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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Larsen

The Holy Trinity foreshadowed in the Creation Story?



Prior to my straight-through reading of the Bible in 2023, I always thought of God being the divine master of the entire Old Testament.  Jesus was introduced in the Virgin Birth story in the New Testament gospels, and then Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to his apostles as an Advocate after his resurrection and ascension as we read about in the second chapter of Acts of the Apostles.  Thus, the members of the Holy Trinity, I always thought, were successive, appearing one after another.


But one thing I noticed very early on in my reading, in Genesis 1 in fact, were clues that this might not be true. 


Genesis 1:26: Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky…” (I added the italics for emphasis...)


Later, in Genesis 3 after Eve has eaten the apple from the tree of Good and Evil, (Genesis 3:22) And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”


And one other reference, this one in Genesis 11 describing the story of the Tower of Babel. At that time, the whole world had one language and common speech. Earth’s inhabitants were planning to build a tower as high as the heavens so they could all live together.  God wanted them to spread their population across the earth.  In Genesis 11:6-7: The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”


These three references open the possibility that God was not alone in his creation of the world and overseeing its early days. There are times when he is referred to as singular, and then these instances where he is mentioned in a plural sense.  One explanation is that from the very beginning of creation, God existed as the Holy Trinity – God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Three in One.


It was an interesting possibility, but not necessarily confirmed just because of the plural references I pointed out. The plural references could’ve been referring to one of his legions of angels, who we know are mentioned throughout the Old Testament.


But then …


Months later I had reached the Gospels in my reading schedule. In particular, the Gospel of John has several verses that helped illuminate this question:


In John chapter 8 the Jews are questioning Jesus about who he says he is.  Are you a Samaritan? Are you demon-possessed? Jesus denies that he is demon-possessed and goes on to say that he is there to honor his father. “Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” (John 8:51)


The Jews speaking to him now get very upset at this outrageous comment and tell him that their esteemed ancestor Abraham had died, and so did all their prophets. By making the comment Jesus did, is he saying that he’s greater than Abraham?


Let me quote the response: (John 8: 56 – 58 – Jesus is speaking) – “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

“You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was born, I am.”


WOW! From Jesus’ own mouth he points out that he (Jesus) existed before Abraham was born. And Abraham knew that the coming of Jesus would come to earth eventually, and now that it has happened, Abraham was glad. As if Abraham, after he died, joined the Trinity and learned of the future plans for the Messiah to come to earth and save the world – a concept all Jews (including Abraham) would be very excited about.


This is an amazing revelation to my mind. It also helps define the Holy Trinity, a concept which is very difficult to grasp. They were referred to as “they” or “us” but they acted as One, in complete unity. Together, they planned out the creation, all the events in the Old Testament and then the long-awaited arrival of Jesus.


Another verse in John’s Gospel makes it even more clear: John 17:4-5. Jesus is preparing his disciples for what is to come with the torture he’ll have to endure, his arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. And yet they still, in their humanness, don’t understand fully what he is telling them. In their presence, Jesus looks toward heaven and prays to God.  “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”


Mind blown twice!  Before the world began! Not only was the Trinity present for Creation, but they were there in what I imagine to be the planning stages of this great creation of the world. That’s why Jesus was so sure during his crucifixion that he was going to sit on the right hand of his father’s throne!  Because that’s where he’d been before this little earthly jaunt he’d been on the last thirty-three years or so.  He was comfortable with it, because he’d been in God’s presence and God’s glory since the beginning of time.


Of course, Jesus was divine, but he was also human. He was born the way all humans are, as an infant. He grew up with a loving earthly Jewish family and it wasn’t until he was an adult that he embarked on the divine quest that God had sent him for. But I often wonder … Jesus the Son, the divine part of him, knew all along what he was sent for. But what about Jesus the little boy, the teenager, and the young adult … when did He know?


You know that Christmas song – Mary Did You Know?  Yes, she knew what the angel had told her – that she was going to give birth to God’s son, and she was going to name him Jesus, and he was going to eventually save the world from sin.  But did she know all the details?  Did she know the miracles he’d perform and the healing he’d do and the sermons he’d preach?  No, I don’t think she knew. I think she supported him in his ministry and whatever he felt was right. But I believe she was seeing it unfold just like the rest of the humans were.


But what about Jesus? Did God’s plan for his ministry suddenly download like a computer program into his mind and consciousness when he was born? When he was ten? Twenty?


I don’t know the answer to that, and that’s okay. When he began his ministry, I believe he knew everything that would happen and everything that had happened.  And in that, I take great comfort.  God’s got us all in his hands and there’s no surprises to Him (or Them).

 

Prayer: God, thank you for not only the answers we get when we read your Word, but also the questions. The questions are the ones that increase our interest and our faith.  We know that although we may not know all the answers in your divine plan, we certainly know that YOU DO.  And we trust that all your plans are for the good of those who love and believe in you.  Amen.



 

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