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In this case, a delightful letter from the USA, exposed some new assaults (but they are so very old in type) on the trinity, so that a brief but pithy and eminently clear presentation was desired. It is added here in case it should be of any help to any other, because the Trinity is marvellous, a mystery in ONE sense, that it is the wonderful way in which the Lord is; but NO MYSTERY in another way, in this, that the Lord's teaching about Himself, His Father and the Holy Spirit, in keeping with all scripture, is eminently clear, wholly harmonious and far from being incapable of reasonable comprehension.

IT IS TRUE, that when dealing with the prodigious marvels of the infinite God, we must watch our lips, and speak only as the word has commanded, inventing nothing, adding nothing, subtracting nothing. It is ALSO TRUE that the Bible is full of parables, presentations to use something known and familiar, to HELP the IMAGINATION, in sanctified liveliness, to grasp reality, without substituting these efforts for the reality itself. This is the vital point in parables, so thick in scripture, as almost to remind one of traffic at knock-off time. The Lord is kind and bends to our needs; and so we should follow His example, though with great care.

QUESTION (in effect): WHAT MAY BE SAID CLEARLY, SIMPLY AND BIBLILCALLY ON THE TRINITY, to prevent miunderstanding or confusion ?

ANSWER:  You would like some explanation on the presentation of the Trinity. Let me therefore with the Lord’s help, provide something for you, along these lines. I hope it helps you, but what one teaches here is just what is Biblical and is nothing novel.

On the Trinity, then, there are 3 lines of concern which one might address.

1)  What is the FACT that the Bible teaches.
2)  What is the meaning of this fact, in terms of comprehending it, from its context and the whole scope of the Bible.
3)  Are there any images or "likenesses" which can amplify or simplify the initial understanding, without in any way limiting the reality to which they refer. In this case, it is rather like parables, which are put to stir the imagination, alongside other more direct teaching.

{On this, let me insert this: it is treated in depth in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, pp. 532-581, and also in some detail in Biblical Blessings Ch.13, and especially in A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 12  and 15. Also there are many references in both indexes as displayed on the Home Page, for topics. But now we pass on in brief, knowing this is provided for detailed study if needed.}

1)  On point 1 of the list above, I have seen no reason to differ from what I have seen of the thrust of

They all have it essentially right as to the fact, I believe. Praise God for that.
It is in the end, just a matter of knowing and meditating on the teaching of the word of God.

In John 8:58 you find that Christ declares, to Jews who consider Him rather elevated and making too much of Himself, and in fact stating that Abraham rejoiced to see Christ’s day, this: "BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM!"

Now this is a multiply connected statement in the rest of Scripture. "I AM" is the name God gives to Moses, by which to declare that He, God Almighty as known, is to be received. THAT is the name of that same BEING! Then He tells Moses, in view of this, WHOM to say has SENT him!  "I AM HAS SENT ME TO YOU", is to be the reply to Jewish elders in Egypt, considering whether or not to heed Moses, as a leader and deliverer from the ‘slave pen’ of Egypt. (See Exodus 3:14, 6:3). THIS NAME, which is specific to God Almighty, is used by Christ as His own, in indicating that Abraham rejoiced to see His day! That explains how it could be. He, Christ, is the I AM!

In Isaiah repeatedly and in various ways, God makes it clear that

a)  there is no other God,
b)  there never has been and
c)  there never will be (cf. Isaiah 42:5,43:10-13, 44:6, 44:24-26, 45:12,21-25, 46:9-10,48:13). There is no other EL and no other ELOHIM (Hebrew terms), in the celestial sphere, we read in Isaiah 45:21ff.; and so, in all these statements, we find. God is God, one and only, Creator of all (Isaiah 45:12), with no other Saviour.

THIS ONE GOD has made it clear that He has a NAME, like that for a cheque book: He has a name which is HIS, and by which He is to be known. (Just so, you too have a name.) THIS He told Moses. THIS He used. This is that by which He operated in the foundational episodes for the nation, in the Exodus. THIS is the name arrested, attested, appropriated, TAKEN TO HIMSELF BY JESUS CHRIST. It is HIS. Thus this SAME ONE ONLY GOD is to have, as part of His supremacy and name, all to BOW the knee to HIM (Isaiah 45:23ff.). "I am God and there is NONE ELSE," He says just before this. He has sworn by Himself that to HIM this is to happen: they will all bow to HIM.

In Philippians we find that this unique feature of this God of all majesty, who is ONE ONLY, is that they will all bow to JESUS CHRIST, to His glory. The object of bowing is Christ, and yet this ONE GOD will NOT GIVE HIS GLORY to another (Isaiah 48:11). IN the bowing therefore there is the fulfilment of the divine desire which is personal, unique and statedly required by God for God.

Hence, once again, we find that Christ is this deity in human form. That in fact is PRECISELY what Paul declares in Philippians 2:1-3, that Christ was in the form of God, and it was nothing ‘to be snatched at’ to be equal with God, but He made Himself over into the form of a servant, and became obedient to the cross, on which He bore the iniquity of all who came to Him, and whose hearts were thus healed of their iniquities, and were justified (53:11).

