How can there be one God, but a Father and a Son and a Holy Spirit?
1. A starting place
a. The nature of God will be more than we can fathom.
b. We are dealing with a matter than is assumed more than explained.
2. A thesis: the unity and diversity of God.
a. One common nature, sameness of Godhood
b. Distinguishable as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
c. Existing eternally and simultaneously
1. Scripture on the Divine Nature.
a. Deity is ascribed to three Persons.
i. The Father is God.
ii. The Son is said to possess deity.
iii. The Holy Spirit has the divine nature.
b. The sacred writings insist that there is one God and no other.
2. The question: what is to be made of this?
a. Unsatisfactory attempts to explain
i. Tritheism: there are three gods.
ii. Arianism: one existed from eternity and created the others in time.
iii. Sabellianism: one God manifests himself in three different modes.
b. Another possibility – a group of three; a three-fold God.
3. No simple answers, but truth.
a. These three persons show up as actors at the same times, and at various junctures in redemptive history, and as co-equal in divine attributes.
ii. Birth of the Christ
iii. His baptism
iv. The hour of his passion
vi. Experience of children of God
vii. Understanding of gospel
b. The concept of the three-fold God, though not easily explained, has historically been maintained by Christians.
4. The Christian doctrine of God.
a. God is one God.
b. The Son is fully God and is distinct from the Father and the Spirit.
c. The Holy Spirit is fully God , is distinct from the Father and the Son, and is personal.
5. The impact of this great Bible theme.
a. Communicates to us something of the assurance that comes from the infinity of the eternal and all-present God.
b. Serves as a foundation for our personal and social nature, and as a reason for our ability to establish relationships, enjoy each other, and treat each other responsibly.
c. Humbles us before Deity, reminding us that we neither invented his nature nor are we the masters of it.