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beenblake
Member



Joined: 2005/7/26
Posts: 524
Tennessee, USA

 Re:

Dear Ron,

Quote:
I believe you still don't have a full understanding the orthodox position.



"The Latin word persona was originally used to denote the mask worn by an actor.

The precise Greek equivalent was prosopon, likewise used originally of the actor's mask and then of the character he represented, but the meaning of the word had not passed on, as had that of persona, to the general signification of individual. Consequently tres personae, tria prosopa, savoured of Sabellianism to the Greeks. On the other hand their word hypostasis, from hypo-histemi, was taken to correspond to the Latin substantia, from sub-stare. Tres hypostases therefore appeared to conflict with the Nicaean doctrine of unity of substance in the Trinity. This difference was a main cause of the Antiochene schism of the fourth century (see MELETIUS OF ANTIOCH). Eventually in the West, it was recognized that the true equivalent of hypostasis was not substantia but subsistentia, and in the East that to understand prosopon in the sense of the Latin persona precluded the possibility of a Sabellian interpretation. By the First Council of Constantinople, therefore, it was recognized that the words hypostasis, prosopon, and persona were equally applicable to the three Divine realities."

--from "The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI"

What is the Trinity?....

" There are three individual subsistences, or persons. The word "subsistence" means something that has a real existence. The word "person" denotes individuality and self awareness."

--from CARM (http://www.carm.org/doctrine/whatisthetrinity.htm)

Modalism
The error that there is only one person in the Godhead who manifests himself in three forms or manners: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

--from CARM (http://www.carm.org/dictionary/dic_l-o.htm)

Quote:
The definition of the Trinity is this: there is one God, one Being who is God and only God; yet that one God has three different Persons, separate personas , the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Son is referred to as the Word in John 1. That's our view. Our view is not that the Father is the same as the Son. Our view is that the Father is not the Son. Our view is that the Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. But that all are equally God. They possess everything that makes God God. They have God's nature and can be called God, yet there is only one God.



Yes, indeed, this is near Orthodox Trinity, however, the use of the word "persona" is dangerously bordering Modalism. Is God one person with three personas? Or is God three persons of whom are three individuals?

Depending on how you define "person" you have estblished several doctrines.

Quote:
But that all are equally God. They possess everything that makes God God. They have God's nature and can be called God, yet there is only one God.



Please explain what exactly you mean by this. How can they all be one God, and yet three persons? What are you saying exactly by this?

In love,
Blake


_________________
Blake Kidney

 2005/11/22 12:54Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
I will say this again, as I have countless times. There are two different perspectives that arose in the early Church as to what the definition of the "person" actually means. One definition held that God is three personas or three faces or three modes. This is Modalism and it was rejected by the early Church as heresy. The other definition held that God is three individuals, three selves, three consciousnesses. This is Orthodox Trinity.

Just to make absolutely clear... you reject both of these options, yes?

Quote:
"The Latin word persona was originally used to denote the mask worn by an actor.

The precise Greek equivalent was prosopon, likewise used originally of the actor's mask and then of the character he represented, but the meaning of the word had not passed on, as had that of persona, to the general signification of individual.



We are not conducting this discussion during the time of the 'early church' where the process of definition was still a 'work in progress'. No-one in modern usage uses the word 'person' to mean a 'face' , nor do bible students. "[url=http://www.bartleby.com/59/4/personanongr.html]persona non grata[/url]" does not mean your 'face' is not welcome, it means 'you' are not welcome. You cannot take a snap-shot of a word as it was used in the 6th century and ignore its continuing development.

I think, perhaps, your scientific background is getting in the way here. Language does not provide a fixed value for 'x'. Language, and particularly Bible and theological words do not exist by nature of their dictionary definitions but by nature of their histories.

The word 'prosOpon' does indeed mean face but that is not always the way it is used. eg“And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the [u]person[/u] of men.” (Matt. 22:16, KJVS) Here the word obviously means much more that the eyes, nose and mouth of people. It stands for them as a whole; ie as the KJV (and almost every other version I have checked) has the word 'person'. Here's a whole list of occasions where 'prosOpon' has not been translated with the word face; (Acts 3:13,19; 5:41; 13:24; 2Cor. 1:11; 2:10; 5:12; 8:24; 10:1,7; Gal. 2:6; 2Th. 1:9; Heb. 9:24; James 1:11; Jude 1:16) I do recommend that you look up these references. It will make it crystal clear that the word 'prosOpon' cannot always be translated by the word 'face'.

