Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

If a trinitarian is asked which God is being referred to, which God created the heaven and the earth at the beginning, MOST, if not all will say that this was the trinity, the father, son and holy spirit. All 3 were involved in the creation of the world.

So it would seem reasonable to say,

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning the trinity created the heavens and the earth.

Of course, this is supported by another favourite text,

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness...

"us" and "our" being a clear and unambiguous (for the purposes of the Q) references to the trinity

Now if we go to Heb 1:1 we get another angle that doesn't fit with the previous assumptions.

Hebrews 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. ESV

So who created the world? Here are 3 possible options that might work, there could be more.

  1. Is it the trinity - all 3 persons including the son?
  2. Or is it the trinity through the son (who is part of the trinity along with Father and HS)?
  3. The Father (God) through His son, but not involving the HS - who is part of the trinity.

If we assert that God, the trinity (Father son and holy spirit together) created the world at the beginning in Genesis 1 AND we also assert that God created the world in Genesis 1 as Hebrews 1 states, through his son, then we have just created an irreconcilable contradiction.

Excerpts from

Footnote: Some commenters may perceive this Q as an attack on Trinitarianism. This is not the intention to be critical of a brother's belief. We all have the scriptures to read from, some may prefer other introduced writings which conflict with the scriptures according to the material I have excerpted for the Q. If a respondent wishes to base on answer on 'other writings', that is understandable here at C-SE, but the Q's focus is on the passages noted and their reasonable understanding while being in accord with the broader text.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Ken Graham
    Dec 1, 2022 at 21:57

4 Answers 4


The Trinity created the world. More specifically, Trinitarians would say the Father created the world through the Son with the Holy Spirit.

The Trinity always acts as one -- there is one Divine Essence and one Divine Will. "The will of God is one, since it is the very essence of God"Summa I Q19A11

The error in the question is assuming that the name "God" has to be exactly substitutable for one other name in all contexts; hence the question if God = Trinity in Genesis 1:1 then it can't be Trinity in Hebrews 1:1.

However, Trinitarian doctrine doesn't work that way for the name "God." The name "God" describes the Essence/Nature which is one yet shared by the 3. Hence, they each can be described as God. Otherwise, we couldn't say God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

Ambrose says (De Fide i) that "God" is a name of the nature...Cited in Summa I Q13 A9

God unqualified thus could refer to the Trinity/Essence or it might be appropriated to a person, typically the Father as the principle of the Divinity.

It is said (Deuteronomy 6:4): "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one God."... Now in God the divine essence is signified by way of a form, as above explained (Article 2), which, indeed, is simple and supremely one, as shown above (I:3:7; I:11:4). So, names which signify the divine essence in a substantive manner are predicated of the three persons in the singular, and not in the plural...Summa Q39 A3

  • Thx, just as a curiosity - does Jesus having his own will which differed from God's mean it wasn't his 'divine will' that was differing, but his human will?
    – steveowen
    Dec 1, 2022 at 1:18
  • 3
    Jesus has a human will and a Divine Will according to Chalcedonian Christianity which allows for the "Not my will but thine" to be understood
    – eques
    Dec 1, 2022 at 13:21
  • 1
    -1 Neither scriptures nor "other writings" (as optionally allowed in the question) have been referenced to support this answer. It is more of a comment or personal opinion than a valid, tenable answer per the SE standards.
    – Biblasia
    Dec 3, 2022 at 16:34
  • 1
    @Biblasia To say this is more of a comment or personal opinion is not a valid claim. That's an argument from silence (i.e. a lack of citations = personal opinion without exterior support). Furthermore, personal opinions are often based upon citations anyways. In other words, don't dismiss things as personal opinion, ask for clarifications. Everything I said above can be supported by "other writings". I will add some citations when I have a moment.
    – eques
    Dec 5, 2022 at 15:33

A Trinitarian should not see any contradiction regarding the Creator:

In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth
בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ

The Creator is identified as אלהים which is plural and could be understood as such. Therefore, understanding אלהים as God, singular and at the same time plural, agrees with a belief in the Trinity. On the other hand, failing to accept the fact that this plural expression may also be taken as a singular, mistakes the first use and clouds the mind to what follows.

Demanding this plural word be taken rigidly as singular, also fails to consider other Scriptures. It was not El Shaddai, God Almighty who created: it was Elohim. If a purely singular meaning to describe the Creator was intended, a purely singular expression would have been used.

As may be seen in the comments, my answer is judged as failing to understand Hebrew. It is true Elohim is plural, but the verb in Genesis 1:1, ברא is singular. Therefore, Elohim must be singular.

My response: if all three persons acted in agreement, the action must be singular. It is not the verb that defines the nature of God. In this case, a singular verb simply affirms no part of the Godhead acted alone, something made clear in the New Testament:

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:3 NKJV)
yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
(1 Corinthians 8:6)

Furthermore, the argument the verb determines how Elohim is translated is quickly dismissed:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1)

The verb עָשָׂה, "make," in this case is written as נעשה which is plural. If the verb is the determining factor, we should read and Gods said let us make man in our image. However, the plural verb is not used to translate Elohim.

Rather then dismiss the obvious, the better approach is to consider why in the creation of man was a plural verb necessary. The Trinitarian answer is straight forward. Man was created in the image of Elohim and man does not have a singular nature. Regardless of how they are termed, man is more than a body, or soul, or spirit. Without all three, man is not man. In other words, the triune nature of Elohim requires a plural verb when creating man in the image of Elohim.

Moreover, this plural construct looks forward to salvation through Jesus Christ. The Trinitarian view is salvation is flows from three distinct divine actions:

  • The Father drawing one to the Son
  • The bodily resurrection of the Son
  • The Son instructs the Father to give the Holy Spirit

Each is separate and yet all three are necessary for eternal life. As a Trinitarian I see a clear connection with the nature of the Creator and the work of creating, and later saving mankind.

