God With Us and Without Us, Volumes One and Two
653 Pages
English
Gain access to the library to view online
Learn more

God With Us and Without Us, Volumes One and Two

-

Gain access to the library to view online
Learn more
653 Pages
English

Description

God as Trinity is at the core of the mystery and otherness of the divine nature of God. It has also been a frequent barrier to those who hold to the Absolute Oneness of God. In this combined work Dr Imad Shehadeh demonstrates the inevitability of the Trinity by exposing the conflict that Absolute Oneness faced historically. Dr Shehadeh presents the beautiful logic of the Trinity and explains how the display of God’s attributes in creation derives from the self-sustaining relationships in his triune nature as Father, Spirit and Son. The book climaxes in revealing the transforming power of the Trinity when applied to life.
Followers of Christ will find their worship and love of God enhanced through the rich truths this book contains; followers of Islam will find confusion about the Triune God cleared up removing stumbling blocks to understanding the Bible’s message.

Subjects

Informations

Published by
Published 05 October 2020
Reads 0
EAN13 9781783688562
Language English
Document size 3 MB

Legal information: rental price per page 0.0107€. This information is given for information only in accordance with current legislation.

Exrait

Imad Shehadeh has provided a thorough biblical, theological, and philosophical
presentation of the nature and attributes of God. His work refects careful
scholarship as well as a well-reasoned presentation. He is both fair and faithful
in setting forth the God of the Bible.
Mark L. Bailey, PhD
President and Senior Professor of Bible Exposition,
Dallas Teological Seminary, Dallas, Texas, USA
Dr Imad Shehadeh is a godly theologian with a pastor-teacher-evangelist’s
heart. As a beloved friend for nearly twenty-fve years, it has been a joy to
see the powerfully clear truths in this book forged in the heart and mind of
Imad. Tis book has come forth through painstaking exegesis of the text of
God’s word, copious original historical research, and with constant, prayerful
waiting upon God. Trough years of the fery trials of serving on the frontlines,
Imad has come forth with humble clarity, refned confdence, and a focused
championship of the non-negotiable essentials of biblical Christianity. Te
Trinity is the foundation of true biblical Christianity. Te Trinity is the only
way to understand the efcacy of the just death of Jesus Christ. Te Trinity is
the only way to answer the raging question of who is the One True and Living
God. No theologian of our generation has done more to advance such essential
and true theology than this work by Dr Imad Shehadeh.
Rev John Barnett, DMin
Founder, Discover the Book Ministries
Few issues separate as many people as the meaning of the unity of God. Nearly
4.5 billion people are divided over this question. Some Christians live as if
there were three Gods without acknowledging it. Many non-Christians believe
the Trinity is composed of Father, Son and Mary. Beginning with his doctoral
dissertation, Dr Imad Shehadeh has been studying and teaching the Trinity
for over thirty years. Few have as deep an understanding of this vital question
as he possesses. Dr Shehadeh is well aware of the scholarship and debates
down through the ages – he is fuent in Arabic, English, Greek and Hebrew
and he lives in the midst of the monotheistic religions. Clearly understanding
the diferences, and what the Bible teaches, is a frst step in opening a door between the immense monotheistic religions. God With Us and Without Us is
a signifcant key for all who desire to help open closed doors to the good news.
Pat Cate, PhD
Adjunct Professor of Intercultural Studies,
Dallas Teological Seminary, Dallas, Texas, USA
President Emeritus, Christar International
In this work, Dr Imad Shehadeh introduces a topic of interest to any serious
reader of Christian theology or other epistemological or philosophical sciences
that are concerned with the nature of God. Te author treats the Scriptures
very seriously and objectively without avoiding thorny and controversial topics.
From the beginning to the end, the reader fnds himself in a bold dialogue
that mimics the reality and history of philosophical and theological ideas in
the Middle East. Te abundance of charts and illustrations enriches the book
and makes it accessible to a wide range of readers at all levels and theological
backgrounds. Tis is a must-read and deserves re-reading and serious study
of all its pages. It will impose a mandatory study by any Christian theologian.
Tis work deserves to be a model for infuential theological research in its
surroundings. Indeed, according to the author’s introductory word, it is “a
journey of refection and discovery of the true and eternal nature of God.”
Milad Dagher, PhD
Director,
Christian Alliance Institute of Teology, Beirut, Lebanon
Dr Imad Shehadeh brings us this indispensable treasure. Te writer takes us
on a pleasant journey of a new discovery of the true nature of God through
his inspired word, and also through logic that corresponds to the same holy
word. In his writing, Dr Shehadeh adopts a consistent and reasoned method
of ideas in a spirit of faith that seeks understanding.
Afer confrming that God’s eternal existence is consistent with the work
of his eternal attributes, the author moves to demonstrate that the eternal
attributes of God presuppose a relationship between persons in a trilogy that
is at least three and at most three. Tis trilogy is also shown to be afrmed
perfection through eternal oneness. Te writer presents the Trinity as a mystery
to be discovered rather than a problem to be solved.
With exceptional professionalism accompanied by the anointing of the
Holy Spirit, our dear colleague also portrays the doctrine of the Trinity as based on the activity of the attributes of God outside of creation, or as he calls
it, “God without us.” With exegetical and theological skill, he illustrates that
the activity and perfection of God’s attributes within creation spring from their
activity and perfection outside creation. Tis concept is absolutely essential
to any believer, university professor, diligent student, serious researcher, and
faithful minister.
Amal Gendi, DMin
Dean of Training and Teological Education,
Pioneers, Canada
Te appeal of this work to the believer in Oneness in Trinity is to cease from
viewing the Trinity as a problem to be solved. Tis is a call to see the Trinity as
a beauty to be continually discovered and enjoyed. Te appeal of this book to
adherents of Absolute Oneness is to begin the journey of trust in the perfection,
equality and harmony of all God’s attributes.
It is more than thirty years since I identifed “the concept of relationship”
within the godhead as a “key to the comparative understanding of Christianity
and Islam” (Temelios 11 [1986]: 57–60). I am delighted that Imad Shehadeh
has powerfully used this key to open an inspiring systematic understanding
of the triune God of the Bible in conversation with the alternative of God as
absolutely singular. Te reader will be introduced to history as well as to logic,
will fnd the argument carefully and clearly set out, and will be led towards
awed worship at the sheer beauty of God.
Tis is a very valuable work. People interacting with “Absolute Oneness” need
to rejoice in the Trinity rather than to fear trying to explain it. Tis will greatly
help many people and will bring much glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Ida Glaser, PhD
International Academic Coordinator,
Te Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, Oxford, UK
Dr Shehadeh has the courage to venture into the discussion of a complex
doctrine. In his thorough and deep approach, he has been able to utilize
Western resources as well as interacting with Arabic resources that have not
been translated into modern languages. I have found his discussion on avoiding
common errors about the Trinity to be illuminating as he skillfully weaves
together ancient and modern issues. Dr Shehadeh provides very informative
arguments on the Absolute Oneness and the Oneness in Trinity. Any serious student who wishes to explore the foundational doctrine of the Holy Trinity
cannot ignore this helpful resource.
Rev Riad Kassis, PhD
Director,
Scholars Programme, Langham Partnership
Imad Shehadeh has written an excellent primer on perhaps the most
misunderstood teaching of the Christian faith – the biblical doctrine of the
Trinity. What does it mean to say that the one God is triune? How does this
unique understanding of God’s very nature difer from other monotheistic
views? Why is it vital to grasp the diference? For Christians, Dr Shehadeh’s
readable and thoroughly biblical treatment will deepen and inspire them, not
to mention alert them to and guard them from, all too common errors. For
non-Christians, this book will usher them to the wondrous beauty and power
of the triune vision of God that is the beating heart of the Christian faith.
Duane Litfn, PhD
President Emeritus,
Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, USA
God With Us and Without Us is a foundation stone added to theological
research known by Dr Imad Shehadeh. Since I knew the author from about
thirty years ago as a servant of Christ, I have seen in him the robust scholar, the
precise expositor and systematic theologian who does not hesitate to delve into
the thorny issues of faith that have occupied the church throughout the ages,
supremely exemplifed in the oneness of God in three persons. Although much
has been written in this area over the years, what distinguishes this work is that
it exposes the predicament of non-trinitarian systems in comprehensiveness
of research, accuracy of exegesis, use of the original languages of the Bible,
and richness of illustrations and tables that aid learner and teacher to address
the doctrine of the Trinity. It also reveals the beauty and power of Trinity that
leads to a deeper worship of the true God. We pay tribute to Dr Imad for his
work, written in Arabic also, which enriches our English and Arabic libraries
and provides a great service to the church as well as to future generations of
scholars and students of theological knowledge.
Tony Maalouf, PhD
Distinguished Professor of World Christianity and Middle Eastern Studies,
Southwestern Baptist Teological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, USAWith distinguished achievement, the versed theologian Dr Imad Shehadeh flls
a major and essential vacuum in the Arab Christian library, traverses in a depth
that many would not dare, and provides the reader a comprehensive and clear
explanation of the theological issue that is the most important and difcult,
the preparation of which requires unparalleled understanding, research and
analysis. Dr Imad has been successful particularly in encouraging the reader to
probe the depth of the triunity of God with longing and enjoyment, alerting to
misconceptions of it, and changing the common understanding from a Trinity
that opposes logic, to a Trinity that embraces logic and is all logic, and from
a problem that awaits solution to a beauty that awaits discovery . . . and unto
a salvation that awaits experience.
Suhail Madanat, PhD
President,
Jordanian Baptist Church Convention
Rev Dr Imad Shehadeh continues to enrich the Arab-Christian theological
library. He discusses in the pages of this work a “life and death” issue in
Christian theology – the nature of God. Tis work confrms that, without
knowing God’s Trinitarian nature, there is no true knowledge of God. Dr
Shehadeh asserts that, according to Oneness in Trinity, the nature of God
“with us” in his personal relationship with creation springs from his nature
“without us” as he exists in himself in an eternal relationship outside creation.
In contrast, according to Absolute Oneness, “God without us” as he exists in
himself is merely a distant supreme being who has nothing to do with us, nor
our sufering; and therefore, does not care to save us. I highly recommend
this great work.
Wageeh Mikhail, PhD
Secretary General,
Te Center for Middle Eastern Christianity,
Evangelical Teological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt
Comprehensive and clear. Te book addresses everything I have ever heard
about or thought about regarding the Trinity, and much more. Te content
shows evidence of thirty years of scholarly study in both Arabic and English, and
the presentation shows great efort to make it all accessible and understandable
even to the lay reader. I have never read a book with a clearer outline or more
thorough use of Scripture.Tis will be a great help to both Christians and Muslims to understand
what their own religion teaches as well as what the other teaches, and I believe
it will promote respectful dialogue. A wonderful and much needed resource!
Rev David Niednagel
Founding Pastor,
Christian Fellowship Church, Evansville, Indiana, USA
Board Chairman,
Jordan Evangelical Teological Seminary, Amman, Jordan
Beautiful, biblical, and balanced are rarely used antiphons when studying a
multi-part, theological work. And yet, the beauty of the topic in itself, while
privileging the biblical text, along with a conviction to serve his ministry
context, demands Dr Imad Shehadeh’s clarifying exposition of the Mystery
which decisively and defnitively distinguishes the God of the Bible. My worship
and understanding of the Trinity is greatly enhanced by this experienced,
thoughtful and studied expression.
Ramesh Richard, TD, PhD
President,
Ramesh Richard Evangelism and Church Health (RREACH)
Professor, Global Teological Engagement & Pastoral Ministries,
Dallas Teological Seminary, Dallas, Texas, USA
If we, as Christians, had the luxury of composing Christian teaching, we would
never have composed a teaching about the oneness of God. We do not compose
but discover. Truth in general difers from myth or legend in that it is not
composed but discovered, that is, it does not come as a creation of the mind but
as a discovery made by it. By refecting on God’s creation and work in human
history, the mind may be able to discover many of the special truths about
God’s various attributes such as power, wisdom, and mercy. Even the oneness
of his essence is self-evident and is the inevitable conclusion through sound
reason. But if the mind wishes to sail deeper in order to discover the truth
about the nature of this oneness and its uniqueness beftting its Owner, this is
only possible through what God has revealed about himself. Tis revelation
was communicated to men carried along by the Holy Spirit to write both
the Old and New Testaments. It was then made complete in the person of
Jesus Christ. However, this sailing still requires the expertise and skill of a professional sailor. Tis is what Dr Imad Shehadeh has done. He journeyed
in an expedition through the pages of the Bible to gather everything he could
in order to draw a clear picture of the magnifcence, awe, and uniqueness of
God’s Oneness in Trinity, and produced this precious work.
