A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Stefcui » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:50 pm

DaveB wrote:Don't see any mention of the body there, Steve.


Yes, I meant to give you a different translation which uses the word "flesh" to mean human body...

"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. [4561 - sarx]
For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out."
Romans 7:18

The word "flesh", sarx, means "body".

"Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body [sarx] also will rest in hope."
Acts 2:26

"...he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body [sarx] see decay."
Acts 2:31

"Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends,
let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body [sarx] and spirit, perfecting holiness
."
2 Corinthians 7:1

See also Ephesians 2:15, 5:29; Colossians 2:5
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:07 pm

Sarx is never simply 'human nature' for Paul; nor is it simply a reference to physical humanness as opposed to non-physical aspects, such as soul or spirit. It is always human nature 'seen as' corruptible, decaying, ding on the one hand, and/or rebelling, deceiving, and sinning, on the other. "Flesh" always carries negative overtones somewhere on this scale, whereas for Paul being human was not something negative, but good and God-given and to be reaffirmed in the resurrection.
-Wright "The Letter to the Romans"
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Stefcui » Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:30 pm

DaveB wrote:Sarx is never simply 'human nature' for Paul; nor is it simply a reference to physical humanness as opposed to non-physical aspects, such as soul or spirit. It is always human nature 'seen as' corruptible, decaying, ding on the one hand, and/or rebelling, deceiving, and sinning, on the other. "Flesh" always carries negative overtones somewhere on this scale, whereas for Paul being human was not something negative, but good and God-given and to be reaffirmed in the resurrection.
-Wright "The Letter to the Romans"


Paul's mention of sarx in Romans 7:18 - "nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh [sarx]" would say otherwise...Also, the term is used of Christ's body: "nor did his body [sarx] see decay." If sarx is always "'seen as' corruptible, decaying, dying on the one hand, and/or rebelling, deceiving, and sinning...", in what sense was sarx used of Christ, who's body neither sinned nor decayed?
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:41 pm

i don't think Paul does disagree, first.
It's saying that a body can sin that just sound weird - does it sin without my consent? If it takes my consent, then of course it can be used for sinful acts. But I think the body itself is just fine.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Cole » Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:49 pm

"For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out."


I don't see any "free will" either
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Stefcui » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:00 pm

DaveB wrote:i don't think Paul does disagree, first.
It's saying that a body can sin that just sound weird - does it sin without my consent? If it takes my consent, then of course it can be used for sinful acts. But I think the body itself is just fine.


The body "sins" because all creation has been subjected to futility and death (Romans 8:20). Sin and death are two sides of the same coin.

"As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. [sarx]
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out
."
Romans 7:17, 18
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Stefcui » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:11 pm

Michael_Cole wrote:I don't see any "free will" either


You need to read all of chapters 7 & 8 of Romans...

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.


This free-will choice, to walk according to the Spirit, is granted to us through the act of faith and repentance; "if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you." I think you need to get a broader knowledge of the scriptures. You appear to be trying to understand through other people's books and experiences. There is no substitute for the word of God.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Cole » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:20 pm

Romans 7:

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!


As we can see Paul was in bondage. According to verses 24-25 It was Christ who delivered him from the captivity of sin. Paul couldn't do it. It's by the Spirit that we choose. Only by God's grace.

if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Paidion » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:26 pm

Stef wrote:I think you have assumed too much here, Paidion. Jesus does not need to have a "fallen, human nature" in order to be tempted (tested).


Possibly I have assumed too much, if we simply mean that He was tempted. But what about the results of temptation? What would be achieved in trying to tempt a God/man who didn't have a total human nature? I've heard some say that because of His divine nature it was impossible for Jesus to have sinned. That makes sense to me, for how could such a God/man be persuaded to sin? Wouldn't it, in fact, be impossible? And if it were impossible, such "temptations" would not have been genuine temptations.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Paidion » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:34 pm

Michael wrote:As we can see Paul was in bondage.


Paul wasn't in bondage. In Romans 7, Paul wasn't talking about himself. He was talking the man without Christ who is trying to do things pleasing to God. He uses the first person singular ("I") hypothetically of such a man. Such a man can serve God only with his mind, but with his flesh he serves the law of sin. Then in chapter 8, he praises God that such a man can be set free from sin through Christ.

