And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.(Genesis 1:26)
Though it is a word not found in the Bible, here we must pause and pay careful attention to the above referenced verse. The word is Trinity, and it will do no good to avoid it. First, I am without shame a Trinitarian. Plainly and personally, I believe in the Trinity. I am a teacher; therefore, I must teach it. I will not teach against it, and I cannot apologize for my views. However, it is not this writers’ goal to force feed anyone on the issue, or to bash those who oppose it, but to simply present a very concise overview of the facts. Having put this forth, we see here in Genesis 1:26 the very first indication of a much debated doctrine. This doctrine has been downplayed, derided, and even denied. It has split denominations and been the subject of many an argument. However, it has not, and cannot be successfully debunked because of the abundance of scriptural evidence in its favor. Again, I will not spend much time here, because I am aware that I cannot change anyone’s mind on the matter. It will take an act of the Holy Spirit to bring this truth to life in the hearts of those who reject it. But I will say this: rejecting this doctrine places one outside of the traditional, historical and foundational parameters of true Christianity; and this is highly problematic. Many go as far as saying that if an individual or group doesn’t believe in the Trinity, they cannot truly be considered Christian. It is that serious.
Simply because a particular doctrine cannot be understood by the natural mind, is no reason to discount it. For many, the truth of God’s eternal existence; the fact that He has no beginning or end, is difficult to grasp, but is never denied. But this one doctrine has been flatly rejected because of a lack of understanding. Without going out of its way to prove it, scripture simply makes statements and declarations that bring us to certain obvious conclusions. The concept may stretch the limits of my natural mind to grasp, but faith leads me to believe what I cannot see, and accept what I do not understand. It is not a blind, unthinking faith, but a solid and informed faith that simply says, ‘God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.’
There are many verses I could bring forth to substantiate this doctrine, but I’d like to reference two verses in particular. One is our verse given above and the other is found in Isaiah 48:16. We will allow the unbiased commentators to speak. First, concerning Genesis 1:26:
There is an allowance for or even an intimation of the Trinity in verse 26: Then God [Elohim, plural] said [singular verb in Hebrew], “Let Us [plural] make man in Our image…” (Believer’s Bible Commentary)
The narrative presents God as calling on the heavenly court, or the other two members of the Trinity, to center all attention on this event. (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)
The name God (Heb., Elohim) appears no less than thirty-five times, in this opening section (1:1-2:2:4). This, the first of the primary names of Deity, is a plural noun. Implicit in Elohim from the first verse of divine revelation is the Trinity…The “let us” intimates the triune God’s counsel and activity in man’s creation (cf. John 1:3; Col. 1:16), embracing also the divine foreordained plan of human redemption (Eph. 1:4-6). The triune nature of God is latent in the Old testament, patent in the New Testament. It is, therefore, not sufficient to construe this term as a mere plural of majesty or greatness. (Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament)
And now Isaiah 48:16; it reads:
Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
…Many would see this as a reference to the three persons of the Trinity: the Father (“the LORD God”), the Son (“has sent me”), and the Holy Spirit (“his Spirit”). (English Standard Version Study Bible)
A clear Old Testament indication of the Trinity. The Son, speaking, is being “sent” by the Father and the Spirit. (The New Defenders Study Bible)
…Notice all three Persons of the Trinity in verse 16—The Lord GOD and His Spirit, and Me (i.e., Christ). (Believer’s Bible Commentary)
…Here is a clear reference to the Divine trinity of separate and distinct persons in the Elohim of scripture – the Lord God (one person), the Holy Spirit (another person), and the Messiah (still another person) sent by the two – the Lord God and the Holy Spirit…(The Dake Annotated Reference Bible)
I realize the word ‘Persons’ presents a problem for some. I will try to explain. It is obvious that God in His essence, and the Holy Spirit are not ‘persons’ in the true sense of the word (with ‘persons’ referring to people). However, God, in scripture is spoken of in anthropomorphisms. This means that for the benefit of our understanding, God is referred to as having eyes, arms, ears, hands, etc.; but God is Spirit (John 4:24), and he has no need for these body parts. He is God. As for the Holy Spirit, He is also spoken of in human terms. He has attributes that are only ascribed to people. We read of the Spirit being grieved (Ephesians 4:30), He gives commands (Acts 8:29), and He can be lied to (Acts 5:3), just to name a few.
With all that has been said thus far, let me offer you the traditional, and theological definition of the Trinity:
“There is only one God, made up of three distinct Persons who exist in co-equal, co-eternal communion as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
All Christian or so-called Christian groups do not believe in the Trinity. Among them are Oneness Pentecostals, (who are referred to as ‘Jesus only’ Christians), the Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. It should be noted that Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are not Christian groups, and that the Christian identity of Oneness Pentecostals has been brought into question due to this matter of the Trinity. Even Catholicism, which technically and biblically should not be categorized as Christian, believe in the Trinity (for all it matters).
