Trinity=Confusing, yet… astoundingly marvelous

The Trinitarian aspect of God has been thought about and discussed since the Early Church, and we still don’t have a very strong grasp on how it works. It’s something I have been thinking about and reading about lately, and this is where I am at now.

First, it follows from the ontological argument. This argument “proves” the greatest of all beings, so omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, etc. But after some thinking and a sociology class, I came to the realization that the trinity would be a necessary attribute of the perfect being. And here is why: The most stable relationship is a three person relationship. This is common knowledge in the field of sociology. This perfect being must be self-sufficient, we all know that a truly lonely person is not very sufficient, is quite lonely, and many times unstable. So it makes perfect sense to see this perfect being as having three major separate, yet connected parts.

Second is on how we can understand the Trinity. Some mistakenly think that it works like the situation of a father with one sibling. He is a son of his parents, a father of his son, and a brother. Three identities, one person. But that is why it is wrong. Still ONE person. We need three. So with the help of C.S. Lewis and a few others, I have a different concept of it. Think of a triangle. Three individual sides, yet one shape. All connected to each other. We can even imagine somewhat the aspect of ourselves in regards to the trinity and why it is so difficult to comprehend. We can imagine ourselves in a one-dimensional world, whereas the triangle is obviously in a two dimensional world. We could try to grasp how this triangle looks, and prove it mathematically to be consistent on some level, but we could never come close to a full comprehension of it. That is the situation we find ourselves in now. God is so other, so infinite the out finite minds can’t comprehend Him, especially not in this life.

Third, how does the Trinity affect us? Well, it shows us that if we are not worshiping the Trinitarian God, we are not worshiping the right God. Which means a lot of people have it wrong. It is one of God’s major attributes that has a huge impact on His reality, and not just ours, so it is a very important doctrine to be preserved. It shows us that God truly IS love, as He demonstrates perfect love and perfect relationship.

Along these lines, I began to realize the answer the my sociology professor’s question to our class in regards to human relations. His question was that if a three person relationship is the best kind, should be practice polygamy? Some people sort of conceded the point, but I knew that that was going to be unstable because there are only two sexes, and the concept of the perfect relationship would be between three DIFFERENT types of persons, not just three different people. You would always end up with 1 male and 2 females or 2 males and 1 female, which are both lopsided in some manner. I brought this up and assumed, correctly, that God was this third person that would make our relationships better. But what I missed out on was how perfect this really was. Who better to have in your marriage than the creator of marriage, of humans, and the perfect lover? He would give the best possible advice, literally. He would be the perfect mediator. And the perfect friend. Not to mention, He is part of His own three person relationship that is perfectly stable, and we all know how we become more like those we are in relationships with. And who better to become more like than God?

In the end, I have been left with this feeling of awe, in how God has made things to work in harmony so perfectly. It’s almost as if He knew exactly what He was doing, almost… Obviously, I am still nowhere near fully understanding Him in this aspect, but I am trying. My way of trying to love Him with all of my mind.

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About sorentmd

I am a student at the University of Cincinnati and am majoring in Philosophy and Marketing. I love the Lord, and I try to live my life in a way that pleases Him. View all posts by sorentmd

26 responses to “Trinity=Confusing, yet… astoundingly marvelous

  • bdrex

    Leaving you in awe with mystery was planned. Church fathers wrote that the less the laity understood the more they admire. And nothing imposes upon the people more than verbiage.

    I could point out the centuries of planned mystery, but, to make my point, Jesus talked of his father in heaven and claimed to not know some things. This is not a trinitarian possibility, unless with verbiage we claim to not be capable of understanding. But if we take that stance when can we be sure we understand?
    bdrex

    • sorentmd

      I am not in awe of the mystery, more frustrated to be honest. I would rather know that not know. I am in awe of how coherent the parts of God that I have begun to grasp are. They are immeasurably simple, yet extraordinarily deep and vast.

      Which church fathers do you speak of? The early church as always interested me, and I would love to read some of these sources.

      And I would disagree that mystery evokes admiration. I would even say that it causes more frustration and apathy, as many give up their search for information, assuming its useless and a waste of time. But as those who continue to learn about God grow in their knowledge of Him, they see, ugh, more than they can grasp. But they realize that this is meant to allow them to continue studying Him, not to give up.

