Summary: In this study, we glean the basic Scriptural facts about the nature of the Godhead.
My in-depth study of the Godhead was prompted, some some 20 years ago, by a disagreement on the subject between two close spiritual friends of mine. Each person was adamant that they understood the true doctrine of the subject and the other person's doctrine was heretical. I studied the interpretation of each party in light of what the Scriptures reveal.
After my prayerful study, I concluded that there are aspects of the nature of the Godhead that are clearly taught and are hard to dispute. Both of my Christian friends and I agreed on those points. There were other aspects of the Godhead that I found to be less clearly taught in the Bible and it was these aspects that were the root of my friends' disagreement. I could neither say that one of the varying positions was more Scripturally sound than the other. These positions were more hypotheses rather than clear facts; that is to say, they were cases of human finite minds desperately trying to figure-out an infinite Being.
Below are some basic doctrinal points that I believe are clearly taught in Scripture. With humility, I submit them to you.
A. There is one God.
The great foundational truth of the Bible is that there is only one true God.
Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!”
Isaiah 45:5, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God.”
1 Corinthians 8:4, “there is no God but one.”
1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God.”
B. Elohim: God is Plural.
Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;'”
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word most often translated 'God' is Elohim. It is a plural noun. When used of the true God, it is used singular as a composite unity. When used of false gods, it is used in the plural; for example, 'you shall have no other gods [elohim] before Me'.
When God is referred to in the singular such as “I”, it is showing the Being of God as the only God. When it is in the plural, He is revealing something personal of His Nature. The use of the plurals "our" (Gen. 1. 26), "us" (3:22), "us" (11:7), seems to indicate some self-converse in God.
C. Three Distinctions or Persons called God.
The New Testament provides insight on the plural nature of the one God. There are three distinctions of persons referred to as God. Let's see the relevant Scriptures:
Father is God.
Galatians 1:1 "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father.”
Son is God.
Acts 20:28, “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
Hebrews 1:8, “Of the Son He says, 'Your Throne, O God, is forever and ever.''
Holy Spirit is God.
1 Corinthians 3:17; 6:19, “The Temple of God is holy, and that is what you are...do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you.”
Thus, we have three personages referred to as being God. This is important in understanding why the one God is identified as a composite plurality in the term Elohim.
D. Each Person is Eternal.
It is important that we understand that the three distinct personages are eternal rather than being modes or manifestations of one personage in different periods of time. In other words, the Father has always been the Father, the Son has always been the Son, and the Holy Spirit has always been the Holy Spirit.
The Father is Eternal.
John 17:5, 24, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was....Father,...You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
The Son is Eternal.
Micah 5:2, “His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
Hebrews 7:3, “having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God.”
Revelation 1:17, “I am the first and the last.”
The Holy Spirit is Eternal.
Hebrews 9:14, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God.”
E. Persons Co-exist and Function Together.
Another indication that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Personages from each other, rather than merely being manifestations of one person, are Scriptures that show the two or three existing and acting at the same time. There are numerous Scriptures that could be cited, but I will look at a half dozen -
Mark 1:9-11, “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: 'You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.'"