Trinity.

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Jose
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Re: Trinity.

Post by Jose » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:28 pm

Paidion wrote:I was just wondering how you fit Genesis 19:24 with the concept that Yahweh is a single Individual:

Then Yahweh rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Yahweh out of heaven.

In this sentence, there seems to be two Individuals denoted as "Yahweh", One on earth to whom Abraham had been speaking, addressing Him as "Yahweh", and who was the means of the sulfur and fire, and One in heaven who was the source of the sulfur and fire.

It seems to me that the Father and the Son share the name "Yahweh". I gained this understanding through reading Justin Martryr who used Genesis 19:24 in his discussion with the Jewish man,Trypho, and his fellow Jewish companions.
Thanks Paidion,

First, I think there's nothing in the verse to indicate that there are two individuals, nor does the verse specifically say that one was on earth. I think this is saying that ONE individual is mentioned TWICE, so we can understand the verse to mean that 'YHWH rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from HIMSELF out of heaven." There is a passage in 1 Kings that shed some light on this for me. It states that King Solomon gathered elders to King Solomon. This sounds really strange, but we understand that it is talking about the same person; we would not say that there were two Solomons.

"Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers' households of the sons of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the city of David, which is Zion." 1 Kings 8:1 (NASB)

Changing gears a little bit...It is extremely common for angels to be AGENTS of YHWH speaking and acting for Him as though they ARE Him.

In Mark 12:26 it says that YHWH spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, but in Exodus 3:2 it says "the angel of YHWH" appeared to him. Later, Steven, being full of the Spirit, in Acts 7:30-35, declared “Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord: ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’ “This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush."

I think this is greatly overlooked...An angel spoke in the first person declaring "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

I think the terms men, angels and YHWH are, in the Genesis passage, interchangeable.
If we understand that angels can speak and act in God's place, we can see below, how scripture can state that YHWH destroyed Sodom when it was actually two angels who did so.

Gen 19:1 Two angels came to Sodom
Gen 19:12-13 The two men tell Lot to get his family out of the city because THEY are going to destroy it because YHWH sent THEM to destroy it.
Gen 19:14 Lot tells his sons-in-law to get out because YHWH is going to destroy the city
Gen 19:15 In the morning the angels again urge Lot to leave
Gen 19:16 Lot hesitates so both men grab him and his family and take them out of the city because YHWH had compassion on them
Gen 19:17 One of the men tells them to escape to the mountains
Gen 19:18-20 Lot thanks them for their grace, but pleads for them to allow that he flee to a small town instead of the mountains
Gen 19:20-21 The angel grants the request, exhorting Lot to hurry, because he cannot do anything until Lot arrives there
Gen 19:24 Then YHWH rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from YHWH out of heaven,
Gen 19:25 and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

All this is akin to saying that President George Bush invaded Iraq; he may have ordered the invasion, but he didn't actually go himself. Ultimately it is God who destroyed Sodom, but two angels actually did the work.

Jose

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dizerner
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Re: Trinity.

