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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Should we believe the trinity?

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Delboy
Member



Joined: 2004/2/8
Posts: 199
Worthing UK

 Re:

Hi Keith
Thanks for the list its great,Also Robert w the historical and hebrew stuff is foundational to this sort of debate
thanks guys, bless you :-D


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derek Eyre

 2004/4/20 16:20Profile
nekaras
Member



Joined: 2004/4/19
Posts: 12


 Re:

KeithLaMothe,

You bring up some very interesting points.

[i]1. Is the Father (YHWH) God?[/i]

So you think YHWH is the Father but not the Son? I thought YHWH was/is God. That is his name given in Exodus 3. I thought Trinitarians believed that Father is YHWH, Son is YHWH, and Holy Spirit is YHWH.

Let me know what you think before I reply to the scriptures.

 2004/4/20 22:53Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

It's just my own habit to think of the divine name as referring to the Father. I may be incorrect in that, if so just ignore the distinction.

 2004/4/20 22:57Profile
openairboy
Member



Joined: 2003/9/22
Posts: 85


 Re:

YHWH can readily refer to the Godhead. I realize many will not like this answer, but the Church has already settled the issue. The Nicene Creed is clear in its formulation of the Trinity. There is no need to try to reinvent the wheel in every generation. Yes, we need to articulate in every generation, but it's silly to question issues the Church has settled. Isaiah 6 and John 12 are abundantly clear that Jesus is YHWH. The Gospel of John, starting with the first verse is abundandtly clear that the Word with (pros) God, and the Word was God. I don't understand the difficulty.

 2004/4/20 23:36Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

As I said, it's just a habit of mine to think YHWH = Father, I'm not dogmatic about it nor do I have a problem with someone using it to refer to the Trinity as a whole, so long as they have a Scriptural basis for doing so. Thank you for the correction.

I think the topic at hand, though, was whether Trinitarianism is true doctrine at all. Yes, the Church settled this looooooong ago, and yes, that's generally enough for me to think it a reasonable doctrine (still to be investigated, but not to be rejected out of hand before that). But it's not enough for a lot of people, apparently. Indeed, one of the arguments a person I know uses [i]against[/i] the Trinity doctrine is that it was first officially stated by the Catholic Church well after the Apostolic period.

 2004/4/20 23:43Profile
jeremyhulsey
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Joined: 2003/4/18
Posts: 777


 Re:

The Old Testament names of God referr to His character and nature. They are not personal names like we understand personal names per se. God is called by many names in the Old Testament, some would be: YHWH, Adonai, Ellohim,...etc. All are referring to the nature of God. Therefore it is correct to call Jesus, YHWH, or dare I say, use the German translitteration of Jehova.

The Trinity can be rightly understood, it just cannot be understood comprehensively. In other words, we cannot have exhaustive knowledge about the Trinity, it's just simply beyond us. To the trinitarian, this concept is completely acceptable because one of the characteristics of God is His incomprehensability.

So now that we can call Jesus, the Father, or the Spirit YHWH, does that establish modalism (oneness theology)? Certainly not. When you call Jesus YHWH, you are calling Him God according to His nature. The same is true of the Father and the Spirit.

Earthly comparisons ultimately breakdown. I've heard analogies of ice, water, steam; light's primary colors, a father who is a husband and a co-worker. All of these analogies, if followed to their logical conclusion, break down into modalism. God is totally unique from His creation. That would logically follow since God is not made up of any part of creation, therefore there is nothing to compare Him to. The best way to describe the Trinity is to simply state it the way it is. You have God and He has one and only one nature. The nature of God exists in three persons. They don't each share the essence i.e. Jesus has a third, the Father has a third, and the Spirit has a third of the essence. But Each one posesses the entire nature of God. This is where it goes beyond our ability to grasp. We see singular beings posessed by singular persons every day, but we've never seen singular beings posessed by multiple persons.

So it is correct to say that Jesus is God, The Father is God, The Holy Spirit is God. It is also correct to say that Jesus is not the Father or the Spirit; The Father is not the Jesus or the Spirit; and The Spirit is not the Father or Jesus.

I'll get into this more tommorrow after I've had some sleep. :-D It's getting late here.

In Christ,
Jeremy Hulsey


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Jeremy Hulsey

 2004/4/21 0:40Profile
KeithLaMothe
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Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

At the risk of being labeled "Calvinist" ( :-) ) I'll post Q&A's 4-6 of the Westminster Shorter Chatechism, which still accurately sums up my position on this particular issue. The numbers are numbers of Scripture references that can be found in the bottom frame here:

http://www.reformed.org/documents/WSC_frames.html

Q. 4. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit,[7] infinite,[8] eternal,[9] and unchangeable,[10] in his being,[11] wisdom,[12] power,[13] holiness,[14] justice,[15] goodness,[16] and truth.[17]

Q. 5. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only,[18] the living and true God.[19]

Q. 6. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;[20] and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.[21]

 2004/4/21 1:52Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

The Hebrew language has two words that can be translated "ONE": echad and yachid. Whereas yachid (yah-keed) refers to the number one (i.e., absolute unity), echad (ek-kawd) refers to a composite unity. An example of this is in the book of Genesis chapter 2, verse 24, where it says that a couple joined together in marriage shall become one flesh. Since the Shema uses the word echad, not yachid, it is reasonable to say that God's essence or nature is that of a composite unity.

