This is the 11th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available through Amazon and other booksellers.
The Bible tells us there is one true God, who exists as three distinct but inseparable persons. So, let’s briefly consider a few ways in which the personhood of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is expressed in Scripture.
God the Father displays personal attributes. To name a few, He is:
Loving: “And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him” (1 John 4:16).
Gracious: “He did not even spare his own Son but offered him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything?” (Rom. 8:32).
Made known through the Son: “No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side – he has revealed him” (John 1:18).
Merciful: Jesus tells His followers, “Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
In addition, the Father knows (Matt. 6:8); speaks (Matt. 3:17); sees (Matt. 6:4); wills (Matt. 7:21); gives or does not give (Matt. 7:11); reveals or hides (Matt. 11:25); is or is not pleased (Mark 1:11); forgives or does not forgive (Matt. 6:14-15); sends (1 John 4:14); and much more. These are the activities of a person and, as such, there should be no doubt about the personhood of God the Father.
This is the third in a series of articles contrasting Allah and Yahweh.
Previously: The oneness of God
The doctrine of the Trinity sets Christians and Muslims apart. In fact, to suggest to a follower of Allah that God has a Son, or that God exists in tri-unity, is to commit the unpardonable sin of shirk, which damns a soul to hell.
Islam is unwavering in its belief in Allah as a singular being — monolithic, distant, and unknowable. He only relates to people in acts of the will, not out of an eternal nature that is loving, merciful, and gracious.
What’s more, when engaging Muslims in conversation, it’s challenging to explain how one God exists in three co-equal, co-eternal persons. Some simplify the doctrine by employing analogies. For example, just as water from a single bucket can exist in three states — solid, liquid, and gas — so the Godhead is one essence in three persons.
But all analogies applied to the Trinity break down at some point. They simply cannot do justice to the magnificence of our Creator. So, maybe a better start is to lay out three biblical truths that offer a framework for the tri-unity of God.