GOD NAMED PARTS OF THE TRINITY HIMSELF
There are three parts to God’s trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These are not names theologians have given to the trinity. These are the names God gave himself and uses throughout the Bible.
Of all the words and phrases God could have used, it’s significant that he chose these names as the best words to communicate to us what he’s like. It’s reasonable to expect that these words hold within them depths of meaning which will help us understand him.
Of all the words God could have used to describe the soul-part (mind/will/emotion) of his trinity, he chose the word ‘Father.’ The deep meaning of this word is explained in this Topic 42.
Of all the words God could have used to describe the body-part of his trinity, he chose the word ‘Son.’ The deep meaning of that word is explained in Topic 43.
Of all the words God could have used to describe the spirit-part of his trinity, he chose the word ‘holy’ to modify the word ‘spirit.’ The deep meaning of the words ‘Holy Spirit’ is explained in Topic 44.
EVERYONE IS AWARE OF THE ‘FATHER’
The Bible says that every person has intuitive knowledge of the supernatural. God the Father is the supreme God of the universe, generally recognized and acknowledged by people everywhere.
He’s our designer, creator and sustainer. He established the physical and spiritual laws by which we live and die.
Everyone knows he’s ‘out there,’ but without understanding the trinity, as explained in the Bible, no one can really know him.
WHY GOD CALLS PART OF HIS TRINITY ‘FATHER’
A dominant theme throughout the Bible is that, by personal choice, we can become a member of God’s family. The family of God is not all mankind, but rather only those people who receive spiritual life by believing in his Son.
The Bible portrays a family concept with God as father and true Christians as adopted sons and daughters. In a traditional model family, the father is the wise authority who provides safety, comfort and love. This gives a picture of the intimate relationship we can have with God who, without the human imagery, we might otherwise view as too mighty and remote to care about us personally.
‘Father’ is a concept men, women and children everywhere can understand, regardless of time or culture. It’s God’s illustration to make something very profound become very simple and personal.
To further explain it – and to demonstrate it – God uses the family concept of ‘Son’ as the means of revealing himself when he came to earth in a human body. Without this family picture, we could easily get lost in cold, academic theology.
The concept of father also has within it these ideas:
- life comes from the father
- children have essential characteristics of the father
- father gives good counsel but can’t force his wishes on children who, with independent free will, decide to go another direction
- father has infinite love and patience and will always forgive, accept and help a son or daughter who sincerely repents of mistakes
- father works to make his family safe and happy
‘FATHER’ IS SELF-EXISTING AND SELF-SUFFICIENT
The Bible says that God the Father has always existed and will always exist. His existence doesn’t depend upon anything else.
This concept is impossible for us to comprehend, and it illustrates limitations of the human mind. (The atheist’s view – that at one time something self-started from nothing and grows to intricate complexity without any plan – is equally mind-boggling.) A fact is not any less a fact just because we can’t understand it.
‘FATHER’ TRANSCENDS HUMAN LIMITATIONS
God the Father is infinite (not subject to any limitations). Unlike us, he’s not limited in time, place, knowledge or power.
TIME / eternal. The ‘Father’ has no beginning and no ending; therefore we say he’s eternal. He’s the timeless God who chose to reveal himself to us in time only because it’s the only dimension we know.
PLACE / omnipresent. The ‘Father’ is everywhere at once; therefore we say he’s omnipresent. It’s impossible to hide from him.
KNOWLEDGE / omniscient. The ‘Father’ knows everything; therefore we say he’s omniscient. He knows the future as well as the past. We can’t fool him because he knows everything we are and everything we do.
POWER / omnipotent. The ‘Father’ is all-powerful and therefore we say he’s omnipotent. He can do anything, but he doesn’t violate his own character or break his promises.
Even though God the Father is infinite, he’s able to meet us, because of his trinity – in a very human and practical way – through the Son and Holy Spirit, explained in Topics 43 and 44.
We get some understanding of the way God functions as a trinity by considering the way we function as a trinity:
SOUL: Our soul (mind/will/emotion) has the capacity to exclude the outward world and hold discussion with itself – ask questions and answer them, propose difficulties and solve them, offer objections and repel them – while at the same time acting like a neutral spectator, taking watchful note of what is advanced on both sides of the debate and passing judgment on the issues. The soul is very creative and it can rove with great speed and freedom. The soul is the essence of our being.
BODY: Our body, like God’s, is subordinated to the soul. The soul decides what to do, and the body carries it out, if it can. The body has many limitations and therefore it severely restricts and slows us.
SPIRIT: The spirit is our connection with God. (In God’s trinity, the Spirit is his connection with us.) But our spirit is not connected automatically; it’s connected only as a deliberate act of our will (see Topics 44 and 62). When connected, we have a happy personal relationship with God and benefit from his counsel.
Each of us is a single person, but in many ways each of us is like three persons simultaneously living out the life in mental, physical and spiritual dimensions. This mirrors what God does in his trinity.
Here's a sampling of what the Bible says on this subject.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit are names of God
Everyone knows there’s a divine power
Father is Lord of heaven and earth
No one (except the Son) has ever seen the Father
What we know about the Father is revealed by the Son
For help, see Topic 29.