Genesis 1:26 and the Trinity: Believe It or Not

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:

https://carm.org/what-trinity

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-is-the-doctrine-of-the-trinity

http://www.letusreason.org/Trin4.htm

http://www.biblequery.org/Doctrine/HolySpirit/HolySpirit.htm

I pray that this lesson has been beneficial to you. Let the Bible speak.