Chapter 4: The Biblical Revelation of the Triune God and the identity of Jesus Christ
The belief that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God is based on the belief in a Triune God.
The belief in a Triune God is not a Christian invention, but is a Biblical doctrine.
Let me ask you this question: "From where did we get our knowledge about God?"
From one of two sources:
From our foolish hearts and darkened minds, which is what the pagans did, and this is what the apostle Paul recorded concerning the pagans:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things... who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator, Who is blessed forever, Amen (Romans 1:21-25).
Or we know the true God by a special revelation from Him, which we Christians have received in the Bible.
We take God at His word and believe His revelation of Himself.
God is everlasting, having no beginning; therefore He must be self-existent and self-sufficient.
No one can fully comprehend God. The finite human mind cannot contain the infinite God. If we could contain God in our minds, He would no longer be God.
There are many important questions concerning God that need an answer such as:
Before God created angels and men, with whom was he talking?
Before God created angels and men, whom did He love, since we read in I John 4:16 that "God is Love." And in the Quran we read: "Lo! my Lord is Merciful, Loving" (Surat Hud 11:90).
Before God created angels and men, whom did he see, and whom did he hear?
If God’s attributes were not functioning without His creation, then He is incomplete in Himself, being completed by His creation. This is a heresy.
All the former questions concerning God have a satisfactory answer in the belief of a Triune God.
THE BIBLE REVEALS A TRIUNE GOD
The Old Testament uses the plural name of Deity.
- In Genesis 1:26,27, we read, "And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness... so God created man in His own image."
- In Genesis 3:22 we read, "And the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us."
Notice the singular and the plural in the verses.
- In Isaiah 6:8 we read, "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us?"
Here we have to notice the two words, "I" and "US." For the One who says "I," says also "Us." That indicates the oneness of the Triune God.
It is of great importance to notice that God never used the word "We" or "Us" to magnify himself in the Bible.
It was not the custom of the kings of the great empires to use the word "We" to magnify themselves.
King Nebuchadnezzer, the Emperor of the great Babylonian empire, issued a decree saying, "Therefore I make a decree..." (Daniel 3:29).
King Darius issued a decree saying, "I make a decree..." (Daniel 6:26).
So when God uses the words "We" or "Us," it is not to magnify Himself but to indicate that He is a Triune God.
- In Chapters 23 and 24 of the Book of Numbers there is a clear revelation of the Triune God.
Balak the king of the Moabites was afraid of Israel. He sent to Balaam the prophet to come and curse Israel. Balaam said to Balak: "The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak" (Numbers 22:38). Three times God met Balaam in that occasion. The Bible recorded these three times in the following verses:
- And God met Balaam (Numbers 23:4)
This is God the Father
- Then the LORD met Balaam (Numbers 23:16)
This is the Lord Jesus Christ
- And the Spirit of God came upon him (Numbers 24:2)
This is the Holy Spirit
This is a clear revelation of the Triune God.
Then we read in Psalm 110:1:
The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Jesus asked the Pharisees concerning this passage saying:
What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he? They say unto him, the son of David. He saith unto them, how then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, the Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? (Matthew 22:42-44).
The only right answer for this passage is the belief in the Triune God. For in this passage we see "The LORD" is God the Father. "My Lord" is God the Son, David in Spirit calls Him Lord, and that Spirit is the Holy Spirit.
Again, we read in the book of Proverbs:
Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know? (Proverbs 30:4 - NKJ)
Dr. Charles Bridges says in his commentary on Proverbs:
There is a Son in the Eternal Godhead; a Son not begotten in time, but from eternity (Proverbs 8:22-30); his name therefore, not as some would have it, a component part of his humiliation, but the manifestation of his Godhead: co-existent with his Father in the same ineffable nature, yet personally distinct. "What is his name? and what is his Son’s name?" Sovereignty-Omnipresence-Omnipotence is His. He too controls the winds and water, and establishes the earth..."
We have to realize that these passages are taken from the Old Testament, the book of the Jewish people who believed in monotheism.
