... in LAYMAN'S Terms. :)
"God, in three PERSONS, Blessed Trinity" says the Hymnwriter.
Not "three Manifestations"... three PERSONS. There are those who play semantic games with the definition of what the Trinity is, or what it means. They skirt around it by saying that they do believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, even calling it the "Three-in-One"... but when they are asked to define it more, they say "three manifestations of one God". This is wrong. God is not three "manifestations", He is three PERSONS in one Divine Godhead!
I am not a theologian, and I don't even play one on the radio! ;) However, I do know my Bible well enough to know that it VERY CLEARLY describes God as a compound unity of three. (Compound Unity; example: a "BUNCH" of grapes. It is *ONE* bunch.) I have read enough Biblical scholars' works to know that the Lord our God is truly a Tri-Unity: co-eternal, co-equal.
There are those who argue that the word "Trinity" does not appear anywhere in Scripture. That is true, the WORD, "TRINITY" is NOT used in Scripture. There is no debate on that point: HOWEVER!!! The CONCEPT of the Triune Nature of God is repeated again and again, from Genesis to Revelation! They also argue that the word "Persons" is never used in Scripture to describe the members of the Godhead, either... but once again, their individual PERSONHOOD is demonstrated again and again. The Bible also uses a PLURAL word, "Elohim" for GOD in the "famous" verse, Deuteronomy 6:4, commonly known as the "Shamah":
DEU 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD: From Strong's Concordance, the word for God is defined: 430 'elohiym, el-o-heem'; plur. of 433; gods in the ordinary sense; but spec. used (in the plur. thus, esp. with the art.) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:-angels, X exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.
The Jehovah's Witnesses use that argument that the word "Trinity" is not used in the Bible. It certainly doesn't help their argument, though, when all of Scripture makes the point that God is a COMPOUND Unity. How can our tiny little minds even BEGIN to grasp this? They can't! God is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY! He is beyond our ability to comprehend! So is gravity! Science has *YET* to unlock the "secrets" of how this wonderous force actually works! Does that mean we can simply DISMISS Gravity, because we cannot comprehend it? Of course not! We feel it's effect evey moment of our existance! While this is a poor analogy at BEST, it serves to make the point that just because something cannot be COMPREHENDED does NOT mean it has to be IGNORED or "explained away"! :) The Triune Nature of God is a wonderful mystery... we accept it's Truth BY FAITH... the very SAME Faith that allows us to accept Christ's sacrifice on the Cross for our Salvation. \o/
The Apostles' Creed does not specifically address the issue of the Triune Nature of God, because at the time it was written (sometime before 400AD) the heresies of "modalism" had not yet been spread. (Example: one form of "Modalism" claims that God was Father, then became Son, and is now the Holy Spirit, but answers only to the Name, Jesus.) Scripture also makes it quite clear that the Name of the Father is YAHWEH (YHWH in Hebrew) or JEHOVAH when translated to the Greek. JESUS is the Name of the Son, not the Father. (Jesus = YESHUAH, roughly translated; "Jehovah Saves").
Here is one of my favorite verses, which CLEARLY indicates the PERSONHOOD of the Holy Spirit:
ACTS 13:2 "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them."
Note these words:
Here is an excerpt from something someone e-mailed to me, that I TOTALLY agree with:
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you (John 14:16-17, NASB).”
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me (John 15:26, NASB)…”
These verses clearly demonstrate both the personhood and the distinctness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In chapter 14 of the Gospel of John, we see Jesus, distinct from the Father, speaking of His petition to the Father on behalf of the disciples for the sending of the Holy Spirit. Jesus makes a distinction between his own person and the person of the Holy Spirit by calling the Spirit “another Helper.” He also distinguishes between the person of the Father and the person of the Spirit by declaring that the Father will give the Spirit to the disciples. In chapter 15, Jesus continues to make the same distinctions, and and provides greater detail: the Spirit is sent by the Son, He proceeds from the Father, and He testifies about the Son. All three, Father, Son, and Spirit, are obviously seen to be persons, and all three are likewise shown to be distinct in person from the others.
The Bible demonstrates the distinct personhood of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in many other ways. The love of the Son for the Father and the Father for the Son shows distinct personhood and a deep, inter-personal relationship (John 3:35, 5:19, 10:17, 14:31). The glory of the Father is spoken of as a glory the Son had with the Father, demonstrating a distinction between them; Jesus’ desire to share that glory again demonstrates a personal relationship between Himself and the Father (John 17:5). The intercessory works of both the Son and the Spirit to the Father on behalf of the believers (Romans 8:26-27, 34) demonstrate that the Son and the Spirit are distinct from the Father. For example, as an intercessor, the Holy Spirit is a personal intermediary between two other persons-the believer, and the Father. Christ’s mediation between God and men confirms both His personality and distinction from the Father in a similar fashion (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6, 9:15).
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