How do we understand the trinity?


(Shawn T Murphy) #61

Dear Albert, Thank you for sharing. My journey has resulted in a little more protracted time-lime of creation, which accounts for why God had to create this imperfect world in the first place. For me, the reason that people have trouble with Jesus’ statements of His oneness with God comes from the eternity that the two of them spent together planning creation. They are the only two divine beings that truly are of the same essence because Jesus came directly from God. Every other being was then created by God through Jesus and, therefore, do not share the intimacy with God that Jesus does.

When there were only eight sentient beings in Heaven - God and the seven Spirits of God - the differences among them was slight. Yet, the six archangels were still quite different from God and the King. As the population of Heaven grew, one of the archangels became jealous of that unique bond between God and Jesus. The firstborn, the light bearer, wanted something that he could never have, but still, he was able to convince 1/3 of Heaven that he was as worthy as Jesus and also deserved to be a king.

After God cast out 1/3 of Heaven, He came up with His plan of restoration - to cleanse the fallen and bring them home. This school of hard knocks is called the material universe which will last billions of years to bring the fallen home.

The Fall was caused because 1/3 of Heaven did not recognize Jesus as the sole King of Heaven. The restoration can only happen by acknowledging and serving Jesus as the only King. The king of this world is doing everything in his power to prevent this from happening. Everything that diverts our attention from the King of Heaven is the work of the adversary.


(GJDS) #62

I have formed the impression (correct me if I am wrong) that some experience difficulties in understanding the One God as the Trinity, as simplicity (not complexity or made of parts).

As a scientist I can understand why three persons in One God may present difficulties, as we specialise in determining differences in matter and energy, and the differences enable us to determine aspects of nature.

The way I consider this is to regard if any differences can be obtained from three identical entities. Scientifically, if they are identical, normally I would regard them as indistinguishable - except if they were present in three time-space coordinates. If time-space were removed, I cannot possibly count such as three, unless they manifested in my time and space as distinct beings.

Theologically, God is infinite goodness and love, and He has displayed this to us through His Son and the Holy Spirit. This revelation is of the One God revealed to us as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As God is of the identical essence, or substance, if we can look at Him for scientific study (and we cannot, but if), we could only arrive at One.


(Mitchell W McKain) #63

I am not really sure what you are trying to say here.

To be sure, God is not composed of parts in the way that physical things are. We are what we are because our parts are a part of a system which govern their behavior in such a way that they currently work together in such a way. We exist because of them, though in a replaceable manner. So if anything happen to disrupt their relationships then we are torn apart. That is certainly not the case with God, and I don’t think it is the case with any spiritual things. I think that spiritual things are what they are by their own nature alone. I would not say that God doesn’t have parts, but only that any parts you speak of derive their existence from Him rather than the other way around. For example, I would not support the idea that God can have no feelings or thoughts because these would be parts of Him, which is not allowed. And if you believe in an omnipresent God relating to and interacting with things everywhere this implies a lot of parts of Him in that sense… just not in the sense that God is composed of such parts. To put it another way, we can divide God in any number of parts conceptually even if we cannot do so materially or mechanically.

So perhaps you can also see why I doubt that the concepts of simplicity and complexity are either accurate or helpful for understanding God. While you suggest God is simple with respect to the idea of being composite, I would suggest God is also infinitely complex in different senses – like limitless knowledge and capabilities.

This is definitely not right. The doctrine of the Trinity is that Father, Son, and Holy spirit are three distinct persons but only one God. They are not different entities, different parts, different aspects, different modes, different functions, …only different persons. As persons they are not identical – as persons they are distinguishable. They are only identical and indistinguishable in other ways: one entity, one being, one God.

Science is not applicable in any way shape or form. Science is only made possible because the mathematical space-time structure of the universe and so science is only applicable to things which are part of that structure.

There is any number of ways of looking at God in which we can arrive different kinds of numbers. He is only one God, but we know God as three persons, and we can count the number of times He spoke to Abraham, or the number of times he raised up prophets.

I certainly think that God is infinite. And thus because of that you can say His goodness and love are infinite, for their is no limit to what He has to give.


(GJDS) #64

My remarks are related to how the Trinity may be discussed. We attribute many things to God as this is the way we would understand scripture. I fail to comprehend your remarks on ways of looking at God and numbers. :weary:


(Shawn T Murphy) #65

@GJDS you say the “One God” which implies there are others. Yahweh tells us that we should have no other gods than the One God, but again implying there are more than one God. Jesus tell us about God’s character and how He is similar and different from Himself, Jesus. So, I suggest looking at each and every reference to god in the Bible and determining which god is being referenced, theologically.

Logically (scientifically), there is nothing in God’s creation that reflects His so-called trinity nature. The entire time that Jesus was Earth He was praying to God and telling us how He is similar, and how He is different from God in Heaven. This is the separate space-time you referenced. Jesus also says He will send the spirt of truth from God - three separate space-times. Logic leads me to see these three elements of Heaven as separate and subordinate - three main divisions of Heaven, but not divisions of One God.