Post by dizerner » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:46 pm

Jose wrote:It sounds like you are saying that the words possibility and chance mean two different things. I don't believe they do. They are synonyms, and as such, if one exists regarding a given subject, then the other one does as well. If I were to say "there's a possibility that I will die in a plane crash, but there's really no chance that I will because I will never board a plane," then the possibility really does not exist. The possibility of me dying only exists if I get on the plane, and so, if it is possible (as you affirm) for Jesus to sin, then the chance is just as much a reality, and that chance was the temptation itself.
You are a very perceptive reader, I think that's about what I meant. I guess I see free will working a little differently than seemingly random events in the world, like the rolling of the die. There is a possibility in the realm of free will to do anything one chooses, however that doesn't mean there is a chance for it, and I guess that seems really confusing. Because there our choices don't work like slot machines, they are deliberate. I don't walk out of my house saying "I wonder what random things I will choose today, there's a possibility I could become a mass murder even." Now I literally believe that if I so chose to do, I could become a mass murderer: that is not literally beyond what is in my power. However there is no chance I could become one, because it's not something I choose. One could argue that outside factors can strongly coerce the will, maybe like a Hollywood movie someone will kidnapped my loved ones and force me to do things I wouldn't normally do. But I see the seat of the will as fundamentally sacred, that there is within a human being somewhere a free choice that is formed entirely by the person alone. So a possibility in the way I'm using the word means, the power to do something if one so chose, but not necessarily the chance that one would choose that thing. It's exploring ideas that are difficult to talk about.
If Jesus could not sin, then I think his temptation by Satan was a charade; a little drama with all the actors playing their parts.
I kind of agree that it both was and was not a charade. In the sense that a lion meeting a gazelle in the plains of Africa leaves one no doubt about the outcome of who would win in a fight, one could call it a charade. However the fight still has to actually take place for the lion to get a meal, even though the lion could sit around smugly thinking about how he would always win.
It was a real temptation to not trust God that came by means of his hunger, which in itself is not a sinful desire. Are we to understand that the reason he didn't give in is because his divine essence prevented him from turning stones into bread?
What's the real reason you or I would give in? I would say weakness and sin. So in that sense, I do not believe Christ had those things. The fight was never in doubt, but I will admit there was still the hardship and struggle of living it out.
When Satan tempted him by offering him all the kingdoms of the earth, it was as though he was being tempted to bypass the cross. "Look Jesus, God promised to reward you with an inheritance for your obedience, but you don't have to die for it, I can give it to you now." Was this not a real test for him to overcome pride and trust God's promises?
Yes, it was a real test. But Christ was not deceived nor did he have any previous compromises or inroads to Satan. Christ created the worlds and had more in heaven before he left than Satan could ever offer him—that is besides you and me. I don't truly and honestly think just a man could defeat Satan head on. That is to say, God's grace gives us the victory, but it always traces back to the work of Christ. A testing, as the Scripture says, "by fire" with the imagery of metallurgy, is something that reveals what is already there. When Christ said Peter would be "sifted like wheat" he was implying that already at that moment something had failed inside of Peter. The moment of testing simply revealed what had been a reality on the inside all along.
dizerner wrote:I don't understand how you can think that it was easy for Christ to overcome. A "sinful nature" is not needed before disobedience to God is possible. God created Adam presumably without a sin nature and we all know what happened after that.
That's the one sin I don't understand. To have everything you could want and give it up just to disobey the One who gave you everything, it's just something I can't understand. But you can't convince me that Adam's sin was inevitable. I don't think it was some incredible "hardship" for Adam to say no, unless we factor in after Eve had already transgressed. But he was Eve's head and was stated to be right there, and so could have stopped Eve. It was the easiest thing in the world for Adam to say no to Satan in that garden.
dizerner wrote:You see, I think that his sacrifice was in itself a struggle to overcome sin. The blood that he sweat in the garden was a physical manifestation of the horrendous stress that he was experiencing as he fought against the temptation to not do his father's will. He went through with it though, because he submitted himself, not because his nature wouldn't allow him to disobey.
Fearing the wrath of God and desiring what Satan has to offer, are two different things in my book. I think we have a tendency to always relate our own struggle with sinful tendencies to Christ and think Christ was just a sinner like us that tried really hard and managed to do the right thing, and that then can inspire us to do what Christ did and overcome the same way. But I don't think that's a Biblical picture of how Christ or how we overcome. We will always fail, we have no chance of success. Christ will always win, and has no chance of failure. The way we overcome is by trusting Christ instead of ourselves, not by saying because Christ can do it, we can too. To be perfect, as Scripture defines it, is never to even entertain the thought of the sin on the inside (Mat 5). Now I don't believe any human can do that (Rom 3). But Christ is clearly called "perfect and holy" and his work on the cross is said to have perfected those who believe in him, once for all time.
dizerner wrote:This is probably true, I'm not saying you have. My point was simply that scripture nowhere calls Jesus a God-man, but repeatedly calls him a man. Isn't that good enough?
I truly don't believe it is good enough. Satan bought mankind and we need a Redeemer, someone to purchase us back.
dizerner wrote:He didn't bring a new revelation about who God is, but instead upheld the centuries old Jewish monotheism when he stated that the Shema is the foremost commandment. (Mark 12:29)
I think he did bring a new revelation, but not one that contradicted the OT. Scripture says about the religious adherents of the Jewish nation that a "veil lies on their heart" and "that veil is taken away in Christ." And you remember the depiction of the old tabernacle and temple, and the veil was the part of the building that separated men from the presence of God. We can draw new truths from old Scriptures—Christ was that veil, and he was torn in two. The veil with humans on one side, and God on the other side. Christ was that mercy seat, with the blood on top and the broken 10 commandments underneath. Christ is the bridge between humans and the divine and to be that he had to be the "uniquely begotten God," which I believe is the original and correct reading of John 1:18 (Metzger argues there would be no reason to drop the article http://www.bible-researcher.com/john1.18.html).
Last edited by dizerner on Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Paidion
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Re: Trinity.

