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Q. Can you explain the Godhead to me?

A. Remember how important this subject is. When we speak about “God”, we must speak about God as He has revealed Himself in Holy Scripture or we will be speaking about a “god” of our own imagination - and that’s both a false view of God and idolatry.*  The Old and the New Testaments gradually make clear that the one true and living God is also triune, i.e. three distinct persons, but one God. You see this most clearly in the formula for Christian baptism in which a person is baptized into the Name (not: Names) of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit (Matthew 28:19)

Nature can’t teach us that “there are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, #6).** However, only creation by the Trinity can explain the “One and the Many:” problem in philosophy. Why are there collective and universal things, i.e. the One, e.g. the State, animals of a particular species (dogs, cats, birds, etc.), concepts (love, grace, truth) and, at the same time, specific and local things, i.e. the Many, eg. citizens, poodles, Siamese cats, bluebirds, the cross of Jesus Christ? There are universals and particulars in the entire created order because all was made by the God who is “One and Many”.

The first indicator of this in Scripture is in Genesis 1:26, when God said, “Let us make man in our image…male and female he created them.” Here’s the “one and the many” again. Humankind, i.e Man, is one - a universal. But there are two particular humans, i.e. man and woman. They are made for fellowship. They mirror the God who is eternally in fellowship with himself by the Holy Spirit. In fact, when we read that “God is love” (I John 4:16) we must assume that God is more than one person. “Love” is meaningless if there is not someone to love! “God is love” because the Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father, both love the Holy Spirit, and, by the Holy Spirit, there is an eternal communion in love of these three divine persons, cf. II Corinthians 13:14, “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.” (which probably refers to the fellowship He gives within the Trinity that is now reflected in the people of God as they are being re-made into the image of the Triune God, cf. Ephesians 4:24.)

But how are we to relate to each individual Person in the Godhead?

We’ll begin to look at that in next week’s Haven Heart to Heart - we’ll begin learning how to delight in the Trinity!


* John Calvin, the great theologian of the Protestant Reformation, rightly wrote that if we try to think about God without thinking of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, then “only the bare and empty name of God flits about in our brains - to the exclusion of the true God.”

** Which is why we should not try to understand what God is by seeking to work from the natural realm up to God himself. When we speak of God as “The Great Architect of the Universe” or as “the Intelligent Designer” we are not speaking of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and we also miss the profound implications of God doing all of his work with a Trinitarian impress. Whenever we speak of God we should always presuppose the way He has revealed Himself in Scripture and work out the implications of that from this starting point.