The Mystery of the Trinity

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Dr. Vern Poythress, a professor, philosopher and theologian, joins the Gary Wilkerson Podcast for part two of a conversation on the difference between biblical and secular worldviews. This week, he explains how having the right understanding of God’s attributes can help us to understand who he is.

Key Points from the Podcast

  • Dr. Vern Poythress explains how understanding the doctrine of the Trinity will give us a better picture of how God can be both transcendent—beyond or above—and immanent—near or close.

  • As we examine the story of creation we can see that Father, Son and Holy Spirit were all involved.

  • At one end of the spectrum, you will find people who think God is so far removed from his creation that he isn’t involved and doesn’t care; whereas the other end of the spectrum believes God is so much like his creation that he will change his plans based on emotions.

  • There is an eternal love—a love that existed before the foundation of the world—between all the persons of the Trinity.

  • Every attribute of God applies to all three persons of the Trinity. Many people associate wrath with the Father and love with the Son, but the Bible speaks of the wrath of the Lamb, or the Son, and it was the love of the Father that sent the Son to die for the sins of man.

Bible Verses Referenced in the Podcast

Genesis 1; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:1–3; 1 Corinthians 1:24; Luke 12:7; Luke 21:18; Psalm 34:17; Psalm 107:6; 2 Samuel 22:2; 1 John 4:7–21; John 3:35; John 3:16; Revelation 6:16; Revelation 13:8

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

About Vern Poythress

Rev. Dr. Vern Poythress (PhD, Harvard; DTh, Stellenbosch) is distinguished professor of New Testament, biblical interpretation, and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he has taught for 44 years.

Dr. Poythress’s academic interests include how Christianity and the Trinitarian nature of God impact all areas of life. He has also spent much of his career studying and teaching biblical interpretation and hermeneutics. For those who are new to Dr. Poythress’s writing and teaching on these interests, he recommends several resources as places to start. Regarding Christianity in relationship to all areas of life, consider his books Redeeming ScienceRedeeming Philosophy, or Chance and the Sovereignty of God. A related book is In the Beginning Was the Word, which looks at the Trinitarian foundations for language. Another recent publication in this area is Redeeming Mathematicsconsider both his interview on the book and blog on the topic.

Regarding hermeneutics and biblical interpretation, he would recommend starting with his books Symphonic Theology and The Returning King. Other related books include Inerrancy and WorldviewThe Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses, and God-Centered Biblical Interpretation.

Many of Dr. Poythress’s books are available in digital formats online for free.


About Gary Wilkerson

Gary Wilkerson is the President of World Challenge, an international mission organization that was founded by his father, David Wilkerson. He is also the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church, which he launched in 2009 with a handful of people. He has traveled nationally and internationally at conferences and conducted mission ventures such as church planting, starting orphanages, clinics, feeding programs among the poorest of the poor and the most unreached people of the earth. Gary and his wife Kelly have four children and live in Colorado Springs, CO.

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