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The Christian Trinity

59 posts in this topic

Posted

Now this thread is touching on several points which are an interest to me

. In fact, the term Christ is a title, "Annointed One" or, more properly, "The Annointed One" - corresponding to the Hebrew Messiah.

It looks Theophilus, that you are well read in some of the scriptures

It s going to be good to have the right references in place

So, Jesus as the incarnate eternal Son, was the Annointed One. Annointed by God to be the Savior of his people ("you shall call him Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins").

His people being 'those who believe in him' or the people he shares descent with, or what?

Your conclusion that "the Bible is not the literal truth" assumes that you have a standard for identifying "the" truth.

Well, I dont think the bible is a complete and accurate document as such, it is a collection of witness statements, gathered through various centuries by anonymous people and translated by even more anonymous people

The Bible, as much as I respect holy scripture, is a bit of mess when it comes to giving the teachings of God. Not that other books are much better (having read bits of scriptures from different religions, I can say that the share some traits, such as reasonably disconnected accounts of delirous scenes.

I am not saying that tbe Bible does not contain Truth, just probably a very partial and at times allegorical account of the world

Now lets go back to the Genesis, you will accept that its a bit improbably that God created the world in seven days, and made the woman simply to give companionship to man. I would rather think that whoever deecided to put the Bible together didnt know how to start the whole thing, and came up with that little story of adam and eve. My first real question to you is

' are there any documents to support the contents of the Bible line by line, anywhere?'

This raises the larger question involved in the present discussion, the nagging, but indespensible question of epistemology. The doctrine of the Trinity, like all Christian theology, cannot be evaluated from outside the idea of revelation in which it is founded.

Thats a dogma, isnt it? The Trinity is not a Christian doctrine! The trinity has existed in more ancient religions, and probaby started with bramashivavishnu

The doctrine of the Trinity does not prove the truth of revelation, God's self-disclosure and can only be derived if one first accepts the authority of scripture.

What scripture? Fairly good accounts of self-revelation are available in scriptures fromdifferent ages, in different languages, and belonging to different religions

Cheeers

PG

I have a terrible habit of unintentionally hijacking threads (I am also, for reasons I don't understand, something of a thread killer). I'll try not to do that here, but a couple of observations on the nature of the Bible.

The Bible is not an evangelistic tract. It (its various parts) was written by believers to believers to give an historical and theological context for the things they had already believed and to confirm their faith.

The Pentatuch was written for the Hebrews (not Jews) who had just been liberated from Egypt; the Gospels were written to believers, most of whom had not encountered Jesus during his earthly life.

The Bible, contrary to many apologists, does not, nor does it attempt to "prove" anything. The "proof," e.g. the resurrection, are only meaningful within a covenantal, prophetic context.

The doctrine of the trinity (the Triune God) is a theological construct which attempts to relate the Bible's clear affirmation of One God, while at the same time ascribing the activities and attributes of God to three distinct persons.

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Posted

Now that the dust has settled on this discussion (why did it come to an end?) I have a question:

The Nicene and Apostle's Creed are quite short and employ much simpler sentences and terminology (at least the way the appear in English prayer books. I can't remember their dates, but I assume they are somewhat later than the Athanasian Creed. But what was the context in which the authors of the Athanasian Creed labored? Why did they devise such an elaborate presentation - were they suppressing a heresy? Was there an incipient schism?

In seems like the simpler creeds would have come first, then the elaboration of the doctrine later.

Any thoughts on this?

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Posted

I am not sure why you would assume the greater antiquity of the Athanasian Creed. To the best of my knowledge most scholars date it to some time in the 6th century with an origin in Southern Gaul. It is nearly certain that it was not authored by St. Athanasius. The Nicene Creed can be definitely dated to the 4th century (either 325 or 381, depending on which version is being referred to). The dating of the Apostles' Creed is at least as problematic as that of the Athanasian Creed. Although, there is a general consensus that, in some form or another, it links back to baptismal creeds from the 1st and 2nd century.

