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What does the Old Testament say of the Trinity?

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Saved, Sin, Trinity on June 3, 2010 at 8:37 am

2nd in a Series

What does the Old Testament say of the Trinity?

The last exegete involved Genesis 1:1-3 and moving to the next reference verses 26-27. This subject has been discussed many times and I don’t know that I can add more than has been already expounded. In keeping with the concept of exegesis we start with the Word.

(Gen 1:26 HCSB)  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the animals, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

(Gen 1:27 HCSB)  So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.

The Amplified Bible clarifies this even more:

(Gen 1:26 AMP)  God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. [Ps. 104:30; Heb. 1:2; 11:3.]

(Gen 1:27 AMP)  So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. [Col. 3:9, 10; James 3:8, 9.]

Beginning in verse 26 the language is unmistakably plural in nature. Here we evidently enter upon a higher scale of being. This is indicated by the counsel or common resolve to create, which is now for the first time introduced into the narrative. When the Creator says, “Let us make man,” he calls attention to the work as one of pre-eminent importance. At the same time he sets it before himself as a thing undertaken with deliberate purpose. Moreover, in the former mandates of creation his words had regard to the thing itself that was summoned into being; as, “Let there be light;” or to some preexistent object that was physically connected with the new creature; as, “Let the land bring forth grass.” But now the language of the fiat of creation ascends to the Creator himself: Let us make man. This intimates that the new being in its higher nature is associated not so much with any part of creation as with the Eternal Uncreated himself.

The plural form of the sentence raises the question, With whom took he counsel on this occasion? Was it with himself, and does he here simply use the plural of majesty? Such was not the usual style of monarchs in the ancient East. Pharaoh says, “I have dreamed a dream” Gen_41:15. Nebuchadnezzar, “I have dreamed” Dan_2:3. Darius the Mede, “I make a decree” Dan_6:26. Cyrus, “The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth” Ezr_1:2. Darius, “I make a decree” Ezr_5:8. We have no ground, therefore, for transferring it to the style of the heavenly King. Was it with certain other intelligent beings in existence before man that he took counsel? This supposition cannot be admitted; because the expression “let us make” is an invitation to create, which is an incommunicable attribute of the Eternal One, and because the phrases, “our image, our likeness,” when transferred into the third person of narrative, become “his image, the image of God,” and thus limit the pronouns to God himself. Does the plurality, then, point to a plurality of attributes in the divine nature? This cannot be, because a plurality of qualities exists in everything, without at all leading to the application of the plural number to the individual, and because such a plurality does not warrant the expression, “let us make.” Only a plurality of persons can justify the phrase. Hence, we are forced to conclude that the plural pronoun indicates a plurality of persons or hypostases in the Divine Being.

There are those who try to disavow the direct meaning, us means us (plural) some say the words are directed at the earth, out of which man was made, as consulting with it, and assisting with the formation of man. Some Jewish writers like Moses Gerundensis have purported this to be the meaning. Then the Targum of Jonathon, Jarchi, and others claim this was directed to the angels who are not of God’s privy council, nor where they concerned in any part with creation much less the more noble part, the creation of man. Nor are the words spoken after the manner of kings, as Saadiah, using the plural number as expressive of honor and majesty; since such a way of speaking did not begin till the close of the Old Testament: but they are spoken by God the Father to the Son and Holy Ghost, who were each of them concerned in the creation of all things, and particularly of man: hence we read of divine Creators and Makers in the plural number, Job_35:10 and Philo the Jew acknowledges that these words declare a plurality, and are expressive of others, being co-workers with God in creation (g): and man being the principal part of the creation, and for the sake of whom the world, and all things in it were made, and which being finished, he is introduced into it as into an house ready prepared and furnished for him; a consultation is held among the divine Persons about the formation of him; not because of any difficulty creating it, but as expressive of his honor and dignity; it being proposed he should be made not in the likeness of any of the creatures already made, but as near as could be in the likeness and image of God.