      If you think that I am using confusing and confounding language, I have to disagree. I use the analogy of a triangle, which even an elementary student can understand. I speak of the stableness of relationships, which is not too confusing. I try to be very understandable, and it seems that you have understood my post.

      As for the Trinity, I believe you are saying that the trinity is impossible since each person seems to have different sets of knowledge. But what makes you think it impossible for a person of the trinity to have a different knowledge “bank” than another person? Is there evidence that says that this is so? I see no reason to assume that they must all know the same thing. As I said, a triangle has three different sides, separate sides. i believe that each person of the trinity is different, and has different abilities to some degree, including knowledge.

      • oukvekpwv

        If I may say, an old professor once said that ‘the more you learn the more you figure out what you don’t know’ that always made me think. maybe there is some truth to the fact that the more we learn the less sure we can be of the Truth, i think some philosopher said that once, but i dont know. i always think that while there may be some things that we dont understand doing the work helps us to build upon (more so philosophically then theologically) what is out there.

        this may be a bit of a digression but in my mind it connects to what you say about how not knowing is fustrating. I guess I could understand your point. but at the same time I tend not to focus on mystery, though once in a while i do, but those things that I can understand. Mystery has a special place, you know? and something to teach by the fact that its a mystery. and i could appreciate that. we will ever understand everything. Sometimes when I get fustrated about mystery I think of Job. I think of Job a lot.

        Hope all is well.

  • oukvekpwv

    nice post. cool blog, I will subscribe 😀

  • bdrex

    The quote came from the guy they called the golden mouth, I can’t remember his name.

    It is said God knows every hair upon your head, all knowing, then if Jesus was God how could he say only his father in heaven knew the answer?

    Shortly after the second council at Nicea Jerome was commissioned to translate the books and letters into a Latin Bible. (at Nicea the trinity was a major contention) The Bible Jerome produced, the vulgate, was used for 1000 years without major challenge. After Luther, the catholic Church commissioned the best known Catholic Greek translator, Erasmus.

    He found the verses that support the trinity, verses quoted for a thousand years were forgeries. He published before the church read his work and was forced into rewrites. All of his books and memoirs were deemed prohibited and he was called a traitor. My point is there is nothing to directly point to a trinity, only 1500 years of tradition have ingrained it, but the support was forged.

    If a person read our english Bible without any knowledge of doctrine few would ever conceive of the trinity and same substance/nature of Jesus and God. The Jews who knew Jesus (Ebonites) claimed he was a man messiah. Did the church edit scripture to combat that controversy too? Don’t you recognize the verses where Jesus talks to God, the cross, why have you forsaken me? And no that couldn’t be the human part, if he is the same substance then he would already know the answer. bdrex

    • oukvekpwv

      This is the times i wish i knew my greek better and knew church history better than i do. are you saying that the Bible is totally inacurate or only parts of it are? and to really get your argument and make an educated response i would have to research the primary source documents. otherwise at this point its only a matter of opinion.

      you said if a person reads the english Bible(the way it is?) they wouldn’t concieve the aspect of the trinity? What about the Gosple of John? or is that part of what is inaccurate?

      aspects of what you say about Jesus on the cross can be explained by the mysteries and paradox of the fact that Jesus is both fully God and fully man; able to be tempted but in his perfection resisting the temptation.

  • bdrex

    Chrysostomos—”golden mouth was one who said such things. I searched for truth a few years ago, frustrated as you are. All I can say is the road is narrow and few find it. A rough path for sure but worth it. I now believe any person can find the kingdom in any or no religion. What we proclaim with our mouths doesn’t compare with what we proclaim with our actions and heart. Bdrex

  • sorentmd

    And if Christianity is true, our hearts must proclaim the Christian God, which is why this has been such a polarizing topic. If Christianity is true, then it is the only way. Notice, though, that I say that that is only the case IF it is true, and currently, I do believe it is, which is where I stand.

    And again, you assume that Jesus as a separate person of the Trinity must have the same knowledge/power as the Father, another separate person of the Trinity. Why is this? What are your ground in believing this? I have thought long and hard about this, which is what led me to this post, and I found no reason why Jesus, as God, could not have become human and allowed His knowledge and power to become restricted in His person, yet remain full in the Father, as long as they are distinct persons. Back to the triangle, I can increase the length of one side and another remain the same. There is nothing saying that the sides of a triangle cannot have different attributes.