The Hebrew equivalent for 'prosOpon' is 'panim' which is used some 2125 times in the OT but is translated as 'face' only 391 times. It became the preposition meaning 'before' or 'in the presence of'.

Quote:
Depending on how you define "person" you have estblished several doctrines.

Precisely, and the evolution of the word 'person' in the theology of Trinity does not mean 'face'.

Quote:
Please explain what exactly you mean by this. How can they all be one God, and yet three persons? What are you saying exactly by this?

Explain God? It is plainly revealed in the scripture that the Father is able to have conversation with the Son while being conscious that He himself is not the Son. Similarly, the Son receives the communication as being conscious that He is not the 'individual' who sent it. This is distinct and distinguishableidentity, and this is the essence of the word 'person' as we now use it.

The Son promised 'another comforter'. Perhaps you know that Bible Greek has two words for another; Heteros and allos. Heteros, as in heterosexual, means another of a [u]different[/u] kind. allos, however, mean another of the [u]same[/u] kind, as in the word 'parallel' which means 'another of the same kind by the side'. The Holy Spirit has captured this sameness and difference in a single word. The whole section in which the Son refers to the coming of the Spirit reveals the wonder of the Triune God.

I know you are struggling with the way we are trying to express things beyond our comprehension, but Trinitarian theology is not trying to produce the last word on the nature of God. It is simply trying to make a statement which is true to all the given data. (and trying to prevent the making of statements which are not true to the data available) Part of this data reveals distinct centres of consciousness within the Father and within the Son and within the Spirit. The nearest word of modern usage we can find to express this is 'person'. The given data reveals that the hypothesis of personhood is true to that data. It also shows that it is not true to the notion of a tripartite being in which each of the beings is actually indistinguishably the same being.

You have tried to illustrate your view by regarding Christ as the 'Word of the Father' and identifiably not a separate being but a function of the Father. This will not do. If the Son is equal with the Father, He must be equal in every sense and not a function or expression of the Father. No one would confuse 'my word' with 'me'. 'my word' is 'mine' but it is not 'me'. It is my creation and is capable of existing when I (me) is no more.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2005/11/22 13:55Profile
Christinyou
Member



Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3695
Ca.

 Re:

Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [is] the light thereof.

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

God the Father's glory is Christ and the Light and Life thereof.

Jhn 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

John 10:38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Mat 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and [he] to whomsoever the Son will reveal [Him].

The Son came to reveal the Father,

Jhn 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

Jhn 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

Jhn 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?

The transition of us having to hide in the cleft of the rock to keep the Glory of God the Father from destroying us, came through the Son who was made in the image of the Father that we might look upon God the Son and be saved.

How do we see the Son? Jesus is not here for us to see. The Holy Spirit reveals Him to us and when we believe, Jesus and His Father come and make Their abode with us. Christ in you the Hope of Glory.

2Cr 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.

It is no longer Jesus of Nazareth we see, but we see Him by the Holy Spirit and when He is come in us we know as we are known.

1Cr 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Is He come, are we face to face with Him and learning to know Him, are we one with Christ are we one with the Father? Yes a thousand times yes and yes forever.

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

How do we know the Son of God, by God the Holy Spirit, are we in The Son of God? Yes, He has been born again from above In our spirit which is now His Spirit. Hearts if you please. We see this at work in the above scripture All Three Person's of the God Head are at work to reveal This True God and eternal life.

Back and forth and up and down and sideways or any other way, God has chosen to reveal Himself as Father, as Son and as the Holy Spirit. We can slice it, dice it, change it, keep it or do anything with it we want, but God is God and He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and this is How He has chosen to deal with His Creation Man.

In Christ: Phillip


_________________
Phillip

 2005/11/22 14:12Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
We've been chewing on this for a while, in danger of turning into indigestion :-)
Could we move on to explore subordination or perhaps a new thread would be appropriate?


Ron,
I didn't miss this. :-) It's just that unless we have clear ground on the nature of co-equal and co-substantial 'subordination' is going to mean inferiority and some kind of graded trinity. If the Son's submssion is not the submission of a person to another person, the whole concept of subordination is going to be degraded.

btw I opted for my sign off of 'Ron B' some time ago so as not to make Ron-inthelight 'serve with my sins'. ;-)


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2005/11/22 14:19Profile
InTheLight
Member



Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2734
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re:

Quote:
If the Son's submssion is not the submission of a person to another person, the whole concept of subordination is going to be degraded.



