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On the Trinity

Wayne Grudem gives the simplest description of the Triune God:

“God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology)

Berkhof gives a little more, adding the important distinction that Person is not an Individual, but persona (Latin). This may be more in the direction of Karl Barth's eternal semi-modalism. (Not to be confused with old Modalism.)

“The Bible teaches that, while He exists in three Persons, called Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, these are not three persons in the ordinary sense of the word; they are not three individuals, but rather three modes or forms in which the Divine Being exists. At the same time they are of such a nature that they can enter into personal relations. The Father can speak to the Son and vice versa, and both can send forth the Spirit. The real mystery of the Trinity consists in this that each one of the Persons possesses the whole of the divine essence, and that this has no existence outside of and apart from the Persons. The three are not subordinate in being the one to the other, though it may be said that in order of existence the Father is first, the Son second, and the Holy Spirit third, an order which is also reflected in their work.” (Louis Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine, 2:7)

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