How can God be One and Three at the same time?

Email Received:

I believe in God, and I think he intervenes in the affairs of human beings. I know there are events in my life that are too "coincidental" to be explained by anything other than that God was involved. What I've never really understood is how God can have both a singular and a triune nature at the same time, or who actually created the universe: the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. And I don't really understand the point of Jesusówhether he was God or just an enlightened person, and how he could "save" us from our sins.

Ted's Response:

God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26). Basically, I believe this is a key to comprehending God's fundamental nature. We are single beings, but each of us has a spirit/mind, soul/heart, and body/flesh. Of course we cannot dissociate into our component parts, so all three "parts" of us always are at the same place, at the same time.

Similarly, although God is a single entity, He has a Mind (the Father), Heart (the Holy Spirit), and Body (Jesus). However, unlike us, God's component "parts" or "facets" all can be in different places at once. In fact, His Holy Spirit itself has at least a sevenfold nature (Revelation 4:5) and can be in multiple places at the same time. Read more details in God: One, Two, and Three and in the singular and multiple section of my commentary, Who Is God?

I conceptualize the Father as encompassing the "Essence," "Mind," and perfect "Will" of God. The Will of the Father is executed precisely by the Son and the Holy Spirit. I view the Holy Spirit as containing God's "Emotion" and "Power," the Agent by Whom God senses and energizes His Creation and expresses Himself to all He has created. And I see the Son, Jesus, as the "Body" or visible manifestation of the Father through Whom He crafted, shaped, and fine-tuned His Creation and by Whom He handles or touches everything.

Jesus was a carpenter (Mark 6:3a). As such, as a man, He used His arms and hands to construct and assemble useful things. But Was Jesus God? Yes, and as God, He constructed and assembled the heavens and the earth and everything in them (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2,10, 3:3,4), following exactly the design specified by the Father and utilizing the Power of the Holy Spirit to do it.

God is perfect, but all of us are imperfect and have fallen short of God's flawless standards. In fact, more often than not, we disobey and are in opposition to God, which is sin. None of us is worthy to enter God's eventual kingdom on earth, during which Jesus will rule and reign, nor the perfect kingdom (which will be a brand new Creation) ultimately to come (Revelation 21:1). But if none of us ever entered that perfect realm, to spend eternity with Him, it would have been a complete waste of God's time for Him to make this entire Creation (another of my commentaries).

Therefore, before the world was even created, it was in God's plan for His physical nature, the perfect and sinless Jesus, to be sacrificed (Revelation 13:8) for the redemption of sinful mankind. That is, God allowed His own body, in the human likeness of Jesus on earth, to be tortured and killed (Philippians 2:5-8) and raised from the dead. This was done to redeem all of those who simply would believe that this ultimate sacrifice and resurrection is the only means to eternal salvation (Romans 10:9,10), understanding that there is nothing they ever can do, on their own, to be good enough to earn God's favor.

Of course, all of this is just the tip of the iceberg of comprehending why Jesus is the key to salvation. If Jesus was not God but merely was a "good and righteous man," as many claim, then His sacrifice would not have been enough to save anybody. But He was and is God; therefore, his sacrifice was infinite and was sufficient to save all who believe that Jesus is Lord and that He was raised from the dead (Romans 10:9,10).

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