Saturday, November 16, 2013
Triplets of Unity: Triune God, One Will – Creation and Pre-Incarnation
As we have seen, our God is a Triune God – three distinct Persons, Each equally divine, All acting together in one perfect will. All are self-existent (Exodus 3:14), everlasting (present since before time began and throughout eternity; John 1:1; Revelation 1:8,11;21:6;22:13), and all-powerful (omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent).
Jesus Christ is the Creator, the Word Who made all things and Who spoke the universe into existence (John 1:1; Hebrews 1:10). Yet He was not alone in this mission, for it was that Hebrew Name Elohim, that plurality of divinity (Genesis 1:1) responsible for creation, with the Spirit moving upon the waters (Genesis 1:2) to empower the Father’s plan (Hebrews 1:2).
When it came to man, the crowning achievement of creation, God (Elohim –Three in One) said “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). This threefold emphasis on the Trinity serves to remind us that all three aspects of the Triune God were intimately involved in all of creation. Not surprisingly, man has a mind, body, and spirit, reflecting God’s Triune Nature after Which he was designed.
In the Old Testament, we see preincarnate appearances of Jesus Christ in human form, often referred to as “the Angel of the Lord,” (Genesis 16:7-11; Numbers 22:22-35; Judges 2:4; 6:12, etc). One such example is when He came with two angels to Abraham. He announced that Sarah would conceive a child through whom Abraham would become the father of a great nation (Genesis 18). Limited human understanding could easily miss that the Word and two angels were visiting from Heaven, for they appeared as travelers and even ate a meal with their host.
Yet when God the Father spoke with Moses (as the Angel of the Lord in a burning bush; Exodus 3:6) and with Elijah, His glory was so great that they could not look directly at Him. The Angel of the Lord touched Elijah and even fed him in his weakness and despair (1 Kings 19:7), but when God appeared to Him in all the fury of nature, Elijah hid his face (1 Kings 19:11-13),
We are told in the Gospels that the Holy Spirit was visible as if in the form of a dove as He alighted on Jesus after His baptism, while the Father praised the Son (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; John 1:32; Luke 3:22). Generally, however, the Spirit is not visible any more than we can see the wind (John 3:8), yet we see His power and learn of Him through the words He spoke to David (Acts 1:16) and to all the authors of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16).
So on those rare occasions when one or more Persons of the Trinity appears to man, human perception of the Father, Son and Spirit varies greatly. The Father speaks from the midst of powerful manifestations of nature (1 Kings 19; Job 37), the Son can be seen, touched and felt as a loving and compassionate Friend (Proverbs 18:24; Hebrews 4:15), and the Spirit is experienced indirectly, by seeing what He has done or hearing others speak His Word.
Although the Three Persons of the Trinity may differ in their physical manifestations to mankind, they act together with a single-mindedness of will – not only in creation, but also in salvation and in the incarnation. God the Father poured out His Spirit on prophets who told of the coming of the Lord Jesus Who alone can save (Acts 2:1-4). The Triune God knew from the beginning that man would fall and would therefore need a Redeemer.
Through Their “determinate counsel and foreknowledge,” or awareness and agreement (Acts 2:23), the Trinity decided together on the plan of salvation. They allowed the Word to come in the flesh and to be crucified to pay all of our sin debt, that all who trust in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4) would be delivered from sin and death into eternal life.
The Messianic prophecy in Psalms 2:2-3 uses plural pronouns when referring to the Lord and His Anointed Who was rejected by Israel. “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” again emphasizes the role of all Three Persons in this sacrifice.
Perhaps the clearest indication of the distinct yet unified Nature of the Trinity is Their role in the incarnation. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son (Hebrews 1:5-6), of and given by God the Father (John 3:16), conceived through the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:35) Through His taking on human flesh, man would see the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:13-15), hear His words, and experience His healing touch, as we shall see next week!
© 2013 Laurie Collett