This thread is not about whether the New Testament teaches the Trinity. The Christian Church has professed belief in God as Trinity since the first generation of Christianity; this doctrine is just not "up for grabs" nor, less, the consequence of a misunderstanding of Scripture. One of the distinctions between the Church and other Christic religions (e.g. Mormons, Jehova's Witnesses) is the belief that God is Trinity. In fact, this is considered one of the most important revelations given through the life and teaching of Christ.
But why? What difference does it make, especially since we're usually taught that this is a mystery, and that trying to understand how God can be simultaneously Three Persons and One Being is an exercise in futility?
Not so fast! Just because something is a mystery doesn't mean we can't understand a great deal about it, nor that reflecting on it is pointless. According to Christian theology, this revelation of God-as-Trinity is a deep and intimate self-revelation from God--something we never could have guessed. In other words, God wants to be known as Trinity by us; to reject that would be akin to rejecting something dear and personal that any human would reveal to us--only exponentially worse!
So here goes. There's a lot we can say about the significance of God-as-Trinity, but I'll start with just a couple of things.
First, we need to acknowledge that we cannot completely wrap our minds around this doctrine. After all, we're talking about GOD, not a creature. God exists is a higher level of being, and so what's "natural" for God is likely to be as different from the human as a brain cell's consciousness is from a human's. The brain cell knows something of human consciousness and participates in it most intimately, but it cannot begin to fathom what the human mind knows, nor how it knows what it knows. So if the idea of hyper-personality or super-personality seems a little hard to grasp, well, by golly, that's as it should be. Otherwise, we're running the risk of projecting our nature onto God, and concluding that a God of mystery is not to be found in the Bible (yikes, did someone actually write that? ).
Christianity proclaims that God IS Love--and this means that this IS God's inner nature, not merely God's attitude toward creation. But how could God be Love if there was only One Person? Love requires at least two, no less. The Trinity reveals God as a Communion of Three--a dynamic exchange of Love among the Persons, who want nothing for Themselves but to give their all to the Other. These Persons receive what is given and give glory by passing it on in an intimate exchange and through the medium of creation--especially since creation has been "taken up" into the Christ. More on that in another post, perhaps. But see how the Trinity reveals the essence of God as Love itself? Supernatural Love.
The Three Share one Nature--sometimes called the Godhead. This means that although there are Three distinct Persons, they are all simultaneously One Being. Christianity really is a monotheistic religion, and the doctrine of the Trinity does no violence to this ancient Jewish affirmation.
But how can this be?
Again, consider the human body. We have all kinds of tissues and cells, and they all do their jobs within a certain range of lawfulness. Kidney cells do what they do, but they cannot do what liver cells do. While in the body, however, these different kinds of cells, which all have their unique cellular life, nonetheless live by the life of the body itself, which is the soul. When the soul leaves the body at death, all these cells die. The cells are all part of one nature or life, and live by the life of that individual soul being. We have different lives living by the life of one being.
I suppose it is similar with God, only we have these Three Persons who live by the life of the One Being, Who is God. In the human, the soul-person integrates the organs into one human organism, and in God, the three Persons of the Trinity are integrated into the Godhead. You see the analogy, I'm sure. We go from personal in the human, to Super-personal in God. E.g., our personhood is but a shadow of the Personal nature of God.
Irenaus wrote that "the glory of God is a human fully alive." Marvelous! We all do image God holographically in some unique way, especially when we are fully alive, whole, loving.
But if God is Trinity, then the fuller manifestation of God is the community fully alive--families, Churches, workplaces. Communities of love reflect the Communitarian Life of the Trinity more fully than the individual mystic, or the enlightened master. What Christianity is also saying is that if we want fully alive people, we need to work on creating fully alive communities.
It is my belief that the breakdown in community at all levels is one of the surest signs of sin in this world. We are drifting away from what it really means to be human: e.g. to be in a loving community, committed to bringing the life of the Trinity "on earth, as it is in heaven." One can do this as a monk, a hermit, married, single, a priest or religious, etc. There are all sorts of ways of "being in community." Even Internet forums are places where this can be realized, to some degree, although the commitment factor in such groups isn't always too high.
OK, that's a good start. What do you think about the above? What difference does the Trinity make for you?