Quoting Tikkune Zohar: The Jews sometimes say, that Adam and Eve were created in the likeness of the holy blessed God, and his Shechinah (h); and they also speak (i) of Adam Kadmon the ancient Adam, as the cause of causes, of whom it is said, “I was as one brought up with him (or an artificer with him), Pro_8:30 and to this ancient Adam he said, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness”: and again, “let us make man”; to whom did he say this? the cause of causes said to “`jod’, he, `vau’, he”; that is, to Jehovah, which is in the midst of the ten numerations. What are the ten numerations? “`aleph’, he, `jod’, he”, that is, אהיה, “I am that I am, Exo_3:14 and he that says let us make, is Jehovah; I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God: and three jods ייי testify concerning him, that there is none above him, nor any below him, but he is in the middle:

and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air; that is, to catch them, and eat them; though in the after grant of food to man, no mention as yet is made of any other meat than the herbs and fruits of the earth; yet what can this dominion over fish and fowl signify, unless it be a power to feed upon them? It may be observed, that the plural number is used, “let them”, which shows that the name “man” is general in the preceding clause, and includes male and female, as we find by the following verse man was created:

and over the cattle, and over all the earth; over the tame creatures, either for food, or clothing, or carriage, or for all of them, some of them for one thing, and some for another; and over all the wild beasts of the earth, which seem to be meant by the phrase, “over all the earth”; that is, over all the beasts of the earth, as appears by comparing it with Gen_1:24 so as to keep them in awe, and keep them off from doing them any damage:

and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; to make use of it as should seem convenient for them.

(h) Tikkune Zohar, correct. 64. fol. 98. 2. (i) Ibid. correct. 70. fol. 119. 1.

Quoting Irenaeus born during the first half of the 2nd century (the exact date is disputed: between the years 115 and 125 according to some, or 130 and 142 according to others), Irenaeus is thought to have been a Greek from Polycarp’s hometown of Smyrna in Asia Minor. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was raised in a Christian family rather than converting as an adult. Alluding to Genesis 1:26 Irenaeus is asserting creation ex nihilo, and states that God stood in need of no angel to help him, “as if he did not possess his own hands, for with him were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, he made all things. To whom also he speaks, saying “let us make man in Our image and likeness.” The Son and the Spirit are both coeternal with the Father, and one with him, for they share in what is exclusively a work of God. So, “the Father plans and gives commands, the Son performs and creates, while the Spirit nourishes and increases.” Another way of stating this is the Father decrees, the Son enacts, the Spirit confirms. The basis for understanding the working of a triune God “Difference in function does not indicate inferiority of nature.”

The image and likeness of man must necessarily be intellectual; his mind, his soul, must have been formed after the nature and perfections of his God. The human mind is still endowed with most extraordinary capacities; it was more so when issuing out of the hands of its Creator. God was now producing a spirit, and a spirit, too, formed after the perfections of his own nature. God is the fountain from which this spirit issued, hence the stream must resemble the spring which produced it. God is holy, just, wise, good, and perfect; so must the soul be that sprang from him: there could be in it nothing impure, unjust, ignorant, evil, low, base, mean, or vile. It was created after the image of God; and that image, Paul tells us, consisted in righteousness, true holiness, and knowledge, Eph_4:24 Col_3:10. So man was wise in his mind, holy in his heart, and righteous in his actions. Were even the word of God silent on this subject, we could not infer less from the lights held out to us by reason and common sense. The text tells us he was the work of Elohim, the Divine Plurality, marked here more distinctly by the plural pronouns Us and Our; and to show that he was the masterpiece of God’s creation, all the persons in the Godhead are represented as united in counsel and effort to produce this astonishing creature.

Gregory Nyssen has very properly observed that the superiority of man to all other parts of creation is seen in this, that all other creatures are represented as the effect of God’s word, but man is represented as the work of God, according to plan and consideration: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

There are those who oppose the triad concept and its expression of the 3 person distinctive of the 1 being that is God. My question is what else could provide an explanation, for the Messiah, The Son of God that was born thousands of years later in Bethlehem? Jesus was 100 percent man because of the Virgin Mary and 100 percent God because the 3rd person of the Godhead the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and the 2nd person of the Godhead gave up His glory for this inglorious body.


