Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)


Ronnie Campbell


The Father, Trinity, Jesus, Holy Spirit, predication, identity, pattern, YHWH, divine identity




The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most difficult doctrines to explain and comprehend. Historically, trinitarian discussions, especially during the first four centuries, have centered on the deity of Christ and His relation to the Father. Later, this discussion centered on the deity of the Holy Spirit, and His relation to both the Father and the Son. The identity of the Father, however, is rarely discussed, but rather it is simply assumed. The Father is simply the first Person of the Trinity, the God of Israel, YHWH. The problem, however, is that, for Christians, YHWH is triune. As such, if the Father is YHWH, then this implies that the Father is also triune. This project seeks to take up the task of firmly establishing, and then clarifying, the identity of the Father, especially as it relates to YHWH. It begins by establishing that, throughout Scripture, second-temple Jewish literature, and in the writings of the early church fathers, the Father was most clearly identified as YHWH, the God of Israel, whereas Jesus was identified as His Son. From here, Richard Bauckham’s notion of divine identity is argued for, and defended, showing how this concept formed the theological background of the New Testament. After explaining the relation between YHWH’s identity and nature, it is shown that the “is” of predication can be used to clarify the claim that “The Father is YHWH.” Lastly, the concept of divine identity is used to synthesize all of the findings together and show how the doctrine of the Trinity can be affirmed, while avoiding the charge of internal incoherence.

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