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How do we make sense of the Trinity?

Say hello…
Hey! Don’t know what else to say…

Where are you from?
Pakistan.

What led you to join Connect?
My aunt sent me the link, since I have had questions about the Bible for a long time, which I sometimes can’t line up with my moral conscience.

How do you hope to participate?
By understanding stuff like the Trinity, since everyone makes me more confused when they explain it; also, they do it without reference to the Scriptures.

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Hello @AazerAllen We warmly welcome you to the Connect community and are very thankful that you have joined us. I joined about a year ago and have found it to be a great place to have a lot of my questions answered and also meet wonderful people along the way.

Your post and questions are welcome here and we encourage you to get involved in this forum If you click on the triple horizontal line at the top of the page, you will see different categories come up (Bible Question, Christian Growth, Daily Evangelism, etc.,). You can ask your question(s) in any of those categories if you choose. You can also key in your topic of interest in the search engine :mag: top of page and see if any previous discussions come up that answer some of your questions.

Following are a couple of links that may help you in your understanding of the Trinity.

Here is a video by Abdu Murray on the Trinity.

If these links bring up more questions, or are confusing, I really want to know. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you.

Mary Beth

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Welcome aboard @AazerAllen. Thank you for your willingness to explore and engage. I hope the response from @MaryBeth1 addresses some of your inquiry. This is what connect is all about, and I see some day you attaching a thread or video for someone else just as was done for you here. Enjoy the journey of learning and knowing truth. God bless you and your journey.

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Hi @AazerAllen, welcome to connect and thank you for your honesty. I am with @Keldon_Scott in hopes that @MaryBeth1 has helped you with your inquiry :pray:t3: Abdu has helped me profoundly in his explanation as well as Nabeel Quershi and C.S. Lewis.

Keep us posted on your journey to seek understanding :pray:t3:

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Nabeel and Abdul Murray’s explanation of the Trinity was well done, since they both have backgrounds that oppose Trinity, but I don’t understand how Jesus would be inferior to God the Father, since they’re all one with God; being the same “being” the way I understand it would mean that they are all equal. Of course Jesus was “inferior” in the flesh, since He took upon a sinful body, but otherwise, I don’t understand an explanation for assuming Jesus’ inferiority. Calling Jesus ‘Son’, in my opinion, doesn’t necessarily apply inferiority, since Jesus was reffered to as the Son of God when he took upon the role of being inferior in the flesh. I would argue that for the Trinity to be a fathomable concept, all three persons have to be considered equal.

Another question is, can we pray to the Holy Spirit? I personally address Jesus when praying, as do others, but I’ve never heard of someone addressing the Spirit when praying. The Spirit is one with God, so there shouldn’t be a problem with it. If the argument is that the Spirit is inferior in the persons of the Trinity, then that would mean we should only pray to God the Father, who is the most superior.

In John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth." Why does Jesus have to ask God the Father, as in take His permission, since Jesus Himself was God and we see that by His authority to forgive sins. It seems like He said that because He was in a human body at the time, not His eternal divine nature, and I can’t think of any other explanation.

But since Jesus mentioned “asking” the Father, are we led to believe that He has to discuss this with all three persons of the Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and if He does then how is it possible since God is One being and so anything that the Son knows the other persons should immediately also know and be agreeable to it as they are all still one God.

One last question, the way I think about the Trinity is One being, as in one physical form but three spiritual forms. But in the Psalms Jesus is mentioned by David as being at the right hand of the Father. So, hypothetically, for the sake of understanding better, if I were to go to Heaven, would I see three separate persons representing One God, or just One God, who has three persons?

Sorry for the lengthy post; no one I’ve talked to is able to answer these specific questions and they always steer away from the questions instead of answering them. I understand that there needs to be some mystery to God otherwise what’s the point of God if we know everything, but I think we should still have a concept about the existence of the Trinity if we do reject questioning the existence of the Trinity.
Thanks in advance!

Hello @AazerAllen and thank you for your great questions.

I think the phrase “willfully submitted” should be substituted for the word “inferior” in this context. When Jesus willfully submitted to God the Father, He became a human, but He did not cease to exist as God at any point during His time on this earth. While Jesus was on earth, He remained God and equal in His essence and nature to the Father, but His office or role was different. You are equal in nature to the person who holds the highest position in the land, but you do not have the same office. You are still you, but you have a different function in society.

Another great question. Scripture tells us to pray to “our Father in Heaven” by the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us and in the Name of Jesus.

In Matthew 6.9-13 and Luke 11.2-4, Jesus, talking to His disciples, said something that is key to the passage. “When you pray, pray like this, Father, hallowed is Your Name…”

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6.18) Notice what it does not say. It does not say "praying to the Holy Spirit. Another verse is Romans 8.26-27 “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us…” The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit that lives and dwells in believers and helps them to know how to pray to the Father. An important thing to note concerning the Holy Spirit, is what Jesus identified as one of the Holy Spirit’s roles. In John 16.13-14 Jesus states, “However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you.” The Holy Spirit always draws our attention to Jesus, not to Himself.

In John 14.13-14 and John 16.23-24 we are told to pray in the Name of Jesus. His name is the most powerful Name in the universe. In doing this, we submit to His will and use His authority to come before the “Throne of grace”. (Hebrews 4.16)

I realize I have not answered all of your questions. Due to time constraints, I will have to revisit this later.

Thank you, Aazer for your posts!

Mary Beth

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Is that implying that He only was in wilful submission while on Earth, which seems to make more sense to me, or does that mean that He still is in wilful submission? If He still is, then is God the Father the highest person in the Trinity, since He’s not in wilful submission to anyone?

Also, while Jesus was on Earth, can we say that for a while, the Trinity lacked the divine nature of the second person, and not be factually wrong?
Sorry that I’m asking even more questions lol.

