Trinity in Old Testament

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This paper deals with the doctrine of God in the Old Testament, but also examines the more fuller description of God in the New Testament.

Text of Trinity in Old Testament

2 AMRIDGE UNIVERSITY BIBLICAL POSITIONS PAPER: DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS A PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR. WILLIAMS IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT FOR BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS FD 9300 TURNER SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY BY JOHN R. NEAL CHRISTIANA, TN APRIL 2012 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION . 1 PURPOSE OF POSITIONS PAPER 3 KEY WORDSUSED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT . 5 THE THREE PERSONALITIES WITHINTHE TRINITY: OLD TESTAMENT 14 THE THREE PERSONALITIES WITHINTHE TRINITY: NEW TESTAMENT 36 CONCLUSION ..51 BIBLIOGRAPHY ..53 2 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS Ardn-t-Gingrich-Danker A Greek-English Lexicon Of TheNew Testament and Other Early Christian Literature B.H.S. Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensia B-D-B Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon G.N.T.The Greek New Testament T.D.N.T. Theological Dictionary of the New TestamentT.N.I.D.N.T.T.The New International Dictionary Of New Testament Theology 2 54 Introduction This is a Biblical Doctrines Positions Paper on the theology of God the Father, the Son, and theHolySpiritasdiscussedprimarilyintheOldTestament(commonlyreferredtoasthe Doctrine of the Trinity1), with a subtopic of the Godhead in the New Testament.One might refer to this as my credo on the Doctrine of the God.In this paper, the author is using the Biblical TheologyMethod.2Biblicaltheologyreferstoaseparatedivisionoftheologyingeneralthat explainsthebiblicalconceptsordoctrinesinanon-dogmaticmanner.Asadiscipline, biblicaltheologyexaminestheinnercoherenceanddevelopmentofvariousbiblicalthemes, whileatthesametimefocusinguponkeyideas.Thisparticulardivisionoftheologyalso looks at the course of human history that is often referred to as salvation history.Unlike the

1The word Trinity carries the idea of tri-unity or three-in-oneness.Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 226.For a good history of Trinitarian theology and a good argument that the Trinity is the center of biblical theology, see Colin E. Gunton, The Promise of Trinitarian Theology (New York: T & T Clark, Ltd, 1991, Repr. 2006), 1-8. 2Kaiser lists four types or approaches to Old Testament Theology.(1) There is the Structural Type which gives a straightforward outline of the Old Testaments belief system by using a systematic, sociological, or other theological assumption and then map out its relationship to secondary concepts.(2) The Diachronic Type looks at theology from the succeeding time periods and development of Israels history.(3) The Lexicographic Type investigates scripture from the biblical authors particular theological vocabulary (such as looking at the J, E, P, D. vocabulary in the Pentateuch).(4) The Biblical Themes Type attempts to look beyond a single key word (vocabulary) by examining a whole group of words surrounding a common theme.Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.Towards an Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 9. 2 systematicapproachtoscripture,abiblicalapproachattemptstotracethehistorical trustworthinessofbiblicaleventsanddocumentsandexaminesthechoice,sequence,and arrangementofbiblicaltexts.Thisbranchoftheologygainspopularityduringthetwentieth century.3Adiachronicmethod(asopposedtoasynchronicview)ofstudyingscripture(from dia, meaning through, and chromos, meaning time) sorts out the different time periods of the Bible in an attempt to uncover the various themes chronologically or historically.4While every theologian is, in some way, doing biblical theology, yet as a specific discipline we are striving to exegete scripture in light of her diverse leitmotivs.5

