Are all of God’s operations inseparable? How should we identify each person’s work in creation, providence, redemption, and other external works of God? Why does the unity of God’s being not annul the distinctions between the persons?
In this new Credo video, Vern Poythress explains how the actions of the Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct yet inseparable. Watch other videos like this one on the Credo Video page.
Whenever we talk about the Trinity, it is a challenge because God is God and ultimately mysterious. But also because he has clearly revealed himself. Now, to deal with the fact of the Trinity working together, we can start with an illustration. The Bible says that through Christ we are adopted to be sons of our heavenly Father. So we have a relationship to God the Father through Christ who is the Son and we are united to Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, testifying to us, witnessing to us as we cry “Abba Father.” So you see the three persons of the Trinity in what the Bible teaches about adoption. You see all three of them acting in distinct ways–they are actually distinct from one another in their actions. On the other hand, they are acting together. It is one process, one reality, of adoption. We experience the love of God the Father through the Son in the power of the Spirit. Now, you see similar things with respect to God’s work of creation. God the Father creates the world by speaking and that speech, of course, is reflective of the second person of the Trinity who is the Word of God. And when God creates the world the Holy Spirit is present over the face of the waters. We see the presence of all three persons with distinct actions. At the same time, it is one work of creation. When God speaks to us in redemption it is similar–God the Father speaking his word through the Son who is the eternal Word and the Holy Spirit inspiring the human authors of Scripture. And in providence too, God rules by speaking and you see the same oneness of God. It is one purpose of God achieved by the distinct acts of the three persons of the Trinity.
Originally posted at Credo Mag; used by permission.