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The Attributes of God’s Greatness: God the Trinity

As you know, we finished the first subheading under the first major category of theology proper; God’s greatness and immortal spirit. I’d originally intended to get into a second subheading under God’s greatness called God the Creator, but I said, I decided to make that the third subheading and insert something in between. I debated whether or not to deal with the Trinity under the God creator category.

Since we come to know God’s triune personality through creation, but I’ve decided against that. His triune personality is as eternal, as his unity, and his Being. So I decided to give it its own subheading and, and, kind of deal with it today. Hopefully we’ll see how, we’ll see how we go. I’ve got eight pages; usually I get through four. So I’m going to talk like Mickey Mouse, but we’ll see. We’ll see how we do.

 But I, I would love, I would love to get through all of this today. And it’s, it may seem somewhat inconsistent to deal with the Trinity now, or, or, consistent depending on your perspective. We’ve, I’ve decided to keep the limitless attributes of God like his eternality, his infinitude, his omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, all those under the, God the creator category subheading, because I think those are, are, best understood in contrast with the limitations of what he’s made in creation.

 So by, by, definition, we the created, we the created all, and all the created world, is, has its limitations. It has its boundaries. And so understanding God in contrast to that, we understand he has no boundaries outside of his own nature, his being. So we’re gonna and, and, also you’ll see that it’s a bit of a struggle dealing with the Trinity, at this point, just because the Trinity is one of those doctrines that’s unpacked over, over time: The progress of revelation.

 But let’s get into the second subheading as you see your outline there. I’ve made that a second subheading. God the Trinity, B: it has no sub points. Just God the Trinity. Okay. So we’ve talked in theology proper the attributes of God’s greatness. We’ve talked about God is immortal Spirit. That is, he’s an immortal life giving spirit. He is one.

And we talked about the unity of singularity, the unity of simplicity in that. And then we talked about how he is unchanging; those the doctrines of immutability and impassibility. So God is Trinity. That’s what we want to talk about today. If we define the Trinity, or just state it, the doctrine of the Trinity basically affirms three essential propositions. You’ve heard this before.

 I like the way Robert Reymond puts them, in his, his, Systematic Theology; states it clearly. “We affirm”, here’s his quote, “There is but one true and living God who is eternally and” immutability or “immutably indivisible.” Let me say that again, “There is but one true and living God who is eternally and immutably indivisible.” Okay. So this is the oneness of singularity and simplicity in the divine essence and substance.

Okay, so that’s what we’ve covered before. That’s not anything new. Second affirmation, “We affirm the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are each fully and equally God.” Okay, “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each fully and equally God. That is, three persons share in one divine essence.”

 Third affirmation. “We affirm the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each distinct Persons.” Distinct persons. So this is the distinction of subsistence. You have the, the, oneness of substance, but then the threeness of subsistence.

 Okay, so that’s the doctrine stated. That’s the doctrine stated and the real rub for us, as creatures, is that we are one substance and one subsistence. We are one essence and one person. And it’s very hard for us to think outside of that category, because that’s how we think; God, one substance, three subsistences, three persons.

 Okay, so the evidence for the Trinity, if I ask you to cite a passage that explains the doctrine of the Trinity, okay. One, give me one, passage explains the doctrine of the Trinity. Here’s what the Trinity is or just give me a passage that uses the word Trinity. What passages come immediately to your mind?

Audience: None.

Travis: Okay, what point am I making when I say that?

Audience: It’s not there?

Travis: It’s not there. All right, so the Jehovah’s Witnesses are right. Let’s turn off that audio. Let’s close this up and y’all go to the Kingdom Hall. Why don’t we do that?

Audience: Cause it’s not there. Because they’re creepy. They’re not creepy.

Travis: Besides that. You know I, on my, we had a little vacation, you know. I went out to California and we went up the to the Central Coast of California and, I, we could not swing a dead cat without hitting a Jehovah’s Witness, out there with, they had tables and literature out, so every time. Not every time. A couple of the times; two of the three times.

Audience: Like the way you put that. Two of the three times you could swing a dead cat.

Travis: That’s a, that’s a Huck Finn. So, but I think it, was, must have been two-three times I walked up to a table, and one time, in particular, we went to the beach and I walked up to the table where they were handing out their literature, right at the pier and some ladies were getting into a conversation and all of a sudden, these doors open in a van and all these guys come out and escort the ladies. They closed up the whole table and sent them away. And you, I’m like.

Audience: They knew you.

Travis: Job well done. Anyway so, they yeah, your, your mind should have drawn a blank on where to find the word Trinity in Scripture or the, the, doctrine of the Trinity, because there are no Bible verses that use the word Trinity.

And there are no passages of Scripture that give us a, even a simple, but a detailed definition outline, of here’s the Trinity. Nor are there passages that define words like substance, and essence, or subsistence. Nor does Scripture state clearly concepts like sameness, and substance, or distinctness of subsistence. That’s a lot of s’s for early in the morning.

 There are passages, though, that reveal the triune nature of God. But this is a doctrine that requires that we gather those passages together and we compare and contrast and do this thing we’re calling systematic theology. Okay So I’m just taking this little opportunity to stump a little bit.

 For we have to do systematic theology. Yes. Biblical theology. Yes, yes, exegesis. But if you stick your head into the Bible and just do exegesis without pulling your head back, and thinking, and comparing, contrasting, systematizing, synthesizing, harmonizing, you’re going to fall into error like those Jehovah’s Witnesses do. Because they just, they just stick on one very simplistic understanding. And when I was talking to them, it’s just, you know, haze would come over their eyes when I’d start to compare Scripture with Scripture. They don’t understand that.

 We need to be very careful, as well. Want to read something out of Warfield, you in, in, his volume two of his works, biblical Doctrines. He’s got a, an article here on the Biblical or essay, The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity. It’s, it’s, fantastic. So I, I, would recommend that you augment what we do today by, you can probably find it online for free.

 Download, The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity by Benjamin Warfield. Here’s what he says, “The term Trinity is not a biblical term, and we are not using Biblical language when we define what is expressed by it as the doctrine that there is only one and” true one and “only true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal Persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence.

 “A doctrine so defined can be spoken of as a Biblical doctrine only on principle that the sense of Scripture is Scripture. And the definition of a Biblical doctrine in such un-Biblical language can be justified only on the principle that it is better to preserve the truth of Scripture than the words of Scripture. The doctrine of the Trinity lies in Scripture in solution: when it is crystallized from its solvent it does not cease to be Scriptural, but only comes into clear view.” I like that image.

“Or, to speak without figure, the doctrine of the Trinity is given to us in Scripture, not in formulated definition, but in fragmentary illusions; when we assemble the disjecta membra1 into the organic unity, we are not passing from Scripture, but entering more thoroughly into the meaning of Scripture. We may state the doctrine in technical terms, supplied by philosophical reflection; but the doctrine stated is a genuinely Scriptural doctrine.” End Quote.

 1 i.e. scattered members, components, or parts 

 All, all that to say; I just want you to understand that for us to use some of these philosophical terms like substance, and subsistence, and essence, and Being, and all those kind of things, that’s, that’s, okay for us to do. Okay. It’s just trying to crystallize what, what, he so well put is, in solution form in Scripture, okay. So crystallize out of that to get more clarity.

 So, we’re not going to be, I want you to understand in this summary, this overview, it is going to be an overview. We’re not going to be exhaustive, at this point, on the Trinity. We’re going to get into, also some, tx, more texts, that emphasize the deity of Christ and the individual personality of the Holy Spirit, as we get into the headings of doctrine called Christology and Pneumatology. We’ll get to that later.

But for now here are just a few. So grab your Bibles and turn first to Genesis chapter one. And you, you guys know these, these are not going to be unfamiliar to you. But here in Genesis 1:26, God says, and here’s the first, well, one of the first hints of it. “Then God said, let us make man in our image.” Who’s he talking to? “Let us make man in our image after our likeness.” There’s the plurality there. “Let them have a dominion.”

Okay, turn over to Genesis 3:22. This is after the fall, after the curse leveled against the serpent, the woman, the man, “Lord God said,” in verse 22, “‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he,’ rech, ‘reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever-.”

