(back to week 2)

Perhaps the most difficult concept for persons of other faiths is the Christian view of God as three persons in one, with different functions, personalities and names, but yet indivisible one from the other.

Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad.

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God! The LORD is One!”

These words, the beginning of the most common prayer in Jewish observance, affirms that there is only one God.  The word Adonai is a plural noun, and Eloheinu is plural, but Echad is singular.  One scholar translates it as “the LORDs our Gods is one.”*  It’s confusing, so the rabbis told their people that it meant there was only one God, and to try to break God into three separate persons was a false teaching, to be resisted even unto death.  But we know that God is only one God, manifested in three persons.  We call this the Trinity.

I explain the Trinity like a man.  I am a man, but I am also a son, and a father.  Which am I?  When I’m with my dad, I express myself as a son.  To my son, I express myself as a father.  And to my peers, I am a man, one of them.

God the father expresses himself as creator, lawgiver, father.  God the Son is the one we relate to, the one who gave himself up for us.  And God the Spirit is the teacher.

And so we turn to the text:

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

Three distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.  That means whatever is true for one is true for the others, since they are the same.

So when it says God is infinite in holiness, and perfect, that means that God the Father is perfect and holy, but also that Jesus the son is perfect and holy, and that the Holy Spirit is perfect and holy.

And because you and I are not perfect and holy, we honor him.  Although he himself is timeless, he has taken the time and effort to redeem us.  Therefore, we owe God the highest love, reverence, and obedience.

That describes our relationship.

  • He’s holy, we’re not.
  • He’s infinate, we’re not
  • He’s limitless, we’re limited
  • We are to obey his desires, and not our own.

Because he’s God, and we’re not.

(next – God the Father)


* “Is God One?” – Second Exodus


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