Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

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Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:12 am

"No" is a perfectly acceptable answer.

I've been having a hankering for some FRIENDLY discussion over the Bible and the Trinity doctrine. The thing is, that can be kind of a hot button topic for some and I don't want to generate any hard feelings or resentment toward each other or each others' beliefs, so I'd rather avoid that.

That said, I think it can really be a discussion worth having, because there are so many interesting things in the text that address this in subtle ways that can be fun to talk about. I think if we go into it with the understanding that nobody's going to change their mind, and we're all okay with that, then it can be a fruitful conversation.

To be clear, I am not a believer in the Trinity myself. I hold God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit as three distinct beings who operate with a united purpose.

Anyone up for that? If so, then I'll open the discussion with (KJV) Matthew Chapter 19 verse 16,17:

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

In this verse, a disciple addresses Jesus, asking what he needs to do to have eternal life, which Jesus does go on to answer starting in verse 18, but first he questions why the man refers to Him as good, when only God is good.

Now, I understand that the word "good" here is used to refer to the perfection of God. What's interesting here is that Jesus seems to be differentiating between Himself and God, which we take to mean Heavenly Father here. This is not the only time He does this, but I'm only focusing on this one part for now.

What I'm interested in knowing is how someone who believes in the Trinity interprets this.

EDIT: I probably should have placed this in the debate section. If any of you mods or admins agree, then please by all means move it. I apologize for my carelessness on that.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ccgr » Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:37 pm

moved to debates. I guess I'll bite as long as it stays civil. :)

So in Matthew 19:16-17 a rich man asks Jesus how to get to heaven after perceiving that He was a good teacher. Ephesians 1:18 says that our hearts must be opened to accept God into them. So even though this man knew Jesus was different from the other teachers, he wasn't open to putting Him in the driver's seat of his life. Alternatively, it could be argued that the man used the term good to gain favor or give Jesus a title of respect.

There are many Bible passages that declare God as one: (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Kings 8:60; Isaiah 42:8; 43:10,11; 44:6-8; 45:5,6; 46:5,9; Mark 12:32; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 86; Galatians 3:20; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 6:13; 1 John 5:7).

The Isaiah 42:8 verse is interesting since it declares that the LORD will not share His glory with another. If Jesus was not in perfect in communion with Him, how could that be? Isaiah 43:10 states that no other God have been created or will be created after Him, yet if I am not mistaken, Mormons believe that Jesus is a created being. How is that reconciled to that verse?

Then Isaiah 45:5-6 says that there is no other God. It doesn't say there is no other God besides "us"

That's all I have for now, dinner will be ready soon. Still pals right? ;)

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:46 pm

moved to debates. I guess I'll bite as long as it stays civil. :)
Hey, it's me! :mrgreen:
So in Matthew 19:16-17 a rich man asks Jesus how to get to heaven after perceiving that He was a good teacher. Ephesians 1:18 says that our hearts must be opened to accept God into them. So even though this man knew Jesus was different from the other teachers, he wasn't open to putting Him in the driver's seat of his life. Alternatively, it could be argued that the man used the term good to gain favor or give Jesus a title of respect.
Certainly a reasonable way to look at it, and I can't say I disagree, but I'm not sure how that addresses the question of why Jesus seems to differentiate between Himself and God the Father. Would you mind expanding on that a little?
There are many Bible passages that declare God as one: (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Kings 8:60; Isaiah 42:8; 43:10,11; 44:6-8; 45:5,6; 46:5,9; Mark 12:32; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 86; Galatians 3:20; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 6:13; 1 John 5:7).
Long list... I don't want to Wall of Text a reply so I'll address those separately if that's ok? (Staring with my next post, I have to be quick at the moment.)
The Isaiah 42:8 verse is interesting since it declares that the LORD will not share His glory with another. If Jesus was not in perfect in communion with Him, how could that be? Isaiah 43:10 states that no other God have been created or will be created after Him, yet if I am not mistaken, Mormons believe that Jesus is a created being. How is that reconciled to that verse?
Good question, and I'll answer that in my next reply too :)
(Or Sstavix, if you get to this before I do, feel free.)
Then Isaiah 45:5-6 says that there is no other God. It doesn't say there is no other God besides "us"

That's all I have for now, dinner will be ready soon. Still pals right? ;)
NO!

