The Christian Trinity

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Amulek, Jun 4, 2005.

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  1. FriendRob

    FriendRob Well-Known Member

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    No, the Nicene Creed is from three hundred years after Jesus's death. Three hundred years. That's a long time, especially when we're talking about word of mouth. Have you ever played the game "telephone"?
    Then it must be equally true that the Trinity is irrelevant. The words "trinity" and "hypostasis" appear nowhere in the NT. "Trinity" appears nowhere in the OT.
    Let me say it again: there is no doctrine of the trinity in either the OT or the NT. If you choose to interpret passages of either in terms of the Trinity, that's your business, but given that the Bible never uses the word Trinity, that interpretation is "speculation, not fact".

    On the contrary, I would like to see the evidence that any Christian before the fourth century talked about God as "one nature, three persons". Here are some suggestions where to start: in the first century, the books of the NT, the writings of Clement of Rome, the "apocryphal" books; in the second century, Ignatius, Irenaeus and Justin. In the third, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian. Please show me where in their writings they use the formulation "one nature, three persons". If no one used this formulation for three hundred years after Jesus, how can you claim that it dates to "the earliest foundations of the church"?
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    "And in the way, he asked his disciples, saying to them: Whom do men say that I am?" Mark 8:28

    This was a question put by Christ to his disciples more than once, and this is a question that Christ continues to put to us, every day, if we wish to follow in the path the disciples walked for us.

    The Doctrine of the Trinity asks this same question: "Who is He?" and then, from that, "How is He?"

    Such questions were asked because it became apparent there were widely divergent views amongst those who called themselves Christian:

    Christ was God, but not man;
    Christ was man, but not God;
    Christ was not God, and not man;
    Christ was God and man.

    All four were preached, but they can't all be right.

    Thomas
     
  3. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Hello FriendRob, thank you for sharing your views in this interesting conversation. However, my view on this is that to say that the Trinity is "speculation, not fact" is to deny the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church throughout the ages. While the Trinity may be Church doctrine, rather literally transcribed from the Bible, the doctrine is in evidence in the Bible as Q and Thomas and some others have pointed out above. I think a better way of stating this is that it is "sacred, not literal." It's not speculation when it has been the experience of Christians in the first century through the 21st century.

    peace,
    lunamoth
     
  4. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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  5. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    THE Bible’s use of holy spirit indicates that it is a controlled force that Jehovah God uses to accomplish a variety of his purposes. To a certain extent, it can be likened to electricity, a force that can be adapted to perform a great variety of operations.





    At Genesis 1:2 the Bible states that God’s active force [spirit )(Hebrew, ru´ach)] was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters. Here, Gods spirit was his active force working to shape the earth.

    God uses his spirit to enlighten those who serve him. David prayed: Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Your spirit [ru´ach] is good; may it lead me in the land of uprightness. (Psalm 143:10) When 70 capable men were appointed to help Moses, God said to him: I shall have to take away some of the spirit [ru´ach] that is upon you and place it upon them.—Numbers 11:17.

    Bible prophecy was recorded when men of God were "borne along by holy spirit [Greek, from pneu´ma]. (2 Peter 1:20, 21) In this way the Bible was "nspired of God, the Greek word for which is The·o´pneu·stos, meaning God-breathed. (2 Timothy 3:16) And holy spirit guided certain people to see visions or to have prophetic dreams.—2 Samuel 23:2; Joel 2:28, 29; Luke 1:67; Acts 1:16; 2:32, 33.

    The holy spirit impelled Jesus to go into the wilderness after his baptism. (Mark 1:12) The spirit was like a fire within God’s servants, causing them to be energized by that force. And it enabled them to speak out boldly and courageously.—Micah 3:8; Acts 7:55-60; 18:25; Romans 12:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:19.












