The Trinity

by Louis Berkhof


C. The Three Persons Considered Separately.


a. The name Fatheras applied to God. This name is not always used of God in the same sense in Scripture. (1) Sometimes it is applied to the Triune God as the origin of all created things, I Cor. 8:6; Eph. 3:15; Heb. 12:9; Jas. 1:17. While in these cases the name applies to the triune God, it does refer more particularly to the first person, to whom the work of creation is more especially ascribed in Scripture. (2) The name is also ascribed to the triune God to express the theocratic relation in which He stands to Israel as His Old Testament people, Deut. 32:6; Isa. 63:16; 64:8; Jer. 3:4; Mal. 1:6; 2:10. (3) In the New Testament the name is generally used to designate the triune God as the Father in an ethical sense of all His spiritual children, Matt. 5:45; 6:6-15; Rom. 8:16; I John 3:1. (4) In an entirely different sense, however, the name is applied to the first person of the Trinity in His relation to the second person, John 1:14,18; 5:17-26; 8:54; 14:12,13. The first person is the Father of the second in a metaphysical sense. This is the original fatherhood of God, of which all earthly fatherhood is but a faint reflection.

b. The distinctive property of the Father. The personal property of the Father is, negatively speaking, that He is not begotten or unbegotten, and positively speaking, the generation of the Son and the spiration of the Holy Spirit. It is true that spiration is also a work of the Son, but in Him it is not combined with generation. Strictly speaking, the only work that is peculiar to the Father exclusively is that of active generation.

c. The opera ad extra ascribed more particularly to the Father. All the opera ad extra of God are works of the triune God, but in some of these works the Father is evidently in the foreground, such as: (1) Designing the work of redemption, including election, of which the Son was Himself an object, Ps. 2:7.9; 40:6.9; Isa. 53:10; Matt. 12:32; Eph. 1:3-6. (2) The works of creation and providence, especially in their initial stages, I Cor. 8:6; Eph. 2:9. (3) The work of representing the Trinity in the Counsel of Redemption, as the holy and righteous Being, whose right was violated, Ps. 2:7-9; 40:6-9; John 6:37,38; 17:4-7.


a. The name Sonas applied to the second person. The second person in the Trinity is called “Son” or “Son of God” in more than one sense of the word. (1) In a metaphysical sense. This must be maintained over against Socinians and Unitarians, who reject the idea of a tri-personal Godhead, see in Jesus a mere man, and regard the name “Son of God” as applied to Him primarily as an honorary title conferred upon Him. It is quite evident that Jesus Christ is represented as the Son of God in Scripture, irrespective of His position and work as Mediator. (a) He is spoken of as the Son of God from a preincarnation standpoint, for instance in John 1:14,18; Gal. 4:4. (b) He is called the “only begotten” Son of God or of the Father, a term that would not apply to Him, if He were the Son of God only in an official or in an ethical sense, John 1:14,18; 3:16,18; I John 4:9. Compare II Sam. 7:14; Job 2:1; Ps. 2:7; Luke 3:38; John 1:12. In some passages it is abundantly evident from the context that the name is indicative of the deity of Christ, John 5:18-25; Heb. 1. (d) While Jesus teaches His disciples to speak of God, and to address Him as “our Father,” He Himself speaks of Him, and addresses Him, simply as “Father” or “my Father,” and thereby shows that He was conscious of a unique relationship to the Father, Matt. 6:9; 7:21; John 20:17. (e) According to Matt. 11:27, Jesus as the Son of God claims a unique knowledge of God, a knowledge such as no one else can possess. (f) The Jews certainly understood Jesus to claim that He was the Son of God in a metaphysical sense, for they regarded the manner in which He spoke of Himself as the Son of God as blasphemy, Matt. 26:63; John 5:18; 10:36. — (2) In an official or Messianic sense. In some passages this meaning of the name is combined with the one previously mentioned. The following passages apply the name “Son of God” to Christ as Mediator, Matt. 8:29, 26:63 (where this meaning is combined with the other); 27:40; John 1:49; 11:27. This Messiah-Sonship is, of course, related to the original Sonship of Christ. It was only because He was the essential and eternal Son of God, that He could be called the Son of God as Messiah. Moreover, the Messiah-Sonship reflects the eternal Sonship of Christ. It is from the point of view of this Messiah-Sonship that God is even called the God of the Son, II Cor. 11:31; Eph. 1:3, and is sometimes mentioned as God in distinction from the Lord, John 17:3; I Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:5,6. — (3) In a nativistic sense. The name “Son of God” is given to Jesus also in view of the fact that He owed His birth to the paternity of God. He was begotten, according to His human nature, by the supernatural operation of the Holy Spirit, and is in that sense the Son of God. This is clearly indicated in Luke 1:32,35, and may probably be inferred also from John 1:13.

