Two aspects about God stand out in our quest to know Him: God is knowable, yet He is mysteriously incomprehensible. Both of the seemingly antithetical aspects of God are in fact essential and complementary to a biblical perspective of the Godhead.


God is the greatest mystery that can engage the human mind (Col. 2:1-3); there is nothing that can even begin to parallel this privilege (Jer. 9:23, 24). God reveals Himself in nature (Ps. 19:1-3), through the prophets, and in many other ways (Heb. 1:1); ultimately, however, God reveals Himself through Jesus Christ, the Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit (John 5:39; 14:7; 15-21; 1 John 5:20). But our knowledge of God is limited by how much He chooses to share with us (Deut. 29:29). His wisdom, eternity, omnipotence, and omniscience stand in stark contrast to our human frailty and finiteness (Ps. 90:1- 12). No human being will be able to fully comprehend infinity (Job 11:7; Isa. 40:18), not in this life or in the life to come. If we were able to fully know God, then He would not be God at all. For us to understand God, His love, and His character is not only an awesome and unimaginable privilege but also the outcome of a saving relationship with Jesus (John 17:3). The mystery concerning God and His plan of salvation will be the focus and contemplation throughout eternity


Every child of God must be on alert 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is no room for complacency. Even some who sincerely profess to love God have been deceived into believing a lie about Him. One deception about the nature of God is tritheism. This heresy upholds the concept of three distinct and powerful gods who are sometimes related, but only in loose association with each other.

Tritheism abandons the biblical oneness of God and undermines the unity within the Trinity, consequently resulting in a polytheistic view of God.1

Another dangerous lie about God is modalism. Sabellius (A.D. 200), the person who introduced this teaching, argued that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit never all exist at the same time, only one after another. God first revealed Himself as the Father in the Old Testament. He then returned as the Son in the New Testament. After the ascension, the same God manifested Himself as the Holy Spirit. Present-day groups that hold to forms of this error are the United Pentecostal and United Apostolic Churches.2

Both heresies represent the misguided attempts to offer a rational explanation to the existing tension between the unity and trinity of the Godhead. They undermine the integrity of Jesus Christ and inadvertently destroy the assurance of salvation offered by His dual nature.


Although the term “Trinity” is not found in Scripture, it is a biblical concept. Around the second century A.D., the term was coined by Tertulian to assert the three-part personality of God and to signify their coexistent, coequal, and coeternal natures.3 Some time ago, I came across what may be considered one of the best versions of the “Shield of the Trinity” or Scutum Fidei diagram traditionally used by Christians to illustrate the concept of the Trinity.4

The diagram is self-explanatory, and the gist is clear. There is plurality, unity, and equality among the members of the Godhead. This vital concept is supported by numerous references in Scripture. The following table includes only a few examples:


Characteristics God the Father God the Son God the Holy Spirit
God  2 Timothy 1:2 Hebrews 1:8; Philippians
2:11; John 1:1, 18
Acts 5:3, 4;
Isaiah 40:13-18
Eternal 1 Timothy 1:17 Isaiah 9:6 Hebrews 9:14
Love 1 John 4:8 John 15:9;
Romans 15:30
John 15:9;
Romans 15:30
Creator  Isaiah 64:8 John 1:1-3; Colossians
1:15, 16; Hebrews 1:3
Job 33:4; 26:13
Dwell in believers

2 Corinthians 6:16;
Ephesians 4:6; 1 John
2:23; 2 John 1:9

Revelation 3:20;
Colossians 1:27;
2 Corinthians 13:5
John 14:17; 1
Corinthians 6:19
All knowing 1 John 3:20 John 16:30 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11
Sanctifies 1 Thessalonians 5:23 1 Corinthians 1:30;
Hebrews 2:11; 10:10
1 Peter 1:2
Gives life Genesis 2:7 John 1:3; 5:21 John 6:63;
2 Corinthians 3:6
Is everywhere 1 Kings 8:27 Matthew 28:20 Psalm 139:7
 Other example Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 3:16, 17; 28:18-20; Luke 3:21, 22; John 14:26; 16:13-15; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 2:18; 4:4-6; 5:18-20; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 5:7


Among others, four Old Testament passages implicitly support the biblical concept of the Trinity (Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa. 6:8).

