The Trinity is the first major presupposition in the Christian worldview because it describes the plural personhood of our one God and Creator. From the very beginning we see the Trinity in Genesis 1:26-27, “26 Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
- RENEW YOUR MIND: Romans 12:1-2, “1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
- DEFEND THE GOSPEL: 1 Peter 3:15-16, “15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer (apologia) to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
- DEMOLISH DEMONIC STRONGHOLDS: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
- WORLDVIEW: How you see the world and give an explanation for everything you believe.
- A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW: Seeing the world through the lens of God and His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- Axiom: God exists and has revealed the Bible (sixty-six books) as the foundation for all truth and knowledge.
- Presuppositions: The Word of God gives the following six categories of knowledge; “God, creation, humanity, Jesus, salvation, and judgment.”
- Propositions: All implications derived from good biblical exegesis and deductive logic.
- Best Guesses: All claims based in induction; the scientific method and experience.
- EXAMPLE OF USING THE BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW IN REGARDS TO HOMOSEXUALITY: “Since God’s Word is my foundation (axiom) for all truth and knowledge I presuppose that God has an order for sexuality and make the proposition that it’s a sin and people who act in such a way will perish based on 1 Timothy 1:8-11.
Check our Presuppositional Apologetics Class for more information.
THE BASICS OF THE TRINITY
Matthew 28:19-20, “19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The word “trinity” is a term Christians made to describe the three divine persons of God’s nature. Tertullian was the first church theologian to use the word trinity around 200 A.D. (approximately 100 years after the death of the last Apostle; John). The trinity is not so much a what, as it is a “who,” and the who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The term itself means, “tri-unity or three-in-one.” Some cults like Jehovah Witnesses and Oneness Pentecostals, along with false religions like Islam have tried to claim that the concept of the trinity was taken from the pagan religions that worshipped three gods in the form of a “triad.” However, as one can clearly see in the verse above Jesus Himself taught the doctrine of the trinity because He knew it to be true.
Likewise, the Greeks who worshipped three main gods; Zeus, Athena and Apollo and the Hindus who worship a triad; Brahma, Vishnua and Sheva; consider their three gods to be separate and not “one being.” Christianity, based in Judaism, affirms one God revealed in three persons. Therefore, referring to the worship of a “triad” or “three separate gods” has nothing in common with the trinity. It is like comparing a “house” with a “mouse” because they sound the same.
The concept of the trinity was concealed in the Old Testament through the Jewish prophecies and experiences but the New Testament revealed the triune nature of God through the person of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Neither Jesus, nor His followers, would have ever believed or taught “polytheism” (many gods) because the Jews were strictly instructed to only serve one God, “monotheism” (Deuteronomy 6:4). At the same time, when Jews studied their Scriptures they were left with great mysteries surrounding God’s nature. God said He wouldn’t meet with people face-to-face (Exodus 33:20), yet Abraham and Moses saw God face-to-face (Genesis 18:22-23 & Exodus 33:11). God said He wasn’t a man, yet Isaiah prophesied that a child would be called, “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). And it was strictly forbidden to bow down and worship anyone other than God, yet, Daniel saw in a vision “one like the Son of Man” come to the Ancient of Days and receive worship from all of creation (Daniel 7:13-14).
Though false teachers may wrongfully slander the term trinity, it is taught in the Bible from beginning to end. I would encourage you to read the Bible and see for yourself the following three foundations concerning God’s nature as taught by Dr. James White;
- Foundation One: There is only one God worthy of worship who is all-knowing, all-powerful and ever-present (Isaiah 43:10).
- Foundation Two: Three divine persons claim to be God and act as one God- the Father, the Son (also known as the “Word” and “Jesus”) and the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14).
- Foundation Three: The three divine persons are equal in their nature as God because they share the same “name” (Matthew 28:19).
The prophet Isaiah said, “With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him?” (Isaiah 48:10) Don’t fall for the ole’ tricks of the devil and think that if you cannot fully comprehend the Trinity or see examples of it in nature then it must be mythological or pagan. God is God and we are not, period. Come to the Holy Scriptures with a humble heart and let the Word of God expand your mind!
WHAT THE TRINITY IS & WHAT IT IS NOT
SHARED QUALITIES IN THE TRINITY
(1) EACH PERSON IS CALLED “GOD”: All three Persons are called God.
- God the Father: Philippians 1:2, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father.”
