Recently a commenter challenged me on my statement that “God is as He reveals Himself to be.” I was referring to the fact that when we read the Bible, God’s revelation to man about who He is and what He is like, we discover many fascinating things, some of which are not quantifiable in our finite and earth-bound experiences. The chief notion that this commenter had a problem with was my claim that God has revealed Himself to be one God existing in three persons.
Here is an excerpt of his reply comment:
You have said “God is as He reveals Himself to be. He has revealed Himself to be one God existing in three persons.”
Please quote a single solid verse from the Bible which claims literally that God has told that He, Jesus and the holy spirit are one and the same and should be worshipped together as a single entity. Otherwise I do not find any logic in calling and eating an apple seed to be an apple itself.
I would begin by saying that if our belief in the veracity of something is somehow contingent on it only being found in a “single solid verse”, we’re either not open to having our minds changed by the facts or we have a very shallow view of how ideas and thoughts are developed. For instance we could complain about long, complicated explanations given in medical or scientific journals—can’t they just get to the point and wrap up their thesis in a single sentence? Why do they have to go on and on about semi-conductors, photosynthesis or aberrant glycosylation in tumors? But would that make sense?
The Bible clearly teaches that God is “one what and three whos”, i.e. What is He? God. Who is He? The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Anyone who wants to argue this argues not with me but with the clear revelation of scripture. Christians have believed in the Trinity from the earliest days of the church and this belief has always been a clear demarcation for Christians about where orthodoxy ends and the cultic begins.
Again, I’m just reporting the news, not making it, and my meager attempts to call attention to scriptures that support this view won’t hold a candle to mighty “Google”, which I’m sure someone soon will nominate for the 4th member of the Trinity. Knock yourselves out.
There are many scriptures and many ways of addressing this issue, but for fun lets look only at some Old Testament verses describing the three persons of the Trinity prior to the incarnation (meaning God come “in the flesh”, see 1 John 4:1-3). The point is, the Trinity is all through the Bible, not just the New Testament:
Deut 6:4: Hear, O Israel! The LORD [YHWH] is our God [Elohim, plural Gods], the LORD [YHWH] is one! [echad, a unity, unifying two or more items]
This verse is saying ‘Israel, our God YHWH, though plural in personhood, is a unified One’. It makes both the point that God is one and that he has revealed himself in more than one person. This is seen as early as the 2nd verse of the Bible:
Genesis 1:2: The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
Yahweh also speaks of His Spirit as a person:
Genesis 6:3: Then the LORD said, “My Spirit [רוח ruwach, Spirit, wind, breath] shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
Numbers 27:18: So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him”.
The “Angel of Yahweh”, translated LORD in many English versions, is actually a pre-incarnate appearance of Yeshua:
Judges 6:21-23: Then the angel of the LORD [YHWH] put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight. When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” The LORD said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.”
Gideon thought he was going to die because it was clear to him he had just seen God, and he knew the verse You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live! (Exo 33:20). God then assured him that he wouldn’t die.
There are over 50 references to “the angel of Yahweh” in the Old Testament. It’s an interesting study to see God, through His “angel” Yeshua, interacting with his people. It is even the Angel of the LORD that announced to Hagar her pregnancy with Ishmael, and that He/the Angel of the LORD would multiply her descendants; afterward Hagar declared it was Yahweh who spoke to her.
And God has revealed Himself as Father in the Old Testament as well, not just the NT:
Exodus 4:22: Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.”
Isa 63:16: “For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us. You, O LORD, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.”
Isa 64:8: “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.”
Hosea 11:1: “When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.”
We don’t determine who or what God is like—He is as He reveals Himself to be.