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(1) A Great Mystery
One of the greatest mysteries of the universe is what Christians call the “Trinity.” It has been said, and it is true, that we get hung up on words and go around in circles every time we try to explain the Trinity. God had no beginning, which cannot be explained. And if God is One but has always existed as three equal persons, then that cannot be explained either. But God may have become a Trinity. At any rate, God is not like an actor who plays different characters at different times. Billy Graham says, “One Christian heresy in the early church was called ‘modalism.’ It taught that God appeared at different times in three different modes or forms—as Father, then as Son, and finally as Holy Spirit. Those who held this view thought it preserved the unity of monotheism. But it also meant that when Jesus prayed, He had to be talking to Himself.”1
The Trinity is implied in the very first verse of the Bible. The Hebrew word for God in Genesis 1:1 is “Elohim,” which has a plural meaning. We could paraphrase Genesis 1:1 to read: In the beginning the Godhead created the heavens and the earth.
John17:22 is a good example of God being “one” but a plurality of persons. The word “we” means more than one person. At the baptism of Jesus, the Trinity was revealed to the senses. John the Baptist touched the Lord, saw the Holy Spirit as a dove, and heard the Father’s voice.a In John 14, 15, 16, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit 19 times, using the personal pronoun He, Him, and Himself. His name is included in the great commission of Matthew 28:19. Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Many do not believe God is a Trinity and quote selected verses like Deuteronomy 6: 4 to try and prove their point. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” But you should take the totality of the Scriptures in doctrinal matters like the Trinity, creation, the return, etc.
The Bible, especially the Old Testament, is like a giant jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box. It could also be compared to a treasure hunt. God did not make certain things easy to find, but He didn’t make it impossible either. He has, however, made the most important things crystal clear: Repent and turn to Christ, and love Him and your neighbor as yourself.
Some of the ways God is accomplishing His plan are truly mystifying and amazing.
(2) Let Us Make Man
After God created the earth, He made the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the animals. Then at the end of the sixth day, He made man. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26).
Some believe the “us” is referring to angels. The angels were present when God created the earth and man and may be included in the “us,” but the phrase “let us make” is primarily a reference to the Trinity.
Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, denied the existence of a Trinity by claiming the Holy Spirit is not a person. Charles Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, went one step further and claimed Christ was not divine, He was created. Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, went even further and said God, the Father, was once a man. Bob Witte, a former Mormon, says, “In Mormonism I was taught that God the Father, who is a physical man with flesh and bones, probably about 6 feet tall, was on a place called Kolob and had sexual relations with one of his wives, and that brought forth the spirit of Jesus Christ.”2
(3) Was the Spirit of Christ Created?
God was not a man before He created man. Genesis clearly states that man did not exist until after God finished the earth, and it was then and there that “man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:1-7).
How many Mormons really believe that God lived and had a wife on a place called Kolob, I don’t know. But the Mormon doctrine does teach that God created Christ as His “first spirit-child.” Later, they say, the spirit of Christ entered the human race and this made him “divine.”3 The truth is: The Spirit of Christ existed “with God” and “was God,”b and in the beginning neither one had a body of flesh and bones—or anything else for that matter; for “God is a Spirit,” and matter did not exist until the Lord created it (see John 1:1-3; 4:24).
Mormon doctrine says that matter is eternal, but John 1:1-3 and Colossians 1:16-17 clearly states Christ created everything that exist. Even most scientists now believe that all matter had a beginning and was created out of nothing. Atheists just don’t know how. (More about this later.)
The Jehovah’s Witnesses also teach that the spirit in Jesus had a beginning. They teach that Christ is the archangel Michael, who was created by God. But Jesus was not a created angel, for it was He who created the angels. Not only did He create the angels, Colossians 1:16-17 tells us He created everything. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
Some try to use Revelation 3:14 and Colossians 1:15 to explain away the clear meaning of Colossians 1:16-17. Verse 15 tells us Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” They use this verse to say the “firstborn of every creature” means He was the first spirit that God created. On the surface it may seem verse 15 is contradicting verses 16 and 17. I believe verse 15 simply means the very first thing the Lord created was the visible “image of the invisible God.” In other words, this tangible “image” is “the beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14), which may be “the bright and morning star” of Revelation 22:16. Then the Lord created the other “stars” and the “sons of God” (see Job 38:4-7).
Acts 17:29 tells us “the Godhead is not like unto gold” or any thing else, for “God is Spirit.”c But the Second Person of the Godhead now has a body of “flesh and bones.”d He appeared on occasions in the Old Testament in the image of man, but He was not a man before His incarnation in the virgin Mary. An image is only the likeness of something, not the real thing. This tangible image the Lord created may have been the image of the man He would one day become and remain. This image had a beginning but His Spirit is eternal and has the same divine nature as the Father. “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).
(4) Was Jesus God In the Flesh?
According to Romans 1:18-25, not long after God made man, men began to worship creation rather than the Creator and image worship came to be. Israel had been broken of image worship, so when Jesus appeared on the scene as the visible image of God, forgiving people of sin and claiming to be one with God, this enraged the religious leaders. When Jesus asked why they wanted to kill Him, they replied, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (John 10:33, NKJV).