  • 1
    -1 You might like to learn more Hebrew so you don't post inaccuracies. Hebrew has many exceptions among nouns. Many nouns in Hebrew are plural always, such as "panim" (faces), "mayim" (waters), "shemayim" (heavens/skies), etc. Some nouns are actually feminine in appearance, like "abot" (fathers), or masculine, like "nashim" (women). To know the true gender and number of a noun in Hebrew, one must look at the verbs and adjectives used with it. In the case of the verse you quoted, "bara" (created) is singular, showing the subject (Elohim) must be and is singular.
    – Biblasia
    Dec 1, 2022 at 15:45
  • Genesis 1:26 is not the text you quoted in your answer. In that verse, and that verse only, there is a plural verb associated with "elohim" in reference to the true God. No other verse in the Bible does this (as far as I know)--they are all singular. And there are other clues. The first of the Ten Commandments has the first-person masculine singular pronoun to indicate "before Me." There is no "us" there.
    – Biblasia
    Dec 1, 2022 at 16:17
  • 1
    If you walk into a clock store in which there are hundreds of clocks, and all of them give the same time except one, which time would you accept? After accepting that time, would you then inspect the one clock that differed for clues as to why its Master had set it so? I do not believe that Gen. 1:26 is an error. That is a special verse. But it does not make God plural by any means. The truth is, Genesis 1:26 is part of a prophecy, and there is a special reason it is plural there.
    – Biblasia
    Dec 1, 2022 at 16:21
  • @Biblasia I have added an addendum to include Genesis 1:26 Dec 2, 2022 at 4:59

There is no contradiction to deal with regarding the Creator/God. It's more of a lack of understanding the nature of God and how He chose to manifest Himself to us. You quoted Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." You ask, "which God created the heaven and the earth at the beginning,"

The mistake your making is "assuming" God is three beings. No, there is only one being of God who chose to manifest Himself throughout the Bible as three "distinct" persons.

Look at Genesis 1:2, "And the earth was formless. and void, darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters." In this verse we are introduced to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit of God.

When you read the rest of Genesis 1 up to vs26 it says, "God said." There is no designation of the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit said. So what can we conclude from this?

Where no distinction is made, it is obviously unnecessary to make a distinction. The persons of the Trinity are persons in relation to each other, any one of the persons in relation to us is simply God. In that there is only One God. If God says to us His glory He will not give to another, that is because there is only One God.

Do you know how many hundreds of times when someone quotes a verse in the Old Testament, like Isaiah 44:24, Thus says the Lord your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens BY MYSELF, And spreading out the earth ALL ALONE." They automatically say its God the Father speaking. The verse clearly designates that the Lord is speaking.

Now, how does Jesus Christ fit into all of this? When I'm ask about who is Jesus Christ or even about the Trinity I usually tell them to start reading first, the gospel of John. There's an old adage that states, "You interpret the Old Testament in view of the New Testament because the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament."

When one reads John chapter 1 (not in every case) you cannot help to notice that someone is identified not only as being with God, but is God. And when you get to vs3, "All things came into being by Him, and apart (or without Him) nothing came into being that has come into being."

So when you continue reading the New Testament you see Jesus all over the place and you see the designation "God Father" as it relates to Jesus Christ. You will also see verses that place Jesus Christ in the Old Testament before His actual incarnation as a man.

The Old Testament is filled with prophecies pointing to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the final fulfillment of the Old Testament according to Hebrews 1:1-3.

So in conclusion. If you are in a relationship with the Father/Son/Holy Spirit, then you MUST be in a relationship with them all; for there is only one God. If you deny one, you deny them all.


I was looking up the meaning of the word "personality" with regard to the Trinity, and stumbled on this, which I think answers the question (and doesn't answer it) since there appears to be two answers.

The contrast appears strikingly in regard to the question of creation. All Western theologians teach that creation, like all God's external works, proceeds from Him as One: the separate Personalities do not enter into consideration. The Greeks invariably speak as though, in all the Divine works, each Person exercises a separate office. Irenaeus replies to the Gnostics, who held that the world was created by a demiurge other than the supreme God, by affirming that God is the one Creator, and that He made all things by His Word and His Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit (Against Heresies I.22, II.4.4-5, II.30.9 and IV.20.1). A formula often found among the Greek Fathers is that all things are from the Father and are effected by the Son in the Spirit (Athanasius, "Ad Serap.", I, xxxi; Basil, On the Holy Spirit 38; Cyril of Alexandria, "De Trin. dial.", VI). Thus, too, Hippolytus (Against Noetus 10) says that God has fashioned all things by His Word and His Wisdom creating them by His Word, adorning them by His Wisdom (gar ta genomena dia Logou kai Sophias technazetai, Logo men ktizon Sophia de kosmon). The Nicene Creed still preserves for us this point of view. In it we still profess our belief "in one God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth . . . and in one Lord Jesus Christ . . . by Whom all things were made . . . and in the Holy Ghost."


As a child of the 1990's and an avid viewer of Captain Planet, I think this makes a lot of sense and probably frames the worst analogy I could ever possibly make. The Planeteers, while they hold the rings to summon Captain Planet obviously can't get the credit for doing anything on their own, except get kidnapped and fight with each other. Captain Planet, the hero, is the only one who can do the work, even though he claims at the end of each show that "the power is yours" he doesn't really mean it. 5 Planeteers, one Captain Planet.

So it is with God's work in creation, God does all the work. Which God you ask? The One God "whose actions proceed from Him as One".

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