In the Beginning . . . Was the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
In the Beginning . . . Was the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Text: Genesis 1:1-2:3
There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there in the world. There are especially a lot of conspiracy theories when it comes to Christianity. Do a little googling and you will find endless amounts of information about supposed conspiracies and controversies. The problem is that anyone can post anything on the internet these days, and most of these alleged Christian conspiracies aren’t true.
There are many of these conspiracy theories that attack the very core of our belief—who our God is. One in particular is very popular. This conspiracy theory states that the emperor Constantine, who lived in the 200s and 300s A.D., invented the concept of the Trinity. Some say that Constantine wanted to end religious rift in his empire and so he forced and coerced his own beliefs onto the church and crushed those who stood for the truth. They say that since Constantine imposed the teaching of the Trinity, the Church has never been the same.
Please don’t even waste your time googling that. You will only be reading information from unbelievers who only know a few historical facts. The reality is that the story starts with a man named Arius. Arius was a priest in Alexandria, Egypt. Arius staunchly denied the Trinity—that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal. Why would he deny it? Because it had been around and taught for ages already before him but it didn’t make sense to him. Constantine finally called a council of church leaders in 325 A.D. at the city of Nicea. There those church leaders wrote a summary of the true Christian faith. That short statement of faith is called the Nicene Creed. For almost 1,700 years now Christians around the globe have continued to speak the words of the Nicene Creed and to confess their faith as they battle against Arianism (the denial of the Trinity) still today.
Of course, people will always debate about the facts of history. They’ll interpret historical events in different ways. Spin doctors will continue to spew countless conspiracy theories to attack the truth. So when we aren’t sure about something and need to rediscover the truth, there is only one thing for Christians to do and one place for Christians to go. We must go back to the Bible and see what it says. Today we not only go back to Scripture, but we even go all the way back to the beginning. There we see that even In the Beginning . . . Was the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The very first words in the Bible tell us a lot. “In the beginning God.” The very first words of Scripture tell us that in the very beginning, before there was anything else, there was God. Our God is an eternal God. That means that he has no beginning and no end. God was around before everything else and it was in the beginning of this universe that God created this universe.
But who is this God? Who is this God who has so much power that he could speak and create anything out of nothing? Who is this God who made everything completely perfect, that he could look at it and call it “good”? Who is this God and what is this God like?
Think about when you first met one of your best friends, or perhaps even your spouse. When you first met you didn’t know much about that person. You only knew a few surface details. But over time you got to know more about your friend and what your friend is like.
You could say the same about God. In the beginning we only learn a few things about God. But as time went on and God revealed himself more in Scripture, we learn more about who God is and what God is like. So for example, some opponents to the Trinity point out that the name Jesus isn’t mentioned at all in the Old Testament. Some say that the Holy Spirit isn’t talked about in the Old Testament. But many of you know what I often tell people: If you aren’t sure about something in the Bible than you should, KEEP READING.
In the first verse of the Bible it says that God created the heavens and the earth. But already in the second verse it mentions that the Spirt of God was present then too. And as the Bible goes on and continues more from there, we learn more about the Holy Spirit—that he has divine names and divine works and divine power.
As we read the Bible then we hear all kinds of prophecies about the Messiah to come, who was Jesus Christ. So we wonder: “Did Jesus first exist when he was born?” That’s what old Arius said. But then we keep reading and read John 1:1. It purposefully sounds just like the first verse of the Bible: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
As we continue to read in Scripture we see that Father, Son, and Spirit were all around in the beginning. We see that the Bible tells us there is one and only one God. Yet the Bible tells us that there are three persons that make up that God. You heard the triune blessing in the second lesson today and you heard Jesus himself tell people to, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” When you are a disciple of a God you learn about, follow, and even worship that God. So if all three were not God, then Jesus would have been telling us to commit idolatry. But he wasn’t. Jesus was helping to reveal to us that our God is three-in-one.
That’s the way God has always been. He was like that in the beginning. He was like that at the time of Jesus. He is like that now. He will always be like that. Regardless of what Arius or Constantine or any other person says, the Bible reveals to us that our God is triune—three persons in one true God.
But still, there are times that what the Bible says does not make sense to us, so we begin to doubt and wonder if it is true. That’s the temptation that Satan has been using since the very beginning.
