3.2.1 References to the triune God in the Old Testament

The first reference to the activity of the triune God is recorded in the first account of creation (Genesis 1: 1-31; 2: 1-4). There it states: "And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters" (Genesis 1: 2) and also: "Then God said, 'Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness'" (Genesis 1: 26). "Elohim", the designation for God used in the original Hebrew text, is plural. It means "the Divine" as well as "gods" and should be understood, in light of the gospel, as a reference to the triune God.

The various divine manifestations, for example "Angel of the Lord" (Genesis 16: 7-11, 13; Exodus 3: 2-5; Judges 6: 11-16), "Spirit of God" (Genesis 1: 2), or "Spirit of the Lord" (Judges 3: 10; 1 Samuel 16: 13) are also interpreted as references to the mystery of the trinity of God.

The events and references in which the number three appears also allude to the Trinity:

  • The three messengers of God who visited Abraham (Genesis 18) are understood in Christian tradition as a reference to the mystery of the divine Trinity.

  • The activity of the triune God in the priestly blessing from Numbers 6: 24-26 is interpreted in the same way: "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you, the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace."

  • The angel's threefold praise in the inaugural vision of the prophet Isaiah is also considered an indication of God's trinity: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" (Isaiah 6: 3).

See also