Post by Paidion » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:17 pm

In Mark 12:26 it says that YHWH spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, but in Exodus 3:2 it says "the angel of YHWH" appeared to him. Later, Steven, being full of the Spirit, in Acts 7:30-35, declared “Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord: ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’ “This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush."

I think this is greatly overlooked...An angel spoke in the first person declaring "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
Another way of looking at it is that there is a particular angel (messenger) of Yahweh, who is the Son of God, and who shares the name "Yahweh" with his Father, in which case He is not merely any angel who speaks in the name of Yahweh, but THE Angel of Yahweh, who is the Son of God, who actually IS Yahweh—not the same individual as the Father, but one who shares the name, and who, by virtue of his having been begotten before all ages, and the ONLY begotten Son, also shares the divine essence with the Father, and thus can be called "God" (in the sense of having the same essence as God the Father). This seemed to have been the position of Justin Martyr (110-165 A.D.)
Paidion

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dizerner
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Re: Trinity.

Post by dizerner » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:49 pm

The possible Christophanies I would never consider proof, but as a Trinitarian I think it's pretty significant that such an idea could even fit so well into the Old Testament. The fact that the Trinity can find ways to fit into the OT seems to me more significant than if it couldn't.
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Paidion
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Re: Trinity.

Post by Paidion » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:48 am

Interestingly enough, Justin Martyr was not a Trinitarian. Indeed Trinitarianism did not become a common belief until the fourth century.

Justin Martyr, a Christian who lived from 110 to165 A.D., had a discussion with a Jewish man, Trypho (and some of his companions) which lasted several days. Justin was showing from the Hebrew writings that God had begotten His Son before all ages, and compared this begetting to lighting a small fire from a large one. Justin affirmed also that the Son shared the Name “Yahweh” with the Father. He argued that in Genesis 19:24, there were two individuals who were called “Yahweh”, One in heaven (the Father), and One on earth (the Son) who was talking to Abraham. Justin also showed from many Scriptures that the Son of God was born on earth as a human being and that He was the promised Messiah.

Both Justin and Trypho throughout their dialogue had been referring to the Holy Spirit. Certainly Trypho, being Jewish, did not consider the Holy Spirit to be a Being distinct from the one God. It is interesting that at one point, Justin asked Trypho this question:

“Do you think that any other one is said to be worthy of worship and called Lord and God in the Scriptures, except the Maker of all, and the Messiah, who by so many Scriptures was proved to you to have become man?”

Trypho replied, “How can we admit this, when we have instituted so great an inquiry as to whether there is any other than the Father alone?”

If Justin had been a Trinitarian, this would have been a perfect opportunity to present the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity. But he didn't. Instead, he said:

“I must ask you this also, that I may know whether or not you are of a different opinion from that which you admitted some time ago.”
Paidion

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Re: Trinity.