YES!

OF COURSE! :D
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby Sstavix » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:20 pm

The Isaiah 42:8 verse is interesting since it declares that the LORD will not share His glory with another. If Jesus was not in perfect in communion with Him, how could that be? Isaiah 43:10 states that no other God have been created or will be created after Him, yet if I am not mistaken, Mormons believe that Jesus is a created being. How is that reconciled to that verse?
Good question, and I'll answer that in my next reply too :)
(Or Sstavix, if you get to this before I do, feel free.)
Oh, sure, drag me into this. :lol:

Here is Isaiah 42:8, if someone wants to read it in different versions.It is an interesting verse... but how does it indicate that Jesus and Heavenly Father are different beings, or the same being? Also keep in mind that Isaiah was an Old Testament prophet, so before Jesus' time. As for Isaiah 43:10, if that says that no God will be formed after Heavenly Father, then that specifically means that Jesus is not God. After all, Jesus is Heavenly Father's only begotten Son, and simple word definitions tell us that the son comes after the father.

As for my own thoughts on the Trinity, they actually formed well before I joined the LDS church (and actually, helped to reinforce to me that this might be the correct church for me). It goes back to when Jesus was baptized - Matthew 3:13-17 is just one account of His baptism. Especially focus on verses 16 and 17. After his baptism, the "Spirit of God" came down and a voice from the Heavens said "this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Now, if all three of these entities - Jesus, the Spirit of God and the voice of the heavens - which I think we can safely assume is Heavenly Father - were the exact same person, what does this say about the nature of God? To me, it would say that God is extremely schizophrenic and talks to Himself a lot. That doesn't really seem to fit with the image of a kind and loving Heavenly Father, let alone a god worthy of worship! It makes much more sense to me to comprehend them as three separate, distinct entities, rather than one being suffering from an identity crisis.

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:21 am

Ok so now I can talk a little more.

So Sstavix talked about the Isaiah verses and I'll take the other OT ones in the list and then revisit the NT ones after.

Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Kings 8:60

Both of these reference The Lord as a singular being, and it's not ambiguous about it, so I can agree that they reference one divine Being. Thing is, in the OT time, there had as yet been no direct revelation of the triune Godhead, at least to the authors of the books in the Bible. There are no references to the Holy Spirit as such, nor are there references to Jesus by name, yet we know they existed then.

That said, it is my belief that these are references to the Godhead collectively, since that's the way people thought of God. They just didn't know about the separate beings (and I am sure that the Trinity view would agree, in that the 3 parts aren't mentioned separately in that context wither, in the OT.)

So what that means to me, in terms of a discussion like this, is that those verses are inconclusive either way.

So we look at Mark 12:32

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

Again, that one looks pretty unambiguous. And I'll concede this: The doctrine of the Trinity had to have come from somewhere, and it's easy to get that interpretation looking at verses like this one. (I don't mean for that to sound condescending.)

My answer is this: Jesus is referencing Deuteronomy 6:4 in verse 29 of this same chapter. He's literally using existing scripture to make a point about the priority God should have in our heart. (I won't quote the whole discussion because I assume everyone here has access to a Bible and can look at it for themselves :) )

Next we have John 17:3

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

This verse is part of a prayer, in which Jesus is addressing God the Father. Beginning in verse 1:

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee

The language that Jesus is using here makes a clear distinction between Himself and Heavenly Father. I would venture to say this section does more to refute the Trinity than to support it.

Next up: 1 Corinthians 8:6

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

In this letter Paul is talking about false gods and idolatry, and reminding us of the first Commandment. Since he references God the Father and, separately, one Lord Jesus Christ, this verse strikes me as inconclusive in the discussion. It could be interpreted either way.