Just a reminder, hope you can help me with answers soon!

Hello @AazerAllen

Your posts and questions are welcome and encouraged. Questions help us all to grow in our wisdom and understanding of God and His Word.

The following links go into more detail and will be useful in answering your questions, citing scripture and the beliefs of early church fathers. Regarding your question of subordination on the part of the Son, the position put forth in these articles can be summed up in the statement from Banner of Truth writer Duncan Boyd:

“But is this [Eternal Subordination of the Son - ESS] true? Is it biblical? It is the contention of this article that ESS is untrue and unbiblical. And that it has dangerous implications for the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity and indeed the doctrine of salvation.”

https://banneroftruth.org/uk/resources/articles/2018/son-god-eternally-subordinate-father/

If you have more questions, Aazer, do not hesitate to ask. I am interested to know what you think.

Trinity is not a word found in the Bible or used by Jesus Christ. But it is the crystallization of the teachings of the Bible. God eternally exists as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at Genesis, the Gospels, and Revelation.

Genesis 1:26
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

“Us” and “we” are plural forms. Jesus Christ who is God the Son existed with God the Father from eternity and he is the creator of heaven and earth and everything in it.

John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Revelation 22:12-23
Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

The Alpha and the Omega means Jesus is God and the author of everything. He formed man out of the dust of the earth, he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. John 1:1-3 gives us the same message. The pre-existence of Christ and the creation of the universe through him.

Jesus is fully God and became fully man. This is called the hypostatic union. (John 10:30 "I and the Father are one”).

In the Baptism of Jesus Christ, all the three persons of the Godhead are manifested. God the Son was baptized. God the Holy Spirit came down upon him like a dove. The voice of God the Father was heard.

Jesus was crucified on the ground of blasphemy, for claiming to be the Son of God. We may find it difficult to understand what it means to be called the Son of God. But the Jews understood immediately. It means Jesus was claiming to be one with God or equal to God. To the Jews this was the ultimate blasphemy and punishable by death.

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Ok so I’m no expert but I’ll try and give you a few answers. Jesus is definitely not inferior neither is the spirit. That was talking about him in the flesh. (John 17:5 now father glorify me with yourself, with glory Which I had with you before the world was).

All prayer should be directed to our triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Bible allows for prayer to one or all three, because all three are one. To the Father we pray with the psalmist, “Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray” ([Psalm 5:2] To the Lord Jesus, we pray as to the Father because they are equal. Prayer to one member of the Trinity is prayer to all. Stephen, as he was being martyred, prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” ([Acts 7:59]. We are also to pray in the name of Christ. Paul exhorted the Ephesian believers to always give “thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” ([Ephesians 5:20]. Jesus assured His disciples that whatever they asked in His name—meaning in His will—would be granted ([John 15:16]; [16:23]

We are told to pray in the Spirit and in His power. The Spirit helps us to pray, even when we do not know how or what to ask for ([Romans 8:26][Jude 20]. Perhaps the best way to understand the role of the Trinity in prayer is that we pray to the Father, through (or in the name of) the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. All three are active participants in the believer’s prayer.

I may be a little off on this. But where you reference Jesus saying I will ask my father and he will send an advocate. Just remember some things are incomprehensible on earth. And Jesus used language simply to illustrate in our minds, concepts or ideas. (Knock and the door will be opened. We don’t think there is a physical door that he is going to open). (The rich young ruler asked good teacher what must I do. And Jesus said why do you all me good? no one is good but god). He said i am going to prepare a place for you. He could have been using language for them to understand.

And the final one about what will god look like in heaven oh boy… I have no idea. I don’t even think we would be able to grasp it. I mean when you read some of the imagery of angelic beings. That’s hard to grasp. Honestly I don’t think we are meant to know until the day. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard. Paul talks about some heavenly things being unrepeatable. In judges 13:18 manoah asks the angel of the lord (God) what his name is so they can honour him when the promise he gave comes to pass. And he says why do you ask my name seeing it is wonderful. Another word For wonderful is incomprehensible. His very name is incomprehensible!

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Hi, @AazerAllen! Welcome to this community.

Regarding your interest on the subject of God’s tri-unity (i.e. Trinity), I could only offer these 2 illustrations:

  1. Time-Space Continuum— These two realities cannot be separated at any degree although the two are inherently different: space is tangible, while time is abstract.
  2. Marriage (Union of a Man and a Woman)— This is the closest mystery we could get to show parallel of God’s triune nature. Once a pair entered into the bond of marriage, one is no longer his or hers alone. It’s already them or theirs. Because of human’s fallen nature we violated the sanctity of marriage and accommodated divorce. But such separation will always leave an irrepairable scar to both.

I hope the above illustrations could somehow aide you in grasping a mystery that is really beyond the capacity of our human mind to comprehend and on which faith should be exercised.

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I appreciate your good questions and openness to our efforts to respond! I have two observations that have helped me as a teacher and preacher for nearly 30 years. First is that while God has revealed Himself extensively in Scripture, He hasn’t revealed Himself exhaustively. We will understand it all one Day, but in the meantime, we need to realize that some things about God, like the Tri-unity of God, and the mutual submission between the Persons of the Trinity, involve mystery (not a who-dunnit mystery but a depth that defies our finite understanding in this life.) Secondly, godly submission is not a weakness and it is not coerced. James 3:17 (NIV) teaches that “…the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Submission is the choice of the will that promotes unity within diversity. The terms “ontological” and “economic” are philosophical terms and ideas that put words to the complexities of theology. Nothing wrong with them other than the fact that they are products of human thought and may not always exhaust the truth of what God has revealed in Scripture. I have never used them in preaching! Faith, more than our understanding, is the key to knowing God!

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