b. The personal subsistence of the Son. The personal subsistence of the Son must be maintained over against all Modalists, who in one way or another deny the personal distinctions in the Godhead. The personality of the Son may be substantiated as follows:

(1) The way in which the Bible speaks of the Father and the Son alongside of each other implies that the one is just as personal as the other, and is also indicative of a personal relationship existing between the two.

(2) The use of the appelatives “only-begotten” and “firstborn” imply that the relation between the Father and the Son, while unique, can nevertheless be represented approximately as one of generation and birth. The name “firstborn” is found in Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:6, and emphasizes the fact of the eternal generation of the Son. It simply means that He was before all creation. (3) The distinctive use of the term “Logos” in Scripture points in the same direction. This term is applied to the Son, not in the first place to express His relation to the world (which is quite secondary), but to indicate the intimate relation in which He stands to the Father, the relation like that of a word to the speaker. In distinction from philosophy, the Bible represents the Logos as personal and identifies Him with the Son of God, John 1:1-14; I John 1:1-3. (4) The description of the Son as the image, or even as the very image of God in II Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3. God clearly stands out in Scripture as a personal Being. If the Son of God is the very image of God, He too must be a person.

c. The eternal generation of the Son. The personal property of the Son is that He is eternally begotten of the Father (briefly called “filiation”), and shares with the Father in the spiration of the Spirit. The doctrine of the generation of the Son is suggested by the Biblical representation of the first and second persons of the Trinity as standing in the relation of Father and Son to each other. Not only do the names “Father” and “Son” suggest the generation of the latter by the former, but the Son is also repeatedly called “the only-begotten,” John 1:14,18; 3:16,18; Heb. 11:17; I John 4:9. Several particulars deserve emphasis in connection with the generation of the Son: (1) It is a necessary act of God. Origen, one of the very first to speak of the generation of the Son, regarded it as an act dependent on the Father's will and therefore free. Others at various times expressed the same opinion. But it was clearly seen by Athanasius and others that a generation dependent on the optional will of the Father would make the existence of the Son contingent and thus rob Him of His deity. Then the Son would not be equal to and homoousios with the Father, for the Father exists necessarily, and cannot be conceived of as non-existent. The generation of the Son must be regarded as a necessary and perfectly natural act of God. This does not mean that it is not related to the Father's will in any sense of the word. It is an act of the Father's necessary will, which merely means that His concomitant will takes perfect delight in it. (2) It is an eternal act of the Father. This naturally follows from the preceding. If the generation of the Son is a necessary act of the Father, so that it is impossible to conceive of Him as not generating, it naturally shares in the eternity of the Father. This does not mean, however, that it is an act that was completed in the far distant past, but rather that it is a timeless act, the act of an eternal present, an act always continuing and yet ever completed. Its eternity follows not only from the eternity of God, but also from the divine immutability and from the true deity of the Son. In addition to this it can be inferred from all those passages of Scripture which teach either the pre-existence of the Son or His equality with the Father, Mic. 5:2; John 1:14,18; 3:16; 5:17,18,30,36; Acts 13:33; John 17:5; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:3. The statement of Ps. 2:7, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee,” is generally quoted to prove the generation of the Son, but, according to some, with rather doubtful propriety, cf. Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5. They surmise that these words refer to the raising up of Jesus as Messianic King, and to the recognition of Him as Son of God in an official sense, and should probably be linked up with the promise found in II Sam. 7:14, just as they are in Heb. 1:5.

