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Thread: Questions about the Holy Trinity

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    Questions about the Holy Trinity

    I am somewhat confused on how this exactly works. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are aspects of God right? Is Jesus basically his own father since he says that he said "I and my Father are one."? Or was that just a metaphor? Is Jesus supposed to be the son of God or is he God himself? How can he be both? Especially when they talk about the End of Days, they say that no one knows, not even the Son, only the Father, but if Jesus is God than he IS the Father and he should know as well shouldn't he? I figure that if Jesus is the son of God, it couldn't be the same as the Hebrew God, since Jesus and his Father are more passive and forgiving than God in the Old Testament. Not to mention Jesus mentions new rules to follow as well. If he is the son of God it might have been someone that humans confused for the Hebrew God, or this God was claiming to be the Hebrew God.

    This is something I was wondering about and wondered if anyone can explain this.

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    Time Lord Apostle Malflick's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about the Holy Trinity

    I feel like I need to turn to face a camera and say "my time has come!".

    The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all distinct entities, but they are one substance. That is, they are all God, and each is completely God, but each is distinct in their role and their presence. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are therefore not three different names for God, but together listed are one name for one God, (Yahweh, El Shaddai, etc). However, they can still act distinctly from each other, different parts of one being all working together as that being.

    Now that is a massively simplified explanation, and I want to make clear there are REAMS of writing on this topic. And your second big question moreso, in that there is more disagreement on how to answer that question. There are a LOT of different Christian denominations, not all of whom are trinitarians, and not all of whom agree on the nature of the OT and NT God's relation to each other.

    I see Jesus as being sent to deliver his message when people were capable of listening, that the old Testament was preparation for his coming, and that God thought humanity might listen to the message finally. I'm not going to go pick out the verse at the moment, but at one point Jesus mentions God gave the Israelites laws God didn't even like because their hearts were too hard to follow God's word.

    But that's just one poorly explained explanation. Some people don't think Jesus was divine, or believe in a trinity. Some people think the Old and New Testiment Gods are different Gods. Some people think God changed its mind and decided to be less of a jerk. Some people think that God tried to convince people to be nice and they just kept being jerks in his name, so he sent Jesus. Some people think that God chose the Isrealites to be his chosen people, and protected them jealously in the OT, but decided to open himself to all of humanity in the NT and this is a much more loving and inclusive God.

    So, I can't give you a straight answer, and heck the deeper I delve into my faith, I might change what I believe, and probably will, but I hope this helped.

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    Moderator Azvanna's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about the Holy Trinity

    Awesome response, Malflick! Alienist, so many people in history have asked the same questions.

    Just on your point about the changing nature of God...I really wondered about the personality of God changing so much between OT and NT. There are some stark contrasts there. What helped me with this was to not see the Bible as the infallible Word of God. It was much more helpful to me to see the Bible as a collection of writings by inspired authors describing human responses to God and the evolving understanding of the nature of God. You can see the understanding of God's nature change from being a tribal god to a universal god. It has been said that the teaching Jesus brought could not have been accepted by the Jews if he had risen to ministry any earlier than when he did.

    The new rule I think you are talking about is in John 13:34 when Jesus states: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (NIV). This isn't really a new commandment, as Jesus states in Matthew 22:34-38 that love for God and others is the fulfilment of the Law and teachings of the Prophets. It would be interesting to know what that the Hebrew/greek word that translated as our English "new" would be. It might have a certain nuance that doesn't translate so well.

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    Sr. Member toxicyarnglare's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about the Holy Trinity

    The idea of the trinity never existed when the bible was written. I believe a couple hundred years or longer afterwards, theologians were debating "what" the christian god is and came up with that concept.

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    Re: Questions about the Holy Trinity

    Three is a powerful number that goes back ages- Isis, Osiris, Horus -Mother, Father, Son/Earth, Underworld, Celestial Realm or Shiva-Parvati-Ganesha- Consciousness, Energy and Journey.

    I read somewhere that the Father represents the Masculine, I forgot what the Son represents (sorry) and Holy Spirit represents the Feminine. It might have been Christian Mysticism or Gnosticism.

