Theology: The Being of God
"The Tri-Unity of God"

Douglas Gleason,

III.    Theology: The Being of God

D.    The Tri-Unity of God
In Lesson 8 we noted that one of God’s attributes was His unity.  We learned that there is only one God and the divine nature is undivided and indivisible.  There is another aspect of the nature of God that remains to be discussed.  The Bible teaches that God exists as a personal Spirit being.  It also teaches that He exists in a Holy Trinity.  This lesson will discuss this aspect of the Being of God.

1.      Introduction to the Doctrine

a)     Lesson Outline

III. Theology: The Being of God
            D.         The Tri-Unity of God
                        1.  Introduction to the Doctrine
                                    a)  Lesson Outline
                                    b)  The Problem
                        2.  What the Scriptures Teach
                                    a)  The Law
                                    b)  The Prophets
                                    c)  The Historical Books
                                    d)  Poetry and Wisdom
                                    e)  Early Christianity and Acts
                                    f)  Pauline Writings
                                    g)  Johannine Writings
i)  Other New Testament Writings
                        3.  Systematic Formulation
                                    a)  Introduction
                                    b)  Statement of the Doctrine
                                                (1)  Trinity in the Creeds and Confessions
                                                (2)  Theological Definition
                                    c)  Proof of the Doctrine
                                                (1)  Unity/Uniqueness
                                                (2)  The Father
                                                (3)  The Son
                                                (4)  The Holy Spirit
                                    d)  The Nature of the Trinity
                                                (1)  As Substance
                                                (2)  As Persons
                                                (3)  Ontological Trinity
                                                (4)  Economic Trinity 
                                                (5)  Distinguishing Properties
                                                (6)  Important Distinctions
                        4.  Defense of the Doctrine
                                    a)  Tritheism
                                    b)  Monarchianism or Modalism
                                    c)  Adoptionism or Dynamic Monarchianism
                                    d)  Modalistic Monarchianism
                        5.  Application

b)     The Problem
23 How should we understand the plurality of God as revealed in the Old and New Testaments and the fact that God is one?

Throughout their history, set in the context of the polytheism of their pagan neighbors, the Israelites were repeatedly taught in no uncertain terms that the Lord is one.  But, as they lived their lives of faith before the Lord, over time, they became aware of two additional unique persons, one called Seed, Branch, Wisdom, Prophet, and King and the other called the Spirit of God and Holy Spirit

The Church, centuries later, recognizing that Jesus Christ was more than a mere man, came to identify Him as a divine person come from God.  In addition, she saw that the Holy Spirit was not impersonal power but was likewise Himself a divine personal agent.  The Church had a problem resulting from this new understanding.  How was she to retain the historic faith of Israel in Yahweh as the one true God in light of the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit?  The doctrine of the Trinity was her answer.

The Doctrine of the Trinity is perhaps the most difficult of all theological doctrines to understand.  Concerning this fact, Walter Martin said, “No man can fully explain the Trinity, though in every age scholars have propounded theories and advanced hypotheses to explore this mysterious Biblical teaching.  But despite the worthy efforts of these scholars, the Trinity is still largely incomprehensible to the mind of man.” [1]  John Wesley said, “Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the triune God.” [2]

2.      What the Scriptures Teach

a)     The Law
“The fundamental datum of Old Testament theology is the uniqueness and unity of Israel’s God.” [3]  This is nowhere more clearly seen than in Deuteronomy 6:4 (called the shema from Hebrew to hear).  Moses declares, "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!”  When Moses says that the LORD (Yahweh) is one, he uses one to mean that the LORD is totally unique because He alone is God.  There is no other who is truly God. The related idea of unity flows from this uniqueness.  This is also seen in the other uses of the term one where it is rendered as unit. [4]

Moses’ (indeed the Old Testament in general) stress on the unity of God is supplemented by a certain multiplicity.  For example, it is often argued that the use of the plural form of the Hebrew noun ‘elohim for the God of Israel is an intimation of this multiplicity in God.  On the one hand, modern Old Testament scholarship has generally interpreted this usage not as a multiplicity in God’s nature, but rather an indication of a plurality of majesty or intensity.  The concept of a plurality of majesty can be illustrated in the “Hornblower” novels of C. S. Forester.  In Lord Hornblower, Commodore Hornblower has received a copy of the proclamation of King George III elevating him to the degree of Peer of the Realm.  This proclamation reads in part,

“As the grandeur of the British Empire depends chiefly upon knowledge and experience in maritime affairs, We esteem those worthy of the highest honors, who acting under Our influence, exert themselves in maintaining Our dominion over the sea.” [5]

On the other hand, G. A. F. Knight rejects this interpretation because all of the kings of Israel and Judah are addressed in the singular in the biblical record.  He observes that there is a peculiarity in the Hebrew language called the qualitative plural that will help us to understand this usage.  The word for water is one example.  To the Hebrew, water was composed of the individual raindrops within the mass of water of the stream or sea or what have you.  There is then a quantity (the individual droplets) within the unity (the whole of the river, etc.).  It is in this manner that we should understand the plural use of ‘elohim. [6] 

This plurality of Majesty interpretation is applied to other plural pronouns used to describe the actions of the Godhead by these scholars.  On the sixth day of Creation, “God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26)  After viewing man’s work on the Tower of Babel, God said, “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."  Isaiah likewise reports, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ "  [7] 

Erickson objects that these are plurals of majesty.  He says,

“What is significant, however, from the standpoint of logical analysis is the shift from singular to plural in the first and third of these examples.  Genesis 1:26 actually says, ‘Then God said [singular], ‘Let Us make [plural] man in our [plural] image.’  The scripture writer does not use a plural (of majesty) verb with ‘elohim, but God is quoted as using a plural verb with reference to himself.  Similarly, Isaiah 6:8 reads: “Whom shall I send [singular]?  And who will go for us [plural]?” [8]

Some would argue that the image of God in man as recorded in Genesis 1:26-27 is also an intimation of the trinity.  The passage reads:

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’  And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

After analyzing the various attempts of scholarship to explain God’s use of plural pronouns, Sailhammer concludes:

“[I]f we seek an answer from the immediate context, we should turn to the next verse for our clues.”

“In v. 27 it is stated twice that man was created in God's image and a third time that man was created "male and female." The same pattern is found in Genesis 5:1-2a: "When God created man,... he created  them male and female." The singular man is created as a plurality, "male and female". In a similar way the one God ("And God said") created man through an expression of his plurality ("Let us make man in our image").  Following this clue the divine plurality expressed in v. 26 is seen as an anticipation of the human plurality of the man and woman, thus casting the human relationship between man and woman in the role of reflecting God's own personal relationship with himself.”

“It is unlikely that the us refers to God and the angels since man alone was made in God’s image.” [9]

The fact that the plural personal pronoun Us was used in reference to God implies that He is calling our attention to something special.  Several observations may be made.  When we couple this particular grammatical construction with the fact that numerous other passages throughout the Scriptures [10] depict three persons working together there is strong indication that there is a plurality of persons in the Godhead.  We must conclude that God in His unity has a certain plurality. 

This hint at multiplicity within the divine unity is seen by personal entities endowed with divine qualities.  For example, the Seed (offspring) of Eve, while viewed as the people of God collectively (Romans 16:20), ultimately refers the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:14).  The Prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15) refers in the first instance to the prophets of Israel who would follow Moses but ultimately refers to Messiah. [11]  Jacobs blessing of Judah (Genesis 49:10) describes the Ruler, Judah’s messianic descendent who will be King over all and reign eternally. 

