Belgic Confession, Article 9: The Scriptural Witness on the Trinity

Article 9: The Scriptural Witness on the Trinity

All these things we know
from the testimonies of Holy Scripture
as well as from the effects of the persons,
especially from those we feel within ourselves.

The testimonies of the Holy Scriptures,
which teach us to believe in this Holy Trinity,
are written in many places of the Old Testament,
which need not be enumerated
but only chosen with discretion.

In the book of Genesis God says,
"Let us make humankind in our image,
according to our likeness."
So "God created humankind in his image"—
indeed, "male and female he created them."6
"See, the man has become like one of us."7

It appears from this
that there is a plurality of persons
within the Deity,
when God says,
"Let us make humankind in our image"—
and afterward God indicates the unity
in saying,
"God created."

It is true that God does not say here
how many persons there are—
but what is somewhat obscure to us
in the Old Testament
is very clear in the New.

For when our Lord was baptized in the Jordan,
the voice of the Father was heard saying,
"This is my Son, the Beloved;"8
the Son was seen in the water;
and the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove.

So, in the baptism of all believers
this form was prescribed by Christ:
Baptize all people "in the name
of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit."9

In the Gospel according to Luke
the angel Gabriel says to Mary,
the mother of our Lord:

"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born will be holy;
he will be called Son of God."10

And in another place it says:
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit
be with all of you."11

["There are three that testify in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit,
and these three are one."]12

In all these passages we are fully taught
that there are three persons
in the one and only divine essence.
And although this doctrine surpasses human understanding,
we nevertheless believe it now,
through the Word,
waiting to know and enjoy it fully
in heaven.

Furthermore,
we must note the particular works and activities
of these three persons in relation to us.
The Father is called our Creator,
by reason of his power.
The Son is our Savior and Redeemer,
by his blood.
The Holy Spirit is our Sanctifier,
by living in our hearts.

This doctrine of the holy Trinity
has always been maintained in the true church,
from the time of the apostles until the present,
against Jews, Muslims,
and certain false Christians and heretics,
such as Marcion, Mani,
Praxeas, Sabellius, Paul of Samosata, Arius,
and others like them,
who were rightly condemned by the holy fathers.

And so,
in this matter we willingly accept
the three ecumenical creeds—
the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian—
as well as what the ancient fathers decided
in agreement with them.

6 Gen. 1:26-27
7 Gen. 3:22
8 Matt. 3:17
9 Matt. 28:19
10 Luke 1:35
11 2 Cor. 13:14
12 1 John 5:7—following the better Greek texts, the NRSV and other modern translations place this verse in a footnote.