(3) It is a generation of the personal subsistence rather than of the divine essence of the Son. Some have spoken as if the Father generated the essence of the Son, but this is equivalent to saying that He generated His own essence, for the essence of both the Father and the Son is exactly the same. It is better to say that the Father generates the personal subsistence of the Son, but thereby also communicates to Him the divine essence in its entirety. But in doing this we should guard against the idea that the Father first generated a second person, and then communicated the divine essence to this person, for that would lead to the conclusion that the Son was not generated out of the divine essence, but created out of nothing. In the work of generation there was a communication of essence; it was one indivisible act. And in virtue of this communication the Son also has life in Himself. This is in agreement with the statement of Jesus, “For as the Father hath life in Himself, even so gave He to the Son also to have life in Himself,” John 5:26.

(4) It is a generation that must be conceived of as spiritual and divine. In opposition to the Arians, who insisted that the generation of the Son necessarily implied separation or division in the divine Being, the Church Fathers stressed the fact that this generation must not be conceived in a physical and creaturely way, but should be regarded as spiritual and divine, excluding all idea of division or change. It brings distinctio and distributio, but no diversitas and divisio in the divine Being. (Bavinck) The most striking analogy of it is found in man's thinking and speaking, and the Bible itself seems to point to this, when it speaks of the Son as the Logos.

(5) The following definition may be given of the generation of the Son: It is that eternal and necessary act of the first person in the Trinity, whereby He, within the divine Being, is the ground of a second personal subsistence like His own, and puts this second person in possession of the whole divine essence, without any division, alienation, or change.

d. The deity of the Son. The deity of the Son was denied in the early Church by the Ebionites and the Alogi, and also by the dynamic Monarchians and the Arians. In the days of the Reformation the Socinians followed their example, and spoke of Jesus as a mere man. The same position is taken by Schleiermacher and Ritschl, by a host of liberal scholars, particularly in Germany, by the Unitarians, and by the Modernists and Humanists of the present day. This denial is possible only for those who disregard the teachings of Scripture, for the Bible contains an abundance of evidence for the deity of Christ (This is very ably summed up in such works as Liddon's The Divinity of Our Lord, Warfield's The Lord of Glory, and Wm. C. Robinson's Our Lord). We find that Scripture (1) explicitly asserts the deity of the Son in such passages as John 1:1; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6; Tit. 2:13; I John 5:20; (2) applies divine names to Him, Isa. 9:6; 40:3; Jer. 23:5,6; Joel 2:32 (comp. Acts 2:21); I Tim. 3:16; (3) ascribes to Him divine attributes, such as eternal existence, Isa. 9:6; John 1:1,2; Rev. 1:8; 22:13, omnipresence, Matt. 18:20; 28:20; John 3:13, omniscience, John 2:24,25; 21:17; Rev. 2:23, omnipotence. Isa. 9:6; Phil. 3:21; Rev. 1:8, immutability, Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8, and in general every attribute belonging to the Father, Col. 2:9; (4) speaks of Him as doing divine works, as creation, John 1:3,10; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2,10, providence, Luke 10:22; John 3:35; 17:2; Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3, the forgiveness of sins, Matt. 9:2-7; Mark 2:7-10; Col. 3:13, resurrection and judgment, Matt. 25:31,32; John 5:19-29; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Phil. 3:21; II Tim. 4:1, the final dissolution and renewal of all things, Heb. 1:10-12; Phil. 3:21; Rev. 21:5, and (5) accords Him divine honour, John 5:22,23; 14:1; I Cor. 15:19; II Cor. 13:13; Heb. 1:6; Matt. 28:19.

e. The place of the Son in the economic Trinity. It should be noted that the order of existence in the essential or ontological Trinity is reflected in the economic Trinity. The Son occupies the second place in the opera ad extra. If all things are out of the Father, they are through the Son, I Cor. 8:6. If the former is represented as the absolute cause of all things, the latter stands out clearly as the mediating cause. This applies in the natural sphere, where all things are created and maintained through the Son, John 1:3,10; Heb. 1:2,3. He is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, John 1:9. It applies also to the work of redemption. In the Counsel of Redemption He takes upon Himself to be Surety for His people, and to execute the Father's plan of redemption, Ps. 40:7,8. He works this out more particularly in His incarnation, sufferings, and death, Eph. 1:3-14. In connection with His function the attributes of wisdom and power, I Cor. 1:24; Heb. 1:3, and of mercy and grace, are especially ascribed to Him, II Cor. 13:13; Eph. 5:2,25.


