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Thread: Questions about the Trinity

  1. #1
    Junior Member Sheep's Avatar
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    Sep 2008

    Questions about the Trinity

    Some people say that the holy spirit is a person and part of the trinity. Others say that it's God's active force. Romans 8:27 says the spirit has a mind would that make the Holy Spirit a person? Also some people says God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one (trinity) and have equal powers and status. Others say God (the father) is greater. I'm get confused trying to make sense of it.

  2. #2

    Each are Equal and the Same

    Each are equal because they are of the same, yet separate. No one can fully explain it, although many have tried. Much like the word “Rapture” the term “Trinity” was not a word used in the writing of scripture, it was coined later in early church. It is said that Athanasius, the bishop who formulated this doctrine, confessed that the more he wrote on the matter, the less capable he was of clearly expressing his thoughts regarding it. The most significant developments in articulating the doctrine of the Trinity took place in the 4th century, with a group of men known as the Theologians.

    The only substantial reference in the Bible to a Trinity can be found in the Epistle of I John 5:7, Biblical scholars of today, however, have admitted that the phrase "...there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one" is definitely a "later addition" to Biblical texts, meaning the early manuscripts did not have these words. The phrase "...baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" is a phrase that is frequently used during baptism, but not based upon any written scripture. Baptism in the early Church, as discussed by Paul in his letters, was done only in the name of Jesus.

    So all this aids in all the confusion. “Trinity” is not a concept taught by Christ and the Apostles, and is quite likely added by scribes of later times, with the evidence of over 150 additional manuscripts found since the King James version was printed in 1610. I don’t think a person errors in contriving the theological concept, but a student will not will not find sufficient evidence to substantiate the concept by pointing to any of the earliest manuscripts.

    The three monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - all purport to share one fundamental concept: belief in one God as the Supreme Being (monotheism), the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Known as "tawhid" in Islam, this concept of the Oneness of God was stressed by Moses in a Biblical passage known as the "Shema," or the Jewish creed of faith: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." (Deuteronomy 6:4). It was repeated word-for-word approximately 1500 years later by Jesus when he said: "...The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord." (Mark 12:29)

    Muhammad came along approximately 600 years later, bringing the same message again: "And your God is One God: There is no God but He, ..." (The Qur'an 2:163) Yes, even those faiths that lack the true attributes of God’s love and mercy get it right some of the time.

    Saying all this to say, you will be safe to view God as one, and all are in that one, thus the Trinity. I know… it probably is still confusing.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2010

    The Trinity

    St. Patrick the patron saint of Ireland used the following explanation to teach the Irish about the Trinity. He said if you look at a shamrock it has three leaves but they make one shamrock.

    Sometimes the key to the profound lies in simplicity. It is part of the mystery that is our God.

    Dhia Dhuit, (means God be with you) in Irish.

  4. #4
    Thanks Annie! I am personally acquantied with the three-leafed shamrock (trefoil) being revered in legend as an Irish Christian symbol of the Holy Trinity. How Saint Patrick in Laoghaire around 450AD(?), first used it to illustrate the Trinity. Although, due to the delayed timing of this account (the story surfaced some 1200 years after his death), and the lack of supporting evidence found in St. Patrick's writings, many scholars question the authenticity of this claim and attribute it more to Irish tradition. However, rather he said it or not, it is a great illustration!

    I think I can recount the story properly. "When angered pagan listeners demanded of Saint Patrick to prove that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons, yet one in essence, the sturdy missionary was perplexed at first. His gaze fell upon a shamrock growing nearby. He picked a stem, demanding of his opponents whether or not he held up one leaf or three leaves. If one leaf, then why three lobes of equal size? If three leaves, then why only one stem? His accusers were silenced, for they could not explain. "And if you cannot explain so simple a mystery as the shamrock, how can you hope to understand one so profound as the Holy Trinity?" he asked."

    I also found through further studies, Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, is thought to have been the first to use the term "Trinity", although most scholars usually credit the first use of the word to Tertullian, who lived at the beginning of the third century. I always had attributed it to Tertullian, but who knows really. I enjoy early church history, my weakness or strength, however one might wish to look at it.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2010

    Mysteries of the Trinity

    Also another way to help understand is if you think of the sun, The Father is represented by the fire that makes up the sun, Jesus is represented by the light of the sun and The Holy Spirit is the heat they are all one.

