There is a concept in Christianity that is more than just difficult to understand. And, the Bible wastes no time in introducing it.
[Genesis 1:1] 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Simple and straight forward enough. But it’s not the Creation that I’m talking about. In fact, I have written several posts about creation and how it meshes perfectly with what science tells us is how the universe came into being.
The concept that kinda creeps up on us is: the nature of God. It’s introduced with the name for God recorded in Genesis 1:1 – and used over 2,300 times in the Old Testament. That name in ancient Hebrew is, “Elohim”. It comes from the Hebrew root meaning “strength” or “power”. I’m OK with that. Good name! So, where’s the “problem”?
Well, the issue is that “Elohim” is the plural form of the name used to describe the One God.
I’m sure early readers of the Bible had to be aware of this seeming contradiction. I wonder how they must have argued and debated it. (Remember, at this time the Bible was the Pentateuch – the first five books of today’s Bible).
Several thousand years later we have the complete Bible and we (now) know that we worship a triune God – also referred to as: the Trinity. (Although the word “trinity” is not found in the Bible).
The Trinity – one God with three facets. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We know many traits for all of them. (Notice, I did not say we know all of their traits). And, we know that somehow the three facets come together to form the One True God! This is one of those God related mysteries that we will never truly understand while in our current bodies. Never-the-less, I totally believe it. I trust each facet implicitly. And, I Love and trust God. (And, I hope I’m not insulting God using the term “facet” or “facets”).
- Whether we speak to God the Father; Jesus, His Son: or the Holy Spirit: we are actually talking to the Trinity. Our triune (three-in-one) God.
- The Father is not the Son, nor is He the Holy Spirit. He is God!
- Jesus, the Son, is not the Father, nor is He the Holy Spirit. He is God!
- The Holy Spirit is not the Father, nor is He Jesus, the son. He is God!
- Sometimes it helps our focus to select one of the trinity and speak directly to Him. For instance, when I talk to “Jesus” I see myself talking to God’s son, as He was during His time on earth. A man, our Savior, who died on the cross for my sins. I frequently call his name in prayer, because I imagine Him as He was on earth; and I have no basis for a mental picture of Him as part of the Trinity.
- I think of God the Father, as the over arching “chief of everything”. (Note: this is definitely not the case, but I can’t help thinking that way.) YHWH. At the time the Bible was actually being written, the Jews never pronounced this name out loud. So, we don’t know how to spell it with certainty when using vowels. We seem to have, pretty much, settled on Yahweh for the spelling. It’s the name God told to Moses when He appeared to Moses as a burning bush: “...I Am, Who I Am” or simply, “…I Am” [Ex. 3:13-15]. He also said, “This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.” 1
- The Holy Spirit. (Present at the creation, as was Jesus and the Father.) God sent the Holy Spirit to earth to reside in all believers, at the request of Jesus. And, it is also the Spirit who convicts those whom God calls from sin. (Everyone answers the call. Some say, “Yes”; some say, “Not yet”; others say, “No”).2 The Spirit also carries our prayers and petitions to God. And, helps us understand what God is telling us. Additionally, He is also that internal prompter who tries to keep us on track.
- One point worth remembering, is that: you talk to one, you talk to all. And if you truly understand the workings of the Trinity, you are the first person on the planet (except for Jesus) who can truly say that.
Yahweh, your mysteries are… well, mysteries. And, I thank you for them. They help us grow our Faith. They also show us your majesty and over-arching everything-ness. (I made that word up because I don’t have a better one). Thank you Lord for your “everything” – both that which I understand and the awesome things I will never understand while on earth – and may not understand even when I’m in your Presence. You are my God; and I will ever praise you.
- Most Bible translations translate YHWH as “the Lord” with “Lord” spelled using small capitals.
- The only answer that will get you into Heaven is a sincere, “Yes”.