How well Do You Know God? – (Part 7)
By Tommy Thornhill
My last article on this subject (part 6 last week) concluded with the thought that Jesus, being the Son of God, possesses the same attributes, nature and character as His Father, As the Hebrew writer says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” Heb.13:8. Jesus, while still among men, told His disciples, “I and My Father are one” Jn.10:30. This leads me to another point I want to study, the triune nature of God.
The first name by which we are introduced to God, is found in Gen.1.1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The word “God” in this passage is the Hebrew word “Elohim,” the plural form of “El,” the word for deity, one who has the essence of deity. “Elohim” then would be a plurality of beings (personalities) that share the essence of deity. The word, “El,” is also used in referring to pagans and their false idols or gods. So, to understand whether “el” or “elohim” refers to the One True God, or some false god or gods, one has to study the context of the verses in which the word is used.
In Gen.1:1 the word “Elohim” refers to the true God who created the heavens and the earth, referring to a plural deity. This is true, since, in the same chapter, Gen.1:26, the plural is affirmed. It says, “let Us…” See also Gen.3:22; 11:7. Each of these scriptures denote a plural God.
While this may be a mystery to us, it is still true. The God we serve is a plurality, a triune God, three in one, a trinity. But, people say, the Bible teachers that God is one. “Hear O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” Deut.6:4. Even though it is not evident in English, the word “one” (“echad” in Hebrew) is a plural word. It is the same word used in Gen.2:24. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become ONE flesh.” (Caps mine -t.t.). The husband and wife are in a unity bond together, even though the man and the woman are separate and different from the other in the relationship. The same is true with God (Elohim).
The word of God makes it clear that the triune God is composed of the Father, The Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Each of the persons differ from one another in their functions, yet they are one in purpose and plan. Jesus pointed this out as He prayed for the unity of those who believed in Him, saying to His Father, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one; I in them, and You in Me…” Jn.17:21-23a.
The Holy Spirit is also included in the plural God, for He, as well as Jesus Christ are referred to as God. Note, in dealing with the lie told by Ananias, Peter says, “…Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? … You have not lied to men but to God” Acts 5:3-4. The Holy Spirit is referred to as God.
In Heb.1:8. “But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever …” The Son of course, in the context of the passage is Jesus Christ. He is called God.
Note 1.Cor.8:4-6. “…And that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is only one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live”. He had previously written in 1.Cor.6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own.” By describing our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, Paul is identifying the Holy Spirit as God. He continues in 1.Cor.6:20. “For you are bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body, as in your spirit, which are God’s.”
When you put together the passages in 1.Cor 8 and 1.Cor 6, you have Paul affirming the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, as a triune God, each one different from the other, and becomes a NT commentary of “the LORD God is one” Deut.6:4. This can be more fully understood in studying the context of what Paul is writing about. He is opposing the defilement of God’s temple, and idolatrous worship and affirming the preeminence of the one true God, not three Gods, but ONE God in three persons.
God, the Father, is the one “of whom are all things.” He is the one who planned all things. Jesus Christ is the “one through whom are all things.” He is the one who executed the plan of the Father. See Col.1:16-17. Our bodies become the temple or dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, “who is in you.” He is there to affirm we have been adopted as God’s children, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hears, crying out, ‘Abba Father’ Gal.4:6. According to Rom.8:1-17; 1.Cor.2:12-13, the Holy Spirit indwells us through the agency of His revealed word, by which He leads and directs us in the way we should live. All three working together as one God in a unified trinity. (this to be continued next issue).
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