Progressive Revelation and the Trinity

Before we get started, I want to introduce you to the concept of progressive revelation.

Progressive revelation is the concept that later Bible scripture contains a fuller revelation of the Godhead and its persons than earlier scripture. We can see the idea of Holy Spirit-led organic thought evolve from earlier writings to later writings in the New Testament. We can use the later scripture of the Bible to help us interpret earlier scripture.

The Doctrine of the Trinity is no different. We have bits and drabs—matter of fact. You could not formulate a doctrine of the Trinity from the Old Testament. The members of the Trinity are there. We don’t have enough information to start to develop a doctrine.

Which leads us to the question, why? Why didn’t the Godhead give the ancient Jews a better understanding of the Trinity?

The answer to this is probably the Jewish tendency to polytheism and idolatry. What are the first two commandments of the Ten Commandments or Decalogue? The First is dealing with Monotheism. The second with idolatry. Both things that the ancient Jews had problems with up until the exile. A person would probably shutter at the theology of the Trinity a polytheistic and idolatrous person might come up with.

We will start our study of Trinitarian thought in the Old Testament. With Genesis, the first chapter. Here we see the Father and the Spirit of God—no Son. We see a strict One God set up here. Remember, Jews, don’t believe in the Son. Also, they didn’t see the Spirit as a distinct person. They viewed the Spirit of God as a trait, attribute, or aspect.

Why is this important? We might come across scriptures in the Old Testament that we can only see the Father and what we consider the Spirit. But no mention of the Old Testament manifestation of the Son. We might also come across a verse mentioning the Father and the Old Testament manifestation of the Son and not the Spirit, which might give us the false impression that the missing person of the Godhead was not involved. But we know that all three people of the Trinity, even though all three were not mentioned. This is known as the doctrine of Inseparable Operations, which is that all three persons of the Trinity are at work in every activity outside the Trinity’s life.

By the way, we will use the KJV version of the Bible. (ESV, NIT, CSB, etc.) not because it’s the best, but because I don’t want to put the Bible version initials after every verse or series of verses quoted.

Let’s start with our study at the beginning. Literally, in the beginning. We will look at the creation from the Genesis account and the account from the gospel of John.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Gen.1:1-2

Now let’s look at the creation from the gospel of John. John 1:1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. John 1:1-3

Let’s take these two series of verses and see if we can make a sound theological truth on Trinity’s role in creation.

In the Genesis account, we have God creating the earth. In John’s account, we have the Word doing the creation. Which is right?

Remember earlier when I mentioned progressive revelation? How the Holy Spirit would tell people things that earlier people did not know. Here is an example of progressive revelation. John had the truth of the Son creating the world that the writer of Genesis did not have.

So, we can say that God created the world through the Son and the Holy Spirit. Viewing God as the Overseer.

As for the role of the Holy Spirit. I believe that the Holy Spirit created energy and the laws that keep our physical universe together. This is just a guess on my part. We read the Genesis account where the Spirit moved over the waters. The Holy Spirit is referred to as having power in the New Testament. We could say the power of the Godhead. As I stated earlier, this is just a guess but a legitimate explanation of the Holy Spirit’s action during the world’s creation. What do you think? Something to ponder on in your free time.

Remember one Essence three Persons.

-Johnnie Kirk

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: