, and did eat before them” Luke 23:42-43
Jesus could function as He did prior to His death, walking, talking, eating, etc. He had full command of all His faculties. When Jesus ate the food, it was not so much because He needed to eat, it was in order to make the disciples comfortable, to show that He was still human, so to speak.
Though His body was recognizable, it had no blood in it. Blood is loosely referred to as “Corruption” because blood is what hastens the decay of the body, under normal circumstances.
“And the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” 1 Corinthians 15:52-53
The word “corruption” in Greek is “Phthartos” meaning “Decay” The word “corruptible” in Greek is “Aphthartos” meaning “Immortal”.
Jesus ate this food more for the comfort of men than a necessity. There are other accounts when men were in the company of Angels and the Angels ate food with them. Just as there are accounts when Angels refused food (Genesis 18:1-8; 19:1-3; Judges 13:15-16).
Jesus is the “first” to experience this transition Christians refer to as the “Rapture” or the “First Advent” of Christ, Jesus “first” coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-55; Matthew 24:40-42; Luke 17:34-36).
In this context Jesus is also referred to as the “first begotten of the dead”
“From Jesus Christ, who is the faithful and true witness, and the first begotten of the dead” Revelation 1:5
Jesus being the “first” to be resurrected.
The bigger picture of Christ work is that it is the ultimate end game of man’s salvation. It is not simply about being saved from the wrath of God’s judgment, it is to be reconciled to God in a never before experienced one on one, face to face relationship with God Himself, “without” any mediator, not Jesus or any Angels. Jesus work in salvation is to remove any veils or impediments to a true personal relationship with God. No more prophets, teachers, or even a Gospel, just you and God.
The point is the fullness of Christ work reconciles man with God in a way never before. Christ reconciliation of man brings us into a direct, literal, physical, relationship with God.
“Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God” Revelation 21:3
“And there shall be no more curse, but the Throne of God, and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. And they shall see His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads” Revelation 22:3-4
“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 Corinthians 8:6
“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” 1 Corinthians 11:3
God is the one who created everything. God has “given authority” over all that “He has created” to Jesus. But there is a difference between the one who created and the one who has authority over this creation.
“I do nothing of myself, but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things” John 8:28
A father can start a company and give it over to his son to run, but no matter what his son does with the business, he does it and has it because his father gave it to him. There is no difference in this example with respect to God and Jesus.
“All power is given unto me in Heaven and in Earth” Matthew 28:18
This power Jesus spoke of came from somewhere, and it was “given” to Him by God the Father.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in Earth, and things under the Earth. And that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” Philippians 2:9-11
All who praise Jesus do so to the glory of God the Father, which is to say, to the satisfaction of God the Father (Romans 14:11-12; Hebrews 1:1-14).
God wants to see Jesus praised, Jesus does not want to see Himself praised. This authority and praise, is Gods reward to Jesus for what He has done for man, in this, we must see the distinction.
Another passage that has created similar confusion. “In the beginning was the Word” John 1:1-3
The phrase “Word” is a designation associated with Jesus, because Jesus spoke Gods word.
“and the Word was with God”
This means that Jesus was “with” God in the beginning of all things. Jesus has no beginning or end any more than God has no beginning. Man is the one who was created, and as such, we are finite beings with a beginning (birth) and an end (death). Jesus is not in this condition, despite His physical birth and death as a man because He was always a Spirit before time.
“Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel and His redeemer, the Lord of Host” Isaiah 44:6
Here we see that God is the King of Israel, where the “original” designation was associated. This and other designations were later attributed to Jesus in His role as the redeemer of man. But it is important to follow the way these designations are applied to God and then to Jesus.
The distinction in this verse, “and His redeemer” means that Jesus was with God.
“the Lord of Host” refers to another designation for Jesus, which is to say He is over all the host of Heaven. At the time of this writing and discussion between God and Isaiah only “Angels” were the inhabitants of Heaven. Heaven was a place where only the Godhead and the Angels lived. Man was in “Paradise” at this time, never having been to Heaven yet.
“As for our redeemer, the Lord of Host is His name” Isaiah 47:4
Jesus is the one who redeems man to God.
“and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation” Revelation 5:9
“And now O’Father, glorify thou me, with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” John 17:5
Jesus makes the point that He (Jesus) was with God before the world was ever formed.
“for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world” John 17:24
The foundation of the world is what God created in the world in order for the planet to sustain life, the Anthropic Constants.
Gravity, oxygen, the transparency of the atmosphere, rotation of the planet, etc. These are what the foundations of the World are (Job 38).
Jesus was with God, when all that work was done, which is why He is also referred to as the “faithful and true witness”. Jesus saw it all in real time (Revelation 1:5, 3:14)
“and the Word was God” John 1:1
Jesus in fact is God the Son, He is part of the Godhead, which is made up of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, who is quoted as speaking once in all of scripture, distinct from the Father and Son.
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them”. Acts 13:2
These are what make up the “Trinity” they are separate and apart from each other, with God alone having “Asiety” which is to say that God is self- sufficient in and of Himself. God the Father alone needs nothing or anyone to sustain Him.
“The same was in the beginning with God” John 1:2
This shows a distinction that the same Word (Jesus) was “with” God in the beginning. Two distinct persons, God and Jesus.