Early Steps Toward the Doctrine of the Trinity
.... Like their doctrinal opponents, the proponents of the Trinity adopted a position that there is only one God. This is taught very pointedly in passages such as Isaiah 44:6 and Isaiah 45:5. Because this was plainly taught in Scripture, it became an irrefutable foundation.
.... From there, the Trinitarian group ran into the same problems as Arius. Of course, God the Father is referred to as ‘God’ throughout both the Old and New Testaments, and the term ‘God the Father’ is used in Scripture to specify Him. There had never been any doubt about that. It was a point easily settled but it led to something else:
.... Besides the Scriptures that referred to the Father as God, Jesus Christ was also referred to as ‘God’. This can be found in passages such as Luke 8:39, John 1:1, John 8:58, John 20:28, Romans 9:5, Titus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1, and Colossians 2:19, which we quoted earlier. And not only did these writers ascribe divinity to Jesus Christ, but Jesus Himself claimed equality with the Father. This may be found in John 5:17-18, John 10:30-33, and also in Philippians 2:5-6.
.... Now if these Scriptures had not provided enough of a basis, the Old Testament agreed with them in making prophetic mention of the deity of Christ. This can be seen by comparing passages such as Psalm 45:6-7 to Hebrews 1:8, or Isaiah 7:14 to Matthew 1:23. Or it can be seen more plainly in Isaiah 9:6 or Isaiah 44:6.
.... So then, the early Trinitarian researchers were faced with the same antinomy as Arius. There is only one God; but God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son are both referred to as ‘God’ – yet there is only one God.
.... And this matter became more complicated still when the Divine claims of the Holy Spirit were taken into consideration. Now the Holy Spirit is plainly referred to as ‘God’ in Acts 5:3-4, but also, we’re going to steal some thunder from Arius again:
.... How many times in Scripture is Jesus referred to as ‘the Son of God’? Well if we remember that Mary was ‘with child of the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 1:18), then we must understand every reference of Christ as the Son of God to be a further reference of the Deity of the Holy Spirit, since Jesus was His Son.
.... So Father, Son and Holy Ghost are each referred to as ‘God’ in Scripture, and yet there is only one God. Now this is very puzzling, and the concept of the Trinity began to take shape in answer to this enigma, and this is what they began to see:
.... In essence, there must only be one God; and yet this one God must exist in distinct personalities: that of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Now most specifically, this is what the Doctrine of the Trinity states:
.... God is one in respect to essence. God is three in respect to personal distinctions, And God is three in respect to roles in the creative and redemptive process.
.... Now this doctrine may be stated in various similar forms, but the statement we’ve given is a good working understanding of the Trinitarian framework. And this is the only doctrine that has ever been found that can take everything the Bible has to say about the Person of God and reconcile it into one understanding. It’s still a very mysterious understanding, but it answers everything and it’s the only doctrine that has ever been able to do so.