God created the heavens and the earth and they were good. Everything was perfect, even Adam and Eve. But Satan tempted Adam and Eve to doubt God’s commands and God’s promises and to instead try eating some fruit to see what would happen. With that, sin entered the world and sinful humans have been doubting God ever since.
Think about it: To most in this world, it does not make sense that a God in heaven could have created every last thing in this universe. It makes sense to them that everything fits in the tiny bounds of what we know in science. So some humans doubt creation and believe in evolution instead.
To some it does not make sense that God would be three-in-one. How could God be triune? The Bible doesn’t even use the Word triune! How can something be three and yet one at the same time? So like Arius of old, many doubt and deny the Trinity.
To most it does not make sense that some guy executed on a cross could be our Savior. How could one person be both man and God? How could God die on a cross? How could one death pay for the world’s sins? How could forgiveness and salvation be completely free? So humans doubt salvation through Jesus Christ and turn to all kinds of other gods, ways, and methods for salvation.
Take any teaching of Scripture that you want—Creation, Salvation, the Real Presence of Christ’s body and blood in Communion, the Trinity. God speaks clearly in Scripture about these things, but Satan tempts us to doubt them as not true. And like Adam and Eve in the beginning, we love to bite that fruit.
Praise be to our triune God then, for his continued love and mercy to his creation. The loving work of our God can be seen from the very beginning and can still be seen now. Think of his work perhaps in the sense of phases. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have always been around, but each one took the center stage at different phases or times in world history.
In the beginning it was the Father who took the center stage. We often talk of him as our maker and preserver—the one who created all and who sustains all. While all three were active in creation, it was the Father who took the lead in stitching together this beautiful universe. It is the Father who gifted us, his children, with the wonders of the world we enjoy. It is the Father who holds this whole world together.
But once sin entered the world, the Father promised one to come who would take away all sins. That was his Son, Jesus. The Father, Son, and Spirit all desire us to be saved, but it was the Son who took the center stage for salvation. It was the Son who was born of human flesh. It was the Son who lived perfectly in the place of sinners. It was the Son who died to take away our guilt and sin. It was the Son who rose to life to prove our eternal life.
But just before the Son ascended into heaven, he promised to send someone too. That was the Holy Spirit. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all active in our lives today, but the baton has been passed to the Holy Spirit who now takes center stage. It is the Spirit who works the Word of God to create faith in our hearts. It is the Spirit who strengthens our faith. It is the Spirit who blesses our work of making disciples of nations. It is the Spirit who helps us to lead godly lives.
Yes, we can praise our triune God today for his continued love and mercy. The Father our maker and preserver, the Son our Savior, and the Holy Spirit our sanctifier and guide—all three persons are one true God who shows us endless amounts of love. From this beautiful creation to our amazing salvation to our lives of peace and joy, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all show us love beyond what we can possibly understand.
Concl.That reminds me of a story from childhood. Some of you have heard me tell the story before. When I was about five years old I was in Sunday School one Sunday morning. The teacher was teaching about the Trinity. During class the teacher said, “No one understands the Trinity.” I was so upset with this teacher. I couldn’t believe what she said. I burst out in class, “That’s not true! I understand the Trinity just fine!”
On the one hand, that’s that kind of answer you get from a smart aleck five-year-old whose father is the pastor. But on the other hand, that’s the kind of answer you get from a child with a rock-solid faith. Doubt isn’t even part of the equation for children. They believe in creation. They believe in the Trinity. They believe in Jesus as their Savior. Children simply trust and believe without questioning.
As we celebrate our Triune God today, all we can do is pray for the faith of a little child. There are many times that we don’t understand God. We don’t understand who he is or what he has done or why he has done it. But Scripture is so very clear about many things, especially about the Trinity.
God grant us today the faith of a little child to believe in who our God is and has been since the very beginning. When we see who our God is and what our God has done, God grant us this joyful response every day:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise him all creatures here below
Praise him above ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Posted on June 16, 2014, in Church, Sermons and tagged Church, Conspiracy Theories, Eternal, Father, Genesis, Genesis 1, God, Holy Spirit, Sermons, Son, Trinity, Trinity Sunday, True God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.