Maher Samuel, MD
Psychiatrist, Apologist, Lecturer and Author
Middle East Representative, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
Dr Imad Shehadeh’s magnum opus God With Us and Without Us presents
a clear understanding and beauty of Oneness in Trinity. More than simply
an introduction to the doctrine of the Trinity, his well-written, thoroughly
researched, logically presented work opens a fresh explanation of the
lifetransforming power of Trinity. Aside from the reasonable arrangement of
his arguments, the charts and diagrams compliment the intended ideas.
Tey make Oneness in Trinity easy to appreciate and comprehend. With his
Middle Eastern scholarly background, he exposes the weakness of Absolute
Oneness and expounds the benefts of Oneness in Trinity especially as related
to the attributes of God. It is the best work to date on the doctrine of Trinity.
Beginners as well as experts in theological studies will defnitely beneft and
fnd this work thought provoking.
Joseph Shao, PhD
4th General Secretary, Asia Teological Association
President Emeritus,
Biblical Seminary of the Philippines, Metro Manila, Philippines
How can one who does not know God in his true nature worship him in his
eternal attributes! With outstanding efort, depth and distinguished efciency,
Rev Dr Imad Shehadeh has gone past the familiar, and presented one of the
strongest, deepest, and broadest studies in the English and Arabic languages
on the nature of God. With precision in belief, historical faithfulness, and
truthful spirituality, stemming from abiding and solid biblical doctrine, this
book prompts you to satiate, delight and be fonder of the true God as he
revealed himself in his holy word.
Rev Tony Skaaf
Pastor, Badaro Baptist Church, Beirut, LebanonGod With Us and Without Us
Volumes One and Two God With Us and Without Us
Volumes One and Two
The Beauty and Power of
Oneness in Trinity
versus Absolute Oneness
Imad N. Shehadeh© 2020 Imad Shehadeh
Published 2020 by Langham Global Library
An imprint of Langham Publishing
www.langhampublishing.org
Langham Publishing and its imprints are a ministry of Langham Partnership
Langham Partnership
PO Box 296, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA3 9WZ, UK
www.langham.org
ISBNs:
978-1-78368-758-9 Print
978-1-78368-854-8 ePub
978-1-78368-855-5 Mobi
978-1-78368-856-2 PDF
Imad Shehadeh has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be
identifed as the Author of this work.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or
transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise,
without the prior written permission of the publisher or the Copyright Licensing Agency.
Requests to reuse content from Langham Publishing are processed through PLSclear. Please visit www.
plsclear.com to complete your request.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960,
1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by Te Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996–2016 by Biblical
Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com. All rights reserved worldwide.
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN: 978-1-78368-758-9
Cover & Book Design: projectluz.com
Langham Partnership actively supports theological dialogue and an author’s right to publish but does not
necessarily endorse the views and opinions set forth here or in works referenced within this publication,
nor can we guarantee technical and grammatical correctness. Langham Partnership does not accept any
responsibility or liability to persons or property as a consequence of the reading, use or interpretation of
its published content.To Julia,
my precious wife with whom I had the privilege of sharing this
exciting journey of discovering the beauty of the true God.
To you, my love, I dedicate this labor of love.









Contents
Frequently Asked Questions xxi
Biblical Passages Studied xxxi
List of Tables xxxv
List of Figures xxxvii
Foreword xxxix
Introduction: Passion for the Trinit y 1
Te Appeal of Tis Book 1
How to Beneft from Tis Book 2
Part 1: Oneness in Trinity versus Absolute Oneness
1 Readiness to Receive God’s Revelation of Himself 5
1 Te Fountain of All Tought about God Is the Bible 5
2 Te Christian Message Begins with the Gospel 9
3 Te Doctrine of the Trinity Is Not Confned to the
Word “Trinity” 10
4 Te Finite Cannot See All of the Infnite 11
5 What Is Necessary Is Ofen Unseen 12
6 Te Trinity Is Not a Problem to Be Solved 14
7 Tere Is Need for Depth behind Simplicity 24
8 Freedom from Confning Tinking about God’s Oneness 25
9 Teological Preparation in the Progress of Revelation 29
10 Tere Is Need for the Proper Use of Reason 29
11 Knowing God Comes from a Pure Heart 31
12 Only by Accepting the True God Can Tere Be Life
Transformatio n 36
Conclusion 36
2 Te Various Concepts of the Oneness of God 39
Introduction 39
God in Absolute Oneness 39
God in Oneness in Trinity 40
Te Diferences between Oneness in Trinity and Absolute Oneness 42
3 Te Various Uses of the Expression “God” 45Introduction .................................................... 45
“God” Pointing to the One and Only God........................... 45
“God” Pointing to the Father ...................................... 57
“God” Pointing to the Divine Nature ............................... 65
Summary....................................................... 77
4 Avoiding Common Errors about the Trinity ..................... 79
Introduction .................................................... 79
Understanding the Use of “Person” in the Trinit ....................y 79
Understanding the Distinction between the Persons.................. 81
Understanding the Unity of Christ’s Two Natures 84
Attention to Precision in Expression ............................... 87
Avoiding Exaggeration in the Use of Illustrations .................... 88
Conclusion on Avoiding Common Errors about the Trinity ........... 90
5 Is It the Same God? .......................................... 91
Introduction .................................................... 91
Te Early Use of the Expression “Allah”............................. 92
Te Common Root in Semitic Languages ........................... 95
Te Use of “Allah” by Arab Christians Toda ........................y 97
Dealing with the Difculty of the Question.......................... 99
Te Giant Leap.................................................105
Appeal to Believers and Non-Believers ............................106
6 Te Historical Confict of Absolute Oneness.................... 107
Introduction ...................................................107
Defning the Confict ...........................................107
Classifcation of the Attributes ...................................109
Te Confict Regarding the Attributes of Action ....................111
Te Confict Regarding the Attributes of Essence ...................125
Summary and Conclusion .......................................130
7 Te Answer of Oneness in Trinit.............................y 133
Introduction ...................................................133
Te Answer to the Inevitable Question ............................134
Te Answer in Regard to the Attributes of Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135
Te Answer in Regard to the Attributes of Essence ..................142
T wo Parallel Lines ..............................................145
Appeal to Believers and Non-Believers147
8 Consistency of the Trinity with Logic.......................... 149
Introduction ...................................................149Te Eternal Existence of God Is in Harmony with the Eternal
Activity of His Attributes ......................................150
Te Eternal Activity of God’s Attributes Presupposes a
Relationship between Persons ..................................156
Te Relationship Is Protected by Treeness of Persons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162
Te Treeness of Persons Is Guaranteed Perfection
through Oneness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170
Summary and Conclusion .......................................172
Part 2: Te Beauty and Power of Oneness in Trinity
9 T e Diference between Old Testament Oneness and
Absolute Oneness........................................... 175
Introduction ...................................................175
1. God’s Desire to Be Known .....................................176
2. God’s Trustworthines ........................................s 179
3. G od’s Initiative to Save Human Beings from Teir
Fallen Condition .............................................187
4. Te Nature of the Activity of God’s Attributes ....................190
5. God’s Activity With Us Stemming from His Activity Without Us....193
6. God’s Revelation of Plurality within His Oneness .................201
Conclusion ....................................................211
10 Te Activity of the Attributes of God Without U................s 213
Introduction ...................................................213
Te Reality of the Activity of God’s Attributes Without U............s 213
Classifcation of the Attributes of God.............................219
Eight Temes of the Activity of God’s Attributes Without U..........s 222
Conclusion259
11 Te Activity of the Attributes of God With U...................s 261
Introduction ...................................................261
Te Reality of God’s Attributes With Us ...........................262
Eight Temes of the Activity of God’s Attributes With U ............s 264
Conclusion ....................................................310
12 Te Signifcance of the Name “Father” and the Name “Son”....... 313
Introduction313
Te Importance of Names in the Bible.............................314
Sonship in God Is Superior to Human Sonship .....................316
Sonship in God Is the Source of Human Sonship....................32513 Eternal Generation or Eternal Sonship? ........................ 347
Introduction ...................................................347
Support for Eternal Generation...................................349
Other Difculties with Eternal Generation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .360
Conclusion ....................................................365
14 Te Signifcance of the Name “Holy Spirit” ..................... 367
Te Holy Spirit in the Old Testamen..............................t 367
Te Holy Spirit in the New Testamen .............................t 375
Synthesis: Te Signifcance of the Name “Holy Spirit”................383
15 Te Procession of the Holy Spirit: Single or Double? ............. 405
Introduction ...................................................405
Historical Background ..........................................406
Arguments for Single Procession .................................408
Arguments for Double Procession ................................410
Another Biblical Look at the Procession of the Holy Spirit............412
Summary and Conclusion .......................................426
16 Te Manifestation of the Trinity in Christ’s Submission to Go ....d 429
Introduction429
General Principles Related to God Without Us .....................429
General Principles Related to God With Us ........................431
Special Cases ..................................................438
Conclusion on the Submission of Christ to God ....................457
17 Te Purpose of God in Coming to Us in the Flesh ............... 459
Introduction ...................................................459
1. Te Reality of Absolute Beginning ..............................463
2. God’s Relational Nature .......................................466
3. God’s Resulting Creation ......................................475
4. God’s Continual Light.........................................476
5. God’s Genuine Invitation ......................................481
6. Te Earned Sonship to God....................................481
7. God’s Humble Work ..........................................482
8. God’s Rich Grace .............................................485
9. Te Promised Vision of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .488
Conclusion on John’s Prologue ...................................493
18 Te Humility of God in Coming to Us in the Flesh .............. 495
Introduction ...................................................495
Te Reason for Adopting the Tinking of Christ....................496Te Method of Communicating the Humility of God................496
Christ’s Self-Emptying ..........................................500
Summary and Conclusion .......................................512
19 Te Life-Transforming Power of the Trini ....................ty 515
Introduction ...................................................515
Te Life-Transforming Power of the Trinity in Humanity’s
Relationship to God519
Te Life-Transforming Power of the Trinity in Humanity’s
Relationship to Teir Fellow Human Beings ......................552
Te Power behind the Life-Transforming Power of the Trini ........ty 560
Appendix 1: Te Repeated Mention of the Persons of the Trinit.......y 563
Appendix 2: Te Deity of Christ................................... 569
Appendix 3: Te Personhood and Deity of the Holy Spirit............. 573
Bibliography.................................................... 579
Arabic Sources............................................... 579
Sources in English, French and German ...........................581
Complete Scripture Index ........................................ 595Frequently Asked Questions
Tis list is intended to help the reader study this book through the application
of frequently asked questions.
