A theological term used to summarize the Christian belief in the tree-in-one identity of God. The doctrine of the Trinity may be succinctly defined as follows: There is only one true and living God who simultaneously and eternally exists as three distinct persons: the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. The three distinct person possess equally the fullness of the
one divine nature so that they are not three Gods but one God. This article will serve as an introduction to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity by briefly stating five scriptural propositions that give rise to the doctrine, the scriptural roles of each person of the Trinity in creation and redemption, and various inadequate expressions of the doctrine both historically and presently.
Many Christians are shocked to learn that the word “Trinity” occurs nowhere in the Bible. It is also the case that there is no single verse or passage there that teaches the full doctrine of the Trinity. However, neither of these facts is an indication that the doctrine is unbiblical, as some have tried to maintain. Rather, when one takes the various teachings of Scripture concerning the nature and identity of God and seeks to express a consensus of these teachings, the doctrine of the Trinity is the only possible coherent result. It is helpful to summarize biblical teaching about the identity of God in five propositions. Each of these is clearly taught in Scripture. Furthermore, if all five of these propositions are true, then the doctrine of the Trinity must be true-even if that word is not found in the Bible.
- There is only one God (Deut 6:4; Mark 12:29; 1 Cor 8:406; James 2:19).
- The Father of Jesus Christ is fully God (Matt 16:16-17; John 3:14-16; 5:17-18; Luke 1:35; 2 Cor 1:3; Eph 1:3).
- Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is fully God (John 1:1-5, 14; 8:58; 20:28; Phil 2:5-8; Col 2:9-10).
- The Holy Spirit is fully God (Acts 5:3-5; 2 Cor 3:17-18; Eph 2:22; cp 1 Cor 3:16; 1 John 3:24).
- The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct from one another (Matt 3:16-17; John 12:28; 17:1-26; all the language of the Father “sending” the Son and the Father and Son “sending” the Spirit also teach distinction).
Because there is only one God, who exists as three distinct persons, if follows that any work of one person of the Trinity is a work of all three persons. In other words the three persons of the Trinity act inseparably according to their one undivided nature. Nevertheless, while each divine person acts in and through the one divine nature, it is also true that each distinct person acts in a manner peculiar to His own personal identity. Therefore, In Scripture, each person of the Godhead is described as performing distinct roles with respect to the divine works of creating and redemption. END OF PART 1