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

 Re:

Hi Blake
OK, let's work our way through some of these things, but for this post let me quote a paragraph from Louis Berkhof's "The History of Christian Doctrine". (BTW this is a very helpful outline of the comings and goings of Christians trying to find a way of expressing 'the reason' for the hope which was in them. Here is the quote:The Church was in quest of a conception of Christ that would do justice to the following points:

a. His true and proper deity
b. His true and proper humanity
c. The union of deity and humanity in the one person
d. The proper distinction of deity from humanity in the one person.

It felt that as long as these requirements were not met, or only partly met, its conception of Christ would be defective. All the Christological heresies that arose in the early Church originated in the failure to combine all these elements in the doctrinal statement of the truth. Some denied wholly or in part the true and proper deity of Christ, and others disputed wholly or in part His true and proper humanity. Some stressed the unity of the person at the expense of the two distinct natures, and others emphasized the distinct character of the two natures in Christ at the expense of the unity of the Person.Any older readers of Azimoth's "I, Robot" (not the film) will recognize a parallel here where the balance between the 'laws of robotics which had been built into the positronic brain' can change in different circumstances. The struggles of the saints during the early centuries were an illustration of this. Most 'theology' was reactive, ie it was a response to what had been said before. As we have often seen in our discussions on these pages that can very easily developm into a situation where positions solidify and the situation becomes one which Wesley describes as occasions which 'generate more heat than light'.

In answer to the older question 'so what'? Here is another quotation, this time quoted by Berkhof, as an explanation of the role of Athanasius:His (Athanasius') soteriological (salvation-focussed) convicitions naturally gave birth to his theological (nature of God-focussed) tenets. His fundamental position was that union with God is necessary unto salvation, and that no creature, but only one who is Himself God can unite us with God. Hence, as Seeberg says, "Only if Christ is God, in the full sense of the word and without qualification, has God entered humanity, and only then have fellowship with God, the forgiveness of sins, the truth of God, and immortality been certainly brought to man." It is worth thinking through that little list at the end of the quotation. This is not just of academic interest but has a vital impact upon the basis of our relationship to 'God', the value of substitutionary atonement in God's blood (Acts 20:28), the fullness of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ (John 14:9), and consequently 'eternal life' is dependent upon Christ being "God, in the full sense of the word and without qualification".

What we are really doing, in our pathetic way, is giving a definition of the word 'god'. Orthodox Christian belief says the "God" is the definition of the word 'god'. For us 'there is no other god'. If "God" (the person) is the definition of 'god' (the word) then only if Christ is "God, in the full sense of the word and without qualification" can Christ be said to have 'deity'. Here is an algebra formula for you.

God - x = not-God

If
"the Son" < (is less than) "God" in any sense at all "the Son" is not (can't find the symbol! an equals with a line through it!) God.

This is why Athanasius stuck so tenaciously to his position. we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal. As also there are not three untreated nor three incomprehensible, but one untreated and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord; And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord...

And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.I will try to answer some of your questions in the next post.


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Ron Bailey

 2005/11/5 5:24Profile
RobertW
Member



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

 Re:

If I might parallel the Q&A between Ron and Blake, with some observations that demonstrate the reality of the 'persons' within the Deity. There have been a few in our conversations on Trinity in these forums that seem to lean towards a modalist view of God, which I commonly deal with due to the abundance of Oneness Pentecostals in our part of the country. In fact, we recently had a Oneness Pentecostal preacher in the pulpit and did not know it until he gave the benadiction. I suspected it while he was preaching, but was unsure until he gave his credentials during a ceremony at the end. We also had a 'praise and worship' group in that were Pentecostal and come to find out they were Oneness also.

Oneness Pentecostals acquired or 'revived' this belief in the early 1900's that existed for a short time before 325 AD. The belief was spawned from a misunderstanding of water baptism and worked backwards from there. Error begets error.

The belief in question is most frequently called 'modalism'. Oneness Pentecostals are known as "Jesus Name Only" proponents and baptise only in the name of Jesus. This is very problematic for several reasons. I propose here to demonstrate that in fact God does exist as three persons simultaneously. It is ironic that at the baptism of Christ we read:

And [u]Jesus[/u], when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the [u]Spirit of God[/u] descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a [u]voice from heaven[/u], saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.(Matthew 3)

The "voice from Heaven" is called by the Jews [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=1959]Bath-Kol[/url] and was considered authoritative until the Rabbi's userped all of God's authority in establishing Rabbinic Judaism. To those who heard the events at our Lord's baptism, this was God speaking.