Absolute Oneness
How are the attributes classifed? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110
How can faith in one God be a cover for belief in a multitude of god . . . . . . . . . .s? 27
How did the Mu’tazilites and the Ash’arites deal with anthropomorphisms?. . . . .122
Hohe rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity evolve? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100
How is beginning with Absolute Oneness the wrong starting point? . . . . . . . . . . . .27
How is freedom of the divine will expressed? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113
How is the manifestation of the attributes of action done?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113
How is the separation of attributes of essence from essence expressed?. . . . . . . . .127
What is the danger of a conditional acceptance of God’s revelation? . . . . . . . . . . . .26
What is the danger of confning thinking about the oneness of God?. . . . . . . . . . . .25
What is the defnition of Absolute Oneness?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
What is the diference between Oneness in Trinity and Absolute Oneness? . . . . . .43
What is the giant leap of Absolute Oneness?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105
What is the inevitable question for all religions? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107
What is the relationship between attributes of action and attributes of essence? . .125
What is the resultant inconsistency in the attribtutes of essence? . . . . . . . . . . . . . .130
What is the resultant inconsistency with the attributes of action?. . . . . . . . . . . . . .122
What is the source of God’s attributes of action? 112
What is wrong about limiting faith to the existence and oneness of God? . . . . . . . .26
What were the two main schools of thought on the attributes of God? . . . . . . . . .109
Application to Life
Are the theological and philosophical arguments necessary?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
How can believers in Oneness in Trinity make the giant leap mistakenly? . . . . . .106
How can one share the gospel initially wihtout mentioning the Trinity? . . . . . . . . .57
How is believing in the Trinity parallel wiht having a pure heart?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31
Is believing in the Trinity necessary for salvation?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
What is the responsibility of the believer in regard to the Trinity? . . . . . . . . . . . . .147
What is the responsibility of the non-believer in regard to the Trinity? . . . . . . . . .147
Why is it impossible to avoid reason and logic? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
Why is it wrong to treat the Trinity as a problem to be solved? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
xxixxii God With Us and Without Us
The Attributes of God
Are divine conversations in the plural an expression of majesty? . . . . . . . . . . . . . .205
How are anthropomorphisms used of God?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .209
How are the attributes of God manifested in dealing with sin? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .263
How are the attributes of God related to one another? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .190
How can God be jealous? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .302
How did God appear to Abraham?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .206
Hood appear to Hagar?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .206
How did God express his joy in creating? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .238
Hood reveal his desire to be known? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .176
How did the act of creating spring from the love of God? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .475
Hohe concept of mutual indwelling develop in history?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .250
How does God exercise love in creating?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .236
How does the activity of God with us stem from his activity without us? . . . . . . .193
How does the Bible give meaning to each of the attributes of God? . . . . . . . . . . . .191
How does the Father express his love to the Son?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .235
How do many need to change their understanding of the patience of God? . . . . .305
How is God one in the Old Testament? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .202
How is mutual indwelling without us extended to us?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .296
How is the anger of God a protection?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .306
How is there plurality in unity in the Old Testament?201
How is the trustworthiness of God manifested in the Old Testamen. . . . . . . . . .t? 179
What are some of the guidelines for the classifcation of the attributes of God?. . . . 220
What are some of the objections to the pursuit of what God does without
creation? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .213
What are the attributes of God without us according to Christ’s eight themes? . . . . 222
What are the attributes of God with us according to Christ’s
eight themes? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261, 264
What are the characteristics of the anger or wrath of God? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .304
What are the eight themes for the attributes of God according to Christ? . . . . . . .221
What are the eight themes in this study for the attributes of God? . . . . . . . . . . . . .221
What does it mean for God to hate Esau? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .307
What is the biblical meaning of personhood?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .466
What is the danger in separating God’s works in creation from his nature? . . . . . .215
What is the danger in separating the immanent and the economic Trinity? . . . . .216
What is the diference between God’s jealousy and human jealousy? . . . . . . . . . . .304
What is the general classifcation of the attributes of God?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .220
What is the knowledge shared between the Father and the Son?. . . . . . . . . . 227, 270
What is the meaning of God’s glory? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .255
What is the nature of the beginning of existence? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .463
What is the nature of the intimacy between the Father and the Son? . . . . . . . . . . .323
What is unique about the attributes of God in Christianity? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .218Frequently Asked Questions xxiii
Who is the Angel of the LORD? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206, 208
Why is a name important in the Bible? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .314
Why is glorifying God central to all of life?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .300
Will human beings ever see God?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .489
The Bible
What are the implications for believing in the inspiration of the Bible? . . . . . . . . . . .5
What is the importance of revalidating doctrine from the Bible? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
What is the importance of the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit to the Bible? . . . .8
What is the importance of the veracity of the Bible? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
What is the meaning of progress of revelation? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
What is the signifcance of the continual discovery of divine truth? . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Christ
Can a person worship Christ and have doubts at the same time? . . . . . . . . . . . . . .289
How did Christ refer to God in Aramaic?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96
How did the concept of mutual indwelling develop in history?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .250
How does Christ excercise humility with the Father? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .235
How does Christ speak of absolute truth?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .242
How does Christ’s submission to God relate to us? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .431
How does Christ submit to God without us? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .429
How does the Bible show that Christ is the subject of all Scripture?. . . . . . . . . . . .285
How does the New Testament witness to the deity of Christ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .569
How do the Son and the Father work together? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231
How is Christ above the Sabbath?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231
How is Christ diferent from other prophets?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .253
How is Christ involved in preserving creation? 240
How is God the Father of Christ in a diferent way than he is the Father
of humans?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .224
How is there distinction in the Trinity? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .357
Tough Christ never sinned, was it possible for him to sin? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .505
Was the text about Christ’s self-emptying originally a hymn? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .497
What are some examples of ascribing the expression “God” to Christ? . . . . . . . . . .66
What are some of the difculties regarding the eternal generation of the Son?. . .360
What are the right reasons for the infrequent use of “God” for Chris . . . . . . . . . .t? 70
What are the six testimonies that miraculously agree about Christ? . . . . . . . . . . . .282
What are the two possible meanings of μονογενής? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .350
What are the wrong reasons for the infrequent use of “God” for Chris. . . . . . . . .t? 69
What did Christ mean when he referred to himself as “I am”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .245xxiv God With Us and Without Us
What does it mean that Christ learned obedience? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 435, 449
What does the Great Commission of Christ include? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .291
What is the diference between how the law and Christ deal with sin?. . . . . . . . . .511
What is the diference between the intercession of the Spirit and of Christ? . . . . .549
What is the diference in not knowing between Christ and humanaity? . . . . . . . .448
What is the meaning of believing in God and in Christ at the same time?. . . . . . .293
What is the meaning of “emptied himself ” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .? 498
What is the meaning of having one God and one Lord?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .294
What is the meaning of the title “Son of God”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .317
What is the meaning of the title “Son of Man”? 267
What is the purpose of adopting the thinking of Christ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .496
What is the support for the eternal generation of the Son? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .349
What was Christ’s purpose in self-emptying?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .507
What was involved in Christ’s self-emptying?503
What was the mind of Christ before his self-emptying? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .500
Why is knowing God impossible without knowing Christ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273, 545
The Eternal Relationship
How does John describe Christ’s intimate relationship with the Father? . . . . . . . .474
How does John present the relational nature of God?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .466
How does John present the three afections between the Father and the Son? . . .472
How do the Father and the Son preserve ultimate truth? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .241
How do the Father and the Son share glory?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .252
How is intimacy between the Father and the Son described?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .256
How is the work between the Father and the Son complementary? . . . . . . . . . . . .230
What is the knowledge shared between the Father and the Son?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .227
What is the mutual indwelling of the Father and the Son? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .248
What is the nature of the eternal fatherhood and sonship relationship? . . . . . . . . .223
Faith and Doubt
Can a person worship Christ and have doubts at the same time? . . . . . . . . . . . . . .289
What is the cause of doubt?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .290
What is the concept of doubt?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .289
What is the cure for doubt? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .290
What is the meaning of having one God and one Lord?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .294
God the Father
How are the Father, Son and Spirit distinguished?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83Frequently Asked Questions xxv
How does believing in God as eternal Father help in avoiding the Giant Leap? . . . . 106
How does God’s fatherhood of Christ difer from his fatherhood of people? . . . . .58
How does the New Testament reveal the only eternal relationship? . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
What is the signifcance of using the expression “God” to refer to the Father? . . . .57
The Gospel
How does God solve humanity’s problem of the impossibility of seeing him? . . .490
How do the writers of the New Testament describe the fall of humanit . . . . . . .y? 278
How is mutual indwelling without us extended to us?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .296
How was the law replaced?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .488
What is the rest behind the rest? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .280
When does the New Testament point to salvation without mention of the
Trinity? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .521
Will human beings ever see God?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .489
The Holy Spirit
How did use of the word “spirit” develop from the Old Testament to the
New Testament?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .384
How does the Holy Spirit cleanse faith?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 547, 551
How does the Holy Spirit guarantee threeness in the Trinity? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .392
How is the Holy Spirit present when not mentioned in a certain text? . . . . . . . . . .401
How was the Holy Spirit involved in creating? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .238
If the Holy Spirit intercedes, why should believers still pray?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .550
What are necessary biblical considerations for the double procession? . . . . . . . . .412
What are the arguments for the double procession of the Holy Spirit?. . . . . . . . . .410
What are the arguments for the single procession of the Holy Spirit?. . . . . . . . . . .408
What are the diferent uses of the word “spirit” in the New Testament?. . . . . . . . .376
What are the diferent uses of the word “spirit” in the Old Testament?. . . . . . . . . .367
What are the evidences for the deity of the Holy Spirit? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75, 575
What are the evidences for the personality of the Holy Spirit?. . . . . . . . . . . . . 74, 573
What does it mean for the words of Christ to be “spirit and life”. . . . . . . . . . . . . .? 386
What is the convicting work of the Holy Spirit?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .422
What is the diference between the intercession of the Spirit and of Christ? . . . . .549
What is the diference betwen breathing the Spirit and baptizing in the Spirit? . . . . 420
What is the historical background to the issue of the procession of the Spirit? . . .406
What is the importance of the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit to the Bible? . . . .8
What is the importance of the personhood of the Holy Spirit? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .391
What is the importance of understanding the use of the word “spirit” . . . . . . . . .? 385
What is the intercession of the Holy Spirit?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .547xxvi God With Us and Without Us
What is the meaning of “God is spirit”?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .386
What is the meaning of “the seven spirits of God”?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .394
What is the mind of the Spirit? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .551
What is the role of the Holy Spirit between the Father and the Son? . . . . . . . . . . . .61
Why is the mention of the Holy Spirit absent in key texts?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
Life-Transforming Power
How does the Holy Spirit cleanse faith?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 547, 551
How does the Trinity guarantee humanitiy’s relationship with God? . . . . . . . . . . .530
How does the Trinity guide us to worship? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .536