  1. episkiazo (G1982), “to throw a shadow upon” (epi, “over,” skia, “a shadow”), “to overshadow,” is used (a) of the bright cloud at the Transfiguration, Mat_17:5; Mar_9:7; Luk_9:34; (b) metaphorically of the power of “the Most High” upon the Virgin Mary, Luk_1:35; (c) of the apostle Peter’s shadow upon the sick, Act_5:15.

There are some that suggest the pre-incarnate Christ needed a “spiritual mother” or they intentionally confuse the language to avoid the correct meaning of “us” in verse 26. If we understand the concept of Jesus dual nature, God’s ability to create ex nihilo, the Holy Spirit raising Jesus from the dead why do we paint God into our expression of His revelation instead of letting God express who He is and how He exists the 1 being that is God expressed in the 3 persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit? If we include the angels as part of creation we presuppose God needed help or worse He was lonely and needed us! This presents a lower view of God than written about in His word and elevates mans sovereignty above his status.

Some have tried to use 1 Kings 22:19-22 to illustrate God addressing the Heavenly host for their guidance and opinions. This is better seen in context, God is not the author of evil so let’s review the scripture.

(1Ki 22:19 ESV)  And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD:

Since he had represented what he had said as proceeding from hatred to him, he would make it clear and plain that what he had said was the word of the Lord, and according to his mind; and that what the other prophets had said was owing to a lying spirit in them, which the Lord suffered for his ruin; all which are represented as in a vision, in which things are brought down to the capacities of men, and not as really transacted:

I saw the LORD sitting on his throne,

so it was represented to his mind, as if he had seen with his bodily eyes the divine Being in a glorious form, as a king sitting on his throne, to do justice and judgment; as Ahab and Jehoshaphat were now sitting on their thrones, only as a far greater King, even the King of kings, and in a more splendid manner:

and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left;

the ministering angels ready to do his will.

(1Ki 22:20 ESV)  and the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’

Not that it can be supposed that the Lord entered into a consultation with the angels upon this subject; only that it was the decree of God that he should go thither, and fall by the hand of the man whom he had let go, as a just punishment of him:

And one said one thing, and another said another.

not that there was such an altercation among them; it only signifies, that there are various ways and means, by which the purposes and decrees of God may be and are brought about.

(1Ki 22:21 ESV)  Then a spirit came forward

Not from the heavenly host on the right hand or the left, for they are pure and holy spirits, and impeccable, and cannot lie or deceive; but the evil spirit, Satan, the father of lies, the old deceiver, who came forth from his own place and his own company:

and stood before the LORD

presented himself before him, as Satan did, Job_1:6,

, saying, ‘I will entice him.’

Or prevail upon him; evil spirits love to be employed in doing harm to men, they go about seeking whom they may devour. This could not be the spirit of Naboth, as the Jews say (q), seeking revenge on Ahab; that was in a state of happiness, could not move from thence, and be capable of sinning.

(q) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 89. 1. & 102. 2. Targum in 2 Chron. xviii. 20.

(1Ki 22:22 ESV)  And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’

What way and method did he propose, to persuade Ahab to go up to Ramoth? the Lord is introduced in this visionary narrative as asking this question, not as ignorant of the scheme of the evil spirit, but in order to bring it out, and lead on to the following account:

And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’

put them on encouraging Ahab to go up, and promising him success, as he had in former battles with the king of Syria, and which might both encourage them to give forth such a prediction, and him to believe it to be true; this proposal was quite agreeable to the character of the devil, as the father of lies:

And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed;

not only make use of this artifice to persuade, but succeed also; the Lord knew that what he should suggest to the prophets, and they should deliver to Ahab, would be agreeable to his inclination, nor would he do anything in the course of his providence to hinder its taking effect:

go out and do so.’

which was giving leave to try his skill in the art of persuasion, in which he knew he would succeed, and bring on the righteous judgment of God upon Ahab; with this compare Joh_13:27.

