Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | June 10, 2006

One God Three Persons

In AD 325 the Christian Church assembled at the Council of Nicea to deal with a heresy known as Arianism.  Essentially, the Arians refused to acknowledge that Jesus Christ was divine, but rather the first created being.  There are a lot of mischaracterizations about this council, which seek to credit it with inventing Jesus’ divinity.  However, this cannot be further from the truth, which we will seek to clarify in the next few entries. 

Although, the word Trinity is not in the Scripture it does not deny the veracity of this doctrine.  This doctrine is biblical and is the solution to the tension that exists within the Scriptures.  This tension is between the undeniable testimony that asserts the understanding that there is only one God versus the undeniable testimony that asserts that Christ and the Holy Spirit are God, yet separate from the Father.  Thus, the Trinity, as Greg Koukl (www.str.org) would say, “Is a solution not a problem”. 

The Scriptures are our only authoritative source to the truth of God.   They are inerrant (without error) and infallible, thus they cannot contradict themselves.  Therefore, any apparent contradiction will possess a way to be harmonized to maintain the inerrancy of Scripture, which would be jeopardized if an actual contradiction did exist. 

The Scriptures proclaim that God is one and there are no other gods.  Despite heretical groups, such as the Mormons, this is not a very controversial claim.  Almost everyone can acknowledge that this is true without much debate.   

The Scriptures proclaim that Christ is God, yet He is not the Father.  The latter proposition is almost unanimously upheld, except among Modalistic heresies such as the Oneness Pentecostals.  The former proposition, however is very controversial since it appears to contradict the essential belief that God is one.  This was at the heart of the debate during the Council of Nicea  

The Scriptures proclaim that the Holy Spirit is God, yet He is not the Father or the Son.  This proposition relies primarily on the debate about the divinity of Christ.  If affirmed it logical follows.  However, if Christ’s divinity is denied, your not even going to get this far. 

The early Church fathers wrestled with this tension in the word of God under the leadership of many great saints, such as Athanasius.  The product of this great gathering, which received overwhelming support at the council (despite the claim of the Da Vinci Code) was the following Creed:          

We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.  And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,  begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human.  He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.  He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead.  His kingdom will never end.  And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.  He spoke through the prophets.  We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come.  Amen 

We are indebted to our forefathers who struggled with the great challenge of harmonizing the Scriptural teaching.  They persevered in diligent study of the word of God and took seriously the defense of its truth.  Many in our own day simply dismiss the importance of doctrine.  Some criticize the pursuit of theology and condescendingly assert that their focus is simply on Jesus.  However, what good does it do if you focus on the wrong Jesus?  Many people believe in Jesus, such as the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness’, Muslims and Jews.  Although, these groups understand Jesus very differently they have one thing in common, it isn’t the true Jesus.  In our next entries we will provide the biblical basis for the doctrine of the Trinity.

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Responses

  1. […] For more on this topic please see previous posts for further information on this topic starting here:  one-god-three-persons  and following subsequent posts. […]

  2. Hello;

    Who is the Father?

    Who is the Son?

    Who is the Holy Ghost?

    The answer is, “Jesus Christ”….

    Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

    Col 2:4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

    Col 2:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

    Col 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

    Col 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

    Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

    Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

    Col 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

    Col 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

    Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

    Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

    Trinity is a man made doctrine, God has three facets, not three persons as you suggest….

    The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are merely titles of the one true God, and that is Jesus Christ….The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost is who He is…

    Just as it is written in the book of Matthew 28:19;

    Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    As you will notice, Jesus said in the name, [singular], not in the names of…

    Trinity, therefore, is not biblical, it is however, contrary unto the word of God….

    Humbly;
    Johnnie

  3. Hello Johnnie,

    Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I hope that you check out some of the more recent work on the Gospel of John.

    Sorry to hear that you have fallen for a heresy known as Modalism. None of the text that you’ve cited refute the doctrine of the Trinity.

    How do you deal with Jesus talking to the Father on the cross? According to your view Christ was speaking to Himself.

    Or how about Jesus baptism? Was God the Father saying He was pleased in Himself and not the Son? Was the Holy Spirit descnding upon Himself?

    S2C

  4. One God Three Persons,

    This is the confusion because we focus only on one definition of God as the Almighty.

    Let’s should not forget that the scripture defined God as God is love.

    “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”

  5. Eyes,

    God is also holy, perfect, omniscient, immutable, incomprehensible yet simple in His being, He is just, infitinite, eternal, merciful and He is completely wise.

    See exaplanations here: https://msamudio.wordpress.com/category/gods-attributes/

    Nonetheless, God has also revealed Himself and that revelation is presevered for us in the Scriptures. It is through that revelation that we learn about God and His character. We learn that God has revealed Himself in Trinity through the Scriptures ( https://msamudio.wordpress.com/2006/06/22/the-solution-to-the-problem/ ).

    Hopefully, you agree with this as well.

