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Thread: Trinity Question

  1. #1
    jade84116
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    Isaiah 44:24, KJV: "Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself." Does anyone have any idea how a Trinity of One God in Three Persons could ever be alone with the understanding that there's a difference between a mystery and a contradiction?

  2. #2
    David Gunn
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    I'm not sure that the thrust of that p***age is that God was lonely or alone in that sense of the word, as much as that the Godhead by Himself, with no outside help, without the presence of any other being, without participation, consultation, or discussion of anyone other than God, engaged in the act of creation. Thus, He *alone* is creator, and no one else can claim credit for that.

  3. #3
    jade84116
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Gunn View Post
    I'm not sure that the thrust of that p***age is that God was lonely or alone in that sense of the word, as much as that the Godhead by Himself, with no outside help, without the presence of any other being, without participation, consultation, or discussion of anyone other than God, engaged in the act of creation. Thus, He *alone* is creator, and no one else can claim credit for that.
    The Jews of Old Testament times believed that the angels existed at the time the earth was created so, they wouldn't have viewed God as lonely either. That verse is plainly saying that He created "alone" and "by myself" which, a Trinity of One God in Three Persons that can never be "alone" or "by myself" can never do. You're free to your view though.
    Last edited by jade84116; 03-10-2009 at 03:17 PM.

  4. #4
    David Gunn
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    Concerning angels at the time of creation, I am aware of the fact that that concept entered into rabbinic vogue over time, but as far as I know there's no evidence that that was the dominant view (or even a view at all) during the eighth century B.C.

    Concerning a triune Godhead not being able to be alone, I'm not sure I agree. Just for the sake of reference, the orthodox trinitarian doctrinal formulation is that God exists eternally as one substance in three persons. Thus, while any of the three persons certainly cannot be said to be alone, the ontological substance of the Godhead can be. An illustration may serve: let us suppose that I belong to the only church in the country, and that this church has one hundred members. When we are ***embled for worship, not a single one of us can be said to be alone, for we are surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ. And yet, as a church, we are alone, for there is no other church in the country. In like manner, while there is fellowship among the three persons of the Godhead, nevertheless insofar as He is God, He is alone, for there is no other God (or any other being, unless you contend that the angels had already been created, for which there is no biblical evidence) with whom to commune. Of course, the ****ogy breaks down since "members" of a Church and "members" of the Trinity aren't entirely parallel, but for the purposes of this discussion, I think it functions well enough.

    Finally, concerning the use of the term "alone" (Hebrew, "bad"), my contention is that this p***age does not use it to refer to loneliness or to the state of being by ones' self, but instead uses it as a qualifier of the verb "to create." It is not describing the condition of God, but the condition in which creation is being carried out: by God, and only by God. This is true whether or not God is in fact alone, and whether or not He is able to be alone. Another illustration: imagine I am taking a course along with twenty other students, and that I have done poorly on a test and must thus retake it. I might accurately say "I alone had to retake the test." Though surrounded by fellow cl***mates, and therefore not in fact alone, I am still using the term correctly since no one else engaged in the act of retaking the test with me. Now, let's change the scenario slightly. Imagine that cl*** has been canceled but no one told me, and thus I am the only one to show up on Monday morning. Again, I might say "I alone showed up for cl*** today." In this case, I am in fact alone, and I alone have shown up for cl***. One more scenario shift: let's say that myself and two other cl***mates mistakenly showed up for the canceled cl***. Though none of us is alone (since there are three of us), it is nevertheless still legitimate to say, "we alone showed up for cl*** today." I contend that this is how Isaiah uses the term bad in this p***age. Whether or not God Himself is indeed alone is irrelevant to Isaiah's purpose; he is not commenting on that, he is instead pointing out that the creation of the world can only be attributed to God since no one else participated in that act with him.

  5. #5
    jade84116
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Gunn View Post
    Concerning angels at the time of creation, I am aware of the fact that that concept entered into rabbinic vogue over time, but as far as I know there's no evidence that that was the dominant view (or even a view at all) during the eighth century B.C.