  6. #6

    Metaphors of the Trinity

    Thanks for sharing that Annie! It is a shame we have to use tangible metaphors to explain spiritual principals. Albeit, since we are limited to our subjective experience and limited insights, it works best.

    It has been said that one may well lose his mind trying to understand the Trinity, but lose his soul for rejecting it! But honestly, there is no earthly example that fully explains the mystery of the Trinity. Yet, throughout church history various attempts have been offered. Some are totally unscriptural while others possess some limited possibilities. I listed a few below.

    The three states of water (liquid, vapor, and solid). In its natural form, water is liquid. When boiled it turns into vapor, and when frozen, it becomes solid. This is a poor illustration of the Trinity.

    The three-fold nature of man (body, soul, spirit)—Man possesses body, soul, and spirit, but they can be separated. At death the body is buried; the soul (the spirit) goes to be with the Lord. You cannot separate the Trinity. Therefore this, too, is a poor illustration.

    A triangle is a fairly good example of the Trinity because it has three sides, and yet, it is one triangle which is indivisible.

    Fire must have three things to exist. They are not the same, but if any ingredient is absent the fire ceases to be. These are: fuel, heat, and oxygen.

    Light consisting of three kinds of rays. Chemical Rays—rays that are invisible, and can neither be felt nor seen. Light Rays—rays that are seen, but cannot be felt. Heat Rays—rays that are felt, but never seen. This is similar to your example Annie.

    Many have said this is the best illustration of the Trinity, because chemical rays are invisible and could illustrate a type of the Father (can neither be felt nor seen). Light rays can be seen but cannot be felt, thus illustrating a type of the Son. Heat rays illustrate a type of the Holy Spirit because they are felt but never seen. This is possibly the best illustration of the Trinity.

    There are others, like the tree and the egg, and so on, but not worth the mention

  7. #7
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    Mar 2010

    Lightbulb Food for thought

    Thanks so much Stephen, I love these ideas they provide such wonderful food for thought and i think if our Lord sees us contemplating such things he himself will bless us with understanding. I know it is impossible to try to describe our God in mere words because He is so much more but we must begin somewhere like babies and if we feed such thought in the light of truth the Lord will grow in us to the point of overflowing. God bless your knowledge and insight and thank you for sharing it! I'm off to bask in these thoughts for a while! Imagine we could contemplate God for a lifetime a thousand times over and still never run out of thoughts.

  8. #8
    Don't mean to throw another wrench in the mix, but what about the scripture where Jesus asks the Father to bless us to be one as they are one.

    John 17:11 (King James Version)

    " 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are."

    I believe often the word "one" means united. In many languages there is only one word for both of them.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2010

    Smile Where we stand in the Trinity

    As we are now the body of Christ on earth, should we choose in our free will to be pure and good to the utmost of our efforts choosing God in every moment so that all we do and think and desire is God's Will, the Holy Spirit will make good our shortfall (Jesus already paid this cost) and make us worthy enough to join Our Heavenly Father when our time comes to be born into Heaven and in so doing we can be absorbed into the Holy Trinity. Just my own humble private thoughts...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheep View Post
    I'm get confused trying to make sense of it.
    The first thing to be clear about is that when we come the "the Mystery of God" (and that is a phrase found in Scripture) we do not try to "make sense of it" but simply believe what God has revealed (1 Jn 5:7 KJV): For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

    This verse is telling us that there are three Heavenly Witnesses to the Gospel and the truth about Christ -- God the Father, God the Word, and God the Holy Ghost. Because these three are "ONE" they are three distinct Divine Persons, but one trinue Godhead (which is another word used in Scripture).

    Can we "make sense" of this? No
    Should we be "confused"? No
    Can we simply believe it? Yes

    BTW, this verse had been removed from all modern Bible versions. You will find it only in the Reformation Bibles. But there is sufficient internal and external evidence for its authenticity.

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