    However, along these lines is where I have hit a small block in thinking. Does God have to be like an equilateral triangle, where all sides and angles are equal? Or can they be different, and maybe even different at different times? Not sure, so I would love to hear some comments along those lines.

    Unfortunately I don’t know enough about Erasmus, but find it odd that someone like Bart Ehrman or the Jesus Seminar has not brought him up more in their work as they try to show the fallacies of the Bible. So I will have to look into that.

  • sorentmd

    Also, I have heard a number of people defend the doctrine of the Trinity from the English Bible, William Lane Craig does a whole series on it in his Defenders Podcast.

  • bdrex

    You can justify a trinity if you choose, humans are good at that. And I realize that questioning a long held belief is difficult.

    However, I am not saying any of it is untrue, merely misunderstood and corrupted by doctrine of our predecessors. The doctrine of the trinity declares Jesus was of the same substance and nature of God, in essence, God. To declare Jesus didn’t know because things were made unknown to him does not meet the trinity descriptions of the Church fathers (Who defined this position) and defined God as all knowing. The descriptions provided are basically Demi-God definitions. Not all knowing, but son of God of human and divine birth, an exact definition of Demi-God.

    Jesus was viewed as less than the father by many pre-Niceane Fathers, including Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Clements later writings. Why is this so important? If Jesus is son of God but not equal/same then God could give his message to other prophets, meaning (logiacally) Christianity is but one way.

    And wouldn’t that make sense, for God to spread his message, rather than wait for man to do it?

    • sorentmd

      In Hebrews 2, it says that Jesus was made for a little while less than the angels. So I would say that while on earth, Jesus, as the Son person of the Trinity, was indeed less than the Father, even less than the angels. Yet only for a short time. Then He regained His power that He Himself had allowed to be limited once leaving earth. I would think that that was what some oft early church fathers may have been talking about, thought I may be mistaken there. I would love to read their work on this, however.

  • sorentmd

    Again, I see no reason to think that Jesus could not be God and have willed to possess less than all knowledge when He became human. That was a sacrifice that He made. You have not shown that it is incompatible logically that this should be the case.

    What works do these early church fathers profess Jesus to be less than God? That seems out of character based on some of the other doctrines they affirmed. And even if Jesus was considered different than the Father in some ways, He is a distinct person and is expected to have differences from the other persons, otherwise He would be the Father if they were identical. So to expect identical abilities and attributes is fallacious and misled thinking.

    Second, if Jesus words were true, He claimed to be God Himself. You can check out my paper in the Papers section to see many scriptures attesting to Jesus deity, and His full deity at that. One that sticks out is in Colossians, where it is said that the full deity of God dwelt in Him. Hard to get around that one. Or John 1 for that matter. “the Word was God.” The use of the predicate nominative makes an article unnecessary, which prevents the mistranslation of “the Word was a God” incorrect.

    So if Jesus claimed to be God, then everything He said was true. And He said that He was the way, the truth, and the life. And that nobody could get to the Father except through Him. So that kind of debunks any ideas of other prophets making a new way, or other ways period. Either He was right or He was not a prophet at all, since that would make Him a blasphemer or a lunatic, and not a prophet of God if what He said was false.

    And I don’t think it makes sense that God would spread the message Himself, since he has always relied on humans to do it. The prophets were all humans, from Moses to Isaiah to Jeremiah to Hosea, etc. It’s not like God to do things Himself, which is what makes Jesus so remarkable, because it was God intervening Himself.

    So until you show that Jesus, as a distinct person of God, could not have limited knowledge compared to the Father, another distinct person of God, then I see no reason to give up the doctrine of the Trinity. Also, one would have to reject Jesus own teaching, that is, that He was God, in order to reject the doctrine of the Trinity, and by doing so, reject the New Testament, and therefore rejecting salvation through Jesus death on the cross, which, according to Him, was the only way. One would also have to reject Paul’s teachings, which are earlier than Justin Martyr, Turtullian, and Clement.

