The Trinity and the Old Testament

I have always taken this as the plurality of God, the triune Godhead, not necessarily a council. Inasmuch as they are three and one at the same time.

same response.

That would be fine if the Old Testament had any least whisper about the Trinity. But it doesn’t. The New Testament hardly does.

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I would disagree obviously. I did a search and both of these came in the top results and I thought they did a good job of not oversimplifying the complexity.

It’s really in the fullness and rereading of Scripture that you see the Trinity. I tend to find the doctrine to be beautiful and unexpected especially when I’ve been lacking in personal devotions and discover Him in the text in ways I had forgotten were there.


Me too.

The Zondervan Academic link provides an excellent summary of the various arguments in favor of finding the Trinity in the Old Testament. Some of the traditional arguments seem like a stretch (perhaps even plagued by eisegesis) but many of the others are quite strong. For example, the Angel of the Lord (Angel of YHWH) might at first appear to be “merely” a messenger (ANGELOS in Septuagint) from God—but when that messenger speaks, the message speaks as God in the first person. And Hagar refers to that Angel of the Lord who spoke to her as being God.

Considering that God the Father is described in transcendent terms while anthropmorphic manifestations (as in the Angel of the Lord talking directly to people), it is not hard to see Trinity distinctions in a series of OT passages (e.g., Hagar, Abraham, Jacob.)

IMPORTANT: I’m NOT saying that every “angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament and New Testament is a member of the Trinity. That is, sometimes the ANGELOS/messenger is simply that, such as the angel Gabriel speaking to Daniel, Zechariah, and Mary.


I don’t see how it would be hard at all. If someone had not already been immersed in a religion based on the “Trinity” and was just reading these accounts for the first time, I cannot see why the idea that this is referring to a “trinity” would even remotely cross the reader’s mind. Can you?


That’s like saying a reader of Genesis without thorough knowledge of the rest of the Bible would never connect Eve’s seed crushing the serpent’s heal with the future Messiah.

Both of those articles seem to me riddled with post hoc rationalizations.


Doesn’t Genesis actually say that Adam would bruise the snake’s head?

Well, indeed. You need the gift of hindsight to make the connection. Here is the first example ! came across on a quick search.

Nostradamus should look to his laurels! :wink:

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If the concept of a Messiah was already part of your belief system, then it is quite possible that one would make this interpretation.

Someone of whose belief system this is not a major aspect, OTOH, might quite justifiably see this passage as nothing more but a myth explaining how the enmity between humans and snakes began. I hardly see what would be unreasonable about that interpretation. Do you?

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There was a sizeable minority of Second Temple Jews who did discern a plurality in the Godhead. It was deemed so helpful to Christians that it was deemed heresy by Jews in the 2nd c. The scholarly work is done by the Harvard professor Alan Segal. (Michael Heiser popularizes Segal’s work.)

Also, the early Christians did not have a presupposed Trinity, so we at least need to wonder why it became the dominant position. Yes, they were reading the OT through the lens of Jesus…but that reading led them to the doctrine of the Trinity (thus, not b/c they were “immersed in a religion based on the ‘Trinity’”).

No, but the “seed of the woman” (which takes on various trajectories as the story unfolds).

@Faizal_Ali I agree with this. The story takes on different readings, interpretations, and dimensions depending on one’s parameters, filters, etc. I don’t think it’s a crazy idea to see an etiological reading. i happen to read the story in a larger context (which doesn’t deny the etiology, but adds to it).


Well first have to be looking for truth. If not, then you are incurably the skeptic. But let’s say you are reading the Scripture and looking for a description of God. Consider first, your ‘layers’ which the Word must accommodate. You are corporeal. You are intellectual. You are spiritual. Are the words of the text appealing to your intellect? Are they appealing to your spirit? Are they appealing to your natural, corporeal existence? Yes and no to the last one, except to say that the discussion of faith, being that which is unseen but very real nonetheless, brings the physical, corporeal, natural into full view.

If the text has appealed to you in all three dimensions, then God just might be single, yet multi-dimensional in a sense. Three in one begins to make more sense to you. But again, you must be a seeker, not a skeptic to be privy to these matters.

"It could be that the use of multiple names for God points to his trinitarian nature."

Or it could be that the differing uses of “Yaweh” and “Elohim” are holdovers from Judaism’s origins in Canaanite/Ugaritic polytheism – cf “ilhm” the Canaanite pantheon of gods. I find it strange how Zondervan’s “excellent summary” fails to mention this very relevant point.

Uh, no. If the Big Bad Wolf assumed she was divine after speaking with her, then your analogy holds.

Binary thinking clouds understanding.

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I suggest you learn what an analogy is.

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Comfort yourself, you would not seek me if you had not found me.

You would instead be wondering how the Angel of the Lord could be talking to people and they could know that this Angel is God. Somehow it was obvious to them. I agree that you don’t see the fullness of the Trinity until the New Testatment because God waited to reveal Himself in fullness until then.

But again there are all the other references to the Spirit in the OT. Certainly a careful reader would have a lot of questions and expectations of who God really is.

Uh, no. No more than I would wonder how the Big Bad Wolf knew the little girl on her way to Grandma’s house was Little Red Riding Hood.

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In the Quran, Allah often refers to himself in the plural. I’m pretty sure that has nothing to do with the Christian trilogy.