After you have read this, please consider my latest post on the Trinity. “THE TRINITY REVISITED”
The word trinity is not used in the Bible. Actually the Bible says God the Father and Jesus are one (John 10:30, 17:11&22), not two parts of three. The trinity is a concept that we humans have invented in our attempt to understand the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I have heard the trinity explained many ways. One of them using, water as an analogy. Water can have three forms and yet still be water. Water can be a liquid, or a solid, or it can be a vapor. This is a pretty good analogy. An even better one when you realize water can be all three at the same time. Picture an iceberg in the Arctic on a fogy morning. The iceberg is water, floating on water, with water hovering over both. You can see that water always exists in three forms. At any point in time, on this earth, water is always in all three forms. There is a line of separation, sometimes large, sometimes small, between water, ice, and vapor, but water always has, does, and I assume always will exists in three forms at the same time.
This becomes an even better analogy when you apply the understanding of death as separation. If death is separation, and Jesus died for us, by putting two and two together we can see that Jesus was separated from God the Father for us, just as ice is separated from water! The two (ice and water) are of the exact same composition, yet separated. The Holy Spirit, like water vapor is always hovering over both, and it also has the exact same composition.
Analogies are good ways to clarify and explain concepts that we have, but we have the Bible and the Holy Spirit to teach us about what most Christians consider the three persons of God. Come on over to my side of the table and let us examine the Bible from this view.
If you want to understand the origins of Jesus, study the arm of the LORD. Isaiah 53:1(NIV) says, “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” Then the rest of the chapter goes on to reveal the arm of the LORD. God had already said a little through Isaiah, revealing the arm of the Lord. Consider Isaiah 51:5(NIV) “My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.” Who is it that we wait in hope for? Is it not Jesus? Still don’t see it? Consider Isaiah 59:16 where the LORD says, “He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.”
You can see the arm of the LORD is Jesus. Once you understand this, many verses become clearer. We know that Jesus is our salvation (Acts 4:12) & yet Isaiah 59:16 says the LORD’s own arm worked salvation for Him. If both verses are true, and we know they are, because they are from the Bible, then Jesus is the arm of the LORD. If you have trouble with this concept remember Adam and Eve. Eve was made from one of Adams ribs. When you think of Eve, do you picture one of Adams ribs, or do you picture a woman? If God can create woman from the rib of a man, can’t He create Jesus from His own arm? (Now that’s a loaded question, God can do anything, and we know it.).
Look at Isa.63:11-12 (NIV), “Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them, who sent his glorious arm of power to be at Moses’ right hand, who divided the waters before them, to gain for himself everlasting renown,” Then compare it with 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 (NIV), “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” Can you see that the glorious arm of power and the spiritual rock are one and the same?
Notice in Isaiah 66:14 (NIV) when the end times are described, “When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes.” (the hand is part of the arm). Look at Isaiah 52:10 (NIV) where the end times are spoken of, “The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.”
We are told in Isaiah 40:10 that when the Sovereign Lord comes His arm will rule for Him.
Jesus died for us. Understanding that death is separation we can see that Jesus was separated from God, the Father, for us. Jesus the man died a physical death and Jesus the arm of God was separated from God for us. Separation from God is the second death and this is what we deserve. Jesus didn’t die the first death for us. We all still must face the first death. He died the second death for us. As horrible as the death Jesus died on the cross was (and it was) it was only symbolic of the second death. That death was, and is, separation from The Father. This makes Leviticus 16:7-10 clearer. Jesus is represented by both goats. One was slain (the man) and the other was separated (the Spirit) by sending it into the desert.
One only begins to understand the pain and suffering both our Heavenly Father and Jesus endured for us, when you realize God gave His own arm for us. The account of the death of Jesus in the Gospels is a description of His physical death. I wonder, how much more did it hurt Him, and His Father, to be separated from God the Father for us? Separation from God was our punishment for our sin. If Jesus bore our punishment, He had to be separated from God, because our punishment for sin is separation from God. In order to be separated He would have had to be part of God to begin with.
I am a sinner and sometimes I think there is little love in me. I have to admit when I started to study the Bible and someone would say God gave His only Son for us I would think to myself, it is not as if He gave Himself for us. I would think, if I were in His position, it would be right to give myself as a sacrifice to show my love rather than to give someone else; even a son. Of course, I could not see how God, Himself, could die for my sins and yet the universe could still exist, but I am only beginning to understand what God has done.
John 1:1&2 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” The key word here is “was”. From my side of the table understanding that Jesus was the arm of God clarifies most, if not all, of the difficult verses about Jesus. God’s arm was always God’s arm, is God’s arm, and will always be God’s arm, whether it is separated or not. So, verses that refer to Jesus as God, refer to the arm of God. Jesus, the man, was born, or had a beginning when He became flesh, but Jesus the arm of God had no beginning. This concept also brings light to John 10:28-30. In verse 28 Jesus says no one can snatch His sheep out of His hand and He repeats this saying in verse 29 by saying no one can snatch them out of His Father’s hand. The hand is the same hand, just a different way of saying it. This is clarified in verse 30 when He says, “I and the Father are one”.
Many ask the question, “Is Jesus God?” My answer would be, “Yes and no”. Yes, because He was God (John1:2), but no, because He was separated from God in my place: for my sin. That is the second death that I deserved. This is basic understanding of salvation. Of course, God’s arm will always be God’s arm even though separated, so it is not wrong to refer to Jesus as God.