Dating based on subject matter (i.e. the controversies that the individual creeds seem to be most concerned to address) also supports an ordering which places the Apostles' Creed earliest and the Athanasian Creed latest.

Wikipedia has respectable articles on all three of the creeds.

Angakuk

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Posted

Mormon theologian Talmage said, defending the essentially polytheistic belief of Mormon theology that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost, are three separate, unique, entities: "The beauty of our belief in the Godhead is that it removes the razzle-dazzle of self-contradiction." Does the belief in the Trinity fly in the face of the law of non contradiction?

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Posted

Angakuk said: "I am not sure why you would assume the greater antiquity of the Athanasian Creed."

The assumption was based on the usual "insufficient data" problem. Thanks for the clarification.

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Posted

If you review this thread you will see what is wrong with the doctrine of the trinity: too many words. Everything in the bible is clearly explained in simple terms. Important points are repeated and clarified. The trinity is not mentioned in the bible, so people have to make up explanations, and those explanations never make sense. Then more explanations are offered, usually leading to more confusion. God is not the author of confusion.

New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1977 Edition, Vol. 13, p. 1021 -- The first use of the Latin word "trinitas" (trinity) with reference to God, is found in Tertulian's writings (about 213 A.D.) He was the first to use the term "persons" (plural) in a Trinitarian context.

Encyclopedia Americana, 1957 Edition, Vol. 27, p. 69 -- The word "Trinity" is not in Scripture. The term "persons" (plural) is not applied in Scripture to the Trinity.

World Book Encyclopedia, 1984 Edition, Vol. T, p. 363 -- Belief in Father, Son and Holy Ghost was first defined by the earliest general council of churches. This was the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.

New International Encyclopedia, Vol. 22 p. 476 -- The Catholic faith is this; We worship one God in Trinity, but there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son and another of the Holy Ghost. The Glory equal -- the Majesty co-eternal. The doctrine is not found in its fully developed form in the Scriptures. Modern theology does not seek to find it in the Old Testament. At the time of the Reformation the Protestant Church took over the doctrine of the Trinity without serious examination.

Life Magazine, October 30, 1950, Vol. 29, No. 18, p. 51 -- The Catholics made this statement concerning their doctrine of the Trinity, to defend the dogma of the assumption of Mary, in an article written by Graham Greene: "Our opponents sometimes claim that no belief should be held dogmatically which is not explicitly stated in Scripture ... But the PROTESTANT CHURCHES have themselves accepted such dogmas as THE TRINITY, for which there is NO SUCH PRECISE AUTHORITY In the Gospels."

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Posted

Jewels Vern,

I am no longer a believer, so I don't have a dog in this race. But looking back on the days of belief, the Trinity never did much for me as a theological concept. Raised a Methodist but having more catholic tastes later on, I found that making the sign of the cross sort of romantically attractive.

The Catholics call the trinity a mystery, which it is indeed. I think my working view of the deity was god-the-father (the white bearded one in charge) sitting next to, but slightly higher than, the attractively lean blond bearded Jesus, who wasn't then and never had been in charge. The closest I could get to the holy spirit was a sort of mist. When I was a kid I thought my soul looked something like a floating liver.

So anyway, I think the trinitarian churches could ditch the trinity and get along just fine. I don't see why the omnipresent, all-knowing, all-powerful god-the-father needs an agent called the holy spirit anyway. The protestants dumped transubstantiation (well, most of them did) and seem to do well enough without it.

The less theological gobbledegook the better.

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Posted

I am just glad we can discuss the Trinity without resorting to violence; remember, Calvin had Servetus murdered because of his daring to question the traditional doctrines on the Trinity.

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Posted

Bitter Crank:

Yes, I have heard the various arguments. It is not a mystery. A mystery is a secret, which you can understand when it is explained, but most people use the word as if it meant "something you can't understand even after it is explained". The bible says:

2 Peter 1:3 - According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Since the trinity is not explained in the bible, it must not pertain unto life and godliness.

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