In our text we have the Holy Spirit, Christ and the Father, all at once. This was not Christ somehow performing actions of a ventriloquist; for those are generally understood to be demonic manifestations. This was God the Father speaking independently of Christ as the Spirit was descending. There is a second even at the mount of transfiguration that again demonstrated that God was speaking in a Bath Kol to Christ. It can be argued that it was these two Bath Kols that the Jews sought to snuff out as poofs for the Deity of Christ. The Words of God from Heaven [u]authenticated[/u] who Christ was. The disciples were 'eyewitnesses of His Majesty.' Again, belaboring here, but Christ clearly and reasonably was not speaking to Himself.

There are several others that we might use; but one not often cited is from the Revelation as Christ was dealing with the 7 churches.

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with [u]me[/u] in my throne, even as I also overcame, and [u]am set down with my Father[/u] in his throne.(Revelation 3:21)

This is clearly two distinct persons of the Godhead as God is still being revealed after the ascention as a Trinity. Christ says repeatedly in the opening chapters of the Revelation, "He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." So we see then, that God is still being revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The trouble folk have is coming to terms with how 3 could possible ever be one in substance. We cannot [u]comprehend[/u] this, but we can [u]apprehend[/u] it. Scripture teaches in Romans 1:20

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead (Deity); so that they are without excuse:

Being understood by the things that are made? Hmmm? How can this be in any sense that everyone could 'understand' a simple thing about God? This is the same Greek word used in Hebrews 11:3 when we read:

Through faith we [u]understand[/u] that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

So when we are talking about God and His infinite power and majesty, we likewise must "by faith understand." This is more than logic alone. [u]Logic will only take you so far[/u]. You need to understand by faith, or if I might so say, 'apprehend' how it "could be" and accept what we can't understand by faith as being too wonderful for us.

Consider this from the creation:

God made everything in the perceivable cosmos basically in the form of a Trinity. Everything exists as:

[b]Matter[/b] or [b]Space[/b] or [b]Time[/b] (this is a Trinity)

Matter is not Space and Space is not Time and Time is not Matter, but together they form the cosmos.

[b]Matter[/b] exists as: [u]Solid[/u] or [u]Liquid[/u] or [u]Gas[/u] (This is a Trinity)

Solids are not Gasses and Gasses are not Liquids and Liquids are not Solids; but they are all [b]Matter[/b]


[b]Space[/b] exists as [u]Length[/u] X [u]Width[/u] X [u]Height[/u] (This is a Trinity)

Length is not width and width is not length and length is not height, but they are all [b]Space[/b]

[b]Time[/b] exists as: [b]Past/Present/Future[/b] (This is also a Trinity)

The past is not the present and the present is not the future and the future is not the past, but they are all [b]Time[/b]

To understand God as Three persons and one substance to the finite mind seems to be a contradiction until we have some clues to allow us to thing "outside the box". This is one of the reasons why I think a cursory look at [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=3324]Block Logic[/url] can be beneficial to believers.

By analogy it was not until men thought 'outside the box' of Newtonian Physics that they realized that there were more to things than at first appears and on a Quantum level Newtonian physics laws are out the window. That is why I can type on this computer right now. Someone had to understand that the basic laws of how the physical universe behaves is different when you drop down to a quantum level. Particles don't revolve around a nucleus like planets around Sun; they behave like waves (sorry you have to unlearn your High School model of the atom now). LIKEWISE, we can only understand three demensions of Space and one demension of Time. We can do math in extra demensions, but our mind cannot comprehend it. Simply put, add an extra demension of space and time to the universe and all sorts of the impossible becomes possible. Now consider that God created demensions.

This is how I can accept the whole of the revelation of God and not feel compelled to make them all jibe even when it may appear as a contradiction or unfathomable. I know I don't have enough mental power or information to work the equation. None of us do. We can only apprehend and take it by faith that God is as He has revealed Himself; one substance, three persons.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/11/5 12:31Profile
LetUsPray
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Joined: 2004/10/12
Posts: 173


 Re: Louis Berkhof ...

Dear Ron,

I thank you for your detailed explanations. You clarified a number of things for me.

Quote:
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.


