does Trinitarianism Anthropomorphize God ?

NiceCupOfTea

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does Trinitarianism Anthropomorphize God ?

You have the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. So two of the three persons of the trinity are human like ?
 

radarmark

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Well, since most Christians believe in a "Father-in-the-sky" and "Christ-Jesus-as-a-person", of course. This does not mean that all trinitarians do so. Again, depands on what you mean by "Father" and "Son". Do they have to be seen this way? History says nay.
 

NiceCupOfTea

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Well, since most Christians believe in a "Father-in-the-sky" and "Christ-Jesus-as-a-person", of course. This does not mean that all trinitarians do so. Again, depands on what you mean by "Father" and "Son". Do they have to be seen this way? History says nay.


how can they not be seen as anthropomorphic ?
 

radarmark

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if one does not berlieve that g!d is much more than a tendicy of the world to process and one beleives Chr!st Jesus is an inner voice (look up quakerism, anabaptists, and other mystical chiristian groups).
 

Thomas

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how can they not be seen as anthropomorphic ?
I agree, when it's anthropos who's thinking ...

The best we can do is offset the apophatic with the cataphatic, the 'God is' with the 'God is not'

So then the question devolves to, what is the imagery or the term trying to convey.

Plenty of people make light of the Doctrine of the Trinity because they assume a shallow and superficial understanding of the concept.
 

NiceCupOfTea

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I agree, when it's anthropos who's thinking ...

The best we can do is offset the apophatic with the cataphatic, the 'God is' with the 'God is not'

So then the question devolves to, what is the imagery or the term trying to convey.

Plenty of people make light of the Doctrine of the Trinity because they assume a shallow and superficial understanding of the concept.


thanks Thomas I will need to look up some of the words you have used before I can make any sense of your reply, tomorrow.
 

NiceCupOfTea

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I agree, when it's anthropos who's thinking ...

The best we can do is offset the apophatic with the cataphatic, the 'God is' with the 'God is not'

So then the question devolves to, what is the imagery or the term trying to convey.

Plenty of people make light of the Doctrine of the Trinity because they assume a shallow and superficial understanding of the concept.

I am not making light of it.

But I know people who really think that God is like a Daddy up in heaven they call him Papa, I can see it as a way of relating to God but not what God is, to me its equally ok to relate to God as a Mother as well.
 

Thomas

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There are, I think, basically two 'models' or 'methods' of contemplating the Holy Trinity. One is based on the nature of the self, the other on the nature of human relationships.

The first was famously championed by Augustine. Working on the principle that man is made in the Divine Image and Likeness, and that man has capax dei, the capacity for God, he saw a triune in the faculties of the mind: intellect, memory, will.

He (he was not the first in this, but most prolific) explores the phenomena of self-realisation in the sense of the knower, the known, and the knowledge, and again in love: the lover, the loved, and the love they share.

The problem with these analogies is that they do not account for the New Testament data, in which the persons of the Trinity are actual centers of consciousness, entering into various transactions with one another: the Father sends the Son, the Son prays to the Father, the Father answers the prayers of the Son, the Father and Son together send the Spirit.

The psychological models sail close to Sabellianism, that the Trinity is three modes of the One Person, not three distinct Persons in One — Wil's analogy, unfortunately, falls into the same error, it's a progression, three different orders of things, not a unity ... nice try, Wil, it's a really tricky one.

The second model, taken from interpersonal relationships, has been called 'social trinitarianism'. The Cappadocian Fathers (Basil the Great, of Caesarea; Gregory Nazianzen, the Theologian, and Gregory of Nyssa) came at the problem the other way.

Augustine begins with the unity of God and tries to find pluralities within the unity; the Cappadocians, some three hundred years earlier, started from the three persons and sought to describe various kinds of unity among them.

Still toady, there is some stand-off between Latin and Orthodox. The Orthodox see the Latins as veering towards Monarchianism (One God in three aspects, and indeed Latin Christianity walks along this cliff edge), the Latins see the Orthodox veering towards Tritheism and, even Arianism (they, too, walk their own cliff ... I rather think Latin and Greek walk side by side, conscious of the risk to their neighbour, more than the risk to themselves.)

Vestigia Trinitatis are the marks of God’s trinitarian character found in the creation. If all of creation reflects God’s invisible nature, his power and glory, is there any way in which creation reflects the Trinity as such?

