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“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

GOD IS ONE, BUT HIS UNITY IS A TRI-UNITY. That is to say, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all parts of the oneness of God. While this challenges even our best efforts to understand, it is clearly what the Scriptures reveal about God. We are not free to dispense with the unity of God, but neither are we free to deny that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all parts of the one God.

The unity of God. The first text that comes to mind is probably Moses’ declaration: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). But many other texts also affirm this, in both the Old and the New Testaments (Malachi 2:10; 1 Corinthians 8:4–6; etc.). So let us not waver: God — and God alone — is God.

The complexity of God. Even in the Old Testament, God’s personhood was not simple. At Sodom, “the Lord” on the scene that morning rained down fire from “the Lord” still in heaven (Genesis 19:24). This is consistent with the New Testament, where the Father, Son, and Spirit are seen doing different things simultaneously but in different locations, as at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:16,17).

People often attempt analogies to show how God could be three Persons and still be one God, but with deep theological truths, analogy-making is often dangerous. It is best for us to simply affirm what the Scriptures teach. It is our privilege to be the recipients of every bit of information about Himself that God has revealed.

We must courageously accept God’s self-disclosure, even the parts that seem to us not to “fit.” It would be wrong to delete any of it for the sake of logic or harmony. Yet in addition to being courageous, we must also be humble. It is a part of the majesty of God that He is complex beyond our ability to analyze or describe. As tempting as it is to reject complexities our minds can’t handle, we need to humble ourselves — in both wonder and gratitude — before the truth about God. Even in eternity His deep and various nature will be beyond our creaturely understanding. Yet our part will be not to tame Him but to enjoy Him . . . in all His diversity.

“In fact, it is spiritually healthy for us to acknowledge openly that God’s very being is far greater than we can ever comprehend. This humbles us before God and draws us to worship him without reservation” (Wayne Grudem).

Gary Henry — +

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