It is, moreover, what Christ indicates in John 5:19ff., where He does what the Father does in the SAME WAY (actually JUST the same way is what is written in Greek). He is moreover to be given the SAME HONOUR. THAT would be entirely idolatrous and impossible, since God will not give His glory to another: UNLESS, as Paul declares, Christ is EQUAL with God.

Certainly He adopted a LOWLY position (Phil. 2), even that of a servant, and so became OBEDIENT as a SACRIFICE even, before His Father by His humiliation; this was the humbling which His majesty took in love. It did not change who He was, however, or alter His identity, any more than you would if you were a ranch dweller and came in some rush and crush with tourists to another country. It changed the working position; not the inheritance and the reality.

Indeed, in Colossians 1:15ff., we find that He CREATED all things. Creation, however, as already seen in Isaiah as above, is the SOLE PREROGATIVE of God, who ALONE stretched forth the heavens and who ALONE, is the Creator (Isaiah 42:5, 8, 44:24,45:12).

Further indeed, GOD ALONE IS SAVIOUR (Isaiah 43:10-11), whereas Christ is the ONLY SAVIOUR (Acts 4:11-12) given to man under heaven, and it is in HIM ALONE that God was pleased so to act, towards the reconciliation of all things (Colossians 1:19ff.); and it is in HIM that all is to be gathered in ONE (Ephesians 1:10).

Sole Saviour, Creator, possessor of divine glory, recipient in glory of His own alone, of acknowledgment from all that He is God, zealous possessor of a NAME which is HIS ONLY, this God is precisely the ONE who … what ? It is He who accords JUST THESE THINGS, His signature in word and deed and history, to CHRIST, His eternal life (I John 1:1-4) and word John 1:1 - (there ARE no other Gods) which He despatched to earth for a mission as in Isaiah 48:16, a word of exquisite depth, requiring diligent study.

As to Isaiah 48:16, note here that God indicates that it is the LORD who is to be sent (Isaiah 48:14-16), even He who runs history, and it is HE whom the Lord GOD and His Spirit is sending (as in Isaiah 41:29-42:6). Back in Israel in its need, NONE could be found but HE, we read there in Isaiah (just cited)! HE is the COVENANT, we read in verse 6. Indeed, it is Christ who redeems, and is the Redeemer (Job 19) who is to stand in the last days on the earth! It is GOD who is the redeemer, and it is CHRIST who is the redeemer (Isaiah 44:6, 53:5-11). As always, in these matters, these are ONE GOD, who appears as sender and sent.

That is the fact of the Bible. That is the fact duly noted in several Reformation creeds, as earlier, in the Council of Chalcedon which dealt with the issue. There was a heresy called Arianism which tried to rebut this, but it failed, and the church has constantly kept to this reality. It is as clear as day, when it is Summer. The Biblical fact is extremely highly attested.

But what of POINT TWO in our list ?

2) What is the MEANING of the fact ? This is a matter for reflection as we ponder all the above and many, many more scriptures on the point. There is obviously ONE BEING, called God. This is stated over and over.

There is equally clearly the One who SENDS as in Isaiah 48:16, and the One who is SENT (as also in Zechariah 2:8). There is ONE Saviour, decisively and emphatically and EXCLUSIVELY ONE, we read in Isaiah 43:10-11; and yet in Isaiah 53 we find that it "pleased the Father to bruise Him" , even to do this to the One who saved. This He did to the One sacrificially sent, on whom for those healed from their iniquities by His wounding, chastisement, bruising and death (53:5), meets "the iniquity of us all" (53:6,7). This is what is written for us there. Father and Son in the love of sending and in the love to the very point of sacrifice, are as one (as Christ declared in John 10:30, so bringing about the Jewish desire to stone Him, since He, being man, made Himself God! - we read in John 10:31-33.

If, said Christ, you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins (John 8:24). He who has seen Me has seen the Father (John 14). If you or I said that it would be insane and blasphemous in a fine old blend, readily disprovable with a nod. When He said it, the only way out was to kill Him! This was the beautiful trinitarian plan, so precipitating the sacrifice for salvation, of the Saviour.

Indeed, we read, it is BY bearing their sin, that He proceeds to the justification of the believers (Isaiah 53:1,10ff.). HE, the Messiah, the Christ,  is then the Saviour, just as announced in Zechariah 9:6, quoted in the New Testament of Christ, and as in Luke 2:11 and Acts 4:11-12. He ONLY is the Saviour we see in Acts. GOD ONLY is the Saviour as we see in Isaiah 43:10-11.  THIS ONLY is the Gospel matrix, as we find in Galatians 1-3. There IS no other gospel.

He IS deity in name, He IS deity in function, in honour (that ALL men should honour the SON JUST AS - Greek - they honour the Father (John 5:19ff.). In eternity (John 17:3ff., Micah 5:1-3, I John 5:1-3) likewise it is He who is God.

What then is found ?