  • bdrex

    You said the trinity is confusing, I agreed and investigated. By rejecting the trinity you do not have to reject the New Testament, in fact it makes more sense. We don’t have to offer imagined explanations for statements and verses.
    The Gospels that were rejected, Jewish and Gnostic, explain that we all can become christ like and are all children of God. The virgin birth was a common demi-god myth in egypt and greece. The Jewish Bible says a “young girl” will give birth to the messiah. Greek translators, for young girl, used “virgin” this was debated 1900 years ago. The Church claimed the Jews rewrote their scriptures to confuse Christians, but the dead sea scrolls prove they were telling the truth.

    “What works do these early church fathers profess Jesus to be less than God?” Justin Martyr’s apologies. Clement recognitions. Quotes of Eusebius concerning Origin and tertullian. I have a Book called Church history by Newman 1898, a protestant writer who did a decent job identifying the positions of the ante-niceane fathers.

    “And He said that He was the way, the truth, and the life. And that nobody could get to the Father except through Him.” This was said of Horus and the Buddha begining 1500 years before Jesus. A common saying applied to Gods and prophets.

    In Egypt, to the west of jerusalem, and in India in the east, saying that no one gets to the father except through me, is actually said no one gets to the father … except through ‘I’. You might recall that the Sanhedrin asks Jesus if he is son of God, he says I am. But if you read Genesis we are all called sons of God.

    Both to the east and west of Jesus “I am” was a doctrine of religion. Living in the moment, recognizing the real you (spirit) and shedding the garments that clothe us. (our ego) We were made in Gods image, in spirit. Moses describes God as a blinding burning bush, that could not be looked upon, so we don’t look like God.

    This is why I brought up the English translations, in Greek it is easier to identify these as teachings, rather than claims. The translators thought the grammar was incorrect and corrected it. This is admitted in the Catholic encyclopedia.

    You also claim “Jesus said” in Pauls letters. Paul never met Jesus, alive or ressurected, so these are not Jesus’ words but Paul’s or someone writing in his name. Paul writes like a Gnostic in his earliest letters, believing in spiritual ressurection. Most Jews believed like the Egyptians, that your body would come back to life here on earth. There was no heaven or hell, only death. Hell in the New Testament is Gehenna in Greek. Gehenna was a dump outside the gates of jerusalem where garbage and criminal bodies were burned. This place, here on earth, became known as the Pagan hell.

  • sorentmd

    I find much speculation and little evidence backing it up. I will try to respond to a little at a time.

    “The Gospels that were rejected, Jewish and Gnostic, explain that we all can become christ like and are all children of God. The virgin birth was a common demi-god myth in egypt and greece. The Jewish Bible says a “young girl” will give birth to the messiah. Greek translators, for young girl, used “virgin” this was debated 1900 years ago.”

    The Gospels that were rejected were rejected early. The lists of books that were accepted even before the turn pf the first Century are nearly the same as the current cannon, some leave out Hebrews, which is very Platonic, and some leave out Revelation because they questioned the authorship at one point. So doctrinal passages in those are not considered true Christianity, but later additions made by others, which is why they were rejected by the Early Church.

    The word for “young girl” in the Greek is “παρθένα,” which is also translated as “virgin” because it was considered a girl under the age of 18 and it was assumed that she was a virgin. The same goes for the Hebrew, if not even more so. “Young girls” were put to death if they had sex before marriage, and they were often married by the age of 16 or so. Once married, they were considered a woman. So a girl who is not married was considered a “young girl” and and her virginity was assumed. It is not a mistranslation either way, but “virgin” was probably the better translation, because as one can see, in today’s culture, many “young girls” are not virgins and their virginity is not assumed.

    You say, ““And He said that He was the way, the truth, and the life. And that nobody could get to the Father except through Him.” This was said of Horus and the Buddha begining 1500 years before Jesus. A common saying applied to Gods and prophets.”

    That may be true, I unfortunately don’y know a lot about other ancient religions. But even if that is the case, it still means that either He was right or He was wrong. By saying this, they all can’t be right, if there is only one way, there is only one way. So if Jesus was wrong in saying this, we shouldn’t trust many other things He said along these lines, and we have then thrown out much of the Gospels.

    “You might recall that the Sanhedrin asks Jesus if he is son of God, he says I am. But if you read Genesis we are all called sons of God.”

