Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:12 am


Who was Jesus talking to when he said "Not my will, but Thine be done" in the Garden of Gethsemane? There are two separate parties in that statement.
Who was Jesus addressing when He said "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Himself?
I grouped these two together since they have the same answer. These are being uttered from His human side, not His Divine. The former was Him bringing His human nature in line with His divine nature and in doing so bringing it in line with the Father's Will, just as we are to do in our lives. The latter was experiencing human death and the separation that death brings. He was also taking upon Himself the entire curse of Original Sin in the process in both His divine and human capacity, the latter of which is something that, to my knowledge, no other man that's ever lived has done or would be capable of doing.
The trouble with an explanation like this is that it takes the Trinity as an axiom. In other words, you would have to interpret it as if the Trinity is already established doctrine and then develop this interpretation to reconcile it with the text. This doesn't actually prove the Trinity at all.
Whose voice was it that spoke from Heaven on the day of Jesus' Baptism? Is He a ventriloquist?
The one speaking was The Father as Scripture makes clear. The Holy Spirit was present as well. I guess I'm not following how this proves either a trinitarian or non trinitarian view in itself though.
Because the voice came from Heaven, and not from Jesus, who was standing in the river.
When Jesus said He'd send a Comforter, was He talking about His own return?
I believe He meant the Holy Spirit and that it was a foretelling of Pentecost in the book of Acts.
You're right, He did. And He referred to the Holy Spirit in the third person, which doesn't fit the Trinity idea if He and the Holy Spirit aren't one in the same.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:46 am


The trouble with an explanation like this is that it takes the Trinity as an axiom. In other words, you would have to interpret it as if the Trinity is already established doctrine and then develop this interpretation to reconcile it with the text. This doesn't actually prove the Trinity at all.
This here highlights one of the things I was talking about in my previous post. Yes I take the Trinity as a given, but you and Sstavix take the non trinitarian viewpoint as a given as well. I don't see this as a bad thing though and here's why:

We have already demonstrated how both of us can take the exact same scriptural texts and draw two completely different and mutually exclusive conclusions. We also talk about how our respective interpretations make the most sense, are the most intuitive, fit scripture best, etc. This is because we are coming from two different theological traditions, both of which take their respective views on the trinity as absolute truth.

Therefore since our respective interpretations of these verses are not coming from scripture alone (which I don't see as a bad thing), exploring this issue further will also not be feasible with just scripture alone. We would have to dig deeper and understand each others respective traditions moreand where they come from before going further.

As for why I think it makes the most sense to me, well, that I sort touched on in my response to Sstavix when laying out my own foundational views. It isn't complete though but maybe that's a better starting point.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:06 am

Apparently with even more trouble sleeping tonight, may as well post something else that came to mind.

One of the main themes I have seen in this thread rest on one key component for their argument regarding a non trinitarian view is simplicity. It is an essentially an Occam's razor argument which isn't a bad thing in itself.

However, while the simplest or most straightforward explanation is one that is preferred it does not make it the correct one (that's often a misnomer we hold to sometimes when we think of occams razor).

I definitely do not think simplicity alone answers it for me and Occam's razor does not apply here.

We are after all talking about someone who was crucified and then not only lived again after being dead for three days but resurrected Himself under His own power into the same body that He was crucified (which would probably already have had rigor mortis and decomposition setting in). He not only was fully alive again but his human nature is now beyond death itself as well.

There really isn't anything simple about this, lol. The simplest explanation for why there was no body could be argued that the body was simply moved and there never was a resurrection since what would be the likelihood of someone who could self ressurect anyway? It would be logically valid as a potential explanation but it is not the correct one.

Whenever we talk about the nature of God, things are rarely simple.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:01 pm

Indeed, they are rarely simple.

The thing about applying Occam's Razor is that in order to prefer a more complex explanation, it has to be somehow justified. Occam's Razor stipulates all other things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually correct. But what does "all other things being equal" mean?

In this case, I see it like this: If a person who had never heard of Christianity at all were to pick up the Bible and read it, he's going to go with the simplest explanation. Nowhere in Scripture is the Trinity given as doctrine, so without it a reader will not have that axiom in mind. To me, if the Trinitiarian view were as simple and obvious as many people say, then it would need to be more explicitly described in the text.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby BlockHeadLewie » Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:53 pm

This discussion can either be simple or complex, easy or difficult, upsetting or relaxing depending on how each of us read what is written by others or how what is written has been worded. This is a small problem we humans have: We seem to mostly fall on our own understanding of whatever it was in front of us.
As this particular topic IS a bit complex (as far as our own understanding goes) I'll take another stab at what could be a simple explanation. I remember sometime in the past either reading or hearing someone (wish I could remember which) state the following, not verbatim but paraphrased as best as I can:

"God is Three in One and there is only one God. No illustration is going to truly give credit to The Trinity but if we look a it in a math-like way it wouldn't be 1+1+1=3. It would be 1x1x1=1. Only He is God. Only He understands Himself."