This multiplicity is no more strongly indicated than in the personage of the Angel of the Lord (Hebrew, mal’ak Yahweh).  Moses records numerous appearances of this unique person.  In Genesis 16:7-14, he records the events surrounding Hagar.  After a dispute with Sarai she was cast out of Abrams’ house.  Fleeing into the desert, exhausted and at the point of death she was visited by the Angel of the Lord.  In the course of His conversation with her He said, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall be too many to count." (vv. 10) Here we see the Angel saying that He will bless Hagar.  Continuing, He said, “Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son; and you shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.” (vv. 11)  In this verse we see a differentiation between the Angel of the LORD and the LORD.  Hagar’s response is instructive.  “Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, "Thou art a God who sees"; for she said, "Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?" (vv. 13)  She has identified the Angel of the LORD as God.  In these events we can see an indication of plurality in the Godhead.  Moses records other appearances of The Angel of the Lord. [12]  Regarding these Lewis and Demarest say, “On balance, it seems preferable to view the mal’ak Yahweh as a self-manifestation of the triune God in a visible form.” [13] 

As we will see later, the coming of Jesus Christ brings all of these indicators into sharp focus.  A few examples are in order.  Consider Jesus’ statement to the Pharisees, "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me.” (John 5:4-6)   At the close of His earthly ministry, Jesus, responding to Philip’s request to show him the Father, said, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, `Show us the Father'?” (John 14:9)  The concept here is Jesus is God, the one whom you can see and not die by doing so.  He is as Lewis and Demarest said above the visible manifestation of the triune God.  Moses, and other prophets who “saw God,” saw Jesus Christ.

b)     The Prophets
The Old Testament prophetic literature continues in the same vein as Moses.  They uniformly upheld the monotheism of the Law.  God speaking through Isaiah said, “I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God.” (Isaiah 45:5) [14]  As with Moses we see the uniqueness of God with its attendant unity.

The plurality of persons within the Godhead is inferred by the concurrent use of plural and singular personal pronouns.  Isaiah said, Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" (Isaiah 6:8)  We see this plurality more clearly when he says,

“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” (11:1-2)

Notice that ‘the Spirit of the LORD’ will rest upon One called a branch, thereby rendering him fit for messianic ministry.  In a related passage (Isaiah 61:1), the Servant-King says, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted…” In these two passages, Christians recognize that the Son (Branch) is sent by the Father and anointed for by the Holy Spirit for messianic service. [15]

The prophets unmistakably depict this Branch or Messiah-Son as a divine person who preexisted before His birth.  Isaiah gives Him the name Immanuel meaning God with us (Isaiah 7:14); Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).  Jeremiah further identifies the Branch when he says,

“ ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.  In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness’.” (Jeremiah 23:6)

He is the LORD our righteousness.  Judaism has historically recognized this as the name for the Messiah.

Daniel described the Messiah in a vision that he reports:

“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him.  And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might    serve Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

The dominion of the Messiah is described in terms that imply deity.  It is everlasting and immutable.  These terms equally apply to the Branch, the Messiah.

Not only do the prophets describe this second person as God, they also do so for the third person the Holy Spirit.  There are indications that He is a personal being (not mere power) and that this personal being is not only one with God but distinctly separate. 

Micah asks, "Is it being said, O house of Jacob: ‘Is the Spirit of the LORD impatient? Are these His doings?'  Do not My words do good to the one walking uprightly?” (Micah 2:7)  Note that the actions of God in judgment are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Zechariah indicates that the Holy Spirit is the LORD’s agent.  When declaring God’s displeasure at the spiritual deafness of the Israelites, he says that “they could not hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 7:12)  Notice here, the terms of personality and discrimination.  The Holy Spirit is distinct from yet one with God.

c)      The Historical Books
One can see more of these indications of the plurality of the Godhead in the Historical Books as well.  Joshua describes an encounter with the commander of the LORD’s army at Jericho.

“Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you for us or for our adversaries?’  And he said, ‘No, rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, ‘What has my lord to say to his servant?’  And the captain of the LORD'S host said to Joshua, ‘Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:13-15)

C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Old Testament authorities, believe this person is an appearance of the preexistent Son of God.  After discussing the ramifications of Joshua’s reaction to this remarkable individual, they sum up:

“In any case, however, Joshua regarded him at once as a superior being, i.e., an angel.  And he must have recognized him as something more than a created angel of superior rank, that is to say, as the Angel of Jehovah who is essentially equal with God, the visible revealer of the invisible God, as soon as he gave him the command to take off his shoes, etc.,—a command which would remind him of the appearance of God to Moses in the burning bush, and which implied that the person who now appeared was the very person who had revealed himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” [16]

This is confirmed as Joshua continues the story.

“Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in.  And the LORD said to Joshua, ‘See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors.’ ” (Joshua 6:1)

Notice that it is the LORD Himself who was speaking to Joshua.  Here is another of those pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus Christ and one of those indicators of a plurality in the Godhead. 

Nathan, the prophet that was active during the early reign of David, prophesied concerning his son: 

“The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you.  ‘When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.’  In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.” (2 Samuel 7:11b-17)

Although the term covenant never appears in this passage, it is universally accepted that it describes the covenant made by God with David.  In this covenant God promised David a "house", a throne, and a kingdom.  By house it should be understood to mean a dynasty.  Furthermore, this dynasty would last forever.  The important feature is a Father-son relationship with one who would “come forth” from David.  This relationship would be characterized by a covenant love that will never be taken away.  For the purposes of our discussion here, the question is who is the son spoken of in this covenant with David? 

Old Testament prophecy in principle has two lines of interpretation.  Freeman says, “The marked prophetic element of the Old Testament establishes the principle that the New Testament is latent in the Old and that the Old is patent in the New.” [17]  This is certainly true of the passage in consideration.  The first or patent line sees the fulfillment of this covenant in an immediate son of David.  First, note that all of the promises would be fulfilled after the David’s death.  This is seen in Nathan’s opening statement “when your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers.”  Second, the use of the future tense here, “I will raise up your descendant after you,” indicates that this son was, at the time of Nathan’s prophecy, yet unborn.  Symon Patrick understands this to preclude all of David’s sons except Solomon. [18] 

Further, this son of David has been designated to build a temple for the Lord's name.  Concerning this point, Gerbrandt says, "Within the [Deuteronomic] History this [‘he'] is an obvious reference to Solomon.  This verse could be interpreted both as a justification for Solomon's building the temple, and as a sign legitimating his rise to the throne (the one who builds the temple is the God-chosen successor to David)." [19]

When all of the details of this prophecy are taken into account, it becomes evident that this prophecy is to be related primarily to Solomon and had certain fulfillment during his reign.  Indeed, when God defended his kingdom from Adonija’s attempt to usurp the throne, Solomon was able to say, "Now the LORD has fulfilled His word which He spoke; for I have risen in place of my father David and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.” (1 Kings 8:20)  Further, in his old age, Solomon sinned against the LORD when he descended into idolatry.  God punished him with the ‘rods of men’ when after his death, the majority of the kingdom was rent from the house of David.  But God did not fully withdraw His grace.  One portion of the Davidic kingdom, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, was preserved because God’s lovingkindness, as promised, was to remain upon him. 

