The following is derived from readings of articles about the Trinity in https://carm.org
THE FIRST STEP RELATIVE TO DEFINING WHO THE GOD OF THE BIBLE IS: TO ESTABLISH THE BIBLE DOCTRINE THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD
The first step is to establish the biblical doctrine that there
is only one God. Isaiah
43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:5, 14, 18, 21,22; 46:9; 47:8; John 17:3; 1 Cor.
8:5-6; Gal. 4:8-9.
"Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me."
"...Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none."
"I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God."
it is established that there is only one God in the Bible then with diligent
examination of Scripture you will find that each of the Persons of God is
called God, each creates, each raised Jesus from the dead,
each indwells, etc. Therefore, God is one, but the one God is three
Persons. Note that the idea of a
composite unity is not a foreign concept to the Bible; after all, man
and wife become are said to be one flesh. The idea of a composite
unity of persons is spoken of by God in Genesis (Gen. 2:24).
The chart below should help you to see how the doctrine of the Trinity is systematically derived from Scripture. The list is not exhaustive, only illustrative. Therefore, the doctrine of the Trinity is arrived at by looking at the whole of scripture, not in a single verse. It is the doctrine that there is only one God, not three, and that the one God exists in three persons: Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit:
|CHART OF SIGNIFICANT VERSES DESCRIBING THE TRINITY|
||PHIL 1:2; ISA 44:6
||JN 1:1, 14; COL 2:9; ISA 9:6
||ISA 43:11; TITUS 3:4; ACTS 20:28; 1 TIM 1:1; 2:3; 4:10||TITUS 2:13; 2 TIM 1:10; TITUS 1:4; 3:6||RO 8:2; 14314
||ISA 54:5; GEN CH 1-2
||JN 1:3; COL 1:15-17; HEB 1:2-3
||JOB 33:4, 26:13; PS 104:30; JN 6:63; 2 COR 3:6
||EZ 36-37; 1 COR 12:3
||1 THESS 1:10
||JN 2:19; 10:17
||2 COR 6:16; JN 14:23
||COL 1:27; 2 COR 13:5
||JN 14:17; 1 COR 3:16; 2 COR 1:22
||1 KGS 8:27
||1 JN 3:20
||JN 16:30; 21:17
||1 COR 2:10-11
||1 THESS 5:23
||1 PET 1:2
||GEN 2:7; JN 5:21
||JN 1:3; 5:21
||2 COR 3:6, 8|
||1 JN 1:3
||1 COR 1:9
||2 COR 13:14; PHIL 2:1
||PS 90:2; DT 33:27
||MICAH 5:1-2; 1 TIM 1:17
||RO 8:11; HEB 9:14
||1 COR 12:11
||MT 3:17; LK 9:25
||LK 5:20; 7:48
||ACTS 8:29; 11:12; 13:2
|SEARCHES THE HEART
||1 COR 2:10
|WE BELONG TO
||JN 5:30; 8:50; PS 75:7
||JN 5:21, 30
|RAISED JESUS FROM THE DEAD
||1 THES 1:10; AC 2:24
||JN 2:19-21; JN 10:17-18
||RO 8:11; 1 PET 3:18
THE TRINITY SUMMARIZED
God may be accurately described as a trinity of distinct Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each of the Persons is distinct from the other yet identical in essence. And each of the three Persons is completely divine in nature though each is not the totality of the Godhead. Each of the three Persons is not the other two persons. Each of the three Persons is related to the other two but are distinct from them. So each Person is divine, yet there are neither three gods nor three beings, but one God; and there are no other Gods, (Isa 43:10-11; 44:6; 45:5). The word "Person" denotes individuality and self-awareness; but each is not the totality of the other Persons of the Trinity. Each Person has a distinct will, Who can speak, express love, anger, etc., and Who when He speaks says "I" and "You." etc. and is is fully divine in essence / nature. So the Father is not the same Person as the Son, Who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit, and Who is not the same Person as the Father. The word "person" is used to describe the three members of the Godhead because the word "person" is appropriate. Each of the three persons in the Trinity demonstrate these qualities. They are in absolute perfect harmony with one another and consist of one substance. They are coeternal, coequal and copowerful. If any one of the three were removed, there would be no God. Although word "trinity" is not found in the Bible, but this does not mean that the concept is not taught there. The word "bible" is not found in the Bible either, but we use it to define God's Word. Likewise, the words "omniscience," which means "all-knowing," "omnipotence," which means "all-powerful," and "omnipresence," which means "present everywhere" are not found in the Bible either; but we use these words to describe the attributes of God. So, to say that the Trinity isn't true because the word isn't in the Bible is an invalid argument.
