The Christian doctrine of the trinity is not polytheism (multiple gods). Although the bible does not use the term trinity, the teaching of scripture clearly illustrates both the unity and the distinctness of the one and only God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Yes, the doctrine of the trinity can be conceptually problematic for the human mind, but it has a solid basis in scripture.
Starting in Genesis 1:26 we learn that God said, “let us” make man in “our” image. The transliterated word from the Hebrew is “Elohim” which is the plural of the word “Eloah”, meaning God. Again in Genesis chapter 3 verse 22 God speaking in the first person plural, remarks that human beings have become “like us”, knowing good and evil.
Critics of the trinity doctrine will say that the plurality in Genesis is because God is speaking not with the Godhead, but his heavenly court.This argument may have limited standing in the Genesis scriptures but when all scripture is looked at on the whole, only one conclusion can be made.
In Genesis 1:2, we learn that the Holy Spirit was hovering over the waters when the earth was formless. A deeper investigation into scripture shows the Holy Spirit involved elsewhere. The Hebrew word for Spirit is often translated “wind” or “breath”. In Psalms 33:6 the psalmist declares that by the word of God the heavens were made, even by the breath of his mouth, or in the New Living Translation “He breathed the word”. In light of this some hold to the notion that the Holy Spirit is just a force or God’s energy at work. Again, we must look at scripture on the whole and when we do, the conclusion is clear.
THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD
Scripture is clear we are not to worship any God besides the one true God. In Isaiah 23:11 God says he alone is God and there is no savior besides him. Isaiah 45:5 says besides him there is not God. In the King James translations, Moses says in Deuteronomy that the Lord our God is one Lord.
- The Lord God is one, Deuteronomy 6:4
Look now; I myself am he! There is no other god but me! Deuteronomy 32:39
- Know that the Lord alone is God, and there is no other, 1 Kings 8:60
- One God and Father of all, Ephesians 4:6
- one God, 1 Timothy 2:5
- …for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. James 2:19
Here the “only almighty God is the King of Kings and the Lord of all lords. This same description is also given to Jesus Christ
For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. 1 Timothy 6:15,16
On his (Jesus) robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Revelation 19:16
WORSHIP ONLY GOD
While Moses was in the presence of God on the mountain in Exodus 34:14, God instructed him that his very name is jealous and we are not to worship any other gods before the Lord himself. In the New Living Translation the jealousy spoken of is in regard to his relationship with us, so we are not to have a relationship with any other gods before, or instead, or in addition to him.
When angels in the bible were worshiped by man, they quickly corrected those who were prostrate before them explaining that they themselves were servants of God and were not to be worshiped. Only God was to be worshiped.
Revelation 22:8,9; And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!”
Revelation 19:10; Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sistersc who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God.
WAS JESUS WORSHIPED?
Jesus tells us in Luke 4:8 that we are to worship only God yet he accepts worship from many people. John the revelator reports being in the very presence of God in heaven and seeing four living beings and 24 elders, falling down worshiping the Lamb of God, who is Jesus Christ
Revelation 5:13,14; Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.” And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.
Luke 4:8; Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God
and serve only him.’
Jesus told us we must serve only God and then Peter instructs us that me must worship Christ as serve him as Lord of our lives.
1 Peter 3:15; Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it
John 9:38; “yes Lord, I believe”, says a man before falling before Jesus and worshiping him,
Matthew 14:33, 28:16-17; The disciples of Jesus worshiped him,
Hebrews 1: 6; God himself commands “Let all God’s angels worship him”
JESUS IS GOD
Jesus did not correct anyone who called him God or worshiped him as God. This is something you would expect him to discourage if he were not in fact God.
John 20:28; “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
Romans 9:5; Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
John 1:1,3; In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made
John 1:18; No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God
In the first chapter of Hebrews it becomes even clearer as we read what the Father says about the Son.
- Your throne O God will last forever, verse 8
- O God, your God has anointed you, verse 9
In verse 10 God the Father calls Jesus Lord, and tells us that Jesus laid the foundations of the earth and made the heavens with his own hands. We read that the Father created everything through Jesus.
John 1:2,3; He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON NOT A FORCE
It is abundantly clear from scripture that the Holy Spirit is a personage, not a force. Although in the Greek, spirit (pneuma) is a neuter, neither masculine or feminine, the word parakletos, translated Counselor, Comforter and helper, is masculine and is used to refer to the Holy Spirit in John 14:16. Though there is dispute and debate on the gender of the Greek in regards to the Spirit, it is clear that the Holy Spirit is presented with all the attributes of a person. What are the attributes of a person? A person has emotions, intellect and a will.
We can upset the Holy Spirit
Ephesians 4:30; And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live
Offend the Holy Spirit
Hebrews 10:29; How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Experience the love of the Holy Spirit
Romans 15:30; “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit.”