    By his spirit, God carries out his judgments on men and nations. (Isaiah 30:27, 28; 59:18, 19) And God’s spirit can reach everywhere, acting for people or against them.—Psalm 139:7-12........yes as one of JW i have learnt that the bibles use of spirit is not based on man made doctrine but only truth.that is what i believe and i do not feel it is right to add things to the pure word of God .but of coarse if others believe in the trinity that is their choice but it is not for me .
    Gods will is that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) The Amplified Bible renders the latter phrase this way: "Know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth .i would rather go along with the truth of the bible

    Beyond a doubt, the Trinity doctrine has confused and diluted people’s understanding of God’s true position. It prevents people from accurately knowing the Universal Sovereign, Jehovah God, and from worshiping him on his terms. Why should anyone want to add anything to the notion of God’s oneness and uniqueness that can only dilute or nullify that oneness and uniqueness?But that is what belief in the Trinity has done.​


    Christendom has done away with Christianity without being quite aware of it


    if people were to read the Bible from cover to cover without any preconceived idea of a Trinity, would they arrive at such a concept on their own? Not at all.​

    What comes through very clearly to an impartial reader is that God alone is the Almighty, the Creator, separate and distinct from anyone else, and that Jesus, even in his prehuman existence, is also separate and distinct, a created being, subordinate to God


     
  6. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Mee, you assume too much. You are playing with peoples' basic beliefs here, and that is wrong. You may express your opinion, but do not presume that everyone else is wrong.

    I say there is a Trinity. You say there is not. Fine, we've expressed our views, now let it go.

    Q
     
  7. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

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    guess we will just have to find out when we face Him, eh?

    I just want to point out something.. Mee you say you go to the bible for answers to these truths.. I want to correct something that I think is very important. Your leaders say that they are the only ones qualified to interpret scripture so they put out tracts and books to tell you what the scriptures mean.

    So you dont in fact go by the bible.. you go by what they say the bible says.. theres a big difference.

    I know you love God.. I know you love Jesus Christ. I believe that you are sincere in wanting to spread the message.. except that message is of fear and hopelessness since the odds are greatly against anyone being of that 144,000 in your beliefs. Denying Jesus and denying the Spirit.. you are denying 2/3 of the great mystery of the Godhead and an integral part of the relationship that God wants to have with you. Brother, you are in bondage that Jesus Christ died on the cross to free you from. You are in bondage to people that dont have a clear grasp of what the bible has to say because they dont have the Spirit to interpret the bible for them. Why is that? Because they dont believe the Spirit is anything other than Gods active force.

    It makes me sad.
     
  8. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Aw, hell, sometimes I should stick a sock in my mouth...
     
  9. FriendRob

    FriendRob Well-Known Member

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    This is true of everyone who posts on these boards, including yourself, Faithfulservant.

    No, it's not my "opinion" that the word "hypostasis" doesn't appear in the NT, it's fact. If you know otherwise, please tell me what ancient manuscript the word appears in and what's your source for that information.
    Well, if the words never appear, and if the text doesn't state explicitly who "us" refers to, then you're asking for my opinion, aren't you? I ahve an opinion, in fact, but you probably don't want to hear it so I won't say anything about it. Anyway, it's only my opinion, and I accept it as such. I don't try to present it as fact.

    If it's stated so clearly in the OT, then why didn't the Jews believe in the Trinity before Jesus came? Hmmm?

    I'm still waiting for you to present evidence for this. So far all I have seen is a list of OT and NT references to the Holy Spirit. OK, I believe that the Israelites sometimes talked about God's Spirit. They also talked about his Wisdom, his Power, his Glory - are these ALL "persons" of the Godhead? If not, what makes Spirit different? And where is Jesus mentioned in the OT?
    Quahom, I'm not trying to be nasty. I'm just trying to keep the discussion based in fact. I have no problem with you or anyone expressing your beliefs, as long as you don't present them as incontrovertible fact. Mee's opinion and interpretation of the Bible is just as ancient (actually, more ancient) and just as valid as yours.
     
  10. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    As per your request:

    Let's start with this one...

    "Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [Echad]!" Deuteronomy 6:4

    You know this word "Echad"? It is very important. It is the same word used to describe Adam and Eve coming together as one in Genesis 2:24 "the two shall become one [echad] flesh"

    The word "yachid", the main Hebrew word for solitary oneness, is never used in reference to God...