The Jews of that day were faced with the question, and people today are still asking the question: Was Jesus really God in the flesh, the very person who created “all” things? I believe He was. The Apostle John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
The Apostle Paul says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”e He also says, “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16).
The Jews are the very people who should have recognized Him, but John says, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”f Paul says, “Their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it [blindness to truth] taken away” (2 Cor. 3:14, NIV).
In his book What Is A Jew?, Rabbi Morris N. Kertzer says, “Jews do not accept the divinity of Jesus as the ‘only begotten Son’ of God. We recognize him as a child of God only in the sense that we are all God’s children. . . . Jews also reject the principle of incarnation—God becoming flesh. It is a cardinal tenet of our faith that God is purely spiritual and admits of no human attributes. Nor can Judaism accept the principle of vicarious atonement—the idea of salvation through Christ. We cannot, therefore, recognize a relationship between an act of self-sacrifice in ancient Palestine and our own deliverance. No one, we believe, can serve as an intermediary between man and God, even in a symbolic sense. We approach God—each man after his own fashion—without a mediator.”4
The Bible says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim. 2:5-6).
(5) The Sons of God and The Son of God
God asked Job the question, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. . . . When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 7.) We could paraphrase Genesis 1:1 to read: In the beginning God created the stars of heaven and the sons of God, and then He created the earth.
Job 38:4-7 indicates that the stars, or at least some of them, were created before the earth. Isaiah 44:23 speaks of the mountains singing. So did the stars of Job 38:7. The angels were also created before the earth. The angels are the sons of God in the sense that they were created by God. You may ask: Since Jesus is also called the Son of God, doesn’t this mean He was created? My answer is: most definitely not.
The title “Son of God” was given to Christ before the world began. It was given to Him because God knew that one day the very person who created man would Himself become a man by entering the human race. Jesus had no natural father; the Bible tells us He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. When He was born to the virgin, Mary, this was the first, last, and the only Son that God had in this manner. “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” (John 1:14).
The whole point of the Second Person of the Godhead becoming the “Son of God” and the “Son of man” was to redeem man and save us from destruction. The most famous words in all the world tell us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
The Spirit of Christ could have been incarnated in a body conceived by a man and a woman and He still would have been God in the flesh, but His body would not have been a perfect sacrifice, “as of a lamb without blemish.”g Also, He could not have been called the Son of God. But the way it was planned, He was the Son of man and Son of David through the line of Mary, the Son of God through Mary by the Holy Spirit, and God in the flesh because the Spirit in that body is God, who is without beginning.
Some have attributed divinity to the angels. But they are not divine; they were created. It seems the first angel that was created was Lucifer, who was renamed, Satan. God also did not divide or multiply Himself into little deities called gods, angels, or sons. He also did not create two lesser Gods called the Son and the Holy Spirit.
(6) Plans and Promises
Many things happened before the world was created. In his book Genesis In Space and Time, Francis A. Schaeffer says, “In Ephesians 1:4 we read, ‘. . . he (God) hath chosen us in him (Christ) before the foundation of the world.’. . . The same thing is emphasized in 1 Peter 1:20, where the sacrificial death of Jesus is said to have been ‘foreordained before the foundation of the world.’ Likewise Titus 1:2 says that God promised eternal life ‘before the world began.’ This is very striking. How can a promise be made before the world began? To whom could it be made?”5
The Bible indicates there were plans and promises made before the world began, with only the Father knowing all the minute details. We see traces of this throughout the Bible. Jesus Himself said only the Father knew the exact day of His return.h Even after He returned to heaven, Revelation 1:1 suggests that He received more details which He gave to John through an angel.
John 16:13 suggests that the Holy Spirit also receives information from the Father, and then He gives it to us when the time is right. The Living Bible says, “When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, he shall guide you into all truth, for he will not be presenting his own ideas, but will be passing on to you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” First Corinthians 2:10 says, “The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” Romans 8:26 says, “The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (NKJV).
It takes a person to intercede, and one doesn’t intercede to himself. The Holy Spirit doesn’t pray to Himself, but to the Father on our behalf. Romans 8:27 says God searches the hearts of men and knows the mind of the Spirit. The Father answers the request of the Spirit according to His will. The Holy Spirit yields to the Father’s will just as the Lord does.
The Bible brings out there are different ministries within the Trinity. These different ministries may have begun when they elected among themselves what we could call Chairman of the Godhead, which the Bible calls the Father. He in turn made certain promises to the other two and mapped out the plan for the ages. This submissive role did not begin at the virgin birth, it began “before the world was” (John 17:4-5, I Peter 1:19-20).
This did not make Christ and the Holy Spirit any less than God. I believe they voluntarily placed themselves in a submissive role for the plan of redemption, and in this sense one became the God of the other two. The plan called for one to incarnate Himself into a body of flesh and blood, and that blood to be shed by man. He would experience what it felt like to be tempted, weary, thirsty, hungry, disappointed, and forsaken by God during the time of greatest pain and need. He would even question God and ask—why? (Matt. 27:46.)
