Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Holy Trinity

I heard someone ask a question similar to this, so I thought I'd look into it, and this is what I found. If anyone has any comments to make regarding the answer to this question please don't hesitate!

Why do Catholics believe that God is three Persons, called the Holy Trinity? How can God be three Persons and still be one God?

Catholics believe there is one God consisting of three distinct and equal divine Persons--Father, Son and Holy Spirit--because on numerous occasions God has described Himself thus. The Old Testament gives intimations that there are more than one Person in God. In Genesis 1:26, God says, ``Let us make man to our image and likeness.'' In Isaias 9:6-7, God the Father revealed the imminent coming into the world of God the Son. In Psalms 2:7, we read, ``The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.'' And in the New Testament, God reveals this doctrine even more clearly. For example, at the baptism of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father was heard: ``This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'' (Matt. 3:16-17). In Matthew 28:19, God the Son commanded the Apostles to baptize ``in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.'' And in 1 Cor. 12:4-6, the Bible refers to God with three names: Spirit, Lord, and God-- corresponding to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Three divine Persons in one Godhead may be incomprehensible to the human mind, but that is to be expected. How can man fully comprehend God's infinite make-up when he cannot fully comprehend his own finite make-up? We have to take God's word for it. Also, we can satisfy ourselves as to the feasibility of God's triune make-up by considering various other triune realities. The triangle, for example, is one distinct form with three distinct and equal sides. And the clover leaf is one leaf with three distinct and equal petals. There are many physical trinities on earth, therefore a Spiritual Trinity, who is God in Heaven, is not against human reason--it is simply above human reason.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely crucial to remember: the three Persons are Distinct, but never separate. If they were separate, they'd be 3 gods.

That being the case, the 3 Persons must, by definition, function together. One never does anything without the other Two. And when we pray to One (the Father, for example), all 3 hear the prayer.

At the beginning of St. John's Gospel, it says: "In the beginning was the Word (the 2nd Person of the Trinity), and the Word was with God (the Father, the 1st Person), and the Word was God (one in the same) . . . All things were made through Him (the Word), and without Him was made nothing that has been made."

So the second Person was there at the beginning making everything with the Father. The Two were always acting together. Same goes for the Holy Ghost.

Rita said...

Thank you!

Adam Pastor said...

Good question.

Why indeed do Catholics believe that God is three Persons, called the Holy Trinity?
Seeing that neither Jesus our Lord & Master,
nor any of his disciples; ever taught such things!
Jesus himself identified the Father as the only true GOD!
[John 17.3]

Therefore, on the subject of the trinity,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you to reconsider "The Trinity"

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

Batjacboy said...


Jesus wasn't saying He wasn't the Second Person of the Trinity. He was merely distinguishing the relationship between Himself as the Incarnate Second Person and the Father as the First. That relationship is what constitutes the Distinctness; but They are not separate.

Quoting John 17 and ignoring John 1won't get very far, unless you want to claim that Scripture can contradict itself.

Batjacboy said...

Wow! What a lousy video (The Human Jesus).

2 hours, and no mention of the fact that:

1. The Jews tried to stone Jesus to death for making Himself equal to God (John 5:18)

2. Jesus REPEATEDLY began his teachings with "I AM . . . ", as in "I AM the Bread of Life", "I AM the way, the truth, and the life", "I AM the resurrection", etc., words FORBIDDEN to Jews to use since "I AM" was the name God the Father called Himself when speaking to Moses, and, for a Jew to use those words, was the equivalent of claiming Divinity (that's why they'd say "I hunger", not "I am hungry");

3. and no mention of Jesus saying to the Scribes and Pharisees, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." Clearly, then if he PREDATED Abraham, he's not simply the HUMAN Jesus.

Oh, and saying that the "Word" in John 1:1 means God's Gospel or Teaching or whatever makes absolutely no sense since it says farther down that that "All things were made by Him (the Word)" which means the Word must be a Person.

Let's see, what else:

Saying, as the Unitarian "expert" indicated, that the belief in Christ being God "is only found in John" and passing off the other references very casually is disingenous. St. Paul clearly states in Colossians, specifically referring to Jesus, that "For in Him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: ALL THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM and in Him. And He is before all, and by Him all things consist." For the "expert" to gloss over this speaks volumes.

Another one he conveniently missed: at the end of Luke's Gospel, it specifically says the Apostles WORSHIPPED Jesus. Why, if He was just the Human Jesus? Only God gets worshipped, right?

It's also grossly inaccurate to claim that the Arian heresy at the time of Nicea was some sort of 50-50 deal, with half the bishops saying Jesus was not God and the other half saying He was. The whole reason why it took 300 years for this to come to a head was that for the first 250 years, no one taught formally that Christ was NOT God. If they had, Nicea would have been convened in 100 AD. And Arius was immediately recognized as a heretic (punched in the teeth by good ol' St. Nicholas (ho-ho-ho!), and condemned as a heretic. And at that time, the Arians were in the minority (the final vote being 316 to 2). And for them to make it all about Constantine is ridiculous--Tertullian was talking about the Trinity over 100 years earlier. Remember, Constantine did NOT make Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire (Theodosius did long after Constantine died), and Constantine didn't even get baptized until his deathbed.

The Unitarian arguments keep coming down to the junior-high school level of "But, but, it doesn't make any SENSE." That's not an argument, just an admission that they don't understand. Fine, they don't understand God. Probably 'cos He's a lot bigger'n we are and may, just may, be way more complicated. But for the Unitarians to claim, as they did in the video (over and over) that "No one has ever been able to explain the "3 Persons in One God" concept is blatantly false. Christian theologians have been making the One Substance, 3 Relationships argument for, what, 17+ centuries?

The fact that some don't understand it, doesn't mean it hasn't been made, nor has it ever been plausibly refuted.

And what's with the "God cannot be tempted" nonsense? Satan goes to Christ and tempts him, in His humanity. What's the problem? So Satan loses badly (no surprise). But if Satan can disobey God (the Fall of the Angels), what's to say he can't try (stupidly) to tempt Him?

Question to throw out there: who raised Jesus from the dead? If He was only human, it would have to have been God the Father, right? But in John chapter 10, it says Jesus knew He was going to die and would HIMSELF raise Himself up again. If only God can raise Him up AFTER he's dead, He must be God. The argument that "God gave Him the power to perform miracles" doesn't really apply much to a human who's DEAD.

I could go on and on. The fact that the Jews, the Unitarians, and the Muslims deny the Trinity doesn't make the teaching invalid. Only by cherry-picking Scripture can the concept be denied.

Adam Pastor said...

Batjacboy, thanks very much for watching the video.
And thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

How can a woman be Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Wife?
Or, a man as Father, Son, Brother, Uncle, Husband?
All distinct roles that generate different impulses, priorities and responses, yet they function within the same Self.
God did indeed create Man in his own image, giving him multiple abilities to serve in whatever capacity God directs him.
What I fail to understand is why people want to make God a complicated entity in their life.
I see it all as fairly simple.
He is. He created. We are.
Remember, God doesn't make mistakes. Enjoy all that he has bestowed upon us, and strive daily to deserve it.

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