(Robin) #66

Good examples, Mitchell…I do also believe that there are statements made by Jesus which were understood by the people of His day and His culture who understood by what Jesus said that He was claiming to be God. Some of these things are not clear to us because we do not share the cultural milieu of the era.


(Robin) #67

Interesting remarks by Rauser, Jpm…No matter how one describes it, the end result is that headache you referenced a few postings back. Or we can call it “seeing through a glass darkly…”


(Charles Keller) #68

Since I posted my suggestion that the Creator and “his” creation seem to be very similar–Wave Particle duality as a possible result and indication of the nature of the Trinity, there have been several thoughtful objections. First of all I was surprised that there were any and the actual reason for the objections seemed strained. Can anyone hold that as a photon approaches a PV panel it is not a wave but then acts like a particle in producing free electrons? Thus these two aspects are not just the result of experiments but are inherent in the nature of a photon.
As for quantum things referring to “interactions” this seems the same for the Trinity because for an interaction to take place we need an essence. And our relation to the Trinity is always by interactions.

And so I see no problem with viewing “his” creation as a reflection of “his” essence. So creation is not God, but it has very similar properties and leads us to an interesting explanation of the Trinity. And note that there is a continuity here–are we thus made in the image and likeness of God?
Admittedly both are not at present understandable, but they sure look the same which seems reasonable because one created the other.

Also in the objections I sense a common reaction to using science to elucidate faith. Many simply distrust science and don’t give it the same status as revelation. But actually both are very similar–both are given truth-revelation/data and then construct a theory of what it means. But somehow in faith we often think there is nothing else to be learned or modified. We don’t admit that our interpretations of revelation are models which only approximate the real situation. Here science can offer us an approach for understanding. There is truth and there are interpretations. Unfortunately many different religions decide that their interpretation is actually the “truth” and this has sadly spawned such suffering. For, if we have the truth, we must stamp out falsehood. But science says our interpretations are all too human and can never be totally accurate. So no religion has all of the truth and we come closer to God by inter-comparing ideas rather than excluding others. Something to think about. I agree that a quantum analogy about the nature of the Trinity seems a bit sterile when we attribute attributes to God (so does the theory of evolution, etc). However, we are not asked to construct our own world, but rather to discover what the Creator did–not so flowery, but there it is.quarks!


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #69

Actually BioLogos officially subscribes to the Two Books Theory of Revelation through the Bible and Science. We need to reform and revive Philosophy to make the Three Books Theory work.


(Theophilus Book) #70

99 times in the Old Testament,
In the Law, and in the Psalms, and in the Prophets, and in the New Testament
God says “egw eimi o’ Theos” “I AM THE GOD” using 1st person singular grammar; And once in Exodus, Speaking to Moses, GOD says "egw eimi o’ w’n " -
“I am the being” using first person singular grammar.

“egw” = first-person-singular pronoun = “I”
“eimi” = first-person-singular present active verb = “AM”
“'o” = singular definite article = “The”
“theos” = Nominative masculine singular noun = “God”

“Egw” leaves no room for 'We." “Egw” allows no room for “US.” “Egw” is a reference to a first-person-singular “I.”
“Eimi” leaves no room for “Are,” but is a reference to “AM.”
“Ho” leaves no room for “some” but is a reference to “The” one and only.
It is a singular definite article.
“Theos” leaves no room for “Theoi;” You cannot stuff “plural persons” into a singular-person reference.

God introduced himself to Moses as a 1st-person-singular “being;” i.e., there is only one person in the “person-singular” being.

In Exo 3:14 God introduced himself to Moses using singular pronoun, singular verb, singular definite article and singular verb participle. “egw eimi 'o wn” = “I AM THE BEING.”

“egw” = first-person-singular pronoun = “I”
“eimi” = first-person-singular present active verb = “am”
“'o” = singular definite article = “the”
“wn” = Singular participle = “Being”

“Egw” leaves no room for 'We." “Egw” allows no room for “US.” “Egw” is a reference to a first-person-singular “I.”
“Eimi” leaves no room for “Are,” but is a reference to “AM.”
“Ho” leaves no room for “some” but is a reference to “The” one and only.
It is a singular definite article.
“Wn” leaves no room for beings, it is a reference to “The Being.” It is singular as to number of persons considered.

“Singular” participle means there is only one person in “The Being.”

If in fact, the new testament “reveals” what was hidden in the old testament about a triune God, why then did God repeat his “Misinformation” in the new testament?

Why did God say in Mark 12:26 “And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, [Egw o` Theos] I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?”

“egw” = first-person-singular pronoun = “I”
“'o” = singular definite article = “The”
“theos” = Nominative masculine singular noun = “God”

Why did God say in Acts 7:32 “[Egw o` Theos] I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold” using first-person-singular Pronoun; first-person-singular Definite Article; first-person-singular Noun" if in fact, he is a multi-personal being?

