“There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and the three are one.” – 1 John 5:7
I believe there is nothing connected with the gospel plan of salvation or mentioned in the Bible considered more mysterious, and that is less understood than is the Holy Spirit and his work as it related to the apostles and in the discharge of their duties. In this second part well be looking at the duty of the Spirit in fulfilling the plan of God.
The Holy Spirit is a person and not a thing, and on this the scriptures are quite clear. Furthermore, he is a part of the three mentioned in this verse and elsewhere in the scriptures that each had a defined part in the working of the plan of God. The three are collectively at some point called the Godhead, or as is given in the modern English of the King James Version – Godhood or simply and correctly Deity. Most know the name or title “Trinity” given of the three (which we had already mentioned in the previous essay). That name comes purely from the early thinkers whose writing help to form the basis of Catholicism. Of these several names, this last one (trinity) is the only one that is not found in the Bible.
All of these terms and titles refer to the three supernatural beings or God that are unified in nature, purpose and intent. The object to be attained by each in the end is identical and eternal. This being noted there is no indication in scripture either that they are the same being or that they are three parts of a single multi-personality supernatural being. That is the error of the doctrine of the Trinity as it comes to us from Catholicism.
What is clear and what is shown in the scriptures is that they all have or had the same central purpose when it comes to the workings of our world. But they are not collectively what composes or comprises “God the Father.”
Did not Paul state, “There is one God the Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all?” If God is the Father of all (in the sense of being above all and concerning authority and subjection), then I suppose that ALL would include the other two beings God or any other beings also with the characteristics of God and beneath them would include all men and every other living being? Of this the scriptures are also sure.
It is not a familial relationship that is described by the terms father, son and spirit, as they are used to describe the three working forces and persons God. These terms are used to describe honor, position and status and are granted as titles. They are given more for our understanding than out of any need for Deity to identify themselves.
Of the three, the greatest, God over all, the Lord of Hosts, is also titled as the Father, for he fathered God the Son on earth, and he has the highest honor and his position is over all beings – supernal or terrestrial, eternal or finite, natural or supernatural, God or man or beast.
Jesus, the second being God, is the Son of God not only because of his birth. He is called the Son of God by the archangel Gabriel for this reason, but he is also eternal and from “the beginning.” He is therefore honored as the only begotten one, and titled the Son of God also because he was obedient to every given charge and because of his subjection to God, his Father, in everything. He is thereby honored as the “firstborn of all creation” called the Word, Christ, the Messiah, and finally, because he was born into this world of the Lord of Hosts and is God — the Son of God.
The Spirit, the third being God, which the scriptures identify, is descriptively called the Comforter (among his several other names) and the listed title as the Holy Spirit of God is indicative also of his duty, position, and (once again) the honor due him and awarded him and accorded to him by God Almighty.
With that duly noted, there are many that do not understand what was just laid down. These would have us believe that the three make up one and/or that as one is Father and another Son, then the third a spirit of the others, so then as with any family there must be a mother. To fill the bill, Mary has then been cast into this role and worshipped also as God, although the role of mother of God (on this earth) is certainly due her. But that is stuff for another essay on another day. Yet in this the scriptures teach us that there are distinct beings God, that each took a part in the plan for the salvation of mankind.
In spite of all of this there are some people who cannot appreciate how these may have their own personality and still yet be one. And this is the bed of confusion over their individual parts, the part each played in initiating, confirming and concluding the plan of God.
In the marriage relationship the husband and wife are one when their lives are blended together and when they take on the obligations of a family. That does not rob them of their individuality nor of their personality. Neither does it deny the fact that they are unified. How are they one? They are one in purpose and with reference to their aim in life and in what is to be accomplished. Yet while that is true there is still a special field of operation for each that is as distinct as are the appointed duties they each must take up.
It is the business and the place of the husband to look after the direction of the family, and all of those considerations, business concerns, and to solve the problems of support and livelihood for the family. It is the place of the wife to look to the home and to assume the responsibility for the care and nurturing of the household and the responsibilities that includes. But, in each of these separate fields both are equally involved, invested and interested and their purpose is the same concerning the object to be accomplished.
Can we therefore look at the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as one? Can we understand that God and the Lord and the Holy Spirit are unified in purpose, looking ultimately to the salvation of mankind and the adornment of the Fathers house with the souls of those redeemed out of the earth? Can we see them in this unified construct while yet noting that each is individually a distinct being and in the form God, divine and eternal?