The Trinity versus ????

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The Trinity versus ????

Postby Bare_Truth » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:42 pm

The doctrine of the trinity is regarded as the, (or one of the) hallmark, defining, critical doctrines of orthodox Christianity.
This is all the more interesting because there are no scriptures that definitively and explicitly state this explanation of the nature of the godhead of Christianity and it must be argued by exegesis of a multiplicity of scriptures.

The trinity was not the only doctrine proffered to explain the nature of the Godhead during the early years of Christianity and it has often been challenged by non-Christians because of the confusion it causes about monotheism.

What then were the competing explanations offered what were they called, and why was the Trinity doctrine considered superior.

For instance "Modalism" in which God is manifested in three different modes was offered as one explanation and rejected in favor of the trinity. Granted that at the time the concept of shifting modes for a nanosecond did not exist, or the Heisenberg uncertainty principle was not known, so when Jesus said that his father did the works the argument that God would have to be in two places at once was not readily defeated. But today that argument might be made to support modalism, so can we say today that Modalism is an unsatisfactory explanation with respect to the Trinity doctrine?

Now I do not mind someone making a modern argument against modalism but lets not let this strip be just about modalism.
-- what were the alternate doctrines offered (well the major contenders anyway)
-- why were the other offered doctrines rejected and the Trinity insisted upon as being correct to the point of charges of heresy and executions of those who did not believe it was correct?

I have even heard one author who has written about cults, say in an interview, that the first thing he looks for is if the group does not hold the trinity doctrine because that is a sure sign that the group is a cult and not Christian. how did this doctrine come to be such an absolute litmus test of Christianity? (Note that I did not say orthodoxy). There are multiple groups that regard themselves as Christian and do not maintain the doctrine of the trinity. (E.G. the Jehovah's Witnesses with whom I have many non trinity bones to pick )
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby Petros » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:43 am

The Trinity is not explicitly enunciated, but there are a lot of passages that link Father, Son, and Spirit.

I am not popping into lecture mode right now [some may be grateful!], but it seems to me the main issues are WHAT means "person" [and how would it be different from, for example, "mode" as above], the presence and nature of hierarchy with the Trinity [from which stems the Filioque problem], anmd of course the proper understanding of sonship.

I may be wrong [it happens!] but I believe that nonTrinitarian formulations never assume a Holy Duo, but always and only jettison Jesus' divinity and sonship.

Which is why, I think, the Trinity is a good marker of unorthodoxy. It seems to be the onbly viable candidate for a conceptualization of God where Jesus IS God and Son ofd God. Deny the trinity, in almost certainly you are devaluing Christ, and that automatically puts you heterodox.
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:11 am

Petros wrote:...I may be wrong [it happens!] but I believe that nonTrinitarian formulations never assume a Holy Duo, but always and only jettison Jesus' divinity and sonship. ...
According to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binitarian
Binitarian Bitheism does exactly that. So apparently this is one of those cases that you appear to be wrong.
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby Petros » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:34 am

Thank you for that - news to me. Reading through and assuming it valid till shown otherwise, it seems to me to explain the somewhat troubling "proceeding" [+/- Filioque] of the Creed.
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby natman » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:46 pm

Bare_Truth wrote:For instance "Modalism" in which God is manifested in three different modes was offered as one explanation and rejected in favor of the trinity. Granted that at the time the concept of shifting modes for a nanosecond did not exist, or the Heisenberg uncertainty principle was not known, so when Jesus said that his father did the works the argument that God would have to be in two places at once was not readily defeated. But today that argument might be made to support modalism, so can we say today that Modalism is an unsatisfactory explanation with respect to the Trinity doctrine?


I am at a loss to understand how the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle would have anything to do with the discussion of Modalism vs Trinitarianism etc. as HUP deals with the affects of observation on subatomic particles.

I would assume that Modalism would fall under Unitarianism.

From a Scriptural perspective, it would seem that the fact that Scripture says that God sent the Son, the Son prays to the Father, the Son sends the Spirit, the Father knows things that the Son does not know, that at any of those points there are distinct relationships between Father, Son and Spirit. The Father cannot send the Son AND BE the Son. The Son cannot pray TO the Father unless the Father is someone other than the Son lest He is actually praying to Himself.

The problem with the Binatarian view (only Father and Son are God) is that Scripture indicates that the Spirit does work apart from either the Father and the Son.
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby webmeister » Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:59 pm

Do these play into this strip?

John 29
"My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

30 "I and the Father are one."

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.…

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.1 Timothy 3:16

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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:36 pm

natman wrote: ... I am at a loss to understand how the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle would have anything to do with the discussion of Modalism vs Trinitarianism

I brought that in because today we actually do have a concept from the physical world about our inability to know where a thing really is and the very real possibility that a thing can be in two places at once. Such thinking was absent in the early centuries of the church and it was just regarded that nothing could be in two places at once. So it was only natural not to think of the possibility that a being could not be in two places at once. Once you have such a concept, it alters how you think about such possibilities.

natman wrote:From a Scriptural perspective, it would seem that the fact that Scripture says that God sent the Son, the Son prays to the Father, the Son sends the Spirit, the Father knows things that the Son does not know, that at any of those points there are distinct relationships between Father, Son and Spirit. The Father cannot send the Son AND BE the Son. The Son cannot pray TO the Father unless the Father is someone other than the Son lest He is actually praying to Himself.
It is certainly reasonable from such scripture that any sense in which the Father and Son are one cannot be a "simplistic oneness" but the Bible does give us examples of the existence of something more than simplistic oneness between beings,
Mark 10:8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

