Jesus Himself indicated a trinity in His great commission at the end of His earthly mission, as recorded in the final chapter of the book of Matthew. Such a Trinity, the presence of three persons in one essence, is not in conflict with the unity of a single God and provides an understanding that we simple-minded humans can grasp.
Rev. Dr. J. Mike Howington’s Belief on the Trinity 1
It may, however, be limiting our heavenly almighty Father to believe that He is just a “trinity” of “beings.” The Holy Bible is given to us through the actions of the Holy Spirit so that we may know God, but it is mostly written in terms we can grasp. God explained His relationship with us in terms we can understand and pass on to others but left unsaid those things that are beyond our comprehension. Some of the Scripture we have contains passages that we cannot yet fully explain and our churches are often creating doctrine to explain some of the things not directly stated.
The concept of the “one in three,” adopted by the Council of Constantinople in AD 381, might be an expression that is less than God. Jesus Himself indicated a trinity in His great commission at the end of His earthly mission, as recorded in the final chapter of the book of Matthew. “Our Father which art in heaven” is “God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” but I believe that God may be far more than just that.
The Orthodox view of Jesus Christ’s nature was established by the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. (Note: The Council of Chalcedon is the fourth of the first seven Ecumenical Councils in traditional Christianity.) It established the mature expression of the Christian faith known as Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. The council resulted in a major schism, especially in Egypt and the East. The council was called to meet at Nicaea but was moved at the last moment to Chalcedon.
Although he did not personally attend, Roman Catholic Pope Leo I was a major presence at the Council of Chalcedon. The doctrine says that there is only one Jesus Christ but He has two natures, the human nature and the divine nature. He is truly God and truly man, composed of body and rational soul. In His deity He was begotten of the Father before time, and in His humanity, He was born of the virgin Mary. The distinction between the natures is not diminished by their union, but the specific character of each is eternally preserved and they are united in one person. Jesus is not split or divided into two persons; He is one person, the second person of the God-Head, the Son of God. 2 Mysteriously, perfectly, and eternally, Jesus Christ is “two whole, perfect and distinct natures, the Godhead and the Manhood inseparably joined in one person, without conversion [i.e. one becoming the other], composition [not glued like plywood] or confusion.” 3
The concept of the Trinity makes possible the provision of someone capable of acting as Mediator between God and Man to provide objective redemption and salvation. 4 Such a Trinity, the presence of three persons in one essence, is not in conflict with the unity of a single God and provides an understanding that we simple-minded humans can grasp. But I did struggle with that concept before I came to know the Lord as God incarnate. When I questioned the impossibility of a baby being truly a human dependent on its mother for food and the changing of its diaper also being God Almighty the creator of all things, my friend, Chaplin Brad Rizor (Baptist) replied with the question, “Isn’t it conceivable that God Almighty who can create everything in the universe, including the stars, planets, this earth, living creatures, men and women could also do something as simple as visit His earth in the form of a baby?” This supernatural fusion of natures in our Savior is both taught in Scripture and inferred from the fact that Jesus Christ is unequivocally God and unequivocally man. 5
There is no sound reason to place any limitations on what God can do, cannot do, or exists as. It may not seem logical to say that God is His own cause but many things about God defy mortals’ limited understanding, such as the complete understanding of God’s multiple beings in one God (commonly referred to as The Trinity). Saying that God is His own cause could be just as correct as saying that He is self-existent. But limiting God to three divine natures, as in the church’s definition of The Holy Trinity, is insufficient. Even though it is true that the Bible frequently gives evidence of God’s presence and aspects of divinity in terms of the three aspects of divinity labeled The Holy Trinity, Scripture contains many more than just three facets.
There are lots of scriptural references to God being Love. The Trinity should be expanded to include “Love.” Love is the greatest evidence of God’s presence and work, even as much as God is Spirit. Love was the constant, greatest evidence of the presence and work of God in Jesus Christ. There are lots of scriptural references to God being Light. The Trinity should be expanded to include “Light.” There are abundant scriptural references to the maternal and feminine aspects of divinity indicating The Trinity should be expanded to include “Mother,” or “She.” There are many pieces of evidence of the Almighty’s power or intensity. Perhaps the Trinity should be expanded to include “Power,” or “Strength,” or “Force,” or “Omnipotence.” There are many references to God’s authority, influence, control, and dominance. Perhaps the Trinity should be expanded to indicate “God is Sovereignty,” or “God is Supremacy.” Certainly, The Trinity needs to be augmented by God’s own self-description: “I am.”
The point is there is no limit to what God can do and of what He embodies. He is not best defined by a triangle, but perhaps best depicted as an infinite circle with all points on the circumference being equal to each other.
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In conclusion, consider what the Daily Bread email message sent on 5/15/2023 says,
Matthew 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, (NASB)
Jesus gave instructions to the disciples to do work in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in AD 30. The Orthodox view of Jesus Christ’s nature was established by the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. The concept of the “one in three,” was adopted by the Council of Constantinople in AD 381. This Trinity view is defined in the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church (CCC #266) as “Now this is the Catholic faith: We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son’s is another, the Holy Spirit’s another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, their glory …”
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