    S2C

  6. Mt:28:19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    Actually brother in my view, trinity mean a three being which is the fountain of our salvation.

    The Father is the source.

    Jesus Christ is the one who introduced.

    Holy Spirit the one who explain.

  7. Eyes,

    It is very important to be precise in your language on this issue.

    The Scriptures affirm that God is one in being. There are not three gods. However, the Scriptures affirm that the one God manifests Himself in three-distinct persons. The persons are distinct not just different modes, yet not seperate in their being.

    The Trinity is the solution to this tension that exists within Scripture. The doctrine of the Trinity states that God is one in essence or being and three in person.

    S2C

  8. Dt:5:6: I am the Lord thy God, ………

    Dt:5:7: Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

    Our Father in heaven speak that situation in this manner brother:

    Remember the word “before” it mean that there is no other God ahead or above on him.

    but it does not mean that there is no other God beside on him.

    because if that so, it will conflict the statement of our lord Jesus Christ:

    Jn:10:35: If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

    Jesus Christ is our lord and also our God but the Father in heaven is greater than him.

    Jn:10:33: The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

    Jn:14:28: Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

  9. Eyes,

    What do you say about this?

    https://msamudio.wordpress.com/2007/09/21/who-is-the-only-god-referenced-by-john-lesson-3-question-8-answer/

    S2C

  10. are you refering on this following issue brother?

    Deuteronomy 32:39
    “See now that I myself am He! There is no god BESIDES ME. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.

    Isaiah 44:6
    Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and BESIDES ME there is no God.

    ahh… there is no contradictory of that statement brother, The Father in heaven speak that situation for his authority and power.

    And Jesus Christ said:

    Mt:26:39: ……………, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

    In short brother when our lord Jesus Christ risen a dead person , then it is also the will of the Father in heaven.

    Jesus Christ camed on earth not to glorify himself but for the Father in heaven which has an absolute power and authority in the universe and beyond the universe.

    in order that you will understand my point brother.

    did you not notice that my statement start in the following:

    “The Father in heaven speak that situation ….,. ”

    so it means brother, it is not a matter of “word or literal” but a matter of situation.

    so don’t focused in “word or literal ” because we can used the same “word or literal” in different situation.

  11. are you refering on this following issue brother?

    Deuteronomy 32:39
    “See now that I myself am He! There is no god BESIDES ME. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.

    Isaiah 44:6
    Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and BESIDES ME there is no God.

    ahh… there is no contradictory of that statement brother, The Father in heaven speak that situation for his authority and power.

    And Jesus Christ said:

    Mt:26:39: ……………, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

    In short brother when our lord Jesus Christ risen a dead person , then it is also the will of the Father in heaven.

    Jesus Christ camed on earth not to glorify himself but for the Father in heaven which has an absolute power and authority in the universe and beyond the universe.

    in order that you will understand my point brother.

    did you not notice that my statement start in the following:

    “The Father in heaven speak that situation ….,. ”

    so it means brother, it is not a matter of “word or literal” but a matter of situation.

    so don’t focused in “word or literal ” because we can used the same “word or literal” in different situation.

  12. Eyes,

    I don’t think you checked the link, so I will post it here. The point it is clear that God is one, yet Jesus Christ is also referred to as that God in John 1:18:

    Who is the only God referenced by John? Is this describing a plurality of God’s since God the Father is distinguished?

    In verse 18 of chapter 1 the apostle John states the following:

    No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

    Following up on an aforementioned point “θεον ουδεις εωρακεν” (No one has ever seen God), “θεον” or God in this verse is anarthorous. However, the Jehovah’s Witness’ New World Translation does not employ its own principle of anarthorous = indefinite and translate this phrase as “No one has ever seen a God” as Daniel Wallace points out in his Greek Grammar.50 Furthermore, before we move on it should be noted that there exists a controversial textual variant that is included in this verse. The issue revolves around the phrase μονογενης θεος or “the only God” portion of the verse. Here again we see the word μονογενης in reference to our Lord “who is at the Father’s side”. Some manuscripts possess μονογενης υιος or …the only Son…, which would change the translation of the text significantly. Although, the translation of the text would change quite significantly, the meaning of the text or support for Deity of Christ would not. Bruce Metzger points out in his textual commentary of the Greek New Testament that this variant (μονογενης υιος) appears from the textual evidence to be the result of scribal assimilation with other verses like John 3:16, 18 and 1 John 4:9.51 It is assuring to know that the further scholars dig seeking to disprove or clarify the faith our religion remains unshaken and firmly founded in the truth.