I actually understood what you were saying, Phil! (pat, pat, ...me, patting myself on the back). I just have one quick reflection because I only have a few minutes here.
I hadn't thought much about what the Trinity means to me personally because I hadn't realized that our attempts at community are our attempts to be like God, Trinity. Therefor it is at the very heart of our existence. Jesus gave us many admonitions and examplbe of what it meant to be community for one another.
Perhaps this is a critical area we need to give serious consideration to. In the early church, the non-believers recognized Christians because of their undeniable love for each other (and at least tolerance for those not of their community). Are we recogniazed by that absolute commitment to the other? Or are we recognized because we are always 'right', infallibly so! How many times does an ethical question come up and it is reduced to 'what is right?', rather than 'how is the love of God best manifested here?' I'm not talking about a wishy-washy situaltional ethics approach to problems. What is right? needs to be asked. But it is not the only question and should not be asked all alone as if it were the only criteria.
Just some quick thoughts
Sheesh...why didn't someone say that in the first place!
Nice explanation, Phil. It has the effect of making God seem more real. He's got some drinking buddies of his own. The metaphor of community/trinity is outstanding (judging, judging, judging). Well, I can't help it. It really was. I'm living testament that living alone is not living. It takes a village!
Is it God who wants to be known as Trinity by us or is it man who wants to know God as Trinity?
Where in the new testament does God say His identity is a mystery?
Love does require 2. God, the Father and His creation(man).
When the horse is dead, dismount!
Steve.. you are certainly tenacious.. but not going to get into all that again.
Was reading a bit of Richard of St. Victor on the Trinity and he too talks about the fellowship of association. Thought I would quote a bit:
"If there were only one person in the divinity, that one person would certainly not have anyone with whom he could share the riches of his greatness. But on the other hand, the abundance of delights and sweetness which would have been able to increase for him on account of intimate love, would lack any eternal dimension. But the fulness of goodness does not permit the supremely good One to keep those riches for himself, nor does his fulness of blessedness allow him to be without a full abundance of delights and sweetness. And on account of the gratness of his honour, he rejoices at sharing his riches as much as he glories over enjoying the abuncance of delights and sweetness. On the basis of these considerations, it is clearly impossible that any one person in the divninity could lack the fellowship of association. IF he were to have only one partner, he would not be without anyone with whom he could share the delights of love. There is nothing which gives more pleasure or which delights the soul more than the sweetness of loving. Only someone who has a partner and a loved one in that love that has bee shown to him possesses the sweetness of such delights.
So it follows that such a sharing of love cannot exist except among less than three persons."
Ok... as anyone who has been in love knows it is almost impossible not to share that love... that incredibly wonderful happiness. It is not enough to love and to be loved but that love simply must be shared with others. Hence the desire/need for community.
This is where I find the problem with your statement Steve...
In order to be in relationship there must be three parts... take a marriage.. there must be a man and a woman but a man and a woman alone do not make a marriage.. there must be the connection - the relationship as well. There must be both lover and beloved but there also must be love... the thing that holds them together.
am I making any sense here?
Are we recogniazed by that absolute commitment to the other? Or are we recognized because we are always 'right', infallibly so! How many times does an ethical question come up and it is reduced to 'what is right?'
Yes! And as you noted, these are important questions, only love is supposed to be the point of it all. But there is a definite sense in which theology and Christian doctrine plays a role in preserving and promoting the implications of Divine revelation and, hence, the integrity of our relationship with the God who has been revealed through Christ.
The Trinity helps us understand better what our deepest truest human needs are, as you also noted, Ana, which is to belong to one another in a community of love. As a retreat master I once heard put it, the most authentic sign of Christianity is the struggle to build community. There are all sorts of communities we could envision, and even the New Testament implies several different kinds, and so we need not be rigid about the structure of these--only that, in some way, we belong to one. This is so fundamental that I feel confident saying that one cannot really be a Christian without belonging to a Church--not on some level, at least. I often tell my directees who are struggling with their relationship with God, but who are not active in a Church, to find one they can feel at home with and become an active member. Then they'll be closer to realizing the life of the Trinity. Many were "burned" by a Church, and so this is quite a challenge, and one they need to work at at their own pace.
