Table of Contents
Part V: The Trinity in the Old Testament
The Significance of the Pronoun "Us"
in the Old Testament
with, we may consider rather summarily the more familiar passages
which are usually pointed out as evidence of the Trinity. Scripture
opens with the magnificently simple statement, "In the beginning
God created the heavens and the earth." In this sentence
the word "God" in the original Hebrew takes a plural
form and the verb "created" a singular form.
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Commentaries which do not look
upon Scripture as we do tend to account for this grammatical
anomaly by explaining it away. The most common interpretation
is that the word "God" is in the plural to emphasize
the majesty of the term, rather like the royal "we."
Some commentators of this persuasion suggest that the use of
the plural in the word "heavens" is analogous. Personally,
I am convinced that although God did not wish to reveal the mystery
of His nature to a people surrounded on every hand by polytheistic
nations lest the truth should be corrupted by those who were
to preserve it, He was yet careful to state it in such a way
that when there had arisen in Israel those who would not corrupt
it, it would be found there unmistakably. And to guarantee that
any polytheistic interpretation should not be applied to the
term, the verbal form was set in the singular. The Godhead acted
in complete unison, utterly unlike the carryings-on of the gods
of other nations, who could scarcely agree about anything.
There are four passages in Scripture
which are very commonly quoted in this connection. These are
Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; and Isaiah 6:8. The first of these
reads, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after
our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). It has been pointed out many
times that the form of this statement clearly indicates the equality
of the Persons in the Godhead. The Father did not say to the
Son, "Let us make
man in your image," nor to the Holy Spirit, "Let us
make man in his image." No distinction is made, and this
fact is reinforced by the wording of Genesis 3:22 in which it
is written, "Behold, the man is become as one of us."
But a further important truth issues from this statement, namely,
that the Persons within the Godhead are individuals, for the
phrase reads "as one of us," "one," indicating
a distinct entity.
Now, as we have stated already,
a great deal of what we have to say hinges upon the exact meaning
of words. If one does not feel that this is justified, then much
of what follows -- perhaps most of what follows -- will carry
little weight. But as we have observed in another connection
(see Part II), it is quite wonderful what may be found in Scripture
by paying attention to small details of this nature. We shall
not raise this issue again, but proceed on this basis.
It is sometimes held that Genesis
1:26 and 3:22 are not conversations within the Godhead, but between
God (conceived of as a single Being) and the Angel host. It is
as though the Creator turned to the heavenly host and invited
them to join in the next creative act, in which a being was to
be made whose nature would share some thing of both Himself and
the angels. But this is clearly contrary to Scripture, for when
He came, who truly represented man, we are specifically told
that He did not take on Him the nature of angels (Hebrews 2:16).
It is a striking thing, that, although the creation of the worlds
was carried out through the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 11:3),
the whole Godhead was involved in the task of creating man, a
truth which is stated in Ecclesiastes 12:1, though our own translations
as a rule conceal it. The original reads, "Remember now
thy Creators in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come
not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no
pleasure in them." It will be seen that the concluding word
of this verse postulates this more correct rendering, the "them"
manifestly referring to the Creators.
In Isaiah 6:8 a very famous passage
occurs which has always been the delight of missionaries doing
deputation work. Here Scripture reads, "Also I heard the
voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go
for us?" And this brings us to the consideration of another
aspect of the revelation of the Trinity in the Old Testament.
To pick up this thread we turn first to the New Testament.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
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