Using the following verses as support for God seeking opinions and guidance we are left with a very nasty situation, God becomes indecisive, and the author of evil by allowing one of His Host to commit evil. Nowhere in Scripture do we see God the Father acting less than sovereign in dealing with any of His creation, yet here many imply He seeks humility, and acts in a reverent way towards the Host? We are given glimpses of the Heavenly court and every indication it is the other way around, just being in His presence is an honor, worthy of praise and worship. The majesty of the throne demands respect, not the infinite creator God giving respect and demands worship. Worship can only be given and received by the One worthy otherwise we have idolatry. Only the enemy wishes us harm, seeking to humble God and would do anything to achieve that end.

Another explanation for Genesis 1:26 is God counseled with himself seeking His own will. This is based loosely on Ephesians 1:11 and the working out of His sovereign decree. The first error in any study of the Bible is to take 1 verse alone and make a dogmatic stand. That is not to say that just because it’s mentioned once it’s not important, but scripture interprets and supports scripture. A closer look at Ephesians 1 reveals the context and genre of verse 11. Starting with the greeting and salutation we see God’s divine will, His decree and how he brings it about in a triadic fashion.

(Eph 1:1-3 ESV)  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,…. God, the first person in the Trinity, is the God of Christ, as Christ is man and Mediator; he chose and appointed him to be the Mediator, and made a covenant with him as such; he formed and prepared an human nature for him, and anointed it with the Holy Ghost above measure, and supported it under all his trials and sufferings, and at last glorified it: and Christ, as man, prayed to him as his God, believed, hoped, and trusted in him as such, and loved him as in such a relation to him, and cheerfully obeyed his commands. And the same is the Father of Christ, as Christ is God; as such he is the Son of God; not by creation, as angels and Adam, nor by adoption, as saints, but by natural generation; he being the only begotten of the Father, his own proper Son, of the same nature and perfections with him, and equal to him. Now to “bless” God is neither to invoke nor confer a blessing on him; for there is none greater than he to be called upon; nor does he need anything, nor can he receive anything from his creature; but it is either to congratulate his greatness and goodness, to ascribe blessing, glory, and honor to him, or to give thanks unto him, both for temporal and spiritual mercies. And the reasons why he is blessed, or praised by the saints as the God and Father of Christ, are; because these are his New Testament titles, under which he is more clearly made known, and in which he delights; and because he is their God and Father in Christ; nor can they come to him in any other way, but through him; and because it is through him that all their blessings come to them, and therefore all their praises must go this way, as follows:

who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: God is the author and giver of all blessings; and he blesses his people with them, as he is the God and Father of Christ, and as he is their covenant God and Father in Christ; and he only can bless; if he blesses not, none can; and if he blesses, they are blessed indeed: the “us” that are blessed, are such who deserve, according to the tenor of the law, to be cursed; and are not all men, but some distinct from others; and who are before described as saints, and faithful in Christ Jesus; and include both Jews and Gentiles, who belong to the election of grace. And the blessings such are blessed with are spiritual, so called to distinguish them from temporal blessings. The Jews have the like distinction of טובות זמניות, “temporal blessings”, and טובות רוחניות, “spiritual blessings” (d); which latter are solid, substantial, and lasting blessings; and which concern the good of the soul or spirit of man; and are agreeable to, and desired by a spiritual man; and are applied by the Holy Spirit of God; and so the Ethiopic version renders it, “with every blessing of the Holy Spirit”: and which are very comprehensive, and take in all the fullness of grace in Christ; all the blessings and sure mercies of the everlasting covenant; all things pertaining to life and godliness, such as justification, peace, pardon, adoption, sanctification, and eternal life: and with these the saints are blessed “in heavenly” places; God that blesses them is in heaven, and so is Christ, in whom they are blessed; and the completion of their blessedness will be in heaven, where their hope is laid up, and their inheritance is reserved: and this phrase may denote the safety of them, being out of the reach of any enemy, sin, Satan, or the world, to deprive them of them, as well as the nature of them; for it may be read, “in heavenly things”, and so distinguishes these blessings from such as are of an earthly kind; and points at the original of them, being such as descend from above, come down from heaven; and also the tendency of them, which is to heaven; and being what give a right unto, and a suitableness for the kingdom of heaven: and these they are blessed with “in Christ”; as he is their head and representative, and as they are members in him, and partakers of him; through whom, and for whose sake, they are conveyed unto them, and who himself is the sum and substance of them. Agreeably to this way of speaking, the Targumist, Jonathan ben Uzziel, on Num_6:27 paraphrases the last clause thus, “I will bless them”, במימרי, “in my word”. The date of these blessings, “hath blessed us”, may respect either first conversion, when the discovery and application of the blessings of grace are made to God’s people; or the making of the covenant with Christ, their head, to whom all grace was then given, and to them in him, and their election was in Christ, as follows.