I have to confess that the algebraic analogy, which I have seen used by other theologians, in light of the quote, takes away from our Holy Triune God. I am also very disappointed that this whole explanation has no Scripture quotations at all. How are we “establishing and proving” God without His Word in the center of the discussion. A debate on the “incomprehensible” Godhead is questionable in the first place.

Where I really struggle is with the words that Jesus spoke:

Luke 18:
16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

As a child I have a difficult time with some of the verb tenses, etc. As an adult I have no trouble at all following them. The Gospel was not meant to be that complicated according to Jesus.
Quote:
But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.


I still maintain that nowhere in the entire Bible are we told to worship the Holy Spirit. This was not taught by Jesus, Paul, or anyone else. I DON’T SAY HERE THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS NOT GOD, all I say is that we are NOT told to worship Him. We are also not told to pray to Him. This is where the whole debate and conclusions about our God in the Trinity debate go astray.

Why can we not follow the example we are shown in heaven?

Revelation 4
8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

This worship is to:
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

Revelation 5
6 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.
8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
9 And they *sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
10 "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,
12 saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."
13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."
14 And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped.

In heaven there is only worship recorded to the ONE on the throne and to the LAMB.

Furthermore, the Lamb has the seven Spirits of God on Him (see also Isaiah 11:1,2). The Lamb is worshipped, not the Seven Spirits of God, which is the Holy Spirit. It is very difficult for man to determine “how God has established the Godhead,” why do we even try? Consider the One Who admonishes the seven Churches; He starts as Jesus and concludes as the Spirit. Who are we to “define” this?

This is what Jesus said the Samaritan woman:
John 4
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

It doesn’t matter Who we worship when we worship the Father. The Father is the One Who knows where the worship should be distributed; it is not up to us to add to Jesus’ words.

I appreciate very much to have had the opportunity to learn more about the Trinitarian view, but it certainly hasn’t convinced me, that I have to worship differently.


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Hans Prang

 2005/11/5 16:06Profile
bluinos
Member



Joined: 2005/2/4
Posts: 78


 Re:

Quote:

It doesn’t matter Who we worship when we worship the Father. The Father is the One Who knows where the worship should be distributed; it is not up to us to add to Jesus’ words.

I beg to differ:

It does matter who you Worship! According to the Ten Commandments. :-)

 2005/11/5 16:14Profile
LetUsPray
Member



Joined: 2004/10/12
Posts: 173


 Re:

I stand corrected Bluinos.

When I wrote this, I didn't consider the Ten Commandments. I do worship God and Him only. I will leave it to Him, that's what I meant.

I maintain, that we are not told to worship the Holy Spirit in the Bible.

God bless you Sir


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Hans Prang

 2005/11/5 17:24Profile
beenblake
Member



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

 Re:

Dear RobertW,

I do thank you for all this as it is very helpful.

Quote:
What is suggested in this argument is that if God wanted to reveal Himself as absolute 'one' or one in solitary he had used yachiyd and not echad'.



I don't see this argument as being solid. When God says, "I am one," using the word "echad" in the bible, I don't see it as Him saying, "I am one of many." Rather, I see it as Him saying, "I am complete." He is one in number. By this, God is saying He is good, for there is no conflict in Him. There could be multiple _________ of God and they are unified. However, whether there is or not, God is one.

The scriptures you provided are convincing. Up to this point, I had always thought that when the bible was said "we" or "us," the bible was speaking of God and the angels. Even after hearing your arguments, I still lean toward this interpretation as it makes more sense to me. However, I can't really get into all of it on this message board as to why.

I will pray more about what you have said. I do take every word to heart.

Blake


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Blake Kidney

 2005/11/5 17:44Profile
beenblake
Member



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

 Re:

Dear philologos,

By everything you said, the trinity is an attempt as a "best fit" in order to cover all the important bases.

I can definitely see this. It seems to me that accepting God as three persons in one provides a solution to the problem of how God could be the father, son, and Holy Spirit at one time. By this, it maintains that Christ could be God and man.

However, I wonder if this is not just an attempt for humanity to conceptualize God within our ability of logic and reasoning???

I would be fearful if it were such the case. I don't know.

Thanks for showing this, though, as every bit helps.

Blake


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Blake Kidney

 2005/11/5 17:50Profile
beenblake
Member



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

 Re:

Dear RobertW and Philologos,

The problem I have with the trinity is in the description of God as three "persons."

