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Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX


Part V: The Trinity in the Old Testament

Chapter 1

The Significance of the Pronoun "Us" in the Old Testament

      TO BEGIN 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.
     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

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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.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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