There is ONE BEING. There is the SENT ONE and there is the SPIRIT - again as in Isaiah 48:16. You see this too in John 15:26, where the Spirit which proceeds from the Father, is sent by the Son. HE testifies of CHRIST (John 16:14). That He glorifies CHRIST is shown in this verse 14, in that He RECEIVES OF WHAT IS CHRIST’S and SHOWS IT. "The LORD IS THE SPIRIT", says Paul in II Cor. 3:17; and that Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8ff.). "If I do not go away," said Christ, "the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7). There is ONE BEING. There are THREE who constitute that one being.

Thus God is ONE in BEING and THREE in PERSONS. That three persons should be one Being is not in the least difficult. Much is ONE is one sense, three in another. WE are one in the sense that we have a name, MAN, or a man, or this man or that one or woman, and yet… we THINK to OURSELVES, and have consciences and spirit, and this spirit can be assaulted by the flesh and so on. We have mind and body and spirit as we see so clearly in Genesis 1-3, I Corinthians 12-14, I Thessalonians 5:24. THIS is not difficult. We LIVE IT!

With respect to a BEING, God is ONE. With respect to PERSONS, He is three.
Three persons thus without division but without confusion are this ONE GOD. Each is harmonious with the other. Each as the famed Cappadocian doctors pointed out, has a specialised function. Christ (Matthew 11:27) reveals the Father and the Spirit reveals Christ. It is like mist parting.

This is the normal teaching on the Trinity in the Bible, as reflected in the creeds and the history of the Christian Church. What however of POINT 3, HELPFUL FIGURES FOR THOUGHT(as in Hosea 12:10).

3) How, then, can one use some images to help understanding ? Christ did this. let us seek to follow His example. A situation may be able to be pictured, in this way.

Imagine a lake on a mist-crowned hill. It sits on the top, squarely.

How can one find it ? It is too high, too far into the clouds, hard to find through the complex routes. So one finds a waterfall spilling down the hillside. This one sees coming from the mist, downward falling like a dart of light, so very visible, so very easily seen, readily approached. It is SO easy to see. Thank goodness, we say, and simply follow this WATER in the waterfall, as it streams down from the top, UPWARD to the WATER of the lake at the top.
BOTH are water. The lake and the stream do not differ in that. There is no distinction in that; but EACH has a different function in this, that one LEADS you TO the other. In fact, to take it a step further (John 14:6), there IS NO OTHER WAY TO GET THERE, to the lake at the top, which in our little parable, of course, represents the Father who sends.

In key, of course, God is not water but a Being; and He has CHOSEN to sent His eternal word into human form, begotten by the Holy Spirit, and so informed into flesh. He has CHOSEN that NO other way home is there, and He asserts that our sin requires this SALVATION (which is His, and He is it) as the ONLY WAY.

But the image ? does the parable proceed ? Yes, it does. In this way, then, the water hits a hydro-electric turbine and so goes the electricity to the houses by the line of wire; but in the meaning of our parable, this is the line of faith, and there it is; but some do not receive it. They will not humble themselves for the attachment. COUNT THE COST! Christ charged. In one sense, there is only GAIN, for GOD IS WONDERFUL, and the cost is ZERO, when it comes to actual PAYING FOR salvation (Romans 3:23ff.). But some find the cost far from zero, when it comes to forsaking the delusions of sin, which makes them but slaves (John 8:33-36).

Let us take another and very simple picture or parable.

Again, a prince may take the FORM of a soldier, and be treated as a private in the Army, without CEASING to be a prince. If he does this for some purpose on the part of the king, then well, it is a humbling which does NOTHING to change WHO HE IS, heir of the whole kingdom; but MUCH to change how he is treated while in the Army! For Christ, the earth was His service, and what conspicuous gallantry He showed, allowing all who would to see that GOD is wonderful in patience, power and grace, love and compassion.

Equally He showed that He will by no means clear the guilty; yet by no means does He desire their everlasting contempt. (See Lamentations 3:33, Ezekiel 33:11, Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42- and note the following verses where mercy forsaken, judgment sets in as from the hand of God - cf. Matthew 7:15). HE made the difference, but it must be received, He must be received as He is, and that in repentance and faith.

Hence He acted (as in Psalm 40 - quoted in Hebrews 10:7 in this regard), delighted to come and so it; and finished it (Hebrews 9:12-10:14) so that He might be an anchor in the holy of holies, in the presence of the trinity, for those who love and believe in Him.

Accordingly, in Revelation 22:3, there is ONE THRONE (singular) for the Father and the Lamb, who Himself (Revelation 2:8) is "THE FIRST AND THE LAST".

This very name, of course, once again, is that which GOD USES FOR HIMSELF, even when declaring emphatically that there is NONE LIKE HIM (Exodus 15:11, I Samuel 2;2, Isaiah 44:6, 40:18, 46:5, Psalm 89:6-8). There is NONE even LIKE God, but Christ is His "exact image" (Hebrews 1:3), and of Christ  it is said, "Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever…" (Hebrews 1:8), as Hebrews points out! It is THIS Christ, as so revealed in the word of God, who is able to save to the uttermost all those who come to God by Him (Hebrews 7:25) - and not some other. Thus the name ‘Jaguar’ does not make the car; it is only the car specified when the name is used according to specifications.

With all goodwill,

In Christ,
That Magnificent Saviour -

from  Robert