Post by dizerner » Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:30 am

Paidion wrote:Indeed Trinitarianism did not become a common belief until the fourth century.
I would argue that you can absorb the essentials of a doctrine without giving it a specific and unique name. We find many "Trinitarian" type quotes from the early church fathers and of course in Scripture itself, where if you spend any serious time, it's a bit hard not to see three unique names consistently given to God.
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Re: Trinity.

Post by jriccitelli » Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:37 pm

True Diz. The Trinity is simply a way of referring to the Deity of Christ and of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The same way the word Bible and Theology are simplistic terms that refer to something that was ‘already’ there. It is not the word ‘Trinity’ that defines what is truly the fundamental truth to Christianity, it is the word Monotheism, the Oneness of God, Gods uniqueness sovereignty, and the Deity of Christ, that define what is necessary, fundamental and of most importance.

Paidion’s concept of Jesus is as close to Trinitarianism as any could be, but still just as far away as the others (anything that does not believe Jesus is Lord and God), according to strict Monotheism. Paidion is closer to homoousios (of the same substance) or even homoiousios (similar in substance). If Jesus came out of God, as Paidion explains it, Jesus would be another separate entity and in every sense another god. Especially when attributing to Jesus the creation of the heavens and Earth (see Duet. 13, 18, Malachi 2:10, Isaiah 45:18, Rev 10:6, etc):
‘But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation. 11 Thus you shall say to them, "The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens. 12 It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; and by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens. 13 When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens…’ (Jer. 10:10-13)
‘The LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King’ If Jesus is not this same God then you have a false Jesus. The Prophet says here that God created the earth if another prophet comes along and says someone or something else did it, then you have a false prophet, it is that simple.

I think it is this fundamental statement that Jesus is Lord and that there is only one Lord is what synchronizes all of the Old and New Testament. If confessing that ‘Jesus is Lord and God’ means only one thing it is this: We trust in God alone for our salvation.

Anything else may put us in grave danger.

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Re: Trinity.

Post by Paidion » Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:25 pm

Dizerner, you wrote:I would argue that you can absorb the essentials of a doctrine without giving it a specific and unique name. We find many "Trinitarian" type quotes from the early church fathers and of course in Scripture itself, where if you spend any serious time, it's a bit hard not to see three unique names consistently given to God.
How about some examples of the "many Trinitarian type quotes from the early church fathers and of course in Scripture itself"?

There is only one text in Textus Receptus of the New Testament that looks Trinitarian, and that is 1 John 5:7. However, this sentence is known to have been added in the 9th century, and didn't appear in any Greek texts prior to that. Also, a Greek text is extant which included the verse as a copyist's note. That is probably how it eventually got added to the text.

Just because the early fathers and the New Testament writings speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, does not mean they believed in classic Trinitarianism.

I see nothing in the New Testament writers nor in the second-century writers which comes across as Trinitarianism. Of course, those who already believe in this understanding of God tend to read it into the texts.

As for the Old Testament, some Trinitarians claim to find the Trinity there. Yet Israelite and Jewish teachers have found no such thing over the centuries. They have always believed in God as a single, divine Individual, beside which there is no other.
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Re: Trinity.

Post by jriccitelli » Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:32 pm

Jesus is LORD seems to be profoundly scriptural and prolific among the believers of the Church. Jesus is The Lord, The King, Our Savior, Our Creator and the Only God whom we should know. I don't know how else to put it, i tried,

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Re: Trinity.

Post by StevenD » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:34 am

Due to my seasonal visits to the forum here I haven't read much of the exchange here. Perhaps the information that I'm offering has already been critically rejected here, though I'll risk pasting it up.