Now we come to the indicator of the plurality of God.  The second or latent line of interpretation sees the fulfillment of this prophecy in Jesus Christ.  Matthew Henry speaking of prophecies made in this passage says, “Others of them relate to Christ.” [20]  As Keil and Delitzsch say, “At the same time, however unmistakable the allusions to Solomon are, the substance of the promise is not fully exhausted in him.” [21]  This is seen in the oft repeated expression ‘forever’.  This “points incontrovertibly beyond the time of Solomon, and to the eternal continuance of the seed of David.” [22] Now, are we to understand this seed as the continuance of the posterity of David in a line of successive generations or in a single individual who is himself eternal?  Although the context contains the idea that God’s favor would never depart from the family of David, it precludes the former for only one of the seed of David could occupy the throne.  Furthermore, this throne was to be an eternal throne and its occupant was to be likewise.  Keil and Delitzsch conclude:

“We must not reduce the idea of eternity to the popular notion of a long incalculable period, but must take it in an absolute sense.  No earthly kingdom, and no posterity of any single man, has eternal duration.  The posterity of David, therefore, could only last for ever by running out in a person who lives for ever, i.e. by culminating in the Messiah, who lives for ever, and of whose kingdom there is no end.  The promise consequently refers to the posterity of David, commencing with Solomon and closing with Christ.” [23]

This latent aspect of the prophecy that sees its fulfillment in Christ is confirmed by its use in the New Testament.  Because of its typological use in 2 Corinthians 6:18 and Hebrews 1:5, v. 14a has long been considered messianic in a Christological sense.  In Hebrews 1:3-5, the author quotes 2 Samuel 7:14a, to demonstrate that Jesus, the Son of God, “having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they" when he "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high". [24]  And such passages as Luke 1:32-33 reverberate with echoes of Nathan's oracle: "[Jesus] will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

It may be objected at this point that because this son would be chastened with the rod of men if he sinned that this could not be applied to Jesus Christ since He was sinless.  Youngblood argues:

“Although the N[ew] T[estament] leaves no doubt that v. 14a is fulfilled typologically in Jesus, it is also clear that in its original setting the entire verse refers to the Lord's adoption of Solomon (and his royal descendants) as his son/vassal...  Such an understanding in no way denies the interpretation that Solomon, the type, prefigures Jesus, the antitype.” [25]

Finally, we conclude that his greater son of David is at the same time the Son of the Father.  David’s dynasty would be eternal because of the divine nature of the Son.  Speaking of Jesus Christ, Hebrews 1:5 makes it perfectly clear that the son spoken of by Nathan was indeed the divine Son of God.

d)     Poetry and Wisdom
The Psalmist said, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6)  The comments of Lewis and Demarest regarding this passage are instructive.

“Given the fact that the background of verses 6-9 is the Genesis 1 creation account where the work of the Spirit of God is cited, and given the fact that throughout Scripture Christ is depicted as the unique agent of creation, the Christian understands Psalm 33:6 with many early Fathers in terms of the personal Word and Spirit.  If this is the case, an economic ordering of persons in the work of creation may be indicated.” [26]

By ‘economic ordering’, they mean the apparent ordering of the external works of God.  We see here what is probably best termed a divinely designated intimation of the triune God.  We see the actions of God, His Word, and His Spirit in that great act of creation.

e)     Early Christianity and Acts
Jesus Christ fully embraced the shema’s pronouncement of the unity and uniqueness of God when He, in response to the question of which is the greatest of the commandments stated, “The foremost is, `HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.'  The second is this, `YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29)

With His advent, the plurality of persons within the Godhead is more evident.  In the angelic announcement of His birth (Luke 1:30-35) is the identification of three distinct persons, “the Lord God”, “the Son of the Most High”, and “the Holy Spirit”. We see this three-fold distinction in events occurring at His baptism (Matthew 3:16-17).  There are three persons, God’s “Son” (Jesus), and “the Spirit of God”.  There are three unique signs reported.  There is the Father’s audible voice, the Son’s real flesh, and the Spirit’s mystical presence.  Finally, there are three actions.  There is the Father’s speaking from heaven, the Son’s baptism, and the Spirit’s dove-like descent. [27]

D. A. Carson observes,

“Despite arguments to the contrary, the utterance reflects Isaiah 42:1: ‘Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit upon him’; and this has been modified by Psalm 2:7: ‘You are my Son’.  The results are extraordinarily important.”

“[The following] things are linked in the one utterance: at the very beginning of Jesus' public ministry, his Father presented him, in a veiled way, as at once Davidic Messiah, very Son of God, representative of the people, and Suffering Servant.  Matthew has already introduced all these themes and will develop them further.  Indeed he definitely cites Isaiah 42:1-4 in 12:18-21, which ends with the assertion (already made clear) that the nations will trust in this Servant.”   

“The Spirit's descent in v. 16 needs to be understood in the light of v. 17. The Spirit is poured out on the servant in Isaiah 42:14, to which v. 17 alludes. This outpouring does not change Jesus' status (he was the Son before this) or assign him new rights. Rather it identifies him as the Promised Servant and Son and marks the beginning of his public ministry and direct confrontation with Satan (4:1), the dawning of the Messianic Age (12:28).” [28]

We can infer from this that the Father, Son, and Spirit are not different names for God but distinct unique personal agents.  We should hasten to add with Carson that Jesus did not become the Son of God at this point.  The Spirit came upon the Son to equip Him for His messianic work.  While the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son He did not descend upon the Son to equip Him for His ministry.  Rather His appearance here is the total and complete authentication of Jesus as the Christ.  This is evident from John’s reluctance to baptize Jesus and his admission that he (John) should be the one to be baptized.  John knew that Jesus was Messiah, the Son of God. [29]

In the Great Commission we again see the formula Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19).  “The deliberate repetition of the article in the phrase tou [the] patros kai tou kuriou kai tou hagiou pneumatos is a most concise and unambiguous representation of the coequality of the three distinct persons in being, authority, and honor.” [30]

The preaching of the early missionaries contains the basic elements of the Trinity.  Peter, in his Pentecostal sermon (Acts 2:14-40) testifies that God raised Jesus to his rightful position at God’s right hand.  Jesus is “the Holy One”, “the Lord and Christ”.  This risen Christ has received the Holy Spirit from the Father.  These elements of the Trinity were included in their preaching to persuade the Jews and Gentiles that Jesus was the Messiah promised by the Scriptures and was the personal vice-regent of God.

f)       Pauline Writings
True to the Scriptures, Paul taught the uniqueness and unity of God as can be seen in his first letter to the Corinthians where he said there is but “One God, the Father by whom are all things.” (1 Corinthians 8:4, 5)  The plurality of the Godhead is also asserted.  There is a decided reference to God, His Son (Jesus Christ) and the Spirit of Holiness, a Hebraism meaning Holy Spirit in Paul’s opening statement to the Romans. (Romans 1:1-4)  In his letter to the Ephesians, he says, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6) [31] 

Moreover, Paul in discussing spiritual gifts and their administration gave insight into the association of the three persons when he said, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.  And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)  We see in these verses that the Trinity (same Spirit, same Lord, and same God) is involved in administration of these gifts.  The associations of the members of the Godhead as seen above imply an equality of being (The theological term is ontological equality). None is superior or inferior in being to the other because they are the same in essence or substance.  Paul argues that Jesus Christ, although human, was God. [33]  He likewise upholds the deity of the Holy Spirit. [34] 

Although an equality of being exists with the members of the Godhead, Paul also teaches that there is an economic or functional order.  In their internal administration, the Father has primacy over the Son [35] and Spirit. [36]  The Son has primacy over the Spirit. [37]  With regard to the external operations of the Godhead, the Father is the source, the Son is the channel, and the Spirit is the agent.  “All things are of (ek) the Father who originates (1Corinthinans 8:6; Ephesians 2:8; 3:15), through (dia) the Son who mediates (Romans 1:5; Ephesians 2:13, 18); and by (en) the Spirit who completes the work (1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 2:18, 22; 3:5).” [38]

g)     Johannine Writings
The distinction between the three persons of the Godhead is seen throughout the Gospel of John.  On the eve of His betrayal, Jesus was in the upper room with the disciples, sharing a meal, and as He was wont to do, giving them final instruction.  First, Jesus talked about His relationship with the Father.  He said, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1-2) In these verses we see the identification of the Father as God.  We see the distinction made between the Father and the Son. 