For further reading on the subject of the Trinity, I have provided several links:
I pray that this lesson has been beneficial to you. Let the Bible speak.
What are the two constants that all the days of creation have in common? On each day, we read, ‘And God said…’, and ‘and God saw…’ God spoke the universe into existence and then saw the it was good. The following chart is an overview of the days of creation. After some additional notes on these days, we’ll then take a look at the three heavens.
Day 1: The question may arise, ‘If the sun was not created until day 4, where did this light come from?’ If you take into account the fact that God is Light ((1 Jn.1:5), and also that His presence ensures it (Revelation 21:23), we come to the conclusion that The light on the first day emanated from His glory.
Day 2: On the second day, God makes the first heaven, or firmament visible, and separates the waters. There is now dry land.
Day 3: Plant life and vegetation now appear on the new dry ground.
Day 4: God now creates the second heaven, which is simply the seen and unseen universe. Contrary to what many believe, the universe–space–does eventually end; because beyond it lies the third heaven, where the throne of God is, and where we will spend eternity with Him. There are 3 functions of the sun, moon and stars: 1. signs (not astrological): they serve to teach and remind people of God’s creative work. 2) seasons: they function as a calendar, dividing seasons and years. lights: they now serve to help men navigate. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; (Psa.8:3) Another question may arise here: Since the sun is the center of our universe, why did God create earth first, and wait until day four to create the sun? The most important reason is priority. This means: 1) man was most important in His heart and mind, 2) earth was where He would create man, 3) men would live on earth, not other planets, and 4) Jesus would come again to earth.
Day 5: Here God creates all manner of fish to fill the seas, and every flying creature that inhabits the skies.
Day 6: Every land animal, including insects are created here. Finally, man was created as the culmination of God’s creation week. In verse 26, we are given strong evidence for the trinity. It says: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
The Three Heavens
The first heaven consists of the troposphere and the stratosphere; the second heaven consists of the mesosphere, thermosphere and the exosphere
Day 7: God now ceases from all His labor and declares everything, very good.
I have sought to explain the gap theory in the simplest terms possible; it is not necessary for us to go into the intricate details. I have gathered the the following information and it should suffice for our purposes:
THE GAP THEORY
By Marie Casale
The Gap Theory also known as the Ruin-Reconstruction Theory says that there is an indeterminate period of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 that can account for science’s assertions that the universe must be billions of years old.
If you insert the Gap Theory between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, this is how Genesis is interpreted: Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. This beginning was sometime in the far distant past. It can be pushed back to accommodate whatever amount of time science deems necessary to account for what they say is the age of the heavens and earth. Science provides the fossil records that indicate animals as well as people they believe lived during this time before Adam. Gap theorists believe Satan ruled the earth during this time. Then he rebelled against God, and was cast out of Heaven. As a result, the earth suffered a great cataclysm that left it without form and void and covered with water. Gen 1:2 And the earth BECAME without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. After this cataclysm there was a global ice age when the light and heat from the sun were somehow removed. God restored this light and heat on the fourth day of re-creation week. Thus, the six days of Genesis 1 do not record the original creation, but a reconstruction after Lucifer’s flood, and a preparing of the earth for the race of Adam.
WAS VERSUS BECAME Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Gen 1:2 And the earth WAS vs BECAME without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
When you say something WAS – like, ‘Martin Luther King WAS a black man’, it just describes a state of being, not implying that Mr. King was some other color before. But when you say something BECAME, like the earth BECAME without form and void, it implies that before it BECAME that way, it was a different way. If the Hebrew word in Gen 1:2 is translated BECAME, this would allow for the insertion of the Gap Theory because it implies that the earth was in a different state before it BECAME without form and void. The word WAS would give no such implication.
If you would like to read further on this subject, there is a great tract available that goes into much more detail. You can find it here: http://creation.com/images/pdfs/flyers/gap-theory.pdf
Believing or not believing in the gap theory does not affect one’s salvation.Having said that it is most important to note that it is only a theory. It is my own personal belief that the gap theory is false.
A worldview is defined as ‘a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world’- and everyone has one. In Genesis 1:1, the Bible shoots down every opposing philosophy with four words: ‘In the beginning God’. As a Christian, you need to have the proper worldview, because the world will attempt to conform you to its own. Below you will find several of the worldviews refuted by Genesis 1:1.
In addition to these worldviews, Genesis 1:1 also refutes:
- Panentheism, not to be confused with the above ‘pantheism’- panentheism says that ‘God is all in all’.
- Deism, which says that God is a distant Creator; in other words, God created the world, set it in motion and left it and its inhabitants to themselves – He does not intervene in human history.
- Finite Godism, which says that there is a God, but he is limited in what He can do because He is not omnipotent (all-powerful).
Nowhere does the Bible ever try to prove the existence of God. We are simply told, ‘In the beginning God;’ He was already there. Check out this great verse in Psalm 90:2: Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. If anyone did need any proof – what more could be asked for?