Doctrine is tricky. It’s confusing. It’s highly debated.
No doctrine is more debated than the doctrine of the Trinity. So what is the Trinity?
The Trinity is an essential belief for all Christians. It is the belief that God is not one singular Being but is made up of three equal parts. The Father. The Son. The Holy Spirit. As Christians, we believe that God is all three Beings in One. It’s confusing and I’ve heard numerous illustrations trying to explain the Trinity but all fall short in some way or another.
My favorite, though it has faults as well, is the illustration of the egg. An egg has three parts, the shell, the egg white, and the yolk. Though it is three equal parts, it forms one egg. However, this falls apart because you can separate an egg and then have a singular object. The same is not so for God,
God is always Trinity and the Trinity is always God.
The debate of the Trinity comes by the fact that nowhere in scripture does God specifically say, He is a Trinitarian God. In fact, there is scripture where God specifically says He is One. In the Shema for instance, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” – Deuteronomy 6:4
So how can we say that God is three when clearly God states He is One? That’s the complexity of the Trinity, God is One, yet always refers to Himself as plural, or more than One.
For example, in Hebrew, you would add “im” to the end of a word to make it plural. Cherub is singular but Cherubim is plural. The first name for God in the Bible is Elohim in original Hebrew, the “im” in Elohim makes the name plural.
When God creates man in Genesis “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Note the use of “us” and “our”, denoting that God is more than one.
In fact, when looking at the original Hebrew, God makes it very clear He is indeed a Trinitarian God.
He tells us in the first three verses of the Bible just who He is.
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
In verse one we see, God the Creator or God the Father forming together the heavens and the earth. We can look in verse two and see the Holy Spirit hovering over the waters. In verse three we see God the Father exclaim, “Let there be light.” Here God uses the Hebrew word “yehi” which is different than the word used in verse one where He said “bara” which means to create, He “created”(bara) the heavens and the earth.”
The word He uses in verse 3 is “yehi” which means to be. So He is not saying He created the light but the light already was. The light was not created, it already existed.
We see in John 8:12 “The Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of life.”
Jesus is claiming to be the light of the world.
So in the first three verses of Genesis, we are introduced to the Trinity. Verse one introduces us to “Elohim” or God the Father, verse two introduces us to “Ruach Elohim” or the Spirit of God and verse three introduces us to “Ore” or the Light of the World, Jesus. God put Himself, His full Trinitarian self, in the first three verses of the Bible.
This changes how we see, understand and experience God. If we simply think of God as the mighty Father on the throne then He is impersonal, if we only think of God as Jesus on earth then it’s difficult to understand Him as the Mighty Creator of the universe, and if we only understand Him as the Spirit hovering around the earth then He seems passive.
When we understand God as He is, it changes everything. God is the Mighty Creator of the universe, He spoke and mountains formed, waters shifted, stars came into existence, and planets aligned. When breath leaves His lips, all creation stops to listen.
He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
He is also the Son, Jesus. Though He created it, He came to earth in the form of a servant. He walked side by side with mankind, He loved, He worked, He hurt, He cried, and He died. He did everything we do on a daily basis but He did it perfectly without fault so that He could display His love for humanity on a cross. He willingly walked to His execution because He loves us that much. He is the Light of the world.
He is also the Spirit of God. He has never left us nor has He forsaken us. He promises to be by our side at every roadblock, in every tear, with us through every broken heart. He is the God that is always present, that is always comforting, always by our side. He is not distant, He is not dead, He is here with us at this very moment. The Holy Spirit is the power of God living in the lives of every single believer.
Understanding the Trinity changes everything!