(d) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 79. 2.

Paul uses this style of greeting in all his letters, acknowledging a tri-unity of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If we put verses in context we see God’s decree unfolding through the actions of the Godhead and it allows God to act in time and space without violating logic, rationality or His nature. It would make no sense to pray or talk to himself, and describe such clear distinctions in the scriptures unless He is defining how He wants us to relate to Him.

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him … This choice cannot be understood of a national one, as Israel of old were chosen by the Lord; for the persons the apostle writes to were not a nation; nor does he address all the inhabitants of Ephesus, only the saints and faithful in Christ that resided there; nor are they all intended here, if any of them. However, not they only, since the apostle includes himself, and perhaps some others, who did not belong to that place, nor were of that country: nor does this choice regard them as a church; for though the saints at Ephesus were in a church state, yet the apostle does not write to them under that formal consideration, but as saints and faithful; nor are these persons said to be chosen to church privileges, but to grace and glory, to be holy and blameless: besides, from Eph_1:3, the apostle seems to speak of himself, and some others, who first trusted in Christ, as distinct from the believers at Ephesus, Eph_1:13, nor is this choice of persons to an office, for all that are here intended were not apostles, or pastors, or deacons: nor can it design the effectual calling, or the call of persons in time by efficacious grace; because this was before the foundation of the world, as follows: but it intends an eternal election of particular persons to everlasting life and salvation; and which is the first blessing of grace, and the foundation one, upon which all the rest proceed, and

according to which they are dispensed; for according to predestination are calling, justification, and glorification. The author of this choice is God, God the Father, who is distinguished from Christ, in whom this act is made; and it is according to his foreknowledge, and is an act of his grace, and is entirely sovereign: the objects of it, us, are not angels, but men, considered as unfallen with respect to the end, and as fallen with respect to the means; and these not all mankind: to choose, implies the contrary; and they that are chosen are distinguished from others, and are represented as few; nor do all men partake either of the means or end appointed in the decree of election; and yet some of all nations, Jews and Gentiles, are included in it; though none for any previous qualifications in them, as not for their good works, faith, holiness, or perseverance therein; for these are fruits and effects of election, and therefore cannot be causes or conditions of it: and this choice is made in Christ; and the persons chosen are chosen in him, and by being chosen they come to be in him; for this refers not to their openly being in him at conversion, as believers, but to their secretly being in him before time. Christ, as Mediator, is the object of election himself; and all the elect were chosen in him as their head, in whose hands their persons, grace, and glory are, and so are safe and secure in him: the Arabic version renders it, “by him”; not as the meritorious cause, for Christ’s merits are not the cause of election, though they are of redemption and salvation; but as the means, in order to the end: the Ethiopic version renders it, “to him”; to salvation by him, and to the obtaining of his glory; as if he and his benefits, being the end of this choice, were intended; which was made

before the foundation of the world: and that it was so early, is certain, from the love of God to his people, which this is the effect of, and which is an everlasting love; and from the covenant which was made with Christ from everlasting, on account of these chosen ones, when Christ was set up as the head and representative of them; and from the provision of all spiritual blessings for them in it, which proceeds according to this choice; and from the preparation of a kingdom for them from the foundation of the world; and from the nature of God’s decrees, which are eternal; for no new will, or act of will, can arise in God, or any decree be made by him, which was not from eternity: God’s foreknowledge is eternal, and so is his decree, and is no other than himself decreeing. The end of this choice follows,

