How can God be far away and close to me? How can the Judge of all Who sits on high, also be my intimate friend who is closer than a lover? Many of us struggle with the idea that God is both of these at the same, and often tend to imagine Him as only one or the other.
God is trinity
God is Trinity. This means He is one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One of the most common pictures the Bible gives us to understand God in this way is the picture of speaking. Father God speaks the Word of God (the Son) by the breath of God (the Spirit).
Being “one God” means the Trinity are one being, they are not three separate gods (Deuteronomy 6:4 and John 10:30).
Being “three persons” means the Trinity are three different people, even though they are one being. There are differences between them—they are not three identical clones! It is their relationship to each other which makes them different: John 5:26 tells us the Father “has life in Himself,” which means He is self-existent, and He grants the Son also to “have life in Himself,” which means He is also self-existent. The Father and the Son also grant to the Spirit to have life in Himself, to ‘self-exist’, but the Bible’s language about the Spirit is a lot less clear (important verses are John 14:16-17, 23, 26; 15:16-17; and 16:13-15).
The ancient Christian creeds
The ancient Christian creeds are the statements of belief which all Christian churches agree with. They describe this very important truth about God on which everything else in the Christian faith depends. The creeds describe it by saying that God is “one substance,” that God the Father is “unbegotten,” that God the Son is “begotten” from the Father, and that God the Spirit “proceeds” from the Father and the Son.
The one God is uncreated, and so because the Holy Spirit is God He is not created by anyone, otherwise He wouldn’t be God. This is why He is called the “eternal Spirit” in Hebrews 9:14. For all eternity He proceeds from the Father and the Son, but this does not mean He is created by Them, nor does it make Him any less God than Them, nor any less a person than Them. It is just a way of describing the relationship they have always had. All members of the Trinity are ‘self-existent’, but also depend on each other to be the person they are: for example, the Father couldn’t be “father” without the Son being “son.”
Speaker, Word and Breath
We know this is hard to understand, but think of the biblical picture of speaking again. You can imagine the Father, Son, and Spirit as “Speaker, Word, and Breath.” The breath would not be breath without the speaker and his word. The word would not be a word without the speaker and the breath which carries him. And the speaker would not be a speaker unless he was speaking the word on his breath.
This is a lovely picture of God who has for all eternity existed as someone telling a story or singing a song. And this is why the Bible describes God doing things by speaking. God speaks to create the world (Genesis 1:1-3, 6, 9, etc.), to keep the world going (Hebrews 1:3), and to save the world from our sins (Isaiah 55:11; 1 Peter 2:9).
So far away and yet so close
This is also how God can be so far away, and so close at the same time. The Father has adopted us as His children because the Son redeemed us from the curse our sins deserve (Galatians 4:4), and the Spirit has come into our hearts so that we can call God our daddy (Galatians 4:5). God the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—provides everything we need to know Him. They each play different roles, and the Spirit’s role is to come into our hearts so that we can personally know our Father in heaven and his Son who became a man to die for our sins.
If the Spirit was created, then He wouldn’t be God, and so couldn’t reveal God to us in this way. But at the same time, if the Spirit didn’t proceed from the Father and the Son then He couldn’t live in our hearts to make our relationship with God so intimate and personal, because He wouldn’t know what it means to receive life from the Father and the Son and to glorify them in return. Praise God for who He is: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because our God (unlike any other) is the true God, the Trinity, who can be far away and close all at the same time.
How does this Bible passage speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!
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