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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Trinity: One God in Three Persons

Don Stewart :: Are Divine Attributes, or Characteristics, Ascribed to Each Member of the Trinity?

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Are Divine Attributes, or Characteristics, Ascribed to Each Member of the Trinity?

The Trinity: One God in Three Persons – Question 12

Does the Bible teach that each member of the Trinity possesses divine attributes? Do each of them have characteristics which belong to God alone? The answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Not only are the various members of the Trinity directly called God, each of them has divine attributes ascribed or to them. The evidence is as follows:

1. Each Member of the Trinity Is Everywhere Present (Omnipresent)

Each member of the Trinity is said to be omni-present, or everywhere present. The evidence is as follows:

God the Father Is Everywhere Present

Jesus stated that God the Father is everywhere present in the universe. In the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord said the following:

“When you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6 God’s Word)

Where is no place one can hide from God the Father. He is everywhere present. He hears and sees us in our private rooms when we are praying to Him.

God the Son Is Everywhere Present

God the Son is also everywhere present. Jesus said the following to His disciples as He sent them out to preach His message to the world:

“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NLT)

He is with every believer, at every place, and at every moment. He will never leave us. He is everywhere present.

God the Holy Spirit Is Also Everywhere Present in the Universe

In the same manner, the Holy Spirit is present everywhere in the universe. The psalmist recognized that there was no place where he could go to flee from Spirit’s presence. He put it this way:

I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence! (Psalm 139:7 NLT)

He could never escape from the presence of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is everywhere present.

Again we emphasize that it is God and God alone who is everywhere present. If the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are everywhere present then each one of them must be God. This is the logical conclusion we can draw from the facts.

2. Each Member of the Trinity Is All-Knowing (Omniscient)

Having all knowledge, or being omniscient, is attributed to each of the members of the Trinity. The evidence from the Scripture is as follows:

God the Father Is All-Knowing

God the Father knows all things. He is omniscient. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said the following about the Father:

“Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8 God’s Word)

He knows what we ask before we even ask it. This is because the Father knows everything.

God the Son Has All Knowledge

Like God the Father, God the Son has all knowledge. This was acknowledged by Simon Peter. He said the following to Jesus after His resurrection from the dead:

And he [Peter] said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.“ (John 21:17b NASB)

Peter acknowledged that the risen Christ knows all things. Jesus, who always corrected error in His presence, did not correct Peter here. The Son does have all knowledge.

God the Holy Spirit Knows Everything

As is true with God the Father and God the Son, God the Holy Spirit is all-knowing. Jesus said the following to His disciples on the night He was betrayed:

“But when the Father sends the Counselor as my representative—and by the Counselor I mean the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you.” (John 14:26 NLT)

The Holy Spirit was able to teach all things to Jesus’ disciples because He is all-knowing. Indeed, if He did not know “all things” then He would not be able to remind the disciples of the words of Jesus or to lead them into “all truth.” The fact that He can do both of these things is another indication that He is all-knowing.

This is another attribute which belongs to God alone. Neither humans, angels, nor any other personage in the universe is all-knowing. The fact that all knowledge is ascribed to each of the three members of the Trinity is further evidence that each of them is God.

3. They Are All-Powerful (Omnipotent)

The members of the Trinity are all-powerful or omnipotent. Scripture teaches the following:

God the Father Has All Power

The Father is omnipotent or all-powerful. Jesus spoke of His ability to keep believers saved. John records Jesus saying the following:

“My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than everyone else, and no one can tear them away from my Father.” (John 10:29 God’s Word)

No one can tear a believer away from God. The Father is able to save and keep those who trust in Jesus Christ. He can do this because He is all-powerful.

God the Son Is All-Powerful

The Son is also all-powerful. Jesus spoke of this power that He had. He made the following claim recorded in Matthew’s gospel:

Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18 HCSB)

All authority belongs to Him. Only God could make a statement like this. Angels and humans may be granted some authority but not all authority.

God the Holy Spirit Is All-Powerful

The Holy Spirit is all-powerful. Paul told the Romans that he preached to them and worked miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit:

I have won them over by the miracles done through me as signs from God—all by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ all the way from Jerusalem clear over into Illyricum. (Romans 15:19 NLT)

It was through the power of the Spirit that Paul was able to work miracles.

