I am having difficulty understanding the concept of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one God, yet they're three. Are they three separate bodies or just one that manifests in three forms?
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At eBible.com, we have received many questions with regards to the Doctrine of the Trinity. There is a lot of confusion in this area, more so because this is a major distinction that separates mainline Christianity from cults such as Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons. Definition First, let us consider the definition of the Doctrine of Trinity, as stated in our Statement of Faith. We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Essentially our God is one God, but existing in three distinct and separate persons. This is not an easy concept to understand. How can there be one God, but existing in three persons? An often quoted but incorrect analogy is water. Water is one substance but it can exist either as gas, liquid or solid. This analogy brings us closer to understanding the doctrine but it still falls short because water cannot exist in three forms at the same time. That is to say, water, in its natural form, cannot be gas, liquid, and solid at the same time, and be distinct from one another. It is still the same substance but carrying a different form, depending on its surrounding conditions. Example An example of the Doctrine of Trinity is illustrated in Jesus' baptism. Matthew 3:16-17 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." Notice the interactions between the three separate and distinct persons. Jesus saw the [Holy] Spirit of God descending like a dove. A voice from heaven [God the Father] said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Is "Trinity" ever mentioned in the Bible? One often quoted counter-argument you'll hear is that nowhere in the Bible does the word "trinity" exists. Therefor it "must not be true". This is incorrect. The word "trinity" is not used like a noun i.e donkey, cross, salvation. It is a doctrine. A doctrine is a set of beliefs. In this case, it is a set of beliefs that is complex and difficult to understand but describes one of God's characteristics: that He is one being, existing in three persons. Christian theologists call this the Doctrine of Trinity. Here's another example. We believe God is omnipotent (God has unlimited power). This word is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. Does that mean its not true? No, "omnipotent" is a description of a characteristic of God. Just because a word does not exist in the Bible does not mean the concept is invalid. Conclusion God is one being, existing in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each person is separate, independent and able to interact with one another. For a further explanation of the Doctrine of Trinity see also: What does the Bible teach about the Trinity?
We begin by being very careful with our terminologies to avoid confusion. There is one God. The Trinity describes three different persons in this one God: 1. The Person of the Father, 2. The Person of the Son, and 3. The Person of the Holy Spirit. The persons of the Trinity are distinct from each other: 1. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father. 2. The Father is not the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not the Father. 3. The Son is not the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not the Son. All three persons are divine (are God) and share one divine nature: 1. The Father is God. 2. The Son is God. 3. The Holy Spirit is God. Of the three persons, only the Son added unto himself a human nature: 1. The Father is not Man. 2. The Son is also Man. 3. The Holy Spirit is not Man. Of eternal origins (no such thing as before or after, i.e. Timeless): 1. The Father is eternal. 2. The Son was begotten of the Father. 3. The Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son. As for bodies, it would be safe to say that only the Son has a body since the Son is Man. The Father and the Holy Spirit may not have bodies since they are not Man. As for manifesting forms, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not manifested forms. They are three distinct persons.
We as Christians try to figure God out through our intellect,the old man that was alienated from the life of God. Now that our minds are renewed we are children of light understanding spiritual life. We know that God is a spirit. In his word when he talks it is always spiritual. God uses physical examples that we understand to help us to understand Spiritual life. Spiritual things works in the spiritual realm the same way as physical things works in the physical realm Roman 1:20. God calls the Holy Spirit living waters John 7:37,38.We know that water have one body that water flows from it like a river that quench millions of people thirst all at once. So we can say God sits on his throne and from that throne his spirit goes into mankind's hearts, When God's spirit enters into man's hearts it is called Holy Spirit. Now Jesus is call the word of God. We understand a man and his word is one you can not separate a man from his word. A letter is written on paper from John Doe we say this is John Doe. We receive a phone call from Jonh Doe we look at the telephone and call it John Doe when John Doe is miles away. And we look at TV and see an image of John Doe talking and John is sitting beside you,we said John Doe is on the TV. Men have the knowledge to house his words in different forms. How can we question God ability to house his word in a body? A Body is just a container a house in the spirit realm. We know the house is a building that contains human habitation. Spirituality it works the same way God and his words are one in the same he housed his spirit inside a body and called it Jesus. Jesus is referred to as God's word clothed,housed in the flesh. When the angel Gabriel delivered God's words to Mary. God describe himself in detail to Mary Matthew 1:23.Mary accepted the words and it came to pass. God's word that goes forth out of his mouth will accomplish where ever he sends it. Isaiah 55:11 My words are spirit and they are life.The life of Jesus Christ. Jesus said I not speak my own words but the father that in me. John 12:49,50,John 14:7,10. So there is God sitting on his throne while looking at his word operating in the flesh and his Spirit flowing from him into whoever he sends it to. God is a Spirit,=God the Father Jesus is God's Spirit or Word, one in the same, housed in the flesh=God the Son Holy Spirit is God's Spirit flowing out from him.=God the Holy Spirit There you have the "Trinity "three in one.