For centuries, the rabbis have struggled with Genesis 1:26, where God says, ". . . Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: . . ." The plural noun Elohim (God), used in conjunction with the plural pronouns "us" and "our," argues persuasively for the existence of a plurality within the Godhead.


But doesn't the idea of divine plurality contradict the Jewish Shema, which declares that ". . . The LORD our God is one LORD" (Deut. 6:4)? Not when we realize that the Hebrew word echad (one) is often used to designate a compound unity rather than a simple unity. Note that the same word is used in Genesis 2:24 when Adam and Eve were married and became basar echad, or "one flesh."

I have a whole teaching on this issue that I will post in the Jewish Roots section as it is a major stumbling block for Jews to accept God in three persons.

God Bless,

-Robert


Notes:

Gary Hedrick "Seven Things God Was Doing Before Genesis 1:1"

http://www.cjf.org/pages/7things.htm




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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/4/21 8:11Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:

Earlier Greg said:

Quote:
I went through in one of my old bibles in the New Tesament and highlighted EVERY verse that had mention of the Jesus (Son),Spirit (Holy Spirit), and GOD (Father). You will be amazed how many there are when you look for those three-in-one verse. It's too bad I gave that bible away would have come in handy here in this discussion. hehe



On the heels of that comment:

[i]For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.[/i] Eph 3:14-19


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Mike Balog

 2004/4/21 9:09Profile
jeremyhulsey
Member



Joined: 2003/4/18
Posts: 777


 Re: Trinity in the Old Testament

If God has always existed in three persons then why don't we see it in the Old Testament?

This is a good question. And the fact is, while the revelation of the trinity is not fully disclosed, we see through progressive revelation that God is multi-personal in the Old Testament.

If God is multi-personal then trinitarians would expect to find in the Old Testament references to the multi-personal nature of God. When we look what do we find?

Deut. 6:4 Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Well that settles it. Here is the capstone of the Oneness camps' theology. On the surface this seems to forever destroy any notions of the multi-personal nature of God. However, as RobertW rightly pointed out, the word for one used here means a unity. There are nine words for one in the Hebrew. Eight of them can mean solitary or a singularity. Not the one used here. Robert Morray puts it this way:

Quote:
In the list of Hebrew words which speak of oneness, the word 'ehad refers to a compound oneness in which a number of things together are described as "one." The following sample passages illustrate this compound meaning of oneness:

Gen.2:24 Adam and Eve became "one" flesh
Gen.34:16,22 The Shechemites wanted to become "one people" with the Jews.
II Chron. 30:12: God gave the people "one heart"

(he goes on to list several more)

A Unitarian would never apply the Hebrew word 'ehad to God because it means a compound or unified oneness. I fthe authors of the Bible were Unitarians, we would not expect to find 'ehad applied to God.

On the other hand, if the writers of Scripture believed that God was multi-personal, then we would expect to find that they would apply 'ehad...



Not only is this word used to describe God, but it is used in one of the most important verses found in the Old Testament. This is Israel's great confession.

If God was only one God then the authors of Scripture would express this by using singular nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs in reference to God. You would expect to find words like I, Me, His, Myself, and Me. Both Unitarians and Trinitarians would agree to this. And we find God spoken of in this manner.

But, if they also believed that God was multi-personal, the only way this idea could be indicated in the Hebrew was to use plural nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verbs. God would be spoken of in words like, They, Them, We, Us, and Ours. Unitarians would not expect God to be described with such words. What do we find when we look at the Bible?

Genesis 20:13a And it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father's house

The divine name for God here and the verb which modifies it are both plural. It can be read: "When They(God) caused me to wander..."

Genesis 35:7 can be translated: "They(God) revealed Themselves to him" Once again the Noun and the Verb are in the plural.

[b]Plural of Majesty[/b]

This brings up a point that someone tried to argue in an earlier debate on this subject. He tried to explain the plural descriptions of God as a way to magnify His majesty by the writers. Robert Morray has something to say about this:

Quote:
During the nineteenth century debates between Unitarians and Trinitarians, the priciple of pluralis majestaticus was revealed to be a hoax popularized by the famous Jewish scholar Gesenius. It became clear that he used it as a ruse de guerre against Christianity.

The fundamental error resided in the attempt to take a modern monarchical idiosyncrasy and read it back into an ancient text when such an idosyncrasy was unkown at that time. Richard Davies in 1891 pointed out, "indeed, this royal style is unkown in Scripture."

What is astounding is that, one hundred years later, the anti-Trinitarians are still using this hoax to dodge the significance of the use of plural pronouns in reference to God. They seem to be totally ignorant of the fact that it is a recent grammatical invention and, thus, cannot be read back into ancient times or texts.

We must also point ou that anti-Trinitarians now apply the principle of pluralis majestaticus to all plural words of God when the priciple really only relates to direct discourse, i.e., "Us" and "Our" passages. It is even invoked as a way to explain away the significance of the plural word Elohim in such places as Genesis 1:1. But sinc Genesis 1:1 is not a direct discourse, the appeal to a supposed "plurality of majesty" is nothing more than a ruse.



To be continued...:-D


In Christ,
Jeremy Hulsey


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Jeremy Hulsey

 2004/4/21 12:58Profile





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