Visitors to Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus, are confronted with a sign posted by the Muslim community. It is almost directly across the street from the 1st Baptist Church of Nazareth. Look at the sign. What does it say about their god?
“Say: He is Allah, the One and Only, Allah, the Eternal Absolute, He begetteth not, nor is He begotten, and there is none Like unto Him.”
Liberal Christians seem to think it is possible to find common religious ground with Muslims because the god they submit to (generally by force) is the God of the Bible. This is not true.Through this sign and others like it around the Islamic world, the Imams are instructing Muslims how to respond to the Bible’s clearly stated doctrine of the Trinity. They are telling their faithful that there is only one god and his name is Allah. Look at the sign again. Islam will not allow for its adherents to believe in the God of the Bible.
The Old Testament introduces the doctrine of the Trinity. Isaiah 48:16 gives possibly the clearest prophetic picture in the Hebrew Bible of the triune nature of God. It is interesting to note that rabbinic Judaism also denies what the Tanak (Hebrew Scriptures) openly teaches about the Godhead.
Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first, I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.
In the New American Standard translation of this passage, the personal pronouns “me” are capitalized. Notice the last phrase. There are three distinct individuals portrayed. The person who is speaking was in the Lord God’s presence from the very beginning. He is an eternal being. It was the Lord God who would send Him and His Spirit, the Holy Spirit into the world. Believers in Yeshua recognize the “Me” as the only begotten Son of God the Father.
It seems silly to say this, but it appears that the first person of the Godhead, the Father, may be the least understood of the Three-In-One. Without diminishing in any way the other two persons of the Trinity, the Isaiah passage clearly indicates that it is the Lord God who is the initiating sender of the other two.
Father Over Created Beings
The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:14 & 15: For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
In James 1:17 we are told that this initiator is “the Father of lights.” The context of the verse indicates that what is being discussed is spiritual light or understanding for those He has created. It was to the first created man, Adam, that God began to progressively reveal Himself to humanity.
Malachi 2:10 poses a probing question. “Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us?” While the context of this passage reveals that the question is posed to the Jewish people with a human father in Jacob, wasn’t it the Father who initiated the creation of not only Israel but also all of humanity? Not only do the families of mankind owe their existence to the initiator of creation, but so too do angels, the other category of God’s moral creation (see Hebrews 12:9).
Paul made a similar point on Mars Hill in Athens to the Greeks in Acts 17:24-28.
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’
Father of the Son of God
According to Ephesians 1:3, The first person of the Trinity is both the God and Father of Jesus Christ. Throughout the New Testament, Yeshua is identified as the Son of God. Almost from the beginning of the Church, theologians have argued how it could be that the Son of God is both co-equal with His Father and also eternally co-existent. In the 4th Century AD, Arius was denounced as a heretic for submitting that the Son of God was the first of all the created beings. Other variations of this heresy which attempt to diminish the role of the second person of the Trinity have also been introduced.
The identification of the Son of God begins in the Old Testament. But it is in the New Testament that He is more completely presented.
1. The Son of God was begotten by the Father – John 1:14, John 3:16, 1 John 4:19
2. The Father identified His Son – Matthew 3:17, Luke 9:35
3. The Son identified His Father – Matthew 11:27, Luke 22:29, John 8:18–29, John 17:1
4. Demons recognized the relationship between the Son and the Father – Matthew 8:29
Father of All Believers
As the Father of all created beings, in a broad sense, He is the Father of all humanity. However, an important distinction needs to be made. Father God has made a way for individuals to appropriate an intimate and eternal relationship with Him. Only those who believe in God’s only begotten Son and His work on their behalf personally have this kind of relationship with the Father.
But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:7-9
Do not mistake the fact that even though God is the Father of all creation, an eternal relationship with Him is impossible outside of an individually personal belief in the death, burial, and resurrection from the dead of His only begotten Son as was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures.
It is only for those individual members of the family of God who by belief in these things are able to call the Father of Jesus their “Abba.”