Genesis Part One: Deep Dive
INTRODUCTION TO THE TRINITY | KATIE HALDANE
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 fact we find in the Bible and diving deeper into the implications of those statements. In this week’s Dive post, we unpacked the statement ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ from Genesis 1:1. It’s a power packed statement with implications of theology (the study of God) and our understanding of Creationism. For our Deep Dive this week, the statement i want to focus on is found in verse 26.
G 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 regarding our authority, the first ten 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 pronouns indicate more than one, correct? For most theologians, this has significant implications on the nature and understanding of God. Wayne Grudem suggests 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.
Understanding the Trinity is one of the hardest concepts for our brains to grasp, and can be, at times, beyond human understanding. I love that though, it puts you firmly back on your knees realising who is created and who is Creator! We’ll get a quick understanding of the Trinity in this Deep Dive, but don’t worry, we’ll study this concept again as it comes up in our journey through the Bible.
digging in to the study
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. In Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem says,
‘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'.
In Theology for the Community of God, Stanley Grenz takes the Trinity into new levels of love, stating,
‘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 or not you agree with these quotes, the study of the Trinity is an incredible dive into one of the most 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 study as we journey through the Bible.
Christian Theology An Introduction by Alister E McGrath – this is a great book that walks you through the foundations of theological development and core foundations.
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem – a great text book if you are interested in theology.
Systematic Theology An Introduction to Christian Belief by John M Frame.