1. “Then God [plural elohim] said, ‘Let us [plural pronoun] make man in our [plural pronoun] image, in our [plural pronoun] likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground’” (Gen. 1:26, emphasis supplied). Here the idea of plurality is used in connection with the very nature, or “likeness,” of God. 

2. After the entrance of sin, “the Lord God [plural elohim] said, ‘The man has now become like one of us [plural pronoun], knowing good and evil’” (Gen. 3:22, emphasis supplied). The plural pronoun here implies that the divine council of the Godhead is made up of more than a single person. 

3. At a later time, in counsel to frustrate the building project of Babel, God said, “Come, let us [plural pronoun] go down and confuse [plural form of balal] their language so they will not understand each other’” (Gen. 11:7, emphasis supplied). Again, as implied in the previous references, the plurality of the Godhead was a collective unity of plan, objective, and purpose.

4. In the vision of God’s throne room, Isaiah hears God saying, “‘Whom shall I [singular pronoun] send? And who will go for us [plural pronoun]?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isa. 6:8, emphasis supplied). Both the singular and plural pronouns are used by God in the same sentence in reference to Himself. It also hints at a plurality of persons in the Godhead.

While all of these examples may not be conclusive proof of the doctrine of the Trinity, they do, however, suggest (as in the case of many other references in the Old Testament) a plurality of the Godhead by the speaker, who in all of these references is the Lord God Himself.


The Trinitarian concepts are more explicitly laid out in the New Testament. Perhaps the most striking manifestation was the baptism of Jesus. There the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove from heaven and lighted upon Him. Then God the Father declared from heaven, “This is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:16, 17). There are other passages where we see all three persons of the Godhead referenced together yet distinct from each other (Titus 3:4-6; John 14:16, 17, 21; 1 John 5:6, 7).

Jesus Himself also affirmed the plurality of the Godhead. In His teachings, He insisted that all men must respect both the Father and the Son (John 5:23). Anyone who has seen the Son has seen the Father (John 14:9). Failing to know the Son results in not knowing the Father either (John 8:19). In like manner, Jesus also emphasized the essential role of the third Person of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit—in the plan of salvation. The Holy Spirit “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is God and should not be grieved (Eph. 4:30). Thus persistent failure to heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit eventually leads down the path of unforgiveness and eternal doom (Matt. 12:31, 32).


While the Bible teaches plurality in the Godhead, all members of the Trinity were united in their eternal purpose of salvation. The plan of salvation was the insurance policy put in place by the Godhead for the redemption of the human race should humankind rebel against Him (Eph. 1:4). When man fell into sin, the divine initiative was put into effect. It then became necessary for Jesus to be temporarily “made a little lower than the angels” in order for Him to suffer or “taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:7, 9, KJV). For God could not die as a “ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45) unless He incarnated as a man (1 Tim. 6:16). And upon the completion of His mission on earth, Jesus returned to the Father and occupied the same position He had left (Rev. 22:1, 3). Now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Eph. 1:20), Jesus is receiving the same honor and glory from the same inhabitants of the universe as the Father (Rev. 5:13). Undoubtedly, there was unity and cooperation between God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in sending Jesus Christ into the world as the Redeemer of the human race (1 John 4:14). What a fascinating mystery!

* Unless otherwise stated, all Scriptural references are taken from the New International Version.

1 The Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. “Tritheists.” Retrieved online on March 1, 2010, from
2 Theopedia: An Encyclopedia of Biblical Christianity, s.v. “Modalism.” Retrieved online on March 1, 2010, from
3 Earle E. Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1967), 122.
4 Copyright for the Scutum Fidei has been released into the public domain:

Dr. Limoni Manu O’Uiha currently lives in Palmerston North and pastors the Wanganui and Masterton Adventist churches in the North New Zealand Conference.