How does the Trinity reveal the centrality of human relationships? . . . . . . . . . . . .552
How does the Trinity reveal the centrality of the eternal relationship?. . . . . . . . . .525
How does the Trinity work in the Old Testamen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .t? 522
How is the Trinity the spring for intimacy in human relationships? . . . . . . . . . . . .556
To whom do we pray? Is it to the Father, to the Son or to the Holy Spirit?. . . . . . .544
What are the two ways the life-transforming power of the Trinity works?. . . . . . .516
What does the Trinity reveal about God’s way of dealing with humankind?. . . . .519
What is an example of non-Christians being attracted to the Trinity? . . . . . . . . . .518
What is prayer as it ought to be? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .548
What is the diference between the intercession of the Spirit and of Christ? . . . . .549
What is the mind of the Spirit? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .551
What is the power behind the life-transforming power of the Trini. . . . . . . . . .ty? 560
When does the New Testament point to salvation without mention of
the Trinity? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .521
Why do many say that the Trinity makes little diference in their lives? . . . . . . . . .515
Logos
How does John describe Christ’s intimate relationship with the Father? . . . . . . . .473
How does John introduce the glory of Christ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .471
How does John use the word “Logos”?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .465
How does μονογενὴς occur in John’s prologue? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 468, 469
How is Christ the true light? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .479
How is “Logos” used by the Targums? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .464
How is “Logos” used in the Old Testament? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .463
How is the Logos the light of humankind? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .477
What are the implications of the Word becoming fesh?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .482
What are the three parallel afections of the existence of the “Logos”?. . . . . . . . . .472
What are the three parallel descriptions of the existence of the “Logos”. . . . . . . .? 470
What are the three parallel titles for “Logos”?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .467Frequently Asked Questions xxvii
What is the answer to the claim of Jehova’s Witnesses that “the Word was
a god”?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .467
What is the infuence of Greek philospohy on the use of “Logos” . . . . . . . . . . . . .? 464
What is the origin and meaning of “Logos”?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .463
What is the role of the dwelling of Logos on earth in regard to religions? . . . . . . .484
What was the vision of the disciples of the Logos? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .486
Why did the apostle John not say “God became fesh”?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .484
Humankind
How does humankind represent God?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .332
How does humankind reveal God?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .330
How is humankind distinct from other creatures?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .327
How is humankind similar to other creatures?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .325
What is the meaning of humankind’s being in the image of God?. . . . . . . . . . . . . .330
The Names of God
What did Moses mean when he asked God about his name? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .193
What is the diference between EHYH and YHWH? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .199
What is the meaning of Adonai?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .204
What is the meaning of “EHYH Asher EHYH”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .195
What is the meaning of Elohim?204
What is the meaning of Panim? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .205
What is the meaning of the name EHYH?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .196
What is the meaning of the name YHWH?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .197
What is the signifcance of moving from Elohim to YHWH to EHYH? . . . . . . . . .201
Oneness in Trinity
How are the attributes of action manifested in Oneness in Trinity? . . . . . . . . . . . .136
How can believers in Oneness in Trinity make the giant leap mistakenly? . . . . . .106
How did Christ refer to God in Aramaic?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96
How does Oneness in Trinity answer the inevitable quesiton on attributes? . . . . .134
How does Onenesrinity preserve experiencing God’s attributes? . . . . . . . . . .144
How does Oneness in Trinity view anthropomorphisms? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .140
How does the New Testament testify to the one and only God? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
How does the Old Testament testify to the one and only God? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
How does the one God appear in special form in the Old Testamen . . . . . . . . . . .t? 47
How is Oneness in Trinity distinct in the source of the attributes of action?. . . . .135xxviii God With Us and Without Us
How is the mention of the persons of the Trinity repeated in the
New Testament?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62, 563
How is the use of “person” both necessary and insufcient?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79
What are errors in understanding the distinction between the persons? . . . . . 81, 84
What are some examples of imprecision in speaking about the Trinity? . . . . . . . . .87
What are some positives and negatives about using illustrations of Trinity? . . . . . .88
What are the expressions of God in the Arabic Van Dyke Translation? . . . . . . . . . .97
What are the kinds of mysteries mentioned in the New Testament?. . . . . . . . . . . . .16
What are the various ways “God” is used in Oneness in Trinity?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
What is an efective way to deal with whether it is the same God? . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99
What is the common root in Semitic languages of “Allah”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
What is the defnition of Oneness in Trinity?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
What is the diference between Oneness in Trinity and Absolute Oneness? . . . . . .43
What is the meaning of the word “mystery”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
What is the natural requisite for the activity of the attributes of God? . . . . . . . . . . .99
What is the responsibility of the believer in regard to the Trinity? . . . . . . . . . . . . .147
What is the responsibility of the non-believer in regard to the Trinity? . . . . . . . . .147
What is the signifcance of the repeated mention of the Trinity in the
New Testament?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65
What was the early use of the expression “Allah”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92
What was the height of joyful assuranace in the nature of God’s attributes? . . . . .102
When does the New Testament point to salvation without mention
of the Trinity?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
Why is it necessary that the relationship within oneness be between persons? . . .160
Precision in Thinking and Speaking
Can the word “Trinity” be replaced by another word? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
How can the fnite see the infnite? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
What is the value of simplicity in expression?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
Why is it impossible to avoid reason and logic? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29, 30
Why is it wrong to treat the Trinity as a problem to be solved? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
Reason and Logic
How does oneness guarantee perfection and vice versa?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170
How is God’s existence in relationship the best explanation for creation? . . . . . . .161
What are evidences that activity of attributes depends on relationship?. . . . . . . . .156
What are the evidences for God’s self-sufciency?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .155
What are the evidences that God’s activity depends on relationship? . . . . . . . . . . .160
What is the evidence that the persons of the Trinity are at least three?. . . . . . . . . .163Frequently Asked Questions xxix
What is the evidence that the persons of the Trinity are at most three? . . . . . . . . .167
Why is it necessary for God’s attributes to exist with his existence? . . . . . . . . . . . .150
Why is it necessary for the attributes of God to be active eternally? 152
Why is it not ftting to confne descriptions of God in negative terms? . . . . . . . . .151
Sonship
How does John describe Christ’s intimate relationship with the Father? . . . . . . . .362
What are some of the difculties regarding the eternal generation of the Son?. . .360
What is natural sonship? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .335
What is sonship like God’s? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .334
What is sonship to God? 335
What is sonship with God? 342
What is spiritual sonship? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .339
What is the horizontal relationship between the Father and the Son? . . . . . . . . . .323
What is the meaning of the title “Son of God”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .317
What is the principle of adpotion? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .339
What is the privilege that those who accept the light of Christ receive?. . . . . . . . .481
What is the signifcance of the Father’s authority over the Son? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .324
What is the signifcance of the title “only”?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .322
What is the statement of the Nicene Creed? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .347
What is the vertical relationship between the Father and the Son? . . . . . . . . . . . . .323
Why is it impossible to have a diferent relationship for every attribute?. . . . . . . .322
Why is the sonship of Chrsit the only one of its kind? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .317Biblical Passages Studied
Below is a list of the passages that are focused on in this book. A full Scripture
index can be found at the end of this book.
OLD TESTAMENT
Genesis 1:1–2 ...............................................238 Deuteronomy 4:25 .......................................183
Genesis 1:3–24 .............................................327 Deuteronomy 6:4 .........................................294
Genesis 1:11–12 ...........................................326 Deuteronomy 6:4–5 .....................................202
Genesis 1:12, 21, 25 .....................................328 Deuteronomy 32:5–6 ..................................337
Genesis 1:20, 22326 2 Samuel 7:11–16182
Genesis 1:20–24326 Job 27:3–4 .....................................................329
Genesis 1:26 ..................................................327 Job 32:8 .........................................................329
Genesis 1:26–27 ...........................................331 Job 33:4 329
Genesis 1:26–28333 Psalm 2:7 ...............................................351, 439
Genesis 1:26–29329 Psalm 2:7–9 ..................................................352
Genesis 1:27327 Psalm 2:10–12 ..............................................352
Genesis 1:27–28 ...........................................326 Psalm 8:3–6268
Genesis 2:7 ....................................................325 Psalm 45:6–7 ................................................354
Genesis 2:18–22331 Psalm 89:27...................................................353
Genesis 5:1–2 ...............................................331 Psalm 89:37353
Genesis 7:22 ..................................................326 Isaiah 1:2 .......................................................337
Genesis 9:6333 Isaiah 9:6337
Genesis 12:1–3 .............................................179 Isaiah 42:5 .....................................................329
Genesis 16:7–13 ...........................................206 Jeremiah 9:23–24 .........................................177
Genesis 16:13–1448 Jeremiah 31:31–34 .......................................186
Genesis 25:21–23 .........................................307 Jeremiah 31:34 .............................................177
Genesis 25:23 ...............................................309 Ezekiel 1:26–27 ..............................................60
Genesis 27:33309 Ezekiel 36:24–29 ..........................................186
Genesis 32:30 .................................................49 Ezekiel 36:26–27329
Genesis 48:13–20 .........................................310 Ezekiel 37:5–6419
Exodus 3:14–15 ............................................195 Daniel 2:44 ......................................................17
Exodus 6:3 ....................................................195 Daniel 7:13–14 .............................................270
Exodus 20:3–5 ..............................................303 Zechariah 3:8–9 ...........................................398
Exodus 33:18 ................................................305 Zechariah 4:2–6397
Exodus 33:21–23 ............................................48 Zechariah 4:10398
Exodus 34:5–7 ......................................176, 305 Malachi 1:1–3 ...............................................308
Exodus 34:5–10 ..............................................48 Malachi 1:2–3307
Exodus 34:6 ..................................................487 Malachi 1:6 ...................................................337
Exodus 34:29–30 ............................................48
xxxixxxii God With Us and Without Us
NEW TESTAMENT
Matthew 6:24 ................................................308 John 5:19 ...............................................233, 275
Matthew 9:6 ..................................................270 John 5:20 .......................................................276
Matthew 11:27 ......................................228, 272 John 5:21–22 ................................................276
Matthew 12:8270 John 5:21–29356
Matthew 16:27 ..............................................270 John 5:22276
Matthew 22:41–46 .........................................15 John 5:22–30276
Matthew 24:36443 John 5:23 .......................................................276
Matthew 27:46441 John 5:24–25 ................................................277
Matthew 28:16–20 .......................................288 John 5:26 ...............................................355, 440
Matthew 28:19–20291 John 5:31282
Mark 10:18 ....................................................442 John 5:37440
Mark 12:35–37 ...............................................15 John 5:45 .......................................................284
Mark 13:32443 John 6:53–54 ................................................355
Luke 2:42–49 ................................................223 John 8:14282
Luke 10:17–20 ..............................................271 John 8:51–59244
Luke 10:18.....................................................272 John 8:55228
Luke 10:21271 John 10:33 .......................................................63
Luke 10:22228 John 10:37–38 ..............................................249
Luke 10:23–24 ..............................................271 John 12:23–28298
Luke 14:26308 John 12:35 .....................................................479
Luke 18:19.....................................................442 John 13:1298
Luke 20:41–44 ................................................15 John 14:1 .......................................................293
John 1:1–2 .............................................470, 475 John 14:6–7 ...................................................273
John 1:1–4 .....................................................237 John 14:8–11 ................................................249
John 1:3–4a ...................................................241 John 14:28 .....................................................440
John 1:4 .........................................................477 John 16:13–15 ..............................................300
John 1:4–9476 John 17:1 .......................................................298
John 1:5279 John 17:1–2 ...................................................300
John 1:6–9 .....................................................479 John 20:20–23419
John 1:9, 12–13 ............................................330 John 20:2867
John 1:10–11 ................................................481 John 22:22 .....................................................482
John 1:12 .......................................................481 Acts 13:32–33 ...............................................353
John 1:12–13 ........................................342, 481 Acts 13:33 .............................................351, 439
John 1:14 ..............................468, 471, 482, 487 Acts 17:29 .......................................................65