So included in the doctrine of the Trinity is a strict monotheism which is the teaching that there exists in all the universe a single Being known as God Who is self-existent and unchangeable (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8). Therefore, it is important to note that the doctrine of the Trinity is not polytheistic as some of its critics proclaim. Trinitarianism is monotheistic by definition and those who claim it is polytheistic demonstrate a lack of understanding of what it really is.
A further point of clarification is that God is not one Person,
the Father, with Jesus as a creation and the Holy Spirit is a force
(Jehovah's Witnesses). Neither is He one person who took three
consecutive forms, i.e., the Father, became the Son, who became the
Holy Spirit. Nor is God the divine nature of the Son (where Jesus had a
human nature perceived as the Son and a divine nature perceived as the
Father (Oneness theology). Nor is the Trinity an office held by three
separate Gods (Mormonism).
theologians admit that the term "Person" is not a perfect word to
describe the three individual aspects/foci found in God. When we
normally use the word person, we understand it to mean physical
individuals who exist as separate beings from one other. But in
God, there are not three separate beings. God is
a trinity of Persons consisting of one substance and one essence. God
is numerically one. Yet, within the single divine essence are
three individual Persons.
There is, apparently, a subordination within the Trinity regarding order but not substance or essence. We can see that the Father is first, the Son is second, and the Holy Spirit is third. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (John 15:26). The Father sent the Son (1 John 4:10). The Son and the Father send the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26). The Father creates (Isaiah 44:24), the Son redeems (Gal. 3:13), and the Holy Spirit sanctifies (Rom. 15:16).
This subordination of order does not mean that each of the members of the Godhead are not equal or divine. For example, we see that the Father sent the Son, but this does not mean that the Son is not equal to the Father in essence and divine nature. The Son is equal to the Father in His Divinity but inferior in His Humanity. A wife is to be subject to her husband; but this does not negate her humanity, essence, or equality. By further analogy, a king and his servant both share human nature. Yet, the king sends the servant to do his will. Jesus said, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me," (John 6:38). Of course, Jesus already is King; but the analogy shows that because someone is sent, it doesn't mean they are different from the one Who sent him.
Critics of the Trinity will see this subordination as proof that the Trinity is false. They reason that if Jesus were truly God, then He would be completely equal to God the Father in all areas and would not, therefore, be subordinate to the Father in any way; but this objection is not logical. If we look at the analogy of the king and the servant, we certainly would not say that the servant was not human because he was sent. Being sent does not negate sameness in essence. Therefore, the fact that the Son is sent does not mean that He is not divine any more than when my wife sends me to get bread, I am not human.
In History, The Son Of God Added To Himself Perfect Humanity In A Hypostatic Union With His Deity
Furthermore, the Word Who is God - the Divine Son of God, (Jn 1:1c ) Who became flesh, i.e., adding to Himself Perfect Humanity in the sense of adding to His Divine Essence perfect Humanity in a hypostatic union with His Divine Essence, (Jn 1:14 ; Phil 2:5-8 ). Neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit has Humanity so added to His Personality. And which hypostatic union of the Divine and Perfect Humanity is described as God's One and Only Son, (John 3:16 ).
Although The Trinity Can Be Difficult To Comprehend This Does Not Negate Its Validity
Another important point about the Trinity is that it can be a difficult concept to grasp, but this does not necessitate an argument against its validity. On the contrary, the fact that it is difficult is an argument for its truth. When carefully studied it is a plausible conclusion that the Bible is the self-revelation of an infinite God. Therefore, we are bound to encounter concepts which are difficult to understand - especially when dealing with an incomprehensible God Who exists in all places at all times Who is nevertheless outside of the restrictions of time. So, when we view descriptions and attributes of God manifested in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we discover that a completely comprehensible and understandable explanation of God's essence and nature is not possible. What we have done, however, is derived from the Scripture the truths that we can grasp and combine them into the doctrine we call The Trinity. The Trinity is, to a large extent, a mystery. After all, we are dealing with God Himself.