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The Trinity, God is one and three

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The Trinity, God is one and three

Matthew 3:16–17 NIV
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
We deeply long for many things
selfless, trustworthy, unending love from someone we can trust to be faithful and helpful
unity within the great variety of humanity, some means by which we can live in peace and oneness that benefits all of us
communication from face-to-face conversations to the use of modern technology created for the purpose of letting us know others and be known by them
community, significant and earnest relationships with others so that we are part of a people devoted to something larger and greater than our individual lives
humility, where people pour themselves out unreservedly for the benefit and well-being of others
for peace, harmony, and support of each other so we can see and end to abuse, cruelty, misery and painful tears
for a selfless common good, a world in which everyone does what is best for all and is not viciously and exclusively devoted to self interest and tribal concerns.
Why? Why do we have these persistent deep longings that occasionally compel us to action and often leave us frustrated or disappointed?
Our longings for love, unity in diversity, communication, community, humility, peace and selflessness are are in fact - by design - longing for theTrinitarianGod of the Bible and a world that is a reflection of the Trinity.
Tragically human desires corrupted by sin turn in on themselves; rather than finding satisfaction in God, longings become lusts - bottomless pits of selfish desire, never quite satisfied, inevitably leading to despair. Because we are made in the image of the triune God to reflect his glory, we will never stop longing; yet, our sin-stained longings distort that reflection
Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears - Doctrine: What Christians should believe

Firstly there is One God

, , ; ; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
Genesis 1:1 NIV
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Deuteronomy 4:35 NIV
35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.
Deuteronomy 4:39 NIV
39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.
Deuteronomy 6:4–5 NIV
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 32:39 NIV
39 “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.
1 Samuel 2:2 NIV
2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
2 Samuel 7:22 NIV
22 “How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.
2 Samuel 22:32 NIV
32 For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?
1 Kings 8:59–60 NIV
59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other.
2 Chronicles 15:3 NIV
3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.
To claim that anyone was equal to God was punishable by death - of course this is the crime for which Jesus died. For any human to consider themselves equal to God was blasphemy against God. Although in the case of Jesus - we know that he was in fact God, and he was crucified because the religious leaders denied his identity
Scripture is also clear that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct from each other.
You’ll recall many greetings in the letters of Paul and others where they are greeted in the name of the Father and of the Son.
Scripture is also clear that God the Son and the God the Spirit are not the same
; ; ; ; ;
Luke 3:22 NIV
22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
John 14:16 NIV
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—
John 15:26 NIV
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.
; ; ; ;
John 16:7 NIV
7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
15:26
1 John 2:1 NIV
1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
; ;
;
; ; ; ; ;

Firstly there is One God

, , ; ; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
Genesis 1:1 NIV
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Deuteronomy 4:35 NIV
35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.
Deuteronomy 4:39 NIV
39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.
Deuteronomy 6:4–5 NIV
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 32:39 NIV
39 “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.
1 Samuel 2:2 NIV
2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
2 Samuel 7:22 NIV
22 “How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.
2 Samuel 22:32 NIV
32 For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?
1 Kings 8:59–60 NIV
59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other.
2 Chronicles 15:3 NIV
3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.

What is the trinity?

God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit
One God
Three persons
While you won’t find the word Trinity in the Bible this concept of the One-who-is-three clearly does
The word trinity is the short-hand way of explaining a great deal of biblical truth
It was first used by the
Church Father Tertullian (AD 155-220)
And we must be clear that to say that God exists as a Trinity does not mean that there are three Gods, or that one God merely manifests himself as either Father, Son or Holy Spirit on various occasions (like water which can only be liquid or solid or gas) it can’t be all 3 at once and still be one
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) summarises the doctrine by saying
“In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.” The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647)
To clarify - when we talk about three persons, we’re not saying that God is made up of 3 human beings
Rather, it means that each member of the Trinity thinks, acts, feels, speaks and relates because they are persons and not impersonal forces.
Each member of the Trinity is equally God, which means that they share all the divine attributes, such as being eternal, having omniscience (knowing everything), omnipotence (all powerful) and omnipresence (present everywhere at the same time).
In we see the person of God the Son laying aside the advantage of his equality with God the Father and the Spirit as he lays aside the use of these qualities of God. He was still fully in relationship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, and yet for a moment of human history (33 years) he humbled himself to be just like us except for sin
Philippians 2:6–7 NIV
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
So how does this all tie together. How is God one and yet three distinct personalities in perfect unity.
Philippians 2:6-7
(Explore the image) The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, but the Father is not the Son...
Another way to explore this i through music
Listen to these three notes (C - E - G) - this is the only perfect chord in the whole of music. Anything else adds an element of dissonance, and disharmony, we might say that it adds something which is discordant
Each note is distinct, and not the same as the others, but together they make one completely perfect harmonious chord. Three distinct notes each completely in union
Another way of thinking about it is like God has 3 completely distinct minds which are completely united
A better way of thinking about God as three is of a relationship - and this I believe really gets to the heart of who God is
Why do we long for relationship, why do we long for harmony, why do we long for unity?
Because that is what God is
God is love
1 John 4:7–19 NIV
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.
John 4:7–19 NIV
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
John 4:4-
1 John 4:13–14 NIV
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
1 John 4:13-14
The doctrine of the Trinity brings together three equally essential biblical truths without denying or diminishing any.
God only created us out of his love. he didn’t need to create us, because God in himself is pure relationship, pure community, pure harmony, pure peace, pure justice,
3 persons, members or minds living, loving and relating to each other in one complete and perfect unity

