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Godhead

As there are three distinct Persons who are the one God, there must be something which distinguishes them from each other. Let it be stated from the outset, that the distinction between the three Persons is not merely nominal or modal. For instance, the Sabellians believe God is one Person, having but three names, or modes of expression. However, if this were true, then there is actually no distinction at all between the Father, Son and Spirit. Just as a man with three names is no more distinguished by one than the other, so if the three Persons are merely names by which God is identified, He is no more distinguished by one than the other.

Rather, the distinction between the three Persons in the Godhead is real and personal. The three Persons are not merely three modes, but three distinct Persons in a different mode of subsisting. They are distinct from each other, so that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, nor the Holy Spirit either the Father or the Son. (1) As God is a spirit, and therefore indivisible in His Being, so the fulness of the Godhead is…

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It has already been shown in the previous chapters, not only that there is a distinction of Persons in the Godhead, but also wherein lies that distinction. It is now proper to illustrate and confirm these distinctions by considering each of the Persons in order. I shall begin with the personality and deity of the Father.

I. The Personality of the Father.

1. Affirmed by Formal Definition.

Personality has been defined by some as, “An individual that subsists, is living, intelligent, is not sustained by another, nor is a part of another.” If this statement be accepted as a formal definition of a person, then it is true of each of the three Persons in the Godhead—Father, Son and Spirit. Of particular note, we shall consider the…

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Having considered the distinct personality and deity of the Father, attention is now given to that of the Son.

I. The Personality of the Son.

1. Affirmed by Formal Definition.

Personality has been defined by some as, “An individual that subsists, is living, intelligent, is not sustained by another, nor is a part of another.” If this statement be accepted as a formal definition of a person, then it is true of each of the three Persons in the Godhead—Father, Son and Spirit. Of particular note, we shall consider the personality of the Son: (1) “An individual…”—He is an individual, distinct, though not separate from…

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Having considered the distinct personality and deity of the Father and of the Son, attention is now given to that of the Holy Spirit.

I. The Personality of the Holy Spirit.

1. The Holy Spirit is a Real Person.

That the Holy Spirit is a Person, and not a mere name, power or attribute of God, appears most evident under the following heads:

(1) Affirmed by Formal Definition.

Personality has been defined by some as, “An individual that subsists, is living, intelligent, is not sustained by another, nor is a part of another.” If this statement be accepted as a formal definition of a person, then it is true of each of the three Persons in the Godhead—Father, Son and Spirit. Of particular note, we shall consider the personality of the Holy Spirit: (1) “An individual…”—He is an individual, distinct, though not separate from the divine nature, which He has in common with the Father and the Son; (2) “…that subsists…”—He subsists of Himself in that nature…

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Before looking into the perfections of the Godhead, it is proper to begin with a consideration of His names. Now, properly speaking, there is no need to identify God by a name. Not only is He incomprehensible, and therefore transcends the restrictions of a label, but since He is the one and only true God, it is unnecessary to distinguish Him from others. Henceforth, Plato observes that God has no name, and frequently calls Him, “The Being”. Even Moses, when asking the Lord what he should say to the children of Israel, should they ask the name of Him that sent him to them, was told by God, “I am that I am”—that is, I am the eternal Being, the Being of beings, of which the name Jehovah is expressive. Nevertheless, there are names attributed to God throughout the scriptures, taken from one or other of His attributes, which are worthy of notice. After all, is it not the names of persons and things that are usually the first that are known of them? And, if these names are not known…

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