Another point I'd like to make about the Trinity is that, since Christ, the human race has been brought directly into the life of the Trinity. Through his union with the Word, or Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus, as a member of the human race, made it possible for us to experience the Trinitarian love flow in our souls. His infusion into the Word is what we celebrate today, Ascension Thursday. His outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, which we celebrate in 10 days, was the tangible manifestation of the new and powerful infusion of Trinitarian Life into the human level of existence. What this means is that we can know and love God not only as the creature loves the Creator, but as Christ knows and loves God. In other words, we can know and love God with God's own Knowing and Loving, which is pretty awesome, when you come think about it.
This Trinitarian life, grown in the soul through faith, prayer, community life, the Sacraments, service, etc. effects a process of transformation in the a human being which the early Fathers of the Church called divinization. What this means is that, at an ontological level, the human spiritual form and, as a consequence, even the body and its nervous system, are re-made so that the human can more fully become a bearer of Trinitarian life--another Christ, if you will. This process of divinization has been described by the mystical doctors of the Church and their teachings on dark nights, stages of spiritual growth, etc. As I stated, it is a process, not an event, although there may be many significant breakthroughs along the way. The goal of the process is to enable one to fully know and love God as Christ knows and loves the Father in the Spirit.
Let me stop here and see if this making sense. Glad to hear the previous post did. I've got my Christian teaching hat on today, so this is coming at things in a little different way than I am in some of the other threads. But it is the feast of the Ascension, which is a most significant one, and I want to remember it here somehow.
This is a really good thread today. As you said, Phil, it is the day of Ascension and I, too, wanted somehow to recognize it. Lots of good reading here.
I particularly like the reference to the "community". This describes perfectly what transpires when 2 or more people who are blessed by a deep spiritual relationship encounter during even common conversation. I hadn't been able to put an exact word to it, but that's it, I think. The way in which the Holy Spirit connects us...the flow....is just amazing to me. I am always awestruck at how the emails or phone calls a dear friend of mine and I share turn into, invariably, times of praise. Usually we don't set out with that in mind, but the conversation ALWAYS comes back around to our Lord, our thankfulness, our love for Him and for each other, the Mercy of our great and gracious God..and on and on. It's exhilirating, yet reverent, for both of us know that these moments are God moments. Community..that's what we are as one in the body, one in the faith, one in the Spirit.
The posts are making perfect sense...keep on teaching/commenting...this is wonderful!
Jesus answered, "I'm the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
Jesus answered: "Don't you now me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves."...
"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever - the Spirit of truth...You know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you...Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."..
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him...These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."...
"But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."...
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to be become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father,full of grace and truth.
From the fulness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No-one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
Just a thought about love. My son and I were walking down the street and I saw a bus coming down the street fast towards an old lady who was in the middle of the street. I tell my son to run out there to save the woman. He runs out there and saves her but the bus hits him and he is killed. I was perfectly able to run out there myself to push the woman out of the way from the oncoming bus but I told my son to do it. What kind of love is that? If the Father is not the Son, then what kind of love was that? The scriptures tell us "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." HIS OWN LIFE, NOT SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE.
Frankly, Steve, anything you say around here is mild compared to what I think. The only way I can reconcile an all-powerful, all-loving God and suffering is a notion that �we�re all in this together� and that God needs us as much as we need him. I don�t envision (as poorly as I may) God as the stern stranger sitting high on a throne. To me he�s just �one of they guys (or gals).� The more I think about it the more a Trinity makes some sense, although I believe it�s an infinite trinity. We�re all particles of God, not in a relationship of unequals as in master/servant, but one of shared existence. If I can love God it is only because in this universe I see there is no escape from pain and I assume that includes God. If he is perfect it is because we can be too in the notion that in moments of love we are more than our Earthly existence. Existence itself is a blessing and an assault on ourselves. If God is responsible we must both love and forgive. Forgive God? Heretical, no doubt.
I agree with Phil 100% that we need a community. But I would question whether we need a church and if it (any of them) sometimes doesn�t get in the way of our spiritual journey. Certainly our anger does, our confusion does, and our LACK of questioning does. That�s what I like about you Steve. Just like Ronald Reagan you need to �trust, but verify.� The difference is that I know that I�m wrong about so many things and have (believe it or not) given up some of my dogmatic beliefs. Only then can one go beyond and see the truth and beauty in imperfection.