that we should be holy, and without blame, before him in love; the objects of it are not chosen because they were holy, but that they might partake of the sanctification of the Spirit; that they might be sanctified by him here, and be perfectly holy hereafter; and be without fault and blame, both in this life, as instilled by the righteousness of Christ, and as washed in his blood; and in the life to come, being entirely freed from all sin, and without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; and appear so in the sight of Christ, who will present them to himself, and in the sight of his Father, to whom they will also be presented by him, even in the sight of divine justice: and this will be all “in love”, or “through love”, as the Syriac version renders it; or “through his love”, as the Arabic version; for the love of God is the source and spring of election itself, and of holiness and happiness, the end of it; and which is shed abroad in the hearts of God’s people now, and will be more fully comprehended and enjoyed in the other world; and which causes love again in them to him. A phrase somewhat like this is used by the Targumist on Ecc_11:6 where, speaking of a man’s children, he says;

“it is not known unto thee which of them אתבחר למהוי טב, “is chosen to be good”, this, or that, or both of them, to be alike good.”

Some copies put the stop at before him; and read the phrase, “in love”; in connection with the words following, thus, “in love”, or “by love hath predestinated us”; so the Syriac version.

Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace … The grace of God manifestly appears in the predestination of men to adoption; in that God had no need of sons, he having a dear and well beloved one; in whom he is well pleased; and in that those he adopts are so unworthy of the relation; and in that men, and not angels, should be taken by him into his family; and that some, and not others of the same race; and that this should be before the world was; and in providing Christ as a Redeemer, to open the way for the reception of this grace and happiness; and in appointing the grace of faith to be the receiver of it: and the glory of the grace of God appears herein; the glory of God is the supreme end of all he does; and the glory of his grace, and not his power, or other perfections of his, and the manifestative glory of that is here intended; yea, the “praise” of that glory: and this end is answered, when the children of God ascribe their adoption to the free grace of God; and when they admire it, and are thankful for it, and walk worthy of the relation they are brought into:

wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved; the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read, “his own beloved Son”, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the beloved of God the Father; and was so from everlasting, and will be so to everlasting; which has appeared by his nearness to him, lying in his bosom; by his being privy to all his counsels, purposes, and designs; in putting all things into his hands, and in showing him all that he does; and by his giving him honor and glory, as man and Mediator: and he is the beloved of the saints, for the transcendent excellencies that are in him, and for his love to them, and for what he has done for them, and is unto them; and in him is their acceptance: which is to be understood of the acceptance of their persons, as founded in the blood and righteousness of Christ, and so of their services in him; of God’s act of delight and complacency in them, as considered in Christ; who looks upon them, and is well pleased with them, and rests in his love towards them; which is an amazing instance of grace: it was grace that gave them a being in Christ, and which has provided in predestination everything to make them grateful to God; and the very act of acceptance is of mere grace; for internal grace, or grace infused, is not here meant, but the free favor of God: some read not “in which”, but “which” εχαριτωσεν, “he freely gave us in the beloved”; so the Alexandrian copy, and some others, and the Syriac and Arabic versions.

In light of the preceding scriptures verse 11 comes more into view when we see the Godhead revealed the idea of counsel limited to the Trinity and it makes complete sense. Within the Trinity are unity, diversity, community, and love.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance … Or a part and lot; that is, have obtained one in Christ, in his person, and in his fullness of grace, in the blessings and promises which are in him; or have obtained to be the Lord’s clergy, or heritage, to be his portion and inheritance; or rather to have an inheritance in him by lot, meaning the incorruptible and eternal inheritance of glory and happiness in heaven; to which elect men are chosen in Christ, and are begotten to a lively hope of through his resurrection from the dead; and which his righteousness gives a right unto, and his grace a suitableness for; and which is now in his hands, and will be given to them through him: and this is said to be obtained by lot, as the word signifies, in allusion to the land of Canaan, which was divided by lot to the children of Israel; and to show that it is not by works of righteousness done by men, but by the sovereign disposal of God; and that everyone shall have his share, and that certainly; for this is not designed to represent it as a casual, or contingent thing. The Alexandrian copy reads, “in whom also we are called”; and so the Vulgate Latin version, “in whom also we are called by lot”; and the Syriac version, “in him”, or “by him we are chosen”, which agrees with the next clause:

being predestinated according to the purpose of him, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: predestination is not only to sonship, but to an inheritance; it not only secures the grace of adoption, but prepares and provides an heavenly portion: and this act of predestination proceeds according to a purpose; according to a purpose of God, which can never be frustrated; and according to the purpose of “that God”, as one of Stephens’s copies reads, that is the author of all things but sin; of the works of creation and of providence, and of grace and salvation; and who works all these according to his will, just as he pleases, and according to the counsel of it, in a wise and prudent manner, in the best way that can be devised; for he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working; wherefore his counsel always stands, and he does all his pleasure: and hence the inheritance which the saints obtain in Christ, and are predestinated to, is sure and certain.