(At this point I just want to say, THANK GOD for the Safe Draft feature...)

In Galatians 3:20
Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

In looking at the chapter around this verse, I don't think the context supports the interpretation that it is saying anything about God being 3 beings in one. It's about God being a mediator, and the need for the Law.



In Ephesians 4:6

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Here Paul is talking about the unity of the Church and of doctrine. Again, I don't see this addressing the Trinity question in any case.


In 1 Timothy 2:5

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

If we look also at verse 6, Paul is talking about God, and one mediator between God and men... that being Jesus Christ. Again, this goes against the Trinity idea, as it's specifically naming Jesus Christ as a mediator between God and men. IN other words, Jesus Christ is distinct from God. He MUST be, otherwise how can He be a mediator between God and anyone?

Looking at Hebrews 6:13

For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,

There is none greater than Heavenly Father. I don't see how this supports either side.


Finally, 1 John 5:7

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Indeed, I see this as a description of the united Godhead, but I can also see how this looks pretty solid to the Trinity side as well. Doesn't strongly support either side, I think.
The Isaiah 42:8 verse is interesting since it declares that the LORD will not share His glory with another. If Jesus was not in perfect in communion with Him, how could that be? Isaiah 43:10 states that no other God have been created or will be created after Him, yet if I am not mistaken, Mormons believe that Jesus is a created being. How is that reconciled to that verse?
This verse in Isaiah 42:8 is specifically talking about false gods and idols. He says "I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." I don't see a contradiction here, to be honest, although I can see where you're coming from. I see 43:10 in the same way. Even though Jesus Christ is divine, the scriptures seldom refer to Him as a God as such, reserving that term for Heavenly Father in most cases.
Then Isaiah 45:5-6 says that there is no other God. It doesn't say there is no other God besides "us"
That's true it doesn't, but there again this is the Old Testament perspective, where people had not yet had the understanding of the 3 parts of the Godhead.

That said, there ARE Old Testament references to God in the plural. Take a look at Genesis 1:26.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So who's "us"?

I'm still interested in hearing more insights into the Matthew verse from earlier, but I will add another premise, and it comes in the form of a question. If Jesus and Heavenly Father are one, single being, then why would Jesus need to pray to God in the Garden of Gethsemane? More to the point, how does the Trinity doctrine reconcile the separate wills of Jesus and Heavenly Father?

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ccgr » Thu Jul 16, 2015 1:52 pm

give me a few days I've been spending my mornings at VBS and now my desktop's video card died :(

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:03 pm

Yikes!

No rush, and of course all are invited to hop in too.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ccgr » Thu Jul 30, 2015 12:39 pm

Okay I'm back, thanks for your patience. We recently did a chapter in our Bible study on the Three-person God so I'll try and use some examples form that and circle back to the verses in question.

The theme verse for that chapter was 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

that verse can go either way in this discussion but from a trinity perspective, they all share the same will. According to the Bible they are all divine as well.

We have God the father (Exodus 20:1-7)
God the son (Exodus 3:13-14 , John 8:58-59)
God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-4)

What's amazing is that this God who created the universe wished to make contact with us. Jesus is often referred to as the Word (John 1:1,14), Hebrews 1:1-2 says that God has spoken to us through His son. Before Jesus came to earth he was with His father (John 17:5) They clearly work together as it says in John 5:17-18, John 10:30

So we should be able to agree that they share the same will and work in unison correct?

When humanity sinned we were promised death (Gen 2:17) but in order to atone for our sin, a sacrifice had to be made. At first with was lambs but Jesus offered himself as the perfect and sinless sacrifice. Now he was fully man and fully God when he was on this earth. He knew when and how he was going to die and who would be the one to betray him, that was divine knowledge. But from a human perspective he also knew it was going to be very unpleasant (understatement of the century) and therefore prayed in submission to show another way if possible but ultimately let the Lords will be done and humanity can now be ever grateful since he went though with it. Now to have this prayer recorded there must have been a witness right? Why not show that witness (who will write about and share this with many) how to hand over control of our lives and circumstances to our heavenly father? This is a perfect prayer of how to open up our lives and heart to God without treating him live a heavenly vending machine. That's my 0.02

