Objective and Design
Who is God? You might expect many different answers from the numerous religions in the world. Some look up to the sun, moon, and stars; others reverence wooden and concrete statues. However, of those various belief systems, only two (Judaism and Christianity) worship the God of the Bible, and only one (Christianity) believes in the Trinity. Although the Bible contains many expressions attributed to God, a statement from the book of Deuteronomy offers something seemingly contradictory in our objective to reveal the Trinity. The passage presents the following quote by Moses, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” Over the years, this declaration has kept many from accepting the Trinity as truth. One reason for the unbelief centers on a New Testament passage where Jesus proclaimed that He and His Father are One (John 10:30). When we compare Jesus’ proclamation in contrast to what Moses declared, a puzzling question confronts us, “How can two Gods be one Lord?” Yet, adding even more disparity to the episode, another entity enters the scene, namely God the Holy Ghost. Now the question becomes, “How can three Gods be one Lord?”
An assortment of other questions has made the Trinity doctrine one of the most controversial yet least understood topics ever to confront humanity. Many world belief systems teach their followers that the Trinity is a mystery that expresses three Gods. However, society is not alone in regarding it as a mystery because most Christians do as well. Scholars and theologians sought to realize this puzzling doctrine throughout the ages, but to no avail. What prevented them from finding factual answers? Did God purposely keep this biblical truth hidden from us? Should such an essential Christian doctrine forever carry a stigma that makes it an everlasting secret, or was the Trinity ever a real mystery after all?
You shall find in this study that the mystification behind the Trinity hinged on the fact that throughout history, God had never revealed it to anyone until these last days. We shall cover that issue later, but for now, let us establish the view most people currently hold.
The following is a short assessment of how the legendary account of Saint Patrick dealt with the issue. In an attempt to project the Trinity to an outdoor church gathering, Patrick struggled for answers and found himself at a loss for words. Suddenly, looking down, something within the meadow caught his eye. Therein, he spotted a shamrock. He picked it up and proceeded to give this comparison. The three leaves symbolized the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The stem of the shamrock represented the one, God. Patrick’s speculation seemed reasonable considering his available choices. However, it provided little insight or substance to answer the many questions designed to put the so-called mystery to rest.
More recently, present-day ministers have endeavored to explain the Trinity by attempting other versions of analogies. One preacher offered this example, “The best way to explain the Trinity is to compare it to an egg, whereas the shell signifies God the Father, the yoke represents God the Son, and the white depicts God the Holy Ghost.” In a separate setting, another clergy member donated a different version comparing the Trinity to the three stages of water. He illustrated the liquid as the Father, ice represented the Son, and steam symbolized the Holy Ghost.
These illustrations represent a small sampling of the many examples attempting to explain the Trinity. Could analogies be the only means of disclosure? These ideas seem very reasonable, especially to those who believe the Trinity will forever remain a mystery. As these examples suggest, and after centuries of seeking answers, most theologians and scholars share a collective view that the Trinity is an inconceivable mystery. Thus, if most Church leaders have reached this conclusion, it would seem logical for the layperson to hold the same opinion.
The purpose of this book is to uncover all the issues that kept the Trinity a mystery over the years and provide answers that will leave no doubt to its authenticity. Questions used in the past to discredit the doctrine will become a thing of the past. Perhaps the most problematic issue most people do not consider is the systematic processes of the Bible. Those techniques explain how God works to convey His Word to us in the past, present, and future times. Every happening in the Bible allows the next event’s progression to occur in the order God so designed for it to take place. For example, the Creation in Genesis would not fit in Revelation. The same holds for placing the New Testament before the Old. In like manner, the reason the early Church fathers were unable to unveil the Trinity is evident. Today’s vast wealth of knowledge was not available back then. However, discoveries within our modern health fields disclose several essential details designed to aid in clearing up Trinity’s mystery.
Keep in mind, everything occurs within God’s time frame and not that He kept any secrets from us. The Bible did not hide the Trinity because every Scripture verse is open for our eyes to see. Yet, God did provide for its disclosure to fit where He always chooses to disclose things to us—in His perfect timing.
The Trinity is the central teaching of Christianity. If Jesus were not God in the flesh, Christians would worship an imperfect mortal. As a mere man, Jesus would originate from Adam and become subject to sin. If He were an angel or another type of being, he would not qualify as the deliverer to redeem humanity from its sins. Nevertheless, many cannot conceive of a God who declared Himself as the One God, became human, lived on earth, and died as a man. Therefore, some have submitted seemingly valid arguments to reject the Trinity. One popular stance concerns the omission of the word Trinity from the Bible. Another view challenges the exclusion of Jesus’ name in the Old Testament. Even others point out that the word Trinity did not exist until years after Christ was on earth. One of the more favored allegations contends that Scripture writings contain inaccuracies. While the first such charges may be correct, we find that the Bible does not contain contradictions or errors.
Trinity and Life:
The word Trinity generally conjures up a portrait of God and His Godhead. However, another image must also share the limelight, and it regards the subject matter called life. On that basis, God laid out His design for humanity. It is also why many ask numerous questions concerning their purpose in life and why they exist.
Predestination in the Bible refers to God’s foreknowledge of how each person would choose the outcome for their existence in life through their own free will. Therefore, God already knows the destiny you and I will select during our time on earth. Knowing that choice, God carefully preordained each life to fit within a far-reaching blueprint of His long-range objective. Thus, He designated every individual to exist at the right time and place in history. The following passage provides insight into this course of action:
“And (God) hath made of one blood (Adam) all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” (Acts 17:26)
Many individuals view the Trinity using definitions or explanations rather than the perspective called life. The definition viewpoint declares that there is one Lord God, who manifests Himself in three separate, but distinct entities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Since both Jesus and the Holy Ghost derive from the Father and not of or from themselves, provide further verification, there is only one God and not three as some maintain.
