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The Alex McFarland Show-43-The Nature of God

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
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February 7, 2023 12:00 am

The Alex McFarland Show-43-The Nature of God

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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February 7, 2023 12:00 am

Today’s episode of the Alex McFarland Show is the second in a series on the topic of the nature of God. Delving further into the theological debates about the doctrine of the Trinity, Alex explains what some of the common arguments against it are. While the concept of God being Triune can be complex to grasp with the human mind, Alex shares why it is not a fallacy or contradiction. If you’ve ever felt confused by the Bible’s teaching of the Trinity, this episode is for you. 

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The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events, analyzed through the lens of Scripture. Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. There is no other God but one. That's 1 Corinthians 8, verse 4. And I welcome you back to the program.

Alex McFarland here. And if you listened last week to the program, or the previous in this series, we're talking about the nature of God, the Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. And in the first show, we explain what that is, how the Bible in Old and New Testaments presents God the Father, God the Son, God sent Jesus to be our Savior, to rise from the dead, pay Parisian debts on the cross, and then Jesus, like in John 15 and 16, he predicted the sending of God the Holy Spirit. And even to this moment, the Holy Spirit is working throughout the world, and while it's clear there is one God, only one God, yet eternally God has existed and manifests himself in Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Now I'll say again what I said in the first of this series. I don't completely understand it. I don't know that any human being can.

I definitely believe it. But I'm not sure the finite, limited human mind can completely apprehend or comprehend what is the nature of God. And yet, God has revealed himself, and we accept God's self-disclosure of who he is, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. But what I want to do in this program is finish responding to a couple of objections, and then I want to talk about somebody who is very instructive on this point, somebody who lived 800 years ago, Thomas Aquinas. Now if you've listened to this show much, or if you've followed much in the way of apologetics, the name Aquinas is probably going to be pretty familiar to you. He lived 1225 to 1274, and you may not realize it, but the reality of the Christian faith in the world today, and the realm of apologetics, or defending the biblical worldview, is in many ways attributable to the ongoing ministry now for eight centuries, the lingering benefit of a man who in the Middle Ages did his utmost to give his mind, his intellect, to God. In fact, I would argue that Europe and the West is not overwhelmingly Muslim today because of the ministry of Thomas Aquinas.

Now sadly, the United Kingdom, Britain, has in recent decades hugely fallen to the influence of Islam, and so Aquinas' ministry in Europe to defend Christianity and put a roadblock against the encroachment of Islam, it worked for about 750 years, but in the last four or five decades there's been a lot of lost ground. But right now let me begin by responding to an Islamic objection to the Trinity. And as you might imagine, Muslims have a big problem with the idea of the incarnation that God took on a human body. That's Jesus, the second member of the Trinity. Now, sometimes Muslims will point to John 3.16, and they'll have a big problem with John 3.16, as if John 3.16 indicates that God the Father somehow birthed Jesus through Mary.

Now we know the Virgin Mary was with child, and Jesus was born, but it doesn't mean that the Heavenly Father physically impregnated Mary, as in humans procreating a child. But John 3.16 in the English Bible says for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. And if you've ever done any evangelism with a Muslim person, the English Bible's rendering of the word only begotten is something they have a really big problem with. Now, if you accept the doctrine of the Trinity, as I believe you should, the deity of Christ is a given, because Trinity acknowledges the Godhead, and the second person of that Godhead is Jesus Christ. So Jesus is the Son of God, but Jesus is also God the Son. Now Muslims feel that to acknowledge Jesus' deity, that that would compromise the oneness of God.

And as you probably know, Islam is rigidly, vehemently, monotheistic, one God. Now, we agree there is one God, but God has revealed himself, as we've said, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Now, only begotten in the English Bible is from the Greek that really means of the same origin or nature.

Monogenesis, or sometimes pronounced monogenesis. One and only Son. God sent his only Son. This does not imply something fleshly, or that Jesus was the conception of a physical act. Begat in the Bible, in the King James, doesn't mean that Jesus was physically conceived, as in a husband and wife, and it certainly doesn't mean created, but it really means that Jesus proceeds from the Father. And in fact, scholars have said, and I know this is very deep, very complex stuff, but Jesus has eternally proceeded forth from the Father. Now it doesn't mean that he was carnally formed, but refers to Jesus' special relationship with the Father. Begotten refers both to relationship and time, and Jesus was unique in both. Sent from the Father, co-equal with the Father. In fact, of the same essence or nature as the Father. And yet, brought into the realm of time and space history, like Galatians 4, 4 and 5 says that in the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman.

Jesus entered the stage of human events to go to the cross for our salvation. Now, before we get into Aquinas' brilliance, I want to field one more objection. And sometimes I've had professed atheists say this, that the Trinity is not logical or reasonable. Okay, three that is one, and one that is three. As the late Norm Geisler, he was a brilliant scholar, he said the Trinity is beyond reason, but it's not unreasonable. Now, the Trinity, three being one, one being three.