Some sit back and claim this isn't a worthwhile topic for discussion. I say God told us to ask, seek and knock. Somewhat proof we're not relying fully on our own understanding. Dedicated proof we're trying to establish a renewing of our minds.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:16 pm

Since we're not to rely on our own understanding, perhaps you can show us, in the Scriptures, where the Trinity is defined and explained.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby BlockHeadLewie » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:45 am

Unfortunately we are all forced to understand as best as we can, but this doesn't mean we must keep our own thoughts all the time. Yes we have to listen to our own understanding but we MUST allow a chance for change or growth. NO seed can be planted without growing, even if it takes years to germinate!
For example I understand this website is all for God's Greater Glory, yet am I to take MY understanding of evil and rebuke the threads of Dungeons and Dragons and the other violent games? Should I toss my words about at those people I feel are "quite mistaken"? I can't do that since I honestly do understand where those who play such games or say such things come from.
As for understanding the Trinity as The Bible explains it, there are loads of good words before this post including a couple of mine. For centuries mankind has looked the scriptures and formed an idea of what was said. Only The Holy Spirit can fully reveal to us everything we ask, IF we ask and believe in reception. This includes who Jesus truly is.
So as for what scripture I would offer, I'd go way back in Genesis 1. "Let US make man in OUR image." And in the New Testament: John 10 "Jesus said: 'I and the Father are one.' " and again in chapter 14: "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." Once again we must rely upon The Holy Spirit to show us the truth.

"Tri" meaning three, and "Unity" meaning one, Tri+Unity = Trinity.

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:51 pm

For example I understand this website is all for God's Greater Glory, yet am I to take MY understanding of evil and rebuke the threads of Dungeons and Dragons and the other violent games? Should I toss my words about at those people I feel are "quite mistaken"? I can't do that since I honestly do understand where those who play such games or say such things come from.
Your opinion on those matters is certainly welcome though. I mean, I appreciate your effort to see where others are coming from... Respect ++ for you for that because it 's such a rare thing on the Internet. That said, it's definitely a matter worth discussing. My only recommendation would be to discuss that in its own thread, as opposed to going on a tangent in an existing D&D (or whatever game) thread.[/quote]
So as for what scripture I would offer, I'd go way back in Genesis 1. "Let US make man in OUR image." And in the New Testament: John 10 "Jesus said: 'I and the Father are one.' " and again in chapter 14: "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." Once again we must rely upon The Holy Spirit to show us the truth.
As before, these verses only testify to the Trinity for someone who has already accepted the Trinity as an axiom. I honestly don't see how these verses point to that doctrine otherwise.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby BlockHeadLewie » Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:40 pm

As before, these verses only testify to the Trinity for someone who has already accepted the Trinity as an axiom. I honestly don't see how these verses point to that doctrine otherwise.
The key word I'm working with here is Faith. If God said it, who's to argue? I'd rather argue with myself, I'd get farther. Our own understanding (most times) gets in the way of information and waters down our faith. Faith has an unseen component, totally external from ourselves.
I hunted and searched my notebooks and FINALLY found the info I mentioned earlier with the math problem. This Page was one I found when involved with my first year of training for Ministry. On it there are a few verses and some other helpful information. Now I'm not going to sit here and say "Take website research seriously, believe everything you read." Any Christ Follower can tell you Satan knows how to appear as an angel of light. (Warning: Here I go again!) Our own understanding can and will be altered by Satan once we have lost faith in that unseen component.
Bottom line, imho, if we have any doubts on any part of what The Bible says we may as well toss the entire book out. I could say the same thing about faith, but I've had glimpses of that unseen component so it is well with me. Until Christ comes in ALL His Glory, this discussion will most likely continue all over the Earth.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:52 pm

The key word I'm working with here is Faith. If God said it, who's to argue?
That's just it... Where we disagree isn't simply a matter of Scriptural interpretation, but rather, whether God even said this in the first place. I maintain that He did not.
Bottom line, imho, if we have any doubts on any part of what The Bible says we may as well toss the entire book out.
I don't really see it as a matter of doubting what the Bible says, since I don't agree that it teaches the Trinity.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby BlockHeadLewie » Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:15 pm

The key word I'm working with here is Faith. If God said it, who's to argue?
That's just it... Where we disagree isn't simply a matter of Scriptural interpretation, but rather, whether God even said this in the first place. I maintain that He did not.
Discussing God's Word is in fact pleasant to me. Even with difference of opinion, it's a wondrous thing:

"Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person." (Colossians 4:5,6).