As the meal progressed, Jesus continued, "…I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” (vv. 16-17) [39]  In reporting this statement of Jesus, John, when he translated the term ‘another Helper’ from the Aramaic that Jesus spoke into the Greek language (the language in which the gospel was written), could have used the term heteros parakletos.  Instead, he used the term allos parakletos.   In the first case, it would have meant ‘Another helper who is qualitatively different than the Father and Son are.  John chose instead to use allos parakletos which is to say that this other helper is qualitatively the same as the Father and Son are.  In other words, this Helper is of the same substance as God and is in fact God.

The relationship of the Father and Son is stated in no uncertain terms in John 5:17-23.  Jesus debating with the Pharisees said:

“ ‘My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.’  For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.  Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.  For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel.  For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.  For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him’.”

The Jews clearly understood that Jesus was making a claim of deity when He called God His father (vv. 17, 18).  Implicit in this claim is the fact that He is distinct from the Father.  The unity of the two is seen in Jesus statement regarding the works of the Father and Son (vv. 19).  These works include giving life and judging sin.  This relationship is extended to the Holy Spirit as well.  Jesus said:

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  If I alone bear witness of Myself, My testimony is not true.  There is another [Greek, allos] who bears witness of Me, and I know that the testimony which He bears of Me is true.” (John 5:30-32)

The Holy Spirit is a distinct person of the same kind or substance as the Son as we see here in John’s use of allos (Greek, another). [40] 

h)     Other New Testament Writings
It should come as no surprise, given the Jewish background of the New Testament writers that James attests to the unity and uniqueness of God.  James, discussing the practical aspects of an active faith said, “You believe that God is one.”  (James 2:19)  Notwithstanding this background, Jude writes, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” (20, 21)  We see here a decided Trinitarian formula. 

Peter likewise follows suit in the opening statement of his first epistle saying, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.” (1 Peter 1:1, 2)  In the opening statement of his second epistle he overtly declares that Jesus Christ is God (vv. 1, 2). [41]   Peter ascribes the works of the Holy Spirit as works done by God.  The Holy Spirit inspires the writers of Scripture (2 Peter 1: 20, 21); He energized the prophets (1 Peter 1:11); He quickened the crucified body of Christ (1 Peter 3:18); He sanctifies believers (1 Peter 1:2).

The writer to the Hebrews shares this Trinitarian view.  He explicitly declares the Son to be God (1:8, 9).  Describing the Son, he says, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.” (1:3) To the extent that man is able to take it in, the revelation of God's majesty is to be seen in Jesus Christ.  As the exact representation of His nature (being or substance), the Son is such a revelation of the Father that when we see Him, we see what God's real being is.  The Holy Spirit is also seen as God.  Words spoken by Him are depicted as being spoken by God (3:7-11) [42] and He does works ascribed to God (9:14).

3.      Systematic Formulation

a)     Introduction
The doctrine of the Trinity or triunity of God is part of His revelation of One who is infinite to those who are not.  It is often stated by detractors that the doctrine is not Scriptural because the words Trinity or Triunity do not occur.  

According to Ryrie:

Trinity is, of course, not a biblical word.  Neither are triunity, trine, trinal, subsistence, nor essence.  Yet we employ them, and often helpfully, in trying to express this doctrine which is so fraught with difficulties.  Furthermore, this is a doctrine which in the New Testament is not explicit even though it is often said that it is implicit in the Old and explicit in the New.  But explicit means “characterized by full, clear expression,” an adjective hard to apply to this doctrine.  Nevertheless, the doctrine grows out of the Scriptures, so it is a biblical teaching. [43]

Ryrie uses two terms that bear further attention; implicit and explicit.  Explicit means ‘free from all vagueness and ambiguity, fully developed or formulated, unreserved and unambiguous expression.  Implicit on the other hand means ‘capable of being understood from something else though unexpressed, involved in the nature or essence of something though not revealed, expressed, or developed, being without doubt or reserve.’  We can see then that even though the doctrine may be implicit, it is no less certain. 

b)     Statement of the Doctrine
As a starting point for our deliberations let’s begin with the dictionary definition of trinity.  The word Trinity is defined as the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in One Godhead according to Christian dogma.  Triune is defined as of or relating to the Trinity.

(1)  Trinity in the Creeds and Confessions
In numerous creeds and confessions of Orthodox Christianity, there have been statements affirming Trinitarianism.  We quote relevant portions of two as generally representative, the Athanasian Creed and Westminster Confession of Faith.  These will illustrate the elements of Trinitarian doctrine commonly found among the various statements.

Athanasian Creed

This creed is named after Athanasius (A.D. 293-373), the champion of orthodoxy against Arian attacks on the doctrine of the trinity. Although Athanasius did not write this creed and it is improperly named after him, the name persists because until the seventeenth century it was commonly ascribed to him.  Its opening statement reads:

“Now the catholic [or universal Christian] faith is that we worship One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit.  But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is One, the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal.”

The Westminster Confession

The Westminster Assembly of Divines, convened by the English Parliament in 1643, completed the Confession of Faith, Shorter Catechism and Larger Catechism in 1647.  Chapter II, section 3 says:

In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.

Independent Fundamentalist Churches of America

In order to further clarify and emphasize the tri-unity of the Godhead, about thirty years ago it became the practice of member churches of the Independent Fundamentalist Churches of America to use the term God as inclusive of all three persons:  as in the phrase “I baptize you in the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”.  It has since spread and is a really clear way of identifying and explaining the concept.

(2)  Theological Definition
Ryrie considers B. B. Warfield’s definition of the Trinity as one of the best.  “There is one only and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal Persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence.” [44]  Two terms, persons and substance, require additional discussion.

Person or Personality

Trinitarian theologians have long been dissatisfied with the use of person as not being ideal for the purpose of describing God.  This is probably because in ordinary usage it means ‘a human being’ and implies that this human being is completely distinct from other human beings.  By this usage, person completely detracts from the unity of the Godhead.  For this reason, the members of the Godhead are commonly referred to as subsistences.  Among other things, subsistence means: something by which an individual is what it is; the character possessed by whatever is logically conceivable. The use of subsistence when referring to the members of the Godhead presupposes the quality of personality because it is a characteristic of senescent beings to be personal. 

“Personality in turn presupposes the power of self-consciences and self-determination.  A personality is a distinct individual existence to which belong the properties of reason and free will.  It embraces all those incommunicable attributes which eternally belong to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit separately and not to all in common.” [45]

Essence or Substance

“In its theological usage, essence refers to ‘the intrinsic or indispensable, permanent, and inseparable qualities that characterize or identify the being of God’.” [46]

Trinity and triunity then are terms used to refer to the teaching of the Bible that there is one true God who is one in essence or substance and at the same time three in personality.

c)      Proof of the doctrine

(1)  Unity/Uniqueness
As we have seen in Section 2 above, a central theme of the Scriptures is the unity and uniqueness of God.   Moses states, "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!”  (Deuteronomy 6:4)  When Moses says that the LORD (Yahweh) is one, he uses one to mean primarily that the LORD is totally unique, that He alone is God.  He alone is truly God.  There is a secondary and related idea of unity contained in this term.  One (Hebrew echad) in the other uses is rendered as a unit.  For example, in Numbers 13:23 we learn that Moses sent men into Canaan to learn of conditions there.  Joshua and Caleb lead the group.  They returned with “with a single cluster (echad) of grapes; and they carried it on a pole between two men, with some of the pomegranates and the figs.”   We see here the unity of the whole. 