Firstly there is One God

Rublev’s icon

, , ; ; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
Genesis 1:1 NIV
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
, , ; ; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
Deuteronomy 4:35 NIV
35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.
Deuteronomy 4:39 NIV
39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.
,39(NIV)
Deut
35You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.
39Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.
Deuteronomy 6:4–5 NIV
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
; ; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
Deuteronomy 32:39 NIV
39 “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.
; ; ; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
1 Samuel 2:2 NIV
2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
; 2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
2 Samuel 7:22 NIV
22 “How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.
2 Sam 7:22.32; 1 Kingd 8.59-60,
2 Samuel 22:32 NIV
32 For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?
1 Kings 8:59–60 NIV
59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other.
; Kingd 8.59-60,
2 Chronicles 15:3 NIV
3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.
,
Andrei Rublev’s icon of the 3 angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre (Gen 18:1-8)
This is a copy of the original as the original has decayed quite a lot
Many Christians over the centuries have used icons as ways of speaking to God, like a window which helps us focus on God. The key thing is that we must never pray to the icon, but using it to help us focus the mind on God. The artist weaves in many symbols for us to ponder devotionally.
Just spend a moment looking at the image and think about what Rublev might be trying to convey about the trinity through this icon
Now turn to the person next to you and share what you see
Have you noticed the
Abraham prepared them a meal hence the table which they all sit round
In the passage Abraham is speaking directly to God through these angels so this passage of scripture has often been associated with the Trinity
Everything in this icon is Gold, and on the golden table is a chalice or cup like bowel with roasted lamb inside it - I wonder what perfect offering that represents? And who’s sacrifice was it?
There’s a house top left, a tree in the middle and a rocky mountain top right
I wonder what these different images mean to you? Do they represent qualities of the trinity?
Have you noticed their faces? Look carefully...
Colouring
Colouring
Rublev gives each person of the Trinity different clothing.
On the right, the Holy Spirit has a garment of the clear blue of the sky, wrapped over with a robe of a fragile green. So the Spirit of creation moves in sky and water, breathes in heaven and earth. All living things owe their freshness to his touch.
The Son has the deepest colours; a thick heavy garment of the reddish-brown of earth and a cloak of the blue of heaven. In his person he unites heaven and earth, the two natures are present in him, and over his right shoulder (the Government shall be upon his shoulder) there is a band of gold shot through the earthly garment, as his divinity suffuses and transfigures his earthly being.
The Father seems to wear all the colours in a kind of fabric that changes with the light, that seems transparent, that cannot be described or confined in words. And this is how it should be.
John 1:18 NIV
18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Notice how in Rublev has them sat down. There is no sense of action other than conversation in this painting
The light that shines around their heads is white, pure light. Gold is not enough to express the glory of God. Only light will do, and that same white becomes the holy table, the place of offering. God is revealed and disclosed here, at the heart, in the whiteness of untouchable light.
The Father looks forward, raising his hand in blessing to the Son. It is impossible to tell whether he looks up at the Son or down to the chalice on the table, but his gesture expresses a movement towards the Son. This is my Son, listen to him… The hand of the Son points on, around the circle, to the Spirit. In this simple array we see the movement of life towards us, The Father sends the Son, the Son sends the Spirit. The life flows clockwise around the circle. And we complete the circle. As the Father sends the Son, as the Son sends the Holy Spirit, so we are invited and sent to complete the circle of the Godhead with our response. And we respond to the movement of the Spirit who points us to Jesus. And he shows us the Father in whom all things come to fruition. This is the counter-clockwise movement of our lives, in response to the movement of God. And along the way are the three signs at the top of the picture, the hill, the tree, and the house.
And who is the Spirit touching, the Spirit is touching us. Inviting us to sit at the table with the God head. The gospel, the good news is that it’s not about religion and us having to work hard to be invited to sit at the table. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, the invite has been written and handed to us. All we have to do is accept God’s invitation to sit and be part of this awesome eternal conversation. We may not understand God fully, but we are invited into relationship with our awesome God
The Spirit leads us by ways we may not be aware of, up the hill of prayer. It may be steep and rocky, but the journeying God goes before us along the path. It leads to Jesus, the Son of God,
and it leads to a tree. A great tree in the heat of the day spreads its shade. It is a place of security, a place of peace, a place where we begin to find out the possibilities of who we can be. It is no ordinary tree. It stands above the Son in the picture, and stands above the altar-table where the lamb lies within the chalice. Because of the sacrifice this tree grows. The tree of death has been transformed into a tree of life for us.
The tree is on the way to the house. Over the head of the Father is the house of the Father. It is the goal of our journey. It is the beginning and end of our lives. Its roof is golden. Its door is always open for the traveller. It has a tower, and its window is always open so that the Father can incessantly scan the roads for a glimpse of a returning prodigal.
Staffs for the journey
Each person holds a staff, which is so long it, cuts the picture into sections. Why should beings with wings, that can fly like the light, have need of a staff for their journey? Because we are on a journey and these three persons enter into our journey, our slow movement across the face of the earth. Their feet are tired from travelling. God is with us in the weariness of our human road. The traveller God sits down at our ordinary tables and spreads them with a hint of heaven.
The Table
The table or altar lies at the center of the picture. It is at once the place of Abraham's hospitality to the angels, and God's place of hospitality to us. That ambiguity lies at the heart of communion, at the heart of worship. As soon as we open a sacred place for God to enter, for God to be welcomed and adored, it becomes his place. It is we who are welcomed, it is we who must 'take off our shoes' because of the holiness of the ground. Contained in the center of the circle, a sign of death. The lamb, killed. The holy meal brought to the table. All points to this space, this mystery: within it, everything about God is summed up and expressed, his power, his glory, and above all his love. And it is expressed in such a way that we can reach it. For the space at this table is on our side. We are invited to join the group at the table and receive the heart of their being for ourselves. We are invited to complete the circle, to join the dance, to complete the movements of God in the world by our own response. Below the altar a rectangle marks the holy place where the relics of the martyrs were kept in a church. It lies before us. It invites us to come into the depth and intimacy of all that is represented here. Come follow the Spirit up the hill of prayer. Come, live in the shadow of the Son of God, rest yourself beneath his tree of life. Come, journey to the home, prepared for you in the house of your Father. The table is spread, the door is open. Come
18No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Notes from https://sacredheartpullman.org/documents/2017/8/Trinityicon.pdf accessed 20.07.18

