HIS PERSON - Part 6

I come now to what I consider a great mystery - mind-numbing, and inexplicable! Jews and Christians are at odds over this; but I believe that both are right! Is God “One”, or is He Triune (Three in one)? To be true to Scripture, He must be both! But how can it be explained?
       Orthodox Jews stand squarely upon Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” Christians, on the other hand, maintain that God has revealed Himself in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus, the revealed Son, born of the virgin, without human father, stated without question that He and the Father were one! (John 14:9)
            So believing the Scripture, I must accept the mystery that both must be correct! We have probably all heard teachers and preachers try to explain the Trinity. I think we don’t have anything in our human experience that would provide an adequate explanation, so let’s accept the statement that He is one God; but we humans perceive Him as one of the three (Trinity) at various times, and in various circumstances!
            There are certain thoughts that arise from the perspective that He is One; and others arise from the perspective of the Trinity. At the same time, there are some ideas that need to be avoided. We need to begin our exploration with the firm assurance that God does not contradict Himself! God has the right and the ability to reveal His person as He wishes.
            Judaism is monotheistic, and so is Christianity; but many in both camps would be amazed to hear that both revere the same God! Many Christians do not know how much we owe to Judaism; and most Jews do not see that Christianity is the natural development and fulfillment of Judaism!
            The statement of Judaism that “the Lord is one” means not only that God is one entity, but also that there is none other! Deuteronomy 4:35, “To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord Himself is God; there is none other besides Him.” Many times in the Old Testament, mention is made that God is a jealous God. It is well-stated in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images.”
            Two basic statements are unarguable: There is only one God, and to claim another is idolatry, and an insult to God! This is a basic sticking point to the orthodox Jew, who claims that talk of the Christian’s triune God is to worship three Gods!
            And that is also a danger in trying to explain the Trinity. We must maintain the truth that there is only one true God, while trying to explain the fact that He has revealed Himself in three positions!
            At first glance, we find this problem: many times we have tried to separate God into three parts, and assign the three into dispensations or different occupations in the process of providing redemption. If the three are One, as we claim, then we cannot separate them this way!
            God appears many different ways in the Old Testament. Was the Spirit involved? Of course! God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the garden - we don’t know in what form. God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, and in thunderings from the Mountain. He spoke through angels; and men trembled, thinking they had seen God, and they would die! The king saw a fourth figure in the fiery furnace. In some of these cases, scholars have concluded that it was the form of the Son. I believe three were there, (three in one); but men saw only one!
            Do we really think that in any case, all three were not involved? I believe even the Son was never alone, except for a time, on the cross! “When they saw the Son, they saw the Father!” Surely, the same could be said of the Spirit, all three are One! We must accept the inexplicable!

-- Roy Dettwiler