Paul, is even more explicit regarding the uniqueness of God.  “[W]e know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.  For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him…” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6) 

(2)  The Father
The Father is a divine and distinct person.  Because there are so many references in the Scriptures to prove this point we will discuss but a few.  First, there are references to the Father who is identified as God and no other persons are included in the passage.  In Deuteronomy 32:6 we read, “Do you thus repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people?  Is not He your Father who has bought you?  He has made you and established you.”  Jesus said, "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions." (Mark 11:25-26) In these two passages (one from the Old and one from the New Testaments) we see the use of Father in a way that is equivalent to God.  We should particularly note that there are no personal distinctions included. [47]

Second, in other passages we see God as a distinct person who is contrasted with Jesus Christ the Son.  For example, the Psalmist said,

“Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing?  The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed:  ‘Let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us!’”

“He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them.  Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury: ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.’”

“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, `Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee.  `Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.  ‘Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.’”

“Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth.  Worship the LORD with reverence, and rejoice with trembling.  Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled.  How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 2:1-12)

In view are the LORD and the LORD’s Anointed.  There is a careful distinction made between the two.  Implicit in the command to “worship the Son” is the deity of the Son.  Remember, God specifically commanded Israel to worship no other god (Exodus 20:3-4).  He does, however, share His glory and the worship due Him with the second Person.   Furthermore, this distinction is seen in Paul’s typical greeting to the Churches when he says “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” [48] Likewise, this distinction is maintained by Peter when he reports his experiences on the mount of transfiguration.  He said, “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased"— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” (1 Peter 1:16-18) [49] 

(3)  The Son
The Son is a divine and distinct person.  The importance of this doctrine cannot be overstated.  Unlike the leaders of the other religions of the world (Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, et. al.), Jesus Christ is significant primarily for His person.  The issue of the nature of His person was raised when He asked, “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?" (Matthew 22:41)  The overwhelming answer of Scripture is that He is God’s Son and as such is divine.  This can be demonstrated several different ways.  He; 1) had the attributes of deity, 2) had the offices of Deity, 3) exercised the prerogatives of Deity, 4) was identified as Divine, 5) had names that implied Deity, 6) sustained relations that proved His Deity, and 7) received the worship due Deity.

He had the Attributes of Deity
The attributes of deity that are ascribed to and manifested by Jesus Christ are numerous. 

He is eternal

The Son is said to have existed from the eternal past.  He existed before John the Baptist (John 1:15), Abraham (John 8:58), and before the world was created (John 17:5, 24).  Paul called him ‘the firstborn of creation…’ (Colossians 1:15)  Firstborn (Greek prototokos) may denote either priority in time or supremacy in rank. In this passage we should see both meanings. Christ is before all creation in time; he is also over it in rank and dignity. The major stress, however, seems to be on the idea of supremacy which is true only of divinity.  The Son will continue to exist in the eternal future.  Speaking of Jesus Christ, the writer of Hebrews says,


He is Omnipresent and Omniscient 

Jesus Christ was present simultaneously on earth and in heaven.  Jesus told Nicodemus that, "… no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man.” (John 3:13) No one had ever entered into heaven to experience its realities directly except Jesus himself, the Son of Man, who had come from heaven.  Furthermore, while in heaven, He said that He was present with us here on earth (Matthew 18:20; 28:20).  Discussing Christ’s relationship to the Church (Ephesians 1:18-23), Paul taught that the church is filled with (and by) Christ. The Church as his body manifests Him to the world.  However, it can do so only as He fills it with Himself and with all the gifts of grace which he bestows on it.  In verse 23 we learn that the Christ who fills the church also fills the universe.  Christ is at once immanent within the church and transcendent over it, as He is both within and above the cosmos.

The omniscience of Jesus Christ is evident from the disciples’ upper room statement, His disciples said, "Lo, now You are speaking plainly, and are not using a figure of speech.  Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God." (John 16:29, 30)  [51] This is omniscience.

It is true that there are certain passages that indicate a limit to Christ’s knowledge. (Mark 11:33) [52]  Some would argue that if His knowledge was limited in these instances it was in others that have been unreported.  Thiessen says regarding this apparent lack of knowledge that, “we must remember that while He had the attributes of deity, He had surrendered the independent exercise of them.” [53]

He is omnipotent

The risen and ascended Jesus Christ declared, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18)  Authority in this connection means power.  He is the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:24)  Here is the clear statement of Jesus that He has all power, He is omnipotent.  

We see His power demonstrated over creation.  Paul said that He holds all things together.  (Colossians 1:18)  And how great is this power to hold all things together?  Consider this.  Physicists have identified four fundamental forces that exist in the world; gravity, magnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force.  It is the energy due to these nuclear forces that is released in the explosion of an atomic bomb and that produces the heat in a nuclear reactor that is used to propel ships and make electric power.  This tremendous energy is released by a comparatively small amount of material.  The active material in a shipboard nuclear reactor is measured in hundreds of pounds.  Now, think about all of the mass of material that is existent in the universe and you get an idea of the power that Jesus Christ has.  His power is greater because He is the infinite source.

This power is demonstrated in His power to sustain His own life.  "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." (John 10:17-18)   This life sustaining power extended to others as well is seen in the restoration of Lazarus’ life. (John 11)  Indeed, according to Hebrews, “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:3) [54] 

He is immutable

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)  This is true of His plans, promises, and person.

He had the Offices of Deity
Speaking of Jesus Christ, Hebrews says, "THOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING DIDST LAY THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF THY HANDS.”  (Hebrews 1:10)   In the same vein Paul says, “For by Him all things were created,
both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created by Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)  He is not only creator but the Upholder (vv. 17).  It is no accident that the Universe holds together; it is the work of Christ. [55]

He exercised the Prerogatives of Deity
Forgive Sin

Since God is sovereign in the universe, He alone has the authority to judge men.  We see that Jesus Christ has the right and the power to do things that only God can do.  He has the right and power to forgive sin.  Matthew reports an event early in the ministry of Jesus. 

“And behold, they were bringing to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed; and Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven.’  And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This fellow blasphemes.’  And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, ‘Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?  For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Rise, and walk”?  But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’--then He said to the paralytic—‘Rise, take up your bed, and go home’.” (Matthew 9:2-6) [56]

Contrary to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, neither Peter nor the other disciples claimed to have the authority to forgive sins. [57]

Raise the Dead

Since God is the giver and sustainer of life, only He has the prerogative to raise the dead.  Jesus Christ also has this power and authority to raise the dead.  At the outset we want to note that others have restored dead people to life. [58] Those who were restored later died. However, what is entirely different here is Self-Resurrection from the dead … never to die again.  We are speaking here of resurrection power.  John quotes Jesus as saying that He had the power to give up His life and the power to take it up again (John 10:18).  The resurrection of Christ is the precursor to the great resurrection at the end of the age.  “This future raising of the dead will be different from the raising of the three when He was on earth,[59] in that in the future all will be raised, they will be raised from decomposition as well as from death, they will be raised never more to die, and they will be raised by Christ’s inherent power rather than by the Spirit’s power.” [60] 

He will execute judgment
"For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” [61]

He was Identified as Divine
We see this identification in that things said of Jehovah in the Old Testament are said of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.  Consider the following comparisons:

Jehovah the Creator in the Old Testament

I say, "O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days, Thy years are throughout all generations. Of old Thou didst found the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands.  Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end. (Psalm 102:24-27)

Jehovah the Creator in the New Testament


Jehovah as seen by Isaiah in the Old Testament

“In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.  Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one called out to another and said,
‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory’.” (Isaiah 6:1-5)

Jehovah as seen by John in the New Testament

“These things Jesus spoke, and He departed and hid Himself from them.  But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him; that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, ‘LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?’  For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, ‘HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES, AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART; LEST THEY SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED, AND I HEAL THEM.’ These things Isaiah said, because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.” (John 12:36-41)

He had Names that Implied Deity
The metaphors that Jesus used of Himself imply His supernatural character.  These are seen in the “I am” statements,
[62] and those that imply His deity. [63]  

Isaiah said, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (7:14)  Matthew applies this prediction as well as the name by which that Son was to be known to Jesus Christ.  Joseph, concerned that his betrothed, a virgin, was found to be with child, considered divorcing her. 

