Knowledge of the Holy - God as a Trinity


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This presentation discusses how God can be three persons in one.

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Knowledge of the Holy - God as a Trinity

  1. 1. Knowledge of the Holy
  2. 2. Knowledge of the Holy God’s Simplicity, Unity, and Trinity
  3. 3. “To mediate on the three Persons of the Godhead is to walk in thought through the garden eastward in Eden and to tread on holy ground. Our sincerest effort to grasp the incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity must remain forever futile, and only by deepest reverence can it be saved from actual presumption. . . .We cover our deep ignorance with words, but we are ashamed to wonder, we are afraid to whisper „mystery‟.” - A. W. Tozer
  4. 4. God’s Simplicity
  5. 5. What is God‟s Simplicity? • To be simple is to be “without parts” • It also means to be indivisible; God cannot be divided • To be simple also means to be one; God is unity • Even though there is a plurality of Persons (the Trinity), God is one Being in His essence
  6. 6. Biblical Support for God‟s Simplicity• “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4)• “Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us” (Malachi 2:10)• “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” (James 2:19)
  7. 7. Church Fathers on God‟s Simplicity• “He is the simple, unchangeable, co-eternal God. This Trinity is one God. And, although it is a Trinity, it is nonetheless simple” – Augustine• “[His] supreme Nature is in no wise composite, but is supremely simple” – Anselm• “When we profess to believe in one God, under the name of God is understood a single, simple essence, in which we comprehend three persons or hypostases” – Calvin
  8. 8. “I answer that the absolute simplicity ofGod may be shown in many ways. First . . . [since there are no ways God could differ] it is clear that God is in no way composite, but is altogether simple. Second . . . every composite is posteriorto its component parts, and is dependent on them; but God is the first being, as has been shown above. Third . . . every composite has a cause, for things in themselves diverse cannot unite unless something causes them to unite. But God is uncaused.” - Thomas Aquinas
  9. 9. “It follows also that God is a simple Being, not only as not composed of different elements, but also as not admitting of the distinction between substance and accidents. Nothing can either be added to, or taken from God. In this view the simplicity, as well as the other attributes of God, are of a higher order than the corresponding attributes of our spiritual nature. The soul of man is a simplesubstance; but it is subject to change. It can gain and lose knowledge, holiness, and power. These are in this view accidents in our substance. But in God they are attributes, essential and immutable.” - Charles Hodge
  10. 10. God’s Unity
  11. 11. What is God‟s Unity? • Unity literally means “oneness” • There is only one God, which is monotheism • There are not many gods, which is polytheism • There are not two or more gods, not two or more parts in God • But there are three persons in the one God
  12. 12. Plotinus and The Unity of “The One”The Greek philosopher Plotinusbelieved in “The One” from whicheverything else came. He attemptedto explain “The One” and itsunity/diversity in this way:• Many beings exist• All multiplicity is based on prior unity• There must be an absolute unity that is the basis of all multiplicity• This absolute unity cannot be a being as it is the source of all being and being involves multiplicity• This One absolute unity must necessarily unfold itself to produce self-consciousness, called Intellect• As the One unfolds itself outwardly, it produces the World Soul, or the “many”
  13. 13. Biblical Support for God‟s Unity • “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4) • “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.” (Isaiah 44:6) • “Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.” (1 Corinthians 8:4)
  14. 14. God’s Trinity
  15. 15. What is God‟s Trinity? • God is not just a unity, but a triunity • There is only one God, but three persons in the one God • Not three gods (which is tritheism) • Not three modes of one and the same person (which is modalism) • God has a plurality of persons and a unity of essence • One “what” but three “who‟s”
  16. 16. The Trinity in the Old Testament “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) God=“Elohiym” = Plural intensive, but singular meaning “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.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26–27) “The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another‟s speech.” (Genesis 11:6–7)
  17. 17. The Trinity in the Old Testament 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 6:3) I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, According to all that the Lord has granted us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has granted them according to His compassion And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, “Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely.” So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. (Isaiah 63:7–10)
  18. 18. The Father and Son in the Old Testament “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, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us . . . . Do homage to the Son, that He not 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 2:1-3, 12)
  19. 19. The Trinity in the New Testament "After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”” - Matthew 3:16-17 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” - Matthew 28:19 "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” - 2 Corinthians 13:14
  20. 20. The Trinity in the New Testament "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, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.” - 1 Peter 1:1-2
  21. 21. Who Raised Jesus from the Dead? God did. “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2:32) “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so 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) “who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to [literally „by‟] the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4)
  22. 22. God‟s Trinity “And the catholic faith is this: 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, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one Eternal.” - Excerpt from Athanasian Creed
  23. 23. God the Son in the Old Testament “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity [olam].” - Micah 5:2, 700 B.C. “Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting [olam] to everlasting [olam], You are God.” - Psalm 90:2 “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.” - Isaiah 7:14, 600-700 B.C. “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. ” - Isaiah 9:6, 600-700 B.C.
