26. Where can we find
the doctrine of Trinity in the Bible? What is the meaning of Trinity?
The word "Trinity" is never used in
the Bible and the doctrine is never explicitly taught. The doctrine is
developed from putting together biblical themes and Bible verses and then
adding logic and reasoning.
b. Essential elements of
Trinity: triune (tri=3, une=1)
God, one God with three persons
Essense or substance of God:
whatever it is to be God
Person: an entity with self-consciousness
c. God is one (Dt 6:4;
Ex 3:13-15; 20:2-3; 1Co 8:4-6; 1Ti 1:17; 2:5-6; Jas 2:19)
d. Three distinct persons as Deity:
(at the same time Mt 3:16-17)
God is One.
Each of the persons within the Godhead
is Deity: Father is God; Son is God; Holy Spirit is God.
The oneness of God and the threeness
of God are not contradictory.
The Trinity (Father, Son, and the Holy
Spirit) is eternal (co-eternal).
Each of the persons of God is of the
same essence (consubstantial) and is not inferior or superior to the others
The Trinity is a mystery that is beyond
full comprehension by humans.
(1) Father is God (Jn 1:17; Ro
1:7; 1Co 8:6; Php 2:11; 1Pe 1:2)
(2) Son is God (Isa 9:6; Jn 1:1;
(3) Holy Spirit is God (Gen 1:1-2;
Ex 31:3; Isa 11:2; Ac 5:3-4; 2Co 3:17)
(4) Appearance of the three simultaneously
at the baptism of Jesus (Mt 3:16-17)
(5) All three in the apostolic benediction
(2Co 13:14) – "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love
of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."
e. The oneness of God and threeness
of God can exist simultaneously and yet not contradictory:
f. All three persons are the same
essence and with the same attributes:
Gen 1:26 – God (singular) said, "Let
us (plural) make man...."
Gen 11:7 – The Lord (singular) said,
"… Come, let us (plural) go down…."
Isa 6:8 – Then I heard the voice of
the Lord (singular) saying, "Whom shall I (singular) send? And whom will
go for us (plural)?"
Mt 28:19 – "baptizing them in the name
(singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (plural)"
[the baptismal formula]
g. The three persons are equal
with different roles in activities
h. Analogies of Trinity:
of the world
(1) sun: body, heat, light
Many people tried to use analogies
to help Christians understand the meaning of Trinity, including:
(2) water: solid, liquid, gas
(3) man: spirit (spiritual realm),
soul (mental realm), body (physical realm)
(4) man (Freud): id (pleasure principle),
ego (reality principle), superego (conscience)
(5) human pyschology: Thinking involves
judgment, memory, and imagination. They are separate yet belong to the
same person. They can have dialogue with each other (such as Christ’s prayer
to the Father, Mt 26:39,42) but they work as a unity.
i. Main heresies related
to the doctrine of Trinity
The first four analogies have serious
problems. The last analogy is the best analogy of all available ones, though
still not completely accurate.
(1) Arianism: led by Arius
(2) Sabellianism: led by Sabellius
held that the Son was a created being,
the first and highest of all creatures, a demigod; the Son has similar
essence as the Father (Latin homoiousios) but not the same essence
(homoousios) which is the orthodox belief
the Son is called God as an honorific
title only and is not truly Deity
Arianism was formally condemned at
the Council of Nicaea in AD 325.
A similar heresy called Macedonianism
denied the Deity of the Holy Spirit. It was formally condemned at the Council
of Constantinople in AD 381.
27. What is the purpose of
a. Purpose of creation:
held that God is a unity and He revealed
Himself in three different modes or playing three roles: as Father in OT,
Son in NT, Holy Spirit in the present
Sabellianism was influential in early
3rd century; it was rejected but never formally condemned.
b. The universe was created "out
of nothing" (Gr. ex nihilo), not from previously existing materials
but simply by the command of God. This term (ex nihilo) is not found
in the Bible but in an Apocrypha book II Maccabees 7:28, but the concept
is clearly taught in Ps 33:9; 148:5; Heb 11:3.
c. Divine providence: God has
not stopped His work after creation. Presently, He continues to preserve
and uphold all His creation.
The creation manifests the glory
of God (Isa 43:7; 60:21; Ps 19:1).
God determined to communicate the
divine glory and to share goodness with His creatures (meaning the
created) out of His love and benevolence so that mankind would express
their gratitude, love and adoration (Ro 11:36; Eph 1:12,14).
General providence: God is active in
all that happens in the world (Ps 145:15; Neh 9:6; Ac 17:28). He controls
history (Da 2:21) and He directs all things to their appointed end
Special providence: God cares for the
life and activity of His children (Ps 37:23; Php 1:28). "In all things
God works for the good of those who love Him." (Ro 8:28)