The Holy Spirit, like God the Father and God the Son, is all-powerful. As is true of the other attributes we have considered, the idea of being all-powerful is something which belongs to God and to Him alone. Since each of the three persons is all-powerful, each must be God.

4. They Are Unchanging (Immutable)

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit do not change in their basic character. The evidence is as follows:

God the Father Does Not Change in His Character or Nature

God the Father does not change. This is His own testimony:

“Because I, Yahweh, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.” (Malachi 3:6 HCSB)

In the New Testament, the writer James emphasized this same fact:

Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. (James 1:17 HCSB)

Nothing about the character of the Father can change. He remains the same Person which He always has been.

God the Son Does Not Ever Change

Jesus Christ likewise always remains the same. The writer to the Hebrews made this plain with the following statement:

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8 KJV)

The fact that Jesus Christ does not change is another indication He is the eternal God. God does not change in His character.

God the Holy Spirit Is Unchanging

We are told that the Holy Spirit is also unchanging. The Lord said,

My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid. (Haggai 2:5 NLT)

The same unchanging Spirit that was with Israel in Egypt was with them centuries later. The fact that it is said the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit do not change is another indication of their Deity; God does not change.

Thus, we again find that the three distinct personages of the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, have this attribute which belongs to God alone. They are unchanging in their basic nature or character.

5. They Are Eternal

All three members of the Trinity are eternal. They have had no beginning and they will have no end.

God the Father Has Existed Forever

God the Father has existed for all eternity. When Paul wrote to the Church in Ephesus he spoke of the Father choosing us in Him before the foundation of the world:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ; for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. (Ephesians 1:3-4 HCSB)

The Father has existed for all eternity. He made certain choices or decisions before the world was formed. This is the world which He created.

God the Son Has Existed Eternally

God the Son did not have a beginning. In the first verse of the Gospel of John, he wrote the following about Jesus:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 KJV)

God the Son, Jesus, has existed eternally. There was not a time when He did not exist. At the very beginning of all things pertaining to this universe the Son was already in existence.

God the Holy Spirit Has Eternal Existence

The Holy Spirit is also eternal. The writer to the Hebrews declared the following about the nature of the Spirit of God:

Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our hearts from deeds that lead to death so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. (Hebrews 9:14 NLT)

He is called “the eternal Spirit.” Since eternal existence is something limited to God alone, the Holy Spirit must be God. Thus, like the Father and the Son, we have direct statements about the nature of the Holy Spirit that leads us to the conclusion that He is God.

Consequently, we find that Scripture attributes a number of divine characteristics to each member of the Trinity. By definition, these characteristics can only belong to God. Therefore, it is clear that each member of the Trinity is God.

Summary – Question 12
Are Divine Attributes, or Characteristics Ascribe to Each Member of the Trinity?

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are each specifically called God in Scripture. However, there is more evidence as to who the fact that each of them is the eternal God.

Indeed, divine attributes are attributed to all three of them. The evidence is as follows:

God alone is everywhere present in our universe. Nothing escapes His notice. Yet we are told that each of the members of the Trinity, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, are omni-present or everywhere present. Since this is only an attribute which God possesses, each of these persons must be God.

Only God is all-powerful. The power of humans and angels is limited. Yet the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each said to be all-powerful. This leads us to the conclusion that each of them must be God.

God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are said to be, “all knowing.” In other words, they have all knowledge. Only the Creator Himself could have all knowledge. Thus, the Father, Son, and Spirit must be God.

We also find that each of the members of the Trinity has existed eternally. This cannot be said of humans or angels. They are created beings. The eternal existence of each of these personages is another indication that they are God.

The Bible also says that none of the members of the Trinity change in their basic nature or character. This is only true of God.

In sum, all three of the members of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, possess attributes that only God can possess. Therefore, the three of them must be the one God. This is the only logical conclusion we can draw from the biblical facts.

Are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit All Addressed as God? ← Prior Section
Are Divine Works Attributed to Each Member of the Trinity? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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