    It is important to stress here the articles used though. Jesus was THE Son of God, not just A son of God. That was what He was asked, and by affirming this, the Sanhedrin clearly thought He was blaspheming. So it is nothing as simple as being a son of God, otherwise they would not have reacted in the way they did, wanting Him put to death.

    “Both to the east and west of Jesus “I am” was a doctrine of religion. Living in the moment, recognizing the real you (spirit) and shedding the garments that clothe us. (our ego) We were made in Gods image, in spirit. Moses describes God as a blinding burning bush, that could not be looked upon, so we don’t look like God.”

    I am not sure what you mean by the “I am” portion here. That may be the case in other areas, but in Jewish culture, “I am that I am” was the actual name of God. So it was not just “some doctrine” in Jewish circles, but God Himself. And I agree with the final point here, that we were not made in God’s physical image, as He would not really have one of these except in Jesus which wouldn’t happen for a while after this was written. But also, don’t forget that God appeared in the form of the burning bush, He would later pass through by Moses, covering his eyes until He had passed since He could not see His full glory, but could only see His back. I am not sure what this would have looked like, or why the physical terms to explain God, my point was to show that He was not just a burning bush, but a pillar of fire and cloud, and other things as well.

    “This is why I brought up the English translations, in Greek it is easier to identify these as teachings, rather than claims. The translators thought the grammar was incorrect and corrected it. This is admitted in the Catholic encyclopedia.”

    In the KJV, for sure. But the NASB is very close to the Greek. And I actually have taken some Greek and have a Greek New Testament, which is quite helpful at times. So I am still not sure what you mean. Yes, certain translations have incorrect areas, the original KJV for sure, but some live the NIV or Amplified or NASB aren’t nearly as bad.

    “You also claim “Jesus said” in Pauls letters. Paul never met Jesus, alive or ressurected, so these are not Jesus’ words but Paul’s or someone writing in his name. Paul writes like a Gnostic in his earliest letters, believing in spiritual ressurection. Most Jews believed like the Egyptians, that your body would come back to life here on earth. There was no heaven or hell, only death. Hell in the New Testament is Gehenna in Greek. Gehenna was a dump outside the gates of jerusalem where garbage and criminal bodies were burned. This place, here on earth, became known as the Pagan hell.”

    I am not sure where I said that Jesus said something in Paul’s letters, if I did, oops haha I surely didn’t mean to. I may have meant that Paul said about Jesus, I am not sure. Apologies there.

    However, I would disagree that Paul never et Jesus. WHile He was alive, I agree. But Paul seemed to think that he say Him in His resurrected form on the road to Damascus. Second, it is highly speculative to say that Paul only affirmed the spiritual resurrection in his earliest letters. First, that is extremely unjewish, as you yourself seem to recognize as you say that the Jews believed that the body would come back to life on this earth. Is that not what Christians claimed had happened to Jesus? The thing that caught many Jews up was that it was “supposed” to be a general resurrection of everybody, and not just one person. I would like to hear your reasons for thinking Paul was denying this. I have heard this claim before, but I have never really heard why, so I would be interested in hearing that.

    Finally, there are multiple words translated “Hell” in the Bible. Sheol, Gehenna, Hades, and Tartarus. Each used somewhat differently. Hades was the place where all the dead went, similar to Sheol. There has been speculation that there may be a chasm even here between the righteous and unrighteous especially given Jesus parable of Lazarus. So it is incorrect to say that they did not believe in the soul going someplace after death, since they had Sheol in the OT and Hades in the NT. Gehenna is only referred to when speaking of the Hell after the endtimes. This is the place of eternal torment and suffering of the future, the place created for the devil and his angels. The word Gehenna comes rom the Hebrew words “ge hinnom,” which does indeed mean the valley of Hinnom which you speak of. But this other “Gehenna” that is spoken of only 12 times in the entire NT is clearly not this physical place outside of Jerusalem. Rather, it is used figuratively, and actually had been used this way prior to Christ, so signify sin and suffering and torment. In it is the inherent idea that it is endless, which would not be said of a physical place on earth.