John 1:14–17485 Acts 20:2853
John 1:15–17 ................................................487 Romans 1:3–4354
John 1:17 .......................................................488 Romans 1:16–27 ..........................................304
John 1:18 ..............................230, 469, 472, 488 Romans 1:19–20 ............................................65
John 1:51270 Romans 2:28–29 ..................................278, 309
John 3:3–8 .....................................................340 Romans 6:17–22339, 340
John 4:23–25 ................................................386 Romans 8:1–8 ...............................................551
John 5:16–17231 Romans 8:11 .................................................420
John 5:16–18224 Romans 8:14–16 ..........................................340
John 5:17 .......................................................275 Romans 8:26–27548Biblical Passages Studied xxxiii
Romans 9:5 .............................................67, 354 Hebrews 10:26–27 .......................................303
Romans 9:6–8 ...............................................308 Hebrews 12:9 ................................................335
Romans 9:6–13 ............................................307 James 1:17 .....................................................335
Romans 9:22 .................................................305 James 2:19 .......................................................26
Romans 10:17480 2 Peter 1:168
Romans 11:2517 2 Peter 1:2–4 ...................................................65
1 Corinthians 2:1–2 .....................................285 2 Peter 1:3–4 .................................................341
1 Corinthians 8:6 .......................... 64, 294, 336 1 John 2:22–24 .............................................226
1 Corinthians 15:18451 1 John 2:23 ............................................273, 545
1 Corinthians 15:20–22 ..............................451 1 John 2:24 ....................................................545
1 Corinthians 15:23–25452 1 John 5:11476
1 Corinthians 15:24–27453 1 John 5:11–12 .............................................330
1 Corinthians 15:51–53 ................................18 2 John 2:9 ..............................................274, 545
Galatians 3:24–25 ........................................339 Revelation 1:4–5 ..........................................395
Galatians 4:1–3.............................................339 Revelation 1:5 ...............................................353
Galatians 4:4–5339 Revelation 1:13 .............................................268
Galatians 4:4–7340 Revelation 1:2019
Ephesians 1:9–10 ...........................................19 Revelation 2:1268
Ephesians 2:1 ................................................184 Revelation 4:5397
Ephesians 3:3–1120 Revelation 5:6 ...............................................396
Ephesians 3:14–15 .......................................335 Revelation 17:517
Ephesians 3:14–19546
Ephesians 5:3220
Philippians 2:6–8 ................459, 495, 497, 499
Colossians 1:16–17 ......................................240
Colossians 1:27 ..............................................20
Colossians 2:2 .................................................21
Colossians 2:966
2 Tessalonians 2:7 ........................................17
1 T imothy 3:8–9 .............................................19
1 T imothy 3:16 .........................................19, 51
1 T imothy 6:13–16 ......................................490
1 T imothy 6:16489
T itus 2:13 ........................................................68
T itus 3:3–7 ....................................................185
Hebrews 1:1–2 ......................................237, 266
Hebrews 1:2–3 ..............................................240
Hebrews 1:3 ..................................................229
Hebrews 1:5 ..........................................351, 439
Hebrews 1:8 ....................................................68
Hebrews 1:8–9 ..............................................354
Hebrews 2:5270
Hebrews 2:8 ..........................................269, 270
Hebrews 2:14 ................................................484
Hebrews 5:5 351, 439List of Tables
2.1: Te Diferences between Oneness in Trinity and Absolute Oneness.. 43
3.1: Te Various Ways “God” Is Used In Oneness in Trinity............. 75
6.1: Diferences and Similarities between Mu‘tazilites and Ash‘arites .... 132
9.1: Te Mosaic Covenant and the Covenant in Absolute Oneness...... 185
9.2: Te Teological System behind God’s Desire to Save
Human Beings .............................................. 189
9.3: Te Diference between EHYH and YHWH ..................... 199
11.1: Activity between the Father and the Son With Us ............... 311
14.1 All Occurrences of the Word “Spirit” in the OT.................. 368
14.2: Occurrences of the Word “Spirit” in the OT Referring to the
Holy Spirit in Descending Order.............................. 368
14.3: Te Occurrences of the Word “Spirit” in the OT ................ 375
14.4: Use or Non-Use of Verbs and Descriptions Referring to “Spirit”
in the OT .................................................. 376
14.5: All Occurrences of the Word “Spirit” in the NT ................. 377
14.6: Tree or More Occurrences of the Word “Spirit” in One Chapter
in the NT 377
14.7: NT O ccurrences of “Spirit” Referring Only to the Holy Spiri .....t 378
14.8: Occurrences of the Word “Spirit” in the NT .................... 382
14.9: U se or Non-Use of Descriptions in the Feminine or Masculine
Genders Referring to “Spirit” in the NT ........................ 383
15.1: Dif erence between Breathing Out of the Spirit and Baptism in
the Spirit .................................................. 421
15.2: Te Diferences between Single Procession and
Double Procession .......................................... 427
16.1: Christ’s Not Knowing vs Humanity’s Not Knowing .............. 448
18.1: Condemnation by the Law and by Christ....................... 511
xxxvList of Figures
1.1: Te Question of the Foundation ................................ 12
1.2: Te Difculty of Accepting the Truth ............................ 13
1.3: Harmony with the Progress of Revelation ........................ 14
1.4: Kinds of Mysteries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
1.5: Discovering the Beauty of the Trinity 24
1.6: Continual Discovery .......................................... 37
2.1: Te Traditional Expression of the Trini .........................ty 41
4.1: Distinction between Human and Divine Persons .................. 80
4.2: Persons in One Deity.......................................... 81
4.3: Distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit ............... 83
4.4: Te Union of the Two Natures in the One Person of Chri .........st 87
5.1: Te True and Pagan Gods in the Arabic Van Dyke Translatio ......n 98
5.2: Te Development of Rejection of the Trini.....................ty 101
5.3: Te Giant Leap between God and His Attributes ................. 105
6.1: Attributes of Action in Absolute Oneness ....................... 119
6.2: Anthropomorphisms with the Mu‘tazilites and Ash‘arites .......... 122
6.3: Te Separation of Attributes of Action from Attributes of Essen ..ce 126
6.4: Separation of the Attributes of Essence from the Essence .......... 128
6.5: Te Relationship between God’s Speech in History and in Eternity.. 130
7.1: T e Diference in the Concept of God between the Bible and
Absolute Oneness............................................ 133
7.2: Te Answer of Oneness in Trinity to the Inevitable Questio ......n 134
7.3: Te Source of God’s Attributes of Action: His Will or His Natur ...e 136
7.4: Te Attributes of Action in Oneness in Trinit...................y 137
7.5: Anthropomorphisms in Oneness in Trinity...................... 141
7.6: Te Attributes of Action Spring from the Attributes of Essence..... 143
xxxviixxxviii God With Us and Without Us
7.7: Absolute Oneness in Contrast to Oneness in Trinity .............. 146
8.1: Te Logic of the Trinit.......................................y 172
9.1: EHYH, the Fountainhead of YHWH ........................... 200
9.2: From Elohim to YHWH to EHYH ............................. 201
9.3: OT Oneness and Absolute Onenes ............................s 211
9.4: Te Cry for New Revelation................................... 212
10.1: Comprehensive General Classifcation of God’s Attributes........ 221
10.2: T e Attributes of God Without Us According to Christ’s Eight
Temes.................................................... 222
10.3: C hrist’s Short Life on Earth in Comparison with His Everlasting
Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
10.4: Service: Others-Focused vs Self-Focused....................... 258
10.1: Activity between the Father and the Son Without Us............. 259
11.1: From the Attributes Active Without Us Spring the Attributes
Active With Us ............................................. 263
11.2: We Are from the Father and for Him through the Son ........... 295
12.1: Spiritual Sonship to God..................................... 342
12.2: Te Gif of Sonship from God to Humankind................... 344
13.1: Equality and Distinction between the Persons of the Trinit ......y 359
14.1: Te Word “Spirit” in the Bible ................................ 383
15.1: Justifcation, Baptism in the Spirit and Filling with the Spirit ...... 424
16.1: Te Submission of Christ to God Without Us................... 430
16.2: Te Submission of Christ to God With Us...................... 432
17.1: Symmetric Parallelism in Revealing the Logos .................. 475
18.1: Te Outline of Philippians 2:6–8.............................. 499
18.2: Self-Emptying in Tought, Action and Goal.................... 512
19.1: Te Two Aspects of True Christian Worship 538
19.2: Preserving Unity ........................................... 560Foreword
ow we defne God, whether in belief or disbelief, defnes our worldview. HIf God is the center of all existence, as most major world religions afrm,
then seeking to understand this God is of supreme importance. Our concept of
God, if we are at all consistent, will frame the way we see everything else. Te
pantheist believes that everything is God and God is everything. He or she is
God and one with all things. Te monotheist acknowledges an infnite personal
Creator who has formed humankind to know and love him. Tus, this God
calls the believer to live accordingly. Te atheist and agnostic presume ideas
of a God they simply choose to live without, whether in outright rejection or
subtle indiference. Whatever our belief system, before the big questions of
life – who am I? Why do I exist? Why does anything exist instead of nothing? –
our concept of God (afrmed or denied) is the most important thing about
us. Consciously or not, our idea of God lays claim to all else.
If we say we believe in God within monotheistic traditions, we must
ask what our specifc God is like, not only toward the world but also outside
creation. Is our concept of God big enough to be God? Tat is, with all the
attributes ascribed to him, how can God be fully God before creation and
beyond creation? And if this Being is transcendent and infnite, how can this
God also be truly personal?
In God With Us and Without Us, Dr Imad Shehadeh invites the reader
to think anew about the nature and personhood of God, specifcally the
God of the Bible and Christian faith. In this book, he brings a lifetime of
scholarship to clarify why Christian orthodoxy afrms that God is both one
essence and three persons. And how can one know? From whence does such
a creed derive? Does the Bible in fact reveal that the Supreme Being exists
in personal distinctions as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Does the one God
enjoy genuine relationships within himself? As founder, president, and senior
professor of Jordan Evangelical Teological Seminary, Dr Shehadeh’s decades
of writing, speaking, and teaching culminate in this extraordinary volume,
veritable goldmines of research and insight.
In part 1, Dr Shehadeh invites us to explore the vast diference between
conceiving God in terms of Absolute Oneness (as afrmed by various religions)
versus Trinitarian Oneness as uniquely set forth by historic Christianity. What
xxxixxl God With Us and Without Us
does the term “God” mean in the Bible? (and “Allah” in the Arabic Bible?)
Does the Creator God desire to be known, not merely from a distance, but
by coming to us in highly personal ways – most of all in incarnation? How
does understanding a tripersonal God contrast to other religions’ teachings
about how we are to relate to our Creator? Dr Shehadeh demonstrates that the
contrast between conceiving of God as Trinity over against Absolute Oneness is
crucial. As unfolded further in part 2, these diferences afect every area of life.
Part 2 enjoins the reader to refect on the triune nature of God through
a remarkably comprehensive study of the Old and New Testaments.
Appropriating the original languages of the Bible, Dr Shehadeh explores the
beautiful nature and attributes of God both as innate to the triune God and as
consistently expressed into creation and toward humankind. From a Christian
perspective, the attributes of God in se (in himself) provide the divine motive
for creation, for forming man and woman in the image of God for relationship,
for ofering forgiveness through his own payment for sin at the cross, and for
inviting every person to trust in the Son to be reconciled to him. At times the
author takes us deep into selected theological issues important for a thorough
Trinitarian understanding, adding insights from an Arabic perspective. In
diferent ways, the book walks readers through Trinitarian developments
in Eastern and Western Christendom, including the church’s rejection of
inaccurate and aberrant views of God and Jesus Christ. At many points, Dr
Shehadeh ofers his own constructive theological insights to challenge and
advance Trinitarian thought today.
God With Us and Without Us is flled with diagrams and illustrations that
simplify complicated concepts into memorable images. Te author includes
a table of contents for “Frequently Asked Questions” and for central biblical
passages, and plentiful footnotes for continued research. Te work serves as
(1) a kindly challenge to non-Christians by way of introduction to Trinitarian
faith, (2) an encyclopedia of Trinitarian subjects for occasional reference, and
(3) a textbook for faithful Christians seeking greater understanding, whether
in the classroom or the local church. Published in both English and Arabic,
the writing is at once solid and scholarly, yet accessible to all who enter in.
Tis book sets forth in fresh, relevant ways why the Christian Trinity
far excels in richness and personal beauty the monadic views of Absolute
Oneness – whether from Aristotle, Arab philosophers afer the Qur’an,
Maimonides (Orthodox Judaism), or philosophical theism. With Dr Shehadeh’s
many years of teaching, he guides Christians who ofen do not well understand
the Bible and their Nicaean (Trinitarian) heritage. Te work also helps to
persuade Christians who may be conficted because of sectarian teachings, Foreword xli
such as those of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals, and
other sub-Christian views. Tus, the combined work explains biblical truth
regarding Jesus Christ and the Trinity to those of religious backgrounds who
would argue otherwise. And Christians are equipped to answer those of other
religions regarding their own belief, hope, and relationship with the triune God.
So it is with immense learning as well as personal experience with this
living God that Dr Imad Shehadeh unfolds the Christian teaching of God as
Holy Trinity. Dr Shehadeh is a preeminent scholar and professor in theology
and Christian thought. But it is especially the doctrine of the Trinity that has
been his fascination, his wisdom distilled into this majestic book. Having
known Dr Imad for over three decades, I have admired him for not only his
scholarship but also his humble trust in the Lord. He is a living example of
faith, perseverance in times of difculty, and love for our Heavenly Father, the
Beloved Son, and the Blessed Holy Spirit. His life refects what our resurrected
Lord commanded: “Terefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing
them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19–
20 NIV).
In the end, God With Us and Without Us asks, is your God big enough
to be God – before creation? Beyond creation? Within creation? Among the
major religions of the world, the monotheistic concepts of God – generically
similar and ofen forced on everyone (in political correctness) as essentially the
same – in fact, are widely distinct and fnally contradictory one to the other.
Te Gospel of John declares of the Son, “the Word was with God and the Word
was God. . . . In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. Te
light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1,
4–5 NIV). And again, “Te true light that gives light to everyone was coming
into the world” (1:9). Jesus Christ is the Son of God who has come into the
world to reveal the fullness of the triune God. Whether skeptic or mature in
faith, readers will do well to open themselves to knowing about and knowing
more deeply the God of the Bible. Trough understanding, faith, and worship,
the Christian Trinity infuses light into every dimension of life.
