We Believe: THE Tri-unity of God, part 1
by Norman Manzon

The Association of Messianic Congregations was founded for the purpose of being an encouragement and resource for Messianic Congregations, which includes promoting sound doctrine within the body of Messiah. We therefore consider the study of Scripture and the faithfulness of our doctrinal statement to Scripture to be of great importance.

This study is the second in a series that will examine why we believe as we do. It is our hope that you will seriously consider these studies and allow the Lord to show you if, in fact, our beliefs are faithful to His Word.

The second point of our doctrinal statement reads:
 
THE TRI-UNITY
We believe that God is one but has manifested Himself in three separate and distinct Persons. Hence, we believe that God is a Tri-unity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is the creator of all things. He is infinite and perfect, eternally existing in three equal persons, each possessing the nature of deity, as well as the characteristics of personality. He is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 28:19; John 6:27; Acts 5:3,4; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 1:8)
(Full Statement:  www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm)

The tri-unity of God, especially in the aspect of the diety of the Messiah, is a stumbling block for many Jewish seekers. We will be addressing that in a future edition of The Shofar. First, the basic nature of godhood must be established. We will do so by addressing those attributes of God declared in the above statement. 

An attribute of God is a characteristic or quality innate to His very nature. His various attributes are not components of His nature; each attribute describes His entire being.

1. INFINITY.  He is infinite. What is meant by infinity is that God is not excluded, bounded in or limited in any way as to the existence of His presence by any material thing, form of energy, soul, spirit, thought, emotion, place, or any other thing or phenomenon in the supernatural or natural realm.

"But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heavens and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this house which I have built"    1Kings 8:27

2. PERFECTION. He is perfect. There are various words in the Old and New Covenants that are translated perfect, and they generally have the meaning of being complete and without lack or defect. (What is meant by 'perfect' when applied to believers is maturity.)

"Therefore be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect"  Matthew 5:48 

3. ETERNITY. He is eternally existing. By eternity is meant the quality of existing endlessly in regards to time without interruption or limitation in the past, present and future. 
"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God"   Psalm 90:2

"The eternal God is thy dwelling-place, And underneath are the everlasting arms"   Deuteronomy 33:27 

4. PERSONHOOD. He is eternally existing in three equal persons. God is not a mere force though He exercises force; nor is He a pantheistic totality and unity of all that exists: He is, indeed, distinct from His creation and is a true Person: a triune Person - not a person of flesh and spirit as you and I, but a Spirit Person (John 4:24).

It is commonly held that there are three essential attributes to personhood, and God has them all:

1) INTELLECT: the ability to think, reason and plan. 

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD"   Isaiah 1:18 

2) EMOTION: the ability to feel affectively with one's spirit. 

"And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses"   Exodus 4:14 

"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God"   Ephesians 4:30 

3) WILL: the ability to choose a course of action. 

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light"   Genesis 1:3 

I would add a fourth essential attribute to personhood: 

4) SPIRITUALITY, whether actual or potential. By spirituality I mean the ability to appreciate God and His works. Only God, holy angels and people are spiritual in this sense (fallen angels have lost the potential to appreciate God, having been confirmed in their unholiness), and only these three possess the three aforementioned attributes of personhood. All three, as well, and only these three, have the actual or potential ability to appreciate God and His works. That God appreciates His work is manifestly clear:

"And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good"   Genesis 1:31

"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the desire of the LORD shall prosper in his hand"   Isaiah 53:10

5. OMNIPRESENCE. He is omnipresent. Whereas infinity addresses the location of God's presence in terms of limitations, omnipresence addresses the location of God's presence in terms of extent. "God is everywhere present with His whole being at all times" (Dr. Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology [Chicago: Moody Press, 1981], p. 41).

"Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I go up into Heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the furthest parts of the sea; even there shall Your hand leads me, and Your right hand shall hold me"   Psalm 139:7-10

6. OMNIPOTENCE. He is omnipotent. By omnipotence is meant that God is infinitely powerful and able to do all things within the confines of His nature. 

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth"   Genesis 1:1

"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you killed and hanged on a tree"   Act 5:30 

Although God is powerful enough to create out of nothing and to resurrect, He is impotent in regards to anything contrary to His nature. For example, He cannot cease to be God (Deuteronomy 33:27); He cannot deny Himself (go back on His word) (2 Timothy 2:13); He is impervious to sinful temptations (James 1:13); He cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). 

7. OMNISCIENCE. He is omniscient. Omniscience means having and being fully aware of all knowledge of all things actual and possible from the infinitesimal to the infinite in every realm at all times. 

"All His works are known to God from eternity"   Acts 15:18 

Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:16 

"Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do"    Hebrews 4:13 

(8.) CREATOR. God is the creator of all things. 'Creator' is not one of God's attributes, but one of His titles. His creation of all things is an activity made possible by His attributes. God is not identical with the creation, but is distinct from it. There is the Creator and the created. God is the Creator. God existed before all else, and then He created all else. 

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth"   Genesis 1:1

"For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him"   Colossians 1:16

AFTERWORD. By no means should this list be considered exhaustive: Many, O LORD, my God are the wonders which you have done, and your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count. Psalm 40:5

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Norman Manzon, 2006.

Norman Manzon is a Bible teacher in Hawaii and may be reached at BibleStudyProject@hawaiiantel.net
More of his studies may be accessed at www.BibleStudyProject.org.