“egw” = first-person-singular pronoun = “I”
“'o” = singular definite article = “The”
“theos” = Nominative masculine singular noun = “God”

LOOK AT WHAT JESUS TEACHES ABOUT WHEN HE AND THE FATHER ARE TOGETHER; John 16:32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone [monos]: and yet I am not [ouk monos] alone, because the Father is with me.

When Jesus is with his Father, they together, are “ouk monos” “not alone.” But if either of them is by himself, he is “monos” “alone.”

Isa 37:16 “O Jehovah' (LORD) of hosts,Elohiym’ (God) of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the Elohiym' (God), even thoumonos’ (alone), of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.”

Isaiah 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am Jehovah (the LORD) that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone [monos]; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

From this, it can be safely deduced, that if they are “monos” “alone” the second is not with the first. Each is “monos/alone” with reference to the other. And if either is “ouk monos” as regards the other, they are together, and not alone.

Now, let us look again at the Isaiah passage, with this new understanding - Isa 37:16 “O Jehovah' (LORD) of hosts,Elohiym’ (God) of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the Elohiym' (God), even thoumonos’ (alone), of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.” In this passage we learn that Jehovah of hosts, ALONE is the Elohiym of Israel, and ALONE made the heaven and the earth.

Again, this concept is born out by the testimony of other passages -
Isa 42:5 Thus saith `El Jehovah’ (God the LORD), he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

Isa 44:24 Thus saith Jehovah' (the LORD), thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I amJehovah’ (the LORD) that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens `monos’ (alone); that spreadeth abroad the earth, by myself;

And if GOD is TRIUNE (Three Persons) why did Jesus deny being God?
Jesus said "God is a Spirit"John 4:24

Jesus said “a spirit hath not flesh and bones.” Luke 24:39

Jesus said "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."Luke 24:39

Jesus said “true worshippers shall worship The Father.” John 4:23

Then in Isaiah, (and several other places) He tells us “I sent MY Holy Spirit” to accomplish something, and NEVER is there a reference to a third-person-of a Trinity Holy Spirit referenced in scripture.
The Identity Of God The Father As “The Holy Spirit”
Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? Where is He that put His holy Spirit within him? 12 That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? 13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? 14 As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: 15 so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name. Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?16 Doubtless Thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: Thou, O JEHOVAH, art our Father, our Redeemer; Thy name is from everlasting." [Isa 63:11-16]

JOEL 2:28-32
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”

ACTS 2:16-21
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

50 A.D. I THES 4:8
“He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us HIS Holy Spirit.”

56 A.D. ROM 8:11
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by HIS Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

85 A.D. I JOHN 4:13
“Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because HE hath given us of HIS Spirit.”


(Albert Leo) #71

In your earlier post to @Relates, you state that

However, in the first of your quotes above, you state that Jesus and God share a unique intimacy. IMHO you are creating unnecessary obstacles to a logical interpretation, because you have NOT separated the human creature, Jesus, from his eternal title: the Christ. Prior to the Big Bang, the biological human, Jesus, could NOT have been present with God planning creation. On the other hand, one can conceive of a spiritual ‘Saving Force’ worthy of the title, Christ (or Messiah), existing as part of God’s nature and which existed even before He created the Universe and what we now call space/time. If God chose to create a universe that began in utmost simplicity (a quark plasma), and evolved to produce a marvelous variety of living creatures, at least one of which He could gift with a conscience and freedom to be co-creators with Him, He surely could have foreseen that some sort of guidance would be required. On planet Earth this Saving Force became personified in Jesus, the first and only human worthy of the title, Christ.

IMHO, this is a way of viewing Jesus as both True God and True Man. At least it is a way that my weak mind can currently cope with. Hopefully in time there will be something better.
Al Leo


(Shawn T Murphy) #72

Dear Al,
You separate the eternal, spiritual being of God’s Son to be Christ and His physical incarnation on Earth to be Jesus. I am okay with this, but have always referred to Jesus in my writings as the King of Heaven, in His spiritual, immortal form. John 1 refers to him as the Word (Logos), and the Greeks referred to Him as the Love (Eros) and Wisdom (Sophia) of God.
Best Wishes, Shawn


(Randy) #73

Mr Murphy,

Sorry–I don’t understand–filial or phial? thanks


(Shawn T Murphy) #74

Sorry, physical.


(Randy) #75

Thanks! Sorry; should have guessed.


(Cindy) #76

Interesting idea but I do not have enough knowledge of quantum mechanics to really have an opinion. I love the cartoon though. :slight_smile:


(Cindy) #77

My professor loved all of my research and data sources for my project. However, apparently, I think I am writing a dissertation when all she wants is a short analysis paper. I’ve had to scale back tremendously. I’m still keeping this thread bookmarked though in case I get a chance in another class to write my dissertation. :wink:


(Jay Johnson) #78

All of us here are well-practiced at giving people too much to read. Well done!


(Phil) closed #79

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