So, Why Isn’t the Trinity Polytheistic?

God is the infinite being from whom Jesus and the Holy Spirit come from – Jesus is God in the flesh, fully human and fully God, and the Holy Spirit is the advocate, teacher and guide that is omnipresent. Although both Jesus and the Holy Spirit point people to the Father, because they are from the Father praying and honoring them is no different than praying to the Father. They are three distinct beings that represent one true God, which is also referred to as the Godhead.

There are many verses throughout the Gospels where Jesus clearly defines the roles of the Father and Himself. Jesus speaks of God as the “One who sent Me” (John 7:16), and how the Father’s will takes precedence in His life (John 6:38). In 2 Corinthians 13:4 Paul states that if it were not for God Jesus would still be dead!

Christ’s weak human body died on a cross. It is by God’s power that Christ lives today.
2 Corinthians 13:4

The scripture that reveals this relationship the most is when Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane and He asks God to let this cup pass.

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Matthew 26:39

Throughout scripture we can see the role of the Father and the Son through Jesus’ eyes. Jesus is subject to His Father will, even up to death (Philippians 2:8).

Now that we have established the difference between God and Jesus, let’s look at the distinction between God and the Holy Spirit, which is apparent in Genesis 1.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Genesis 1:1-2

It states, “the Spirit OF God” because it is the Spirit whose origin is from God. God is the Domain, and the Spirit is from that Domain. We see the Holy Spirits role in the birth of Jesus in Luke 1:35 when Gabriel is speaking to Mary.

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
Luke 1:35

Gabriel says the Holy Spirit will do the Works of God, and with God’s power the Son of God will be born. So, the Holy Spirit does the work, but He does it with the power of God.

Finally, we can look at the distinction between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In John 14:16 Jesus tells the disciples that he is leaving but is going to ask God to send the Holy Spirit to help them evangelize the world. This verse further establishes each persons role in the Trinity, and also distinguishes Himself from the Spirit. Jesus has to ask the Father to send the Spirit, and the Spirit is to fulfill the role as a Helper or Advocate for the disciples.

Then I will ask My Father and He will give you another Helper. He will be with you forever.
John 14:16

So, the Trinity is not a polytheistic religion, but a name which recognizes Jesus and the Holy Spirit being different persons birthed from the Father, and in that they are equal with the Father. An example of this relationship can be made with a family business. The father may run the business, but his children, whom he has trained, will one day make executive decisions. When customers speak with the children it is no different than speaking with the father himself. However, unlike a family business the Trinity is eternal, so there is never a time when Jesus or the Holy Spirit will take the role of the Father. As well, there was never a period in which Jesus or the Holy Spirit had to be trained. Their positions were established the moment they emanated from God.


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