The concept of the Trinity Mystery has been under attack for eons but the Scripture has undeniable evidence that the Three Persons are One God. I think the best way describe the trinity that I have learned is to use this thought. Mankind is one. There is only one mankind. So then Mankind is one but made up of many persons. God is One made up of Three persons. I have debated with many on this subject and for all their objections they could not answer reasonably from: John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. John 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. First we find here the Holy Spirit does not follow His own impulse but receives what He hears. Then we find that He Glorifies Jesus and He takes from Christ and shows it to His disciples, then we see that what the Holy Spirit takes from Christ is really the Father's because "all that the Father has' belongs to Jesus, thus Making Jesus equal to the Father as God.
Spiritual understanding is progressive. All of us are being “educated” by the Holy Spirit to “discern the truth” (I Cor 2:13-16). Peter (and James) did not understand that Gentiles are "grafted" into Israel and that "circumcision is of the heart" until the Spirit, in his own time (through Paul), opened their "eyes". So did our 3rd and 4th century church leaders (with good intention) misunderstood the concept of the original words translated into English as "god, lord, one". That led to the evolution of the Trinity doctrine. And, we are blessed in this generation for a variety of sources currently available to analyze this dilemma of "three persons being one God". Suffice it to say that even before and after the Council of Nicea in 325 C.E., controversy among our church leaders has been documented. At the core was the divergent understanding about the nature of the Father and Son of God and their relationship. Some legitimate members of the church excommunicated and declared each other heretics for holding different beliefs. At the forefront at this controversy were Athanasius vs Arius; (please google these names in the context of Nicean creed). In essence, the "trunk-of-the-tree" basis for the doctrine of Trinity, emanates from how to reconcile a well-entrenched "Judaism" concept of Shema doctrine of "one God" (Deut 6:4) with “deity of both” the Son as well as the Father. Regarding this "oneness doctrine", see and compare also, Isa 45:21-22; 44:6-8; Ex.15:11; Deut 4:35; 32:39; I Sam 2:2; I kings 8:60; Mk12:29. How could the Son and Father, being two Gods, be "one God"? While affirming that the "anthropos/man" Jesus is divine, Arianism erred by denying that the Son is God (deity), "because there is only "one God (deity), the Father". On the other hand, to reconcile the Shema doctrine with the belief that the Son is God, the Father is God and the Spirit is God, a new concept emerged: the Trinity Doctrine, which then became the Nicean (Athanasian) Creed. Since then, it established itself for centuries due largely to Athanasius backed by Constantine. History tells us that this was how the Trinity Doctrine was constructed. In our generation, do we have to follow the same assumptions? With the strictest of analysis, it becomes clear that the controversy boils down to, not just about understanding "oneness" per se, but crucially and basically on knowledge and concept of "what is God?". What constitutes the word translated in English as God? And, what was/were the original word/s? Knowing these things, may lead one to conclude that the meaning of the word "god" and "one" were "lost in translation". In essence, the Creator Jesus in Gen 1:26-27 speaks of the "image of god", man/Adam, is "god"; yes, even as a human being. YHVH Elohim/Creator corroborated this himself (as incarnate Jesus) in John 10:34, where he was accused of blasphemy by his enemies that since he was man/flesh, he cannot be God (because God is spirit); and also confirmed by the psalmist in Ps 82:6. Yet, Jesus emphasized that, as defined by him, man is "god" and not merely a "temple of God (I Cor 3:16). As Jesus is the Logos (Jn 1:1), the Creator God, and as YHVH ELOHIM, he created man an "image of God", and is "god". Notice also that an angel, even Lucifer/Satan, is "god" (2 Cor 4:4; 11:14). But, while the word "god" is generic and can refer to man, or angels, there is only "one" God to be worshiped, above all "gods" (Ex 20:3; Deut 7:25; I Cor 8:5; Ps 82:1; 86:8; 97:9; 135:5). In the Old Testament, that God is "one", our YHVH ELOHIM. After incarnation as Jesus, that same YHVH ELOHIM said "worship the Father"(John 4:21-26). Regarding the word "one", echad/heis, please access http://www.hebrew-streams.org/works/hebrew/echad.html
The best analogies for the Trinity: 1. Man (made in the image of God) is a trinity: each person has a soul, a spirit, and a body--but is a single person. And just as the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is beyond human comprehension, so is the exact relationship of the soul, spirit, and body. I mean, where and how does the soul interact with the body? Where and how does the spirit affect the soul? Don't know. Neither does anyone. 2. The universe is a trinity: it is made of space, time, and matter--yet it is one universe. 3. Light is a trinity: it is made of blue, red, and yellow--yet it is one light. 4. Space is a trinity: it is made up of X, Y, and Z axes (length, width, and height)--yet it is one space. 5. Water at the triple point is a trinity: it is liquid, gas, and solid--yet one water. ALL PRAISE AND HONOR TO THE HOLY KING OF THE UNIVERSE, ALMIGHTY GOD, LORD OF LORDS AND KING OF KINGS!
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