Holy Trinity Persons
Brothers :
The Holy Spirit
and Jesus
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2. Holy Trinity Persons

Three Pointed DiagramThe concept of three persons in the Godhead permeates the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. But the actual word "Trinity" from the Latin word "Trinitas" or "Trinus," meaning "threefold, does not appear in the Bible! In Christian theology, the first recorded use of this Greek word "Trinity" is by Theophilus of Antioch in c170 AD. However, he does not use the standard formula of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" to describe the Trinity. Instead, Theophilus (c110-183 AD) puts it as "God, his Word (Logos) and His Wisdom." An alternative Greek word used for Trinity is "triad," meaning "a set of three" or "the number three." Theophilus writes, "In like manner also the three days before the luminaries, are Trinity types of God, and His Word, and His wisdom." 'Trinitarianism' contrasts with positions such as 'Binitarianism' that is one deity in two persons, or two deities and 'Monarchianism' with no plurality of persons within the Godhead." In Hebrew, the "Holy Spirit" is also called "spirit of Yahweh" and comes from the Hebrew word "ruach," meaning "holiness spirit" or "holy place spirit." The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have quite different qualities and personalities but are still of the same essence. They are three distinct persons in one deity.

Three Deity Roles

Trinity Tie KnotThe descriptive word "persons" in the Godhead depicts each personality's role in their relationship. The Trinity defines three separate and quite distinctive ways the Holy Trinity functions. An excellent example of this occurs in 1 Peter 1.1-2. Saint Peter writes, "Peter, Jesus Christ's apostle, to God's elect, who have been chosen according to God the Father's foreknowledge, through the Spirit's sanctifying work, in obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood." Here we have from Saint Peter a specific Trinity reference of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The persons of the Holy Trinity are also like family members. A man can be a father, son, and husband at the same time. Similarly, a woman may be a mother, daughter, and wife at one time. Godhead individuals can equally be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with different roles simultaneously.

Primary Colors Analogy

Infinity SignGod is always greater than the total of the three individual Trinity persons. Consider how nature contains the three primary colors of red, blue, and yellow. These primary colors mixed in different proportions make up other colors like orange, purple, or green. All the colors emanate from the three primary ones so that orange is yellow plus red, purple is blue plus red, and so on. The complex nature of the persons of the Holy Trinity is akin to this. Pure white light splits in a prism to form the rainbow colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. All the spectrum colors combine to create pure white light, like the three members of the Trinity who come together as one God. Separately, they form a whole range of other colors.

Creation Trinity

Jesus and DoveThe creation story contains all three of the Holy Trinity persons. Saint John explains the role of Jesus at the creation in John 1.1-2, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." The Living Bible helpfully adds in John 1.3, "He created everything there is — nothing exists that he didn't make." Here, as the Word (or the Logos), Jesus is at the very beginning of all things. As God, he is eternal and has no beginning or end, and he is present even before the creation time. The Father's Word causes matter to come into existence. The NIV Commentary explains further, "The Greeks use the phrase 'Word' not only of the spoken word but also of the 'unspoken word.' The unspoken word is still in mind - the reason." In the word "Universe," the Greeks mean the rational principle that governs all things. Jews, however, utilized the phrase "Word" as a way of referring to God. The Apostle John, therefore, employs a term here which is familiar to both Jews and Greeks. Romans 9.5 asserts that Jesus is God in a total sense, "Their's (the people of Israel) are the patriarchs who trace the Messiah's human ancestry from them, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen." The NIV offers an equal translation for this verse as "Messiah God, who is over all, be forever praised!" The Messiah Jesus is God overall as a Holy Trinity person!

Jesus Pre-existence

In John 17.24, Jesus says, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see the glory you have given me because you loved me before the world's creation." The Expositor's Study Bible comments, "Jesus proclaims his pre-existence with the Father and therefore his deity." Note this last phrase where Jesus claims to be loved and exists and is present before the creation! The Holy Spirit hovers over the waters, and Jesus, according to the Epistles, stands in the background. The Father loves Jesus, who is present before the creation as one of the Holy Trinity members! Saint Paul later writes of Jesus in Ephesians 1.4, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he (Jesus) chose us in him before the world's creation to be holy and blameless in his sight." Jesus picked out his disciples before the Universe's Creation! An astonishing truth to contemplate! The Holy Trinity names are often misunderstood, sometimes with amusing consequences. The little book, "Bishop's Brew," tells of a Vicar's small daughter. She buried a dead bird in the garden. Very piously, the child announced, "In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and into the hole he goes. Amen!"

"Holy Trinity Persons"
by Ron Meacock

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