And there’s an unfinished sentence, the, the apodasis is connected by or is completed by action. He puts the Angel there to, he drives a man out and he puts an Angel there, Cherubim there with a flaming sword, guarding the way of the tree of life, because he doesn’t want man to live forever in a fallen condition. Okay, so that’s a mercy.

But, he said, behold the Lord. “Behold the man has become like one of us.” Turn over to Genesis 11:7. 11:7, go to verse 6. “The Lord of God said, ‘Behold, they are one people.’” This is the Tower of Babel scene. They’re building a tower, a Ziggurat up to heaven. There are, “They are one people, they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do now will become impossible for them. Come, let us go down.” Let us. There it is again. “Let us go down and confuse their language, so they may not understand one another’s speech.’” So you can see the gift of tongues is a curse. It’s a judgment. Yes?

Audience: Is the term Elohim, you know how it’s, it’s, plural. Is that, does that indicate that God is thinking of himself in a plurality or.

Travis: I’m not sure if we would say it indicates it, but it definitely allows for it. Definitely allows for it, because there is a, there is what’s called in the Hebrew language, like a plural of majesty, a plural of greatness, And so it’s debated on whether that’s plural of greatness or plural of number. But it certainly allows for, yes, both.

Audience: So, you answer yes on that.

Travis: Just think there is nothing you know by, by, using that term. It doesn’t restrict them to a Unitarian monotheism as you have in Islam or Judaism. Is that a question?

Audience: Yeah. I just had a quick question about this, the ‘us’ part. Have you heard the idea that the ‘us’ is referring to heavenly hosts or that argument? Where does it come from and what, what, why is there a difference? I mean, it seems clearly they were talking about either, either the Trinity or the angels, clearly.

Travis: Yeah. So where I’ve heard that argument, I’m not sure the origin of it, but I have heard it from Jehovah’s Witnesses that make that kind of an argument. Sure. Or those who would deny a Trinity. But the problem is, when God puts himself in the plural and then ascribes the kind of knowledge that he ascribes to himself to the angels, I think that’s where we’re having category error there. So I don’t think you can, I don’t think you can ascribe the things to angels that he ascribes to himself by including himself in the plural. Okay.

So go to Psalm. So we’re jumping way ahead now to Psalm 110, Psalm 110, verse one, the Lord. This is a Psalm of David where David says, “The Lord says to my Lord:” that’s “Yahweh says to my Adonai” both terms of divinity. Yahweh being the divine name, Adonai being a title attributed to God. So “Yahweh says to my Adonai: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.’”

 This, this, this goes back to sa, you go back to Psalm 2:7. Psalm 2:7 quickly, quickly. Where, this is, this is, this is, that Adonai speaking, “I will tell of the decree. Yahweh said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you.’” So this again, I don’t want to, we could, we could spend a lot of time on this. I don’t want to. But this theme of sonship, and it’s a, an eternal sonship, is something that, that, runs through Scripture and is, is, made more clear as we get through Scripture and into the New Testament.

 I’m not going to have you turn there, but it’s, Jesus quotes it in Matthew 22:44, and parallel passages in Mark and Luke. It’s quoted again, in Peter quotes it in Acts 2:34 as he’s preaching to his own people.

 So David died and is buried. But he said this, “The Lord said to my Lord, sit in my right hand.” Now who’s he talking about? David is in a, in a tomb. We can go to his tomb right now. Pull out his bones. Who’s he speaking to? So again Jesus is, Jesus also made that same point to the, the, Jews listening to him. So anyway, so those are some texts that just revealed plurality of persons.

 So here’s some text. Go back to Genesis, jan, that reveal a plurality person’s in action, divine action. So go back to Genesis one. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth” and the earth. Where am I here? Okay, “so the earth was without form and void. Darkness is over the face of the deep.” And there it says “the spirit of God was hovering over the face of waters. Then God said let there be light.” So there’s a hovering spirit of God, and then there’s a speaker. God said, if we go to Colossians, and I should have you guys, we’re gonna get tired going back and forth.

 Go to Colossians, chapter one. Colossians, chapter one verses 15,16. “He’s the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation.” This is another Jehovah’s Witnesses text. See, they say he’s first. It says he’s first born. First born. And you say, well, David is also called the first born. Was he the first born? No, he was the youngest of all his brothers. This is the word prototokos; he’s the first born. The Prototokos; the most preeminent.

 So first born can be used as a title of preeminence. That’s, what, how it’s used here, the preeminent one of all creation. “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.” So if there’s anything in the creative category, he did it. So here we see God the Father speaking, “God said, ‘let there be’”, there’s the son who did it, and there’s the Holy Spirit who’s hovering in the energy putting it into effect, in action.

 You can see also in John 1:3, you can see in Hebrews 1:1 and two, same thing. Go to another, this is a very interesting text. Go to, gen, Genesis 18, Genesis 18, take a look at, well go to, you go, you guys go to Genesis 19 and starting in verse 23 and I’ll just read in Genesis 18, this is Genesis 18:19 where Abraham, just before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And he’s, he says in verse 18, chapter 18, verse one, “The Lord appeared to him by the oaks of mammary as he sat by the door of his tent.” And that use of the word Lord is Yahweh. So he appeared there.

 It says later in the chapter, verse 16, “The men set out from there, looked down towards Sodom. Abraham went with them to see them on their way. And Yahweh said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I’m about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, all the nations of the Earth shall be blessed in him?’” So the Lord said, verse 20, “Yahweh said, ‘Because the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether’ whether ‘they have done altogether according to the outcry that’s come to me. And if not, I will know.’”

Then there’s, that, Abraham stepping into the role of mediator, there; trying to protect the righteous in Sodom. You know, 50 righteous, 45 righteous, oh no, just a few. And, and, that’s what happens when God rescues Lot out of Sodom. Pulls them out of Genesis 19. So if you look at verse, so the judgment’s about to come. “The sun had risen,” verse 23, “on the earth when lot came to Zoar.” This is, this is God being merciful to the righteous pulling them out. Says in verse 24, “The Lord”, Yahweh, “rained on Sodom and Gomorrah, Sulfur and fire from Yahweh out of heaven.” Isn’t that interesting?

 So you have the Lord, this Lord that’s been talking with Abraham, the one on Earth, located there, this “Yahweh raining down on Sodom and Gomorrah, sulfur and fire from Yahweh out of heaven.” A can of plurality. He overthrew those cities, all the valley, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife behind him. Remember Lot’s wife looked back. She became a pillar of salt.

 So we see just a couple of texts there. We see in creation and then in judgment. We see again a plurality of persons. Some of the texts in scripture on the deity of the father are very well established. It’s the deity of the son and the individual personality of the Holy Spirit that are points of increasing clarity, we could say, in the progress of revelation. Some of the texts on the full deity of the son. You can either jot these down or just get them on the audio later. I’ll just be very quick for the sake of time.

Some texts on the full deity of the son. I like these ones on the first and the last. If you look in Isaiah 44:6 and Isaiah 48:12, you see that God speaks, Yahweh speaks, and he calls himself the first and the last. But then you see, when you compare that with Revelation 1:17 and 22:13, Jesus says, “I’m the alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” He takes this description of deity being from eternity to eternity, from everlasting to everlasting, Psalm 90, and he applies it to himself. It’s applied to him.

 Jesus says, so that’s the first and the last. Some other texts on the full deity of the son. You see how he says he’s one with the father. He even takes the divine name on himself in John 8:58. So if you write down John 8:56 to 58, you see that the Jews there were ready to stone him for taking on the I Am. “I tell you before Abraham was Ego eimi,” I Am. And then in John 10:27 to 30. He says, “I and the Father are one.” Again, they’re ready to stone him from blasphemy, because he, being a mere man, makes himself equal with God.

John 17:20 to 23, he prays, “I pray that they all, maybe one, Father even as you and I are one.” So he, again, takes the union or oneness with the father to himself.

 Some texts on the individual personality of the Holy Spirit. And, and, again you can just look in, you can write down, basically, John 14 to 16, and look at it and look wherever it’s describing the Holy Spirit. Wherever Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit; speaks of him with personal pronouns; speak of, speaks of the Holy Spirit with thought, action, of speech, will, expressing will. Acts 13:2, “the Holy Spirit said,” to the, the church leaders at Antioch, “‘set apart for me, Paul, and Barnabas for the work that I’ve called them to do.’” So it sets them apart.

