Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Defense of the Trinity part 3

UPDATE: For a full explanation (parts 1 - 3) click here.

I'll continue the defense of the Trinity by finishing the explanation of the third person of the Trinity, i.e., the Holy Spirit. In the last post, I gave scripture references to the Holy Spirit as God. In this post, I hope to communicate clearly that not only does the Holy Spirit possess deity, but that he also has a differentiated personality. I'll give three reasons why the Holy Spirit has a differentiated personality. 

Personal Pronouns

Scripture refers to the Holy Spirit with personal pronouns (John 14:26; 16:13). 

He Does Things Only Persons Can Do

Teach (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27)

Convict of sin (John 16:7-8)

Be grieved by sin (Ephesians 4:30). 

Intercedes (Romans 8:26). 

The Holy Spirit has intellect (1 Cor. 2:10, 11), will (1 Cor. 12:11), and feeling (Eph. 4:30). 

I will close with an excerpt from an article written by John Macarthur:

In describing the Trinity, the New Testament clearly distinguishes three Persons who are all simultaneously active. They are not merely modes or manifestations of the same person (as Oneness theology incorrectly asserts) who sometimes acts as Father, sometimes as Son, and sometimes as Spirit. At Christ’s baptism, all three Persons were simultaneously active (Matt. 3:16–17), with the Son being baptized, the Spirit descending, and the Father speaking from Heaven. Jesus Himself prayed to the Father (cf. Matt. 6:9), taught that His will was distinct from His Father’s (Matt. 26:39), promised that He would ask the Father to send the Spirit (John 14:16), and asked the Father to glorify Him (John 17:5). These actions would not make sense unless the Father and the Son were two distinct Persons. Elsewhere in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit intercedes before the Father on behalf of believers (Rom. 8:26), as does the Son, who is our Advocate (1 John 2:1). Again, the distinctness of each Person is in view.

There is only one God. The members of the Godhead are co-existent, co-equal, one in essence and yet three in person. Remember the mathematical illustration of 1 x 1 x 1 = 3, and the love illustration to help you with understanding the doctrine of the Trinity. It is a monotheistic belief rooted in scripture; not a belief in three gods in one or a belief of one person manifesting himself in three ways. Norman Geisler puts the Trinity in words as, "while God is one and many at the same time, he is not one and many in the same sense. He is one in the sense of his essence, but many in the sense of his persons."

Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics

John Macarthur, "Our Triune God."

Related posts

Explaining the Trinity contains all of my posts on the Trinity

For further study:
R.C. Sproul, "Mystery of the Trinity."
William Lane Craig, "The Trinity and God's Omni-Attributes
William Lane Craig's "higher learning" article on the Trinity

Walter Martin Video What is the Trinity? 

Excellent article, "What is the doctrine of the Trinity?" by Matt Perman

The Trinity: One What and Three Whos by Ken Samples

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