The Doctrine Of The Trinity: Is It Biblical? -- By: Tom Wells

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 10:3 (Summer 2001)
Article: The Doctrine Of The Trinity: Is It Biblical?
Author: Tom Wells

The Doctrine Of The Trinity: Is It Biblical?

Tom Wells

Among the many things that ought to humble us is how little we know about God. We may measure this ignorance in several ways. First, we must feel keenly how little we know of the revelation of God that we have in the Scriptures. We have found Augustine’s oft-quoted maxim true: “The Scriptures are a river in which an infant may wade and an elephant may swim.”1 Some of us who once hoped to be elephantine in mastering the Book have, in fact, demonstrated the clumsiness of an elephant while wading in its fringes.

There is, however, a larger ignorance which is ours. Our baby steps have not only not brought us to midstream in God’s Book but since God is infinite there is always another boundless ocean of Deity yet to be fathomed. This may well be the work of eternity. No wonder more than one theologian has spoken of Deus Absconditus, “the hidden God.” Is it arrogance, then, that drives us on in seeking to know God? Hardly. Three other things are at work here. First, the Scriptures are full of him. Second, the impulse to integrate what little we know drives us on. Third, there are practical implications in true and false views of God. I can illustrate this with a simple question: If Christ is a mere man and not God, where is God’s self-sacrificing love in sending him to die?

In discussing God as Trinity we are doing something we are not often able to do. We are discussing God as he has

always existed in himself. The overwhelming number of facts that the Bible gives us concerning God have to do with how he relates to us. He is our Creator, Provider, Redeemer and Judge. All of this is relatively clear. But in speaking of the Trinity we are asking about God’s nature. We are asking the question, what was God like then, in eternity past? Were there “persons” in the Trinity? If so, how did they relate to one another? Philosophy has spoken on these subjects, but “what saith the Scripture?”

Two facts in Scripture provide the basic materials from which the doctrine of the Trinity arises. First, there is one—and only one—God. Second, in Scripture there are three “persons” that are entitled to this name.

The Fact Of The Oneness Of God

If we ask the question, “How many gods are there?” we may answer it from the Bible in a number of ways. The most obvious way is to quote verses that assert God’s uniqueness. For instance, in blessing the assembly gathered at the dedication of the first temple, Solomon asked Yahweh to maintain “the cause of his people Israel, as ...

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