The baptism is an interesting example. I consider that moment a validation that this was not just any average man that got dunked under water. God is telling the witnesses there that they should heed Jesus and that he's got his seal of approval (since they are carrying out the same plan after all). The same goes for the transfiguration. Jesus had the ability to call upon heavenly resources at any given moment, cavalry included. We believe that even though Jesus resurrected into heaven, the Holy Spirit is still on earth empowering believers with spiritual gifts to glorify God. Again their abilities and will are unified but they don't have to be in the same area/room/etc. it's a weird concept to wrap one's head around. To imagine three entities so perfectly united in marriage and parenting we're unified but we still have slight disagreements and arguments while there are no recorded instances in the Bible for the Godhead. ;)

So back to the Matt 19 verse, although Jesus was the creator of the universe, he still submitted to His father's will and plan to be the perfect sacrifice to redeem us. People in that time knew of God. They didn't necessarily know that he was the Creator of the universe, but he did make references later (Matt 22:32). In that verse Jesus is saying that he is indeed God. If God/One is good than so is He, They're one in the same.

Sorry if this is a bit jumbled I kept getting phone calls from my grandma regarding trouble with her webmail as I was writing this

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:43 pm

So we should be able to agree that they share the same will and work in unison correct?
Certainly, with the note that there was the concept of "thy will and not mine" in the verse I mentioned above. In all other cases I agree completely.

Regarding that...
Now to have this prayer recorded there must have been a witness right? Why not show that witness (who will write about and share this with many) how to hand over control of our lives and circumstances to our heavenly father? This is a perfect prayer of how to open up our lives and heart to God without treating him live a heavenly vending machine. That's my 0.02
Sure, I can see where you're coming from there. That isn't the way I see it, of course, but I appreciate your elaborating on it. You are literally the first person I've discussed this with who actually had an answer to that question. Thanks!

I can also see how that would be consistent with the Sermon on the Mount when He gave us The Lord's Prayer.

My take on this is, obviously, that Jesus is separate from Heavenly Father and was having a moment of doubt, but nevertheless still submitted to Heavenly Father's will. To me, that's the big lesson from those verses. Sometimes God's plan for us isn't what we want, and we may be very afraid, but we still have to obey Him.
The baptism is an interesting example. I consider that moment a validation that this was not just any average man that got dunked under water. God is telling the witnesses there that they should heed Jesus and that he's got his seal of approval (since they are carrying out the same plan after all). The same goes for the transfiguration. Jesus had the ability to call upon heavenly resources at any given moment, cavalry included. We believe that even though Jesus resurrected into heaven, the Holy Spirit is still on earth empowering believers with spiritual gifts to glorify God. Again their abilities and will are unified but they don't have to be in the same area/room/etc. it's a weird concept to wrap one's head around. To imagine three entities so perfectly united in marriage and parenting we're unified but we still have slight disagreements and arguments while there are no recorded instances in the Bible for the Godhead. ;)
Ah, but my riposte is there are no mentions of the Trinity in the Bible either :wink:

But I do see what you mean in terms of the Baptism. The reason I don't see it the same way here is that John the Baptist already testified that Jesus was no ordinary man, and said outright that Jesus should be baptizing him, not the other way around. (Matthew 3:14) Afterward, in verse 17, we heard the voice of Heavenly Father saying "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The simplest understanding of this verse is that Heavenly Father is both praising Jesus AND showing us what we need to do.
So back to the Matt 19 verse, although Jesus was the creator of the universe, he still submitted to His father's will and plan to be the perfect sacrifice to redeem us. People in that time knew of God. They didn't necessarily know that he was the Creator of the universe, but he did make references later (Matt 22:32). In that verse Jesus is saying that he is indeed God. If God/One is good than so is He, They're one in the same.
Hmmm I don't think I see that the same way. In verse 17: "And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."