  24. 24. Jesus Compares Himself to God God in the Old Testament Jesus Comparison to Himself I AM (Exodus 3:14-15; Isaiah 48:12) I AM (John 8:58; John 8:18, 24) The Shepherd (Psalm 23:1) The Shepherd (John 10:11) The Light (Psalm 27:1) The Light (John 8:12) Ruler of all (Isaiah 9:6) Ruler of all (Matthew 28:18) Judge of all nations (Joel 3:12) Judge of all (John 5:12) The Bridegroom (Isaiah 62:5; Hosea The Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1) 2:16) God‟s Word never pass away (Isaiah Jesus‟ words never pass away (Mk. 40:8) 13:31) First and the Last (Isaiah 48:12) First and the Last (Revelation 1:17-18)
  25. 25. Aquinas on Christ‟s Sonship “It is also clear that since in every nature that which issues forth and has a likeness to the nature from which it issues is called a son, and since this Word issues forth in a likeness and identity to the nature from which it issues, it is suitable and appropriately called a “Son . . . We call him “Son” to show that He is of the same nature as the Father” -Thomas Aquinas Commentary on John
  26. 26. God the Holy Spirit "But Peter said, “Ananias, 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 5:3-4) "And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers,"(Acts 28:25) "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord."(1 Corinthians 12:4-5)
  27. 27. God the Holy Spirit • His omniscience: "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 2:10-11) • His omnipresence: "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?"(Psalm 139:7) • His omnipotence: "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."(Romans 15:13) • His eternality: "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?"(Hebrews 9:14)
  28. 28. Hierarchy in the Trinity “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44) “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” (John 12:49) “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” (John 15:26)
  29. 29. The Nicene Creed “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.”
  30. 30. Applications for Us
  31. 31. Humanity, Unity, and Diversity “University” – finding unity in diversity “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many, one Unity and diversity in effect mustpresuppose unity in diversity in the First Cause
  32. 32. Where is the Answer to Unity and Diversity?Materialism, as a worldview, cannot account for unity because everything is completely random in the universe. any unity at all ispurely accidental and should be short lived. Pantheism, cannot explain diversity because all is one, so diversity is just an illusion. An Islamic-style monotheism fails. If one were to look unto the natural order to findan example of undifferentiated unity, nothing would be discovered. In fact, rather than undifferentiated unity, nature reveals a multitude of examples for plural unity.
  33. 33. “How can God be one and three at the same time? It isabsurd, rationally impossible, and mathematically wrong. Unity and Diversity cannot gather together.” -Shabir Ahmad Usmani, The Noble Qur‟an: Tafseer-e-Usmani
  34. 34. Unity and Diversity Gather Everywhere What would a grocery list be without the diverse line items? Could the diverse line items be called a grocery list without the unifying paper? “A stone has little internal differentiation. If you split a stone in to two pieces, you have not destroyed the essence of the stone; you have created two smaller stones. However…If you cut a tiger into two pieces, you do not get two smaller tigers. In the actof dividing the tiger you destroy the very essence of the tiger. A tiger, although a complex and internally differentiated creature, has an indivisible essence because it cannot be separated without destroying that essence.” - Timothy Tennent
  35. 35. God‟s Trinity – The Answer to Unity/Diversity Father God Spirit Son Is not “Every once in a while in my discussions someone asks how I can believe in the Trinity. My answer is always the same. I would still be an agnostic if there was no Trinity, because there would be no answers. Without the high order of personal unity and diversity as given in the Trinity, there are no answers.” - Francis Schaeffer, He is There and He is Not Silent
  36. 36. “There are two problems which always exist –the need for unity and the need for diversity. . . .But with the doctrine of the Trinity, the unity and diversity is God Himself – three Persons, yet one God. . . . Let us notice again that this is not the best answer; it is the only answer. Nobody else, no philosophy, has ever given us an answer for unity and diversity. So when people ask whether we are embarrassed intellectually by the Trinity, I always switch it over into their own terminology – unity and diversity. Everyphilosophy has this problem, and no philosophy has an answer. Christianity does have an answer in the existence of the Trinity. The only answer to what exists is that He, the starting- place, is there.” - Francis Schaeffer
  37. 37. Unity and Diversity in Us “The human body is an instance of unity possessingcomplexity. The essence of a human being is unified, yet there is plurality in its parts. For instance, the ears and eyes are fully parts of the body yet each is unique from one another in structure and function. Despite sharing in the same essence, the ears hear and the eyes do not; likewise, the eyes see and theears do not. At any given moment one could say that they see and yet they do not see; that they hear and yet they do not hear. This does not represent a contradiction because the distinct portions of thebody share in a unified essence. While different from one another, the parts of the body would cease to function if they were to be separated from the essence of the body. Thus, plurality and unity are entirely compatible.” - K. Dayton Hartman II
  38. 38. No Trinity, No Gospel, No Salvation • The Father: The Source, Sender, and Planner of salvation: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” (Ephesians 1:3–4) • The Son: the Means, Sent One, and Achiever of salvation: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, (Galatians 1:3–4). Without the God-Man, there could have been no atonement. • The Holy Spirit: the Applier of salvation: "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,"(Titus 3:5) “I, even I, am the Lord, And there is no savior besides Me.” (Isaiah 43:11)
  39. 39. Worship God as He is “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (John 5:22–23) If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (1 Peter 4:14)
  40. 40. “We have to have knowledge of our God to worship Him correctly. If we have defectiveknowledge, or worse, if we havewrong information…our worship is either lessened, or it is completely invalid, as theworship of idols and false gods.” - James White
  41. 41. Worship God as He is “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” (Revelation 4:8)
  42. 42. Knowledge of the Holy God’s Simplicity, Unity, and Trinity