We have probably all heard the argument that Christianity has three Gods. I was listening to a Rabbi teaching on Genesis 1:1 Which says Gen 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. The Hebrew word for God here is Elohim and it indicates plurality, in the same way as they, them, we, us etc. all indicate more than one person is involved. In English we could have interpreted it as “In the beginning Gods created the heaven and the earth”. But that would also be incorrect because there is only One God, ELOHIM. The Rabbi stated that in Hebrew, because the verb “created” is a pluralistic verb, therefore the one doing the creating must also be a pluralistic word.
I was praying about this, and asked the Lord to give me an insight on the matter, as I had often heard the Trinity of the Godhead described as being “like” an egg “the shell = Jesus, the white = the Holy Spirit and the yolk = God. Another one which I used to think was quite good was Water = God, Ice = Jesus, and Steam = the Holy Spirit. That was better as all three substances are the same, H2O just in a different form.
As I asked the Lord for guidance, I decided to re-read the creation story again, and when I got to Gen 1:26 King James Version says “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” Good News Bible says “Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us:” and suddenly it was like lights were popping on in my brain. I thought, if God made me like Him, and He is a triune (three in one) being, then logically, I must also be a triune (three in one) being. As I thought about it, I realised, Yes, I am one person, Lex Cullen, but I am comprised of three parts.
1. I have a “Body” which you can see, which is solid, made of flesh and bone. I live in it, work in it and with it, communicate with it, and people see my body as being me. But, 2. I also have a “Soul”, described in Collin’s Dictionary, as the seat of human intellect, personality, will, and emotions, and regarded as an entity that survives the body after death. It is interesting that the “Mayday” signal known as SOS stands for “Save our souls” not Save our bodies! 3. I also have a “Spirit” described in Collin’s Dictionary as “The force or the principle of life that animates the body of living things” The life force. We hear it said of prisoners etc. that their captors had been unable to break their spirit. Children are often described as being very high spirited, that is, they have boundless energy. I am and we are all three in one beings comprised of a body, a soul and a spirit.
I kept thinking further, so then what does the Bible say? Does it back up in other places what seems to be indicated in Genesis chapter 1? Yes it does. John 3: 6&7 tells us clearly, “What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘It is necessary for you to be born from above.” So in this passage we see that we are both Body (flesh) and also spirit. The Bible also talks about the flesh warring with the Spirit.
The Bible also talks often of the soul. Gen 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Eze 18:20 The soul that sins, it shall die. Gen 35:18 As her (Rachael’s) soul was departing (for she died), she named him Benoni, but his father named him Benjamin. Rachael’s soul was leaving her body, two parts of her being were separating from each other, one in death, and one to sleep until the resurrection. And there are many more instances where we see the soul spoken of in the Bible.
What about the spirit then? Ecc 3:21 “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” And again in ch 12:7 “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Num 14:24 “But my servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit in him, and has been true to me with all his heart, him I will take into that land into which he went, and his seed will have it for their heritage.”
The word spirit is interesting; In this last passage we see that Caleb had a different spirit, Caleb had a spirit of faith, he believed in the Lord and in God’s promises. As we can see from this, many did not, they had “dead spirits” meaning dead to God, dead to faith in God. Jesus speaking to the Pharisees said in “John 8:44 You are the children of your father, the Devil, …….” Jesus was clearly speaking of their spirit and of their spiritual father. They claimed to be descendants of Abraham, and they were, but only in the realm of the flesh, not in the realm of the spirit.
So we have seen quite clearly here that we are also triune beings, and furthermore that each individual part, of us as humans, body, soul, and spirit, can be separated one from the other, but we are still ourselves. When I die, my body is buried as Lex Cullen, my soul will stand before God as Lex Cullen and my spirit will still be the life force of Lex Cullen which returned to God at death.
How then do we equate this with a Triune God? Here is how I see it. 1. We could look on God the Son, i.e. Jesus, as the body or the flesh part of the Triune God. He came to earth as a baby and grew up amongst us. In His flesh he was able to live as a human, eat, sleep, cry, laugh, work as a human, do miracles as a human, and show God’s power to us through the miracles He did. Jesus was able to communicate God’s word to us in His teachings, and show God’s love to us, in the way He treated sinners, and lepers, and all other sick and diseased people.
This would have been impossible for a spirit or a soul to do, as people seeing a spirit or a ghost would have been frightened to death, and run away. Finally as a human being, he was able to die for us, sacrificing his own life, and shedding his own blood to pay the price of our sins. A spirit or a soul could not shed their blood. Like us, God the Son died and was separated from His Body which had been made sin for our sakes.
- We could look on God the Father as the Soul of the Triune God. The Father is the seat of divine intellect, personality, will, and emotions. The Bible tells us God is love. The Bible tells us God’s fury will come up in His face at the beginning of His wrath being poured out on this world. The Bible tells us God hates sin and unrighteousness. The Bible tells us God is a jealous God. Jesus tells us we need to do His Father’s will in our lives. Just, merciful, compassionate patient kind etc; the soul of the Godhead fits “The Father” without a doubt.
- The Holy Spirit. The third person of the Triune God, is the Life Force of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit is the power that gets things done. Luk_4:14 “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee:” Jesus whole life was lived, and all His miracles were performed by the power of the Spirit of God who never ever left Him. Paul’s ministry was also marked by the power of the Holy Spirit as seen in Rom_15:19 “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God …. I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”
Even in creation we see in Gen 1:2 the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water. Let us see the Triune God at work in this verse. It was The Father who thought it, The Word which came from God’s mouth was Jesus prior to his birth as a human being, but it was the Spirit which was moving on the water to create. The Holy Spirit is the power of God. The force that animates and gives power.
Here we can also see that all three persons in the Godhead are involved in creation. Indeed in everything we see in the Bible from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 we see the unity of the Godhead, all three persons are equally involved in everything that is thought, said and done. This is the same with us also, the soul cannot do something unless the body co-operates, and if the life force is too weak or is not present, the body can do nothing. We are body, soul and spirit, just like God, but we are still only one person.
Finally, we have seen how parallel we humans, and God are as triune beings. Obviously God is far and away greater in every way than we are, but the picture is clearly seen. The final question is how can God separate his persons from each other as it may seem to us He does?
Well, could I suggest that maybe He doesn’t. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” Jesus was and is God the Father. The Holy Spirit was with Jesus all His life, and so was The Father, they were part of Jesus, otherwise how could Jesus have said in John 5:19 “I tell you for certain that the Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing, and he does exactly what he sees the Father do”. I believe Jesus could see what the Father was doing in His spirit, and He copied what He saw His Father doing. Isa 9:6 sums it up. “A child will be born for us. A son will be given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. He will be named: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
We have been created in the likeness and image of God as triune human beings, even as He, is a Triune God.