The only way I can reconcile an all-powerful, all-loving God and suffering is a notion that �we�re all in this together� and that God needs us as much as we need him.
Well, actually, the Christian theologian would disagree about God needing us. The love among the Persons of the Trinity is so complete that they have no need of creation to complete themselves. Rather, as Wanda noted, the impulse for creation is said to arise from this overflowing love and joy which seeks to share itself with the creatures created from this love.
As for suffering, let us please consider that most of it has nothing to do with God, but is "self-inflicted" or a consequence of social injustice. Like the Buddhists, here, I am making a distinction between pain (sickness, injury, etc.), which is often inevitable, and suffering, which is our reaction to pain.
What the life of Christ shows us is that God is with us in our suffering, God knows our suffering first-hand, God wants to heal us of suffering and its causes, etc. You seem to have this insight going with he�s just �one of they guys (or gals).�, yes, and one who has suffered as we do.
We�re all particles of God, not in a relationship of unequals as in master/servant, but one of shared existence.
That one also needs nuancing, at least from the Christian approach. For we, as creatures, are very much not-God, even though God is the source of our existence. There's a sense in which the "particles of God" concept collapses into pantheism--that God consists of the sum of the parts, and Christian theology has rejected that. There is something similar called panentheism which I hope to describe later today, and maybe you can go along with that one.
If I can love God it is only because in this universe I see there is no escape from pain and I assume that includes God.
The process theologians make the point that God knows and feels all that the universe experiences. We certainly believe that, in Christ, God knows suffering firsthand. This does help to make God seem closer than a God who is utterly remote and disinterested, doesn't it?
Forgive God? Heretical, no doubt.
Not at all--at least as a way of getting unstuck from resentment.
I agree with Phil 100% that we need a community. But I would question whether we need a church and if it (any of them) sometimes doesn�t get in the way of our spiritual journey. Certainly our anger does, our confusion does, and our LACK of questioning does.
Christianity just doesn't make as much sense if one is not a member of a Church. They're all imperfect, and they can all get in the way if one is involved the wrong way, but not much moreso than non-involvement in community. Christ intended the Church to continue his work in human history, and so identified himself with the Church as to tell Paul that persecuting the Church was persecuting him! There's just no getting around this one. Being a Christian without belonging to a Church is like being in a marriage without a spouse. It just doesn't make much sense, and the rewards are very limited.
What kind of love is that? If the Father is not the Son, then what kind of love was that? The scriptures tell us "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." HIS OWN LIFE, NOT SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE.
The Father and the Son share one life, and, at any rate, the life that was lost was the life of the human Jesus. The Word, or Second Person of the Trinity was not killed, of course. But in a very real way, through the union between the Word and human soul of Jesus, God felt the suffering of the human race and even the death of Jesus.
Your post assumes that the Father could have become incarnate, and that's just not so. Later today, I hope to say something about that, too.
OK, let's keep going: teaching thread, I guess. . . gives me a place to refer someone who wants to know more about the Trinity, so the ongoing questions, comments, and sharing are very helpful in this regard as well.
An aside, first: Brad, my comments about the necessity of Church was not meant to imply that people who don't belong to one can't be good, moral, intelligent, spiritual, mystical, contemplative, etc. It was strictly in reference to someone who professed Christian faith. Granted, there are many Churchgoers who aren't as good, holy, etc, as non-Churchgoers.
Moving on now . . .
Christian theology teaches that God is eternal--always ways, always will be, etc. We also teach that creation had a beginning, which means that creation is not eternal. Before there was creation (if we can imagine what that might be), there was God, and after creation ends (which it will), there will still be God, and all who have come to live in God.
If in the beginning, there was only God, then how do we get from God to creation? Does God just "make" creation? This is where the doctrine of the Trinity becomes quite profound--much moreso, in my view, than non-Trinitarian monotheism, or Eastern and other versions of the origins of creation.
Theology speaks of the Persons of the Trinity as being "generated," or you might say "begotten." The generation is eternal, since we are speaking of God, but the progression is as follows:
First, there is the Father--unmanifest, transcendent, etc.--the One whom pretty much everyone calls God. This is the Jewish Yahweh, the Moslem's Allah, the Hindu's Brahma, etc. And that's all she wrote in Judaism and Islam. That's God: period!