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    Fundamentalist Dumuzi's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about the Holy Trinity

    Quote Originally Posted by toxicyarnglare View Post
    The idea of the trinity never existed when the bible was written. I believe a couple hundred years or longer afterwards, theologians were debating "what" the christian god is and came up with that concept.
    I do believe this is a very important point that you have brought up. Early Christians used to fight about that idea. Jesus himself, according to the Gospels, never told his followers that god is made out of the father, son and holy ghost and that the three are one.
    Do they not, then, ponder about the Qur‘an? Had it been from someone other than Allah, they would have found in it much discrepancy. [4:82]

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    Sr. Member Louisvillian's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about the Holy Trinity

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist View Post
    I am somewhat confused on how this exactly works. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are aspects of God right?

    This is something I was wondering about and wondered if anyone can explain this.
    As defined in the Nicene Creed, the three are distinct persons but part of the same being. They are in "hypostatic union", meaning that they are of the same singular, divine substance. They are the same deity, just different forms in which that deity presents itself or acts.
    That's how it's supposed to go, at least.

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    Re: Questions about the Holy Trinity

    Like the monad theory? Monad breaks off into Dyad then Dyad breaks into Triad, etc, now we have humanity.

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    Moderator Azvanna's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about the Holy Trinity

    Quote Originally Posted by toxicyarnglare View Post
    The idea of the trinity never existed when the bible was written. I believe a couple hundred years or longer afterwards, theologians were debating "what" the christian god is and came up with that concept.
    That's true. Theophilus of Antioch and Tertullian are two of the theologians credited with the development of the doctrine of the Trinity between 181 CE and 220 CE (according to my Bible College notes). I wonder what texts from the Bible theologians used to come to their decisions? The word isn't used in the Bible, but with the inclusion of the NT eludes to it. At a guess, I'd say John 10:30 I and the Father are one (NIV) could be one example among scripture. There are also many references to the Spirit throughout the NT (1 John 5:6, Acts 5:3) and the OT (Genesis 1:1).


    It's worth noting, too, that Christians believe that like God the Father, Jesus is also eternal and existed before he was incarnated (John 1). There are references to the Angel of the Lord in the OT and some Christians believe that angel is Jesus pre-incarnation. One good example is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3).

    PsykhikosAnarchosNautikos is right on track with 3 being a powerful number. Numerology abounds in the OT. Special numbers include 3, 7, 40, 12 among others. In Judaism, the number 3 is used in literary patterns and can take on different meanings depending on the context. 3 can be used as a number of finality/completion (compare 7: completion/perfection) and when used in relation to a length of time, can have connotations of spiritual preparation.

    The doctrine of the Trinity is a balance between Modalism (one god and three personalities/roles. eg one woman can be wife, mother, daughter) and Tritheism (three separate gods that agree). The three persons are somehow so close in union, but are still distinct. I think a study of each might help you to grasp the differences and similarities so you can come to your own conclusions, if that's what you desire. Here is a good place to start http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine...dt/trinity.htm This website makes a good distinction between 'person' and 'nature.'

    Just on a personal note, the best way I can describe how the Trinity might be applied is in love. God is love, the Son is the expression of that love, and the Holy Spirit is my daily connection with and understanding of that love.

    If you're not sure on the role of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit is the person of God who has work as an indwelling Helper (John 16:7, John 14:17). This help can include: Regeneration of a person's spirit (2 Cor 5:17), the Christian's assurance of acceptance of God (Romans 8:16), a seal or mark of God's commitment to us to complete the process of salvation (Ephesians 1:13), the one who gives a sense of adoption (Romans 8:15) and the one who leads us into sanctification/separation unto God (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
    Last edited by Azvanna; 15 Jun 2013 at 19:56.

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    Re: Questions about the Holy Trinity

    These are good and reasonable answers. I appreciate it a lot. I always questioned this. I always thought it was strange that it is said God sent his only son Jesus to Earth, but Jesus is supposed to be an aspect of God so really he sent himself. I also thought that whoever is father is, it couldn't be the Hebrew God, since you'd think that God came down to Earth and contacted humans like Abraham, Noah, Moses, David and Solomon, he would say "Yup that Jesus fellow is definitely my son, so you Jews go worship him now." He already showed up and interfered in human affairs, so you'd think he'd clarify that that was his son, so the Christian God I think is someone similar to Yahweh but different. Also Christians don't seem to have a problem with certain foods like pork, unlike Jews.

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