The Church of Scotland


God, the Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity recognises that there is only one God, but that God is Three Persons.
God - The Father
God - The Son
God - The Holy Spirit

The concept of 3 divine Persons in ONE Godhead is of course contrary to all our human experience. But Christian's are not, as some would imply, suspending their critical faculties when they accept this clear Biblical teaching. It is no more difficult to accept the concept of a Trimitarian God (clearly taught and recealed in Holy Scripture) than it is for scientists (and indeed the general public) to accept that Quantum Physics is true or that the universe (that is time itself, space itself, and all matter, energy and indeed information) was all created in an infitesimal instant by the Big Bang theory of origins or that that there must be an infinite number of universes that exist simultaneously but about which we can know absolutely nothing because scientists now recognise that our universe is so finely tuned to such an extraordinary degree of precision that is beyond the realms of feasibility that life should exist anywhere in the universe - yet clearly life does exist. So they postulate that the earth and this universe (with its billions of galaxies each with billions of stars) is just the lucky one out of an infinite number of parallel universes.

How do the Scriptures describe GOD?

The actual term 'Trinity' is not found anywhere in scripture - this is actually a Latin word that is used to describe the truths in scripture that imply that God is indeed a Triune God. The Old Testament clearly implies a plurality of persons in the Godhead. The New Testament affirms that both Jesus (the Son) and the Holy Spirit are divine.

The concept that God is ONE yet clearly plural (3 persons) is a mystery, quite beyond our limited human understanding. But it is clear that this is what scripture clearly teaches and Christian's accept this revelation of THREE PERSONS in ONE GOD as a matter of faith. There are, of course, other mysteries that we do not fully understand, yet these are accepted as a matter of faith
- God's Omnipotence - He is all powerful
- God's Omnipresence - He is everywhere at once
- God's Omniscience - He is all knowing
- God's Eternal nature - He has no beginning and no end.

Although Deuteronomy 6:4 declares - that God is One - (all monotheistic religions accept this statement), only Christianity accepts the many other references in the Old Testament that clearly refer to God in the PLURAL. For example, in the very first chapter of Genesis God refers to Himself in the PLURAL (not singular which is how God would refer to Himself if He were Unitarian):
- 'Then God said, let us make man in our image, in our likeness, ...' Ge 1:26. Notice how God uses the PLURAL - Let US, ... in OUR image, in OUR likeness. God could have said 'Let ME, ... in MY image, in MY likeness', but HE didn't use the singular, He used the PLURAL.
- In the very next verse - Ge 1:27, God affirms that He created man, but this time God uses the SINGULAR to emphasise that there is a PLURALITY of persons in the ONE Godhead. This is NOT the only instance where God refers to Himself as a plurality of Persons (rather than singular)
- In Ge 3:22 after the Fall the Lord God said, 'The man has now become like one of us' and
- In Ge 11:7 when men built the Tower of Babel, the Lord said 'Come let us go down and confuse their language ...' and
- In Is 6:8 And then I heard the voice of the Lord saying 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?' (ONE God sending but on behalf of a plurality of Persons in the Godhead).
- In the New Testament, there are many instances where blessings are given in the Name (singular) of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself gave the Great Commission to His disciples (after they worshipped Him) in Mt 28:19 when Jesus said 'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit'. Jesus used NAME (singular - ONE God) but in the name of THREE PERSONS.

Click to see a list of some of GOD's Names the Scriptures use that describe Him



A scientific postscript on belief in incomprehensible concepts
Click Quantum Mechanics - Interpretations
Many detractors are incredulous that anyone can have faith in something that, to the limited human mind, is so obviously incomprehensible such as the Christian doctrine of a Trinitarian God. They dismiss such faith as folly and completely unscientific. This was a difficult argument to refute for 2000 years - but not so now. During the 20th century science has postulated the theory of Quantum Mechanics the science of the very small.

Indeed, much of modern technology operates at a scale where quantum effects are significant. No one really fully understands what Quantum Mechanics is yet physicists have such faith in its mathematical constructs that they use it to great effect in creating modern appliances.




A scientific postscript on the universe's fine tuning
Click Fine Tuning of the Universe
The universe's fundamental constants (Strong Nuclear, Electromagnetic, Weak Nuclear and Gravity forces) are so extraordinary and exact that any deviation from their set values would mean that either there would be no universe at all, or it would be so short lived that there would be insufficient time for galaxies and stars to form, or it would expand so rapidly that gravity would not be able to enable galaxies and stars to form. Even the slightest deviation from thei set values would exclude the possibility of life on Earth.






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