J. Scott Horrell, TD
Professor of Teological Studies,
Dallas Teological SeminaryIntroduction
Passion for the Trinity
The Appeal of This Book
Tis study is an appeal to join a journey of refection on and discovery of the
true and eternal nature of God in the midst of many untrue voices about him.
Tough many books have been published and much research undertaken
on the Trinity, this study shows the diference that the doctrine of the Oneness
in Trinity makesin contradistinction to beliefs that deny the Trinity. Many fnd
it difcult to understand Oneness in Trinity, which leads them to be drawn
to the alternative that seems easier to understand, namely Absolute Oneness,
which is sometimes called Monadic Monotheism. As a result, many abandon
or ignore the doctrine of the Trinity without realizing the implications.
Tis study therefore contrasts two diferent concepts of God, Oneness
in Trinity and Absolute Oneness. It seeks to show both the dangers and the
blessings that a person may experience as a result of his or her understanding
of God. Any person, of whatever religion or persuasion, may have taken
on board some of the principles of Absolute Oneness, whether consciously
or subconsciously. Similarly, a person may have built his or her life on the
principles of Oneness in Trinity, consciously or subconsciously.
Te above analysis confrms the inevitability of the Trinity. Building
on the theological advancement of thought in the West and the East, the
substantiation of the inevitability of the Trinity leads to the bulk of the book
that demonstrates the beauty and power of the Trinity. At the core of this
demonstration is the activity of the attributes of God in himself outside of
creation, that is “without us,” as the very spring of God’s activity inside creation,
that is “with us.” Tis activity revolves around the unique eternal relationship
between the Father and the Son, which is examined from various angles. Tese
angles include expounding main segements of Scripture from their original
12 God With Us and Without Us
languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, exposing the main issues of the eternal
sonship of Christ and the eternal procession of the Spirit, and uncovering
the signifcance of some difcult sayings of Christ. Te book climaxes in the
practical life-transforming power of the Trinity.
How to Beneft from This Book
Tis book can be read consecutively, from beginning to end. Alternatively, a
specifc topic or biblical passage can be studied by using the list of Frequently
Asked Questions and the list of Biblical Passages Studied found at the beginning
of this book. A complete index of all Scripture passages used is at the end of
the book.
To help readers, additional information has been placed in footnotes at
the bottom of the page. Tese footnotes include explanations of phrases in
the original biblical languages as well as from specifc historical or theological
studies. Key points have been indicated by the use of italics, and italics are also
used to emphasize words in the Bible passages. Important summaries are given
in boxes and scrolls.
Unless otherwise indicated, the New American Standard Bible 1995 edition
is used. Information in square brackets [. . .] indicates a diferent rendering
or a necessary explanation. All emphases in Scripture quotations have been
added. As to dealing with the exchange between English and non-English, the
following points should also be noted:
• Capitalization of pronouns and demonstratives referring to God
is avoided, except in quotations, in order to avoid confusion
when discussing God as presented in Oneness in Trinity and
Absolute Oneness.
• Translations of quotes from non-English sources are my own unless
noted otherwise.
• Words and sentences in the biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew and
Aramaic), as well as other non-English words or sentences (Arabic
and Syriac), appear in the footnotes and not in the main text, and are
transliterated according to sound and not according to any specifc
transliteration system.
May this book lead the reader in a journey to discover deeper truths
about God with the goal of coming closer to him in a way he or she had not
known before.
Imad Nicola ShehadehPart 1
Oneness in Trinity versus
Absolute Oneness1
Readiness to Receive God’s
Revelation of Himself
Some of the main reasons why many fnd difculty with the doctrine of the
Trinity reside in wrong presuppositions that have accumulated over a long
period of time. Added to this is being surrounded by a social and religious
system that rejects the main concepts about God that form the basis for the
doctrine of the Trinity. However, a person’s shortcoming lies not in failing to
understand the doctrine of the Trinity, but in failing to be ready to receive God’s
revelation of himsel Tif. s chapter aims to help the sincere seeker to achieve
freedom from those obstacles that prevent the discovery of deeper truths about
God’s nature.
Several elements contribute to readiness to receive God’s revelation of
himself. Te ones suggested here overlap, and are not necessarily given in
order of importance.
1. The Fountain of All Thought about God Is the Bible
All that is taught about God in this book is based on the Bible, with the belief
that the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments were inspired by , in G od
the sense that “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God P” (2et 1:21) so
that the words of the Bible are verbally inspired. Tis divine inspiration extends
equally and fully to all parts: historical, poetical, doctrinal and prophetical.
Te evidences for the inspiration of the Bible are enough to give the faithful
person the foundation to trust the Bible histori,c caulllyturally, theologically
and personally. Tere is no other book that combines all these traits as does
the Bible. It stands as an immovable rock, such that a great chasm separates it
from other religious books – a complete and eternal separation. It is not the
56 God With Us and Without Us
1purpose of this study to examine these evidences. But it should be stressed that
this belief in the inspiration of the Bible has several implications for this study.
Veracity
Belief in the inspiration of the Bible means that the Bible is truthful, accurate
2and completely trustworthy in the original manuscr Tipts.ough the original
manuscripts do not exist today, the original text does exist in the numerous
copies of the original. Tese copies far surpass all classical ancient texts in
both the number of manuscripts and the short distance in time between the
original writing and the earliest extant manuscripts. Te original manuscripts
have been transmitted down to the present day with high and unique accuracy
and reliability to form the Bible, which is the complete written word of God.
If the Bible is not truthful, then either God is not truthful, or the Bible is not
the word of God. But God is truthful, and the Bible is his word. Terefore, all
that is contained in this study about God is subject to the Bible.
Authority
Belief in the inspiration of the Bible means that the Bible has fnal authority in
all matters of faith and practice. It is the fnal arbiter in all matters of life and
teaching. For a correct understanding of God, our reason must be subject to
divine revelation.
Continual Discovery
Belief in the inspiration of the Bible means that the Bible contains unending
riches about God waiting to be discovered. Commitment to the inspiration,
veracity and authority of the Bible gives the researcher the privilege of
discovering these riches. Modern devices such as televisions, mobile phones
and planes were not present during Adam’s time but their constituents were,
waiting to be discovered. Likewise, new depths of knowledge can be found
1. For a more complete treatment of the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, see Geisler
and Nix, General Introduction to the Bible, 191–200; McDowell and McDowell, Evidence Tat
Demands a Verdict, 15–79; Keller, Reason for G, 167–192.od
2. T wo terms are normally used to point to the veracity of the Bible: infallibility and
inerrancy. “Infallibility” is technically defned as being free from error in matters of faith and
practice. “Inerrancy” is defned as being free from error in all that it afrms. Tis work uses the
positive term “veracity” to indicate belief in both infallibility and inerrancy, for it is impossible
for God to lie (Num 23:19; Titus 1:2; Heb 6:18).Readiness to Receive God’s Revelation of Himself 7
hidden in the crevices of the Bible. But in any new discovery of truth, the
truth that was discovered previously remains unchanged and netwhe discovery
functions to add new depth or a new expression of the same truth. Tere remains
complete harmony with all truth declared previously from the Bible.
Progress of Revelation
Belief in the inspiration of the Bible means that the Bible reveals truth about
God progressively. In other words, any truth that God revealed about himself
grew and developed with the progress of time as he spoke his word through his
prophets and apostles. So what he revealed in brief and limited form at one
time increased in clarity, expansion and interpretation.
Complete Harmony
Te veracity and authority of the Bible means that the Bible is totally consistent
and congruent in everything it afrms. Te Bible explains itself because its
ultimate author is one, that is, God himself. Terefore, any text about God
may be explained by another text. Te Bible gives the best explanation of itself.
Revalidation of Doctrine
People ofen overly depend on the theological and philosophical conclusions
of the history of Christian doctrine without returning to examine their
foundation in the Bible. Tere is a critical need to ascertain the precision of
doctrinal declarations in new ways through fresh examination of the biblical
text. Systematic theology should never be isolated from its continual need to
return to the Bible.
Arguing against the dangers of consensus, Stephen Lewis writes,
No one should discount the role of history in helping us understand
how the earliest interpreters understood the Scriptures. Yet
believers today must renew their commitment to the Scripture
itself. Te real issue must not be whether a doctrine is afrmed by
every Christian everywhere, nor whether it is ofcially orthodox
according to the historical creeds, nor whether it is unofcially
orthodox according to the fashions of contemporary Christian
thought . . . Te only real issue is whether a doctrine or belief
is biblical. Tere is no more sound approach to the formation
of our beliefs. It is time we rescued Christian theology from the 8 God With Us and Without Us
theologians and put it back in the hands of biblical exegetes and
3biblical theologians.
D. A. Carson expresses the same sentiment: “I have been thinking through the
hiatus between careful exegesis and doctrinal formulations. We need both, of
course, but unless the latter are fnally controlled by the former, and seen to
4be controlled by the former, both are weakened.”
The Accompaniment of the Holy Spirit
Belief in the inspiration of the Bible means that the Bible is the only book that
is accompanied by the Holy Spirit who aids our understanding of the mind of
God in all that he reveals about himself. Tus Jesus declared,
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all
the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever
He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to
come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose
it to you. (John 16:13–14)
Paul likewise asserted that the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of believers to
enable them to grow in the knowledge of God:
. . . that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may
give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge
of Him . . . that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.
(Eph 1:17–18a)
At the same time, the Holy Spirit convinces believers of their sonship, cries
with them during prayer, guides them, liberates them from fear, and testifes
to their hearts that they are sons of God:
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into
our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Gal 4:6)
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of
God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear
again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sbo y wns hich
3. Stephen R. Lewis, “Greek Philosophy Tainted Early Church Teology; What About
Today?” (unpublished article, Rocky Mountain Bible College and Seminary).
4. Carson, Jesus the Son of God, Kindle loc. 68–70.Readiness to Receive God’s Revelation of Himself 9
we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Te Spirit Himself testifes to our spirit
5that we are children of God. (Rom 8:14–16)
Terefore the Bible is the fountain of all truth about God, which ever
springs forth to form a picture growing in its radiance to refect some of the
eternal beauty of the true God.
2. The Christian Message Begins with the Gospel
Many Christians fnd difculty, not only in understanding the doctrine of the
Trinity, but also in explaining it to others. Tey also question the necessity
of sharing this doctrine with non-Christians in the process of witnessing.
Te answer to this concern lies in realizing, frst, that the responsibility of
the Christian does not begin with explaining the Trinity but in explaining the
message of the gospel. Tis message is a declaration of the good news of what
God has done to save humanity from sin.
Second, humanity’s salvation from God’s judgment against sin does not
come by understanding the doctrine of the Trinity but only by believing in
what Christ has done on the cross to redeem us. Of course, the gospel message
presupposes the doctrine of the Trinity, for it speaks of the Father sending
his Son to save humanity, and of the Holy Spirit applying the message to the
believer’s heart.
5. Here the translation “testifes o tour spirit” of v. 16 replaces NASB’s “testifes owur ith
spirit.” “At issue, grammatically, is whether the Spirit testifes alongside of our spirit (dat. of
association), or whether he testifes to our spirit (indirect object) that we are God’s children. If
the former, the one receiving this testimony is unstated (is it God? or believers?). If the latter,
the believer receives the testimony and hence is assured of salvation via the inner witness of the
Spirit. Te frst view has the advantage of a σύν- (-) psunrefxed verb, which might be expected
to take an accompanying dat. of association (and is supported by NEB, JB, etc.). But there are
three reasons why πνεύματι (pneumat) si hould not be taken as association: (1) Grammatically,
a dat. with a σύν- prefxed verb does not necessarily indicate association. Tis, of course, does
not preclude such here, but this fact at least opens up the alternatives in this text. (2) Lexically,
though συμμαρτυρέω (summartureo) originally bore an associative idea, it developed in the
direction of merely intensifying μαρτυρέω (mar). Titureo s is surely the case in the only other
NT text with a dat. (Rom 9:1). (3) Contextually, a dat. of association does not seem to support
Paul’s argument: What standing has our spirit in this matter? Of itself it surely has no right at
all to testify to our being sons of God [Cranfeld, R, 1:403]. Iomans n sum, Rom 8:16 seems to
be secure as a text in which the believer’s assurance of salvation is based on the inner witness
of the Spirit. Te implications of this for one’s soteriology are profound: Te objective data, as
helpful as they are, cannot by themselves provide assurance of salvation; the believer also needs
(and receives) an existential, ongoing encounter with God’s Spirit in order to gain that familial
comfort” (NET Bible notes). An added support to this are the parallel concepts of the leading
of the Spirit (8:14) and the crying of sons (8:15).10 God With Us and Without Us
Tird, in spite of the above, the gospel message presupposes the doctrine
of the Trinity, for it speaks of the Father sending his Son to save humanity, and
of the Holy Spirit applying the message to the believer’s heart.