Here is a little analogy I made concerning my handwriting, which may give us an insight as to what Paul was getting at.

Chapter 7
Handwriting is important, and instruction in it is good. So did that which is good cause my illegible handwriting? No way. It was the natural lack within me (perhaps my left-handedness and my lack of artistic talent) which made the scrawl come out, through the good instruction, in order that my poor handwriting truly be shown to be a scrawl, and through the handwriting instruction given to me, shown to be what it really is,absolutely illegible. I know that handwriting instruction is good. But I am a scrawler.I do not understand my own actions. For I do not write the way I want, but I write the very way that I hate. Now even though I do not write the way I want, I agree that the handwriting instruction I received was good.
So then it is not that I do it deliberately, but that weakness that dwells within me is the cause. For I know that no ability for handwriting dwells within me. I can will to write beautifully, but I cannot do it.For I do not write the way I want, but the illegible scrawl that I do not want, is what I do.
Now if I scrawl in a way I don't want, it is not I doing it deliberately, but the lack of skill within me. So I find it to be a law of my nature, that when I want to write beautifully, an ugly scrawl comes out. For in my inmost self, I delight in the thought of writing beautifully and legibly. But I see in my nature another law at war with the law of my mental desire, making me captive to my weakness and my illegible handwriting. Wretched man that I am! What can deliver me from this inability to write legibly? Thank God for my computer! So then, I of myself (without my computer), write beautifully and legibly with my mind, but with my hand, I write an illegible scrawl.

Chapter 8
There is now no criticism for those who write documents using a word processor and printer. For the power of the word processor in my computer has set me free from the law of my incapable hand. For the computer has done what handwriting instruction weakened by my inability could not do; by means of a word processor and printer, it did away with my illegible scrawl,in order that the requirements for writing documents may be fulfilled in us who write not with our incapable hands, but with a word processor and printer.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:11 pm

What an interesting approach.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Stefcui » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:44 pm

Paidion wrote:
Stef wrote:I think you have assumed too much here, Paidion. Jesus does not need to have a "fallen, human nature" in order to be tempted (tested).


Possibly I have assumed too much, if we simply mean that He was tempted. But what about the results of temptation? What would be achieved in trying to tempt a God/man who didn't have a total human nature? I've heard some say that because of His divine nature it was impossible for Jesus to have sinned. That makes sense to me, for how could such a God/man be persuaded to sin? Wouldn't it, in fact, be impossible? And if it were impossible, such "temptations" would not have been genuine temptations.


Yes, I understand the complication. I personally think Christ (God) tasted humanity to sympathize with our weaknesses. He does not need to fall in order to understand the gravity of falling. Every human knows the adrenaline spike or the jitters. Christ would have had hormones and chemicals in His body as we all have. He was just not overwhelmed by them (to the point of sin). Christ certainly felt saddened to the point of tears, and angry to the point of whipping. These are human encounters, and Christ fully experienced them for our benefit. This is partly what is meant by "God so loved the world". This is fairly impressive that our maker would humble Himself to such an act of exposure. Christ ate food, went to the toilet, coughed, shivered, smelt corpses and rotten food... He did all of this so that we would have greater confidence in Him as our leader. He went through the same battle. He did not just sit back and watch - he immersed Himself to the point of being flogged, spat on, beaten and ridiculed. Who would do that for someone else? God!

As Satan said... "throw yourself down from this mountain..." Now, if Jesus would not have died from "throwing Himself down", this would have given evidence of the divine in Jesus that Satan was asking Him to confirm; but that does not mean that Jesus would not know that it is a struggle for humans to experience a fall from a horse, or falling off a chair, or breaking a bone, or being hungry, tired or thirsty. Jesus became man!
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:22 pm

I think that, following the dogma of God's simplicity, that the Father had no lack in himself that he needed to fill by becoming human and feeling the effects of biological life. He had no lack at all and did not need to 'become'.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby akimel » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:25 pm

Steve, I must have been unclear in what I wrote. I most certainly would not support the abandonment of the fourth and fifth century Fathers--quite the contrary. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity cannot be properly understood apart from them.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Stefcui » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:47 pm

akimel wrote:Steve, I must have been unclear in what I wrote. I most certainly would not support the abandonment of the fourth and fifth century Fathers--quite the contrary.