a. The name applied to the third person of the Trinity. While we are told in John 4:24 that God is Spirit, the name is applied more particularly to the third person in the Trinity. The Hebrew term by which He is designated is ruach, and the Greek pneuma, both of which are, like the Latin spiritus, derived from roots which mean “to breathe.” Hence they can also be rendered “breath,” Gen. 2:7; 6:17; Ezek. 37:5, 6, or “wind,” Gen. 8:1; I Kings 19:11; John 3:8. The Old Testament generally uses the term “spirit” without any qualification, or speaks of “the Spirit of God” or “the Spirit of the Lord,” and employs the term “Holy Spirit” only in Ps. 51:11; Isa. 63:10,11, while in the New Testament this has become a far more common designation of the third person in the Trinity. It is a striking fact that, while the Old Testament repeatedly calls God “the Holy One of Israel,” Ps. 71:22; 89:18; Isa. 10:20; 41:14; 43:3; 48:17, the New Testament seldom applies the adjective “holy” to God in general, but uses it frequently to characterize the Spirit. This is in all probability due to the fact that it was especially in the Spirit and His sanctifying work that God revealed Himself as the Holy One. It is the Holy Spirit that takes up His abode in the hearts of believers, that separates them unto God, and that cleanses them from sin.

b. The personality of the Holy Spirit. The terms “Spirit of God” or “Holy Spirit” do not suggest personality as much as the term “Son” does. Moreover, the person of the Holy Spirit did not appear in a clearly discernible personal form among men, as the person of the Son of God did. As a result the personality of the Holy Spirit was often called in question, and therefore deserves special attention. The personality of the Spirit was denied in the early Church by the Monarchians and the Pneumatomachians. In this denial they were followed by the Socinians in the days of the Reformation. Still later Schleiermacher, Ritschl, the Unitarians, present-day Modernists, and all modern Sabellians reject the personality of the Holy Spirit. It is often said in the present day that those passages which seem to imply the personality of the Holy Spirit simply contain personifications. But personifications are certainly rare in the prose writings of the New Testament and can easily be recognized. Moreover, such an explanation clearly destroys the sense of some of these passages, e.g. John 14:26; 16:7-11; Rom. 8:26. Scripture proof for the personality of the Holy Spirit is quite sufficient: (1) Designations that are proper to personality are given to Him. Though pneuma is neuter, yet the masculine pronoun ekeinos is used of the Spirit in John 16:14; and in Eph. 1:14 some of the best authorities have the masculine relative pronoun hos. Moreover, the name Parakletos is applied to Him, John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7, which cannot be translated by “comfort,” or be regarded as the name of any abstract influence. That a person is meant is indicated by the fact that the Holy Spirit as Comforter is placed in juxtaposition with Christ as the Comforter about to depart, to whom the same term is applied in I John 2:1. It is true that this term is followed by the neuters ho and auto in John 14:16-18, but this is due to the fact that pneuma intervenes. (2) The characteristics of a person are ascribed to Him, such as intelligence, John 14:26; 15:26; Rom. 8:16, will, Acts 16:7; I Cor. 12:11, and affections, Isa. 63:10; Eph. 4:30. Moreover, He performs acts proper to personality. He searches, speaks, testifies, commands, reveals, strives, creates, makes intercession, raises the dead, etc., Gen. 1:2; 6:3; Luke 12:12; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:8; Acts 8:29; 13:2; Rom. 8:11; I Cor. 2:10,11. What does all these things cannot be a mere power or influence, but must be a person. (3) He is represented as standing in such relations to other persons as imply His own personality. He is placed in juxtaposition with the apostles in Acts 15:28, with Christ in John 16:14, and with the Father and the Son in Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:13; I Pet. 1:1,2; Jude 20, 21. Sound exegesis requires that in these passages the Holy Spirit be regarded as a person. (4) There are also passages in which the Holy Spirit is distinguished from His own power, Luke 1:35; 4:14; Acts 10:38; Rom. 15:13; I Cor. 2:4. Such passages would become tautological, meaningless, and even absurd, if they were interpreted on the principle that the Holy Spirit is merely a power. This can be shown by substituting for the name “Holy Spirit” such a word as “power” or “influence.”

