Robert Green Ingersoll said that nothing could be more idiotic than the doctrine of the Trinity. Many atheists and skeptics continue to think that the Trinity is absurd. They will claim that it violates logic because 1 god cannot also be 3 gods. They may also think it’s ridiculous that a mere man, Jesus, is God.
But it’s not just the non-religious that are against the Trinity, many religious groups that use the Bible are also against the Trinity. For instance, Oneness Pentecostals reject the idea of the Trinity. They have accepted the false hermeneutics that has also crept in to various Christian circles. In this teaching the Father is the son is the Holy Spirit- not 3 distinct persons. Jesus prayed to himself; the Father died on the cross (you may have heard the question “who was running the universe when Jesus died?) This heretical belief is called modalism. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is a created being, and was Michael the Archangel of the Old Testament. Mormons believe in 3 separate gods. This is called tri-theism. Islam says that god cannot have a son. The god of Islam, Allah, is completely separate from the affairs of man because he contains no son to relate to man or spirit to indwell man. You can probably even find many false views of the Trinity throughout mainstream Christianity as well.
How would you explain the Trinity (lit. tri/3 in unity)? How would you demonstrate that the concept is not absurd? There have been many illustrations to try to show us what the Trinity is like. First we must realize that none of these analogies for the Trinity can effectively explain who God is. God has no comparison, so to think we can objectively illustrate the Trinity is not an attainable goal, but they can help to show that the concept is not absurd.
It is not absurd because we see trinities all around us. In fact, our entire physical existence is based on a trinity of trinities. We exist physically in time, space, and matter. Time is a trinity. Time is past present and future. Space is a trinity. Space 3 dimensional, height width and depth. Matter is a trinity in 2 ways. Matter is a solid liquid and gas. It’s also protons, neutrons, and electrons. Would it be too much of a stretch to say is there is something at the core of complete (physical and spiritual) existence that is also a trinity? If this is what we know physically, may it also be true spiritually?
We have to make sure to not violate the law of non contradiction. It would be a contradiction to say that God is 1 God, yet 3 Gods. It would be a contradiction to say that God is 1 person, and God is 3 persons. God is in fact 1 God and 3 persons.
Now that we have reasonably determined that the Trinity is logically a possibility, we can investigate whether there is ample support in the Bible to hold a such a doctrine. Right off the bat in early Genesis we come to the Hebrew word “Elohim”- the name for God. The word Elohim is a plural term, yet it’s used in singular form. It would be like saying “they is” in English.
The Bible teaches that there is only one God in all of existence. In Isaiah 43:10 god says that no God was born before him and no God will be formed after him. In Deuteronomy 6:4 the “shammah” was frequently recited by the nation Israel, which says “Listen, Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one”. Isaiah 44:6 says “I am the first and the last, there is no God but Me.” Monotheism is blatantly biblical. Monotheism is also logical, because if God is all powerful and ever present there can only be one such being. If 2 beings were in the same space in the same sense, that would be a contradiction. So not only would another God be unbiblical, it would be impossible.
It is said in a few different places in the Bible that we cannot see God; 1 Timothy 1:17, God is invisible. First Timothy 6:16 says that God cannot be seen. Exodus 33:20, no man can see Me and live. In Jesus said that nobody has seen God the father at any time. Yet we see people name they have been God, seen his face, or wrestled with God. These 2 things can only be consistent if God is invisible in 1 sense and tangible in another. Manifestations of God in the Old Testament are Christophanies, that is Christ making appearances before he permanently took on flesh.
We can see that even before the birth of Jesus the Bible teaches the concept of the Son being God. John 8:58 Jesus call himself I Am, the same Greek term that God used as his own name/ title in Exodus 3:14. In John 1:1, Jesus is called the “Logos”, Word, that was with God and was God from eternity. Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus, the Son, is the image of the invisible God. Jesus is also given titles alpha and Omega, the Almighty, the Lord, and God. There is no question that the New Testament teaches that Jesus is God.
Is the Holy Spirit God? Or just a concept about God? The Holy Spirit is God. In Acts 5 verse 3 Peter tells Annanias that he has lied to the Holy Spirit. In verse 5 Peter says that he has lied to God. Therefore the Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit is more than a force; the Holy Spirit has personal characteristics. The Holy Spirit can be grieved, can lead, has emotions, can be blasphemed, and comforts. These are not characteristics that can be given to forces or mere concepts. For instance, it does not grieve the law of gravity when I fly in an airplane. The Pythagorean Theorem cannot come along side to lead me and comfort me.
The accusation that the Bible does not mention the Trinity is an ignorant statement when taking into account all the evidence. There are many words and terms that are biblical that the Bible doesn’t explicitly mention. The Bible doesn’t mention Bible study, eschatology, theology, asking Jesus into your heart, making him Lord of your life, or worship services. In spite of it not mentioning these terms explicitly it seems plain enough that the Bible teaches all these concepts. The Trinity is no different; it is clearly taught in the Bible when you look over different verses.
There are some verses that contain the Trinity with in them. First John 5:7 is probably not historically reliable, so I don’t use that one. There are others, though, such as Matthew 28:19 in which Jesus tells his disciples to baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The word “Name” in this verse is singular in its usage, despite referring to 3 persons. Second Corinthians 13:13, in Paul’s closing statement says “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of god, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” This verse nicely lays out the different workings of the 3 persons of the Trinity. On 1 hand Jesus is submitted to the Father, and has a different role than the Father, as does the Holy Spirit. This concept is known as the economic Trinity. At the same time, each of the persons of the Trinity is equal to the other. They are each co-eternal, almighty, and all-knowing. This concept is called the ontological Trinity. As an example, I am equal to my boss as far as the law goes. We are equal as people, and we will be punished the same way if we commit a crime. Functionally, though, I am submitted to him.
Conclusion: there is only 1 God in all existence. He is eternal, all powerful, ever present, all knowing, and deserves glory. These attributes of the 1 God are expressed and shared in 3 distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The 3 work together as one unit in distinct ways to fulfill God’s complete, singular will.