Fourth, understanding the message of the gospel leads to understanding
Christ, and understanding Christ leads to the beginning of a growing and
unending adventure of understanding the nature of God. So frst we enjoy the
salvation that is ours in Christ, and then we begin to experience increasing
growth in the knowledge of the nature of God.
Fifh, the doctrine of the Trinity is foundational to all other Christian
doctrine: to Bibliology (the Bible), Christology (Christ), Anthropology (man),
Pneumatology (the Holy Spirit), Hamartiology (sin), Ecclesiology (the church),
Epistemology (knowledge), Axiology (values) and Eschatology (the future),
as well as to the handling of metaphysical inquiry.
Sixth, the level of depth in discussing the Trinity with another person
depends on the level of the question that is asked, the level of maturity of the
inquirer and the level of his or her biblical knowledge.
3. The Doctrine of the Trinity Is Not Confned to the Word “Trinity”
Tough the Bible teaches the doctrine of the Trinity strongly, the word “Trinity”
is not found in the Bible. Te earliest use of the term “Trinity” dates to the
6second century AD. Te word “Trinity” was meant to summarize the Bible’s
unique teaching about God that he is not one person but three, and not three
gods but one God.
Te fact that the word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible means that
Christians are not obliged to use it. Tey may therefore innovate in the use
of any expression to convey the doctrine as long as there is accuracy in the
intended meaning. For example, it may be said that “God is love” in his
nature. Te presence of love presupposes a relationship within God that may
be pursued to discover all that it means. Another expression used to refer to
God as “Father.” Tis too presupposes a mysterious relationship within God.
In like fashion, the Christian Arab philosopher, Awad Samaan, has used the
expression “inclusive exclusive oneness” to point to the idea that God includes
6. Te earliest use of the term “Trinity” to express this doctrine came from Teophilus
(AD 168–183), from the Greeτkρι άδος (Teophilus of Antioch, Teophilus to Autoly, cus
Book II, Chapter XV). It was then used by Tertullian (AD 145–220), from the Latin t rinitas
(TertulliaAn, gainst Praxeas, Chapter II). Cf. Cross and Livingstone, Oxford Dictionary of the
Christian Church, s.v. “Triad”; “Trinity”; Hastings, Selbie and Lambert, Dictionary of the Apostolic
Church, 1:460.Readiness to Receive God’s Revelation of Himself 11
in himself all that is required for the activity of his attributes, but at the same
7time prevents the presence of any other god besides him.
Te term chosen depends upon such matters as the circumstances, the
context and the need. It also depends on the ability to explain a sublime
doctrine or to correct a wrong teaching about God. Tis ofen requires divine
enablement and long experience.
4. The Finite Cannot See All of the Infnite
God is much bigger than can be imagined by any human being! It is impossible
for a fnite man or woman to comprehend all of the infnite God. Terefore it
is expected that we will fnd difculty when frst hearing about the doctrine
of the Trinity. As an illustration of this, because of our limited sight, we are
unable to see both sides of a coin at the same time. We can see only one side
then the other. Likewise, our limited comprehension allows us to see one side
of God, then another, then another, and so on, but never to see all sides at the
same time.
Another illustration is to imagine two worlds: one that is three-dimensional,
with length, width and height; and one that is two-dimensional, with length and
width only. Te two-dimensional world sees a cube as a square, and a ball as a
circle Ti. s is because the common intersection is only two-dimensional. Tis
is similar to what happened to Christ when he came to earth. It is impossible
for human beings, who are limited in dimensions, to comprehend all of God
8who is infnite in dimensions. We can only experience one specifc aspect of
7. Awad Samaan, هتينادحو عونو هتاذ ،هللا [God, His Essence and His Kind of Unity], 3–4.
8. In a sermon delivered by Timothy Keller on the subject of “Te Triune Go Jd un” o en 12
2011, he stated, “Sometimes people get hung up on the difculty of the thought, and they try to
say, ‘How can it be?’ One of my favorite examples of this, though, is a place where C. S. Lewis
talks about the Trinity. He says to imagine a fat world in which everything is in two dimensions.
Tere are no spheres; there are only circles. Tere are no cubes; there are only squares. What if,
suddenly, into this two-dimensional world comes a three-dimensional being, and the person
sits there and says, ‘I’m three-dimensional’? Te trouble is, you might say, the intersection of
the three-dimensional person with the two-dimensional world would only be two-dimensional.
I mean, if you actually brought a cube into the two-dimensional world, the footprint would
be a square. Terefore, if you actually had a three-dimensional person coming in, there would
be all kinds of things about him or her that would be pretty counterintuitive and people in the
two-dimensional world couldn’t understand. Whenever he would try to explain, ‘But I’m a
threedimensional person,’ nobody would be able to understand that. Tis is what we have here. Tis
is Jesus coming into our world. Tis is the triune God coming into our world, coming into time,
coming into a world where we can’t understand it. But why should we? What makes us think
we would understand it? Why would a two-dimensional world understand a three-dimensional
object, or why would a three-dimensional world understand a twenty-dimensional object? We
can’t, but what we can understand is the beauty and power of the implications of this doctrine.”12 God With Us and Without Us
God, then another, then another, and so on. For if God was small enough to
be comprehended, he would not be big enough to be worshipped.
5. What Is Necessary Is Often Unseen
Te study of the doctrine of the Trinity leads the examiner to enter the depths
of what might be the subconscious. A person does not ofen consciously
or continually think to this depth. But this does not make the doctrine
unimportant. Much of what we enjoy in life is preceded by many basic
necessities that we may not think of consciously. But not thinking of them
does not negate their importance.
As an illustration, a family enjoys life in a house and all that the house ofers
for comfort and delight. But few members of the family would consciously or
continually be thinking of the foundations of the building they are in, the rebar,
the cement, the electrical and mechanical connections, the cost, and so on. But
not thinking consciously of these things does not render them unimportant.
On the contrary, these things are necessary so that the family can enjoy living
inside the house.
Life
Continual in the Conscious
experience house
An absolute The foundation Subconscious
necessity of the house
Figure 1.1: Te Question of the Foundation
To use another illustration, a person may enjoy the beauty of a tree and
its fruit without necessarily thinking consciously of the roots of the tree, their
length, depth and function. But the person’s not thinking consciously of these
things does not make them unnecessary. In the same way, someone may enjoy a
cooked meal without knowing the details of what it took to prepare it. A person
may also drive a car without having any mechanical or electrical knowledge of Readiness to Receive God’s Revelation of Himself 13
how the car runs. But these people’s not knowing the constituents of the meal
or the car does not mean that they are not necessary.
In like fashion, a person may enjoy fellowship with God, the grace of
salvation and confdence in the attributes of God without any mental efort
regarding the necessary theological and philosophical requirements that make
enjoyment of these fruits possible. Howe ovuerr en, joyment of knowing God does
not mean that what is above our comprehension of God’s nature is not necessary.
In addition, it may be difcult to accept the truth and easy to accept error.
But the frst is usually built on the right foundations, while the second is usually
built on the wrong foundations. People may be sincere about their religion
without realizing that religion is based on wrong foundations. Conversely,
people may not be sincere about their religion even though their religion may
be based on the right foundations. In reality, most people do not examine the
foundations upon which their beliefs are based. Terefore, one of the goals of
this study is to aid people to examine the religion they follow, whether from
sincerity or not.
Truth ErrorConsciousDifficult Easy
SubconsciousRight Wrong
foundation foundation
Figure 1.2: Te Difculty of Accepting the Truth
One of the factors that distinguishes the solid foundation from the corrupt
foundation is to what extent it is consistent with the progress of God’s revelation
of himself throughout history and through his prophets and the holy Scriptures.
It will be seen that the right concept of God builds on the foundation of the
previous progress of revelation in the Bible, whereas the wrong concept of God
rejects the previous progress of revelation.14 God With Us and Without Us
The The
right wrong
concept concept
of God of God
Builds on Rejects the
the progress of progress of
previous revelation previous revelation
Figure 1.3: Harmony with the Progress of Revelation
6. The Trinity Is Not a Problem to Be Solved
Te study of the doctrine of the Trinity does not aim at presenting a fnal
solution to a problem as in the case of medical science. Dealing with the
doctrine of the Trinity as a problem leads to ridicule, falsifcation, or both,
in a similar way to what Satan did to Eve when he said, “Indeed, has God
said . . . ?” (Gen 3:1b).
Te doctrine of the Trinity is not
a problem to be solved but rather a
9beauty to be discovered W. einandy
perceptively points out that proper
theological method does not rely on
the dialectic method because the
latter “still approaches theological
10issues as problems or riddles .”
Henry Bulad asserts that a problem,
like a riddle, is not clear and is a
dead-end road with no answer,
9. Tis thought is a variation of a similar idea from Tomas Weinandy, who cautioned
against making the goal of theological inquiry a problem to be solved rather than a mystery
to be clarifed. He convincingly shows that theological method, unlike science, does not seek
to fnd a fnal solution to a problem, but rather seeks to clarify a mystery by penetrating more
deeply into it (Weinandy, Does God Sufer?, 29).
10. Weinandy, 37.Readiness to Receive God’s Revelation of Himself 15
whereas beauty, like a mystery, provides growing knowledge with no end. It
is not a block in the way; rather, its depths and heights call for daily discovery
11and unending worship.
The Importance of Discovery
Te Old Testament gives examples of the necessity of searching to discover
greater depths of divine beauty. When Moses asked God about his name, he
was looking for a solution to how he was to convince the nation of his calling
to be their leader. But God did not give him a solution to his problem; instead,
he presented him with new information about his nature (Exod 3:13–14). Later
again, when Moses asked to see God’s glory, he was looking for a solution to
a problem he had with understanding God’s glory. But God answered him by
12giving him a new revelation of his nature (Exod 33:18 – 34:7 In b). oth cases,
God provided the opportunity for Moses to experience a new depth in knowledge
of God’s nature, without leading him to the end of all knowledge about himself.
In an example from the New Testament, Jesus challenged the traditional
and limited teaching about the Messiah held by the Pharisees by asking them
a question regarding the simultaneous relationship of Christ to God and to
David, pointing to their failure to seek deeper truths, a condition very similar
to that of adherents of Absolute Oneness:
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them
a question: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is
He?” Tey said to Him, “Te son of David.” He said to them, “Ten
how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, ‘Te Lord
said to My Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies
beneath Your feet”I’f D? avid then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his
son?” No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare
from that day on to ask Him another question. (Matt 22:41–46;
cf. Mark 12:35–37; Luke 20:41–44)
Beauty Introduced through the Word “Mystery” Te Bible uses the
word “mystery” to convey a beauty waiting to be discovered. Te greatest
beauty is Christ, who is the chief mystery of all.
11. Henry Buladث, ولاثلا قطنم [Te Logic of the Trinity], 12.
12. Weinandy gives this and other illustrations for the same concept (Weinandy, 31–37).16 God With Us and Without Us
Te New Testament uses the word “mystery” twenty-eight times to point
13to beauty that is to be discovered T. e word “mystery” does not refer to
something that is vague or obscure, but to something that was not known at
14all, or was not fully known, but now can be discovered.