 Acts 16, when Paul wants to go east, the Holy Spirit denies them that and sends them west. Twice, it says the Holy Spirit prevented them and sent them west. Romans 8:26 and 27, the Holy Spirit, he groans, he intercedes for us according to the will of the father. He groans with, work with, with, “He speaks with groanings too deep for words.” Right?

First Corinthians 2:11, “The spirit searches even the depths,” the bathos, “of God.” The very depths of his mind, the spirit searches. First Corinthians 12:11, “He distributes gifts as he wills.” Again, there’s a, there’s in Ephesians 4:30, we’ve talked about this before, not about, “not grieving the Holy Spirit.”

So again, we’re going to come back later on in Christology, Pneumatology, to talk about the full deity of the son and the individual personality of the Holy Spirit, further on in our study. Some, some, clearly Trinitarian texts; the go to, Matthew 3 or you could go to Luke 3, but let’s just go to Matthew, Matthew 3. This is Jesus’ baptism and verses 16 and 17. When Jesus was baptized, it says there, “Immediately he went up from the water, behold the heavens were open to him, and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him. And behold a voice from Heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.’” You got the Father, Son and Spirit. They’re in the same text.

 Now, does that text, even though it portrays or, or, gives you a, a, picture there of the Father, Son, and Spirit; does it say now the Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God. I mean it, that’s, that’s, what you infer and, and, basically can take away from that because, if the voice from heaven is God and he says, “This is my beloved son,” and so having in our minds organic equality with one another, Father and Son, we think the same thing is ascribed to Son and Father.

 And then, there’s the spirit of God descending like a dove. So, there’s something, there’s three things pictured there, but it doesn’t say, now one in substance, three in subsistence. Doesn’t say that. Okay, so just keep that in mind.

Audience: But that with all the other verses you just been done sharing with us, we, we, can sew this all together. I mean, it’s there.

Travis: You know, I fully, I fully agree with you, in fact, but I’ve got a whole lot more written down there. What’s that?

Audience: What’s to say, like, it’s almost like better proof just to say there, you know, like this is the character of God. This is the way he is described. If you were describing anybody else, it would be weird that these, these, are weird statements. “Yahweh raining down fire from Yahweh.” That’s strange. You know? So, so, then you just realized there’s no verse in the Bible that even comes close to contradicting that.

 It’s, just like so obvious, that it’s just the way it is. And so that, that, then we’re, you know, it’s like if a guy’s freckled, it’s going to come out in conversation at some point, that the guy’s freckled. So, if you recorded all the conversations, you would, you would come up with the conclusion, hey, this guy’s probably freckled, you know, just from a record of his conversations, you know.

Travis: Are you talking about, like, actual freckles on the thing?

Audience: Yeah. Yeah. And so I’m just saying. So yeah. It’s just like. So I’m just saying, you know, like with this, it’s like, oh, you. No one’s trying to prove that God is a Trinity. It’s just that, that’s the way it is. And so it’s so obvious that, you know, cause it would be weird if.

Travis: Yeah, it’s, it’s a very good point that there is no, there is no self-consciousness; like this is something I got to really convince everybody of. He just speaks as if it is.

Audience: It’s just scattered throughout everything. It’s just scattered. It would actually be weird, if at some point somebody in the Bible said and by the way God is, you know.

Travis: Like Moses stops and puts a big parentheses and says, now I know you’re having a hard time with this whole Yahweh from heaven, Yahweh on Earth thing. Let me, let me take a few minutes for you. But yeah you’re right. He doesn’t do that. And he’s just getting, he’s just getting revelation straight from God.

 But so, so here and here’s what I wanted to, so as you, as you just said, yeah look it’s, it’s, plain and obvious. Let’s stitch this all together and call it a day. You can say that. We can say that, because why? Because we’re regenerate. Because God had, this is a reveal and we’re going to get this, to this. More from, Warfield’s got a great statement on this. But this is, this is clear and obvious to us, that it’s just the fact, we just accept the way God is.

 If we’re not believers, if we’re not regenerate, what do we do? We say that doesn’t make sense. Let me cram that into my own human experience, my own human understanding. And, and, then outcomes, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Islam, whatever. That’s what comes out; is a false religion or just outright rejection. Joe.

Audience: Doesn’t this at least disprove like modalism that God like existed once as father, then son, you know, or then spirit.

 Travis: This, this is, this, this call, causes apoplexy with those who are modelists. Yeah, exactly: The United Pentecostals and that. We’ll get to that in a little bit. But yeah, absolutely, this, this is a real problem for, the same thing with Jesus praying to the father in John 17.

Want to blow a modelist mind? Read John 17 and say explain that to me. How is he? You know, it’s like, he’s like switching modes really quick. Pray, before those words reach heaven, phump, he’s up there now receiving the words, phump, he’s down in Jesus. Phump, phump, phump. It’s hard to spell phump, but it’s a good word.

     So, if you go to Matthew 28, Matthew 28, verse 19, “Go therefore make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name,” singular, single name “of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” What’s, what’s, the name? Biblically, what is the concept of name?

Audience: Essence and Being.

Travis: Essence, Being, character, nature. Yeah. So the name is, what is the symbol for, that stands for that person. When I say, when I say, you know, Devon Huizingh, we all have a picture, immediately in our mind, not just of look, not just of how he looks on the outside, but of his character, of how he acts. Same thing with Daniel or any of you guys. So, if I name your name, all of a sudden there’s a picture, not just of a person’s image, but all, but of all that they are for, for better or for worse, right?

Audience: Freckles and all.

Travis: Freckles and all. The same thing with God. So, the Father, the Son, the Spirit. All partake of that name. So, there’s this baptism formula that reveals were baptized into the name, singular, followed by a plurality of persons. Go to. Well just, just write down. Ah, we can go there, second Corinthians. And go to second Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 14 and this is a Trinitarian benediction from the Apostle Paul. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Audience: Where is it?

Travis: Second Corinthians 13:14. I’ll read it one more time and then move on. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” That’s a great Trinitarian benediction. What a wonderful way to end the letter. Galatians 4:6. Next, next book over. Galatians 4:6. This is a statement about the Trinity, Trinity’s involvement in our adoption. “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!” Isn’t that interesting?

“Because you are sons, God”, there’s the Father, “has sent the Spirit,” that’s the Holy Spirit, “of whom his Son” That’s the Son. Three persons, “into our hearts crying, Abba! Father!” We’re “no longer a slave, but a son and if a son, then an heir through God.” Anyway, I could get very devotional on this. But just see, to see how the Trinity is involved in and we’ll see; Go to Titus 3:4 and six or four through six.

 The Spirit is involved not only in our adoption, but previously involved in our regeneration. Titus 3:4, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works we’ve done,” done by us “in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us.” Not, not, ‘which’ he poured out on us, but ‘whom’ he poured out on us. In, where is it? There, “whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so being justified by his grace we by become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

You’ve got God the father pouring out the Holy Spirit to regenerate us, renew us by the Spirit through Jesus Christ our Savior. Again, three. It’s a Trinitarian involvement in our regeneration and our adoption as sons. Ah, just all too brief, I understand, but that’s just some of the biblical evidence for the Trinity. There is a whole lot more and some of, as I said, we’re gonna get into that in Christology and Pneumatology.

Now, have you noticed that the doctrine of God as Trinity grows clearer as we move from the Old Testament into the New Testament. Has that, Have you seen that? Noticed that? What is that called?

Audience: Progressive Revelation.

Travis: Progressive Revelation. Not progressive in the sense of liberal. Right? But progressive in the sense that it makes progress. It makes progress. So, this is called, Progressive Revelation. Warfield says it this way, “What becomes patent” or you know, PATNT, patent, “in the New Testament was latent in the Old Testament.” Listen to this from, I, I, love this illustration he uses here. “The Old Testament may be likened to a chamber richly furnished but dimly lighted; the introduction of light brings into it nothing which was not in it before; but it brings in out into clear view much of what is in it but what was only dimly or even not at all perceived before.

“The mystery of the Trinity is” not revealed in the old test” not revealed in the Old Testament; but the mystery of the Trinity underlies the Old Testament revelation, and here and there almost comes into view. Thus the Old Testament revelation of God is not corrected by the fuller revelation which follows it, but only perfected, extended and enlarged.”