Sin was present before the world began, and there was a plan to take care of it. Revelation 13:8 tells us of a time when people will worship the Antichrist, those “whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Peter says the death of Christ was “foreordained before the foundation of the world.”i Concerning the elect, God “promised” us eternal life “before the world began” (Titus 1:2).
There are a number of Scriptures that tell us the Lord is under the Father, but this does not make Him any less than God. In John 20:17, Jesus called His Father His God. But in Hebrews 1:8, the Father calls Jesus God. “But unto the Son he [the Father] saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.” This is a quotation from Psalm 45:6. In verse 7 the Father goes on to say to His Son, “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
The oneness and relationship within the Trinity was perfect, so they decided to create spiritual beings with freedom of thought and expression. Apparently they were created to exist forever and cannot cease to be, which has very good and very bad implications. When they chose disobedience, this is when the problem and the plan of redemption began. “Behold, he put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly” (Job 4:18).
The most important and profound statement ever made is the simplest: “God is love.”j There is no jealousy, pride, greed, deceit, or selfishness within the Godhead. And words like hate, anger, wrath, judgment, were not in their vocabulary until they created beings with a free will. The Trinity also began to demonstrate qualities they had never needed: Like mercy and forgiveness. They also had to institute a plan to make us righteous. One would be “made” to be the very thing He hated in order to get rid of what He hated—sin (2 Cor. 5:21).
People have asked, How did evil originate? The answer is simple: His created created it. We became selfish! We enter this world with a selfish spirit, and we are all natural born liars.
(7) Three In One
In John 17:11, Jesus prayed for believers to be united with His Father as “one” just as they were one. Jesus was not praying to Himself, and He spoke about another person named the Holy Spirit. And that makes a Trinity. First John 5:7 says, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
There is a question of whether 1 John 5:7 is in the original Greek manuscripts. There is, however, no question about John 1:1 or the wording. The Jehovah’s Witnesses distort the last part of John 1:1 with their translation of the verse, making it read: “and the Word was a god.”6 They also add the word “other” to Colossians 1:16-17, making the verses imply the spirit of Christ was created and then he created “all [other] things.”7 At least they put the word “other” in brackets, indicating that it is not there in the Greek. But neither is the word “a” found in the last part John 1:1, and the word “God” in the last part of the verse is the same as in the first part and both should be capitalized.
It’s amazing but true: The Second Person of the Godhead was incarnated in a human body. And what’s more amazing still, the Third Person has recreated our spirit and lives within the believer in Christ. Paul says, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?”k John tells us, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).
The Spirit of Christ will always dwell in His resurrected body, the Holy Spirit will dwell in the body of the redeemed, and we will all be “one” with God and under the Father, and God will “be all in all” (see John 17, 1 Cor. 15:28).
There are only Three Persons without a beginning, and they are a perfect unity of One. All other spirits were created, and not the first one is worthy of worship! In fact, I believe every spirit that God created “must” be recreated! “You must be born again” (John 3:7).
IF God did become three persons, this would explain the beginning of a Trinity but still leaves us with the question: How is it that God had no beginning? This is one question we cannot even begin to answer, but at least we can know how we got here. Atheists have an impossible task trying to explain God’s creation and have resorted to the theory—it all just happened by chance and life is a dead-end without purpose or meaning.
Most scientists now admit what the Bible has always said: the universe had a beginning. It was created out of nothing. We also know everything is amazingly fined tuned for life on earth. We also know that the cell, the basic structure of all life, is so incredibly complex it had to have intelligence behind it. You would think no modern man would believe there is no God. But absurdity began with ancient man, not long after God put him on earth. Paul says, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead: so that they are with excuse.” Paul goes on to say, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (See Romans 1:18-25.)
Psalm 14:1 tells us, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” We may ask: Which is more foolish; atheists or someone who believes there is a God but rejects His Way? And Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
The Lord was once asked by a scribe what was the greatest commandment. Jesus replied, “Hear O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
After Jesus said this, the scribe said, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other than He” (Mark 12:32, NKJV.)
Though he did not comprehend the Trinity, this particular scribe had good insight into the heart of God. He said that loving God and your neighbor is more important than “burnt offerings and sacrifices” (verse 33). Jesus told him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (verse 34).
Later, Jesus confronted some unloving Pharisees about the Oneness of God and His own deity, saying: “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The LORD said to my Lord. . . .’ ” Jesus goes on to say in essence: If David called Christ his Lord, how can Christ be David’s son? (See Mark 12:35-37, NKJV.)
In verse 36 we have the LORD, my Lord, and the Holy Spirit—which makes a Trinity.
Scripture References [a] Mark 1:9-11 [b] See John 1:1-3, [c] John 4:24, NKJV,[d] Luke 24:33-39, [e] Phil. 2:5-7, [f] John 1:10-11, [g] 1 Peter 1:19, [h] Mark 13:32, [i] 1 Peter 1-20, [j] 1 John 4:16, [k] 1 Cor. 6:19, NKJV
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