“But when he had considered this [divorce], behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.’  Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL’ which translated means, ‘GOD WITH US’." (Matthew 1:20-23)

John called Jesus the Word (Greek logos) and calls Him God. [64]  Jesus used it once of Himself.  Responding to the Pharisee’s accusation of blasphemy, Jesus answered them,

"Has it not been written in your Law, `I SAID, YOU ARE GODS'?  If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?  If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." (John 10:34-38) 

In addition, others in the New Testament called Him God.  John calls Him the Word (Greek logos) and identifies the Word as being God.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)  The English the equation of God and the Word is less emphatically stated than in Greek, which literally says ‘and God was the Word’.  Thomas called Jesus, My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)  The writer of Hebrews says of the Son, “THY THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER..." (1:8) 

He sustained Relations Proving His Deity

Matthew, in the baptismal formula, places Jesus Christ side by side with the Father and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)
[65] Paul closes his second letter to the Corinthians with what is termed the apostolic benediction and it does likewise.  He said, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” (13:14) Hebrews calls Jesus the “radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.” (1:3) He is the “image of the invisible God...” (Colossians 1:15)  Finally, He is one with the Father. (John 14:23)

He received Worship due Deity

God explicitly commanded us to worship no other but Him.  In a reiteration of the ban on worshipping other gods given in the Decalogue, God said to the children of Israel, “you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14) 

Righteous men and angelic beings have refused the worship of misguided men.  Several instances bear mentioning.  One is Peter’s encounter with Cornelius who had been warned in a dream that Peter would come to him.  “And when it came about that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am just a man’.” (Acts 10:25, 26)  In another instance, John reporting an event that occurred at the end of his great vision of heaven said,  “And I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.  And he said to me, ‘Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God." (Revelation 22:8, 9)

Jesus Christ, on the other hand, on every occasion did receive the worship offered to Him.  On one occasion, the disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus came up to them walking on the water.  Peter, wanting to know if it truly was Jesus, asked to come out of the boat and walk to Him.  We all know what happened.  Peter, taking his eyes off Jesus began to sink, whereupon the Lord took him by the hand and rescued him!  After getting back into the boat, “those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘You are certainly God's Son!’” (Matthew 14:33) [66] What is absent from this and every other instance is any statement by Jesus refusing to accept their worship.  On the contrary, He accepted it.  Not only that, we are commanded to render worship to the Son.  “And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, ‘AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM’." (Hebrews 1:6) 

(4)  The Holy Spirit
Some who are in opposition to the doctrine of the Trinity claim that the Holy Spirit is merely the power or influence of God.  However, the Scriptures very clearly demonstrate otherwise. 

The Holy Spirit is a Person

There are six proofs that demonstrate the Holy Spirit’s personality.  First, personal pronouns are used of Him.  Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another
Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)  Second, the name Helper is used only in the upper room dissertation of the Holy Spirit (John 14-16).  In 14:16 it is applied to Christ as implied by the term another (Greek allos, another of the same kind as the Son).  In applying the name to Christ, who is a person, we conclude that the Holy Spirit is likewise a person.  Third, He has the essential elements of personality; intellect, will, and sensibility. [67]  Fourth, personal acts are performed by Him. [68]  Fifth, He is associated with the Father and Son.  This is seen in the baptismal formula and Apostolic benediction. [69] Finally, He is susceptible to personal treatment. [70]  The Holy Spirit is indeed a person.

The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person

The attributes of Deity are ascribed to the Holy Spirit.


The writer to the Hebrews asks of Jesus Christ, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (9:14)

Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence

He is Omniscient

Paul indicates that the Holy Spirit is omniscient.  “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:10-12)  The latter part of verse 10 shows the extent (all things) and depth (the deep things of God) of the Holy Spirit's revelation of God's wisdom and truth.  Because the Spirit knows the thoughts of God, and God’s knowledge is infinite, the Spirit’s knowledge is infinite. 

He is omnipotent

Luke ascribes the power of the Most High to the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:35). 

He is omnipresent

David asks,

“Where can I go from Thy Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Thy presence?  If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.  If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Thy hand will lead me, and Thy right hand will lay hold of me.  If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night, even the darkness is not dark to Thee, and the night is as bright as the day.  Darkness and light are alike to Thee’.” (Psalm 139:7-10)

His words and works are considered the words and works of God 

The works of God are ascribed to Him.  We see the Holy Spirit involved in the creation of the Universe.  (Genesis 1:3)  He is actively involved in regeneration.  Responding to a question from Nicodemus, “Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’” (John 3:5, 6)  As we saw in our lesson on the inspiration of Scripture, “…men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:21)  

Isaiah said, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!"  And He said, "Go, and tell this people: `Keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand.'   Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, lest they see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed." (6:8-10) Paul credits this as being said by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 28:25-27) [71]

The Holy Spirit is Called God

Ananias and
Saphira had sold some land and gave the proceeds to the Church.  However, they told Peter that they had sold the property for less than they actually had and held back the difference.  They lied to Peter and the Church.  Peter, confronting Ananias, said, "why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God." (Acts 5:3-5)

d)     The Nature of the Trinity

As Substance

The Divine Being is but one indivisible substance.  This refers to God’s essential being or nature.  Although He does exist as three persons, He is yet one substance or essence.

As Persons

In this one Being there are three persons or subsistences; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  By this we mean that we should view this as personal self-distinctions in the divine substance or essence.  “The whole undivided essence of God belongs to each of the three persons.  Thus there is no subordination regarding the essential being of any person.” [72]  We should then speak not of the personality of God, but rather personality in God.

Ontological Trinity

Ontological Trinity relates to intra-Godhead relations.  As regards the subsistence and operation of the three persons within the being there is a definite order.  This order is not one of priority or dignity, but is a logical order or order of relationship.  It recognizes that the Father, being the first Person, is neither begotten by nor proceeds from another of the Godhead.  The nature of the relationship between the Father and Son is said to be one of ‘generation’ and is understood to mean one of emanation.   God said to the Son, “Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee.” (Psalm 2:7)  Here God speaks of the eternal communication of His life to the Son.  The Holy Spirit is said to “proceed” from the Father and Son and as with the term ‘generation’ means eternal communication of life.  In this connection, the life of the Father and Son is communicated to the Holy Spirit.

Economic Trinity

Economic Trinity relates to the administration of God’s eternal purposes outwardly to His creation.  It is tied to the extra-Godhead relations and works.  “It is an acknowledgement of the fact that the Scriptures represent all things as being out of (ek) the Father, through (dia) the Son and in the Holy Spirit.” [73]  We can see from this that the Father is the source of all things, the Son brings them to pass, and the Holy Spirit makes them known.  We can also say that while all of the works of God are the works of the persons jointly, some are more particularly associated with each person.  Creation, for example, is primarily the Father’s work; redemption is primarily the Son’s; and sanctification the Spirit’s.