 That’s a good, I, I, love that image of the dimly lit room and the lights. Basically, you can kind of think of a dimmer switch coming to full brightness with a revelation of Jesus Christ, so that then, it comes into full strength.

Audience: What were you reading from, Travis?

Travis: Again. Same thing. Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity, Warfield. This is kind of, to, to, Brett’s point, what Brett said earlier, his, his, freckle analogy. We’ll call it Brett’s freckle analogy from here on.

 But this, this issue of the mystery of the Trinity, not revealed in the Old Testament, but underlies the Old Testament revelation. It’s, it’s, all there. It’s here and there and almost comes into view, but it’s never really unpacked. It’s just, it’s just like freckles on a face. I think it’s a good analogy. It’s just they’re there. You know, but then when freckles take on eternal and salivic significance, now you want to talk about them, right?

 So, so God revealed this truth of Trinitarian Monotheism. That’s Contra Unitarian Monotheism, like Judaism or Islam. He revealed this Trinitarian Monotheism with increasing clarity over time. And, and I want to ask this question. Anyone want to guess as to why that is? Why? Why did God wait?

Audience: Why did God wait?

Travis: Yeah, why didn’t God just reveal in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” And then verse 1B. God is a triune God, one God existing eternally and perfectly in three persons; Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Now we’re ready for verse two. “The earth was without form and void, darkness over the face of the deep. The spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Let’s continue the story. Why didn’t he just? Why didn’t he say that? Why did he wait? Why not reveal it that way. Scott?

Audience: Maybe because it doesn’t have as much significance as not as much enjoyment and excitement, if unless we’re, we dig in deep and, and, study it for ourselves. Maybe.

Travis: Okay, all right. So, so God, that’s, that’s, a good answer. And it’s, it’s, not, it’s one of a number of good answers, but that’s a very good answer. So, it’s part of, it is to drive like, like, we’re doing right now. He didn’t, he didn’t, when he gave the Bible, he didn’t give a book of systematic theology. Where we just look up, you know, Roman numeral number three, section B, letter, you know, number three A, subpoint one. That’s not, that’s not what he gave us.

He gave us the Bible in different genres and we then do the hard work of coming in and systematizing and harmonizing that. Why? Because it’s driving us to greater clarity, understanding, greater devotion. It’s, there’s a, there’s a diligence that’s put forth there. Mike.

Audience: I think too, and we hinted on, on, it and can’t remember if it was Gary or Josh that hinted on it. As a new believer, you’re like a baby. You start out, you know, as a new believer, you start hearing all this thing, these theologies and these doctrines that are so much deeper and your like, looking at looking like a deer caught in the headlights. As you progressively move on to the meat and potatoes of the Bible, you start to be able to understand more. So, I think that could be too, almost a progression in your knowledge.

Travis: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. There’s a progression in your knowledge. You know, what’s interesting, though, is for everybody who’s born again, this doctrine of the Trinity is one of those foundational doctrines; without believing, you’re not a Christian, but believing, you are a Christian. Why? Because it’s in the baptism formula. Right.

So as we, as we baptize new converts, that’s something that they need to understand, need to make sure that they affirm. But every single regenerate Christian believes that, even if they don’t believe it fully, even if they don’t understand fully what they’re saying. We’ll study all your whole lifetime. You’re not going to understand fully what you’re saying, when you’re talking about the Trinity.

So going back to Scott’s comment and where I thought you were going to go and where I want somebody to go, is when he said there’s, you can’t understand the significance of it or appreciate it without, and then there’s something. And he said one thing, he went in a different direction. Which is correct. There’s another direction to go too.

Audience: Diligent study is what he said.

Travis: Without, yeah, God wanted to drive us to diligent study in order to understand and appreciate the significance of it. But if we had stopped with Malachi there’s only so far we can go. David.

Audience: In Proverbs it says, “It’s the glory of God to conceal the matter, and it’s the glory of kings to search things out.” And so that’s like, that’s just seemed like it’s how God has made us and he’s ordained creation that way. That God concealed the meat to search out and that’s glory in that.

Travis: Okay. Yes. And that is, yeah, that is true. I think it’s tied, tied a bit to what Scott said. But there’s also something hinted at with that, with regard to the, the, hiding, revealing. So Gary.

Audience: Incarnation.

Travis: Incarnation. Yes.

Audience: Without the incarnation nothing mattered. But that was, that was God’s thumbprint, to say now we’re gonna do this. Now we’re gonna, I’m gonna send my son. We got, I told him, we got, we got the completion of not just this doctrine, but so many doctrines with the incarnation.

Travis: Yes. Excellent. Excellent. So. And I see those hands. But, but that’s right, the incarnation. So once again, we see that God removed himself. And it is his glory to hide a matter, if he so chooses. But he doesn’t do it willy nilly. He does it for a purpose, for a reason, to hide and then reveal.

 So he’s, his revelation is not just about satisfying human curiosity. Like, if I had written the book, I’d go back and put in; okay here’s a glossary of terms. Here’s a little schematic and outline, you probably need to understand as you go through this book. Okay, let me give you a hermeneutic. Okay, let me get, you know, you, you’d never get to the book, you’d be so bored by what I’d include.

 But God is perfect in the way he wrote this. His revelation isn’t about satisfying our curiosity. His revelation always leading to a pinnacle, a certain point he wanted to get to, and that is by revealing his Son in the fullness of time. So again, I’m going to go back to Warfield. “We may state the doctrine,” You’ve heard this already, “state the doctrine in technical terms, supplied by philosophical reflection; but the doctrine stated is a genuinely Scriptural doctrine.

“In point of fact, the doctrine of the Trinity is purely a revealed doctrine. That is to say, it embodies the truth which has never been discovered, and is indiscoverable, by natural reason. With all his searching, man has not been able to find out for himself the deepest things of God. Accordingly, ethnic thought has never attained a Trinitarian conception of God, nor does any ethnic religion present its representations of the Divine Being any analogy to the doctrine of Trinity.”

Isn’t that awesome! Like this is not discoverable. Thousands of years of human history and thought until God says, here’s what I’m like, let me show you my Son. But let me go to one more, one more passage here. “The real reason for the delay in the revelation of the Trinity, however, is grounded in the secular development of the redemptive purpose of God: the times.” When he says secular, he’s just talking about the whole world around.

 “The times were not ripe for the revelation of the Trinity in the unity of the Godhead until the fullness of time had come for God to send forth his Son into redemption, and His Spirit unto sanctification. The revelation in word must needs wait upon the revelation, in fact, to which it brings its necessary explanation, no doubt, but from which also it derives its own entire significance and value.

“The revelation of a Trinity in the Divine unity as a mere abstract truth without relation to manifested fact, and without significance to the development of the Kingdom of God, would have been foreign to the whole method of the Divine procedure as it lies exposed to us in the pages of Scripture. Here the working-out of the Divine purpose supplies the fundamental principle to which all else, even the progressive stages of revelation itself, is subsidiary; and advances in revelation are ever closely connected with the advancing accomplishment of the divine purpose.” Isn’t that awesome?

So, I want you to notice, that Warfield said there about, what he said about, “the revelation in word and the revelation, in fact.” That’s very, very important. God keeps his word and his facts connected. What is revealed in Scripture is tied into the facts of history. They are not separated from the, this is not the musings of some guru under a tree. And it comes out sunbaked and, and, and, dehydrated and spits out a bunch of revelation that people jot down and say, let’s go live our lives this way. This is not, this is tied to something that everybody knows, everybody has seen in the fullness of time.

 Jay Gresham Machen, he borrowed that same concept to combat liberalism, which in, in, his day, which tried to separate the revelation of the word from the facts of history, because there was a radical skepticism in the culture and Christians were capitulating to this spirit of skepticism that said, oh, we can have the truth of, rue, revelation and, and, go ahead and forfeit the facts of history. Well, maybe Jesus didn’t actually say that. Maybe this isn’t true. Maybe that’s not true. Let’s let, you know, Creation story go. That’s myth.