Several sources that I consider to be generally well-informed and trustworthy suggested that 1 John 5:7 was not to be found until Erasmus made a spurious addition to a TR manuscript. Thus, I was surprised to find a strong allusion, if not a partially direct quote from the verse in Cyprian's fairly well-known treatise On the Unity of the Church. The translation that I have says:
..."He who breaks the peace and the concord of Christ, does so in opposition to Christ; he who gathereth elsewhere than in the Church, scatters the Church of Christ. The Lord says, “I and the Father are one;” (Jn.10:30) and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, “And these three are one” (1Jn. 5:7 [?]). And does any one believe that this unity which thus comes from the divine strength and coheres in celestial sacraments, can be divided in the Church, and can be separated by the parting asunder of opposing wills? He who does not hold this unity does not hold God’s law, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation."
As concerns the doctrine of the Trinity, the earliest references that I'm aware of are from the second century. Theophilus of Antioch makes reference to the concept in his Letter to Autolycus (Book 2, ch. 15):
In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity, of God, and His Word, and His wisdom.
Another quote is from the Stromata of Clement of Alexandria (Book 5, ch. 14; pardon the lengthy quote):
For I pass over Plato; he plainly, in the Epistle to Erastus and Coriscus, is seen to exhibit the Father and Son somehow or other from the Hebrew Scriptures, exhorting in these words: “In invoking by oath, with not illiterate gravity, and with culture, the sister of gravity, God the author of all, and invoking Him by oath as the Lord, the Father of the Leader, and author; whom if ye study with a truly philosophical spirit, ye shall know.” And the address in the Timaeus calls the creator, Father, speaking thus: “Ye gods of gods, of whom I am Father; and the Creator of your works.” So that when he says, “Around the king of all, all things are, and because of Him are all things; and he [or that] is the cause of all good things; and around the second are the things second in order; and around the third, the third,” I understand nothing else than the Holy Trinity to be meant; for the third is the Holy Spirit, and the Son is the second, by whom all things were made according to the will of the Father.
Also from North Africa, Tertullian's polemical work known as Against Praxaes seems to address the subject more emphatically. Sparing the larger context, within the second chapter (the 7th division of an anti-Marcionite work) he states:
...But keeping this prescriptive rule inviolate, still some opportunity must be given for reviewing (the statements of heretics), with a view to the instruction and protection of divers persons; were it only that it may not seem that each perversion of the truth is condemned without examination, and simply prejudged; especially in the case of this heresy, which supposes itself to possess the pure truth, in thinking that one cannot believe in One Only God in any other way than by saying that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are the very selfsame Person. As if in this way also one were not All, in that All are of One, by unity (that is) of substance; while the mystery of the dispensation is still guarded, which distributes the Unity into a Trinity, placing in their order the three Persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in substance, but in form; not in power, but in aspect; yet of one substance, and of one condition, and of one power, inasmuch as He is one God, from whom these degrees and forms and aspects are reckoned, under the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. How they are susceptible of number without division, will be shown as our treatise proceeds.
Interestingly, there are also a few quotes from the Zohar that have driven at least one scholar (i.e. Yehuda Liebes) to the claim that Christians must have imposed themselves on medieval Jewry in order to reach such a patently Christian formulation of a triune Godhead. The book is, admittedly, very mystical. Though disputed by some traditionalists, it was probably written no sooner than the 12th century AD. One reference to a tripartate God is derived from a verse in Deut. 6:4, a verse cherished by practitioners of Judaism (affectionately referred to as "the Shema"). As the verse affirms that God is One, the verse is often referenced as an anchor point for Judaism's unwavering adherence to the unity of God.

The verse simply states "Hear, O Israel, Yahweh--our God--Yahweh is one." After quoting this verse, the Zohar (one version Vol 2, sec. 53b--; cf. also Vol. 3, sec. 43b--Soncino Ed.) records that ..."these three are one. Only through the perception of faith: in the vision of the Holy Spirit, in the beholding of the hidden eye alone."

The text meanders from the rational a bit and continues with ...“the mystery of the audible voice is similar to this, for though it is one yet it consists of three elements—fire, air and water, which have, however, become one in the mystery of the voice. Even so it is with the mystery of the threefold Divine manifestations designated by Adonai [Yahweh] Eloheinu [our God] Adonai [Yahweh]—three modes which yet form one unity."

As I rarely post anything on the forum, maybe I'm pushing the envelope by adding this kind of graffiti to the wall here. There are other similar sorts of references planted in some of the Jewish mystical literature, but it seems far afield from making grammatical sense of the Scriptures.

-sd

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