    So you are correct in saying that originally it was the dump outside Jerusalem where Baal worship, child sacrifice, garbage dumped, and criminals burned and thrown into happened. But it grew in meaning as time passed, being used to represent sin and God’s judgment of the wicked, which was eternal and endless.

    Finally, thank you for the references for the early church fathers, I may have to get that book that you have, it sound extremely interesting.

  • bdrex

    You made my point about the virgin mary. I simplified my statement not knowing how much you knew, but you are correct in the assumption of virginity. However, what would a rare unmarried woman be called, assuming she is a virgin. Either way Mary was wed to Joseph and the virgin assumption can end there. Meaning she could still be called a young girl but the assumtion of virgin was not automatic, although translators assumed this.

    The soul was a platonic belief in Rome and defined by aristotle. The Jews had many sects with different beliefs, so pinpointing what is meant is difficult. They may not have agreed with the Roman idea of soul. Greeks translating Hebrew would use words and ideas common to them so Hades in place of Gehenna could be representative of a place here on earth or be figurtive or maybe they did mean a fiery underworld.

    You mention speculation but seem not to realize how much of what you say is speculation. Church fathers, like Iraneaus in the second century claimed a self evident canon but Origen was the most popular father of era and he and many others had different takes and Gospels (canon) Writings of the earliest fathers don’t support a 1st century canon. Some canon writings aren’t mentioned dirrectly until late second century. Church father Taitian complained some churches were using only the Gospel of the hebrews (Maybe an early version of Matthew) and celebrated Jesus as a prophet and continued to follow the Jewish customs. He also complained about including the Gospel of Barnabas, too jewish and had it removed (Early third century) Eusebius claims this was a small contingent but we only have his word.

    The book is A Manual of Church History vol I. By, A. H. Newman,D.D.L.L.D. 1899
    Example: Theology of Justin Martyr—

    God the father Justin seems to have regarded, with almost Gnostic absolutism, as absent in relation to creation and providence. “He remains in the super-celestial regions-never appears or speaks to anyone by means of himself” (From Martyr’s dialogue chapt. 60) “No one that has but a small particle of sense would dare to say that the Father, leaving all things above heaven, had appeared in a little portion of the earth.” This is a Gnostic position, the heavenly God above all things had no part of this earth. Newman points out that had Justin been later, his position of the “will” would have been called pelagian.

    Christ, with Justin, the son of God. ….Justin makes no distinction between the divine and the human in Christ.

    Newman quotes the fathers and gives good support for his positions. Bdrex

  • sorentmd

    Thanks, I will check out some of that Justin Martyr stuff, it sounds fascinating. I have never heard of that. Church history is one of my weaker areas, I feel more comfortable taking the philosophical route.

    Yeah, the whole soul issue is quite interesting. It is somewhat odd that there were so many different beliefs even among the Jews themselves, though if Jesus was at least a prophet, then He would have seemed to correct some of the false beliefs that some held. A lot of Christian beliefs seem quite Greek, and some have speculated that Plato and Aristotle and some of the other Greek philosophers were “prophets” of God in that they used philosophy to bring forth what is true of God and His world. I am not sure where I stand on this, but they certainly have made an impact on Christianity and its thought and doctrines, so it is still an interesting topic.

  • bdrex

    “I am” was Jesus response to the sanhedrin, but as you said the father was “I am that I am” Lord was an abreviated form of God and could be translated as “I am” The common theme in that area was we are all children of God “I am” and it was a spiritual awakening, shedding the garments clothing the real us.

    So, if you understand how the words were used all around them, at that time, you can have a better idea of what was meant. This is why Martyr, Origen, Clement, Tertullian believed Jesus was not equal with the father, his claims were understood to mean, son of God but not God. Years of doctrine have redefined our understanding of the “I am” statement and concept. Only two early Fathers proposed a trinity concept and of course those two have writings that were not lost, but many others, most, believed Jesus was not God, had all their reasons/writings lost.

