Greg Heil | 7:00 AM
As the discussion progressed, a student asked if Muslims hate Christians because they view us as polytheists instead of monotheists. I thought this was a really good question, because this was one of the major conflicts between early Christianity and Judaism: the Jewish Pharisees and teachers of the law thought that Jesus and the church were promoting a religion of polytheism.
Our professor responded and said no, that was not the case. She went on to elaborate that the Trinity is simply 3 different facets, or characteristics, of the same person. She said that it could be seen as 3 different facets of, for example, Samantha. Our professor went on to explain that Samantha is a student, Samantha is a daughter, and Samantha is also very probably a friend.
She insinuated that it is the same way with God. According to her, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all different facets of the same person.
I instantly knew this to be wrong, and quipped, “Well, Samantha normally doesn’t hold conversations with herself.”
My prof. responded and said, “Well of course she does, don’t we all? We all talk to ourselves and think deeply.” Our teacher went on to illustrate how one can think very deeply about a topic and reason out a problem in their head.
At this point, I let the argument drop as I didn’t feel like it was really worth my time. Her rebuttal was, however, simply wrong.
Let me ask you: if you are thinking about an issue in your head, do you hold both sides of the conversation? Do you ask yourself questions that you don’t know the answers to, and then answer back in kind? No, of course not, that would be logically absurd and frankly impossible.
Even if you weren’t asking questions of hard fact that you do not know the answers to, do you still hold two-sided conversations? No! Rather, it is more of an inner monologue than an inner dialogue. This distinction is very important.
Secondly, do you refer to yourself as your son?
I’ll just leave it at that.
The following is scriptural basis for the existence of the three unique persons of the Trinity. Here are instances where we see all three people of the Trinity at the same time:
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him."
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us.
(Lord very often refers to Jesus and God very often refers to God the Father.)
2 Corinthians 13:13
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all.
1 Peter 1:2
God the Father chose you long ago, and the Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Jesus Christ and are cleansed by his blood. May you have more and more of God's special favor and wonderful peace.
But you, dear friends, must continue to build your lives on the foundation of your holy faith. And continue to pray as you are directed by the Holy Spirit. Live in such a way that God's love can bless you as you wait for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you.
These were only explicit references from the New Testament. This does not include different passages referencing only two of the people of the Godhead, as the number of references would be immense! There are additional references from the Old Testament implying the trinity as well.
As you can obviously see from the texts quoted above, there is immense textual support for the 3 different persons of the Trinity. My professor was very, very wrong in her presentation of this point of Christian theology. Hopefully, upon a further examination of this evidence, she would change her tune.
Unity of the Trinity
While this post is primarily about this grave misrepresentation of the nature of God, I must mention that while I am emphasizing the individuality of the persons of the Trinity here, these three persons are also one person: one God. They are three persons in one. Exploring this concept would take an entire additional post (or more accurately, several thick books), but I just want to clearly mention this unity of God as well. Wayne Grudem sums up the nature of the Trinity very well, but that doesn’t make it easier to understand:
1. God is three persons.
2. Each person is fully God.
3. There is one God.
What are your thoughts on the nature of the Trinity?
+Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.