c. The relation of the Holy Spirit to the other persons in the trinity. The early trinitarian controversies led to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit, as well as the Son, is of the same essence as the Father, and is therefore consubstantial with Him. And the long drawn dispute about the question, whether the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father alone or also from the Son, was finally settled by the Synod of Toledo in 589 by adding the word “Filioque” to the Latin version of the Constantinopolitan Creed: “Credimus in Spiritum Sanctum qui a Patre Filioque procedit” (“We believe in the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son”). This procession of the Holy Spirit, briefly called spiration, is his personal property. Much of what was said respecting the generation of the Son also applies to the spiration of the Holy Spirit, and need not be repeated. The following points of distinction between the two may be noted, however: (1) Generation is the work of the Father only; spiration is the work of both the Father and the Son. (2) By generation the Son is enabled to take part in the work of spiration, but the Holy Spirit acquires no such power. (3) In logical order generation precedes spiration. It should be remembered, however, that all this implies no essential subordination of the Holy Spirit to the Son. In spiration as well as in generation there is a communication of the whole of the divine essence, so that the Holy Spirit is on an equality with the Father and the Son. The doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son is based on John 15:26, and on the fact that the Spirit is also called the Spirit of Christ and of the Son, Rom. 8:9; Gal. 4:6, and is sent by Christ into the world. Spiration may be defined as that eternal and necessary act of the first and second persons in the Trinity whereby they, within the divine Being, become the ground of the personal subsistence of the Holy Spirit, and put the third person in possession of the whole divine essence, without any division, alienation or change.

The Holy Spirit stands in the closest possible relation to the other persons. In virtue of His procession from the Father and the Son the Spirit is represented as standing in the closest possible relation to both of the other persons.

From I Cor. 2:10,11, we may infer, not that the Spirit is the same as the self- consciousness of God, but that He is as closely connected with God the Father as the soul of man is with man. In II Cor. 3:17, we read, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Here the Lord (Christ) is identified with the Spirit, not with respect to personality, but as to manner of working. In the same passage the Spirit is called “the Spirit of the Lord.” The work for which the Holy Spirit was sent into the Church on the day of Pentecost was based on His unity with the Father and the Son. He came as the Parakletos to take the place of Christ and to do His work on earth, that is, to teach, proclaim, testify, bear witness, etc., as the Son had done. Now in the case of the Son this revelational work rested on His unity with the Father. Just so the work of the Spirit is based on His unity with the Father and the Son, John 16:14,15. Notice the words of Jesus in this passage: “He shall glorify me; for He shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He taketh of mine, and shall declare it unto you.”

d. The deity of the Holy Spirit. The deity of the Holy Spirit may be established from Scripture by a line of proof quite similar to that employed in connection with the Son: (1) Divine names are given to Him, Ex. 17:7 (comp. Heb. 3:7-9); Acts 5:3,4; I Cor. 3:16; II Tim. 3:16 (comp. II Pet. 1:21). (2) Divine perfections are ascribed to Him, such as omnipresence, Ps. 139:7-10, omniscience, Isa. 40:13,14 (comp. Rom. 11:34); I Cor. 2:10,11, omnipotence, I Cor. 12:11; Rom. 15:19, and eternity, Heb. 9:14 (?). (3) Divine works are performed by Him, such as creation, Gen. 1:2; Job. 26:13; 33:4, providential renovation, Ps. 104:30, regeneration, John 3:5,6; Tit. 3:5, and the resurrection of the dead, Rom. 8:11. (4) Divine honour is also paid to Him, Matt. 28:19; Rom. 9:1; II Cor. 13:13.

e. The work of the Holy Spirit in the divine economy. There are certain works which are more particularly ascribed to the Holy Spirit, not only in the general economy of God, but also in the special economy of redemption. In general it may be said that it is the special task of the Holy Spirit to bring things to completion by acting immediately upon and in the creature. Just as He Himself is the person who completes the Trinity, so His work is the completion of God's contact with His creatures and the consummation of the work of God in every sphere. It follows the work of the Son, just as the work of the Son follows that of the Father. It is important to bear this in mind, for if the work of the Holy Spirit is divorced from the objective work of the Son, false mysticism is bound to result. The work of the Holy Spirit includes the following in the natural sphere: (1) The generation of life. As being is out of the Father, and thought through the Son, so life is mediated by the Spirit, Gen. 1:3; Job. 26:13; Ps. 33:6 (?); Ps. 104:30. In that respect He puts the finishing touch to the work of creation. (2) The general inspiration and qualification of men. The Holy Spirit inspires and qualifies men for their official tasks, for work in science and art, etc., Ex. 28:3; 31:2,3,6; 35:35; I Sam. 11:6; 16:13,14.

