Genesis Part One: Deep Dive
Genesis gives us the foundation to a lot of questions of existence: creation, the human race, sin. This week we are looking at the hidden statements of facts that we find in the Bible and diving deeper into the implications of those statements. In the above Dive In blog, the statement “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” is a power packed statement with implications of Theology (the study of God) and our understanding of Creationism.
The statement I want to focus on a little deeper in our Deep Dive this week is found in Genesis 1:26
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Besides the incredible implications of this statement in our authority, the first 10 words have significant implications on our understanding of Trinitarian theology. God is one God, three persons. The first question we need to ask is why did he use the words “us” and “our” these plural verbs and plural pronoun indicate more than one – correct? This, for most theologians, has significant implications on the nature and understanding of God. Wayne Grudem suggests that best explanation is that “already in the first chapter of Genesis we have an indication of a plurality of persons in God himself. We are not told how many persons, and we have nothing approaching a complete doctrine of the Trinity, but it is implied that more than one person is involved.” This same plurality is found in Genesis 3:22, 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8.
First, a warning, understanding the Trinity is one of the hardest concepts for our brains to grasp, the concept is at times beyond human understanding. I love that, though, it puts you firmly back on your knees realising who is Created and who is the Creator! So I am going to cover a small section here and then as we go along in our Bible journey we will jump back in when we hit another declaration of the Trinity.
Firstly, the word trinity is not found in the Bible, it means “tri-unity” or “three-in-oneness” This word is used to summarise the study of the teaching contained within the Bible that God is three persons yet one God. Let me quote Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology;
“In one sense the doctrine of the Trinity is a mystery that we will never be able to understand fully. However we can understand something of its truth by summarizing the teaching of Scripture in three statements:
God is three persons
Each person is full God
There is one God”
John M Frame in Systematic Theology An Introduction to Christian belief puts it like this
Stanley Grenz in Theology for the Community of God, takes the Trinity into new levels of love:
“Viewed theologically, therefore, John’s statement, “God is love,” refers first of all to the intra-trinitarian relationship within the eternal God. God is love within himself, The Father loves the Son; the Son reciprocates that love, and this love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit. In short, through all eternity God is the social Trinity, the community of love.”
Whether you agree or not with any of these quotes, the study of the Trinity is an incredible dive into one of the biggest brain stretching topics of the Bible. But if you are willing to venture in here are some great texts to get you started and as stated before we are going to continue this incredible journey as we journey through the Bible.
Christian Theology An Introduction - Alister E McGrath (this is a great book that walks you through the foundations of theological development and core foundations)
Systematic Theology - Wayne Grudem (great text book if you are interested in theology)
Systematic Theology An Introduction to Christian Belief - John M Frame