Comments on the Trinity
Definition of the Trinity from the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, 1742:
“In this Divine and Infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word (or Son), and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided; the Father is of none neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son, all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and our comfortable dependence on him.”
The following is adapted from a message entitled “The Trinity” by the late fundamental Baptist preacher I.M. Haldeman, pastor of First Baptist Church, New York City, 1884-1933.
Scripture always speaks of God as One God.
“There is none other God but one...” (1 Cor. 8:4).
The Son of God, our Lord, defines God essentially as spirit (John 4:24). The Holy Ghost defines God as person (“the express image of his person,” Hebrews 1:3). But this word “person” in the Greek is hupostasis--which signifies “substance,” “essence,” and, in final analysis, ‘Being.”
So that, speaking correctly, we should say: “God is One Substance--One Essence--One Being--The Supreme Being.”
In this one and indivisible Being there is a plurality of persons--subsisting.
“God said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness” (Gen. 1:26). The Hebrew word for God here is Elohim. It is a plural noun and is always joined to a verb in the singular, indicating that the act of this plurality of persons--is always as the act of ONE.
Scripture reveals that in this One Being, this One Substance--Spirit--there subsist three distinct persons. They are known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Scripture teaches that these three persons constitute what is called the Godhead (Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9).
Each person of this Divine Being is God. And each of them is all that God is.
The Father is God (John 6:27). The Son is God (Heb. 1:8; Titus 2:13; John 20:28). The Spirit is God (Acts 5:1-4).
Each one of these persons is entirely God, but the three persons are not in any sense three Gods.
Not one of them can be God without the other two. The Father cannot be God without the Son and the Spirit. The Son cannot be God without the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit cannot be God without the Father and the Son.
Each is God only as each is in the one Being of the Godhead.
As this Godhead cannot be divided, there cannot be three Gods.
As this indivisible Being constitutes One God and no one of the persons can take any degree of Being from the other, then, the Three, being in and of the one substance, constitute one indivisible Being, or God.
Correctly and theologically speaking we are to say, concerning God, that “we neither confound the persons nor divide the substance.”
And therefore, God is a Triunity of Being in One Godhead. He is three Persons in a unity of Being.
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