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
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Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
there are many things that we might find hard to understand in the scriptures. I believe that Genesis ch. 1 and 2 show both creations, a fleshly one and a spiritual one. In ch. 1 God speaks about making man (the word here is plural) in 'our' image, and this is on the sixth day. I believe here He is talking to Jesus about making fleshly mankind in their spiritual image. If we look in Genesis ch.2 verse 5 says that man was formed before the shrubs were on the earth which was on the third day.
The secret things belong to God, those revealed belong to us. How wonderful and wise is our God.
God bless you for sharing the scriptures

Ceil said...

Hi Laurie! I love that we are made of body, mind and spirit, three just like the three persons of God. I have never heard that before, I like it!

And it's so true that we all experience God in different ways. He is all in all, so how can anyone experience all he is? We get glimpses. We get feelings. But we need each other to learn about how he touches in different, beautiful ways.
Happy Sunday!

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
One of the passages of Scripture which puts a smile on my face is the King James version of Zechariah 2:6-13.
Here God begins with a laugh "Ho, ho..." then in verse eight and nine it says that the LORD of hosts is sent by the LORD of hosts!
In verses 10-11 Zachariah writes:
"Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.
And many nations shall be joined to the LORD on that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts have sent me unto thee."
To all those who don't believe in the Trinity, I would challenge them to read the whole seven verses and then come up with an alternate explanation.
Again, an excellent post, and I look forward to your next installment.
God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Thanks for your thought-provoking comment. I believe that Gen. 2 gives more detail about the days of creation outlined more generally in Gen. 1. In Gen. 2 we see God forming man in v. 7, after the comment in v. 5 that "there was not a man to till the ground." So I believe that God foreknew all of creation, and hence knew that He would create man, but that He did not actually create man until day 6, as explained in Gen. 1. I look forward to eternity with Christ, when He will explain all and clarify all the mysteries!
Many blessings to you,

Laurie Collett said...

Happy Sunday to you too, Ceil! That is so true, that we can encourage and edify one another by sharing our experiences of God from our unique perspectives. He is so good, all the time!
May you have a blessed week in Him!

Lisa Lewis Koster said...

I love how you pointed out "man has a mind, body, and spirit, reflecting God’s Triune Nature" I never thought of it that way before. Linked up behind you at "Hear it on Sunday..."

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Great point! Zechariah 2:6-13 does indeed reflect the Trinity -- One God, Three Persons, united in will.
Thanks as always for your insights and for your uplifting words of encouragement.
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Lisa, for your visit & lovely comment! May you have a blessed week in Him!

Brenda said...

I believe that Genesis ch. 1 can also be looked at in the context of 'with the Lord one day is as a thousand years' , with the sun and the moon representing Jesus and the church coming on the fourth day and that God is saying to Jesus about making mankind (already created) in their image. I put a post on my blog some time ago regarding my thoughts on this called 'Let us make man in our image' That is not to say that my thoughts are right though.
God bless

Laurie Collett said...

That's an interesting interpretation, Brenda, although I believe that Genesis 1 is literal in its meaning of 6 days of creation. For each day it is written "and the evening and the morning were the fourth (or other number) day," as if God were making it very clear that He is speaking of a 24-hour day. In the Jewish tradition, a day began at sundown, which I believe is why He said "evening and morning" instead of "morning and evening." Thanks as always for your thought-provoking comment, and I look forward to reading your post.
God bless,

Donald Fishgrab said...

It sure will be interesting to get into heaven and finally be able to understand all those things that human language is incapable of expressing or natural intellect of understanding.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Donald! Now through a glass darkly, then face-to-face!
God bless,

Nadwrażliwiec said...

When I studied the Gospel according to Mark I noticed, that Christ told pharisees and priests in the Temple, that Scriptures talk about Him. In their times Scriptures were only Old Testament - Moses, Prophets and Psalms. So Old Testament is full in Christs signs. Greetings from my cold city :)

Laurie Collett said...

So true, Zim! Jesus can be found on every page of the Bible, with many Messianic prophecies in the Psalms especially. Greetings and blessings to you -- may you stay warm in the cold weather!

Amy Hagerup said...

The reality of the trinity is hard for our finite minds to understand. I have heard it is like one person having three roles: a man is a son, a father, and a husband. But that doesn't quite fit. And I have heard the egg analogy of the yolk, the white, and the shell all comprising the egg. But it all falls short of what the trinity truly is. Thanks for all the scripture you included. Blessings, Amy

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much, Amy, for your comment! Wrapping our minds around the Trinity is challenging indeed, and I look forward to finally understanding it in Glory. But in the meantime, the analogies are illustrative.
God bless,

Jenni said...

Studying and reading about the Trinity is always so amazing to me. We serve such an awesome God. Thanks for sharing this with Thrive @ Home Thursday!

Janis Cox said...

Thank you for linking to Sunday Stillness. You had many people click your link. Many blessings,

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Jenni! Our God is awesome indeed! Thanks for your lovely comment & for hosting & God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Janis, for hosting, and for telling me that! May you have a blessed Thanksgiving,

momstheword said...

I remember when I was a child and had a hard time grasping the concept of the trinity. I mean, I accepted it and believed it but just couldn't quite "picture" it. I remember being told the analogy of water: left alone it's water, but you heat it and it becomes steam, freeze it and it becomes ice, Yet it's still water, but in three different manifestations.

That helped my young mind understand how there could be God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

Katherines Corner said...

another beautiful post. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. See you on Wednesday ( early hop this week because of the holiday and a big surprise) ♥

Adorned From Above said...

You really did a great job this week explaining the Trinity. Great lesson. Thanks so much for sharing with Wednesday's Adorned Link Party. Have a great Thanksgiving.
Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks for the analogy & for your comment, and for hosting! May you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Katherine, for your sweet comment & for hosting! Looking forward to "seeing" you on Wednesday!

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much, Debi & Charly, for your encouragement & for hosting! May you have a blessed Thanksgiving too!