The Kinds of Mysteries
Te Bible reveals several kinds of mysteries. Tey begin with those related to
humanity’s evil in order to demonstrate the beauty of change that will take
place as expressed by the rest of the mysteries. Tese mysteries include those
related to God’s purpose and those related to humanity’s transformation. All
these mysteries lead to the chief of all mysteries, that is, Christ himself. Tese
mysteries are briefy introduced below.
Chief
mystery:
Christ
Mysteries of humanity’s transformation
Mysteries of God’s purpose
Mysteries of humanity’s evil
Figure 1.4: Kinds of Mysteries
13. Te neuter noun μυστήριον (mustarion ), translated “mystery,” appears 23 times in the
singular and 5 times in the plural. Of these it appears 14 times in the accusative case, 7 times
in the nominative, 5 times in the genitive and 2 times in the dative. Te word occurs in the OT
only in the Aramaic portion of the book of Daniel, w h(Reroe z)ז iָרs used 6 times to refer to
King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan 2:18–19, 27, 29, 30, 47). It was translated in the LXX with
the same NT word μυστήριον (mustari).on
14. Te meaning of the word “mystery” is presented in the lexicons as “the content of that
which has not been known before but which has been revealed to an in-group or restricted
constituency – ‘secret, mystery’” (Louw & Nida, s.v. “μυστήριον”); “a hidden or secret thing, not
obvious to the understandin .g . . a hidden p urpose or counsel; secret w .i l. . tl he mystic or hidden
sense” (Tayer, Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament, s.v. “μυστήριον”); “a secret which
would remain such but for revelation” (Mounce and Bennett, Mounce Concise Greek–English
Dictionary of the New Testament, s.v. “μυστήρι ”); ον “the secret thoughts, plans, and dispensations
of Go d. . . which are hidden fr. human reason, as well as fr. all other comprehension below the
divine level, and await either fulfllment or revelation to those for whom they are intended”
(BDAG, s.v. “μυστήριον”).Readiness to Receive God’s Revelation of Himself 17
1. Mysteries Related to Humanity’s Evil
Te Bible speaks of three kinds of mysteries related to humanity’s evil that will
reach a climax in the end times:
• Te mystery of lawlessness. Tis points to the reality of lawlessness
being currently at work until it will be unleashed in the end times
with no restraint.
For the mystery of lawlessne isss already at work; only he
who now retains will do so until he is taken out of the
way. (2 Tess 2:7)
• Te mystery of the hardening of Israel. Tis points to a partial and
temporary hardening of Israel until a future time of true repentance.
For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of
this mystery – so that you will not be wise in your own
estimation – that a partial hardening has happened to
Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
(Rom 11:25)
• Te mystery of Babylon. Te city of Babylon represents the joining
of all the earth against God, or “Babylonianism,” and therefore is
described by saying . . .
on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON
THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF
THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Rev 17:5).
2. Mysteries Related to God’s Purpose
Te purpose of God is to establish his kingdom in complete renewal of the
universe and in the glorifed renewal of human bodies.
• Te mysteries of the kingdom of God. Te declaration of the
mysteries of God’s kingdom began with Daniel’s interpretation of
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as revealed by God about the rise and fall
of empires throughout human history, ending in the establishment
of God’s eternal kingdom (Dan 2:44).
But Christ expanded the revelation by speaking about the
mysteries of the kingdom. Tese include the coexistence of good
and evil in the current age, but at the same time, the spiritual work
of God in the hearts of the sons of the kingdom in anticipation of 18 God With Us and Without Us
complete fulfllment in the end times. Jesus added that this will be
understood by believers and not by unbelievers:
Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know
the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it
has not been granted” (Matt 13:11; see also Mark 4:11;
Luke 8:10).
Paul reveals further that this mystery speaks of the formation of one people
of Jews and Gentiles through the work of Christ on the cross:
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for
the sake of you Gentiles – if indeed you have heard of
the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me
for you; that by revelation there was made known to me
the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to
this, when you read you can understand my insight into
the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was
not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been
revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
to be specifc, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow
members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise
in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Eph 3:1–6).
• Te mystery of the resurrection body. Tis mystery speaks of the fnal
inheritance of every believer of a completely glorifed resurrection
body ft for heaven:
Behold,I t ell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we
will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an
eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the
dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and
this mortal must put on immortality (1 Cor 15:51–53).
3. Mysteries Related to Humanity’s Transformation
Tese mysteries speak of the inner transformation of men and women
through faith and in meeting Christ in the regular assembly of believers in
the local churches.
• Te mystery of faith. Tis mystery refers to holding all the truths
revealed by God with consistency in conduct so that there is a
clear conscience:Readiness to Receive God’s Revelation of Himself 19
Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not
doubletongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid
gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear
conscience (1 Tim 3:8–9).
• Te mystery of godliness. Tis mystery declares that the hidden
God becomes known to those who have faith in God and conduct
pleasing to God, but remains hidden to those who do not have
this faith.
By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the fesh, was vindicated in the
Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world, taken up in glor y (1T im 3:16).
• Te mystery of the churches and their messengers. Tis mystery
reveals that Christ in all his glory is present and walks in the midst
of the local churches, which he calls “lampstands,” and holds their
leadership in his hands, and calls them “stars”:
the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My
right hand, and the seven gold lampstands: the seven
stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven
lampstands are the seven churches. (Rev 1:20).
4. The Chief of All Mysteries, Christ Himself
Christ is presented as the chief of all mysteries in several ways. First, he is the
only mystery that is a person and not a teaching, a law, a philosophy or an event.
He is all of these and infnitely more. Second, Christ revealed God’s triune
nature as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the one and only God. Tird, as a result,
Christ is given supreme descriptions, as becomes clear from the following:
• Christ joins all divine purposes. All the purposes of God, from
eternity past to eternity future and through the present time, are
gathered up into one head, that is, Christ.
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according
to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a
view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the
times, that is, the summing up of all things in Chri,s tthings
in the heavens and things on the earth. (Eph 1:9–10)20 God With Us and Without Us
• Christ is supreme in attributes. In Christ there is unique grace,
unfathomable riches, light for all and divine manifold wisdom –
and all in the eternal purpose of God.
By revelation there was made known to me the myst e.r . y.
the mystery of Chri s.t . . Tis grace was given, to preach
to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to
bring to light what is the administration of the myst er. . y.
so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made
known . . . Tis was in accordance with the eternal
purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lo rd.
(Eph 3:3–4, 8–11)
• Christ is the true spouse.T e greatness of the husband and wife
relationship springs from the greatness of Christ’s relationship to
the church. Christ is the only true spouse!
Tis mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to
Christ and the church. (Eph 5:32)
• Christ is the hope of glory. Christ is the central and richest mystery,
and his living in and among believers gives them the assured hope
of sharing in his glory.
. . . the riches of the glory of this mystery among the
Gentiles, which is Christ in yo, tu he hope of glor y.
(Col 1:27b)
Geisler points to the mutual indwelling of Christ and believers
as afrming sharing in his glory: “Becaus e o. . . tfhe riches of the
glory, believers are indwelt by Christ, the hope of glory. Tey are thus
‘in Christ’ (2 Cor 5:17; Eph 1:4), and Christ is in them (cf. Rom 8:10;
2 Cor 13:5). Because of Christ, believers look forward to sharing His
15glory (Col 3:4; Rom 5:2; 8:18, 30; 2 Cor 4:17; Gal 5:5; 1 Pet 5:10).”
• Christ is the chief mystery of God. Te interchange of love between
believers generates encouragement in the heart, and in turn
16engenders substantial inner change Ti. s change is from not
having understanding to having the richness of the assurance in
15. Geisler, “Colossians,” 675–676.
16. Te use of the preposition ε (ἰςeis) here twice points to a change in one’s condition.
“(An idiom, literally ‘to be into’): to change from one state to another – ‘to change, to become’”
(Louw & Nida, s.v. “εἰς”).�
Readiness to Receive God’s Revelation of Himself 21
understanding or insight and perception. It also is a change from
knowing the normal afairs of life to knowing the greatest mystery
in existence, the greatest mystery of God, and that is Christ!
. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit
together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes
from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a
true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself.
17(Col 2:2).
The Beauty of Mysteries
Te Bible reveals the beauty of the mysteries in several privileges. Te following
are the most important.
1. Te Privilege of Knowing. No mystery is known unless the Lord
reveals it. Each mystery is for human beneft. So the knowledge of
the content of each mystery is a great privilege for humankind. It is a
privilege to know the truth about the evil of people and nations, and
that God in the end will overcome all evil completely. Furthermore,
it is a privilege to know that people can be transformed inwardly so
they can join God in overcoming evil. Human knowledge does not
compare to divine mysteries, and in fact is the opposite, since it is
actually foolishness compared with God’s wisdo Cm (1or 3:19–4:1).
2. Te Privilege Tat What Was Hidden Is Available. God not only
desired to reveal his mysteries, he actually did so! What was hidden
has been uncovered (Rom 16:25–27; Eph 3:3–6; Col 1:26–27).
3. Te Privilege for the Prepared Heart. Te mystery is understood
by believers with prepared hearts, but remains obscure to impure
and unprepared hearts, whether of believers or non-believers.
Tus, “the word ‘mystery’. . . describes the inner meaning of Jesus’
18teaching about the kingdom.” Tis is why Christ spoke in parables
(Matt 13:10–13).
17. “Among what at frst sight seems to be a bewildering variety of variant readings, the
46one adopted for the text is plainly to be preferred (a) because of strong external test imony (
B Hilary Pelagius Ps–Jerome) and (b) because it alone provides an adequate explanation of the
other readings as various scribal attempts to ameliorate the syntactical ambiguity of τοῦ θεοῦ,
Χριστοῦ” (Metzger, Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, on Col 2:2; for a fuller
discussion see Metzger, Text of the New Testament, 236–238).
18. Elwell and Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictio , 926.nary22 God With Us and Without Us
4. Te Privilege of Seeing the Nature of God. Frank Tielman notes that
the biblical mysteries reveal at least three aspects of God’s character:
(a) God’s omniscience. Daniel thanked the Lord for revealing what
was hidden in the dark with great wisdom and power (Dan 2:22–23).
Paul likewise thanked God for his surpassing wisdom and ways
(Rom 11:33). (b) God’s sovereignty. Daniel demonstrated that God
is sovereign over all of human history. Te rise and fall of all nations
is in his hands, and he will establish his eternal and fnal kingdom
(Dan 2:44). Similarly, Paul expressed the amazing mystery fulflling
God’s desire from long ages past of joining Jews and Gentiles in one
body (Eph 3:9–11; Col 1:26–27). (c) God’s grace H .ellenistic religions
and cults at the time of the composition of the New Testament
confned mysteries to a few, and these mysteries remained esoteric
and unavailable to the majority. Yet the God of the Bible is, in his
grace, pleased to make his deepest mysteries known (Amos 3:7; Rev
1910:7).
5. Te Privilege of Being Assured of the Final Fulfllment of God’s
Purposes .All the purposes of God will reach complete fulfllment
at the right time, with no delay (Rev 10:6–7).
6. Te Privilege of Proclamation of the Chief Mystery. Tose who see the
nature of God and his works as beauty that is always being discovered
will desire to share them with others with reverence and jTeoyy.
will do so in appreciation of their privilege and responsibility, and
with the highest standards in method. Tis applies especially to the
chief mystery, namely, Christ.
• Appreciating the privilege of proclamation involves valuing that
the mysteries are characterized by wisdom (1 Cor 2:7), grace
(Eph 3:8) and enlightenment (Eph 3:9). As to appreciating the
20responsibility, it includes being a steward C (o1r 4:1), and
having a burden to make the mysteries known, especially the
chief mystery (Eph 3:10).
19. Frank Tielman, s.v. “Mystery,” in Elwell, Tyndale Bible Dictio , 546–547.nary
20. A “steward” refers to “one who has the authority and responsibility for something –
‘one who is in charge of, one who is responsible for, administrator, manager’” (Louw & Nida,
s.v. “οἰκονόμος”); it is “the manager of a household or of household afairs; especially a steward,
manager, superintendent” (Tayer, Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament, s.v. “οἰκονό”). μος