    Calvin points out in his commentary that this verse does not contradict other instances in the Scriptures where it is recorded that Jacob (Genesis 32:30) or Moses (Exodus 33:23 or Deuteronomy 34:10) seen God. “They say so with reference to their own time; but they did not see God in any other way than wrapped up in many folds of figures and ceremonies.”52 The fathers did see visions of God’s glory through theophanies (as discussed in question 2), which was just a taste and foreshadow of the things to come. “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56). This will be reinforced again as we continue through John with our Lord’s words “not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father” (John 6:46)

    Let us now move forward and seek to deal with questions associated with the lesson. First, who is “the only God” referenced by John in this verse, as hinted at above it must be Christ. It cannot be the “God” referenced at the beginning of the verse since no one has seen that “God” and now this “only God” is making Him known. Grammatically this verse is referring to different persons and the Second Person referred too is our Lord who has come down to make the Father known. If this is the case then it begs the question, concluding that there are two God’s referenced in this verse doesn’t that result in a plurality of God’s and create problems with the first commandment. Before we move on to the follow up questions lets do some background. The phrase “…who is at the Father’s side” can also be translated as “…who is in the bosom of the Father” (NASB) since the word τον κολπον is used in the Greek. BDAG lists possible translations of this word as bosom, breast or chest, thus the NASB is probably more accurate than the ESV on this verse. In the figurative use, the bosom indicates intimacy or high regard, probably related to the custom whereby the guest at a feast occupied a place of honor to the right of the principal person, upon whose bosom he reclined. (Luke 16:22 and John 13:23) 53 Thus, John at the end of this prologue to his Gospel is unpacking the complex relationship of the Father and the Son previously stated in the opening through the use of a common example. The Father and the Son were both God, distinct in Person, yet connected so intimately in a union that they are one in being. We will conclude this question with a closing quotation from John Calvin, which will serve as a good segue into our next questions:

    When he says that the Son was in the bosom of the Father, the metaphor is borrowed from men, who are said to receive into their bosom those to whom they communicate all their secrets. The breast is the seat of counsel. He therefore shows that the Son was acquainted with the most hidden secrets of his Father, in order to inform us that we have the breast of God, as it were, laid open to us in the Gospel. 54

    The grammer demands that the only God refer to Jesus Christ.

    S2C

  13. Regarding about “bosom” brother, I would prefer that it mean inseparable.

    There is a situation in the bible brother that two become one in:

    Mt:19:5: And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

    Mt:19:6: Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    Thats for the flesh matter brother but for the spirit you should undergo to death and resurected like the Master Lord Jesus Christ.

    The Father and the Son were both God — Yes they are one Family of God or Family of Love

    distinct in Person, — Yes different personality

    yet connected so intimately in a union that they are one in being. — Yes they are one being as Family of God.

    Jn:10:35: If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

    we are called gods because on this situation.

    Jesus Christ is a son of man
    Jesus Christ is a son of God

    cancel the common denominator and the result is a man and god relationship.

    Therefore Jesus Christ is our bridge or mediator to the Father in heaven so that we will be one family as God like them.

    Jn:17:11: And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

  14. Eyes,

    If you look at the reference in John 10 it refers back to Psalm 82. The context of the term “gods” is synonmous with Israelite judges. There is no intention for this term to infer diety.

    With your interpretation of Jesus being a God you now need to deal with an issue. Why is Jesus worshipped?

    The following passages provide the biblical basis for Christ receiving worship:

    John 9:38: He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

    Matthew 14:33: And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

    Matthew 28:17: And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.

    Hebrews 1:6: And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

    We also realize that these incidents are not a mistake, since other believers are rebuked for worshipping beings other than God:

    Acts 10:25-26: When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.”

    Revelation 19:10: Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant[a] with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

    The fact that Christ does not rebuke those who worshipped Him is imperative. Since it was Christ, as we indicated in our last entry, who advocates that only God is to receive worship alone (Luke 4:8). What are we to make of this tension?

    How do we reconcile this with the first two commandments? You shall have no other gods before me. And do not worship idols or images other than God.

    S2C

  15. How do we reconcile this with the first two commandments? You shall have no other gods before me. And do not worship idols or images other than God.???

    Jn:3:35: The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

    Mt:28:18: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

  16. If you look at the reference in John 10 it refers back to Psalm 82. The context of the term “gods” is synonmous with Israelite judges. There is no intention for this term to infer diety???

    ahh… If you think or have faith that you are really a children of God then you don’t call him anymore as God as you think.

    From now on, you call him “Father”.

  17. Eyes,

    I am a little unclear on what you are implying in your responses.

    Please clarify:

    Are you affirming that Jesus Christ is God?

    My answer to this question would be yes. What is yours?

    Also, please clarify:

    Are you saying that Jesus Christ is the Father?

    My answer would be no. God the Father and God the Son, although part of the same one essence or being are distinct in their person.

    S2C

  18. Are you affirming that Jesus Christ is God? Yes

    Are you saying that Jesus Christ is the Father? No

    If you think or have faith that you are really a children of God then you don’t call him anymore as God

    You call him “Father” as what Jesus Christ call him.

  19. Now that we have clarifed that is it safe to assume that you also affirm the Trinity?

    My answer would be yes, because if we believe the last questions and not the Trinity then we believe in more than one God. That is prohibited by Scripture (i.e. the first commandment)


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