Distinguishing Properties

The three persons of the Godhead can be distinguished by certain personal properties.  At the outset it must be emphasized that these properties do not relate to the attributes essence or substance which are common amongst the three.  Instead, the properties are related to those which are not.  These properties are considered by theologians to be incommunicable among the Godhead.  Another way of saying it is that they are true of one person and not the others.  Generation is true of the Father only.  Sonship or filiation applies only to the Son.  Finally, procession is ascribed to the Holy Spirit and not the others.

Important Distinctions

In the relationship between the Persons there are recognizable distinctions.  The New Bible Dictionary has an excellent article addressing these distinctions.  An extended quotation follows:

Unity in Diversity

“In most formularies the doctrine is stated by saying that God is One in his essential being, but that in his being there are three Persons, yet so as not to form separate and distinct individuals.  They are three modes or forms in which the divine essence exists.  ‘Person’ is, however, an imperfect expression of the truth inasmuch as the term denotes to us a separate rational and moral individual.  But in the being of God there are not three individuals, but three personal self-distinctions within the one divine essence.  Then again, personality in man implies independence of will, actions and feelings leading to behavior peculiar to the person.  This cannot be thought of in connection with the Trinity.  Each Person is self-conscious and self-directing, yet never acting independently or in opposition.  When we say that God is a Unity we mean that, though God in himself a threefold centre (sic) of life, his life is not split into three.  He is one in essence, in personality and in will.  When we say that God is a Trinity in Unity, we mean that there is a unity in diversity, and that the diversity manifests itself in Persons, in characteristics and in operations.

Equality in Dignity

There is perfect equality in nature, honor and dignity between the Persons.  Fatherhood belongs to the very essence of the first Person and it was so from all eternity.  It is a personal property of God ‘from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named’ (Ephesians 3:15). 

The Son is called the ‘only begotten’ perhaps to suggest uniqueness rather than derivation.  Christ always claimed for himself a unique relationship to God as Father, and the Jews who listened to him apparently had no illusions abut his claims.  Indeed they sought to kill him because he ‘called God his own Father, making himself equal with God’ (John 5:18).

The Spirit is revealed as the One who alone knows the depths of God’s nature: ‘For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God…No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God’ (1 Corinthians 2:10f).  This is saying that the Spirit is ‘just God himself in the innermost essence of his being.’  This puts the seal of New Testament teaching upon the doctrine of the equality of the three Persons.

Diversity in Operation

In the functions ascribed to each of the Persons in the Godhead, especially in man’s redemption, it is clear that a certain degree of subordination is involved (in relation, though not in nature); the Father first, the Son second, the Spirit third.  The Father works through the Son by the Spirit.  Thus Christ can say: ‘My Father is greater than I.’  As the Son is sent by the Father, so the Spirit is sent by the Son.  As it was the Son’s office to reveal the Father, so it is the Spirit’s office to reveal the Son, as Christ testified: ‘He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you’ (John 16:14).

It has to be recognized that the doctrine arose as the spontaneous expression of the Christian experience.  The early Christians knew themselves to be reconciled to God the Father, and that the reconciliation was secured for them by the atoning work of the Son, and that it was mediated to them in their relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Thus the Trinity was to them a fact before it became a doctrine, but in order to preserve it in the creedal faith of the church the doctrine had to be formulated.” [74]

4.      Defense of the Doctrine
Throughout the history of the church the alternative views regarding the apparent plurality of the Godhead, vis-à-vis the doctrine of the trinity, have fallen under one of two categories.  On the one hand there have been those who have been guilty of tritheism.  On the other hand, and most frequently, error manifests itself in some form of Monarchianism.  Orthodox Christianity has considered these views heretical.

a)     Tritheism
Tritheism is the teaching that the Godhead is really three separate beings forming three separate gods.

b)     Monarchianism or Modalism
Monarchianism, a heretical doctrine of the late second and third century AD, taught that God was an invisible monad (monarch) without any personal distinctions.  It thus stood in opposition to the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity in that it denied the three persons of the Godhead.  Blaising said,

“In its most general sense Monarchianism (also called patripassianism or Sabellianism) refers to the primarily Western attempts in the third century to defend monotheism against suspected tritheism by denying the personal distinctiveness of a divine Son and Holy Spirit in contrast to God the Father. The term is first used by Tertullian to describe those who desired to protect the monarchy (of the one God) from improper thoughts about the economy (of the three: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). [75]

In general, Monarchianism takes two forms: Dynamic Monarchianism and Modalistic Monarchianism.

c)      Adoptionism or Dynamic Monarchianism
Adoptionism is the theory that Jesus Christ was in nature a mere man, united with the Holy Spirit.  He was called to do God’s work and did it so exceedingly well that God saw fit to adopt him as a son.   The earliest existent work that espouses this position is attributed to the Shepherd of Hermas, ca 150 AD.  

Dynamic Monarchianism, rooted in Adoptionism, is thought to have been first proposed in Rome by Theodotus of Byzantium about 190 AD.  His follower, Artemon went so far as to teach that this was the view of the Apostles.  According to this view, the power of God (Holy Spirit) came to reside in the man Jesus Christ.  This resulted in his divinity.  He is, therefore, divine by status (adoption as God’s son) not essence (having God’s substance).  The Holy Spirit is merely impersonal power.

The most infamous form of Dynamic Monarchianism is that of Arianism.  Arias, Bishop of Alexandria (Egypt) ca 320 AD, “taught that only God the Father was eternal and too pure and infinite to appear on the earth.  Therefore, God produced Christ the Son out of nothing as the first and greatest creation.  The Son is then the one who created the universe.  Because the Son relationship of the Son to the Father is not one of nature, it is, therefore, adoptive.   God adopted Christ as the Son.  Though Christ was a creation, because of his great position and authority, he was to be worshipped and even looked upon as God.  Some Arians even held that the Holy Spirit was the first and greatest creation of the Son.” [76]  Arias was banished to Illyria (modern Yugoslavia, Albania) in 325 AD after the First Council of Nicaea condemned his teaching a heresy.  (Return to Arius link in "III. D. 3. b). (1).")

d)     Modalistic Monarchianism
The other form of Monarchianism is Modalistic Monarchianism.  It is not only distinctly independent from but is opposed to Dynamic Monarchianism. Modalistic Monarchianism, also called by some writers Sabellianism or Patripassionism, accepts the divinity of Christ and regarded the Trinity as three manifestations or modes of a single divine being.  In this system, then, God is much like an actor who plays different roles throughout his lifetime.

5.      Application
One of the greatest ills that have beset mankind from the fall of Adam is no less in effect today than it was then.  I am speaking of mankind’s corrupt view of God.  Paul wrote of it.  Speaking of men everywhere he said, “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” (Romans 1:22, 23)  Do not think the Church is exempt from this problem.  While we are not idolaters we do have a low view of God.  A. W. Tozer wrote, “The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us.  A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.” [77]  What is the effect of this “low view of God”?  We have lost our sense of religious awe and consciousness of the presence of God.  “The words, ‘be still, and know that I am God,’ mean next to nothing to the self-confident bustling worshiper in this middle period of the twentieth century.” [78] Nor does it to those of us who live in this the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Many Christians have what may be termed a ‘daddy’ view of God.  While in one sense this may be entirely proper, by itself it is not.  The ‘daddy’ view is a corrupt understanding of Galatians 4:6 where Paul said, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba Father’.”   Since we have been made a member of God’s family, we as Christians are urged to cry, Father (Aramaic, abba).   Abba is the Aramaic diminutive for Father, “perhaps suggesting the overtones of the English word ‘Daddy’. It was the word Jesus habitually used in his prayers to the Father and which he passed on to those who through him became God's children.” [79]  By using this term Himself, Jesus was narrowing the gap between God and His children.  But note also, Jesus’ use of the term abba never reduced the majesty of God one particle.  Unfortunately, our use has become presumption.  This is the ‘daddy’ view.  God has been reduced to some father figure with all of his human foibles and failings. This view is too familiar.  While retaining the original sense in which Jesus used the term, we need to regain Isaiah’s sense of God.  After seeing God, “high and lifted up” (6:1), he declared, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!  For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." (6:5)

That our concept of God corresponds as nearly as is possible to the reality of the triune God is of supreme importance. 