So, they want to demythologize the Bible and just boil it down to its essential revelation. Machen and Warfield before him, said, no, no, no, no. You sacrifice the facts at your own peril, because God revealed and tied it to the facts. Okay, so it’s very, very important. Yeah.

Audience: I just wanted to also point out that, that’s, that’s, the whole reason he revealed everything to us in Scripture. It’s so that we could, we could read it. And if you read it, then you, you, figure it out by you reading it, and it’s much more enjoyable and much more exciting, because you were able to dig it out and you’re reading. He didn’t just tell you. He could have just told you, but he wanted you to do it, because it’s, it’s exciting.

Travis: Yeah, exactly. There’s a, there’s a joy of discovery there, right? Yeah, that’s exactly right. So that, that are, you know, and you can take, there’s some very intelligent people I’ve run into who have read, like you and I read. And they probably, I know, I know of people who have read it more thoroughly, more diligently than I ever have. I’ve written, I’ve read some of their commentaries, dry as chalk. Why? Because there’s their reading is unaided by the Holy Spirit. They don’t have a regenerate heart that brings out, that they truly understand and know it. Yes, Gary.

 Audience: I was, I was just thinking, this just really clarifies, like on the road to Emmaus, when Christ opened their eyes; the spirit came and he was able to take the facts of Scripture and show that he was the fulfillment of all of it. And that’s kind of what I’m getting from this; is you look at this, we need the Holy Spirit. But again, we see that this has been, Christ revealing himself, has been throughout history. It becomes clear in the New Testament. And it just became very clear as you look at the disciples.

Travis: Yeah. I love to see that in the incarnation, how Luke starts his gospel and how he, he ties it at different points to different historical figures that everybody knows. He, he, he hits it from different angles, so it’s verified historically. Incarnation, crucifixion, the empty tomb, all of that historic, a matter of his human history. Historical record, which will condemn all those who reject. Yeah, Lee.

Audience: I’m just gonna go back to your comment, that the way I would’ve stated, would be that there is no understanding of God apart from his revelation of himself. The natural man can never get there. But I was listening to Warfield and his scholarship is the result of the challenges of an implicit doctrine that is not explicit.

And so, Christian thinkers have had to come up and understand this truth and then explain it. And that is, is, a truth that is tested by fire and comes out in a, in a way that is, I don’t know, just somehow it’s, it was necessary to have truth have to be tested like that in order for, for, it to come clear.

Travis: Yeah, you got it. And, and, I, I, appreciate you saying that. It’s a great segue into where we’re going next with the Athanasian Creed. You know all the, the, Athanasian creed is kind of a summary of the first earlier creeds and what they, you know, what they affirmed and condemned in church history. The first centuries of church history. All of those statements, Nicene Creed, Apostles Creed, the Calcedonian Definition, all those things came in the crucible of challenges of people who read this a different way. Read it with skepticism. Read it with unbelief. Read it with, with, a perverted belief, a perverted understanding.

 And so, the, the, Christian Church; men, women, especially the leaders need to come and say, we have to pay due diligence to this. We need to listen to what these people are saying as we’re talking to them. And we need to say, why it isn’t that and it is thus. And so, that’s where we get men like Warfield; were gifts to the church and helped us to clarify that. Yeah, that’s right. Good. very good comment.

 So we’re about to get into some philosophical terms; make a distinction between substance, subsistence, nature, personality and all that. And we need to do that a little bit to appreciate the Athanasian Creed. I want to read one more passage from Warfield on the essential and only proof we possess for the Trinity. And it’s here and well, listen to this.

 “The fundamental proof that God is a Trinity is supplied” by “is supplied thus by the fundamental revelation of the Trinity in fact; that is to say, in the incarnation of God the Son and the outpouring of God the Holy Spirit.” That’s the fundamental proof of the Trinity. Okay. So, if you get lost in philosophical language and, and, and, all that. That’s, just returned to home base. Home base is that God sent forth his Son born of a woman. Go there, go to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in, in, Acts chapter two.

 “In a word, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are the fundamental proof of the doctrine of the Trinity. This is as much as to say that all the evidence of whatever kind, and from whatever source derived, that Jesus Christ is God manifested in the flesh, and that the Holy Spirit is a Divine person, is just so much evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity; and that when we go to the New Testament for evidence of the Trinity, we are to seek It; not merely in the scattered allusions to the Trinity as such, numerous and instructive as they are, but primarily in the whole mass of evidence which the New Testament provides of the Deity of Christ and the Divine personality of the Holy Spirit.

“When we have said this, we have said in effect that the whole mass of the New Testament is evidence for the Trinity. For the New Testament is saturated with evidence of the Deity of Christ and the Divine personality of the Holy Spirit. Precisely what the New Testament is, is the documentation of the religion of the incarnate Son and of the outpoured Spirit, that is to say, of the religion of the Trinity, and what we mean by the doctrine of the Trinity is nothing but the formulation in exact language of the conception of God presupposed in the religion of the incarnate Son and outpoured Spirit.”

 I’ll just pause here to say that, that is why it is not okay, and not a good apologetic approach to try to reason an atheist to the possibility of theism as a broad concept, and then from, and then try to move him from the broad theism to monotheism, and then try to move him from there to Judaism is a correct expression. And then to move him from there to Christ and Christian theism. No, we have to go directly from wherever they are to Christian theism, because “God has in these last days revealed himself in his Son.” Christian theism right there.

The whole of the New Testament is an argument for Trinitarian conception of God. We aim, “We may analyze this conception and adduce proof for every constituent element of it from the New Testament declarations. We may show that the New Testament everywhere insists on the unity of the Godhead; that it constantly recognizes the Father as God, the Son as God and the Spirit as God; that it cursorily presents these three to us as distinct Persons.

 “It is not necessary, however, to enlarge here on facts so obvious. We may content ourselves.” This, that’s what you were saying. It’s obvious, Gary said. “We may content ourselves with simply observing that to the New Testament there is but one and only living and true God; but that to it Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are each God in the fullest sense of the term; and yet Father, Son, and Spirit stand over and against each other as I, and Thou, and He. In this,” compow, “composite fact the New Testament gives us the doctrine of the Trinity.

“For the doctrine of the Trinity is but the statement in well-guarded language of this composite fact. Throughout the whole course of the many efforts to formulate the doctrine exactly, which have followed one another during the entire history of the church, indeed, the principle which has never determined the result has always been the determination to do justice in conceiving the relations of God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit, on the one hand to the unity of God, and, on the other, to the true Deity of the Son and Spirit and their distinct personalities.

“When we have said these three things, then – that there is but one God, that the Father and the Son and the Spirit is each God, and the Father and the Son, and the Spirit is each a distinct person – we have enunciated the doctrine of the Trinity in its completeness.”

 Okay. Now I, I, would love, in witnessing to a Jehovah’s Witness, for instance, I would love to just have time to say, let’s, let’s, not stand here at the doorstep, but let’s live together for three months. You come in and let’s just read this Bible together. Let’s just read from, from, New Testament starting in Matthew 1:1, go all the way to Revelation 22:18 or whatever it is and, and, just, just, read this. Let’s just read this. It’s, it’s, own apologetic. It is an argument. It’s, it’s, it’s, not only an argument for, the doctrine of the Trinity, but it is at least an argument for the doctrine of the Trinity. Right?

Now we’re being extremely brief with our overview of the Trinity, and I’m on page four of eight and I can see right now, we’re not getting there. So I’ll do what I can. But here’s, I’d like to finish our time by getting a brief exposure to the clarity and precision of the Athanasian Creed. I’d like you to, to, get an appreciation for that. And, and to do that, I’ve got some copies, if you guys could pass them on either side. Distribute them around. Lemme have one.

 So early in the course, we read the Athanasian Creed, but didn’t ponder it a whole, whole, lot. Now that we’ve covered the unity of God, we’re ready to hear clear and precise statements of the Creed, and I’ve given you a copy, so we can, let’s just read it first and then we’ll discuss its parts. And I’m actually only going to read the, let me see, where am I starting here? Oh, Okay. I was on the wrong page. Sorry about that.

 Go, go, down to statement number three and that’s where we’re going to start.

3. “We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in unity.

4. “Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.

5. “For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.

6. “But the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is all one.” That is one essence or one substance. “The Glory equal, the Majesty Co-eternal.

