The doctrine of the Trinity is:
- There is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 43:10 ,and 1 Corinthians 8:4, Galatians 3:20, and 1 Timothy 2:5)
- God exists in the form of three distinct and co-equal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Isaiah 6:8, Isaiah 48:16, Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 28:19, Romans 15:30, 2 Corinthians 13:14, and Galatians 4:6)
- The Father is fully God (John 6:27, Romans 1:7, and 1 Peter 1:2)
- The Son is fully God (John 1:1, Colossians 1:19, Colossians 2:9, Titus 2:13, and 2 Peter 1:1)
- The Holy Spirit is fully God (Genesis 1:2, Psalm 106:32-33, Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 2:11, and 1 Corinthians 3:16)
Does that mean that God has three different forms, kind of like water (ice, liquid, vapor)?
No, God exists simultaneously in all three persons (Matthew 3:16-17). The heresy of modalism teaches that God cannot exist in multiple persons simultaneously, but must instead switch between forms. However, the Bible teaches that the different persons of the Trinity communicate with each other (Genesis 1:26, Luke 10:21, and Luke 20:41-44) and that they have a hierarchy (John 12:49 and Romans 8:27). In addition, Jesus referred to the Father as a separate witness: “‘In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.'” (John 8:17-18) These verses would not make any sense if modalism were true.
The word Trinity isn’t found in the Bible
It’s true that the Bible doesn’t mention the word Trinity, and that’s because it is a term that Christians have created to refer to the concept that is very clearly taught throughout the entire Bible. Even in the very first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, the plural noun Elohim is used to refer to God in Hebrew while the singular verb bârâ is used to refer to His action of creating the heavens and the earth. In 1 Kings 18:33-34, why does the prophet Elijah tell the people to pour water upon the altar three times? This action was a symbol of baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Isaiah 6:3 (cf Revelation 4:8), why did the angels refer to God as “Holy, holy, holy” instead of just saying it once? The angels were worshipping the holiness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
In any case, just because a word doesn’t appear in the Bible doesn’t mean its concept isn’t taught. For example, the Bible doesn’t use the term omniscient to describe God either, but that characteristic of God is clearly displayed throughout the Bible.
The Old Testament doesn’t mention the Holy Spirit or Jesus
It’s true that the names Holy Spirit and Jesus aren’t mentioned in the Old Testament, and that’s because God has chosen to reveal the mysteries of Christianity through progressive revelation. However, now that God’s written word has been fully revealed to us, we can use what we learn in the New Testament to see where the Holy Spirit and Jesus appear in the Old Testament.
Typically the Holy Spirit was referred to as the Spirit of God in the Old Testament, for example: Exodus 31:3, Numbers 24:2, 1 Samuel 10:10, 1 Chronicles 12:18, Nehemiah 9:30, Psalm 51:11, Isaiah 59:21, Isaiah 63:10-14, and Ezekiel 36:27. Jesus was typically referred to as the angel of the Lord, for example: Genesis 16:11-14, Genesis 32:24-30, Exodus 3:2-4, Numbers 22:22-23, Judges 6:22, Judges 13:18-22, 1 Kings 19:7, 1 Chronicles 21:16, and Psalm 34:7.
These are some additional examples of the way the New Testament sheds light on Jesus’ appearance in the Old Testament: Genesis 28:12 (cf John 1:51), Psalm 110:1 (cf Luke 20:41-44), Psalm 118:22 (cf Matthew 21:42-44), Daniel 7:13 (cf Matthew 26:64), Daniel 10:5-6 (cf Revelation 1:13-16), and Zechariah 1:8-11 (cf Revelation 6:2).
The concept of the Trinity is too hard to understand
One of the things that makes the Trinity so difficult to understand is that we do not have anything else to compare it to. We already examined how comparing God to the different states of water leads to the heresy of modalism. Some people try to compare the different persons of the Trinity to the different parts of an egg, but a part of an egg (yolk, white, and shell) is not the same as the entire egg whereas each member of the Trinity is fully God. Comparisons to the leaves of a clover fail in a similar way.
Some have even tried to use the novel “Flatland” to explain why humans, who are restricted to a three-dimensional existence, cannot fully comprehend an infinite God that transcends all dimensions. For example, a two-dimensional being could only comprehend length and width, but not depth/height. Therefore, if a three-dimensional human tried to interact with a two-dimensional being by reaching three fingers into a flat piece of paper, the two-dimensional being would not be able to perceive three fingers, but only three circles. The two-dimensional being has no way to see that these three circles extend beyond his own flat dimension into the shape of fingers.
Because we are finite humans, we cannot expect to ever fully comprehend an infinite God. Therefore, the concept of the Holy Trinity is one of several conundrums in Christianity such as the hypostatic union describing how Jesus was fully God and fully human at the same time. However, if we do not have a proper understanding of what the Bible teaches on the Trinity, then we are worshipping a false idol and we cannot enter Heaven (Matthew 12:31-32 and 1 John 2:22-24).
The Triune God is superior to a solitary god like Allah
According to Dr. Michael Reeves, author of “Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith”, the fact that the God of the Bible is a triune God makes Him infinitely more appealing than a solitary god like Allah.
- Which God would be better at loving us: the God who has always loved the other persons of the Trinity in eternity past (John 17:24) or a solitary god who never had anyone to love or to love Him for all of eternity?
- Which God would be better able to have a relationship with us: the God who has always had fellowship with the other persons of the Trinity (John 1:18 and John 17:21) or a solitary god who has never had a relationship for all of eternity?
- Which God would be more likely to give undeserving sinners the free gift of salvation: the God who shares with the other persons of the Trinity (John 17:10) or a solitary god who has never had to share anything at all?
- Which God would desire a relationship with us or even bother creating a universe at all: the Father who is so overflowing with love (1 John 4:8) that he wanted to present the Church as a gift to the Son (John 17:24, Ephesians 5:27, and Revelation 21:2) or a solitary god who has never had a way to express love, fellowship, and generosity?