    Concerning a triune Godhead not being able to be alone, I'm not sure I agree. Just for the sake of reference, the orthodox trinitarian doctrinal formulation is that God exists eternally as one substance in three persons. Thus, while any of the three persons certainly cannot be said to be alone, the ontological substance of the Godhead can be. An illustration may serve: let us suppose that I belong to the only church in the country, and that this church has one hundred members. When we are ***embled for worship, not a single one of us can be said to be alone, for we are surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ. And yet, as a church, we are alone, for there is no other church in the country. In like manner, while there is fellowship among the three persons of the Godhead, nevertheless insofar as He is God, He is alone, for there is no other God (or any other being, unless you contend that the angels had already been created, for which there is no biblical evidence) with whom to commune. Of course, the ****ogy breaks down since "members" of a Church and "members" of the Trinity aren't entirely parallel, but for the purposes of this discussion, I think it functions well enough.

    Finally, concerning the use of the term "alone" (Hebrew, "bad"), my contention is that this p***age does not use it to refer to loneliness or to the state of being by ones' self, but instead uses it as a qualifier of the verb "to create." It is not describing the condition of God, but the condition in which creation is being carried out: by God, and only by God. This is true whether or not God is in fact alone, and whether or not He is able to be alone. Another illustration: imagine I am taking a course along with twenty other students, and that I have done poorly on a test and must thus retake it. I might accurately say "I alone had to retake the test." Though surrounded by fellow cl***mates, and therefore not in fact alone, I am still using the term correctly since no one else engaged in the act of retaking the test with me. Now, let's change the scenario slightly. Imagine that cl*** has been canceled but no one told me, and thus I am the only one to show up on Monday morning. Again, I might say "I alone showed up for cl*** today." In this case, I am in fact alone, and I alone have shown up for cl***. One more scenario shift: let's say that myself and two other cl***mates mistakenly showed up for the canceled cl***. Though none of us is alone (since there are three of us), it is nevertheless still legitimate to say, "we alone showed up for cl*** today." I contend that this is how Isaiah uses the term bad in this p***age. Whether or not God Himself is indeed alone is irrelevant to Isaiah's purpose; he is not commenting on that, he is instead pointing out that the creation of the world can only be attributed to God since no one else participated in that act with him.
    Malachi 2:10 and 15, KJV, states: "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?...And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth." That means that "one God" plus "one [wife]" equals one being or person only or the ****ogy makes no sense. Isaiah 44:24 had to be viewed by the absolutely monotheistic Jews that believed in one divine being or person only during Old Testament times (see "Trinity" entry at JewishEncyclopedia.com for more details) as meaning only one divine being or person created. Interpreting Isaiah 44:24 otherwise divorces it from it's historical context and that takes it out of context. You're free to your view though.
    Last edited by jade84116; 03-12-2009 at 04:32 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member johnd's Avatar
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    Default Clearly, Jade's "question" was only to preach not to learn or even consider Trinitari

    ...an theology...

    Quote Originally Posted by jade84116 View Post
    Malachi 2:10 and 15, KJV, states: "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?...And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth." That means that "one God" plus "one [wife]" equals one being or person only or the ****ogy makes no sense. Isaiah 44:24 had to be viewed by the absolutely monotheistic Jews that believed in one divine being or person only during Old Testament times (see "Trinity" entry at JewishEncyclopedia.com for more details) as meaning only one divine being or person created. Interpreting Isaiah 44:24 otherwise divorces it from it's historical context and that takes it out of context. You're free to your view though.
    Isaiah 44:24 is the indication that one person in the Godhead created. Colossians 1:13-18 clearly teach that one person was the Word (John 1:1-3, 14) and not the Father (whose only creation, only begetting was the body of the incarnation John 1:14) nor the Holy Spirit. So of the three persons in the Godhead, the Word alone is Creator.
    The Bible is its own best commentary.
    Prophecy is the word of God
    which sometimes speaks of future... sometimes of the present... sometimes of the past.
    A prophet is the tool God uses.
    It's not about the prophet, but about the God who uses the prophet to speak his word...