Of even greater importance is the work of the Holy Spirit in the sphere of redemption. Here the following points may be mentioned: (1) The preparation and qualification of Christ for His mediatorial work. He prepared Christ a body and thus enabled Him to become a sacrifice for sin, Luke 1:35; Heb. 10:5-7. In the words “a body thou didst prepare for me,” the writer of Hebrews follows the Septuagint. The meaning is: Thou hast enabled me by the preparation of a holy body to become a real sacrifice. At His baptism Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit, Luke 3:22, and received the qualifying gifts of the Holy Spirit without measure, John 3:24. (2) The inspiration of Scripture. The Holy Spirit inspired Scripture, and thus brought to men the special revelation of God, I Cor. 2:13; II Pet. 1:21, the knowledge of the work of redemption which is in Christ Jesus. (3) The formation and augmentation of the Church. The Holy Spirit forms and increases the Church, the mystical body of Jesus Christ, by regeneration and sanctification, and dwells in it as the principle of the new life, Eph. 1:22,23; 2:22; I Cor. 3:16; 12:4 ff. (4) Teaching and guiding the Church. The Holy Spirit testifies to Christ and leads the Church in all the truth. By doing this He manifests the glory of God and of Christ, increases the knowledge of the Saviour, keeps the Church from error, and prepares her for her eternal destiny, John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13,14; Acts 5:32; Heb. 10:15; I John 2:27.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY. Does pagan literature contain any analogies of the doctrine of the Trinity? Does the development of the doctrine of the Trinity start from the ontological or from the economical Trinity? Can the economical Trinity be understood apart from the ontological? Why is the doctrine of the Trinity discussed by some as introductory to the doctrine of redemption? What is the Hegelian conception of the Trinity? How did Swedenborg conceive of it? Where do we find Sabellianism in modern theology? Why is it objectionable to hold that the Trinity is purely economical? What objections are there to the modern Humanitarian conception of the Trinity? Why does Barth treat of the Trinity in the Prolegomena to theology? What is the practical significance of the doctrine of the Trinity?

LITERATURE: Bavinck, Geref Dogm. II, pp. 260-347; Kuyper, Dict. Dogm., De Deo II, pp. 3-255; Vos. Geref. Dogm. I, pp. 36-81; Mastricht, Godgeleerdheit I, pp. 576-662; Turretin, Opera, Locus Tertius; Hodge, Syst. Theol. I, pp. 442-534; Dabney, Syst. and Polem. Theol., pp. 174-211; Curtiss, The Chr. Faith, pp. 483-510; Harris, God, Creator and Lord of All, I, pp. 194-407; Illingworth, The Doctrine of the Trinity; Adeney, The Christian Conception of God, pp. 215-246; Steenstra, The Being of God as Unity and Trinity, pp. 159-269; Clarke, The Chr. Doct. of God, pp. 227-248; Bartlett, The Triune God; Liddon, The Divinity of Our Lord; Mackintosh, The Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ; Warfield, The Lord of Glory; ibid, The Spirit of God in the Old Testament; and The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity (both in Biblical Doctrines), pp. 101 ff.; ibid., Calvin's Doctrine of the Trinity (in Calvin and Calvinism); Kuyper, Het Werk van den Heiligen Geest, cf. Index; Owen, A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, cf. Index; Smeaton, The Doct. of the Holy Spirit; Pohle-Preuss, The Divine Trinity.


Louis Berkhof (1873-1957) was born in the Netherlands and emigrated as a child to the United States where his family joined the Christian Reformed Church. His theological training began at Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He then went on to study at Princeton Seminary. After briefly serving as a pastor of a local congregation he was called to teach at Calvin Seminary in 1906 where he remained for three decades. His magnum opus was the still popular, Reformed Dogmatics (Systematic Theology) published by Eerdmans. This work was condensed into the Manual of Christian Doctrine, 1933. He was also the author of The History of Christian Doctrines, published by the Banner of Truth Trust.

This article is taken from Louis Berkhof's, Systematic Theology, Eerdmans: 1972, pp. 91-99

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