I'll be the first to tell you this is not a perfect analogy. But yet, you and I, you might be one person, but you're a son, you're a husband, you're a father. Or if you're a female, you're one human being, but yet you are a daughter.

Maybe you're also a wife, maybe you're also a mother. So it's possible, just as we humans are body, soul and spirit, 1 Thessalonians 5, and yet there's one human being. You've got your body, you've got your mind, you've got your spirit that is the everlasting part of you, and they're all distinct, and yet they overlap. You're not divided, because if your body, soul and spirit are separated, you would be dead. And if you're alive, you're definitely one person, but there are three separate components. We don't say there are components in God, because God is undivided. He's perfectly whole, and yet my point is, it is possible to have things that are one singular, yet in some ways plural. Now we've got to take a brief break, but when we come back, we're going to continue talking about the fact that the Trinity is not necessarily illogical.

In fact, I would say it's not illogical at all. And we'll look at what a brilliant thinker from times past had to say about this wonderful biblical reality, God, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. Stay tuned, we'll continue this subject when we return on the Alex McFarland show. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.

Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. In recent years, our nation has suffered greatly, and we seem to be on a rapid moral decline. We've rejected God, morality, and we've almost completely lost our sense of patriotism. It's no wonder that many are asking the question, is this the end of America? Hi, Alex McFarland here, and I want to make you aware of my book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. You know, our nation has seen politicians that are corrupted by greed, and they've got a vested interest in power, and many of our elected officials seem to care little about the country that they've been appointed to serve. Read my book, The Assault on America, We Can Stand Up for Our Great Nation and Defend America Before It's Too Late.

It's available everywhere. You can learn more on my own website, which is Read the book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. We're back on the program, and we're doing the thing that many great thinkers throughout the centuries have said.

We're giving our mind over to the greatest endeavor that the human mind could involve itself in, thinking about God, the nature of God, the Trinity. And I'm glad you're listening. If you want to listen to this again, you can go to a lot of places, wherever you listen to podcasts, on iTunes or Spotify, and then we are also on the American Family Radio Network and a number of other stations around North America. And if you want to look at the content we've produced, my own website, which is, be very honored if you would go there, and you can also find my travel schedule and the events that we're hosting all around America, one of which is coming up pretty soon. Truth for a New Generation will be in Paris, Tennessee, April 21-23, with Abe Hamilton and Will and Miki Addison, Burt Harper, my colleague on Exploring the Word, and then from Reasons for Hope, honestly, one of the best youth speakers in North America, Carl Kirby.

And in fact, he's one of the best creation versus evolution speakers in the world, really. And so go to the website for that event. You can reach it either through my own website, which is, or you can go to That's truth, F-O-R, That's America's largest, longest-running apologetics conference.

We'd be honored for you to be there, and we'd love to come soon to a city near you. But back to the topic at hand, the Trinity. Some say the Trinity is not reasonable or logical. But Thomas Aquinas taught, rightly so, I believe, that the mysteries of the Christian faith, such as the Trinity, the incarnation, the virgin birth, they may not be able to be known by human reason alone, but by faith in God's revelation of Scripture. Do I completely understand the Trinity?

No. But I understand that the Bible is the Word of God, and if the Word of God says it, we are right to believe it. Now, the created world. Nature tells us that God exists, a supernatural Creator.

Psalm 19, the heavens and earth bear witness to the glory of God. Nature can tell us that God exists, but Scripture tells us what kind of God exists. Now the Trinity, says Aquinas, goes beyond reason, but it is not unreasonable or contrary to reason.

Dr. Geisler again, he said it might be a mystery, but it's not necessarily a contradiction. Now there are some things that are provable, but other things are to be taken on faith. Now faith, as we've said many times, is not blind trust. Because of the compelling evidences for Christianity and the Bible, faith in what God has revealed about himself is, as one writer said, justifiable true belief.

In fact, disbelief in the presence of compelling evidence, solid evidence, is what is unjustifiable. So, I mean, you've got things like the manuscripts that have been so well preserved fulfill prophecy, the power to change lives, the uncanny insights that the Bible says. You know, mountains and valleys at the bottom of the sea, says the Old Testament. And at the time that was written, there's no way the writer could have known that. Blood and water coming forth when the spear pierced Jesus' side. And at that time, medical science would not have known about the pericardium that encircles the heart.

So here's my point. The preservation of the manuscripts, prophetic fulfilled prophecy, archaeological evidence, the ability to change lives, insights into medical science, not to mention the affirmation of Jesus himself, who repeatedly affirmed the Scripture by a number of compelling lines of reason. We've got absolute justifiable course for accepting that the Bible is of divine origin, the Word of God, and the content of that supernatural book says you must be born again, and God is Trinity. So, while there are some things that we can prove, like the authenticity of Scripture, other things like the nature of God, the Trinity, we take on faith.