Hi Akimel,

I didn't misunderstand you. I think I gathered from other posts that you ascribe to the councils and fathers of the 4th and 5th centuries. That is no problem. Often the Orthodox will try and lead other christians to the early fathers, which is fantastic, but I think their admiration is a sectarian fascination from that particular time (4th and 5th centuries), and their honoring of earlier fathers is merely superficial lip services through fast days and saint days, etc. I am personally disinterested in reinforcing a darker and more sinister fraternity, even though I find some writings from this period to be very interesting. I am particularly blessed by Rufinus, Eusebius, John of Jerusalem, and to a lessor extent, Gregory, Basil's brother, Gregory Nazianzen and John Chrysostom. I was also impressed by what I read of and about Eunomius. I certainly don't dislike these people, I just think that they were all made delirious by the same dirty well. A more pure time in the church's history - and in their doctrines - is found prior to the 4th century. That is where the richest gold is buried.

akimel wrote:The doctrine of the Holy Trinity cannot be properly understood apart from them.


I think the doctrine of the trinity became particularly corrupted by these fathers. I believe in the trinity, but the fundamentalist and intolerant spirit which emerged in the 4th and 5th centuries had corrupted a simple and sublime teaching which the earlier fathers were able to grasp. It became a doctrine which was aligned with widespread corruption, bribery, extortion, hate, contempt, violence, intolerance, greed, false teachings, and secular compromise. It was a doctrine, after all, that was suggested by an unbaptized emperor. The Roman church gained a particular dominance over other churches because of their compliance to the emperors hermeneutics. The church soon changed back to become completely Arian after Constantine's death, and than had swung back and forward like a brothel door. This was the church's darkest hour, and the doctrines of this time are not worth any more to me than the writings of any other sect. They belong to Christ, naturally, but like the church at Ephesus, they need to repent and "Consider how far you have fallen!" (Revelation 2:5)
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:24 pm

The Trinity - as was brought out in the lecture you did not finish :D - was not necessarily thought of by the ECF (150-300AD) in the way it was subsequently developed. Most EF's - and I gather there is no remarkable consistency of expression - did believe in the trinity small "t" - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is not clear to me that they believed in the Trinity big "T" as in the labyrinthine analytic developments that followed - three persons, one nature, or other terminology.
Chalcedon certainly did nothing to clear it up, but that was later.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Stefcui » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:48 pm

DaveB wrote:The Trinity - as was brought out in the lecture you did not finish :D - was not necessarily thought of by the ECF (150-300AD) in the way it was subsequently developed. Most EF's - and I gather there is no remarkable consistency of expression - did believe in the trinity small "t" - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is not clear to me that they believed in the Trinity big "T" as in the labyrinthine analytic developments that followed - three persons, one nature, or other terminology.


That's correct, Dave. Although most EF's did not waver from declaring Christ as 'God'; but that was not in the "T" sense, as you point out. There was a relative freedom of expression in the early church which was completely lost in the 4th century. The excuse is that the 4th century fathers were saving the "T" from corruption. I do not buy this. I think it was a grab for dictatorial power, and the trinity became the football. The papacy won, and now they don't even care to protect the "T" - for it was power they were after, not purity.

The fathers were being rewarded with money and churches for their patronage to Rome, as the emperor used the Roman church to distribute wealth among the clergy. This was a vision of a new state religion, after all, and the bishops of Rome were willing to play ball. For their patronage they were officially declared the 'head of churches', and they were given the same power as the emperor in many cases. This is when the church went down hill. The caution is to try not to fling back the opposite way with too much force, otherwise you only create the same thing in reverse. We need the more moderate approach of Origen to guide us, IMO.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:53 pm

Hmmm...very interesting.
Where do we go from here?
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby JasonPratt » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:53 am

Beats me; I'm just trying to figure out where to even start catching up with the thread! :lol:

Um, the original post I guess, with Dave's categorization followup later...?
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby akimel » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:06 pm

For those interested in further reflection on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, I recommend the following:

John Behr, The Way to Nicaea

_____, The Nicene Faith

Khaled Anatolios, Retrieving Nicaea

Robert W. Jenson, The Triune Identity
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:23 pm

Thanks for those references!

