Archive for ‘Trinity’

April 11, 2011

How Are There Three In One?

by pastortimfowler

I was asked to write about the Holy Trinity, God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Mainly to give some understanding of how this can be three individual identities and yet still be one. The focal point of the question was Jesus being man and God. Wow, this should be a simple blog…NOT.
This is and has been a great theological discussion and teaching that has been a struggle of faith for many. There is not an easy answer and I know some who accept no answer to this except that it is a false premise. So in my bestest English and simplification efforts I will dive right in.
Starting out in Genesis 1:26 God is referred to in the plural when He says, “Let us make man in our image”. Throughout the Old Testament (from here on out I will use OT) God appeared to people in many ways, including, smoke, fire, spirit, angel, and human. The angelic and human appearances are referred to as pre-incarnate Christ because of the references to them as LORD. Pre-incarnate meaning prior to being born in the flesh.
Moses was the only human to ever catch a glimpse of the full glory of God. By this I mean all three, Father, Spirit, Son at one time. God was able to show Moses His backside as He passed by and it nearly killed Moses (Exodus 33). On earth we never see all 3 at the same time for that reason. We see Jesus and the Spirit, the Spirit and the Father, Jesus and the Father, but never all 3 because humans can not see the fullness of God prior to death.
So how can this trinity be? I like to explain it like this. Using myself as an example, I am Tim. I am a father, and son, and a husband. I am all three at the same time. I never stop being one to be the other. But I am only a father to my children, only a son to my parents, and only a husband to my wife. I never change those roles and I am completely correct in claiming all three identities. I answer to Tim, father, son, and husband, even though if my wife ever called me husband to get my attention I would not respond because that just sounds weird. But I am three identities in one, kinda like God.
The difficulty most people have is Jesus and God being one yet totally separate. Jesus is the most unique attribute of God. The pre-incarnate Christ appeared many times to people in the OT as a human form but was not born of flesh like the Jesus of the New Testament (NT). Throughout the OT we are told of a coming Messiah. A Savior that would end the reign of sin on the human soul. We are told that this Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).
From the first sin of humanity, God demanded that blood be shed to cover the sin. Adam tried to use a leaf, but God gave them skin of an animal. The penalty for humanity’s sin is death. This sinful nature is passed from generation to generation through the blood lines. Man is the link of sin (Romans 5:12) and that is the importance of the virgin birth. When God fathered the Child, the human blood-line of sin was broken. When Jesus was born from a woman He was 100% flesh and still God.
God has 3 attributes that are important to know. He is omnipotent, omniscience, and omnipresent or, all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere at once. When God became man, he gave up, by choice, the attribute of omnipresent. God can do all things, including that.
Just as sin was passed to all men through the blood of one man, Adam, so is salvation passed to all who ask through the blood of one man, Jesus (Romans 5:17) Because God required death for sin, and through the sacrificial system He set in place, it was told that a spotless lamb was the acceptable offering. Jesus became the Lamb of God that would be the final sacrifice for all humanity.
Remember that when we see God in heaven we will see Him in all His glory. Humans can not comprehend God in His glory so He breaks it down to in to 3 easier ways to understand Him. Our Father in heaven, the Spirit who keeps and teaching us, and our Savior who lived a complete human life yet sinless to die as our sacrifice.
Remember that God lives outside the limits of time ad space and beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend. He took great efforts to understand us as humans by becoming human. It was far easier than Humans becoming God.