Now, it's a mystery that we will one day understand more fully, maybe not completely, but the Bible does teach that while God is one in essence or nature, three in personality. Now, in 1943, C.S. Lewis released a book called Mere Christianity, and it's been in print ever since. And I want to share a quote with what C.S. Lewis says about God and the Gospel message.

C.S. Lewis said, quote, if Christianity were something that we were making up, of course we would make it easier, but it is not, says Lewis. We cannot compete in simplicity with those who invent religions.

How could we? We are dealing with fact. Of course, anyone can be simplistic, says Lewis, if he has no facts to bother about. But we have facts, and God has revealed himself to be triune. Trinity. Now, there was a theologian many years ago named A.H. Strong, S.T.R.O.N.G., and he wrote about our triune Lord. Strong said, quote, God in the totality of his essence, without multiplication or division, penetrates and fills the universe in all its parts. That's true, but the place God wants to fill is your heart. You know, the things that God desires to penetrate are your hurts, your fears, your disappointments, the things that you want to change about yourself and frankly need to change about yourself, but you're unable to do so. And so, when we open our life, our soul, to this awesome God, you know, it's amazing how God can forgive our sin, he can declare us righteous, and grow us in conformity to Jesus. That's a three-fold ministry in our life, isn't it? God forgives our past, he gives meaning to our present, he secures our future.

That's a very triune benefit of salvation, isn't it? So let's talk about what Aquinas would have said, and we'll only begin this in this segment and then come back in the third segment. But Aquinas was brilliant. Very famously, you may have heard of Summa Theologica, the sum of theology. God and his revelation. That was one of his great works in a multi-volume set.

The Summa. People talk about Aquinas wrote the Summa. Then also, there's Summa Contra Gentilis.

Now listen to this, we'll take a break. There were pagan philosophers. There were Islamic false teachings. And when Aquinas wrote the Summa Contra means against, or a response to. Contra, then, against the Gentiles. How was Aquinas a Gentile himself?

He wasn't against the non-Jews of the world, he was against their philosophies, because they were false. So when we come back, we're going to look at what Aquinas had to say about the Trinity, because he may have been gone eight centuries plus, but he's a brilliant, godly thinker from whom we may still derive benefit today. Stay tuned. When we come back, we'll talk about Aquinas and the Trinity. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Over the last several decades, it's been my joy to travel the world talking with children, teens, adults, people of all ages, about the questions they have related to God, the Bible, Christianity, and how to know Jesus personally.

Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to make you aware of my book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity. You know, we interviewed hundreds of children and parents and families to find out the questions that children and people of all ages are longing to find answers for. In the book, we've got practical, biblical, real-life answers that they have about how to be a Christian in this modern world.

My book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask, you can find it wherever you buy books or at He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program.

Alex McFarland here. So glad that you're listening. And I want to say how much I appreciate the prayers and support of all the people that we interface with throughout North America. As you may know, we are starting youth clubs. They're called Viral Truth, and the website for that is We're chartering new clubs all the time. We equip middle schoolers, high schoolers, with talking points, how kids can reach their friends.

This is peers reaching their peers. And so we give talking points on all sorts of topics, from the basics of Christianity to a response to wokeness, the truth about transgenderism, and just things that in any previous generation would have been thought to be common sense. But we appreciate your prayers, we appreciate your support of all that we're doing, and you can go to the website, and we'd love to talk with the youth in your life about starting a Christian club, which, yes, can be on public school campuses.

And we encourage kids to use their leadership abilities for growing in the Lord and influencing their peers with the Gospel as well. But let's talk about Aquinas. Again, one of my favorite thinkers.

Oh my goodness. I want to give you an Aquinas quote. And this guy, again, he lived 1225 to 1274, but Thomas Aquinas, he was a Christian thinker. And lest you think that this is too deep, near the end of his life, shortly before he died, Thomas Aquinas took a pastorate near Naples, Italy, and it was near Easter.

And do you know what? He preached the simple Gospel message, and they said that he was so popular that farmers would come to the church before sunrise just to make sure they got a seat in the church, and that Aquinas was basically, as they led up to Palm Sunday and Easter there in, at the end of his life, 1274, that he was filling the church. Because here is a man, one of the greatest theologians that ever lived, and yet he was understandable enough that the farmers and the, as they would say, uneducated or non-lettered people would come to hear. And Aquinas once said this. He said, every possible argument against the doctrines of the Christian faith has a logical mistake in it somewhere, and therefore there exists the possibility that it be answered.

