Doctrine of the Trinity
Proposition: The doctrine of the Trinity, though not explicitly set forth, is found in the Bible and is seen in the light of God’s more prominent plan of redemption with each person of the Trinity, united in purpose, playing a unique role in redeeming the people of God. See it, believe it and live in the light of the principles of diversity within unity.
I. PRELIMINARY STATEMENTS
A. The Problem: No systematic statement of the doctrine of the Trinity is found in the Bible.
B. Scripture’s Focus: God’s redemption of man.
- The Trinity is revealed as the plan for redemption unfolds in Scripture. The Father, according to His plan, sends the Son to accomplish redemption, the Son sends the Spirit to apply the work of redemption to God’s people.
- Trinitarian expressions are found in the New Testament.
a. Matthew 28:19, Great Commission
b. 2 Corinthians 13:13, Apostolic Blessing
C. Statement of the Doctrine: One God, existing in three persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are one in their essence; yet, each has His own special distinct characteristics:
- The Father—is of none, He generates the Son from all eternity.
- The Son—is eternally generated from the Father,
- The Spirit—proceeds from the Father and the Son by spiration.
II. THE TRINITY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
A. God is a Plurality
- Elohim—Masculine plural noun
- Plural pronouns—Gen. 1:26; Gen. 11:7; Isaiah 6:8—”Whom shall (I) send, and who will go for (Us)?” (Plurality in a unity)
- Plural descriptions of God–Ecc. 12:1, lit. “Creators”, Ps. 142:2, lit. “Makers”
- The Shema—Deut. 6:4: “…the LORD is one!” Echad–compound “one”, not yachid–absolute “one”.
B. God is at least TWO
Identification/Differentiation Principle: In some passages one Person is identified as God and is seen in relation to a different Person also identified as God.
- Psalm 45:6-7
- Gen. 19:24 (Applies to LORD, “YHVH” as well).
- Zechariah 2:8-9
- Genesis 16:7,13—The Angel of The LORD, making tangible contact with man.
- Genesis 22:11-12—The LORD (the Angel) with Abraham
III. GOD IS THREE
A. Besides The LORD and The Angel of The LORD, there is The Holy Spirit, or Spirit of God, who is not simply a mere emanation from God because He has all the characteristics of personality (intellect, emotion and will) and is considered divine.
B. In the Old Testament you will also find all three personalities of the Godhead referred to in a single passage:
- Isaiah 48:12-16
- Isaiah 63:7-14, All three Persons of the Trinity mentioned in the context of the Exodus—the redemption of the people of God.
IV. THE TRINITY IS REFLECTED IN CREATION
A. In Nature
- Universal laws affecting all of nature’s particulars.
- Composition and design elements in art and music—a good composition has variation and diversity within an overall unity.
B. In Philosophy: Existentialism focuses on the significance of life with respect to individual particulars only, with nothing seen as absolute and universal to tie it all together; this leads naturally to despair. All of life with every possible particular has meaning and significance when lived in the light of the living God, who is the Absolute One, holding everything together for His purpose. This is the message of Ecclesiastes.
C. In The Church: One body, yet many parts, many gifts, diverse functions.
I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4.
D. In Marriage and Male/Female Role Relationships
- Genesis 2:24 “One flesh”
- I Cor. 11:3, Christ’s submission to the Father is the example of woman’s submission to man. Is the Son less God than the Father? Christ’s glory is not compromised by submission to the Father’s Will (it’s enhanced).
Pastor Michael B. Schuelke, Fairfield Presbyterian Church, (PCA)