There are many disputations against Genesis 1:26 and 27 yet the simplest answer should suffice. Occam’s razor is the meta-theoretical principle that “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity” (entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem) and the conclusion thereof, that the simplest solution is usually the correct one. If we look simply at the verse without any prejudice we see the plural “us” meaning actually what it states and without the triadic concept of God we run afoul scripture and logic. One last view of this would be the 4 laws of logic and how a sovereign God follows this unmistakably concrete view of truth.

Truth by nature is:

  • Noncontradictory-it does not violate the basic laws of logic
  • Absolute-it does not depend on any time, place, or conditions
  • Discovered-it exists independently of our minds
  • Descriptive-it is the agreement of the mind with reality (coherence)
  • Inescapable-to deny its existence is to affirm it (we are bound by it)

How do we communicate the truth? Correspondence and Coherence are incontrovertible methods of establishing truth in a court of law. This view of truth is supported by four laws of logic:

  1. The Law of Identity: an object is identical to itself.
  2. The Law of Non-contradiction: Two contradictory statements cannot be true in the same sense at the same time.
  3. The Law of the Excluded Middle: Just because two things have one thing in common does not mean they have everything in common
  4. The Law of Rational Inference: Inferences can be made known from what is known to what is unknown.

With the information given in Genesis 1 alone we can conclude:

  1. The infinite Creator God is sovereign
  2. He exists beyond the space time continuum
  3. He is also the personal God who is there
  4. He is a Spirit
  5. He is a Word
  6. His revealed attributes are both singular and plural at the same time
  7. His revelation is progressive
  8. We are created in His image the Imago De
  9. He is all powerful

10.  He is everywhere at all times

11.  He is aware of all things

12.  He expressed His love in our creation so love had to have existed before creation

13.  He delighted in His creation

14.  Within the one being that is God; there exists eternally three coequal and coeternal persons (persona), namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

15.  The Father has always been the Father, the Son has always been the Son, and the Spirit has always been the Spirit. There has never been a time when they didn’t exist in the Godhead.

Given this information and its relevance we see God supremely and sublimely fulfills all the laws of logic and truth. In His three person (persona) existence as a triad He can be an “us” while maintaining His “oneness” as the only one worthy of worship. The doctrine of the Trinity wasn’t invented – it was uncovered. If we were to invent a religion wouldn’t it be more simplistic in nature and less confusing? For some modern critics of the Trinity, it is obvious that it rests upon a series of the most appalling mistakes, including (to name the more obvious) mathematical confusion and philosophical unsophistication. Some seem to think that early Christian committees had sat down to shape their own understanding of God, and-being unable to agree upon how many bits of God there were-thought of a number between one and ten and agreed upon three as a compromise. The idea of the God of Christianity being just one, according to some critics was found rather demeaning to God, so it was thought necessary  to expand God somewhat to emphasize his greatness and superiority over other Gods. Now the early Christians were, of course, very primitive people and, as the latest scholarship had just discovered, primitive peoples could count no higher than three. In other words they understood ‘three’ as we would ‘infinity’ so that the statement that ‘God is three’ really meant ‘God is infinite’. And so the idea of God being three , instead of just one (or in addition to being one), came into being as an expression of the infinite superiority of the Christian God over all the other gods.

Scholarship has, however, moved on since the 1890’s! The Trinity is an expression of the fullness and richness of the Christian experience and understanding of God. As John Donne has said it attempts to capture the mystery of God in a form of words, to distil a host of insights into a formula. It is ‘bones to philosophy, but milk to faith’!

Till  next time…

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