Trinity

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  • Created by: cydney.wb
  • Created on: 19-05-18 18:09

The need for the Trinity

  • Christianity is a monotheistic religion (believes in one god)

  • The God is viewed as Three Persons- (Father [creator], Son [Redeemer] and the Holy Spirit [Sustainer])

  • The doctrine is necessary to define the relationship between these persons

  • The doctrine asserts that:

    • The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons

    • Each “Person” is fully God; the three are coexistent, coequal and coeternal

    • There is only one God; the doctrine does not split God into three parts

  • Tertullian- 3rd Century- coined the term “trinity”

  • Doctrine was formalised in the Nicene Creed, it stated that the Son was “of one substance” (homoousios) with the Father

  • The formula was designed to counteract what Tertullian saw as three heresies:

    • Adoptionism: Jesus was an ordinary man who became the Son of God only when he was baptised

    • Sabellianism: The belief that Jesus was divine but not human

    • Arianism: Jesus was the highest of all created beings but not of the same substance as God

The Biblical foundations for the doctrine of the Trinity

  • The first Hebrew word for God used in Genesis (Elohim) is the plural of the noun El, the same word is used multiple times throughout the Old Testament

  • Genesis 1:26-27 “Let us make humankind in our image”  he refers to himself in the plural

  • John 1 says that Jesus was the word and the word was God and that all things were created through him.

  • Philippians 2:10, Paul writes that Jesus “Though he was in he was in form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited

  • John 20:28 “My Lord and my God”

  • In John 14:23, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is linked with the indwelling of Jesus and his Father

  • In the Great Commision in Matthew 28:18-20, he sends the disciples to baptise all nations “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit “

  • Paul, in Romans (8:11) tells his readers that if the spirit of God (which he also calls the Spirit of Christ (8:9) ) dwells in them, God will give them life.

  • In the Old Testament, Deuteronomy (6:4-5) states unequivocally that God is one

  • In the New Testament, the statement is endorsed by Jesus in Mark (12:29): “The Lord our God , the Lord is one”. Paul 1 Corinthians 8:4: “There is no God but one”

It should be noted that the Christian Church has never been able to explain how God can be one and, at the same time three. It regards the Trinity as a mystery which reflects:

  • That no human words can express the reality of God

  • That God is a community, a family of three in one.

The Filioque Controversy

  • At the Council of Constantinople (381 CE) the Nicene Creed was amended: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father

  • At the Council of Toledo (589 CE)

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