Letting some orthodox doctrines in the bible stay as mysteries instead of dogmas

I’m a bit baffled why a visual aid, or an infographic, that illustrates what the words in a doctrinal statement express is so controversial. This isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a 2nd Commandment Violation. It’s intended to help visual thinkers to process the information in one more way.

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So am I.

Is it your position that Mary is the mother of God?

Or is it your position that Mary is the mother of the son of God?

I was responding to the questions accompanying the diagram - a visual aid is fine as long as the explanation is consistent with the doctrine. I was not indicating a 2nd commandment violation, but more on the complex/mixture that may be inferred from such a diagram. If simplicity and essence are included in the explanation, I guess it should be ok as an aid.

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The Shield of the Trinity is not generally intended to be any kind of schematic diagram of the structure of God, but instead is merely a compact visual device from which the above statements (contained in or implied by the Athanasian Creed) can be read off.


That has nothing, absolutely zero to do with anti-Catholic bigotry.

Huh. Twelve is a good number.


I am not against the creeds. They were needed and used in the fight against some heresies that threatened to divert the ignorant believers to a wrong road.

What is sometimes forgotten is that creeds are a collection of interpretations that were decided by fallible humans, often by voting. The persons deciding had mostly grown in a culture with roots in greek(-roman) philosophy, maybe with limited understanding of the old hebrew way of thinking that dominates the Hebrew bible (OT) and the teachings of Jesus (Yeshua) and His apostles.

All interpretations should be evaluated in the light of the original teachings. Assuming that the interpretations collected as a creed fit well to the original teachings, there is a good justification to use those words when expressing what we believe.


Whether I say that Mary is the mother of God, or Mary is the mother of God Incarnate, or Mary is the mother of God, I are saying the same thing.

So I just want to know when Jesus became divine. At conception? At birth? Much later?

Don’t be so quick to blow off our church fathers. Of course they were fallible humans. Who says they weren’t? They struggled hard to understand the Scriptures. And yes they voted to reach a consensus. What would be a better way than voting?

Actually, in New Testament times, the world of Jesus was Hellenized. The NT was written in Greek.

One doesn’t need a Hebrew upbringing to be a good Christian. We cannot infer that an early Christian with a pagan background was inferior in his understanding of the faith.

Most (if not all) educated classes in the Roman Empire were steeped in Greco-Roman philosophy, as the schools and tutors of the time were based mainly on Platonic and Aristotelian modes of thought (with numerous other schools, all pagan). The remarkable aspect of Paul was that he was taught Jewish understanding as well as Hellenic. This seems to have continued with the Church Fathers who were well versed in Hellenic philosophy -and yet there are numerous discussions in Patristic writings very critical of these philosophies. I understand that neo-Platonic thinking outlooks emerged in later centuries, but the point that is relevant to your comments is that by knowing and understanding Hellenic outlooks, the Church Fathers could articulate why Christians could, and should, reject them. They avoided the odd criticism in that Christians were ignorant, uneducated lot, and thus should be ignored. Some of the brightest intellects were Christians who could unravel the Hellenistic thought.

I tend to see (in a humorous way), a similarity regarding the conflicts between YEC, TEs and atheists.

Then you should pray and ask God to enlighten you on that if that is what you want to know.

To me, what you want to know is:

  1. not revealed in scripture
  2. not important.

Why do people feel they must be able to define God, to solve mysteries that have not been revealed? That appears to me to be less piety and more hubris.

True, a Hebrew upbringing is not needed. Yet, I feel it was a weakness that the connection to the Hebrew roots was partly cut when the leadership switched from Hebrew to Hellenic world. It was like throwing away part of the treasures of understanding that those walking the Way had.

The development of the creeds was a long process. Much serious study was done during those years, the initially diverse interpretations were partly harmonized and many harmful heresies were rejected. I do not want to undervalue that and the honest thinking that happened during those years although I probably would not fully agree with the writings of individual church leaders.

Adapting the way how the message was told was needed when the gospel spread to new areas (as GJDS wrote) but in some matters, Greek philosophy seemed to get a stronger role in interpretations and that was not always a positive change. Minor examples are how ‘soul’ was understood and perhaps the idea that Hellenized church was a new Israel and had herited the promises given to Israel. I do not remember when and where the latter idea started so I am not fully sure about the latter example. At least such thinking was hinted for example, in the writings that compared baptism to male circumcision that happened at the age of 8 days.

The basic idea of reformation, that we should get rid of teachings and practices that were against the original teaching, has both strong and weak points. I tend to be on the extreme end of the reformation in the sense that I support return to the apostolic teachings that were told in the original biblical sciptures. A logical consequence of that attitude is that any later interpretation or doctrine should be critically evaluated. If the later interpretations fit well to the teaching in the biblical scriptures, fine. There is also the possibility that the later doctrines do not seem to fit well to the original teachings and it is fully acceptable, even necessary to say so, even if the interpretation was supported by a row of bishops.

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totally agree with this kind of thinking. There are many issues that seemed so important to the people centuries ago that we today can hardly believe that it hardly matters. The issue such as baptism by immersion or sprinkling has created such division during reformation era that such thinking can be seen as ridiculous today. That is perhaps the most important reason why I want to revisit those old doctrines confirmed by councils of churches (not by the clear teaching of the scriptures) and perhaps to have an open discussion about those instead of just crying ‘heresy’ whenever we talk about a view point that is different from those accepted as fundamentals by the christian world.


While Jesus is always a divine spiritual being, he was fully human and was never divine when He was clothed with flesh and bones. The bible is pretty clear on that.
Philippians 2:7
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

About these strong and weak points:

A strong point is that if we know that something was told by Jesus or His apostles, we can trust the teaching, much more than any later doctrines or practices.

A weak point is that all scriptures need interpretation, even those telling what Jesus said. By returning back to the original, we skip centuries of thinking and work on interpretation. How can we be sure that our interpretation is the correct one? At least we should humbly consider the interpretations made by later generations. Critical evaluation is needed, not only when reading the interpretations done by church leaders but also our own interpretations should receive as hard evaluation.

The birth of Jesus and how Mary was addressed is given in considerable detail in the Gospel. What do you think was not revealed and unimportant?

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When Jesus became God, or if He always was God, is not clearly revealed in scripture. And it is unimportant, which is indicated by the fact that it was not clearly revealed.

Of course people can have opinions, but declaring alternate views heresy is inappropriate. Excommunication or breaking communion with those who differ on that point is divisive and wrong.

I suppose it depends by what you consider clearly revealed. I just looked at John8: from v 21 and there is no doubt in my mind that Christ is saying He is, hears and sees the Father. Indeed, the Jewish leaders were in no doubt that He was saying He is God and the Son of God. There are other sections of Scripture, and all are clear that He is the Son of God and the Son of man.

Now I have little interest is calling anyone a heretic because that word has become loaded; saying they are wrong in their belief, since it is enough to see the formal articulation is considered dogma because it is based on scripture, is the same thing.

Yes, that indicates He was divine by then.

But it makes no comment on times before then.

It doesn’t say when He became divine, it only indicates that it was before that time.

Someone might see the baptism by John and the descending of the Spirit on Jesus as a time of transition.

while you are correct in saying that Christ is saying that He is God (Logos), we should not overlook the fact that the jews at the time tried to stone Him because He whom they thought was a mere man claimed to be God and that was blasphemy. What the jews did not realise was that Jesus (Logos) had come in the flesh and lived as a mere man among them. While His status as the Son of God had never changed, He was living among man as a human (having human nature/human attribute) and emptied Himself from the divine nature (having God’s attribute).