Thursday, June 05, 2014

Speaking & Sending: Some textual trinitarian distinctions

A minimal framework for Trinitarian belief would include the following affirmations:

A. There is only one God

B. There are three distinct persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son and the Spirit

C. Each of these persons is fully God

What should we consider to be the necessary and sufficient evidence to affirm these points?

1. That it can be shown from Scripture that there are distinctions between the persons, distinctions that show that the threeness of persons and oneness of essence are equally ultimate.

2. That it can be shown from Scripture that the titles, works, and worship that belong properly to the one true and living God, are given to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

3. That we read and interpret the biblical data conscious that the lens through which we view the Trinity is that of the economy of salvation (the Father sending the Son, the Son humbling himself and becoming incarnate as the last Adam, the Spirit of God coming to glorify Christ and apply his saving work). This lens is itself part of the biblical data.

On point (1) this evidence would include texts that speak of :

1.1. The sending of one divine person by another (e.g. Exodus 23:20-21; Isaiah 48:16; Malachi 3:1-2; John 15:26)

1.2. The work of one divine person in relation to another divine person (e.g. Isaiah 61:1-2; Hosea 1:7)

1.3. The ascription of divine titles and works to more than one person within the same literary unit (e.g. Genesis 19:24; Zechariah 2:9-12; Psalm 110:1; Joshua 24:2-12 cf. Judges 2:1-4; Malachi 3:1-2; John 1:1, 18; Galatians 1:3; Revelation 1:8, 17; 22:12-13)

1.4. Reference being made to more than one divine person within the same literary unit, to whom elsewhere in Scripture divine titles and works have been ascribed (e.g. Isaiah 48:16; 63:9-12)

1.5. One divine person speaking of another divine person (e.g. Exodus 23:20-22; Isaiah 48:16; Isaiah 52:13, cf. Isaiah 6:1, 57:15, Hosea 1:6-7; Mark 1:11; Mark 9:7; John 15:26)

1.6. One divine person speaking to another divine person (e.g. Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 45:6-7; Psalm 110:1; John 17:5)

Some of the texts and categories above are obviously interconnected. Exodus 23:20-21 fits into 1.1./1.3./ and 1.5. The selection of passages above is only representative. As there is a superabundance of NT passages I have chosen more from the OT.

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