A term used in the New Testament relative to the being of God is “the Godhead”.
“we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven out of man’s device.”Acts 17:29
“For in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”Colossians 2:9
“Even His eternal power and Godhead.”Romans 1:19-20
“The eternal Godhead has revealed Himself as one God existing in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; distinguishable, but indivisible in essence, all fully divine, co-eternal and co-existent in attributes, power, nature and glory.” “Foundations of Christian Doctrine”, Kevin J Conner
Within the Godhead there are distinctive roles, and Scripture reveals that they submit to one another in love. The relationships within the Godhead reveal and model for us Love in action.
The Son submits to the Father, the Father honours and gives authority to the Son, the Son honours the Spirit, and the Spirit yields to the Son. All are equal in power and glory, yet they each take their place within themselves, being one in mind and purpose, to fulfil their own perfect will.
Consider these Scriptures:
The Son glorifies and submits to the Father.
John 12:49; 14:28 and He will ultimately subject even Himself to the loving rule of the Father. John 14:28
The Son relied on and honours and protects the Spirit.
Matt 12:31-32; Act 10:38; John 16:7
The Father honours the Son, and invests all His authority in Him.
John 10:25; John 5:22; Phil 2:9
The Father sends the Spirit through the Son to accomplish His will on earth.
The Spirit proceeds from the Father, obeying the command, and exalting the Son.
John 15:26, and He will reveal only what the Son sanctions. John 16:14-15
History of the Doctrine of the Trinity.
Kevin Conner in ‘Foundations of Christian Doctrine’ outlines theories concerning the Godhead.
We present some of those theories here:
Tertullian, one of the early church fathers in the second century to define the teaching concerning the Godhead, introduced the word “trinity” from the Latin “trinitas”. It simply means “threefold” or “three-in-one”.
The word “trinity” is not found in the Scriptures, but the concept is clearly presented throughout the Bible. The necessity to formulate the doctrine was rather thrust upon the church because of the heresies at the time regarding the Person of Jesus Christ; whether He was fully God or was merely a created and therefore subordinate being.
Early church heresies concerning the Godhead fell into two extremes, Unitarianism and Tritheism.
Arius, an early church heretic, taught that the Godhead consisted of one Eternal Person, who, in the beginning, created in His own image, a super-angelic being, the Son, by whom He made the worlds, and that the Son created the Holy Spirit. The main point of this heresy was that God is a numerically one God, only God the Father is eternal and the Son and Holy Spirit are created beings.
Bishop Sabellius, another heretic, taught that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were simply three manifestations of the absolute number one God. God existed in different modes; He played different roles at different times. As a person may be a son, husband and then a father, yet the person is one individual, so it is with God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This is contrary to the Bible, which makes clear the distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We also clearly see in Scriptures the three Persons of the Godhead at times acting simultaneously and distinctly.
It teaches that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three separated beings, making three Gods. The balance is to recognise that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons in the one God.
In 325 A.D. the Council of Nicea was called to debate whether Christ was of the same essence as God the Father, or a similar essence as the Father. Athanasius, another early church father, stood up for the truths of the trinity and the divinity of Christ against the heresies of Arius. The council declared that Christ was “of one substance with the Father, very God of very God.” He was co-eternal with the Father, begotten, not created. The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit was undeveloped until the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D. when the issue was raised of whether the Holy Spirit was truly God. The council asserted the deity of the Holy Spirit, stating, “the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, and is worshiped and glorified together with the Father and the Son.”