  7. #7
    David Gunn
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    I'm not sure whether or not Isaiah actually had Trinitarian specificity in mind when he penned the verse, but I absolutely agree with you that the sole agent of creation was God the Son. (At least for the most part: Gen. 1:26 seems to suggest that the first and third persons of the Trinity also participated in the creation of mankind.)

    BTW, such an understanding of Trinitarian creation automatically precludes the infallibility of the early church creeds. ("I believe in God the Father, Almighty maker of heaven and maker of earth; and in Jesus Christ His only-begotten Son, our Lord.") As a baptist, that doesn't really bother me. Let us always subject our creeds to our theology and our theology to Scripture. In light of John 1:3 and Col. 1:16, it should probably confess: "I believe in God the Father; and in Jesus Christ, Almighty maker of heaven of maker of earth, only-begotten Son of the Father, our Lord."
    Last edited by David Gunn; 03-13-2009 at 11:23 AM.

  8. #8
    jade84116
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnd View Post
    ...an theology...



    Isaiah 44:24 is the indication that one person in the Godhead created. Colossians 1:13-18 clearly teach that one person was the Word (John 1:1-3, 14) and not the Father (whose only creation, only begetting was the body of the incarnation John 1:14) nor the Holy Spirit. So of the three persons in the Godhead, the Word alone is Creator.
    The Athanasian Creed rules out "dividing the substance" so, you cannot argue "one person in the Godhead created" without denying the Trinity.

  9. #9
    David Gunn
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    First of all, we should avoid putting any extra-biblical creed on the same level as Scripture, so even if the Athanasian Creed did teach thusly, it wouldn't be infallible.

    Second, and with much respect, I think you're misinterpreting the Athanasian Creed. The prohibition against "dividing the substance" is not a prohibition against attributing various acts to any one of the individual Trinitarian persons; rather, it is a prohibition against viewing the Trinity as one substance comprising three individual persons, for that would result in the view that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each 1/3 Deity. What the Athanasian Creed is confessing is that each person is fully God though there be but one God.

    If you take the view that "dividing the substance" means attributing different activities to the individual persons, and if you furthermore contend that to do so is to deny the Trinity and thus to commit heresy, you are then forced to inadvertently subscribe to the Sabellian heresy, which really is a denial of the Trinity. Never forget that Scripture apologetically attributes different activities to the individual persons. The Son died on the cross and was raised from the dead; the samecannot be said of the Father and the Spirit without departing from Orthodoxy. The Spirit baptizes, illuminates, fills, and seals; the same is never said in Scripture of the Father or the Son.

    That is not to imply that there is a difference of substance between the three persons, or even a difference in might, power, deity, or worth; there is, however, an economic system established by God in which each of the persons of the Trinity fill different roles and carry out different activities in accomplishing the divine plan.

  10. #10
    Senior Member johnd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jade84116 View Post
    The Athanasian Creed rules out "dividing the substance" so, you cannot argue "one person in the Godhead created" without denying the Trinity.
    Excuse please. No creed takes authority over holy scripture.

    And it affirms the Triune nature of the Trinity that individuals within can and have done things the other two have not.
    The Bible is its own best commentary.
    Prophecy is the word of God
    which sometimes speaks of future... sometimes of the present... sometimes of the past.
    A prophet is the tool God uses.
    It's not about the prophet, but about the God who uses the prophet to speak his word...

  11. #11
    jade84116
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    Post I'm Right and You Know It!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by johnd View Post
    No creed takes authority over holy scripture.
    Agreed. However, even you have to admit that as a practical matter trinitarians give those creeds equal status with the scripture while denying that they do. This being a spill over from Catholicism's putting tradition, creeds, and the church over scripture. If you were truly honest, then, you'd have to admit that I'm right on this one point.

