The Three Members of the Godhead are Distinct Persons

Having recognized the equally divine and eternal nature of each member of the Godhead, it is necessary to recognize that Scripture also portrays them as persons, each having the attributes of a personal being and not merely an abstract force or emanation of some kind. As such, Scripture reveals that each manifest the capacity to think, feel, and make purposeful choices. First, the Father knows (Matt 6:832), feels (Ps 86:15Rom 1:18), and makes intentional choices (Matt 6:101 Pet 1:2). Second, the Son also knows (John 2:2416:30), feels (Matt 9:36John 11:35), and makes intentional choices (John 5:306:38). Finally, the Spirit also knows (John 14:261 Cor 2:10), feels (Isa 63:10Eph 4:30), and makes intentional choices (Gen 6:31 Cor 12:11).

Having recognized the equally divine and eternal nature of each member of the Godhead, it is necessary to recognize that Scripture also portrays them as persons.

Not only does Scripture acknowledge the personality of each member of the Godhead, but it also distinguishes them from one another. This is a necessary observation because although the three persons of the Godhead are equally the same God and share the full divine essence, they are not the same person. For instance, the Son is not the Father because he speaks of “going to” the Father (John 20:17). Likewise, we know that the Spirit is not the Father because the Father “sends” the Spirit (John 14:26). Furthermore, we know that the Spirit is not the Son because the Father sent him to dwell within us, taking the place of the Son who was departing (John 14:16). This reference by John to the Holy Spirit as “another helper” is especially helpful because it identifies the Spirit as both equal to Jesus in divine essence and work, yet distinct in that he would replace Jesus. Additionally, Luke also alludes to the Trinity with reference to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers (Acts 1:7-8).

Not only does Scripture acknowledge the personality of each member of the Godhead, but it also distinguishes them from one another.

Further evidence for a distinction between the members of the Godhead may be found in those occasions where Scripture portrays them as acting separately from one another yet in harmony with one another. The example of the Son requesting the Father to send the Spirit has already provided one such occasion (John 14:1626). Another compelling example appears in Matthew’s account of the baptism of Jesus (Matt 3:13-17). All three persons participated in this event simultaneously. While the Son underwent baptism, the Spirit descended upon him as the Father spoke aloud for all who observed. Examples like this demonstrate that God does not merely reveal himself as the Father, the Son, or the Spirit, one at a time in a modalistic fashion. He is one God and three distinct persons all at once.

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