We come now to the New Testament.
On the occasion of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, we see clearly the Triune God.
In Matthew 3:16,17, we read:
Then Jesus, when he had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (NKJ).
In this scene we have:
- The Father speaking from heaven, calling Jesus "My beloved Son."
- The Son, Jesus Christ, coming up from the water.
- The Holy Spirit like a dove descending from heaven and alighting upon the Son.
In the gospel of John we read these precious words of Jesus Christ:
... If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him (John 14:23)
Jesus says here that His Father, Himself, and the Holy Spirit, the Triune God, dwells in the heart of the person who loves Jesus Christ and obeys His word.
We read twice in Surat Al-Baqarat 2:87 and 2:253 the relationship between Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
In verse 87 we read, "We gave Jesus the son of Mary evidence and assisted him with the Holy Spirit. In verse 253 we read, "We gave Jesus the son of Mary explanation, and endorsed him by means of the Holy Spirit." (Irving - First American Version of the Quran).
The Holy Spirit is not the angel Gabriel; Gabriel was never called the Holy Spirit, even in the Quran.
The Triune God is the God revealed in the Bible.
This profound mystery of the Godhead is summed up in the words of Dr. Boardman, the great theologian:
The Father is all the fullness of the Godhead invisible.
No one has seen God at anytime. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1:18 - NKJV).
The Son is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the Glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-14 - NKJ).
The Holy Spirit is all the fullness of the Godhead acting immediately upon the creature.
But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (I Corinthians 2:9,10 - NKJ).
The Quran declares that God is visible and invisible, and seated Him on a throne:
He is the first and the last, and the outward (literally the visible) and the inward (literally the invisible); and He is the knower of all things. He it is who created the heavens and the earth in six days; then He mounted the throne (Surat Al-Hadid 57:3,4 9 - M. M. Pickthall Translation).
God is invisible. The apostle Paul says that He is:
...dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen (I Timothy 6:16).
But God became visible in the person of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul says:
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory (I Timothy 3:16).
I wonder why it is difficult for our Muslim friends to believe that Jesus Christ is the incarnated Son of God, while the Quran incarnated God in many of its passages.
The Quran gave God a face
Every one upon it will disappear while your Lord’s face will remain full of majesty and splendor (Surat Al-Rahman 55:26,27 - T.B. Irving - The First American Version of the Quran).
The Quran gave God a hand
The ones who swear allegiance to you merely swear allegiance to God. God’s hand rests above their hands... (Surat Al-Fath 48:10).
The Quran gave God an eye
Allah said: "Granted is thy prayer, O Moses! And indeed We conferred a favour on thee another time [before]. Behold! We sent to thy mother, by inspiration, the message: ‘Throw [the child] into the chest, and throw [the chest] into the river: The river will cast him up on the bank, and he will be taken up by one who is an enemy to Me and an enemy to him: But I endued thee with love from Me: And [this] in order that thou mayest be reared under Mine eye.’ " (Surat Ta-Ha 20:36-39 - King Fahd Holy Quran)
The Quran seated God on the throne
He it is who created the heavens and the earth in six days; then He mounted the throne (Surat Al-Hadid 57:4 - M. M. Pickthall English Translation).
The Quran gave God a face, a hand, an eye, and seated Him on a throne. If that is not incarnation, what is incarnation then?
My Muslim friends may say this is allegorical.
I know that such expressions in the Quran, where it is said that God has face, hand, eye is to be understood only in the sense that those human expressions are used in order to bring the infinite within the comprehension of the finite.
The conclusion is that incarnation was a must even in the Quran so that Muslims may comprehend at least a glimpse of the Divine.
We Christians accept the Bible revelations concerning God and His attributes. We have seen that all the Biblical revelations speak about a triune God.
Mathematically we accept unity and multiplication when we multiply 1 X 1 X 1 and know that even though each one is distinct from the other, the result is one.
It is very important to keep in mind that the Bible is the only source by which we can know the True God.
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