7. “Such as the Father is, such as the Son, and such as the Holy Spirit.

8. “The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.

9. “The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

10. “The Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Spirit eternal.

11. “Yet they are not three Eternals, but one Eternal.”

 Again, that paragraph is just affirming one essence. 12. “As also there are not three uncreated, or nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.

13. “So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Spirit Almighty.

14. “Yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty. 15. “The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God.

16. “Yet they are not three Gods.” They are not three gods, “but one God.”

17. “So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord.

18. “And yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord.” Again affirming one essence.

19. “For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity: to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord.

20. “So we are forbidden by the Catholic Religion, to say, there are three Gods or three Lords.” So same thing, one essence.

21. “The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten.

22. “The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.

23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

24. “So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.”

And there we’re distinguishing between three persons. And this, this, this, begotten language is the language of eternal generation, which is hard to conceive, conceptualize, but it is. And then the, the, procession of the Holy Spirit. But those are ontological realities that, that, go back into eternity past. Okay?

25. “In this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.

26. “But the whole three Persons are coeternal and coequal. 27. “So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity and Trinity and the Trinity and Unity is to be worshipped.”

 So this paragraph goes back to affirming one essence and then this.

 28. “He therefore that will be saved”, must, “must thus think of the Trinity.”

 That last line is why there was such a hue and cry raised against James McDonald and Mark Driscoll when they invited TD Jakes to share the platform with them in what was called the Elephant Room two and affirmed him as a quote, unquote “brother in Christ”.

 TD Jakes is a Unitarian Pentecostal preacher. He’s not a Christian. He does not agree with this statement of the Athanasian Creed. And yet his books are on the shelves in our evangelical bookstores. So, I don’t understand that. Understand why, but it just is another indication to me of the degradation of theology in, in, our time.

 But, but this, this statement, now, understand Mike, back to your point; when, whenever we have a candidate for baptism, I don’t, I don’t go through this with them, to make sure that they can articulate the Athanasian Creed before they’re baptized. But I do state it to the, I do state to them the Trinitarian doctrine. And if they say, that’s stupid. You know, then I say, let’s, let’s time out on your Baptism and let’s talk about some other.. I don’t do that.

 But what we do, you know, so, so it’s something that they may not fully understand, but they will affirm in concept. And then in time, as they grow, they never contradict it. Someone who may affirm it in its simplicity, in its simple form, but then in time comes to reject it and repudiate it; I say that person was probably never saved. Unless they’re going some, down some theological error, and they’ll repent, and come back, and then we can see. But that’s what this is saying. It’s pretty strong statement, isn’t it?

 “He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.” That’s a pretty strong statement. So we can, defi, divide the, the, Athanasian Creed into two parts. The first half, if you see on your pages there, propositions one through 28 affirm the Trinity. The second-half, that’s propositions 29 to 44, affirms the Deity and humanity of Christ. So the second half, I’m, I’m, gonna actually, gonna to skip a lot of this, so we can get through.

 I’ll just say this. The first, the, the, second half deals with two Christological heresies, which we’re going to cover in more detail, when we get to Christology. It deals with Monophysin physitism or monophysitism  or Eutychianism named for Eutyches of Constantinople; mixing the two natures of Christ, making them into a, you know, kind of a mashup and blending them into a single nature monophysis or physis. Phousis, is how I say the Greek word: one soul, one nature. Nestorianism is the other one named for Nestorius. It’s an opposite of heresy, which radically separate, separated the two natures of Christ. And I want to just say that Jesus does have two natures, one full human nature,

one full divine nature. And so, we are dyophysites, okay? So don’t if, if, if you, if you want to know, if anybody asks you; you’re a dyophysite. That comes up at the grocery store, ‘of course I’m a dyophysite.’ What are you? A monophysis?

 But those two natures of Jesus are perfectly unified in one person. So, he’s unlike us, right? We have one nature, one person, two natures of Christ, fully human, fully divine. But that doesn’t mean there’s two persons.

 So, in the second half of the Athanasian Creed, focused on Christology, the first half of the Athanasian Creed focuses on, which we just read, is focused on the Trinity and it, and it, guards against two ancient heresies, which keep on coming up. Don’t they? Sabellianism and Arianism.

Sabellianism is named for the third century founder. Sabellius, teaches that the Father, the Son, the Spirit are merely three manifestations of one God. So, this is what Joe is bringing up about Modalism. It appears in various instances as one of the other persons. So, manifest as Father in the Old Testament. He’s manifest as the Son in the incarnation, manifest again as the Spirit in the church, but then poof back up to the Father, you know, so you just kind of never know.

 That’s modalism, which the Creed condemns as confounding of the persons of the Trinity. And it’s manifest, as I said in; one is Pentecostalism. TD Jakes is its most popular proponent, but this is, this was condemned even for the Council of Nicaea in 325 by Tertullian, Origen, and others.

 But Arianism is the other doctrine, which you’re probably more familiar with. This is Jehovah Witnesses; Jesus is a creative Being. Founded by Arius, fourth century. Inferior to the Father, is what he says about Jesus the Son. And this creed condemns dividing the substance of the Trinity. So contrary to Arianism, each person in the Trinity is uncreated and therefore infinite and eternal. So, this, as we said, this is manifest today in the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

 So, the Athanasian Creed, as you’ve heard it, you could hear, alternating between affirmations and denials, and serves to guard the Christian Church. Provide guard rails for the Christian Church, keeping us from falling into the ditch of heretical error on either side, whether confounding the persons or radically separating the persons, or, you know, those different heresies. Okay.

 So, let’s, let’s come to this issue. We understand, kind of what nature, substance, Being is. Right? Ousia, the word, Greek word for Being. What do we mean by person? How do we distinguish person from nature or essence? What is, what is person, personality? What are we talking about?

Audience: I’ll take a shot at it.

Travis: All right.

Audience: The, the, elements that are unique to the character of one entity. Travis: That’s, that’s, actually a really good shot, I think. The elements that are unique to the character of one unique Ousia. One unique Being instance of an Ousia, of a Being of a substance. Right. Good. So you and I, we both share the substance of, of, human and yet there is something different between me and Wayne. There’s a number of thing, number of things that are different between

of thing, number of things that are different between us, not, not, even physically, but we’re talking like emotionally, intellectually. In, in, other ways as well. Right?

So there’s, there’s, a distinction between every single one of us in the room. That’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about personality among human beings. Right? So this is probably too simplistic here, but we might think of nature, essence, substance is that which makes a Being what it is. Okay?

 We’ve been talking a lot about theology proper, the attributes of God, his essencian, his essential, his absolute attributes, which are the essential attributes of his Being. Personality is how that Being is known to other persons. Okay?

So as a human being, I have a single person that shares fully in my single being, but with our creator, he has three persons sharing fully, coequally, coeternally with, but without any confusion in his single being. And that’s certainly easier to state than to understand. But that’s what the Bible teaches. Known, though differently, through the three persons. Okay. And he’s known intra Trinitarian, within an intra Trinitarian knowledge and also outside the Trinity. Trinity, right. So outside from us, as creatures.

Yeah let’s, let’s, go ahead. So I’m going to, I’m going to dive into Berkhof and because we want to listen to some of these theologians and help, you know just get some clarity on some of this. Let’s, I’m going to go to Berkhof here and I want to talk first about the personality of God and the Trinity. “As stated in the proceeding, the communicable attributes of God’s stress his personality.” What are the communicable attributes? Name, name a few.

Audience: Love. Love.

Travis: Love, okay. Love, holiness, righteousness, justice. Okay. So, “the communicable attributes of God stress His personality, since they reveal him as a rational and moral Being. His life stands out clearly before us in Scripture as a personal life; and it is, of course, of the greatest importance to maintain the personality of God, but without it, without it, there can be no religion in the real sense of the word: no prayer, no personal communion, no trustful reliance, and no confident hope.

 “Since man has created in the image of God, we learn to understand something of the personal life of God from the contemplation of personality as we know it in man. We should be careful, however,” good caution here, “careful, however, not to set up man’s personality as a standard by which the personality of God must be measured. The original form of personality is not in man but in God; He is archetypal, while man’s is ectypal. The latter is not identical to the former, but it does contain faint traces of similarity with it.