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    Senior Member johnd's Avatar
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    I am truly honest, but your point is only that those trinitarians who don't know the bibhlical evidence for the triune nature of God use creeds as a crutch. So what? It doesn't change the fact that the Bible teaches that God is a unity of plural individuals who have within unison individual thought and individual will and individual personality and personhood.

    Jesus said I and the Father are one. He did not say I am the Father. He did not say I and the Father are one and the same. He said two persons (I, 1, and the Father, 2) are one in mindset, one in purpose, of a kind.

    Both Father and Son sent the Holy Spirit into the world. One cannot send one's self. One comes or goes, but being sent is from another source / person. And the Holy Spirit is just as much a person as the Father or the Son...

    Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

    Just trying to cover all the usual bases here.

    If you were truly honest, you'd have to admit something extrabiblical is keeping ypu from believing the trinitarian theology in the Bible right before your eyes.
    The Bible is its own best commentary.
    Prophecy is the word of God
    which sometimes speaks of future... sometimes of the present... sometimes of the past.
    A prophet is the tool God uses.
    It's not about the prophet, but about the God who uses the prophet to speak his word...

  13. #13
    jade84116
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnd View Post
    If you were truly honest, you'd have to admit something extrabiblical is keeping ypu from believing the trinitarian theology in the Bible right before your eyes.
    History tells us that the Jews of Old and New Testament times were absolute monotheists not trinitarians. Most Bible scholars maintain that. Historical context isn't extrabiblical! In any event, I'm done with this thread. Arguing over such on this type of forum should probably not be done and I'm putting an end to things at this point.

  14. #14
    Trinity
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    Quote Originally Posted by jade84116 View Post
    History tells us that the Jews of Old and New Testament times were absolute monotheists not trinitarians. Most Bible scholars maintain that. Historical context isn't extrabiblical! In any event, I'm done with this thread. Arguing over such on this type of forum should probably not be done and I'm putting an end to things at this point.
    Never let the frustration to take the best of you, and tell yourself, thus possibly at this moment of my life there are things that I am ignoring the existence.

    Isaiah, 40, 18
    To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto him?

    Shall I say: Creator, Sustainer, Pardoner, Near One, Distant One, Incomprehensible One, God both of flowers and stars, God of the gentle wind and of terrible battles, Wisdom, Power, Loyalty and Truthfulness, Eternity and Infinity, you the All-Merciful, you the Just One, you Love itself?
    Karl Rahner, Prayers for Meditation (1968)

    All believers on earth can not understand the deep nature of God. He is the great mystery.

    Trinity

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    Senior Member johnd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jade84116 View Post
    History tells us that the Jews of Old and New Testament times were absolute monotheists not trinitarians. Most Bible scholars maintain that. Historical context isn't extrabiblical! In any event, I'm done with this thread. Arguing over such on this type of forum should probably not be done and I'm putting an end to things at this point.
    As I said... you must resort to the extrabiblical (i.e. historic accounts) to deny what is in scripture. History does not lead one to salvation. The Bible does.
    The Bible is its own best commentary.
    Prophecy is the word of God
    which sometimes speaks of future... sometimes of the present... sometimes of the past.
    A prophet is the tool God uses.
    It's not about the prophet, but about the God who uses the prophet to speak his word...

  16. #16
    Senior Member johnd's Avatar
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    Jade apparently is running for cover because the doctrine of the Trinity has people here who are not unread on the subject as many (dare I say most) Christians are.

    Trinitarian theology is not so hard to fathom or comprehend when one uses the correct mathematical formula for the compound unity of three individuals who are the one God. We understand the formula very well in another compound unity (the family unit). How hard is that to understand?

    When one of the individuals of the Godhead speaks as an individual, he is speaking for the Godhead itself. "I am the Senate..." that sort of thing. So not to be confused by this manner of speaking or the persistent tendency of folks to equate one God per person or one person per God, the triune nature of God is as easy to understand as a family unit is, or the three spatial dimensions are.

    And the willingness or lack thereof to be open to the truth about such matters is common in how Jade ran for cover. I've seen JW's and Mormons do it at my door and where I met them on the streets... its a form of self deification (wanting to decide how God should be and denying evidence to the contrary).

