My question is about the tri-unity of God. In one of the study groups I attend the question was asked, “What does it mean in Genesis when God says, 'Let us create man in our image'”? My answer was “Us” refers to the tri-unity of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I met with strong disagreement. One person said that the Son did not exist until Jesus was born and that it was God and the Spirit. Another said that the Holy Spirit was not there until Jesus ascended to heaven and sent the Spirit. I disagree with both of them and have read other things that back up my belief. I was also wondering if when the three men came to see Abraham, if that was a clue to the tri-unity of God. What are your thoughts?
God is unbelievably unique. He is a single being, and yet He is the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit simultaneously. Deut. 6:5 says that God is “One,” but the Hebrew word that is translated as “One” in our English Bibles refers to a plural being. God is a mystery. We should not be surprised that we do not understand Him. We are not God. If aliens existed on another planet and if they visited us, we probably would discover that they are very different from us. Should we expect God to be like us? Does God look like us? We know that He is a spirit. He is a plural-one. God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So when God created Adam and Eve, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all created them. That is the meaning of Genesis 1:26.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (NASB) Genesis 1:26
Father & Spirit Created
Genesis 1:1 makes it clear that God created everything,
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NASB) Genesis 1:1
Genesis 1:2 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit existed before Adam and Eve and was present and actively involved in the creation too!
The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. (NASB) Genesis 1:2
But the strongest statement about the Holy Spirit being involved in the creation comes from Ps. 104:30.
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the ground. (NASB) Psalm 104:30
Here we are told that the Spirit creates too! Before we leave our discussion about the Holy Spirit, it is also important to note that the Holy Spirit was active throughout the Old Testament (Ex. 31:3, 31; Num. 11:25-29; Judg. 3:10; 11:29; 10:6; 2 Chron. 15:1) before Jesus was ever born.
Jesus Created Too!
In the New Testament we are also told that Jesus created the heavens and earth. In the first passage we are told that Jesus is the image of the invisible God – that is, God is invisible to us and Jesus is completely and totally God. He is of the same essence and substance with the same powers and attributes as God the Father. There is no difference. When we read in this first passage that Jesus is the “firstborn” of creation, it does not mean that Jesus was born or born first. The Greek word translated as “firstborn” means that Jesus is the priority one. The passage also tells us that Jesus created everything. That is, He was there in Genesis 1:1. He was involved in the creation.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (NASB) Colossians 1:15-17
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” (NASB) Revelation 5:11-13
This means that Jesus existed before Adam and Eve. In fact, He has always existed.
Regarding your last question, Genesis 18:2 tells us that three “men” visited Abraham. These beings were not really humans. Gen. 18:33 reveals that one of them was the LORD, or the Lord Jesus Christ, and Gen. 19:1 tells us that the other two were angels. This was an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ along with two angels. In theology it is called a theophany. Jesus created and He appeared in the Old Testament as a theophany.
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit created the world and they created Adam and Eve – “Let us . . .” This must be true, since God is a plural-one or a triune being. Since God is eternal, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are eternal. They have always existed, and they will always exist. These are fundamental truths. God is a mystery.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. (NASB) Is. 55:9