There are many widely held beliefs that have turned out to be false, especially ones about the Bible. Could the popular idea about God’s nature be one of them?
The religious world should be filled with genuine truth seekers. However, there are many beliefs within the Christian world that have become “conventional wisdom,” but are not supported by Scripture.
In this post, we will explore one piece of conventional wisdom in the Christian world that most people find confusing and that actually obscures a profound truth of the Bible.
That is the doctrine of the Trinity.
Where did the Trinity doctrine come from?
Neither the concept nor the word trinity is found in the Bible. Yet, somehow, it’s considered the most central and sacred of all doctrines in the Christian world. Most in the Christian world believe it without question or critical thought.
The concept of the Trinity didn’t appear in Christianity until the end of the second century and didn’t firmly take hold in the Catholic Church until the fourth and fifth centuries. Rejecting this idea about God’s nature usually makes one an outcast or labeled as a cultist. Strangely enough, the early Church of God was called a “sect” by the mainstream Jews because the Church accepted Jesus as the Christ (Acts 24:5, 14). Fast-forward 2,000 years later, and if you don’t define God as a Trinity, you’re often rejected similarly.
However, the concept of the Trinity didn’t appear in Christianity until the end of the second century and didn’t firmly take hold in the Catholic Church until the fourth and fifth centuries.
The Catholic Encyclopedia states, “In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together.” It also says, “The Vatican Council has explained the meaning to be attributed to the term mystery in theology. It lays down that a mystery is a truth which we are . . . incapable of discovering apart from Divine Revelation.”
To summarize these statements from the Catholic Church, the Trinity is a mystery that God revealed, not in the Bible, but later, to the Catholic Church. It’s a mystery we cannot understand.
But what does the Bible say about the nature of the true God?
The Spirit reveals truth
The scientific method can uncover physical truths that dispel things once considered to be conventional wisdom. Thanks to science, we no longer believe the earth is flat or the center of the universe.
The history of the Trinity doctrine shows that the idea developed over hundreds of years and was influenced by pagan Greek philosophers. Another name for God’s Spirit is the “Spirit of truth” because it reveals the truth (John 14:15-17; 16:13; 1 John 4:6).
Of all the Gospel writers, John emphasizes the truth most. He used variations of the word over 50 times in his Gospel and epistles.
Interestingly, he contrasts the “spirit of truth” with the “spirit of error” in 1 John 4:6. If the Holy Spirit—the “spirit of truth”—were a person, then wouldn’t the “spirit of error” also be a person? But those who believe in the Trinity don’t refer to a being named the “spirit of error.”
Instead, it’s clear that Satan’s influence and nature are the “spirit of error”—it’s not a distinct person separate from Satan. In the same manner, the “spirit of truth” is not a separate person from God, but is God’s “divine power” and His “divine nature” (2 Peter 1:3-4). God is Spirit (John 4:24).
A study of the history of the Trinity doctrine shows that the idea developed over hundreds of years and was influenced by pagan Greek philosophers (see “The Trinity: What Is It?” and “Does Matthew 28:19 Prove the Trinity?”) But the problem with the Trinity isn’t just that it comes from extrabiblical sources, but that it hides one of the most important truths in the Bible.
One of the Bible’s central truths: God is a family
The opening verse of John’s Gospel reveals two beings known as God. One is just called “God,” and the other is called the “Word.” The Word is identified as both being “with” God and being God Himself (John 1:1).
Throughout the Bible—in many other scriptures—these two Beings are called the Father and the Son (compare verse 18).
- “Sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
- “My sons and daughters” (2 Corinthians 6:18).
- “Brethren” (2 Thessalonians 3:13; Hebrews 2:11).
- “Children of God” (1 John 3:2).
- “Family” (Ephesians 3:15).
- “Household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).
- “Husband” (2 Corinthians 11:2) and “wife” (Ephesians 5:31-32).
When we put all of these together, we learn that the best way to describe God’s nature from the Scriptures is as a family. God is not a Trinity; God is a family.
The Trinity doctrine attacks this truth by inserting the Holy Spirit (a title that has no connection with family) as a member of the Godhead. This diminishes the terms “Father” and “Son” from describing a spiritual family to being just titles or names. By doing this, Satan has subtly hidden that God is a family.
Why would he do such a thing? Because Satan hates the family, just as he hates God.
Difficult to accept the truth
Satan is hard at work today, attacking the human family as the foundation of society. He understands that to destroy a nation, he simply has to weaken and destroy its basic building block, the family.
Likewise, he has also attacked and veiled the truth about the family of God—one of the Bible’s most foundational truths that reveals God and His plan and purpose.
To learn more about how this truth connects to your purpose, read “Why Were You Born?”