    I ask again, who is the "we" in this oneness of God?

    In the new testement the term is "hen"

    Now let's move on... "Let Us make Man in Our Image..." Genesis 1:26

    Us, We, Our used 6 different times in four different passages: Gen 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8.
    Who is God talking to? Himself? The angels? Us, Our, denote equality and communal existence. The unanimous opinion of the apostolic Fathers was that the Father was talking to Jesus.

    At other parts of the OT when Yaweh is standing with two angels, before the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah, Yaweh does not speak as "We, or Us". He says "I" over and over again.

    Let's continue... "
    "Then Yahweh rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Yahweh out of heaven." Genesis 19:24

    We have God on earth, calling for God in heaven to rain destruction on the two cities.

    "And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’" Exodus 3:14

    compared to

    "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am." John 8:56-58

    The Holy Spirit is a person.

    The following scriptures specifically point out that The Holy Spirit of God inspires scripture, speaks, has a mind, a will, makes decisions directing others for divine purpose - Mt 4:1; 1:12; Mk 13:11; Lk 2:26; 4:11; 12:11-12; Jn 16:13-14; Acts 1:16; 2:4; 4:25; 8:29,39; 10:19; 11:12; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 20:22-23; 20:28; 28:25; 1 Cor 12:11; Eph 3:5; 1 Tim 4:1; Heb 3:7; 9:8; 10:15; 1 Pet 1:11; 2 Pe 1:20-21; Rev 22:17

    The following scriptures specifically point out that the Holy Spirit of God has hope, Joy, Love, Grace, gives Christians words to speak, can be lied to, bears witness, is compassionate, comforting and kind, greives, is blasphemed, can be insulted, abides, is jealous, is faithful, wants peace and intercedes - Rom 15:13; Rom 14:17; 1 Thess 1:6; 2 Cor 13:14; Phil 2:1; Rom 15:30; Zech 12:10; Heb 10:29; Lk 12:11-12; Acts 5:3; Acts 5:32; Acts 9:31;Isa 63:10; Eph 4:30; Heb 10:29; Mt 12:31; Jn 14:17;Mt 3:11; 2 Cor 4:13; Rom 8:6; 14:17; Gal 5:22; Eph 4:3; Rom 8:26; John 14:16,17,26; 16:7

    When the concept of Trinity was taught to Christians

    In 50 AD the Huleatt Manuscript speaks of Jesus as God.

    In 74 AD the Letters of Barnabas states "And further, my brethren, if the Lord [Jesus] endured to suffer for our soul, he being the Lord of all the world, to whom God said at the foundation of the world, 'Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness,' understand how it was that he endured to suffer at the hand of men"

    In 80 AD Hermas states "The Son of God is older than all his creation, so that he became the Father's adviser in his creation. Therefore also he is ancient"

    In 140 AD Aristides states "Christians are they who, above every people of the Earth, have found the truth, for they acknowledge God the creator and maker of all things, in the only-begotten Son and in the Holy Spirit".

    In 180 AD Theophilus of Antioch states "On the fourth day the luminaries were made; because God, who possesses foreknowledge, knew the follies of the vain philosophers, that they were going to say, that the things which grow on the earth are produced from the heavenly bodies, so as to exclude God. In order, therefore, that the truth might be obvious, the plants and seeds were produced prior to the heavenly bodies, for what is posterior cannot produce that which is prior. And these contain the pattern and type of a great mystery. For the sun is a type of God, and the moon of man. And as the sun far surpasses the moon in power and glory, so far does God surpass man. And as the sun remains ever full, never becoming less, so does God always abide perfect, being full of all power, and understanding, and wisdom, and immortality, and all good. But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection. In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity of God, and His Word, and His Wisdom."


    There is so much more to present but this is enough for now.

    I just thought of something. The word Bible, is never used in the Bible either...does that mean it doesn't exist?

    v/r

    Q
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2005
  11. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

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    Let me redirect you to the first sentence of my post..


    I am refusing to argue these points.. Its pointless :)

    If one doesnt have truth... they are in fact without the truth.