Even though the Old Testament does not mention the word Trinity or the name Jesus outright, many passages allude to them in one way or another. Could it be a coincidence that the first verse of the Bible (Genesis 1:1) indicates the Father? The next verse discovers the Spirit (Holy Ghost), and we find the Son (Jesus) in the third verse. Meanwhile, verse 26 suggests the complete Godhead, and Genesis 3:15 points to the first coming of Jesus. Then again, verse 3:22 depicts another reference to the Godhead.
We find other indications of the Godhead, particularly the Son, sprinkled throughout the Old Testament without mentioning Jesus or the word Trinity. However, it is not by accident that those two expressions are nonexistent in the Old Testament. The following New Testament passage shows the purpose of their omission:
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:7)
This verse displays a prime reason why the Old Testament did not mention Jesus’ name. God ordained a mystery before the world began. The princes of this world refer to Satan and his hordes, which is a clear indication that the ones who instituted the crucifixion were the demonic forces of this world. Thus, the devil would have recognized Jesus’ purpose in the New Testament by seeing His name mentioned in the Old Testament. If the devil knew of God’s plan to send Jesus to earth to die for the world’s sins, the crucifixion would not have happened. That would also mean no redemption for humanity.
The epistle of Romans also suggests another reason for omitting the words Jesus and the Trinity. It attests that God purposely kept these things secret for disclosure in the time it was preordained to happen—in the age of grace:
“Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which…kept secret since the world began. But is now made manifest….” (Romans 16:26.27)
The gospel of John records where Jesus was instructing Pilate concerning truth. It prompted Pilate to inquire, “What is truth?” Jesus answered that question earlier in prayer to His Father on behalf of His Apostles. He said, “Sanctify them through Thy truth,” and added, “Thy Word is Truth.” On that basis, the Bible represents the primary source of information contained in this book. The Word of God includes details for dealing with every situation in life and essential truths concerning man’s purpose, goals, past, present, and future. The Old Testament segment includes the same Holy Scriptures shared by the religion of Judaism. The New Testament is unique only to Christianity. Many consider the Bible the only absolute because it has withstood time and testing throughout history and prophecy.
Almost everything in life requires learning, training, and schooling. You would not attempt to pilot a passenger jet without understanding the instructions and knowledge of the controls. In the same way, it would be unwise to go about life on earth without any directives to follow.
Thankfully, that was not the case. God provided clear and firm guidelines so we could enjoy an enriched and purposeful existence. Even so, His intentions demand that you and I read, and heed, understand, and apply those principles to avoid the pitfalls of life. Only by obeying the rules can we overcome the problems and challenges confronting us daily. If you seek answers in the wrong places, you should expect to encounter difficulties.
Romans 3:4 states, “…let God be true, but every man a liar….” We must be realistic about what constitutes accurate answers and seek them from God’s perspective and not man’s. The Bible is of a validating nature that, with the following passage, provides the assurance it shall always remain the same. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Jesus made this promise over 2000 years ago and try as they have to do away with it; His Word is still with us today.
What about Errors:
A careful study of the Bible is required to absorb its instructions. The Word declares, “Study to show thyself approved unto God….” It would be unfitting for God to fill the Bible full of errors when He told us it is a book to study carefully. Could it be trusted if it contained even one error? Moreover, if someone found one inaccuracy, could not another also exist? Who is to say this, or that is an error—are we the judge of wrongs in the Bible? As a result, we believe the Bible contains and is the source of all truth. We shall find full justification behind those beliefs as we progress in our study.
Sometimes Bible passages appear to the worldly mind as lies or contradictions. Several indicators provide clues as to why this could occur. Some Scriptures may have dual meanings in which one passage discloses two events differently. Sometimes disagreements arise because both transactions happened, but the reader cannot correlate the details to their satisfaction. The Bible describes itself as a holy Book designed for the spiritual-minded. The secular mind is not in tune with spiritual expressions, making what they sometimes read look foolish (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). The result puts the reader at odds with the divine truths of the Bible.
When someone attempts to make what they read from a private interpretation, they will likely encounter difficulty. There is a definite distinction between someone reading Scripture from a secular perspective and another employing a spiritual approach. One applies a personal justification, while the other imparts a disclosure as provided by the Spirit of God.
We may endeavor to use our wisdom, but only God can interpret His Word. The Bible concerns the believer and those who desire to become believers. Only through God’s Spirit can we attain genuine revelation, especially those passages involving profound doctrinal truths.
Nevertheless, reading the Bible from a worldly perspective or by any means is advantageous. It helps to keep in mind that all spiritual-minded readers came from a secular background at one time in their life. Therefore, to make the Bible come alive for any reader, it is necessary to enter a spiritual approach.
When individuals receive Christ as Lord and Savior, they also receive the Holy Spirit, who dwells within their hearts. The third Person of the Trinity interprets God’s Word within the believer. As (1 Corinthians 2:10) states, “God hath revealed them (the things in the Bible) unto us by His Spirit: For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” A secular analysis develops misinterpretation, which creates errors, confusion, and unbelief. The following verse addresses this concern:
“But the natural (secular) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
The above passage highlights how receiving the Spirit of God enables the reader to receive revelation concerning God’s Word. The natural man has yet to receive the Spirit of God. As a result, doctrinal truths will seem foolish even though he may believe he interprets rightly.