    We should all learn these things in the Body Christian.
    The Bible is its own best commentary.
    Prophecy is the word of God
    which sometimes speaks of future... sometimes of the present... sometimes of the past.
    A prophet is the tool God uses.
    It's not about the prophet, but about the God who uses the prophet to speak his word...

  17. #17
    PostTribber
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    Default yes, repeat, no!

    Quote Originally Posted by jade84116 View Post
    Isaiah 44:24, KJV: "Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself." Does anyone have any idea how a Trinity of One God in Three Persons could ever be alone with the understanding that there's a difference between a mystery and a contradiction?
    within our head, yes. within the Godhead, no.

  18. #18
    Senior Member johnd's Avatar
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    Default Here's how "alone" is meant in Isaiah 44:24

    God the Word (John 1:1-3) created.
    God the Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21) wrote the Bible.
    God the Father (Hebrews 10:5-7, John 1:14) created the incarnate body of the Son .

    Each did did their unique mission uniquely. This however does not imply absolute aloneness. It means each was the only one who performed the specific function. Height is not depth nor length which does not negate the other two. In fact without all three none can exist.
    The Bible is its own best commentary.
    Prophecy is the word of God
    which sometimes speaks of future... sometimes of the present... sometimes of the past.
    A prophet is the tool God uses.
    It's not about the prophet, but about the God who uses the prophet to speak his word...

  19. #19
    Senior Member johnd's Avatar
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    I guess rather than be honest, Jade, and admit you were wrong and your theory was flawed, you simply ignored the thread since June 2009.

    There are traditions of men that Catholics, Protestants, Messianics, and Jews unfortunately put above the holy scriptures. But this is not one of them. Rather, Trinitarian theology is the observation of what scripture teaches. The "only begotten of the Father" as opposed to the "all things were created by him and nothing was created that was created that was not created by him" by the Word who became the Son... is the establishment of two distinct individuals in the one God by simply quoting the Bible (John 1:1-3 and John 1:14).
    Last edited by johnd; 10-30-2009 at 01:19 AM.
    The Bible is its own best commentary.
    Prophecy is the word of God
    which sometimes speaks of future... sometimes of the present... sometimes of the past.
    A prophet is the tool God uses.
    It's not about the prophet, but about the God who uses the prophet to speak his word...

  20. #20
    kentuckypreacher
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    John D has done an excellent *** in responding to this query.

    If I may add something: the bottom line is the Bible forces us to the conclusion that there is one God Who exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, and they three are distinct, yet there is but one God.

    Does this help any?

    Thanks JohnD

  21. #21
    Senior Member johnd's Avatar
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    The Church my wife and I attend had the audacity to invite a Jewish Rabbi (David Lazar) to come speak and answer questions of the congregation. I was quite impressed. Interesting he read the current reading for synagogues which today was the appearing (Genesis 18:1-15) and proceeded to explain the three men were angels in Jewish tradition and the Trinity in Christian tradition.

    He even went so far as to challenge monotheism and the integrity of the Torah on that issue rather than consider that the plurality is within the one God (i.e. the Trinity doctrine). I respect the man but it is interesting to see how in desperation we will throw out the rock solid foundation of what fact and what we believe in order to avoid that which we do not want to believe under any circumstance (even if it's truth and fact). And that's plain asinine.

    We humans are stubborn ***es.
    The Bible is its own best commentary.
    Prophecy is the word of God
    which sometimes speaks of future... sometimes of the present... sometimes of the past.
    A prophet is the tool God uses.
    It's not about the prophet, but about the God who uses the prophet to speak his word...