“We should not say that man is personal, while God while God is super personal (a very unfortunate term), for what is super personal is not personal; but rather,’ what is, “that what appears as imperfect in man exists in infinite perfection in God. The one outstanding difference between the two is that man is uni-personal, while God is tri-personal. And this tri-personal existence is a necessity in the Divine Being, and not in any sense the result of a choice of God. He could not exist in any other way than in tri-personal form.”  That’s, it’s interesting to see that uni-personal Being of man and every other god that is put forth in any other religion; uni-personal. We see in God and in

Scripture, the Christian God of the Bible is tri-personal. “Personality does not develop nor,” I’m skipping ahead a little bit, “Personality does not develop nor exist in isolation, but only in association with other persons.

“Hence it is not possible to conceive of personality in God apart from an association of equal persons in Him.” His, okay, let me read that again because that’s very significant. “It is not possible to conceive of person.” Oh no. “Personality does not develop nor exist in isolation, but only in association with other persons.” What does that tell you about the uni-personal gods of any other religion?

Audience: They’re fictious.

Travis: They’re fictions of imagination.

Audience: Yeah, exactly, because they were only revealed in the speaking of the person that’s writing about them or talking about them.

Travis: So, the fact that we have a personal God, can only be, if there are three per, if there are multiplicity of persons, three persons. So he the triune God is the only reason for our personality. For us having a personal.

Audience: It’s only the only possibility.

Travis: We can only derive it from a God who has a per, has a multiplicity of persons, because persons are only known in distinction, conversely from one another. Okay, so if you go back into, you cannot say of, say a figment of imagination; Allah. You cannot say of Allah, that he is a personal God, when there is no distinction in eternity past between Allah and any other person. There is no basis for personality, personhood. And because of that you cannot derive human personality from Allah or any other false god. You can only derive personality and personhood, that we know from a triune God revealed in scripture.

Audience: You do not have a personal relationship with our God, unless he had personality. And we can’t, we can’t have that unless we had a God who spoke. And we see in Genesis one, “And God said.” So, from the very beginning with the God who wanted a relationship.

Travis: You got it. Everything the Bible affirms is all predicated on the fact that God is who he is.

Audience: And actually, every other religion is predicated on there being a reality that distort.

Travis: You got it.

Audience: And there’s only one possibility, which is a, is some kind of communication within eternity past. Otherwise, yeah, it’s, there’s no way that one, that’s mind blowing.

Travis:  Yeah, it is mind blowing. So, “Hence it’s not possible to conceive a personality in God apart from the association of equal Persons in Him. His contact with his creatures would not account for His personality any more than man’s contact with the animals would explain his personality. In virtue of the tri-personal existence of God, there is an infinite fullness of divine life in Him.

Paul speaks of this pleroma,” which is the word for fullness, speaks of this fullness “of the Godhead in Ephesians 3:19, Colossians 1:9, Colossians 2:9. In view of the fact that there are three persons in God, it is better to say that God is personal than to speak of Him as a Person.” And that’s just trying to keep away from avoiding the fact that he is a single person. We want to make sure he’s distinct from the rest of the creatures.

 I, I, want to stop there and, and, skip ahead. I’ll, I’ll probably come back to this next time because there’s so much really good stuff in these theologians, but it takes a little bit to read through it. And I don’t want to hurry. But that’s, that little mind-blowing comment from, from, Berkhof, I think is enough to, you know, just to give us a real sense of joy of this God that has reconciled us to himself. That he, he, is the reason in existence for any of us and explains everything that we know and understand.

And, and, as we, I mean if I could read through the rest of them, which we’ll do probably next time, you’ll hear in these theologians Hodge, Berkhof, Warfield, you’ll hear, what makes that Athanasian Creed so helpful. Such clarity, such precision, such care, in its thought, and its articulation. I just want you to have a great appreciation of what men centuries ago have battled through, thought through, struggled through. So, we have a deep humility about all that we have to learn, but also all that God has given us in the gift of the church.

     So. I’m gonna give you a one final section here to round out and I’ll introduce this with a quick question. And we’re going to talk about analogies for the Trinity. Should we use analogies when explaining the Trinity to people? Why or why not?

Audience: There aren’t very many good analogies because most analogies that we use are centered in this world and the Trinity is spiritual, it’s not from this world. We should do that only with great caution.

Travis Okay. So.

Audience: I know a good analogy; it’s Brett’s freckle analogy and he really nailed it.

Travis: With one exception. With one exception. Be careful of analogies. But Brett’s freckle one.

Audience: It explains the Trinity. BFA.

Travis: Just BFA for short. So did anybody, anybody know of a good analogy for the Trinity you’d like to.

Audience: Yea, light.

Travis: Okay.

Audience: Prism. You spoke of that?

Travis: Yea, explain.

Audience: Well, you set a piece of white light or just light that we can see through the prism and lights composed in different wavelengths. The prism was separated by wavelengths according to the speed of light and the density of the glass. We see colors. All those colors together make up the light. Without all those colors you don’t have the light. Yet they can be separated out by one attitude. And it’s a simple wavelength. It’s, it’s, nothing at all as complex as, as, the Trinity, and of course there’s seven colors in prism. We all know the seven colors, but that’s about as close to a good analogy as there is.

  I like the triangle, you know, three equal parts, inseparable, but it’s limited again. There’s no personality to it.

Travis: Yeah, it is. It’s, yeah, everything, everything. And, and, the theologians that I’ve, that I’ve read, in kind of preparing this; all, you know, affirm the kind of the stunted usefulness of making analogies, but they do caution. I, you know, I’m probably of a mind to avoid analogies, because there, there, is nothing analogous to our triune God. He is who he is and, and, like that, the prism of light, of the simplicity of God, passing through the prism of creation to, to, reveal all of his attributes, there’s nothing like that.

There’s noth, we just, he is who he is, and we need to proclaim him, explain him. I, I, do like this, this little deal that is on your paper there. So this is in Latin. But you have Father(Pater), Son(Filius), and Spirit(Spiritus Sanctus). And you have not, non est, which is, ‘he is not’ and then the word est, it’s ‘is’. And you’ve seen this in English before. You know, you have Deus in the middle.

Father-is not(non est)Son-is not(non est)-Father

Son is not(non est)– Holy Spirit- is not(non est)-Son

Holy Spirit–is not(non est)-Father- is not(non est)-Holy Spirit

Father is(est) God,

Son is(est) God,

Holy Spirit is(est) God

 But I, I, I really like this. I draw this out for people and I just say listen, this is what the Bible, this is what the Bible affirms; is what the Bible teaches. Well, you know, and so I, I, do try, personally I try to stay away from analogies, because I just find them binding me up and making the conversation confusing.

 But let me just read quickly. “Various analogies suggested to shed light on the subject.” This is from Berkhof again, he says, From the various earliest, “from the very earliest time of the Christian era,” that “attempts were made to shed light on the trinitarian Being of God, on the Trinity in Unity and the Unity in Trinity, by analogies drawn from several sources.

“While these are all defective, it cannot be denied that they were of some value in trinitarian discussion. This applies particularly to those derived from the constitutional nature, or the psychology, of man. In view of the fact that man was created in the image of God, it is” but, “but natural to assume that, if there are some traces of the trinitarian life in the creature, the clearest of these will be found in man.”

Okay. So that’s, that’s, a reasonable connection to make. “Some of these illustrations or analogies were taken from inanimate nature or from plant life, as the water of the fountain, the Creek, and the river, or of the rising mist, the cloud, the rain, or in the form of rain, snow and ice;” where “as the tree with its root, trunk, and branches.” You know, the difficulty with those is that and now that’s, that’s, a trunk and it’s not a root, and the branches, so there are different things that make those things what they are.

 “These are all,” similar, “similar illustrations are very defective. The idea of personality is, of course, entirely wanting;” like the triangle analogy, “and while they” do na, “do furnish examples of a common nature or substance, they are not examples of a common essence which is present, not merely in part, but,” it’s, “in its entirety, in each of its constituent parts or forms. Others of greater importance were drawn from the life of man, particularly from the constitution and the processes of the human mind.