Yes of course, you are ahead of me as usual.

As I was pondering this thread since that post I made about moving on to the topic of subordination, I realized that some foundational matters need to be cleared up first, hence my more recent posts.

In Christ,

Ron (the lesser ;-))


_________________
Ron Halverson

 2005/11/22 14:32Profile
beenblake
Member



Joined: 2005/7/26
Posts: 524
Tennessee, USA

 Re:

Dear Ron,

Quote:
Precisely, and the evolution of the word 'person' in the theology of Trinity does not mean 'face'.



I know. I have been trying to establish that in the evolution of the word, many different doctrines have arisen depending on the definition of "person" and how it is percieved.

Quote:
It is simply trying to make a statement which is true to all the given data.



I know.

Many theologians admit that the term "person" is not a perfect word to describe the three individual aspects/foci found in God.  When we normally use the word person, we understand it to mean physical individuals who exist as separate beings from other individuals.  But in God there are not three entities, nor three beings.  God, is a trinity of persons consisting of one substance and one essence.  God is numerically one. Yet, within the single divine essence are three individual subsistences that we call persons.

---taken from CARM (http://www.carm.org/doctrine/whatisthetrinity.htm)

One of my points is this: Why are we trying to use an imperfect description to describe a perfect God?

Quote:
No one would confuse 'my word' with 'me'. 'my word' is 'mine' but it is not 'me'. It is my creation and is capable of existing when I (me) is no more.



Your word is not your creation. Your creation is the arrangment of letters to form words and sentences within a particular media. For instance, the post is your creation. Your word, however, is embodied in the post.

Your word is capable of existing seperate from you, so long as it exists within another medium. When you write, your word proceeds from you and becomes ink and paper. The ink and paper are not you, but your word is you.

Of course, God's Word is different from human word. It is more than a function. God's Word and God's Wisdom are more than functions and expressions of God. They are God.

When God speaks, things happen. God spoke the earth into existence. God spoke, His word proceeded from His mouth, and through the Word of God, the earth was created.

Quote:
You have tried to illustrate your view by regarding Christ as the 'Word of the Father'



I wonder, when John says "God's Word," do you think it is the Word of the Godhead, or the Word of the Father? Also, in the bible where it says, "God", do you think it is referring to the Godhead or only the Father?

I ask because Jesus is the son of God. Does this make Him the son of the Father? Or does this make Him the son of the Godhead?

Quote:
It is plainly revealed in the scripture that the Father is able to have conversation with the Son while being conscious that He himself is not the Son.



Can you show me where in scripture this is?

Quote:
The Son promised 'another comforter'.



Who would come in the name of son, just as Jesus came in the name of the Father. In your definition, what does it mean to come "in the name of"?

The word "another" is not always used in application with the word person. Just because Jesus said, "another Comforter" does not make the Holy Spirit another person. It does establish a distinction, but to what degree, we do not know.

I am curious, the angels often appeared on earth as men. Do you think that the angels are persons? Are demons persons? (I guess this means to ask, are all spirits persons?)

In love,
Blake


_________________
Blake Kidney

 2005/11/22 14:43Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Hi Blake,

Quote:
Why are we trying to use an imperfect description to describe a perfect God?



This is because our language is limited in how it can describe biblical concepts. The thing we have to be faithful to is the revelation of God presented in the scriptures. The word 'person' is the best we have to work with as it pertains to distinguishing between the persons of the Godhead. Yet, it seems to me that you are not wrestling as much with the word 'person' as you are the fact that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not the same 'person'. So, no matter what word we could use- it would be rejected based on the implications of that word. In other words, if we had a more accurate word to use it would only refine your rejection of the concept.

Quote:
Of course, God's Word is different from human word. It is more than a function. God's Word and God's Wisdom are more than functions and expressions of God. They are God.



I meant to ask this before as it really puzzles me, is why you wish to refer to God as Himself, Word and Wisdom when the New Testament revelation is clear that God manifested Himself as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28). We have demonstrated several passages that clearly demonstrate this. We could cite many more.