HE HAS INTELLECT:
- Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit teaches, John 14:26
- Only the Spirit knows God’s own thoughts, 1 Corinthians 2:11-12
- When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth, John 16:13
- It seemed good to the Holy Spirit to give you these instructions, Acts 15:28
- The Holy Spirit will teach you what to say, Luke 12:12
EXERTS HIS WILL:
- We are not to stifle or resist the Holy Spirit will, 1Thessalonians 5:19
- He prevented Paul and Silas from preaching in Asia, Acts 16:6
- The Spirit gives many gifts to believers, He alone decides, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
- The Holy Spirit told Peter to go with them, Acts 11:12
- He will convict the world of its sin, John 16:8
- We don’t know what to pray, so the Spirit himself intercedes for us, Romans 8:26
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD
In the Book of Acts 5:3-5, Ananias and Sapphira are condemned and fall dead to the floor. Peter told Ananias that he has lied to the Holy Spirit. You can’t lie to a force or energy. Then the Apostle Peter said, you have not lied to us but to God. In John Jesus says that the Spirit alone give eternal life, yet he also said eternal life is only him (Jesus)
Acts 5:3-5; Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit…You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.
2 Peter 1:20-21; Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
John 6:63; Jesus speaking-“The Spirit alone gives eternal life.”
Hebrews 9:14; “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God”
Jesus speaking to his disciples in Matthew 10:19-20, says not to worry about what they will say when they are arrested because God will give them the right words to speak. He tells them it will not be them speaking but the Spirit of the Father speaking through them.
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are indistinguishable and interchangeable in scripture. They are one yet have uniqueness.
God is Spirit
2 Corinthians 3:18; “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
John 4:24; Jesus speaking, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
John 1:18; No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
John 6:46; Jesus says no one has seen the father but him. He cannot be the Father. “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.”
1 Corinthians 3:16; Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
Colossians 1:27; For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you.
God is spirit who lives in us, Christ also lives in us and Christ sent the Holy Spirit, who alone distributes gifts as he alone sees fit lives in us.
UNITY, THREE IN ONE
Jesus says he and the father are one.
- John 10:30; Jesus speaking, “I and the Father are one.”
- John 14:11; “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;”
- Deuteronomy 6:4; “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
He tells Philip in John 14:9, that since he has seen him, he has seen the Father because Christ is the exact representation of the Father.
Hebrews 1:3; The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
Colossians 1:15,16; “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”
. In regards to the Holy Spirit, he is revealed as the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ, yet is distinct from them. Remember, He alone distributes gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11; “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”
In Romans the unity is summed up in a single verse where Jesus the father and the Spirit are all co-mingled into one.
Romans 8:9-11; “You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”
in John 2:19, Jesus says, if they destroy the temple, meaning kill him, in three days he will raise it up again. HE will raise his own body up.
John 2:19; “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
Further in John 10:18, Jesus says he is laying his life down voluntarily and has the power to take it up again.
John 10:18; “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.”
On the other hand, in Acts 2:24 and elsewhere, God raised Jesus from the dead.
Acts 2:24; “But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.”
Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit are inseparable yet distinct with specific rolls to play within the unity of their relationship. When Jesus was being baptized their distinctness was evident when a voice from heaven was heard saying this is my Son, who was standing in the water with John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit was seen descending and landing on Jesus.
Luke 3:21,22; “Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
Scripture has shown us that Jesus called the Father God, God the Father called Jesus God in Hebrews, and the Apostle Peter called the Holy Spirit God. We also learned that they are all distinct as when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit, the Father and Jesus were all present.
The Holy Spirit alone gives gifts and the Father is the only one who knows the day and hour of Jesus return.
Mark 13:32,22; “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert
If they are all God and there is only one God, yet they are distinct the only way to reconcile scripture is the Trinity doctrine.
The doctrine of the trinity is the only explanation to unify the scripture. Many have tried to create new doctrines with multiple gods, subgods and even beings changing into gods but none of them work. Scripture has to be so changed and rewritten that it is unrecognizable when done with magnitudes of contradictions more offensive than the Trinity they tried to fix.
When you try to manufacture one God who is not distinct, scripture becomes nonsensical.
- When Jesus walked the earth and prayed to the Father. Was he praying to himself.
- Jesus stated he came from the Father and was going back to the Father.
- Jesus told his disciples that the Father could not send the Spirit until he went away.
- The Holy Spirit is described interchangeably as the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ, yet he (the Spirit) alone hands out spiritual gifts as he sees fit.
Scripture teaches there is both a sense of autonomy and total unity in God as the Apostles were instructed by Jesus to baptize believers in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
EPHESIANS 4:4-6; “For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.”
THE WISDOM OF GOD
1 Corinthians 1:18-23
“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.”