Holy Trinity: One Unified God
In our last article we discussed some comparisons that, Lord willing, helped you to see how the Godhead functions as a triune God. However, there is still one aspect of the trinity that still needs to be clarified. That is the fact that all three members of the holy trinity can seem to act independently from one another. After all, Jesus did come down to Earth and the Holy Spirit dwells within each believer. This question is what we want to look at in this article and focus on how this united Holy Trinity can actually function as three independent beings. First, however, we need to explore how all three beings of the Trinity are actually the same. We already looked at this briefly in our last article and, therefore, I recommend you go back and read, “Holy Trinity: Three in One,” given you haven’t already done so.
This idea of the Trinity acting independently isn’t necessarily the case. All three entities of the holy trinity, even though they may seem separate, are still always connected. I’m sure everybody has heard the saying, ‘my heart wasn’t in it.’ Well, that is what we are talking about here. If we have an idea to do something, which comes from your mind, but then get a feeling that you shouldn’t do it, that’s your heart saying no. Our mind and heart, or consciousness and spirit, have to be on the same page when it comes to everything. Our hearts, minds and souls are always connected to one another and share the same core values and beliefs. For example, if you believe Jesus is the true Son of God, then your entire being believes that truth. Your mind can’t say ‘yes I believe’ while your heart is saying ‘there’s no way that’s true.’ That just won’t work. That is the definition of hypocrisy. What one aspect of your being believes, all three believe. This is the same for the holy trinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all connected and therefore have the same attributes.
The main attributes that I’m referring to are the incommunicable attributes of God. These attributes tell us that God is always present, all powerful and knows all. He is also beyond the restraints of time. God has the power to be everywhere at once and at all times. That is how God can work in each of our lives at the same time. Knowing that all three entities of the holy trinity are connected through these attributes also tells us that all three work in concert with, and are fully dependent on, one another even if separated. One place where we can see all three beings of the Trinity is during Jesus’ baptism. Matthew 3:16-17 reads, “16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”” In these verses we see Jesus (the Son) being baptized, the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) descending and a voice from heaven (the Father) speaking. This shows us all three working in unison while separate.
Just because we may see all three beings of the Trinity acting independently in these verses, they are still one. John 1: 47-48 reads, “ 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”” If you read all of John 1 then you will see that it is hard to say for sure where this all takes place, but given Nathanael’s response in the following verse, “49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”” leads us to believe that there was no way Jesus, or probably anybody else, could have physically seen him under the fig tree. How could Jesus have seen Nathanael if He wasn’t there? Only one possible way, that the Father and Son are truly one. We see another example of this in John 10:30 which reads, “30 I and the Father are one.” That is a fairly simple and straightforward verse, but we can see this idea again in verses 37-38, “37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Here Jesus is saying that the Father and Son are united. Jesus also makes that claim when He gives the “I Am” statement in John 8:58 by claiming equality with God.
Now let’s look at the creation story in Genesis, but first read what John had to say about it in John 1:1-3, “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” This is telling us that Jesus was with God in every step of the creation story. That, in fact, everything was created through Jesus, but they weren’t the only two there. Genesis 1:1-2 says, “1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” This tells us that the Spirit was also with them, and that all three entities of the Trinity were present during the creation. One more example of this is in Genesis 1:26 which reads, “26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”” God said, “in our image, after our likeness.” The use of the word “our'' here indicates that God is making man in the image and likeness of the Trinity. How do we know that? Because like I just explained, the Father, Son and Spirit were the only ones there during the creation of our world. There is nobody else that God could have been referring to besides the three entities of His being. Without the belief of a triune God, none of these verses would make any sense and the Bible would fall apart.
Up to this point in this mini series we looked at how three entities can be combined to make one being (Holy Trinity: Three in One) and how all three entities of that being work and act in unison with one another. Now let’s use those two points to help explain the third and final point of this article. That even though the Trinity has the power to separate from, and seemingly act independent from, one another, they are in fact still connected. We saw this in the explanation of how our own hearts, minds and souls are connected and need to be on the same page for us to make a decision. Not one aspect of our being can act, or even think, differently or independently from the others. The Godhead works in the same manner. Even though Jesus came down to Earth He was always connected to the Father and Spirit. I explained that with the scriptures above where Jesus claims oneness with the Father. They may have been separated but they were one. The Spirit is interchangeable with the Father and Son in regards to their oneness. We know that the Spirit dwells within each one of us. This means that the Spirit is separated from the Father and Son, yet we know that the Spirit is also fully God because Jesus is fully God. Therefore, we know that the Godhead is truly three whole parts of one God and that all three of those parts are equal. They know and love each other in a way even more intimate than we can love another person. That amount of love is beyond our level of understanding.
We have covered all the points that I intended to cover, but I am still left with questions…what does this mean for us? How does the understanding of the Trinity help to improve our lives and/or relationships with one another? Well, as we have already discussed, the gospels say that Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in him (as explained earlier in this article). We also see Jesus say in John 14:20, “20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” This is telling us that if we accept Jesus then He will be in us and we will be in Him. What we don’t see, however, is any reference to the disciples, or man in general, being in one another. The way they were told to show that they were united was through love, and that continues for us today. The second part of the most important commandment according to Jesus in Matthew 22:39 is that, “39 You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” We know that Jesus came preaching forgiveness and love. Though our goal is to live our lives as closely to Jesus as we can, we don’t have the same abilities as the Holy Trinity. We can’t send our own spirits to dwell within anybody else. The way we show our unity and oneness with our fellow neighbors and brothers/sisters is through love. If we manage to love one another the way the Trinity loves each other, then this world would literally be heaven on Earth.