That was Jesus from my side of the table. Now let me tell you how I view the Holy Spirit. To understand the Holy Spirit study the verses that include the word “mind”. Perhaps you will reach the same conclusion I have reached and that is, the Holy Spirit is the mind of God.
1 Corinthians 2:16 (NIV) says. “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” It becomes apparent from the Bible that a Christian has the mind of God to teach him or her about spiritual things as John 14:26 (NIV) says, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
The mind of Christ is the same as the mind of God, because both are perfect. We know and believe that God is perfect, and we believe that Jesus is perfect, because He had to be in order to be able to die for our sins. We have Jesus’s mind in our mind! Notice that Jesus said only what the Father told Him. He could do this because He had the Mind of His Father. He received it when He was baptized (Mat 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, & John 1:32).
The Holy Spirit does not overpower us and keep us from sinning, but thinks to, and with, us to teach us not to sin: and to teach us about God. What we think of as a conscience, seems to me, is the Holy Spirit: the Counselor. He does not talk audibly to me, but there is no doubt He speaks to me in my mind. The Holy Spirit is the friend who sticks closer than a brother as it is said in Proverbs 18:24.
If you have trouble connecting mind with Spirit look inward. In your mind, you can be anywhere and do anything. You can be at the North Pole, freezing with your breath clearly visible, and the next second be on a tropical island, warm and feeling a balmy breeze. You can walk through walls, leap tall buildings, and be faster than a speeding bullet. We call that imagination, but that is really where we live. I don’t mean we live in our imagination, but in our mind. Imagination is spirit without power. One has the thoughts, or mind, to dream of wonderful things, but not the power to actually do them. We are chained to the body, but all our true being is in our mind. In our mind is where we love, hate, scheme, desire, etc. If I were looking for a word most of us could understand to describe “spirit” it would be mind.
If you substitute the word mind for the word spirit as you read the Bible, I think this concept will become clearer. Until you reach 1 Corinthians 14:14-15. If you are using the New International version. It says (NIV), “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.” Here the Greek word “nous” is translated “mind”, but Strong’s Concordance list the first definition of nous as “intellect” and then says i.e. (that is) mind. Now, I am not a Greek scholar, but if you examine the Greek language, you will find Greek words also have more than one meaning. The word nous can mean (according to Strong’s) the intellect, mind (divine or human; in thought, feeling, or will); by impl. meaning: mind, understanding. If one applies the definition of nous as intellect, not making the assumption the NIV makes (that the intellect is the mind in this case, for the mind encompasses many attributes such as emotions, which have little to do with intellect) the verses become much clearer. Clearer that is if you believe, as I do, that the Holy Spirit is the mind of God.
Let me digress for just a minute. I am not saying that I am a Greek scholar. I am saying that if one compares the New International translation to the King James, there is a difference in the way the Greek word nous is translated in 1 Cor. 14:14-15.
I have somewhat of a problem with someone who would say, or infer, “I know Greek and because of this I understand better than you”. Really! The New International Version was translated by over a hundred scholars working for more than a year. The details are more than I care to list here, however they are listed in the preface of the Book if you care to know them. I am more inclined to go along with over one hundred of the worlds best scholars than one scholar that disagrees with the hundred.
My personal choice of translations of the Bible is the New International Version, because it is written in the language of today, however I think one should use all of the translations. This is a good example of a particular version saying the same thing in a slightly different way.
Consider John 4:23&24 as you consider spirit and mind are the same. These verses say we must worship in spirit and in truth. A man may pray and worship loudly with his mouth, but a man who prays and worships in his mind does so in truth. It is not possible to fake worship to yourself, in your own mind. If you can’t even fake it to yourself, you certainly can’t fake it to God, because God knows our thoughts.
If you know anything about computers and computer games, picture this world as a virtual reality game. Our body is the interface to the game. Everything that happens in the game we feel through the body, but it is not the real world: it’s a world and a body created for this game. The real world is the spiritual world. We leave the game when we die (separation). We win the game when we admit we are sinful and realizing what God has done, and is doing for us, and we turn, accept, and acknowledge it. We loose the game if we die before we accept and acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior. I say before we die, because everyone will acknowledge Jesus after the game is ended, and the game ends for each individual when that person dies.
I no longer need analogies to explain the Trinity. The Trinity, to me, consists of the Father, His arm, and His mind. All three are the Father. The Father is the greatest and includes, or included, all three, because He is, or was, all three. Verses such as John 14:28 have become clear to me. Look at Isaiah 9:6(NIV), “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor, because we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor., 2:16 ) to instruct us. He was, or is, The Mighty God because He was, or is, the Arm of God. He was the Everlasting Father, because He was the Father, and He is The Prince of Peace, because He allowed Himself to be sacrificed (separated from God) to bring peace between man and God.
This concept also explains those verses where Jesus said the Father knows things that the Son does not know, that the father is greater than Him, and yet He said, “I and the Father are one”(John 10:30).
Again, I say, be a Berean, test what I have said. To tell you the truth, and I certainly do not want to tell anything but the truth, I don’t know why you are reading this. This is written by a man: just a student. You have a book written by God. Why are you reading this when you could be reading “The Book”?