In a Christian worldview we refer God as triune ( the father , son and holyspirit ). So my question is when the Bible says in Old Testament that God spoke to Moses and God spoke to Noah and so on, who was speaking actually. Was it God the father, God the son or God the Holy Spirit? Could you please help me out with this.
Hey Sam – cool question. Understanding the doctrine of the Trinity certainly has its challenges, all the moreso in the Old Testament when God is primarily referred to in terms from the Hebrew language and pre-Jesus’ coming as opposed to the Greek terms we are more familiar with in the New Testament and can understand with the help of things Jesus himself said and taught. Yet we know that there is only one God and He is the same God in both the Old and New Testaments.
At its most basic level, the doctrine of the Trinity means to say that God is one in being but three in persons. Being refers to what a thing is at its essence and personhood refers to a particular form of expression of that essence. So, within the Trinity the different persons, no matter what they say or do, are only ever expressing something of the singular essence of God. In the Old Testament there is a wide range of Hebrew words used for God, each of which contain something of the essence of God which any of the persons are free to express.
Yahweh, Adonai and Elohim are some of the most common Hebrew words God is called in the Old Testament – these all carry amazing depth and profundity in what they tell us about Him. Yahweh, “I AM” refers to God’s amazing and assuring presence with us, his relationality, underlining to us that he is a God who can be known. Elohim is interesting because alongside its emphasis on the power and sovereignty of God, it denotes a meaning of plurality within singularity. Sometimes people say the Trinity is only something you find a basis for in the New Testament but that’s not the case.
So back to your question. I mention everything above to make the point that the emphases in the Old Testament texts where Hebrew text is in use and God speaks to Noah, Moses, whoever it might be, point us towards an understanding of God in terms of his being and essence moreso than towards a bulletproof way of discerning the activities of one of the particular persons in the Godhead at a given time. Since all three persons are in perfect harmony, we could say that all three might have been speaking jointly and at the same time – or we might consider arguments as to it being this or that person.
More broadly, because the Hebrew text is silent on the issue and does not map directly on to the Greek terms we use in other areas, this is a pickle which we can ask Noah or Moses, or God himself about when we get to Heaven! Next time you come across a text where God is speaking to someone in the Old Testament, I think the greatest learning opportunity exists in exploring what is being revealed about the essence of God – which floods through all three persons and about whose particular roles we learn in much clearer terms in the New Testament. Hope this helps to bring forward your thinking on this one, Sam, thanks so much for putting up the question!
Thank you so so much Andy. Eye opening and I got my answer to it’s core. A big thank you from deep within me.