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GENESIS

1:1-3  

In the Beginning, God created...

...The Spirit of God was moving...

and God said...

The triunity of God is in the first three verses of the Bible, and no appeal to the New Testament is necessary.

The Father, The Spirit, and The Word were all involved in Creation, and Creation is the domain of YHWH alone.
 

 

God The Father created the heavens and the earth [Gen 1:1].

 

Since God The Father is spirit, it is surprising that Genesis 1:2 describes The Spirit of God moving over the surface of the primordial deep. The second ascription sounds redundant to the first one, and yet there is a second ascription.

Then God speaks [Gen 1:3]. His Word is working. But we do not require commentary from the NT [John 1:3], nor from later Jewish theology [see Memra, The] to hear about The Word. The Debar-YHWH, "The Word of YHWH," is present in Genesis. The Debar-YHWH comes to Abraham in a vision [Gen 15:1]. Now, on this point one might object and say The Word here is merely the message of God. However, the OT is more explicit in Psalm 33:6, where it says "By the Debar-YHWH the heavens were made." This corroborates Genesis 1:3 (as well as John 1:3).

Thus, YHWH and Debar-YHWH and Ruah-YHWH were involved in Creation, the domain of YHWH alone.

But YHWH is one.
 

This is merely the first testimony of thousands in the Bible to the triunity of God.

1:26   

Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness...."

This verse should not be used as a solitary "proof" of God's triunity. A few reasonable objections ought to be taken into account. First, apologists of Rabbinic Judaism have been pointing out the singular grammar of "make," "image," "likeness," and "created" (in v.27) since the Middle Ages. Second, many have suggested a literary convention called "the royal we," as when a queen says, "We are not amused," speaking only for herself. Third, one interpretation cites the presence of "The Divine Council," a gathering of angels (lesser elohim) whom are being addressed (not as actors in Creation, but as privileged witnesses).

With these factors noted, however, it is probable that this verse in fact refers to God's complex unity. The simultaneous use of plural and singular grammar in no way contravenes the triunity of God. The "royal we" is unlikely in light of the context of multiple ascriptions. And while The Divine Council interpretation is possible, it may be rejected by the criterion of extancy: the narrative itself has spoken nothing of them. Instead, the only named entities or ascriptions thus far are "Elohim" and "The Spirit of Elohim," who already constitute a plurality (and who, as correctly indicated by the grammar, also constitute a unity).

→ See Syntactic Notables

3:8  

...the man and his wife heard the sound of YHWH Elohim moving about in the garden... 

This is the second verse in Genesis popularly cited as evidence of God's complex unity, but caution is again recommended. There are at least eight theophanies in Genesis wherein the visible and sometimes even physical manifestation of YHWH Himself is all but incontestable. But this is not one of them.

The word "move" is from the Hebrew root הלך. This could describe physical walking, but it could also describe a generic movement, say, of the aureal presence of God. There is no other data point in this pericope which suggests tangibility, so this theophany remains ambiguous. God could have been physically present in the Garden, as afterward He was physically present with Abraham, Hagar, Isaac, and Jacob. Alternately, the presence of God could have been invisible or present in an unexplained way, as was the case in Genesis 11:5-8 or Genesis 21:1. 

→ See Theophany in Torah

16:7, 13 

The Mal'ak YHWH found Hagar near a spring of water in the wilderness...on the road to Shur.

So Hagar named YHWH who had spoken to her, "You are the God who sees me."

For she said, "Here I have seen the back of the One who sees me!" 

The Mal'ak YHWH is not an angel, but YHWH in angel form. Even though a large amount of material proves this elsewhere, there is proof right here in 16:13—the Genesis narrative, which is God-breathed, calls Him "YHWH." It was not the direct speech of Hagar, so that it could be passed off as the unauthoritative comment of a human. It was the narrative introducing us to something Hagar was about to say. The Bible itself calls The Mal'ak YHWH "YHWH." Other entities may be called "Elohim," but only one is ever called "YHWH."

God The Father's face cannot be seen by terrestrial man [Exod 33:20]. Visible manifestations of YHWH in the Tanakh are in fact the pre-incarnate Christ, as John 1:18 explicitly disambiguates.

→ See The Mal'ak YHWH

18:8  

And they ate while [Abraham] was standing near them, under the oak tree.

The ones eating Abraham's food were physical manifestations, that of YHWH and two angels, described as "men" [Gen 18:2]. Abraham recognized one of the three as God who had appeared to him twice before [Gen 12:6-7; 17:1-22]. That this one was YHWH is incontestable: the narrative calls Him (and only Him) "YHWH" nine times in the story [Gen 18:1–19:24].

19:24  

YHWH rained fire and brimstone down on Sodom and Gomorrah from YHWH in Heaven.

The first YHWH was the one who had been walking around with Abraham in Genesis 18. The second YHWH was The Father in Heaven. The pre-incarnate Son called down the fire and brimstone while standing before the two cities. The Father was the one who sent it.

 

These two are not two gods. Both are the one true God, YHWH. He is able to be on Earth and in Heaven at the same time—just as He was the last three times (appearing to Abraham twice and Hagar once), just as He later was during Jesus's Incarnation, and just as He later was during Pentecost.

32:30  

And Jacob named that place Peniel [meaning "Face of God"]: "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved."

Jacob's declaration was true. It was not merely an angel, or merely a "man," as the figure is first introduced (just as YHWH was introduced as a "man" in Genesis 18:2). It was God as a physical manifestation, able to wrestle and cause Jacob to limp after this encounter.

48:15-16  

    May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, 
    the God who has been a shepherd to me all my life to this day,
    the Angel who has protected me from all harm 
    bless these boys. 

In Jacob’s final prayer, he invokes three epithets for God. There is no change in subject.

The Angel-of-YHWH is directly equated with YHWH Himself.

Genesis Summary

YHWH and The Debar-YHWH and The Ruah-YHWH were involved in Creation, which is the domain of YHWH alone. These three are One, thereby exhibiting the triunity of God. Throughout the record of Genesis, YHWH manifested visibly to humans in nine theophanies: 4 times to Abraham [12:1-3; 12:6-7; 17:1-22; 18:1-19:24], 1 time to Hagar [16:7-14], 2 times to Isaac [26:2-5; 26:24-25], and 2 times to Jacob [32:24-31; 35:9-15]. His manifestation to Hagar was as The Mal'ak YHWH, whom the inspired narrative labels "YHWH." In the most memorable theophany, YHWH ate Abraham's food, walked with him, and later called down fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah from YHWH in Heaven [19:24]. Jacob claimed, correctly, to have seen God face-to-face, and later equated the God of Abraham and Isaac to The Angel of YHWH. These face-to-face encounters do not contradict Exodus 33:20, because it is only God The Father whom terrestrial eyes cannot look upon; visible manifestations of YHWH are in fact the pre-incarnate Son [John 1:18; 3:13].

Gen 32:30
Gen 3:8
Gen 18:8
Gen 16:7
Gen 19:24
Gen 48:15
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