Critics of the doctrine of the Trinity often claim that the theology of the Old Testament is inconsistent with orthodox Christian theology. Many think that the angel of the Lord is a Christophany—a manifestation that, while distinct from God, is also God. God’s Spirit also seems to dwell with God’s followers, and seems to act as an objective personality. The Holy Trinity is an important subject of iconographic representation in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and has a rather different treatment from depictions in the Western Churches.There are two different types of Holy Trinity icons: the Old Testament Trinity and the New Testament Trinity (Троица Ветхозаветная and Троица Новозаветная in Russian). This allows you to understand the sense that individual parts make on their own, but help you also grasp the higher meaning that is generated by understanding them in relation to each other. Immersive mastery of a text opens up new interpretive possibilities in negotiating the whole dialogue, which is one of the main engines in discerning the meaning for the reader. Because of this New Testament revelation, Christian orthodoxy relies on an understanding of God as a Trinity—one living and true God who exists eternally as three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches a plurality within the Godhead in both the Old and New Testaments. The Angel and the Spirit are not merely individually associated with YHWH, but are intimately connected with each other. Without the teaching of the New Testament we would not be aware of this truth. Rereading is a mode of scriptural re-engagement that allows trinitarian interpretation to maintain the original meaning of the Old Testament, but also to layer onto it the insights that arise from later developments of its themes. That assumption can be summarized in this question: “Why is the one God called both Elohim and Yahweh?” These older theologies keep working at that question until getting to a trinitarian distinction. and give you peace.”. There are points in the Old Testament where God’s very word is personified as it would be if God’s Word referenced Jesus. In Colossians 1:15–20, Paul meditates on various senses of the term bereshith (“in the beginning”) with which Genesis — and the entire Scriptures — begin: Christ is the firstborn, supreme, the head, the beginning. Rereading is the key hermeneutical category for this kind of interpretation. For instance, on several occasions in the Old Testament, we see theophanic appearances of God and encounters with the Angel of YHWH or Angel of God. This sheds new light on the on many of the Old Testament references to God’s Word. When Christians see Christ and the Trinity in the Old Testament, we are following the New Testament’s own lead. Evidence of the Holy Trinity in the Old Testament. But we discover Jesus and the Holy Spirit as distinct persons who are also God. Christ is not merely an exalted heavenly being, but he performed the work of creation itself as God. We only need to recognize that rereading preserves the original linear sense while adding the holistic sense, and that much depends on what amount of text counts as the whole. This, it must be observed, continues a work of demythologization that distinguishes the Old Testament itself from the ancient Near Eastern literature contemporary with it, the gods of whose polytheistic pantheons were typically fickle, flawed, and limited sexual beings with origin stories, conceptually and metaphysically imprisoned within the changeable material realm of creation itself. Even in the book of Revelation, this remains the chief context in which God is revealed: not in his eternal, invisible, uncreated transcendence, but in variegated theophanic manifestations in the created realm of a heavenly throne room and assembly — the throne, the Lamb, and the sevenfold Spirit, surrounded by four living creatures, twenty-four elders, seraphim, cherubim, various angelic ministers, and redeemed human beings. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. However, the heavenly realm exists within the bounds and phenomena of creation itself; it is only as the horizon of creation retreats from view, or as God is seen over against the creation, that God’s uncreated being and self-relations will better be seen. In fact, there are many places in the Old Testament where we can see little seeds of faith that would later bear fruit. It could be that the use of multiple names for God points to his trinitarian nature. However, it is considerably more likely that the plurality seen in this text relates, first and foremost, to the Divine Council — a monotheist form of the assembly of the gods one encounters in various ancient Near Eastern cosmologies. Rereading is, after all, one of the primary pleasures of popular reading. Come listen to Mary and Elizabeth marvel at the miracles being birthed within them. What is required for doctrinal interpretation of the Old Testament is a hermeneutical framework that acknowledges the complex structure of revelation, and an approach to reading the documents that precede and follow the revelation. The clearest allusion to the mystery of the Blessed Trinity in the Old Testament is probably the so-called Trisagion [“thrice holy”] of Isaias (VI, 3): “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of Hosts, all the earth is full of his glory,” which is rightly made much of by many Fathers and not a few theologians. Genesis 1:27 is complimented by Genesis 2:18 (LXX), 3:22, 11:7, 20:30; Isaiah 6:8, and 41:21-24, Deuteronomy 4:7, and many more. As we have seen, the doctrine of the Trinity comes into clearer view as the Creator-creature distinction is applied to the realm of the Divine Council and figures such as the Angel of YHWH and the Holy Spirit are recognized as God himself. The New Testament writers follow the lead of Jesus himself in creatively rereading their Scriptures in the light of who he is and what he has done. Here are a just a few examples of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit — in the Old Testament (there are many more! One way we can do this and maintain interpretive integrity is by rereading. The result is a doctrine that speaks to deep realities that are often only penumbral to the revelation of Scripture itself, within which the sort of philosophical concerns regarding being that would exercise later theological minds emerge only sporadically and tangentially. Copyright © 2020 HarperCollins Publishers. It is these verses, in part, that lay down the foundation for the doctrine of the Trinity. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from, “On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them.”—. He participates in the. It is often assumed that the doctrine of the Trinity – the idea that there is one being of God that is comprised of three eternal and co-equal divine persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) – is something that is revealed only in the incarnation of the Son, between the penning of … Francis Watson, in Text, Church and World, remarks upon three inseparably interwoven models of creation that we encounter in Genesis 1, each revealing something both of God himself and of his relation with his creation. A fuller understanding of the identity of Christ and the Trinity emerges only gradually out of reflection upon the more complex portrait of the realm and operations of heaven and its beings, something that was already well underway by the time of the New Testament, exciting intense speculation within apocryphal, deuterocanonical, and other Jewish literature around figures or personifications such as the Son of Man, the Archangel Michael, Enoch, Logos, and Wisdom. We know it includes, “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”. The Gospels present Christ in the mold of a pre-existent heavenly being, one who has “come” — as angels might — on an earthly mission. the Lord make his face shine on you It is not only an interpretive practice to be embraced by the consumers of the Bible, but because of the cumulative character of the biblical canon, rereading is a crucial element in the production of Scripture. 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