I don't have any problems accepting the rest. I believe Jesus is God. I believe Jesus was man. I believe Jesus is the Holy Spirit. I believe that the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit all existed in the same moment at the same time. And I have no problem accepting all this without any further explanation. It seems to me that all things are possible with God, and He can indeed be two things at one time without boardering any absurdity.

However, accepting that God is three persons is a difficult jump for me. I think it comes in this: what is a person?

If you were to tell me that a person is nothing more than an identity, then we are good. I can accept the trinity. The problem I have is that a person is not just an identity, but rather an entity, by which it bears autonomy. In the world are many persons. Each is an individual. These individuals have the capability of being united in love, by submitting unto each other. However, this is not possible without God. Why? Because God is one, and only God is one.

God is the only truly autonomous being in the universe. God is the only entity that doesn't need anything. He is complete. Everything else has been created by God and draws life from God.

By saying God is three persons, you are saying that God is three individuals. You are saying God is three autonomous beings. I cannot accept this.

I cannot also accept that all of God is encompassed in just three. God is not a person. God is all persons. Everything in the universe is defined by God. This means that everything gets it's definition from God. God is everything in one. You could say He is plural by this. However, He is always one, not because He is singular, but because He has one will.

A "person" is a human thing. We are divided into persons each with personalities, and each with individual characteristics. God however encompasses all individuals and characteristics. God is not a "He." God is "He" and "She." He has both the characteristics of a male and female.

I have to stop on this thought as I have to run. I will write more later.

Thanks for sharing,

Blake


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Blake Kidney

 2005/11/5 18:09Profile
InTheLight
Member



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

 Re:

Quote:
God is the only truly autonomous being in the universe. God is the only entity that doesn't need anything. He is complete. Everything else has been created by God and draws life from God. By saying God is three persons, you are saying that God is three individuals. You are saying God is three autonomous beings. I cannot accept this.



Sorry to jump in here but I just wanted to reply to this comment that is quoted above.

You say that God is complete and yet He cannot be three persons. Consider that love and communication are a part of a complete God. But if there was no love or communication among the persons of the Trinity then God would have needed to create in order to love and communicate.

I believe the Bible takes us back to the very beginning of everything and states that personality is intrinsic in what is; not in the pantheistic sense of the universe being the extension of the essence of God (or what is), but that a God who is personal on the high order of the Trinity created all else. Within the Trinity, before anything was created, there was real love and communication. For example...

[i]Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: [b]for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world[/b].[/i](John 17:24)

[i]And God said, Let [b]us[/b] make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.[/i] (Genesis 1:26)

A personal God created man in his image, God is personal, man is personal.

Love existed before the foundation of the world among the persons of the Trinity.

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2005/11/5 19:31Profile
Logic
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Joined: 2005/7/17
Posts: 1791


 Re:

God is One, but, one is not God!

What do you think when Jesus said on the cross, Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?" If one is God, the He would have been talking to him self and said, Myself, myself, why have I forsaken myself."

Quote:
don't have any problems accepting the rest. I believe Jesus is God. I believe Jesus was man. I believe Jesus is the Holy Spirit. I believe that the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit all existed in the same moment at the same time. And I have no problem accepting all this without any further explanation. It seems to me that all things are possible with God, and He can indeed be two things at one time without boardering any absurdity



Jesus was not the Holy Spirit, He has the Holy Spirit as we have a spirit.

Quote:
The problem I have with the trinity is in the description of God as three "persons."

However, accepting that God is three persons is a difficult jump for me. I think it comes in this: what is a person?



The Godhead is in three persons since He said, "let [b]Us[/b] make man in [b]Our[/b] image"

A person is an individual. The Root word of individual is divide.

Quote:
I cannot also accept that all of God is encompassed in just three. God is not a person. God is all persons. Everything in the universe is defined by God. This means that everything gets it's definition from God. God is everything in one. You could say He is plural by this. However, He is always one, not because He is singular, but because He has one will.



God is definatly a Persone in the flaesh, Jesus! He is not all persons as I am not Him nor is He me!
True!! everything does gets it's definition from God.

God is [b]not[/b] everything in one so much that He is not a fly nor is a fly Him.

Deut. 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: = shama` Yisra'el Yahovah 'elohiym(plural) 'echad(unity) Yahovah

You could say Hear, O Israel: The LORD our [b]Gods[/b] is one LORD:

 2005/11/5 19:34Profile





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