Christian Doctrine: The Trinity
B2 Theology proper
D1 One God = essence
E1 Essence is the stuff God is made of. God is a spirit, not flesh.
E2 Essence is explained by the example of water in a pitcher poured in separate glasses or the 3-petal leaf of a clover.
E1 God the Father
E2 God the Son (See Jesus Christ below)
E3 God the Holy Spirit (See Holy Spirit below)
E1 God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have one essence. It is the nature of what a being is. God’s nature is not human nature, or dog nature, or sparrow nature. God has one nature. God is life, aseity, self-existence. God is not created by another being or created by Himself.
E2 The same have the fullness of God. Each is fully God. One person is not lacking or inferior to another. They have both equality and unity.
E3 Each person of the one God has roles. These rolls are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The role of the Father is He is not begotten or proceeds from anyone. The role of the Son is He is eternally begotten of the Father. This does not mean that the Son had a beginning, for it refers to a role the Son fulfills. The Holy Spirit eternally proceeds (is sent) from the Father and the Son. This does not mean that He is less God. He is fully God. It describes His role in the Trinity.
E4 Each person is equally authoritative and equally supreme. The Son is not in eternal subordination to the Father. The Son has equal authority and supremacy. The word begotten refers to His taking humanity in the womb of the Virgin from the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, the Son has always been God. It refers to His role, not His origin. He is unique, the one and only (Genesis 22:2, 12, 16, John 3:16). The term firstborn refers to His position of authority, not referring that He came into being (Exodus 4:22, Jeremiah 31:9, Colossians 1:18 (pre-eminence), Hebrews 1:6, Psalm 89:27).
E1 This refers to His sovereign commands, decisions, and judgments.
E2 There is a difference how Calvinists and Arminians define and apply this term. You can search for decrees in the Westminster Confession and Monergism website. You can also search the Arminian view on the Society of Evangelical Arminians.
F1 This is the idea that there are 3 gods who work with each other.
F2 The truth is there are 3 persons in one god.
F3 John 14:7-9 NKJV If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” 8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
F4 John 10:30 NKJV I and My Father are one.”
F5 Isaiah 45:18 NKJV For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the LORD, and there is no other.
F6 Deuteronomy 6:4 NKJV “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
F7 If there were more than one god, there would no unity.
F8 There would be 3 totally sovereign gods with all the same attributes.
F9 If they disagreed, there would be no unity, for who would win?
F10 One God is in His essence. The 3 persons are roles that one essence has chosen.
E2 Sabellianism (Modalism, Oneness theology)
F1 There is only one god. This one god takes the office of Father sometimes, Son sometimes, and Holy Spirit sometimes.
F2 Matthew 3:16-17 NKJV When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” How could this be if Modalism were true? Whose voice was this?
F3 Matthew 28:19 NKJV Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
F4 John 8:18 NKJV I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.” Jesus refers to two witnesses—himself and the Father. He also states that the Father sent Him. It would make no sense for Jesus to refer to being sent by the Father, when it is really him.
F5 1 John 4:14 NKJV And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. The same comments in F4 apply here.
F6 John 11:41-42 NKJV Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Who is Jesus praying to?
F7 (Matthew 26:42 NKJV Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Compare: (Hebrews 5:7 (NKJV) Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear. Who is Jesus praying to?
F8 John 14:16-17 NKJV And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. Who is this other comforter given while Jesus is gone?
F1 Jesus is the first created and is god. Some believe that Jesus was begotten but not of the same substance. The Father was unbegotten, the Son begotten. They claim 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 as proof.
F2 He is not equal or of the same substance (essence) as the Father. He does not have the same nature as the Father.
F3 He is god by designation. He is god by title.
F4 He is subordinate to the Father.
F5 John 20:28 NKJV And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus is called God, and Jesus made no correction.
F6 (John 5:23 (NKJV) “That all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Same honor, not similar or less honor.
F7 John 1:1 NKJV In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
G1 The Jehovah Witnesses translate this as a god. This makes them have more than one god—polytheists.
G2 Greek rule of translation: Metzger writes, “A definite predicate nominative has the article when it follows the verb; it does not have the article when it precedes the verb.” (Bruce M. Metzger, “The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ: A Biblical and Theological Appraisal,” Theology Today (April, 1953): 71). Link
F8 Colossians 1:15-17. God cannot be created. The verse clearly refers to Jesus being Lord of creation—the first, the greatest, the only.
F9 John 14:28 NKJV You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. The word greater refers to role, not nature.
G1 Jehovah Witnesses teach that Jesus does not have the same nature or authority as God.
G2 There is only one God, not two. See Isaiah 48:15, John 5:18, and Hebrews 1.
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Labels: Arianism, Basic doctrine, Modalism, Sabellianism, Tri-theism, Trinity