From Devotions on the Apostles Creed
by Peter Krey
Christian News, June 24, 2013
A Trinitarian is a person who believes: “There is one God, there are three Persons; these three are one God; and of these three Persons none is the first, none is the last, none is the greatest, none is the smallest, but all three Persons are equally eternal and equally great; yet there are not three Gods, but one God.”
This three-one concept of God is wholly unknown and unspoken of outside of true Christianity. It is distinctly Christian, embodied in every Creed of Christendom.
The Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed state it thus: “I believe in God the Father...I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son.. I believe in the Holy Ghost.”
The Athanasian Creed has it this way: “We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one; the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.”
The Augsburg Confession published in 1530 declares: “There is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God, eternal without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are co-eternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”
I am a Trinitarian, then, because I am a Christian. I could not be a Christian without being a Trinitarian. As a Christian I believe that God is a Triune Being. I believe this, not because I have reasoned it out or discovered it for myself, for this mystery of three Persons being one and the same Divine Being without being parts of it, is beyond human comprehension; I believe it because God has so revealed Himself to man in Holy Scripture, and the sacred writings of the Old and the New Testament Scripture are to me God’s eternal truth. No man has ever proved the contrary nor ever will, for “the Scripture cannot be broken”, Jesus says, referring to a single word in one of the psalms. John 10:35.
I am a Trinitarian because the Bible teaches both the Trinity and the Unity of God. The Bible teaches, there is one God. “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God (Gods) is one LORD.” Deut. 6:4. “There is none other God but one.” 1 Cor. 8:4. “There is one God,” or rather, “One is God”. 1 Tim. 2:5. The Bible also teaches the plurality of Persons in God. “And God said, Let us make man in our image.” Gen. 1:26. “The LORD bless thee and keep thee; the LORD make His face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; the LORD lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.”
Num. 6:24: “from the time that it was there am I; and now the LORD God and His Spirit hast sent me.” Is. 48:16. Turning to the New Testament we read Matthew 28:19: “Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” In his last discourse Jesus says, John 15:26: “When the COMFORTER is come, whom I will send unto you from the FATHER, even the Spirit of Truth which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me.” And the apostolic benediction is well known: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all.” 2 Cor. 13:14.
That the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three distinct Persons is evident also from the narrative of the Baptism of Christ recorded in Matthew 3. The Father proclaims Himself in the voice from heaven: “This is my beloveth Son in Whom I am well pleased.” The Son is visibly present as He stands in the river Jordan. The Holy Ghost descends upon the Son from above in the likeness of a dove.
These three persons of the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, are, in many passages both of the Old and the New Testament, declared to be equally powerful and equally eternal. All three Persons receive in Scripture in an equal degree that honor and adoration which is due only to the Creator of all things, the Lord of heaven and earth. The entire and absolute equality in rank of the Father and the Son is proclaimed in Is. 9:6, where He is called “The Mighty God.” The omniscience of the Holy Ghost is attested in 1 Cor. 2:10, where it is written in Him: “The Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God.”
I am a Trinitarian because the Bible teaches me that there are three Divine Persons each of Whom is God only one Divine Being. This triuneness of three-oneness of God is an incomprehensible mystery to my mind, for the mystery does not lie in the numerical term one-three, but in the relation of the three Persons to each other, the manner in which they are united into one Godhead. The Trinitarian concept of God, places the Divine Being beyond the reach of the imagination of any creature. It puts God where God belongs, into the realm of infinity where all human understanding ceases to function, where the creature is lost in awe and admiration, where man must worship and adore. The true God must be a God whom I cannot comprehend, whom I can only worship and adore, or He is not the true God. A God whom my mind can measure and of whom I can say: This is God and this is how he lives and functions, I could not truly worship, and therefore, such a God could never be the true God; he could only be a God of my own creative imagination. All pagan idols and false gods are of this caliber. They are but men, or things, or ideas, to whom men ascribe superior powers. But the Triune God of Holy Scripture is, in the awe inspiring mystery of His Being, far above all human calculations, a God before Whom all the inhabitants of the earth must stand in away; a Being altogether and alone worthy of adoration and worship.
I am a Trinitarian also because among all the gods that men worship the Triune God alone completely fills my needs and expectations of God, to be my God, must have created me and given me life and being; He must also, to be truly my God, whom I can love and trust, have redeemed me from sin, death, and hell; He must move and lead on to holiness in life with the final outlook of a perfect and happy immortality; and He must, to be truly my God whom I can worship and adore, do all these things for me purely out of fatherly divine goodness and mercy without any merit or worthiness in me. He must be that Being who alone is perfect and who alone can say “I AM.” Such a God is the Triune God of Holy Scripture, whose name is “I AM THAT I AM.”... “I AM the Lord, the Creator... I AM He that blotteth out thy transgressions...Before Abraham was I AM... I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life...I AM the Good Shepherd...I AM the Resurrection and the life... I AM Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last...”
The Triune God is ineffably sublime in the Trinity and Unity of His Essence, in the absoluteness of His existence, in the perfection of His holiness and glory, in the scope of His power and wisdom, and in the breathtaking condescension of his love and grace. He is truly a God who calls forth in me adoration, worship, and unending praise. Therefore I am a Trinitarian, and I join spontaneously in the doxology of millions of my fellow - creatures:
“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”