  22. #22
    Morkel
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    I have two thoughts here. Thought number one looks at "God" not as a single being, but rather as an establishment (for lack of a better term). Somewhat like the Senate (I know you are from overseas, but you'll be able to follow this, I'm sure). The Senate is made up of many people. Each is equal. Each part is fully a Senator. What if God is a shortened term for Godhead, indicating a group of three who are each fully God, yet each their own self. An example of three residing in perfect harmony. That's an interesting concept to me, but not necessarily the one I believe. Thought number two looks at God as one being, in three seperate roles. God is spirit. The Father is God as creator, lawmaker, and king of heaven. As the lawmaker, He is above the law, as he can answer to no higher power than himself. The Son is God taking on a human body to live among mankind as one of mankind, and under subjection to the laws the Father has decreed. The Holy Spirit is God in spirit form entering and filling Jesus upon coming up from his baptism. It is the spirit of God that also dwells within us when we receive it, teaching our spirit how to live a life that is right before God. Hopefully this helps shed some light on this mysterious topic.

  23. #23
    Jean Chauvin
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    It amazes me regarding the lack of ability Christians have in defending and understanding this basic doctrine. If one denies this doctrine, they are NOT a Christian by definition.

    All those examples of the Trinity are all false ****ogies.

    1) Water, solid, liquid, gas

    2) Eggs,

    3) The Senate

    etc.

    They are ridiculous since they give a false rendering. The issue regarding the economical Trinity and the Ontological Trinity is misconstrued.

    1+1+1=3. So this appears to be a contradiction. However:

    1x1x1=1.

    We need to increase the quality of our math.

    Do not answer a fool according to his folly. AND answer a fool according to his folly. Ridiculous.

    Since we are finite, and the Trinity is Infinite and Eternal, then a finite cannot comprehend an infinite. Only on those issues in which the Infinite allows us to know via the opening of our minds (see John 20:25).

    If the Infinite Personage never opens our minds, we KNOW nothing. (1 Cor 1:14-16

    But in terms of logic, there is no contradiction. The 3 persons in one nature is perfectly logical since the proposition in the thesis of the Trinity does not contradict.

    If we were to say the Trinity is one nature and three natures, that would be a contradiction since we are saying two opposing things within the same category of nature. Or if the Trinity has 3 persons and 1 person. However, since person and nature are in two different categories of thought, no contradiction is given within the proposition of the Trinity as a first principle.

    And Van Til starts with the Trinity for all other arguments.

    This is why Robert Bowman Jr. lost the debate against the oneness Pentecostal some 15 years ago. He first was arguing FOR the Trinity, and not FROM the Trinity. And 2nd, he was not understanding the difference between the ontological and economical differences within.

    This is important.

    I would hope many more Christians would wake up, and stop watching as much Television. Learn a little theology. If nothing else, at least the Trinity. It's the core of all other doctrines.

    Respectfully,

    Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

  24. #24
    Super Moderator alanmolstad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jade84116 View Post
    Does anyone have any idea how a Trinity of One God in Three Persons could ever be alone
    Yes, the one God...is reviled in 3 persons.

    This is why man if made in God's image...and yet God Himself says, "let US make man in Our image..."

    So we see that God can be spoken of as singular and alone, (as in one God)
    yet we can also understand that within this one God is shown to us to be in 3 persons.

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    Senior Member johnd's Avatar
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    For the sake of the lone stragglers who come to this occasionally visited board...

    The Trinity Doctrine is gleaned from scripture. All of it. And it is not hard to understand. Once we do the math properly. My repeated example is the math we do when we consider another trinity (a family of three).

    One family, three individuals who are the one family. Each is equally and 100% family. The only difference is when we refer to the family specifically we are comfortable with calling the family and it. With God we are not so comfortable calling God it so we call God he or him or his.

    Each individual is a living intelligent person. I am not saying we should call them it. But like a family, the personhood is in the members therein not in the family unit itself. Part of what screws up people's ability to grasp the triune nature of the one God is the compound unity which can only mean that the personhood is of the individuals within the unity of the Godhead not the unity (Godhead) itself.

    "I am family..." One family member speaking as a member or as the representative of the family itself...
    The Bible is its own best commentary.
    Prophecy is the word of God
    which sometimes speaks of future... sometimes of the present... sometimes of the past.
    A prophet is the tool God uses.
    It's not about the prophet, but about the God who uses the prophet to speak his word...

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