- God the Son: Titus 2:13, “While we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
- God the Holy Spirit: Acts 5:3, “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’”
(2) GOD IS PRESENT EVERYWHERE: Each member of the Trinity is said to be omnipresent, or everywhere present.
- God The Father: Jeremiah 23:24, “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them says the LORD? Do I not fill heaven and earth says the LORD?”
- God The Son: Matthew 28:20, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- God The Holy Spirit: Psalm 139:7, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”
(3) GOD IS ALL-KNOWING: All knowledge is attributed to the Trinity; omniscience.
- God The Father: Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out.”
- God The Son: John 21:17, “He [Peter] said [to Jesus], “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
- God The Holy Spirit: John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
(4) GOD IS ALL-POWERFUL: The members of the Trinity are all-powerful; omnipotent.
- God The Father: Jeremiah 32:37, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for me?”
- God The Son: Matthew 28:18, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.'”
- God The Holy Spirit: Romans 15:19, “In the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”
(5) GOD IS ETERNAL: All three members of the Trinity are eternal.
- God The Father: Psalm 90:2, “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
- God The Son: John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
- God The Holy Spirit: Hebrews 9:14, “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.”
(6) GOD THE CREATOR: All three Persons are described as being the Creator.
- God the Father: Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.”
- God the Son: Colossians 1:15-17, “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
- God the Holy Spirit: Job 33:4, “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
Sources & Resources:
- Sources for the above points are here & here.
- Popular objections to the Trinity answered here and here.
- The doctrine of the Trinity with the church fathers here and here.
THE ATHANASIAN CREED
Whoever desires to be saved should above all hold to the catholic faith.
Anyone who does not keep it whole and unbroken will doubtless perish eternally.
Now this is the universal faith:
That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,
neither blending their persons
nor dividing their essence.
For the person of the Father is a distinct person,
the person of the Son is another,
and that of the Holy Spirit still another.
But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,
their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.
What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.
The Father is uncreated,
the Son is uncreated,
the Holy Spirit is uncreated.
The Father is immeasurable,
the Son is immeasurable,
the Holy Spirit is immeasurable.
The Father is eternal,
the Son is eternal,
the Holy Spirit is eternal.
And yet there are not three eternal beings;
there is but one eternal being.
So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings;
there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.
Similarly, the Father is almighty,
the Son is almighty,
the Holy Spirit is almighty.
Yet there are not three almighty beings;
there is but one almighty being.
Thus the Father is God,
the Son is God,
the Holy Spirit is God.
Yet there are not three gods;
there is but one God.
Thus the Father is Lord,
the Son is Lord,
the Holy Spirit is Lord.
Yet there are not three lords;
there is but one Lord.
Just as Christian truth compels us
to confess each person individually
as both God and Lord,
so catholic religion forbids us
to say that there are three gods or lords.
The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten from anyone.
The Son was neither made nor created;
he was begotten from the Father alone.
The Holy Spirit was neither made nor created nor begotten;
he proceeds from the Father and the Son.
Accordingly there is one Father, not three fathers;
there is one Son, not three sons;
there is one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.
Nothing in this trinity is before or after,
nothing is greater or smaller;
in their entirety the three persons
are coeternal and coequal with each other.
So in everything, as was said earlier,
we must worship their trinity in their unity
and their unity in their trinity.
Anyone then who desires to be saved
should think thus about the trinity.
But it is necessary for eternal salvation
that one also believe in the incarnation
of our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully.
Now this is the true faith:
That we believe and confess
that our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son,
is both God and human, equally.
He is God from the essence of the Father,
begotten before time;
and he is human from the essence of his mother,
born in time;
completely God, completely human,
with a rational soul and human flesh;
equal to the Father as regards divinity,
less than the Father as regards humanity.
Although he is God and human,
yet Christ is not two, but one.
He is one, however,
not by his divinity being turned into flesh,
but by God’s taking humanity to himself.
He is one,
certainly not by the blending of his essence,
but by the unity of his person.
For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh,
so too the one Christ is both God and human.
He suffered for our salvation;
he descended to hell;
he arose from the dead;
he ascended to heaven;
he is seated at the Father’s right hand;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
At his coming all people will arise bodily
and give an accounting of their own deeds.
Those who have done good will enter eternal life,
and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.
This is the universal faith:
one cannot be saved without believing it firmly and faithfully.
Humanity was meant to experience divinity in the Trinity (2 Peter 1:4).