“…the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.  We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.  This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church.” [80]

We must, by reflection upon the Triune God, regain our sense of God’s majesty and truly worship Him.

[1] Walter Martin, Essential Christianity, (Vision House, Santa Ana, CA, 1975), p. 21, cited by J. Keathley III, H. (2002).  The Trinity (Triunity) of God. [On-line]. Available:
[2] ibid.
[3] Gordon Lewis and Bruce Demarest, Integrative Theology, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1996), Volume 1, p. 257
[4] Cf. Exodus 26:6 ,11; 36:13
[5] C. S. Forester, Lord Hornblower, (Pinnacle Books, Los Angeles, CA, 1978), p. 167
[6] Cited by Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI,1998), p. 353-354
[7] Cf. Genesis 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8
[8] Erickson, ibid., p. 354
[9] Expositors Bible Commentary, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1978), in. loc. 
[10] Cf. Ps. 33:6; John 1:3; 5:17, 19; Colossians 1:16
[11] Cf. John 1:21; Acts 3:22; 7:37
[12] Cf. Genesis 18; 21; 22; Numbers 22.  Other Old Testament writers refer to the Angel of the LORD, Judges 6; 13; 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; Zechariah 1; 3; Psalm 34, 35
[13] Lewis & Demarest, op. cit., p. 258
[14] Cf. Isaiah 44:6; 46:9
[15] Cf. 4:18-19
[16] C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary of the Old Testament in Ten Volumes, (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1973), Volume 2, p. 62, 63
[17] Hobart Freeman, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophets, (Moody Press, Chicago, Il., 1973), p. 119.  Latent means present and capable of becoming though not now visible or active.  Patent means readily visible or intelligible; not hidden or obscure.
[18] Cf., Expositors Bible Commentary, Volume 3, p. 890. 
[19] Gerbrandt, cited Expositors Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 891
[20] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1992), Volume 2 p. 376
[21] C. F. Keil, Frantz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament in Ten Volumes, (Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 1973), Volume 2, p. 346
[22] Keil and Delitzsch, op. cit.
[23] Keil and Delitzsch, op. cit.
[24] Cf., Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 3, p. 890-893.
[25] Youngblood, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 3, p. 893.
[26] Lewis & Demarest, op. cit., p. 260
[27] Cf., D. A. Carson, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8, p. 108.  Carson says “‘Heaven ... opened’ calls to mind OT visions (e.g., Isaiah 64:1; Ezekiel 1:1; cf. Acts 7:56; Revelation 4:1; 19:11). ‘The Spirit of God descending like a dove’ simile could mean either that the manner of the Spirit's descent was like a dove's or that the Spirit appeared in a dove's form. Whether or not the latter is visionary, Luke 3:22 specifies it.
[28] Carson, op. cit, Volume 8, p. 109.
[29] Cf. Matthew 3:13-15
[30] Lewis & Demarest, op. cit, p. 263.  tou  patros kai tou kuriou kai tou hagiou pneumatos (Greek, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit)
[31] Cf. 2 Corinthians 13:13; Titus 3:4-6; Romans 8:1-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
[32] (intentionally blank)
[33] Philippians 2:6, Titus 2:13
[34] 2 Corinthians 3:17 cf. vv. 18
[35] Romans 8:3; 1 Corinthians 15:24, 28; Philippians 2:7-8
[36] 1 Corinthians 6:19; Galatians 4:6
[37] Galatians 4:6
[38] Lewis and Demarest, op. cit., p. 267
[39] Cf. John 14:26; 15:26
[40] Cf. John 6:37-40; 10:28-30, 38; 12:49, 50; 17:10; 1 John 2:23-24
[41] Cf. 2 Peter 2:1
[42] Cf. Hebrews 10:15-17
[43] Charles C. Ryrie, cited by J. Hampton Keathley III. 2002.  The Trinity (Triunity) of God The Biblical Studies Foundation [On-line].  Available:
[44] Keathley, ibid.
[45] Cook, op. cit., p. 62
[46] Keathley, op. cit.
[47] For other passages affirming this point cf. 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 89:26; Isaiah 63:16; Jeremiah 3:19; Malachi 2:10; Matthew 6:9; Mark 11:25; Luke 12:30; John 4:21-24; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Philippians 4:20; James 1:17; 1 John 2:15-16
[48] Cf., Galatians 1:1-4; Ephesians 1:1-3; Philippians 1:1-2; 1 Timothy 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 1:1-3; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3
[49] Cf., John 5:18-27; 10:15, 30; 17: 1; Acts 2:33; Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 11:31; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; 1 John 4:14; Revelation 3:21
[50] Cf., Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2 margin; John 1:1; 1 John 1:1; Revelation 1:11
[51] Expositors Bible Commentary, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1978), in. loc.  For examples of His knowledge cf. Matthew 24:25; John 1:49; 2:24, 25; 4:29; 6:66; Luke 6:8;
[52] Cf. Mark 6:6; 13:32
[53] H. C. Thiessen, Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology, (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1949), p. 139
[54] Cf. Philippians 3:21; Colossians 2:10; 2 Timothy 1:10; Revelation 1:8
[55] Cf. John 1:3, Hebrews 1:3
[56] Cf. Luke 7:47, 48; Mark 2:7
[57] Cf. Matthew 16:19; 18:18; John 20:23 with 1 John 1:9; Acts 8:20, 22)
[58] Cf., 1 Kings 17:17-24, John 11:1-44
[59] Lazarus and the two thieves on the cross at the crucifixion of Christ
[60] Thiessen, op. cit., p. 140
[61] Cf. Matthew 10:42; 25:31-32;Acts 17:31; Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5; Revelation 19:15
[62] John 6:41; 10:9; 14:6; 15:5
[63] Revelation 3:14; 22:13
[64] John 1:1-5, 9-18; Revelation 19:13)
[65] Cf. Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3
[66] Cf. Matthew 15:25; 28:9; Luke 5:81 Corinthians 1:2
[67] Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:11; 12:11; Romans 8:27; 15:30
[68] Cf. John 3:5; 14:26; 15:26; 16:8-11, 13-14; Acts 13:2; 16:6-7; Romans 8:26; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 12:11;  
[69] Cf. Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14
[70] Cf. Matthew 12:31, 32; Acts 5:3, 9; 7:51; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 10:29
[71] Cf. Exodus 16:7 and Psalm 95:8-11 with Hebrews 3:7-9; Genesis 1:27 and Job 33:4
[72] Cook, op. cit. p. 63
[73] ibid., p. 64
[74] The New Bible Dictionary, electronic Media, Logos Bible Software.
[75] C. A. Blaising.  2002. Monarchianism, Sabellianism, Patripassionism, Modalism. [On-line]. Available:
[76] 2002, Arianism.  Christian Apologetics Research Ministry [On-line]. Available:
[77] Aiden Wilson Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, (Harper and Row, New York, NY, 1961), p. 6
[78] Tozer, ibid.
[79] Expositors Bible Commentary, in. loc.
[80] Tozer, ibid