In Christianity, we believe that in the movement of the Father to create, the Word, Logos, or Second Person of the Trinity is generated (see Jn. 1). Here is a movement from God-unmanifest, to God-manifest. God is going to manifest creation, and as God has no matter lying around to create [/i]with[/i], God Himself must become disposed toward creation in some way. The Word is thus generated to give form, substance, and existence to the creation dream of the Father--a dream now shared completely by the Word, which will spawn the creation as "words of the Word," or finite forms of the Eternal Form.
Touching some earlier posts. . . we can speak of creation as "particles of God," as Brad noted, ever keeping in mind that creation does not exhaust the potentiality of the Word, and that the Father remains forever unmanifest and transcendent. Also, in the sense described above, the Word is very much the right hand of the Father, and (to go to something Steve questioned in another thread) the only one of the Persons who is capable of visible manifestation/incarnation--even sitting on a throne. It is not the Father or the Spirit who becomes incarnate, but the Word, who is the Manifestor.
Between the Father and the Son/Word, there is a Bond of Love, which is the Spirit, or Third Person of the Trinity. As Father and Son are "Persons" in the sense of possessing intelligence and volition, the bond generated by their union is also a Person, as nothing which arises between the Persons in God can be anything other than what God is. That point is a stretch, I know--suffice it to say that when the Father generates the Son/Word to manifest the creation, the Spirit is also generated as the bond between them, and to administer the creation from its interiority.
There we have it, then:
Father = unmanifest, transcendent, author of creation.
Son = God-manifesting, form-giver of creation, vessel through whom creation is spawned.
Spirit = God-immanent, flowing through creation to guide its development.
The relationship between God and creation is such that creation is in God as a fish in the water. God is simultaneously within creation as the Spirit, outside of creation as the Father, and holding creation in existence as the Word. God is in creation and creation is in God. This is what we mean by panentheism, which is to be distinguished from pantheism, where God = creation.
On a final note, I mention what theology calls the ad extra rule. What this means is that even though I've spoken of the Persons as having unique roles in the creation, we shouldn't conclude that the Persons are somehow "isolated" from one another in carrying them out. All of the Persons possess the same knowledge and carry out the same mission, just in different ways. But where One of them Is, the Others are there also by virtue of the perfect union they share. This is why Jesus, the incarnate Word, can speak of having a relationship with the Father even as he says things like "he who sees me, sees the Father," and he only does what the Father wills. He also tells us similar things about the Spirit. He was invoking the ad extra rule, although he didn't actually use that terminology. It remained for theologians reflecting on these mysteries through the centuries to use this kind of language, which I find helpful unto clarification.
Enough for now. Questions? Comments? Tomatoes?
Uh oh..now you've done it..I can come up with BUNCHES of questions..lol. That was really good btw.
Would you explain..in context with your statement that in the beginning there was only God..the scriptures that speak of God creating man in "our" image? (Gen. 1:26) That's one of those things that I've heard so many variations of explanations on, that I'm not real sure myself what it means. And how does this fit into Trinity doctrine. I've been asked this myself and I'm not quite sure how to answer.
I agree that Christ is "one of the guys" after all he calls us friends. This kind of makes me wonder why we look so highly upon those in certain positions because of their titles or educaitonal backgrounds.
I guess I understand that the one God, the Father did manifest in flesh. The Son of God = The flesh of the Father. Perhaps it is too simple or too foolish but that is what I understand from the scriptures.
This kind of makes me wonder why we look so highly upon those in certain positions because of their titles or educaitonal backgrounds.
We may indeed quite rightly look highly at those who are educated or in certain positions, as long as we don't look down lowly at others. And we should always use our own wisdom, ethics and beliefs to question anybody - title or no title. But automatically rejecting the knowledge or titles of our teachers just because they have them is no better then accepting their teachings without question. One can disagree about fairly fundamental things without the cause being mindless devotion.
Terri, please feel free to ask your questions. It could help to bring clarification to this very quick summary of a lot of theology.
Gen. 1: 26. Then God said: 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness. . . "
Some of the early Fathers of the Church read into this an early premonition of the revelation of the Trinity. More recent scholars believe that the "us" refers more to the "heavenly court." The Jews believed that angels assisted in bringing forth the creation, and so the "us" could mean that God is speaking of Himself plus the angels.