Now flesh is a physical thing but this nevertheless talks about two flesh entities becoming one flesh entity. This can be taken as figurative expression or it can be taken as being literal but with something other than a simplistic oneness included in the term "one flesh" I think today we might talk more about such a couple being of "one mind". Or in other words, "One means just one except when it means a bit more than just "simplistic oneness". Since clearly we have biblical examples of such "non-simplistic oneness" we have to look carefully when the Bible uses the term "one".

natman wrote: The problem with the Binatarian view (only Father and Son are God) is that Scripture indicates that the Spirit does work apart from either the Father and the Son.
But so do many of our technological creations after we have given them programming sometimes with the ability to process inputs and adapt using the appropriate branch in their program. But these technological creations are not persons as we are, however anthropomorphic we might make them!

Perhaps some examples of what you mean might be more convincing for discussions with binitarians about their theology. Our technology cannot set agendas but only carry out those portions of agendas we have set for it. Is there any definitive way to show personhood of the Holy Spirit beyond trying to refer to linguistic characteristics of pronouns? Consider how even in various language systems the gender of a pronoun is subject to issues about grammatical structure rather than actual masculine, feminine and neuter characteristics of the thing itself. Arguments often rage about whether Jesus Christ was ever explicitly declared to be God and the validity of who declared it. Is there really even as much evidence for the Holy Spirit being declared to be God as there is for Jesus? (hopefully no one will confuse my asking such questions with preaching heresy, perhaps the worst I will be accused of is being devil's advocate while asking for answers on the forum titled "unanswered questions...")
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:43 pm

webmeister wrote:Do these play into this strip? .....
Well, at least some of them might. I can see reasonable linkages in some cases but I am not so sure what the linkage might be that you are referring to. I think you would have to expound on various of them before anyone can see what linkage your are inferring and before anyone can fairly assess the validity of that inferrence.
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby webmeister » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:54 pm

Bare_Truth wrote:What then were the competing explanations offered what were they called, and why was the Trinity doctrine considered superior.


Near as I can tell, the above is the crux of this strip...

I grabbed a couple of verses that begin to speak to trinity. I am sure there are more that assist. This is why the Trinity was considered.

  • Go...teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost [Spirit] - Matthew 28:19
  • John 10:30 - I and the Father are one.
  • John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" Genesis 1:26
There are many verses that will speak to a trinity God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Fewer that will speak to them as 3 in 1.
Last edited by webmeister on Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:53 pm

webmeister wrote:
Bare_Truth wrote:What then were the competing explanations offered what were they called, and why was the Trinity doctrine considered superior.


....

I grabbed a couple of verses that begin to speak to trinity. I am sure there are more that assist. This is why the Trinity was considered.


But a modalist could be entirely comfortable with the verses you quoted. The question is not why should the trinity be considered, but why was it considered superior. Why is the trinity considered the best reconciliation of all the scriptures that reflect upon the nature of the Godhead. To my own observations it appears that the supremacy of the Trinity Doctrine may very well depend on who had the political power to impose it. And politics notoriously does not produce truth. Therefore any doctrine arising out of politics is suspect. Indeed it appears that politics was the agent by which Christ was put to suffering.
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby Petros » Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:52 am

The whol thing is of course complicated by the relationship / differences between finite ticking universe and ther infinite eternal. And the fac that the one we will never fully explore and the other we can barely speculate.

"Let us make man in our image": I have seen attempts to build hypotheses onto / out of this and Hebrew Elohim. Sometimes Christian attempts to support Trinitry, sometimes non JudaeoChristian attempts to assert early Hebrew polytheism.

I will not rehearse the arguments, just assert that these language based arguments are too flimsy to support any hypotheses worth debating.
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby webmeister » Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:48 am

Perhaps Modalism was a more human way of understanding the unexplainable?


Re:Trinity - as experienced by ourselves, how could a single being be 3 entities at the same time.

If we were to explain the Father, Son and Spirit God being able to be one these "modes" one at a time that may seem more plausible?...I don't know, just a thought.
Last edited by webmeister on Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby jochanaan » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:37 pm

webmeister wrote:Perhaps Modalism was a more human way of understanding the unexplainable?
Re:Trinity - as experienced by ourselves, how could a single being be 3 entities at the same time. If we were to explain the Father, Son and Spirit God being able to be one these "modes" one at a time that may seem more plausible?...I don't know, just a thought.
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby christian84 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:50 pm

Dogma of the Trinity includes not only teaching about the unity of being, equality of three hypostases, but also learning about the attributes of each person, that which is proper to a person and distinguish from others. Being unique God can not be conceived outside hypostatic existence of the three. God is one God the Trinity. No person shall ponder, not called without or apart from others.
In how people ipostaziaza in being free chip, you can make the following distinctions:
Persons are characterized by hypostatic name: God the Father, God the Son and Word of God, the Blessed Spirit. Hypostases did not come one after another, but there is co-eternal personally.
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Re: The Trinity versus ????

Postby Bare_Truth » Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:30 pm

christian84
I found your post a bit difficult to understand and you did not cite any scripture or any source for it. Neither can I find any such word as "ipostaziaza" in my readily available dictionaries or encyclopedias. Perhaps you could offer a clearer statement of your point. You seem to be stating some sort of definition of the trinity however the question at hand is why is the trinity doctrine superior to alternate competing explanations of the nature of the Godhead.
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