Would it not be best to acknowledge the full revelation of the New Testament without cutting back the truths until it fit into a nice understandable package? We have to allow the scripture to say what they say. We are not at liberty to impose upon the Scripture what we 'want' it to say. What I mean is, as Trinitarians we do not look at the scripture and try to justify the doctrine; we look at the scriptures and use 'Trinity' as the best explaination for what is plainly obvious. We have no reason to do otherwise.


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2005/11/22 15:23Profile
beenblake
Member



Joined: 2005/7/26
Posts: 524
Tennessee, USA

 Re:

Dear Robert,

Quote:
I meant to ask this before as it really puzzles me, is why you wish to refer to God as Himself, Word and Wisdom when the New Testament revelation is clear that God manifested Himself as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28).



Good question:

The word trias (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180. He speaks of "the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom ("Ad. Autol.", II, 15).

--taken from: The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV

This is confirmed by the bible. In many scripture references in the new testament, "the Father" is referenced to "God." Jesus is called "God's son" and thus, God is the Father.

Of course, I do not think you will deny that the son has been identified in John 1 as being "the Word."

The Holy Spirit is Wisdom, as established in the Old Testament in Proverbs 8, and in these scriptures as well:


Exodus 28:3 (KJ)
And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.

Deuteronomy 34:9 (KJ)
And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.

Isaiah 11:2 (KJ)
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

Ephesians 1:17 (KJ)
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

In love,
Blake


_________________
Blake Kidney

 2005/11/22 15:47Profile
InTheLight
Member



Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2734
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re:

Quote:
Yes, indeed, this is near Orthodox Trinity, however, the use of the word "persona" is dangerously bordering Modalism. Is God one person with three personas? Or is God three persons of whom are three individuals?



Well we're getting a little closer to an understanding. I thought that by using the terms "three [b]different[/b] Persons'" and "[b]seperate[/b] personas" the definition I presented was not promoting modalism.

At this point can we agree that the definition given is the orthodox position; understanding that "persona" does not mean "face"? Remember all we're doing here is etablishing what the orthodox position is, we're not saying anything about if it is true to Scripture or not.

In Christ,

Ron


_________________
Ron Halverson

 2005/11/22 15:57Profile
beenblake
Member



Joined: 2005/7/26
Posts: 524
Tennessee, USA

 Re:

Dear Robert,

A few more notes to add:

Numbers 11:23 (NLT)
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Is there any limit to my power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!"

Hebrews 4:12a (NLT)
For the word of God is full of living power.

God's Word is power. God is all powerful.
God's Wisdom is knowledge. God is all knowing.

Zechariah 4:14 (NLT)
Then he said to me, "They represent the two anointed ones who assist the Lord of all the earth."

The two anointed ones described here are God's power and God's knowledge (His Word and His Wisdom).

This is also echoed in the bible.

Job 12:13 (NLT)
"But true wisdom and power are with God; counsel and understanding are his.

Isaiah 10:13 (NLT)
He boasts, "By my own power and wisdom I have won these wars. By my own strength I have captured many lands, destroyed their kings, and carried off their treasures.

Daniel 2:20 (NLT)
saying, "Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he alone has all wisdom and power.

Mark 6:2 (NLT)
The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They asked, "Where did he get all his wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?

Revelation 5:6 (NLT)
I looked and I saw a Lamb that had been killed but was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God that are sent out into every part of the earth.


Horns represent power and the eyes represent knowledge. God is all powerful and all seeing.

Jesus was not just a man, He had the Spirit. Jesus had God's power and wisdom.

1 Corinthiansb 1:24 (NLT)
Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God.

Jesus is Lord.

You may reject this, but I want to share it anyway. The Lord doesn't reveal things for us to keep them to ourselves.

God created man with free will. God created man with power. Our sin is to use our power against God. God created the angels (spirits) with knowledge. Thier sin is to use thier knowledge against God. Together, man and angel formed evil, a force capable of defying God. Thankfully, the power and wisdom of God is greater than the power of man and the knowledge of spirits.

We would have never sinned if the Devil had never tempted us. We did not have the knowledge to sin. The Devil would have never been able to defy God's power without us. The Devil had the knowledge of evil, but He has no power. That is why the Devil tempted us, and continues to tempt us. He does this in order to attack God and challenge His throne.

That is also why we are not saved by knowledge. We are saved by faith. Faith is a choice of free will.

In love,
Blake


_________________
Blake Kidney

 2005/11/22 16:17Profile





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