3 George T. Kurrin, Ed., Nelsons New Christian Dictionary.The Authoritative Resource On The Christian World (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), s.v. Biblical Theology, 100. 4Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., The Christian and the Old Testament(Psasadena, CA: William CareyLibrary,1998),12.KaiserbreaksdowntheOldTestamentintoelevendifferenterasof epochs of time: (1) Prepatriarchal (Gen. 1-11), (2) Patriarchal (Gen. 12-50), (3) Mosaic (Exodus-Deuteronomy),(4)Premonarchical(Joshua-1Samuel),(5)Davidic(2Samuel16-2Kings, Psalms),(6)Sapential(Job,Proverbs,Ecclesiastes,SongofSolomon),(7)NinthCentury Prophets (Obadiah, Joel), (8) Eighth Century Prophets (Amos, Hosea, Jonah, Micah, Isaiah), (9) SeventhCenturyProphets(Nahum,Zephaniah,Habakkuk,Jeremiah),(10)ExilicProphets (Ezekiel,Daniel),and(11)PostexilicProphets(Haggai,Zechariah,Malachi,Chronicles,Ezra-Nehemiah, and Esther). 5William Dyrness, Themes in Old Testament Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979), 16.3 54 Purpose of Positions Paper ThisresearchpaperexaminesthetraditionallyheldTrinitarianview(frommypersonal observations) of God in the Bible and proposes to ask the question, Is the concept of the trinity (the three personalities of God) as revealed in the New Testament as clear and distinct in the Old Testament?At present, the author does not know if the Old Testament gives a clear distinction of an Old Testament Trinity. For the limitations of this present study, this project examines the 39 books of the Old Testament canon (the English Bible) or the 36 books of the Hebrew canon (36 Books in the B.H.S.) and the 27 books of the Greek New Testament. I am writing from an evangelical perspective, one who believes in the verbal, plenary inspiration of both Testaments. Althoughmanytheologiansautomaticallydismissaconservativeapproachtodoingtheology, there is a need today for a sound approach to doing Old Testament theology in both the academy as well as the church.Time will not allow for an exhaustive study of the Old Testament Trinity, soIwillbeginbygivinganoverviewoftheGodheadfromthePre-PatriarchalEra,the Patriarchal Era, and the Mosaic Era. Then we will move into the development of the Godhead intheNewTestament.SinceIdobelievethatthetheologicalcenteroftheOldTestament(as well as the New) is God, I am choosing to write on the Doctrine of the Godheadas revealed in scripture. Definitions Whatdowemeanwhenweusetheword,Trinity?TheEnglishwordTrinitycomes fromtheLatinword,trinitas,whichisatermthatcombinestheideasofthreenessand oneness,oratri-unity.TheclassicformoftheTrinitariandoctrinedidnotariseuntilthe 3 secondcenturyA.D.duringtheeraofthechurchfathers.Yetlateroninthefourthcentury, whentheAriancontroversyarose,thosechurchfatherswereforcedtomakeadefinitive statementofbeliefinthemannerofTrinitarianrelationsandthecharacter(particularlythe status) of the persons of the Trinity.Although this is not a biblical term, the idea is not foreign to the scriptures.6Arius is the fourth century bishop who claims that God the Son is created by the Father and does not share in his divine substance, but is of lesser rank and glory than the Father.7 The most common terms used in the New Testament (that may closely relate to a triune God) are: (meaning divine being or divinity, used in the New Testament in Acts 17:27 and2Peter1:3),(meaningdivinenatureordivinity,foundinRomans1:20and Colossians2:9),and(relatedto,meaningdeityordivinity,occurringin Colossians2:9.8Thetraditionalterm,forthosewhogrewupontheKingJamesVersion,is rendered in these passages with the English term Godhead.Broyles points out that this is not thebestrenderingfortheabovetermsandisalsoanantiquatedword(datingbacktoMiddle English);thiswordwouldberenderedasGodhoodtoday.9Inthispaper,wewillattemptto use the word God, Divine Nature, or Trinity when referring to the triune God.

6 John Anthony McGuckin, The Westminster Handbook on Patristic Theology (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 338. 7Patrick W. Carey and Joseph T. Lienhard, Ed.Biographical Dictionary Of Christian Theologians (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000), s.v. Arius, by Kelley McCarthy Spoerl: 29.8 William F. Ardnt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon Of The New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2nd Ed. Revised and Augmented By F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker From Walter Bauers Fifth Ed., 1958 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1979), s.v., pg. 353, s.v. , pg. 354, and s.v., pg. 358. 9Stephen Broyles, What do we mean by godhead, Evangelical Quarterly, 50 (Oct-Dec 1978), 226-29. 4 54 Key Words Used of God in the Old Testament Since my major in the Turner School of Theology is Old Testament, I would like to begin byexamining thewordsthat are usedfor the Godhead in the Hebrew Bible. We will notice in particular seven terms in the Hebrew Old Testament that the inspired writers use to refer to the triune Godhead (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).We will try to answer the question at the end of the paper as to whether there is indeed a well defined Trinity in the Old Testament or not? . This first word we want to look at is ( ) and some of the various derivatives of the nameforGodintheOldTestament.Thistermoccursapproximately2,600times10inthe Hebrew Bible and is the most frequently used term.The name is possibly (with the inclusion of the h) a plural form of either l) (a singular noun, God) or singular form of hOl).The plural formforGodcanrefertoeitherpagangodsortheGodofIsrael(onlythecontextcantellus).This divine name may describe a plural of intensity or plural of majesty.11The word l) is

10John R. Kohlenberger III and James A. Swanson, The Hebrew-English Concordance To The Old Testament With The New International Version (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998), 98.

11HorstDietrichPreuss,OldTestamentTheology,Vol.1,Trans.byLeoG.Perdue (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995), 139.6 themostcommonwordfordeitywithintheSemiticlanguageoftheAncientNearEast.The word functions for both the personal name of God and for the gods of the Canaanites.12 Brown-Driver-Briggsgivesthemeaningofthisword(withthearticle)asthe(true) God,13 or that Yahweh is God in truth.14This word is found in the opening verse of Genesis: InthebeginningGodcreatedtheheavensandtheearth(Genesis1:1,J.R.N.).15Th