As I read this, the word "outsiders" has a specific meaning but could refer to an outside opinion of a topic. To discuss these things is an attempt at growth. To not discuss maintains stagnation. I am an outsider to other opinions as other's are outsiders to mine. God said all shall be reviled in the end, and it's not over yet!
Bottom line, imho, if we have any doubts on any part of what The Bible says we may as well toss the entire book out.
I don't really see it as a matter of doubting what the Bible says, since I don't agree that it teaches the Trinity.
Again the fact (most of us) are attempting to discuss this with either open minds or a sense of respect for another's opinion, we're doing it in love, with grace and each of us brings our own saltiness into the topic.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:22 pm

Again the fact (most of us) are attempting to discuss this with either open minds or a sense of respect for another's opinion, we're doing it in love, with grace and each of us brings our own saltiness into the topic.
I would certainly hope nobody's being salty! :D
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:11 pm

Again the fact (most of us) are attempting to discuss this with either open minds or a sense of respect for another's opinion, we're doing it in love, with grace and each of us brings our own saltiness into the topic.
I would certainly hope nobody's being salty! :D
Fortunately it does not seem to be the case here. This can be quite a difficult topic, especially when you consider what is at stake. :D

Speaking of which, that does bring up a point about simplicity again. As I said before, simplicity in itself, while it is the preferred explanation is not and cannot be an arbiter of truth if the point is under serious contention. Not only that but the stakes are high when we are talking about the nature of who God is at its core. The implications of either one are so far reaching that we need to explore more in depth. It's like doing medical diagnosis. While the most straightforward one may be the most likely cause, in a number of cases it could indicate a more serious problem. Since the consequences of ignoring the other possibilities in favor of simplest one could include serious harm and loss of life, doctors cannot always settle on the simplest explanation in some cases.

Also, given what we have all presented from various sides I think both sides have brought quite a bit to the table already. Enough data has been brought in for support and against the trinitarian view that the simplest explanation does not suffice. There has been so far enough data to at least challenge the simple explanation and because of this we can no longer defer to the simpler explanation based on simplicity alone.

There is more to present too, one of which is Genesis and the other books of Moses in the Old Testament. The English translations clearly speak of God as a singular entity, and in the creation story we still see that, yet this singular entity also refers to itself in the first person plural as well. To me the "simple" explanation is that the Bible is clear that He is one God and a singular being yet is still many. There is no disunity in the many and they all share the same being. Otherwise the first commandment in exodus wouldn't make much sense if the persons of the Trinity were not united as one God. As far as I am concerned the wording is undeniable.

Ultimately though part of this goes back to what Lewie says about not leaning too much on our understanding alone. We are trying to understand God as He understands Himself, not simply what might make sense to us. To that end part of the issue comes back to the question of different traditions. The question of Tradition and Scripture, at least in the Orthodox experience, is sort of a false dichotomy. The tradition (more specifically , our interpretive framework which we approach scripture) is inexplicably woven into our understanding of scripture and they are two parts of the same organism.

I understand based on previous threads that the Mormon Church does not accept the ancient ecumenical councils, which also influences how we all look at this matter. Not sure how to broach that, since it seems mormons consider them inaccurate while we consider them the foundations of our theology and our understanding of scripture. It was through these councils that the canon of scripture was first formed. I think that is a matter at this point of which tradition we put our faith in. That is more a matter of trust.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby Sstavix » Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:21 pm

I understand based on previous threads that the Mormon Church does not accept the ancient ecumenical councils, which also influences how we all look at this matter. Not sure how to broach that, since it seems mormons consider them inaccurate while we consider them the foundations of our theology and our understanding of scripture.
That is indeed correct, but it's where faith comes in. Joseph Smith was having trouble deciding which church to join, so he went to a secluded grove and prayed, honestly and fervently, and was surprised when Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ both appeared to him - not in a vision, but in person! Joseph asked his question about which church was the correct one, and Jesus told him "none of them." None of the churches had the fulness of His gospel.

It's certainly a controversial belief - especially for those outside the LDS faith - but it's one of the cornerstones. That Joseph Smith did have a personal visitation from those two individual entities in the "sacred grove" in New York State, and had the communication that would eventually lead to the discovery of the golden plates and the Book of Mormon. It's understandable why other churches would reject this belief (and, in fact, they did). But millions of people have received a witness from the Holy Spirit that this did, indeed, happen, myself included. :) Whether or not you believe it depends on you and your communications with the Holy Spirit. But it gives you an idea as to where the Church of Latter-day Saints is coming from, at least.

(Incidentally, Joseph Smith's story really resonated with me because I had a similar experience. Many, many years ago, before I met my wife, there was a girl I met at college who was a member of a Pentecostal church. And, of course, I liked her. After watching a baptism at their church, I went to my room and prayed on my knees, asking if I should join this church. I received a clear message of "no," and an additional message - "be wary of any church that puts more emphasis on ritual, rather than the meaning behind them." To make a long story short, many years later, when I asked if I should join the LDS church, I got the overwhelming response of "yes." In various formats. I didn't understand why - especially given my prior message - but I didn't want to tell Heavenly Father "no," so....)

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:28 pm

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Trinity doctrine was hardly universal in the early days. It wasn't until centuries after Christ's time on Earth that the church councils settled on the Trinity doctrine. Prior to that, there was a fairly even split.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens


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