    I believe I have truth... I do not believe some people who post on here do.. I cant prove that fact to those people... So why argue or discuss...I can however pray for those who I believe dont have truth... I can pray that they be shown truth... It offends noone except Satan... :p

    I would like to make a point.. I do not have "leaders" directing my beliefs. I have God... the Father the Son and the Spirit.. all three in one.. they direct my beliefs through the word of God.

    If Im wrong? well let me repeat myself.. I guess I will find out when I face Him. :)


    Nicely done on the posts Q.. You are doing a fine job. :) This is my new tactic.. Pray it into them. :p
     
  12. Bandit

    Bandit Well-Known Member

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    my view on this is ICK, for the 999999,999999, billion' time is...i do not care how people believe it.

    1, 2 or 3, let them be.

    there is a good book out called- how many? by B. Linder.
    it goes over 3 of the 5 main godhead beliefs using hundreds of scriptures with an unbias view. most preachers & students really appreciated it, except for the few with bull horns.

    i agree. another pointless discussion.:)
     
  13. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    i think from what you say you need to do your research on JW as there are over 6million JW world wide , and rather than a message of hopelessness and fear it is a message of hopefullness and joy . as far as i am concerned it is the best hope that anyone could imagine from the bible .what better hope could there be to have the earth brought back to paradise condtions, just as God intended in the first place ,also what better hope could there be to have the hope that the resurrection of our loved ones on to this new paradise earth will be fullfilled as the bible promises.yes Jesus ransom sacrificewill and has accomplished great things as the bible tells us .yes i would say that it is a wonderful hope for the future . maybe you are listening to the wrong people when it comes to what JW believe
    And the One seated on the throne said: "Look! I am making all things new." Also, he says: "Write, because these words are faithful and true.....rev 21;5

     
  14. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    if a persons basic beliefs are based on the truth of the bible , there is never a stumbling block, how could i play with basic truths it would be impossible .i am not assuming anything just putting over bible fact . a person will believe what they choice to believe ,i am not telling them to do otherwise it is their choice what they believe.
     
  15. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

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    are you telling me that your doctrine doesnt teach that only 144,000 JW's live to see that paradise?

    are you also telling me that the

    [size=+1]Watchtower Bible and Tract Society[/size]

    [size=+1]117 Adams St.,Brooklyn, [/size]

    [size=+1]New York 11201[/size]


    are not the people that tell you what the bible says and what it means? That they are the only ones qualified to interpret the bible?

    I have done extensive research on JW and their doctrines... maybe its you that are misinformed? It wouldnt be the first time.. there are many many written testimonies of disillusioned JW's that were in fact... clueless. *shrug* needless to say.. you are in my prayers.. I hope that with the help of Jesus Christ that you find yourself free of those that bind you. I hope you find that Jesus is the one that sets us free.
     
  16. Dor

    Dor Bible Thumper

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    There are many scriptures to back up the Trinity for anyone that actually wants to grab a Bible and read it. I'm not about to go into all of them but I do want to know how you explain a few scriptures.

    Col 1:16 For by him wereallthingscreated, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him(KJV)

    Joh 5:37And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.(KJV)

    Ok who walked in the Garden of Eden, talked to Moses, Talked to Abraham and so forth and so on.

    And I will apologize to any I offend but God and whatever you want to call her(his wife) didn't have a baby named Jesus. Him and the Father are 2/3 of the same being....The Holy Spirit is definately not an it if you read your bible.

    Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost(KJV)

    I'd say the first book of the NT goes back farther than the Nicene Creed.:mad:

     
  17. FriendRob

    FriendRob Well-Known Member

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    Quahom, I appreciate your detailed response, and I'm sorry I don't have time to respond in as much detail. However, I'd like to make a few points about your post.

