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God Is A Trinity
(Foundations Of The Brethren Doctrinal Stand)

Dr. Johnson C. Philip & Dr. Saneesh Cherian

The doctrine of Trinity states that "We believe in one God, who eternally exists in three persons". While human logic often defies an understanding of this doctrine at a human level, this is one doctrine that is strongly believed by all the major streams of Christianity, including the Protestant, the Roman Catholic, and the Eastern Orthodox.

 

Of course, every Christian knows about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are three distinct persons,  yet  God is one. The Godhood of the Father is a theme found throughout the Bible. For example, "Work not for the food which perisheth, but for the food which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you: for him the Father, even God, hath sealed" (John 6:27). Godhood of Lord Jesus Christ is also mention in numerous places including John 1:1,  Romans 9:5 and 1 John 5:20.

 

Coming to Holy Spirit, many people think of Him only as a power, but as we study the Bible carefully, it becomes obvious that all the attributes of God are ascribed to the Holy Spirit also. Eternity: Hebrews 9:14,  Omniscience: 1 Corinthians 2:10,  Omnipresence: Psalm 139:7,  Holiness: all passages that apply the term "holy" to the Spirit,  Truth: John 16:13,  Love: Romans 15:30. Thus it is obvious that the Holy Spirit is a person co equal with the Father and the Son.

 

While each person is spoken of as  God, this does not mean that there are three Gods. On the contrary, God is one as we read in 1Timothy 2:5 that "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus". Thus the right doctrine of God should take these two factors into account -- that God is one but also that He is spoken of as three co equal and co eternal persons. This is reconciled into a unified vision when we say that we believe in one God who eternally exists in three persons in such a manner that it is not three Gods but rather three persons but one God.

 

The doctrine of Trinity has given difficulty to many who have tried to understand the three in one and one in three concept of the Bible. This difficulty arises when humans try to understand Trinity using strictly human logic. Most of them overlook the fact that  when the finite man tries to understand the infinite God, difficulties are bound to arise. More so if he tries to understand the divine in terms of human logic, concepts, and terminology. Thus Trinity is something to be believed, based upon what the Bible says. It is not something to be explained using human logic.

 

Deliberate insistence upon human logic is the reason why  many erroneous teachings have come up about Trinity.  There are many groups that deny the divinity of Jesus, and accept only the Father as God. There is a cult known as Jesus only that says that there is only one person -- Jesus -- and that Father and Holy Spirit are the different form of Lord Jesus. These people develop these deviations when they ignore a large number of statements that are scattered all over the Bible about all the three persons in the Godhead.

 

This is not to imply that we should not try to understand or explain Trinity. On the contrary, one can definitely try to understand Trinity as much as a good analysis of the Bible can help oneself. The restriction comes when when are unable to understand a given point. At that juncture we should choose to believe what the Scripture says, instead of substituting a wrong or distorted human message.

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