What's a little weird about this is that in a way, Jesus seems to be implying that the man shouldn't call Him good, that only Heavenly Father deserves that adjective. I'd say Jesus certainly deserves to be called good! But I suspect the point here is that He wanted to remind the man to obey the Commandments of God the Father, who is the moral authority behind the Law. So it wasn't so much that He was saying that He Himself wasn't good, but rather that he wanted the man to focus on God's moral authority, being the source of goodness.

So we have very different reads on this one.
Sorry if this is a bit jumbled I kept getting phone calls from my grandma regarding trouble with her webmail as I was writing this
No worries! It was clear enough and thanks for elaborating on the Matthew 19 quote.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby amyjo88 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:56 pm

Anyone want to continue? I saw this awhile ago but it's such a big topic....

I'll give a somewhat off the cuff Nazarene view. We believe God is "Triune in essential being, revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." We are a Wesleyan denomination and therefore when talking theology (our understanding of God), we use the "Wesleyan Quadrilateral". That is, our understanding of God comes from Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. Scripture is primary, interpreted through the other three.

The word "trinity" is never used in the Bible, but the oneness of God and the three persons are important, so the doctrine of the Trinity was born (using reason in addition to Scripture). So there are verses that indicate One and verses that indicate Three. Of course, there are also verses that lean toward Three as opposed to One, but I'm not able to address all of those now.

As to the first Scripture mentioned:

Matthew 19:17, The man was not a disciple, and he was not referring to Jesus as God, he was referring to Jesus as a man because he did not know that Jesus is God. So I'd say, Jesus' point was that only God is good, not man. Jesus was not saying that we should never call anyone good. Are we disobeying Jesus every time we refer to someone (or something as good)? No. The main point in this passage is not the trinity or the divinity of Jesus. Jesus' point here is found in verse 26, “For men this is impossible. But for God all things are possible.”. At this time, Jesus decided this lesson was more important than a lesson on His own divinity.

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:09 am

Anyone want to continue? I saw this awhile ago but it's such a big topic....
Always, and welcome to the discussion!
I'll give a somewhat off the cuff Nazarene view. We believe God is "Triune in essential being, revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." We are a Wesleyan denomination and therefore when talking theology (our understanding of God), we use the "Wesleyan Quadrilateral". That is, our understanding of God comes from Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. Scripture is primary, interpreted through the other three.
I've heard of the Wesleyan denomination but I don't really know anything about it. Would you mind going into a little more detail? I'm just curious :)
The word "trinity" is never used in the Bible, but the oneness of God and the three persons are important, so the doctrine of the Trinity was born (using reason in addition to Scripture). So there are verses that indicate One and verses that indicate Three. Of course, there are also verses that lean toward Three as opposed to One, but I'm not able to address all of those now.
Are you by any chance familiar with the historical origin of the Trinity doctrine?
As to the first Scripture mentioned:

Matthew 19:17, The man was not a disciple, and he was not referring to Jesus as God, he was referring to Jesus as a man because he did not know that Jesus is God. So I'd say, Jesus' point was that only God is good, not man. Jesus was not saying that we should never call anyone good. Are we disobeying Jesus every time we refer to someone (or something as good)? No. The main point in this passage is not the trinity or the divinity of Jesus. Jesus' point here is found in verse 26, “For men this is impossible. But for God all things are possible.”. At this time, Jesus decided this lesson was more important than a lesson on His own divinity.
I think that makes a lot of sense. I think we all agree that Jesus was divine, so I don't think I see any problem with this way of looking at those verses.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby amyjo88 » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:10 pm

WesleyanSeveral denominations claim John Wesley as their theological father, their theology is Wesleyan. The Methodist Church was formed out of Wesley's Class Meetings (small groups with a strong emphasis on accountability) although Wesley had no intention of starting a new denomination. He merely wanted to teach holiness. This article outlines Wesleyan thought better than I could.

http://thomasjayoord.com/index.php/blog ... e_wesleyan

Historical Development of the Doctrine of the Trinity I asked my hubby if he wants to join in, he has a better memory than I. We did learn about it, but I can't remember much more than I already said. I'll poke around a bit and see what I can find.