    As I said, I have no problem if you want to interpret all this as reflecting the Trinity. I don't see how you can claim it as proof of a doctrine of the Trinity, though. On the "proof" part: certainly first-century Jews didn't interpret these OT passages as showing that God was a trinity. Were all Jews so dumb that they just missed it? And on the "doctrine" part: none of this shows any sort of distinction between the nature/essence (ousia) of God and the persons (hypostases) of the Godhead.
    But you could equally well argue that the Holy Spirit is (a) a separate divine being, or (b) an aspect of the one God. None of these passages amount to a doctrine of the relationship of the two.
    Here again I have to say that different interpretations are still possible. For instance, the quote from Barnabas implies that Jesus and God are different beings, or else how/why would God speak to Jesus? Similarly, when Paul says Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father, he clearly envisions them as distinct beings.

    Here's the thing: pointing out different bits of the OT and NT that refer to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit individually will never be enough to give proof of a doctrine of the Trinity. That's because the Trinity is fundamentally about the relationship of the the three. Even a formula like the one about baptism "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" only shows that these three were concepts of fundamental importance to early Christians. It doesn't tell anything about the relationship between them. This is why I say there is no doctrine of the Trinity in the NT - there is simply nowhere where any of the authors discuss in detail the relationships among the three. The closest you get is the gospel of John, and his concept is so wildly different from that of Paul or the other gospel authors that it can't be taken to be representative of all early christians.
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi FriendRob -

    I would say that there is another dimension to the Doctrine. The Doctrine of the Trinity is not 'about' relations, it is the doctrine of the principle by which all relation operates.

    At some point man has to wonder how the Son stands in relation to the Father (even putting all questions of the Holy Spirit aside) and perhaps more significantly, how does man stand 'in relation' to God when creature and creator are some incomparably different.

    If there is such a thing in the cosmos as 'relation,' then it must be founded in the Divine before it manifests in any mode or form of being. Conversely, if there is no relation in God, then God does not relate to the cosmos, and nothing in the cosmos relates to anything else, in effect every atom would be its own self-contained universe, oblivious of every other atom.

    Yet the reverse is the case. All that we know, all that we can comprehend, we do so 'in relation' to other knowledge, other things. Without a thing, no thing can be known.

    But to us 'things' are known by their qualities and their nature: table, blue, big, fragrant, heavy, human, hot, sharp, known by by virtue of what they are, and simultaneously what they are not ... but an instance of something does not determine its qualities (or its nature) ratherr there is a nature-to-itself and quality-to-itself that all things partake of and share in.

    There has to be an answer, even if that answer is a mystery, as to how "I and my Father are one" and yet at the same time "for the Father is greater than I" that does not involve mere sophistry or poetry on the part of the author.

    Furthermore Christianity, as a monotheism, must be able to defend itself against polytheism on the one hand, and monism on the other.

    The Doctrine of the Trinity does precisely that - that is what it was intended to do.

    - a short answer, pushed for time - but I hope the sense is there -

    Thomas
     
  19. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    There comes a point, when all that can be answered is answered, and it is time to let go.

    Either one believes or does not. Accept or do not.

    I answered your questions. I showed references that I read first before I commited them to the screen. That is why it took me awhile to respond back.

    I present information about when the early church fathers/elders began teaching the concept of Trinity (50 AD appearing to be the solid beginning). Though such writings are not considered Divinely inspired, they do mark a solid beginning for the Trinity concept being taught.

    If nothing else, this excercise in Point/Counter Point actually strengthened my own beliefs, because it caused me study and research at length, and taught me some things I didn't know, or didn't realize.

    So for me this thread is a success. ;)


    v/r

    Q
     
  20. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

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    1 Corinthians 12:3-11 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. 4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

    Hmm seems the Spirit decides who receives what gifts.. It also seems that without the Spirit noone can declare Jesus, God.

    "Lord" is the Septuagint translation for the incommunicable Hebrew name JEHOVAH.

    Jesus is Lord (Kurioß Ihsouß). The term Kurioß, as we have seen, is common in the LXX for God.

    Matthew 3:16 After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him.

    Wow people physically saw the Spirit

    Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

    Hmm does that mean we have Gods active force inside us?

    2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

    Hmm we have communion with the Spirit.

    Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

    Interesting language used here..

    Acts 5:3-4 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."

    whoa...Peter told Ananias he lied to the Holy Spirit... then told him he had not lied to men but to God!!


    2 Peter 3:3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,
     
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