    The concept as I discovered it scared me, but i think I grew as a result. Bdrex

  • sorentmd

    The main issue I have with that theory is the following: Why would the Jewish leaders have wanted Him dead so badly that they would rush a trial to have Him killed before the Sabbath? If He was no blaspheming, which is one of the things He was charged with, then why would they have wanted Him dead? He was answering the question of how He saw Abraham, since He obviously was not alive on earth to see Him. His response, “I tell you the truth, I am.” I agree that He was not saying specifically and totally straightforward that He was God. He spoke Aramaic, and not Hebrew, so it would have been a different phrase altogether. Rather, it was a claim about His existence, His timeless, existence. The claim, “I am,” meant that I have always existed, I exist now, and I will always exist. This is something that is only true of God. Hence, they try to stone Him! This was blasphemy! This was not some light-hearted quip. This was a major thing. That reaction would not have occurred had this not been what He was saying.

    Again, I don’t think He gave us the option of making Him to be something other than a lunatic, a demon, or God Himself. His claims are too radical. “Only the Father can forgive sins…” Yet He went on forgiving sins, as if He had that authority. This only makes sense if He was God, since only God would have that authority.

    So while it may fit out of context that He was not God but merely something else, when we try to put that back into its context, the puzzle piece is way off. It doesn’t explain the situations and events at all.

    I am not sure who all thought about the Trinity, I will look it up and get back to you, but I am pretty sure there were quite a few people that had thoughts about it and how it might work.

  • bdrex

    The Romans by 70ad had destroyed the temple, killed most Jews in Jerusalem and outlawed jews in Jerusalem. Rome had a financial reason for wanting the crossroads of Jerusalem.

    Josephus and Clement talk about the national fervor to oust the Romans. Judas and his sons were especially zealous.

    (I realize I will veer from the narrow Biblical telling)

    Anyways, Jesus’ crimes if they were as writtten would not have gotten him a death sentence according to Pharisiac Law (Sanhedrin court). Killing him went beyond his crimes against Jewish law. In fact the pharisee Hillel had been teaching many of the same things as jesus and attacking hypocrisy.

    It was Herod, pressured by Rome who had him killed. Why not say so in the scriptures? Had they, they would have been attacked by Rome too.

    It’s like saying J. Edgar hoover had Kennedy killed while trying to get a job at the FBI. If you wanted to get in their and make a change you’d keep your mouth shut and the writers of our scriptures said much tongue in cheek.

    Now if I look at this from a different perspective, a faction of Jews would want Jesus silenced. Two Pharisees groups with very different views existed plus the Saducees and the puppet Jews of Rome. The Shamai followers were letter of the law lawers and would have been the ones Jesus criticised.

    The crowd chanting release Barsabas, many early church fathers say Jesus was also called this name.

    Deep stuff with endless versions. Can you imagine what we would have if the Church hadn’t destroyed so many writings?

    Iraneaus was the first to endorse the four Gospels and something close to the trinity (second century. Taitian followed early in the third. The Pagans had something of a trinity so the idea didn’t come out of the blue.

    If you read all the apologies of the 1st three centuries many were arguing that Christianity is not a poor copy of the Pagan belief. What they were comparing to were the demi-gods of Rome. The Christians say the difference is Jesus actually walked the earth, it is not myth. Finally in 325 they set Jesus apart for good agreeing on a doctrine that claimed a trinity God of Jesus. Then they defended this by claiming it had always been so, they just made it formal.

    But the controversies and apologies tell a different story. You don’t bring an army to combat a group of ants. The Gnostics and Pagans are ant-like according to the church, fringe groups who were never really a threat, but they brought an army to combat these groups. Orthodox Christianity won the war and the winners get to tell history, their way.

    This should sound political and it was. The Church was also the gov’t. Today it is hard to combine the two in our minds but leaders such as Constantine were ruthless dictators and shaped Christianity.

    I am not saying Jesus didn’t teach a divine doctrine or that he was divine and human, but I am unconvinced that he is not the father. And I don’t see how this changes anything except one, if god the father and Jesus are seperate god could give his teachings to other prophets all over the world. Some Gnostics claimed Jesus appeared to people all over the world teaching in Parables. He, God claimed the Jews were his chosen people, but if all people were chosen he would say that to each group (You are my chosen people, because we all are?)

    This is not merely fanciful and has background in Gnostic writings and some early church fathers.

    If you have a different take let me know, I think I’m familiar with the party line.
    Go with God in you.

  • bdrex

    Unconvinced that he is equal to the father, oops.

