|THE NATURE OF THE TRINITY
The Nature of the “Trinity”
James C. Guy
When one tries to understand the nature of what is often referred to as the “Godhead” or the “trinity,” he can easily come away with more questions than answers. Perhaps this is primarily due to the fact that we, as humans, cannot see God (John 1:18). Nor can we truly understand Him and His ways apart from what is revealed (Job 11:7; Romans 11:33). Even then, we must process it in our human minds which is limited and subject to error from the start. So, how can we understand the nature of God and how He is made up of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? We can’t, but we can try.
Some make a distinction between “God” and the “Godhead.” God is often used to refer to any one “being” of God, usually to the Father, while “Godhead” is used to refer to the whole of God (also called the “trinity”). However, if we study the term “Godhead” from the scriptures and in light of the word’s original Greek meaning, we may find that man has attributed certain definitions to the idea that the Holy Spirit and original writers of the New Testament did not intend to portray.
The word “Godhead” as found in the scriptures means - ‘Godlike, of a Godly nature’ or, it can refer to 'divinity' as a whole (still the idea of the nature / Godly nature). That's how Paul used it in Acts 17:29. He was saying, “don't think of the ‘nature of God’ (Godhead) as being made from physical materials or something man-made.
In Romans 1:20 a slightly different form of the word is used which generally means ‘divinity.’ Paul here is saying, “You should have known God was divine (Godhead), so you have no excuse.” He was not speaking of the trinity per se here (except that ‘God’ refers to ALL of God) but he was referring to God as a whole being divine.
In Colossians 2:9 it is interesting to note that the passage is talking of Jesus having the “fullness of the Godhead” or “fulness of the divinity of God”. He possessed the FULNESS of the nature of God. He is entirely divine (John 1:1-3,14).
Perhaps a good way to describe the nature of God when referring to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit individually is to say that each is “entirely God, but not God in His entirety”. Should we refer to them individually as “parts” of God as “beings” of God, or simply as “God?” That is the tough question. It is tough because we can’t fully understand the nature of God. It is also sometimes tough because of errors we have heard in the past that, taken to their logical conclusions, ultimately deny the deity of Jesus or of God as a whole.
We know that regardless of how we describe Him, God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4), but that there are also separate “beings” or “entities” of God known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We know this because we see each working in different areas of carrying out the united will of God as a whole. For example, the Father did not die on the cross, only the Son. Jesus, while on this Earth, prayed to the Father who was in Heaven (Matthew 6:9; 26:39), yet He died as God in the flesh, or “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
Romans 5:5-6 illustrates this further: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” God loved, the Holy Spirit poured, and Christ died all in the same act. Yet, only the Son (Christ) actually died.
Consider the three “parts” of an egg: yolk, white, and shell. If a cake recipe calls for egg whites, and someone asks, “does this cake contain egg?” it is proper to respond with a “yes” because the cakes does in fact have egg in the recipe. It does not have the whole of the egg, but it has egg. The whole of God is not present in the separate entities of God, yet they are all God. We serve only one God because there is only one God. Mathematically, it may be described as: 1+1+1=1. When each does their work, they do the work of God. Individually, they are “entirely God, but not God in His entirety.”
So, as we worship and serve the Almighty God, keep in mind who that God is. We do not worship only the Father, but we worship God. The Holy Spirit is not simply the “mind” or “thoughts” of God, but He is a real being and entity of God. Jesus can be worshiped and even prayed to, not only because of examples in the scriptures (Acts 7:59; 1:21-25; et. al.), but also because He is God. God hasn’t revealed all things about Himself to us, but He HAS given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3). He has given us all we need to know to serve Him in our lives (II Timothy 3:16-17). Though we can’t fully understand all there is to know about God, we can know God enough to believe in Him and serve Him.
Why not give your life to the God who created you (Genesis 1:1), who planned for your salvation even before you were created (Ephesians 1:4), who died to effect that salvation (Romans 5:8), and who guides, teaches, directs, and keeps you though His Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16; 9:1; I Corinthians 2:10-13; Ephesians 1:13-14).
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