Now let me repeat that. Every possible argument against the doctrines of the Christian faith, said Aquinas, has a logical mistake in it somewhere. And sometimes this quote is translated like this. He says, conclusions incorrectly derived. So somebody says, God doesn't exist.

Why? Oh, well, there's bad stuff in the world. Well, there is bad stuff in the world, but it's not due to the non-existence of God. It's due to the fact that we've brought sin to the table, right? Somebody says, well, Jesus didn't rise from the dead.

Okay, why would you say that? Well, because that would be a miracle. Okay, yes, but if God exists, he can act in the world. And one of the actions for which we have good evidence is that the Son of God rose from the dead. So when Aquinas says every possible argument against the Christian faith has a rational mistake in it somewhere, and therefore there exists the possibility that it be answered, that's really true.

And that's very exciting. And in a way, that's like one of my favorite verses, 2 Peter 1.16, where the Apostle Peter said, we have not followed cleverly devised fables. It's not a myth or a legend. And even when people do have an objection, we can answer that objection, and we can patiently listen and interact and pray.

And do you know what? I have found in 30 years of ministry now, very, very often people that are hostile to the Gospel through patient listening and dialogue and prayer and obviously it's the Holy Spirit working on people, just as a drip, drip, drip of rain can wear away the hardest of rock, good content and the repetition of God's Word can ultimately pierce through even very stony hearts. Now, some people say that the Trinity is illogical or problematic, but it's God's revelation. Now, again, Deuteronomy 6.4, Aquinas noted that the Bible explicitly teaches that there is one God, and yet so many New Testament scriptures, Old and New Testament, reference a plurality within the one Godhead. In 2 Corinthians 13 verse 14, Ephesians 2.18, those are the writings of Paul. In Acts 10, Luke writes that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Ghost.

Isn't that amazing? Acts chapter 10, God, the Father, anointed Jesus, the Son, with the Holy Ghost. 1 Peter 1 that I mentioned, 1 Peter 1, 21 and 22, refers to the members of the Godhead. So, many verses reference this. Now, Orthodox Christians, if you're a Bible-believing disciple of Jesus, we quickly agree that the human faculties are incapable of fully grasping how three can be one and one can be three. And, you know, many people have tried to come up with comparisons or analogies, like a three-leaf clover. Three leaves and one stem.

But in a way, that's not exactly right, because one leaf could be lost, and you would have a two-leaf clover, and you could have a four-leaf clover. In the Trinity, the three persons are necessarily essential, and they can't be removed or added to nor taken from. It's the nature of who God is. Maybe you've seen that symbol, and it's on the spine of many Bibles, the triquetra.

It's like a triangle with kind of a loop on each corner. In 1259, the person of whom we speak right now, Aquinas, wrote a book on the Trinity. It was called De-Trinitate, and it was really a commentary on some writings that had come before about the Trinity. And we don't have time to fully, fully go into all of it, but Aquinas was working to try to convince all objectors that the triune nature of God is coherent. It is meaningful. It is not meaningless. It's not illogical. And so, challenging, for sure, but it is what God has revealed.

Now, we're going to have to pull away, because we're almost out of time, but let me give one analogy that it's not completely adequate, but it's better than some. You know, some people talk about water. It can be solid, liquid, or gas. Ice, it can be just plain water, or it can be steam. But here's the thing.

While water is in a frozen state, it's not in a liquid or steam state. And so God is eternally one, and yet eternally three. I've often used, and I use this in the book The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About God, I use the idea of a piano chord. And in fact, in a chord, and chords are called triads.

Isn't that interesting? A three-note chord, like C, E, G. There's a one, a three, and a five. So C, C, D, E, E, F, G. And now you can play a three-note chord on a piano or an instrument, like a guitar. And you hear there's this one chord. But if you listen carefully, you'll hear the distinct notes.

If you look at a chord, and I did this when I was in college in a music course, you can put a chord through a type of computer called an oscilloscope. And while there's this one tone, yet there are three tones. That's not a perfect analogy, but it's maybe one that's somewhat adequate. Now when we resume on another program, we'll talk farther about the Trinity, but it's the one that Aquinas, in summary, he said, For in this Trinity is the supreme origin of all things and absolutely perfect beauty and most blessed delight. Yes, just as a chord is beautiful, a person can be beautiful, worth, value, dignity in personhood. Please reflect on the beauty of God, eternal and yet acting in time, holy and righteous, yet merciful and forgiving. Three and yet one, beyond any human grasp, and yet God has revealed himself to us so that we can know him and know him personally. And that is possible because of this eternal God who has revealed himself and his triune nature. May God be praised and may we grow in our relationship with him.

Let's think about that. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for the truth. Learn more and donate securely online at You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-Yes-God-1. That's 1-877-Y-E-S-G-O-D-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of The Alex McFarland Show.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-07 06:50:58 / 2023-02-07 07:01:35 / 11

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