Questions on Trinity & Name of God - 09/05/2003

Hello,

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 with this?

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.

Shawn





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.

In Christ,

Ben and Jennifer Rast
Contender Ministries