UNDERSTANDING THE TRINITY

Chinese Translations: GB Big5

What is the relationship between God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit?

On one hand the scripture declare Jesus to be God.

He is spoken of as have created all things, and therefore preexisted mankind. Furthermore notice Isaiah 48:12  "Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last." But Jesus says this of himself in Revelation 2:8 "These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again." As well as in Rev 1:17 and Rev 22:13 But the context of Isaiah indicates that God is speaking.

Yet on the other hand, Jesus himself clearly implies that he is not God, whom he calls Father. For when he prays, who is he praying to? In fact at one point, his will conflicted with that of his Father.

How can we resolve this apparent contradiction?

And what of the Holy Spirit? For he is distinct from the Father and the Son.

Yet our attitude towards him will affect our eternal destiny. He is spoken of, not as an impersonal force, but as an individual. For example, the Holy Spirit spoke in the Old Testament. So how can we understand the relationship between God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in such a way that it resolves the apparent contradictions?


God is like the sun in the sky. It is separate from the earth by a vast distance, just as God is separate from his creation. He is far away in heaven. But what we call the sun in the sky is not really the sun, but we see the light that comes from the sun and we call that light the sun. Jesus is as the light that comes from God.

And as light proceeds forth from that ball in space, so Jesus proceeds forth from the Father.
"I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me." John 8:42
Is the light that comes from part of the sun? It depends on how you define the sun. The object in space is like God the Father. The light that comes from that object may be considered part of that object. For even those who don't accept that the light that comes from the sun is part of the sun, will nonetheless look up in the sky and say, "There's the sun.", referring to the light that comes from the sun as if it were the sun. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant in John 14:9 And how do we get to God? I once heard a rumor that NASA scientist had proposed to send a mission to the sun. In response to the question as to how they would deal with the intense heat, they replied, "We'll travel at night!"

You cannot get to God unless you follow the light, as Jesus says,

And what of the Holy Spirit? He is like the heat that comes from the sun. So even in darkness, for those who don't have the light of Christ, the Holy Spirit is yet at work. He is what we can experience about God. And though God is far away in heaven, separate from His creation, yet He is itimately integrated into it in the Holy Spirit as Paul says, And as heat also proceeds from that ball in space so the Holy Spirit also proceeds from the Father.
"... the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father ..." John 15:26
As we have three parts - soul, body and spirit - and yet we are one, so also God has three parts - the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and yet all are one. Yet the body is not the soul, nor is it the spirit. These are distinct, and yet both distinctly and collectively we can speak of these as being what we are.


MODALISM

This illustration of the trinity is different than "modalism", which illustrates the trinity something like the three forms (modes) of water - steam, water, ice. This I believe is incorrect. For the Father didn't become Jesus at one point in time, for who was Jesus talking to when he prayed? And Jesus didn't go on to become the Holy Spirit. Rather the scriptures treat these three as distinct individuals and not as different forms of the same individual. Nor does the modalism idea reflect the proper relationships between members of the trinity. For example Jesus is subordinate to the Father. See Jesus' Subordination.


THE CHRISTIAN

To complete this illustration, where would the Christian fit it? The Christian is like the moon. Dead rock having no light of its own, but reflecting the light of Christ to a world in darkness. For those who don't know Christ live in darkness. Yet even when they are in the light, those who are spiritually blind cannot see the light. For them, the Holy Spirit is the only hope to convict them of sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come.


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
Jul 29,2015