Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bible Doctrine (1)

There is one God in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Wayne Grudem (and others, presumably) writes the three truths of the Trinity in his book:
  1. God is three persons
  2. All three persons are equally God
  3. There is only one God

How do you square these? We talked about several analogies: the egg (shell, white, yolk), a clover (three leaves, one plant), water (ice, water, steam) - and concluded that while they helped in some senses, they all fell short of capturing all three truths. The closest analogy is that of a closed box at 4ÂșC with water inside. At this temperature, the water can be steam, water and ice all at the same time. Of course, each molecule can only be one at once, but if the box is closed there is a Schrödinger's Cat scenario where you don't know which it is until the box is opened...

Anyway, some scriptural references:

  1. God is three persons: "At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."" (Mark 1:9-11)
  2. All three persons are equally God: "The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
    Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
    Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"
    "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."
    Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'?""
    (John 10:24-36) (This doesn't mention the Holy Spirit - He is mentioned as God's agent in the world as early as Genesis 1:2 where He "hovers over the waters" of the unformed Earth)
  3. There is only one God: ""Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me."" (Isaiah 46:9)

Fundamentally, the Trinity is a mystery to us: one of God's eternal characteristics that we cannot understand with our human brains. But praise God for Jesus! God became a man so that we might know God through Jesus.

1 comment:

thebluefish said...

I go with Mike Reeves definition of the trinity...

"Father, Son and Holy Spirit loving one another"

that's complex enough for me!

...i take it from the (1) there will be more of these to come. Good!