This way, we can have a field day, thinking up triunes until the cows come home, but not all are correct, and even the 'good' models need qualification, because no model is precisely like the Trinity. Some analogies come close, some analogies miss by a mile, and I see in pagan triunes, for example, not the blueprint on which Christians fabricated their doctrine – a risible notion, really – but rather that in the pagan faiths there is some truth, they are not completely without their graces.

So as long as we remember 'the Trinity is like ...' (a cataphatic statement), 'but being like does not mean the Trinity is ... (balanced by the apophatic).

One of my favourites is Satcitānanda (Sanskrit: सच्चिदानन्द) "Being, Consciousness, Bliss", as a subjective model of Brahman.

Whilst the sublime or beatific vision of the boundless, of pure consciousness, of pure love is a glimpse of ultimate reality, it is not it. Bliss, for example, is really a by-product, a side-effect, it's not 'it' at all. (In a sense, the more bliss you feel, the greater the gulf between knower and known.)

The scholars (I think) delighted in discussing such points. Do the elect in heaven experience beatitude, when they know that not all men have been brought to salvation? Our Lord seems to say the joy of heaven will not be complete, until the last soul is saved.

When it comes to the Trinity, language simply falls short — how can be otherwise? Thus the very terms we use sew the seeds of error.

Westerners say God had 'one substance' (substantia), but is not made of stuff;
Three Persons (personae), but 'person' derives from the Etruscan notion of 'masks', so we're into Modalism or Sabellianism ...

Easterners say God has 'one being' (ousia) and 'three substances' (hypostaseis), which sounds, as said above, tritheistic or Arian.

Not to mention that bloomin' iota!

There is the story attributed to Justin, that he was pondering the Trinity, walking along the sea shore when he came across a child, filling a bucket from the ocean and pouring it into a hole in the sand. Long story short, the kid says 'I'll drain all the world's oceans into this hole before you figure out the Mystery of the Holy Trinity' ...
 

Nick the Pilot

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The three cosmic principles of the trinity are first mentioned in Genesis 1:1-2:

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

The first cosmic principle (the first member of the trinity) is spirit. The second cosmic principle (the second member of the trinity) is something called pre-cosmic matter, from which the universe was created. The third cosmic principle (the third member of the trinity) is our universe, which was created from the interaction of the first and second cosmic principles exactly as described in Genesis 1:1-2. (“Light” is used as a metaphor for our universe, and this first moment of “light” as described in Genesis 1:1-2 refers to the ‘big bang’ from which our universe was created. No doubt the first moment of the big bang was quite bright indeed.)

There is no anthropomorphizing of these three cosmic principles in Genesis 1:1-2. The anthropomorphizing only occurs in the various religions that have sprung up during the history of the human race.

By the way, there has been just as much anthropomorphizing of the trinity throughout the centuries in Buddhism as there has been in Christianity.
 

BlaznFattyz

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i would say people anthromorphize things in general to make a better connection and understand it and why we connect with it.. people do this with dogs and cats, cars, etc.
so, God knows that our understanding of things that are heavenly will not fully grasp so it will even anthromorphize so we can make sense of it and then have understanding. God does this with making angels in the form of man, or he talks about gathering his people like a hen gathers its chicks, or calls jesus the groom and the church the bride. the trinity i guess you could say gives God the traits of someone that you can relate to because he was tempted like we are tempted. he can empathize with us, because he understands the pain we suffer as humans, and he wants to be in our lives and walk with us and to show one another love, just as we have our family and seek out relationships to belong somewhere.
 

BlaznFattyz

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in regards to Christianity and the gospel, I think God explains who he is and express his characteristics in terms that we can understand
 

Thomas

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If one studies the Doctrine, the source materials, the informed commentaries, and avoids the nonsense spouted by those who really haven't got a clue, then I think the answer is 'no'.

Of course, people generally do anthropomorphise because that's human nature – we do it with everything – but I'm not about to condemn anyone for what others might regard as 'simple' or even 'superstitious'. That seems somewhat naive and judgemental to me.

But I'd like to see how we anthropomorphise the Holy Spirit? That, surely, is a test of the question?

As far as I know, apart from Rublev's famous icon of the Holy Trinity, there is no anthropomorphisation of the Third Person. There are symbolic references, tongues of fire or a dove being the most obvious I suppose, but I can't think of the Holy Spirit personalised in art or literature, other than the aforesaid Rublev.

So the answer is ... No?
 
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