Creeds

Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

Athanasian Creed

1 WHOSOEVER would be saved / needeth before all things to hold fast the Catholic Faith.
2 Which Faith except a man keep whole and undefiled, / without doubt he will perish eternally.
3 Now the Catholic Faith is this, / that we worship one God in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity;
4 Neither confusing the Persons, / nor dividing the Substance.
5 For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, / another of the Holy Ghost;
6 But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one, / the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.
7 Such as the Father is, such is the Son, / and such is the Holy Ghost;
8 The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy Ghost uncreated;
9 The Father infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Ghost infinite;
10 The Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Ghost eternal;
11 And yet there are not three eternals, but one eternal;
12 As also there are not three uncreated, nor three infinites, / but one infinite, and one uncreated.
13 So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, / the Holy Ghost almighty;
14 And yet there are not three almighties, but one almighty.
15 So the Father is God, the Son God, the Holy Ghost God;
16 And yet there are not three Gods, / but one God.
17 So the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, / the Holy Ghost Lord;
18 And yet there are not three Lords, / but one Lord.
19 For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity / to confess each Person by himself to be both God and Lord;
20 So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion / to speak of three Gods or three Lords.
21 The Father is made of none, / nor created, nor begotten.
22 The Son is of the Father alone; / not made, nor created, but begotten.
23 The Holy Ghost is of the Father and the Son; / not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
24 There is therefore one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; / one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
25 And in this Trinity there is no before or after, / no greater or less;
26 But all three Persons are co-eternal together, / and co-equal.
27 So that in all ways, as is aforesaid, / both the Trinity is to be worshipped in Unity, and the Unity in Trinity.
28 He therefore that would be saved, / let him thus think of the Trinity.
29 FURTHERMORE, it is necessary to eternal salvation, / that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
30 Now the right Faith is that we believe and confess / that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and Man.
31 He is God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; / and he is Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world;
32 Perfect God; / perfect Man, of reasoning soul and human flesh subsisting;
33 Equal to the Father as touching his Godhead;/ less than the Father as touching his Manhood.
34 Who although he be God and Man, / yet he is not two, but is one Christ;
35 One, however, not by conversion of Godhead into flesh, / but by taking of Manhood into God;
36 One altogether; / not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.
37 For as reasoning soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ;
38 Who suffered for our salvation, / descended into hell, rose again from the dead;
39 Ascended into heaven, sat down at the right hand of the Father, / from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
40 At whose coming all men must rise again with their bodies, / and shall give account for their own deeds.
41 And they that have done good will go into life eternal; / they that have done evil into eternal fire.
42 THIS is the Catholic Faith, / which except a man do faithfully and stedfastly believe, he cannot be saved.
GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, / and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, / world without end. Amen.
Finish with
2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
forever more Amen.
The framework for much of the material has come from
Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears - Doctrine: What Christians should believe
although I don’t share some of their understandings on other faiths
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