Questions on Trinity & Name of God - 09/05/2003
I have stumbled onto your website and now can't stop reading it. I have
searched through alot of Christian websites and have not found the same
answers that you present, however I have so far been in 100% agreement with
your answers after 4 hours of reading. I think that you are doing a great
job with the site and apreciate your efforts greatly, your site helps me to
reinforce my faith and love in Jesus Christ. Thank you.
I have a few questions that I have been struggling with that I think you
could help me out on.
First, I am struggling with the idea of the triune God. I know that
there is only one God. And I know that God must be all-knowing (he told us
the beginning of the story and the end of the story, even what evil is going
to be doing in the future). I know that Jesus said in John 10:30NIV "I and
the Father are one". I also know that he said in John 14:28NIV "...If you
loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is
greater than I". These two statements seem to contradict the relationship
between the Son and the Father, in one instance being one (and the same?)
and in the next, one being greater than another. I also know that in John
1:1NIV "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God.", then in John 1:14NIV "The Word became flesh and made his
dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.". If the Word was God,
then became flesh and came from the Father isn't that like saying God came
from the Father, and if the Father was God as in the triune God isn't that
like saying God came from God? An interesting idea for an eternal,
self-creating God I guess, but is this "logic" sound or appropriate for
this? So far, all I have been able to come up with for any resemblance of an
answer is that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are like branches on a tree, the
tree being the whole God and each branch being a part of that whole, but
that idea, when I spell it out seems similar to the New Age belief that God
is in everything and everything is in God and seems flawed. Can you help
Second, I was thinking about how each of the religions has a different
name for God, like allah, or yahweh, or jehovah etc. I ran across an article
chastising the use of the word allah by the Islamic world as the name of a
particular demon that deceived Muhammad. Later I found an article that
explained that allah was the generic Arab term for god, or a god. I also
read an article about the origin of the English word "god", coming from the
Old English "gheu". I can't point out where, but isn't there something in
the Scriptures that says to call on the name of God for help or something to
that effect? And what would that name be? I have read that when God is
referenced to in the Hebrew Bible it is translated as Elohim, El Shaddai,
Adonai, YHWH or Yahweh, Jehovah, or YH or Yah, Jah. This is a matter of
Biblical curiosity as I know that when I pray God hears me and at least some
of the answers that I have recieved have produced very good results that I
have noticed the effects in my life.
I know that these may seem like trivial questions but they are throwing
me for a loop so I thought that I would ask. Thanks in advance for your time
and thanks again for the great web site. Keep up the good work.
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Hi Shawn. Thank for writing to us, and thank you for your words of encouragement. That is truly a blessing to hear.
The doctrine of the Trinity is often a difficult one for people to understand, but it doesn't have to be. First, we have to understand that the omnipotent, omnipresent God who created the universe cannot be packaged in a neat little box for human comprehension. God created man in His image, yet we keep trying to create God in ours. It simply doesn't work. Second, those verses you mention only contradict if you frontload your reading of those passages with faulty human presumptions about the nature of God. Just as God has a triune nature (is represented in three persons), He is also one God. We cannot divide him up into three separate deities, and we can't ignore the three persons simply to make God one. Your analogy of the tree actually isn't all that bad. It does not imply any new age belief of God in everything, and everything comprising God. God is not a forest, simply the tree. The best reading I've ever done on the Trinity is in the book A Ready Defense, by Josh McDowell.
It is true that "allah" is the Arabic word for God. When we as English-speaking Christians refer to the god of Islam as Allah, it is simply to differentiate it from the true God of the Bible. The god of Muhammad is definitely not the God of the Bible. As one example, the god is Muhammad is not triune, and they believe Jesus was simply a prophet. I have no problem with Arab Christians referring to God as Allah, as that is the Arabic translation. But when Muslims call upon Allah, they are calling upon a false god. The language translation isn't as important as the object of our worship and adoration.
I hope this helps the "loop" you've been caught in. I commend your for being like a Berean (Acts 17:11) by not taking anything for granted. Our faith is not a blind faith, and can stand up to intelligent scrutiny. May God richly bless you in your studies and spiritual growth.
Ben and Jennifer Rast