Steve, although Jesus was human and "one of the guys," Christians also believe he is the incarnate Second Person of the Trinity, which is not the same idea as the enfleshment of the Father. That idea has actually been condemned several times by the Church. Believe as you wish, of course, just do consider that 2,000 years of reflection on the Christian mysteries by some very wise and holy people in the Church just might carry as much weight as your own private interpretations of Scripture.
Good points, Brad, about looking above and below. The critical discerning mind must never be sacrificed at the altars of religion, politics, family, the approval of friends, etc.
A good weekend to you all!
From some of what I have read on the doctrine of the Trinity, it came about around 354a.d. Why did it take over 300 years to formulate and make "official" if this was seen as the truth?
It didn't. Your reading on this topic is obviously limited as you are referring to the Council of Nicea, where this doctrine was formalized. Please keep in mind that it was just impossible to hold such Councils for the first three centuries of Christianity due to Roman persecutions.
Aside from the many references to the Trinity in the Scriptures, which you do not acknowledge, here are a few others which predate Nicea by many years.
". . . You are like stones for a temple of the Father, prepared for the edifice of God the Father, hoisted to the heights by the crane of Jesus Christ, which is the cross, using the rope of the Holy Spirit. . ."
- St. Ignatius of Antioch, "Letter to the Ephesians," 110 A.D.
"Take care, therefore, to be confirmed in the decrees of the Lord and of the Apostles, in order that in everything you do, you may prosper in body and in soul, in faith and in love, in Son and in Father and in Spirit, in beginning and end."
- St. Ignatius of Antioch, "Letter to the Magnesians," 110 A.D.
"Having come to the setting of the sun,
Seeing the evening light,
We praise the Father and the Son
And the Holy Spirit of God."
- St. Dionysius of Corinth, "Evening Hymn of the Greeks," 125 A.D.
". . . On the contrary, we reverence and worship Him (the Father, mentioned earlier in the quote) and the Son who was begotten by Him and taught us these things . . . and the prophetic Spirit. We pay homage to them in reason and in truth; and to all who wish to learn, we pass on intact what we have been taught."
- St. Justin the Martyr, " First Apologia," 148. A.D.
Now Steve, I closed your other thread where you wanted to dispute this doctrine, and now I ask you to drop it on this one as well. I started this one to discuss the meaning of the Trinity, not to debate whether Christians ought to believe it. If you don't want to, that's really fine with me. You're in the good company of Jews, Moslems, Mormons, Jehova's Witnesses and many other respectable groups. Christians believe that God is Trinity, and I was trying to say something about that, not about whether we should believe it.
I can't let you off that easily. I am only raising questions that need further discernment such as, why did Jesus say blasphemy against the Holy Ghost would not be forgiven? Why would only the Holy Ghost be singled out?
Another reason not to automatically accept the Trinity teaching is because of the shadowiness of Constatine himself. I think there is much to be said about him and his participation with the Council of Nicea.
OK, I've had enough! You're a troll, and trolls have no place on this forum.
Your ability to post here is being disabled and you are not welcomed back under another login name. I check IP addresses just to be sure that this rule is not violated, and I do report to ISP's when it is.
Back on course now I hope. I can't offer any questions on the Trinity because I know so little about it. I'm not even sure how important is it for one to know these things. I guess that's a question for you. How does understanding the concept of the Trinity have practical application to one's faith as opposed to just it being something interesting to know and/or speculate about?
Hmm. That's what I was sort of trying to share about in my long posts above, Brad. But to try to summarize and reply to your questions more directly, I'll share what it means to me.
1. The Trinity tells us that God's inner nature is Love.
2. . . that a loving community images God moreso than a spiritual individual.
3. . . something about how creation is in God and God in creation.
4. . . that it was the 2nd Person of the Trinity who became Incarnate.
5. . . that the Incarnation and gift of the Spirit brings the human race "into" the life of the Trinity with Christ.
6. . . that the Persons of the Trinity minister to us from "all sides:" Christ beside us, the Father before/beyond us, and the Spirit within us.
7. . . that because of the Trinity, Christian spirituality must needs assume a relational context.
Then there is the point I made at the beginning, to the effect that the Trinity, as God's Self-revelation, is something extraordinary that God wanted to communicate to us so that we could know God better.
I could add a few more points, but this should get things going again.
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