Monday, July 18, 2016

More on the Trinity

In response to my previous post, I have been asked to explain the Trinity. Rather than try to write something original, I thought I would simply provide the summary description found in the Belgic Confession along with the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. These should provide good resources for Bible study.

Article eight of the Belgic Confession reads as follows:

God Is One in Essence, Yet Distinguished in Three Persons
According to this truth and this Word of God, we believe in one only God (1 Cor 8:4-6), who is one single essence (Isa 43:10), in which are three persons (1 John 5:7 [TR]; Heb 1:3), really, truly, and eternally distinct, according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (Matt 3:16-17; 28:19). The Father is the cause, origin, and beginning of all things, visible and invisible (1 Cor 8:6Col 1:16Eph 3:14-15); the Son is the Word (John 1:1-2; 1:14Rev 19:13Prov 8:12), Wisdom (Prov 8:12, 22, etc.; 1 Cor 1:24), and the Image of the Father (John 5:17-26Col 1:15Heb 1:3); the Holy Ghost is the eternal Power and Might (Matt 12:28), proceeding from the Father and the Son (John 15:26;Gal 4:6). Nevertheless, God is not by this distinction divided into three, since the Holy Scriptures teach us that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost have each his personality, distinguished by their properties; but in such wise that these three persons are but one only God. Hence, then, it is evident then that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, and likewise the Holy Ghost is neither the Father nor the Son. Nevertheless these persons thus distinguished are not divided nor intermixed; for the Father hath not assumed the flesh nor hath the Holy Ghost, but the Son only (Phil 2:6-7Gal 4:4John 1:14). For the Father hath never been without his Son (Mic 5:2John 1:1-2), or without his Holy Ghost. For they are all three co-eternal and co-essential. There is neither first nor last; for they are all three one, in truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy.
For further elaboration, I would suggest additionally reading through and looking up the Scriptures found in Article 9, Article 10, and Article 11.
Older expressions of Trinitarian faith can be found in the ecumenical creeds recited in Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern churches to this day. These include, among others, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed.

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