“These were considered to be of special significance, because man is the image-bearer of God. To this class belongs psychological unity of the intellect, the affections, and the will.” That’s “Augustine: the logical unity of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.” That’s, “Hegel; and the metaphysical unity of the subject, object, and the subject-object (Olshausen,Shedd). In all of these we do have a certain Trinity in unity, but no tri-personality in unity of substance.”

 Okay. So, all he’s trying to say is, okay, some, some, analogies can be useful, but they have severe limits. So, I’d just, I’d just caution you against using analogies. I’m actually going to play something here that is a humorous explanation of that, but yeah.

Audience: I was just thinking, the reason you would use analogies is either to help your own understanding of the Trinity, so you can kind of grasp, grasp, it in a, in more, I guess, in terms that are closer to you, kind of, or you would use it, for another, to teach another person, so they can do that. And I think in the interest of clarity, you don’t want to use an analogy because of how far it, far short of falls.

 So that because you want either yourself or the other person to have as clear an understanding as possible, not grasp onto an analogy that, that, has a defect that they could take and run with, you know. So instead, it’s easier just to state those three statements of the Trinity, of the Trinitarian doctrine, and just let them sit. You know.

Travis: Yeah, that’s, I mean, that’s the opinion I hold to in the approach that I take. I, I’m, I’m, I’m concerned about adding to the confusion of an already confused world, about the nature of God. And I just, I just want to, I just want to state and try to explain the doctrine the best I can from Scripture. But analogies don’t help with that endeavor. Yeah.

Audience: From what I’ve seen, every, every analogy that’s been used to explain the Trinity points closer to a Trinitarian heresy than it does the biblical truth of it. Yeah, every everyone I’ve heard.

 Travis: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Exactly. Daniel.

Audience: If we don’t mind just using this as an example, what would be the close heresy that would lie with trying to just articulate it. Maybe in this way, or with the prism or whatever.

Travis: That’s not an analogy. That’s just a, that’s just an illist, illustrating what the Bible says. It’s putting what the Bible says, that there’s but one God, right there, three persons, and yet the three persons are all coequal, co-eternal, with God, as God, but distinct from one another.

 So, that’s basically the three affirmations that we started with Robert Reymond, in the beginning, are just illustrating the picture, but that’s not, this isn’t an analogy, it’s just a graphic representation of that, those statements. That’s and that’s why I like it, because it, it’s you can draw that out and people can kind of picture, you know, sometimes you get a little cloudy in your, the thought of your words but, Bill, you got a comment.

Audience: No, no, my only, my only comment was, was, really what we’re seeing here and it’s so helpful in so many, in so many other instances of, of, of, communicating truth in the church is an affirmations and denial statement.

Travis: Yeah, you got it. That’s right.

Audience: That’s what, that’s what it is. This is what it is. This is what it’s not. And we get, we get clarity from the affirmation and the denial, as well, which is what, of course, is helpful with the old Creed.

 Travis: Yeah. And just, just, piggybacking off that statement about affirmations and denials. This is so helpful. Which is what the proverbs does, by teaching wisdom literature, teaching and contrast. It’s, it’s, important for us to do the same thing. There is a big very popular, today, especially, in the scholarly academic realm, just to affirm everything.

 And then, you know, even the theologian, you’re like, you’re like reading his work and you’re, you’re, providing critique of his book. But you can’t do that unless you spend half your article affirming everything you like in the book, you know? Great binding, wonderful, different type of typography. Appreciate it. The publisher is so good, too. And, and, you know and, and, I have some things that I see differently. This is the way and, but that’s about as harsh of a critique as you’re going to get. But affirmations and denials are so, so, important. And yes, even naming people from the pulpit. Okay. So is this, is the sound on for this, too?

Audience: It should be. Yeah. Go ahead.

Travis: This is just a fun way to end. Okay.

Youtube video: https://youtu.be/KQLfgaUoQCw

Leader: Okay Patrick, tell us a bit more about this Trinity thing. Yeah, Patrick, tell us. But remember that we’re simple people without your fancy education and books and learning. And we’re hearing about all of this for the first time. So try to keep it simple. OK, Patrick? Yeah, real simple, Patrick.

Patrick: Sure. There are three persons of the Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Yet there is only one God.

Leader: Don’t get what you’re saying here, Patrick. Don’t pick it up. What you’re name down here, Patrick. Could you use an analogy, Patrick?

Patrick: Sure. The Trinity is like water and how you can find water in three different forms, liquid, ice, and vapor.

Leader: That’s Mortalism, Patrick. Mortalism, an ancient heresy confessed by teachers such as Noetus and Sabellius, which espouses that God is not three distinct persons, but that he merely reveals himself in three different forms. This heresy was clearly condemned in Canada, one of the first Council of Constantinople in 381 AD, and those who confess it cannot rightly be considered a part of the Church Catholic. Come on Patrick. Get it together Patrick.

Patrick: Okay then the Trinity is like the sun in the sky, where you have the star, and the light, and the heat.

Leader: Oh, Patrick. Come on, Patrick. That’s Arianism, Patrick.

Patrick: Arianism.

Leader: Yes, Arianism. Patrick, Theology, which states that Christ and the Holy Spirit are creations of the Father and not one in nature with him. Exactly like how heat and light are not the star itself, but are merely creations of the star. That’s a bad, bad analogy, Patrick. The worst, Patrick.

Patrick: Alright, sorry. The Trinity is, like this three leaf Clover here.

Leader: I’m going to stop you right there. Hold your horses, Patrick, you’re about to confess Partialism.

Patrick: Partialism.

Leader: Yeah, partialism. A heresy, which it starts with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not distinct persons of the Godhead, but are different parts of God, each composing 1/3 of the divine.

Patrick: And who confesses the heresy of partialism?

Leader: the first season of the cartoon program Voltron, where five robot Lion Cars merged together to form one giant robot Samurai, obviously.

Patrick: I’ve never heard of Voltron.

Leader: Of course, you haven’t. It’s not gonna exist for another 1500 years. Get with the program, Patrick. I mean, really, Patrick. I’m gonna stab you in the face. Okay, that was probably a bit much.

Patrick: All right, I’ll try again. The Trinity is like how the same man can be a husband and a father and an employer.

Leader: Moralism again.

Patrick: All right, then. It’s like the three layers of an hour.

Leader: So there’s a revisited fine.

Patrick: The Trinity is a mystery which cannot be comprehended by the reason, but is understood only through faith. And his best confessed in the words of the Athanasian Creed, which says that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons are dividing the substance, that we are compelled by the Christian truth to confess that each distinct person is God and Lord and the Deity of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Spirit is one. Equal in glory, coequal in majesty.

Leader: Well, why didn’t you just say that? Now let’s all put on some giant green foam hats, get riotously drunk, and vomit in the Chicago River to celebrate our conversion.

Audience: It’s gotta be on YouTube. https://youtu.be/KQLfgaUoQCw

Patrick: So what do you guys do for a living?

Leader: Well, we come from a long line of snake farmers, Patrick, but truth be told our business has been really bad lately. Oh yeah, about that.

Travis: Cancel. That’s good. So yeah, I can waste a lot of time on YouTube with the, that’s called Lutheran Satires. If you, if you go there, you can see really funny stuff. There’s one called Frank the hippie Pope. It’s awesome. Same thing anyway. But that helps illustrate the point.

 Let’s, let’s, close in prayer. Father, I want to thank you for what we’ve, what we’ve learned and come to appreciate a little bit more fully today. That your Trinitarian, who you are, is, is Trinity, one God in Unity and Unity in Trinity. We are so thankful that you have brought us into the revelation of that truth and that you are the Fountainhead of all existence and all, all that is.

That we can point back to you and, and, realize that you provide a rational explanation for everything. Unlike any other god, which is a false god. Any other system, which is a false system, false worldview, we stand in the truth, and that’s by you’re doing through the gift of your son, Jesus Christ. We love you, and we give ourselves wholeheartedly to you to study you, to enjoy and understanding you, to be devoted to you in worship.

 But also pursuing conformity to Christ in pure holiness, we just pray that you would grant us your Holy Spirit both to do to will according to your good purpose, and that you would use the fellowship of this body, the teaching of this church, to help us to grow in conformity to Christ. We love you. We thank you for uniting us to this body and just ask you continue to help us to serve with diligence and joy, in the sacrifice, sacrificial love of Christ. In his name we pray.