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby coffeeblocks33 » Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:09 pm

"To be clear, I am not a believer in the Trinity myself. I hold God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit as three distinct beings who operate with a united purpose."

For someone who doesn't believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, you've done a fabulous job of describing it. As long you are not openly professing some brand of polytheism, your definition sidesteps "modalism" (one God, different masks worn) and "subordinationism" (emphasizing a strong hierarchy within the Trinity).

There's a term I picked up for talking about the trinity... perichoresis. I found it in the first chapter of "Being as Communion" by John D Zizioulas (a very interesting chapter devoted to the Trinity). It's a Greek word that literally means "rotation", but there is more to it then that (there usually is with Greek words). Perichoresis is used by theologians in the Eastern Orthodox faith tradition to describe a "dance" that is always occurring in the very personhood of God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are intertwined in a great dance. Three distinct persons so united with one another... that it becomes nearly impossible to think of one, and not think of the other two as well.

The nature of this "dance" can be illustrated by some married couples. I'm sure you can think of one. A couple so close, so inseparable, so committed to one another... that no one ever refers to them in isolation. It's never simply Jack. Or Jill. It's always Jack and Jill.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

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ArcticFox
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:04 pm

Historical Development of the Doctrine of the Trinity I asked my hubby if he wants to join in, he has a better memory than I. We did learn about it, but I can't remember much more than I already said. I'll poke around a bit and see what I can find.
Check out the Creed of Athanasius, and the Nicene Creed which came from the Council of Nice in A.D. 325, the first formal declaration of Trinitarian doctrine. 3 Centuries after the Ministry of Christ on Earth.
For someone who doesn't believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, you've done a fabulous job of describing it. As long you are not openly professing some brand of polytheism, your definition sidesteps "modalism" (one God, different masks worn) and "subordinationism" (emphasizing a strong hierarchy within the Trinity).
Thanks, but I'd say the difference between what I said and traditional Trinitarian thought is that I regard the 3 Beings as distinct, separate personages. The way the Trinity is taught, that is not the case.
There's a term I picked up for talking about the trinity... perichoresis. I found it in the first chapter of "Being as Communion" by John D Zizioulas (a very interesting chapter devoted to the Trinity). It's a Greek word that literally means "rotation", but there is more to it then that (there usually is with Greek words). Perichoresis is used by theologians in the Eastern Orthodox faith tradition to describe a "dance" that is always occurring in the very personhood of God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are intertwined in a great dance. Three distinct persons so united with one another... that it becomes nearly impossible to think of one, and not think of the other two as well.
I would venture to say that perfect unity is rather disrupted by some events in the New Testament, such as Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane ("Not My will, but THY will be done") and Jesus' suffering on the cross ("Why has thou forsaken me?') which is easily reconciled by the separate Beings view, but not so much by Trinitarian doctrine.
The nature of this "dance" can be illustrated by some married couples. I'm sure you can think of one. A couple so close, so inseparable, so committed to one another... that no one ever refers to them in isolation. It's never simply Jack. Or Jill. It's always Jack and Jill.
I see what you mean with the analogy. What I like about it is that it implicitly acknowledges that Jack and Jill are, in fact, separate individuals even if they generally act in concert. That's how I view the Godhead. Again though, the traditional definition of the Trinity doesn't fit that analogy, in that it does not define the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost as separate Beings. It would be as if Jack and Jill were different aspects of one person.
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coffeeblocks33
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby coffeeblocks33 » Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:06 pm

Well... then I guess my thinking about the doctrine of the Trinity is less nuanced than yours, Fox. I thought there was room for some agreement, but this is the "debate" forum afterall. We shall disagree, to disagree. x)

I'd like to add to our discussion... while I think orthodoxy (right belief) is important for a Christian, I'm convinced more and more that orthopraxy (right practice or living) is even more important. To quote my version of "The Imitation of Christ",

"What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life that makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve him alone."


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