The Fulness of the Godhead
A study of the Trinity of the ONE God

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Goal

The goal of this essay is to discuss "the doctrine of the trinity."

The Doctrine of the Trinity

Click Here to read "formal" statements of the trinity doctrine, as extracted from publications by a cross-section of conservative Christian writers.

To set the stage for our discussions, an oversimplified statement of the trinity doctrine is provided as follows...

  • There is one God
  • The one God is a unity of THREE persons - Father, Son, Holy Spirit

One God

There is ONE God.   Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! Deu 6.4

(God said...) Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me Deu 32.39a
Deuteronomy 6.4 proclaims that "the Lord is one."

In Deuteronomy 6.4, the word "one" translates the Hebrew word echad.
  Hear, O Israel --
The Lord our God, the Lord is one (echad)!
Deu 6.4

The Bible verses alongside make it clear that the Hebrew word echad can denote a UNITY of more than one person...

  • Gen 2.24 states that husband and wife are one flesh in the UNITY of marriage.
  • Gen 11.16 shows that many people can have a UNITY -- a oneness -- of language and purpose.


As stated previously, the trinity doctrine holds that the one God is a UNITY of three persons - Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

  Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one (echad) flesh. Gen 2.24; see also Mal 2.14-15

And the Lord said, "Indeed the people are one (echad) and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them." Gen 11.6

Three Persons

The Bible identifies three distinct persons who are known (respectively) as...

  • the Father
  • the Son
  • the Holy Spirit
  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit... Mt 28.19
The second of these three persons, the Son, is identified as being Jesus.   And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20.30-31
Jesus is further identified as "the Word" made flesh.   And the Word became 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

Distinct Persons

The Bible makes it clear that Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons.
That is, "Father," "Son," and "Holy Spirit" are NOT just three different names for the same person.

There are many Bible verses that establish this fact. We will look at just two...

Luke 3.21-22 records that Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit were all three present at the same event, at one and the same time. The event was the Baptism of Jesus....

  • Jesus was in the Jordan River, being baptized.
  • The Holy Spirit was descending upon Jesus.
  • The Father was speaking from Heaven.


This makes it clear that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons.

  Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass that...

Jesus (the Son) also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened.

And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him,

and a voice (the Father) came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.'' Lk 3.21-22

John 14.16-17 records Jesus's promise to pray to the Father.

  • It would be irrational for Jesus to pray to Himself by a different name.
  • Therefore, the Father and Jesus (the Son) are two distinct persons.


John 14.16-17 further records Jesus's promise that He would ask the Father to give us the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is distinct from both the Father and Jesus.

  (Jesus said...) "And I (the Son) will pray the Father

and He (the Father) will give you another Helper

that He (the Holy Spirit) may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14.16-17

Three persons are designated as "Lord" and "God"

The Bible designates each of the three persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) as being Lord and God.

The Father is designated as Lord   At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Mt 11.25
The Father is designated as God   There is only one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. 1 Cor 8.6
The Son is designated as Lord   that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 15.6
The Son is designated as God   looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ Titus 2.13

But to the Son He (the Father) says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom." Heb 1:8
The Holy Spirit is designated as Lord   Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Cor 3.17
The Holy Spirit is designated as God   But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.'' Acts 5.3-4

Three Gods?

The Bible says there is only ONE Lord God. Therefore, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are NOT three Gods.   Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! Deu 6.4

(God said...) Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me Deu 32.39a

We have seen that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons. Not just names. PERSONS!

We have seen that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are EACH designated as Lord and God.

Yet the Bible clearly states there is only ONE God...

  • Not three Gods.
  • ONE God!
 

Three persons are one God! HOW is this possible?

Some folks try to explain the three persons of God by using worldly comparisons, such as...

  • the three states of water (solid, liquid, gas)
  • the three dimensions of matter (length, width, depth)


HOWEVER, the verses alongside make it abundantly clear that any attempt to fully understand God's nature in purely worldly terms is an exercise in arrogant futility.

  • Why futile? Perhaps for somewhat the same reasons that my pet goldfish would undoubtedly flunk trigonometry. :-)
  "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,'' says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isa 55.8-9

By His Spirit God adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand? Job 26.13-14

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. Rom 11.33-36

The bottom line is...
ONLY God can reveal God!

The good news is...
God HAS revealed God!

In the person of Jesus, God was *manifested* in the flesh.

  • "Manifested" means "revealed."
  • One of the reasons God became flesh was to reveal His nature to us.
  • Jesus IS the revelation of God to humankind.
  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory. 1 Tim 3.16

In John 1.18 alongside, "declared" translates a form of the Greek word exegeomai. (Exegeomai is where we get our word "exegesis.")

  • Exegeomai means -- to make known, to unfold in teaching, to reveal, to explain (per Vine's Expository Dictionary, Strong's Concordance, Thayer's Lexicon)
  • As shown by John 1.18, the bottom line is this -- one of the main goals of Jesus is to REVEAL God's nature to us.

Ergo, if we want God's explanation of Who and What He is, we must look EXCLUSIVELY to Jesus.

  No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son (Jesus), who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared (exegeomai) Him. John 1.18

Looking to Jesus for answers about the Trinity

John chapter 17 records a prayer of Jesus, who was on the earth, addressed to the Father in heaven.   Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You" John 17.1
John 17.21 declares that the Father DWELLS in Jesus.

All of the Father was in heaven and, at one and the same time, all of the Father dwelled in Jesus who was on the earth, praying.
  (Jesus said...) You, Father, are in Me John 17.21b
Isaiah 42.1 and John 3.34 state that the Holy Spirit dwells in Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is in Jesus -- not "by measure" but in totality and fulness.
  I (the Father) have put My Spirit (the Holy Spirit) upon Him (the Son); He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. Isa 42.1b

For He (Jesus, the Son) whom God (the Father) has sent speaks the words of God: for God does not give the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) by measure unto him. John 3.34
Accordingly, Colossians 2.9 states that the *fullness* of God dwells in the Son, Jesus Christ.

In other words, ALL of God is present in Jesus. ALL!
  For in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily Col 2.9
John 14.11 and John 17.21 state that Jesus dwells in the Father.

These verses show that Jesus dwells in the Father at one and the same time as the Father dwells in Jesus.
  (Jesus said...) Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me John 14.11a

(Jesus said...) You, Father, are in Me and I in You John 17.21b

The Perfect Unity of Father and Son and Holy Spirit

The Bible straightly asserts that the nature of Jesus declares the nature of God (John 1.18).   No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son (Jesus), who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. John 1.18

As we have shown, the Bible further states that the Son is indwelt by the Father and Holy Spirit

Since the nature of Jesus declares the nature of God...

  • The Father is likewise indwelt by the Son and Holy Spirit
  • The Holy Spirit is likewise indwelt by the Father and Son
 
The mutual indwelling of Father and Son and Holy Spirit constitutes the oneness of perfect UNITY.  

Jesus said...

  • I and My Father are one John 10.30
  • If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also John 14.7a
  • He who has seen Me has seen the Father John 14.9b

Summation of the Doctrine of the Trinity

  • Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons.
  • Father, Son, and Holy Spirit indwell one another, thereby constituting a perfect unity.
  • The one God is the perfect unity of Father and Son and Holy Spirit.
  • None of these three persons is ever less than the perfect unity of all three persons.
  • Therefore, each of the three persons - Father and Son and Holy Spirit - IS the one God.

and so it is that...

In the beginning was the Word

  • and the Word was with God
  • and the Word was God

John 1.1

Amen Amen Amen


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