  • bdrex

    And Jesus forgiving sins. To the Pharisees he pointed out that they work on the sabbath. He argues they don’t understand the scriptures, pointing to David’s writings. Is he forgiving sins or saying they are not sins. I think some of both but his authority could be his divine inspiration and wisdom.

    He knew he would die, if God, or following prophecy so why not be straight forward and say I am that I am? I am He. Again in Egypt (John 5:18) was said and meant LIGHT (sun) only through the light would we get to the father. I am (the Lord) was Horus, a lesser God.

    I must say I have enjoyed your conversation rarely does someone add something new for me to think about but you have, thank you.

  • sorentmd

    Well, the Horus thong is a bit strange to me. I did some research into him when I had to do a lesson on a short film that claimed that the story of Jesus was stolen by the Jews from Egypt, claiming Horus to be the Christ-figure. It turned out to be a huge spoof and a volley of misinformation. But another post for another time.

    My only thing with Jesus forgiving sins is that He did it more than just that time, but would very often do it when healing people. So I find it hard to believe that He would have been saying that something wasn’t a sin in those cases.

    I will have to check out some of the early church father stuff about Jesus. My biggest issue with the idea that Jesus was merely a lesser God is John 1:1 and the fact that there is absolutely no way that Paul and the other first Christians, who were still extremely Jewish, even worshipping in the temple and synagogues, would have claimed that there could be any more than one God. Paul even says in his letters that there is one God and one Lord. So he did not see Jesus as a lesser God, but God Himself.

    I will concede, though, that there was a progression of confidence and outspokenness. By this I mean that the idea that Jesus was God was not put 100% straightforward. We see this in the earlier Gospels, that nobody said outright that “Jesus is God.” We do see this in John, which is usually considered the latest Gospel, though. This does not mean that the early Gospels did not hint at the idea that Jesus was God, but maybe due to fear of persecution or being considered bad Jews they didn’t come out too blatantly with it, or some other reason. The point is that we do see some progression, so that might fall in line somewhat with the fact that it wasn’t until 325 that things were made official, after fear of persecution would have been gone for the most part and when they had a certain amount of power to even do so, since much of the Church was “underground” due to Roman Law.

    Interesting stuff, exactly why I have a blog about stuff like this.

  • bdrex

    yes, no way to know for sure. The Jews I studied with pointed out that their prophecy was for a messiah, which would be a inspired man only. God walking the earth violated everything they believed.

    Horus is certainly a metaphoric figure and his rise and fall represented the sun, the life giver, yet their is a theme quite familiar their. Light verses darkness, miraculous birth, Madonna mother.

    Halo’s depicting Jesus look identical to sundisc behind Horus. The word Amen was AMEN-RA or Amon-RA a God in Egypt revered as The father God.

    What does all this mean to me? I know from studying other religions that religions borrow from each other and build upon too. The Jews came from Egypt and some things were likely borrowed, maybe incorporated into the Passion story. It may be an allegory in part, meaning it is true in essence or spirit but not literally.

  • sorentmd

    Or you could look at the similarities of religions and see what C.S. Lewis saw, that God had indeed revealed Himself to all people and they had part of the story. This would explain the myths of dying and rising gods, virgin births, “father” gods, etc. It then wouldn’t be that Christianity or Judaism was “borrowing” per say, but that the similarities could attest the validity of Judeo-Christian beliefs. I don’t know if this is what I affirm, I have a religion class this year at school so it should be interesting, but that is what he thought and it is in the very least coherent, if not a good explanation.

    So it is entirely possible that there were other “prophets” of God in other religions, insofar as they put forth Truth, like the existence of a soul, an afterlife, God in human form, dying and rising, virgin births, etc. I find this a very interesting perspective myself.

  • bdrex

    Actually I lean towards God inspiring all peoples, but this goes against the doctrine of Jesus being the only way.

    Some Gnostic Christian gospels say Jesus appeared to people all over the world in spirit, in other bodies. (They used the gardener verses and the road to emmeas where Jesus is not recognized). If true then the son message (golden rule and such) common all over would be from God and human interpretation corrupted the story claiming “I know the only right way” Sounds like a human arrogant position.

    • sorentmd

      Or it could mean that they all point to the one religion that has all of the components and the one that is the most historically reliable in it’s claims, at least relative to other religions haha

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