What I am taking away from this discussion thus far (and maybe there is a lot more to come, it's up to us) is that a belief in Trinitarianism (capital T) is not, for me, necessarily Orthodox (Orthodox=whoever won the fight). I don't see it (big T) in the scriptures; I finally see the difference between little t and big T in the divide between 3rd and 4th century thought - I'm a little t'er at this point, but definitely a trinitarian; and the ever-so-complicated speculations that resulted in the (so far) unanswered questions 1-4 at the beginning of the thread have me convinced that the problems presented there, unless they are totally wrong-headed, proclaim against the big T.

That's where I am now. I think my position is somewhere within the pale of Orthodoxy, but then, Orthodoxy is not my main concern.

Shall we continue, or wrap it up for now?
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby JasonPratt » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:36 pm

DaveB wrote:What I am taking away from this discussion thus far (and maybe there is a lot more to come, it's up to us) is that a belief in Trinitarianism (capital T) is not, for me, necessarily Orthodox (Orthodox=whoever won the fight).


??? Um, well, actually, the majority who eventually won the fight would strongly disagree that a belief in Trinitarianism (capital T) isn't necessary to be counted among the majority who eventually won the fight. That's why there are Nicean and Chalcedonian creedal statements (with a variation of the latter being the two main parts of the so-called Athanasian Creed).

However, that's after the fighting, which started late 2nd century but didn't get particularly systematic until the 4th century. Before then (and during the original disputes leading up to the 4th century), things are a lot looser in some ways, just as strict in others. But I think it's important to understand that the technicalities which came later followed from trying to figure out how best to affirm and not deny the stricter portions of the looser earlier time. The quote from Origen upthread illustrates that principle. He wants to protect the affirmations of the faithful deposit, and is prepared to get more technical than people generally were previously, in order to do so; but he won't be as technical as the people who follow after him -- largely following his leads and methodologies! Both of which are directly connected to Patristic arguments for Christian universalism, by the way.

(I will briefly mention here, in regard to another thread on a similar topic, that no one thinks Athanasius was a 'unitarian', and he was explicitly following Origen's lead in his disputes with Arius. While he thought he had to defend Origen sometimes, because O hadn't gone into quite the detail they were having to go into a generation or two later, Ath studied under disciples of O and had vastly much more access to his original work than anyone living today. From that alone I would find it almost impossible for anyone, arguing from scattered surviving remnants of Origen's work, to convince me that Origen was a unitarian. Be that as it may. ;) )

What does little-t (as you put it) involve? The dispute was then, and has always been, centered on this: who should we be (and not be) religiously worshiping, and why? Little-t says there is one and only one God Most High, and we should be religiously worshiping only God Most High not any lesser lord or god, and also that we should be religiously worshiping the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son Who was born of a woman as Jesus of Nazareth, who are three distinct persons not (merely) roles of the same person in relation to us.

Why did little-t go that way? Because that's what they heard their teachers saying, and that's what they found being said and taught (and claimed by Jesus) in the oldest texts with the widest use across the world where people religiously affiliated with Jesus somehow (though those texts are a little fuzzy in some ways about whether the spirit is a distinct person compared to the blatantly obvious personal distinction between Father and/or the Son).

Big-T says the same things, just in more technical details. But the technical details arose because of practical questions about whether little-t really had the basic data right to begin with, which was important partly for purposes of being faithful to the original teachers (going back to Jesus) and partly for purposes of worshiping and evangelizing properly (rightly praising and rightly teaching others about God -- both of which are what ortho-doxy, right-representation, can mean.)

That's why even among the Big Three Big T groups (insert topical irony here as appropriate ;) ), they started ostracizing and badmouthing one another eventually, actually creating the distinctions of those groups while doing so, where no such hard distinctions previously existed: the Oriental Orthodox (connected to Alexandria), the Church of the East (connected to Antioch), and the Catholic Orthodox (in the middle, touching Rome and New Rome). They weren't just being naturally ornery (although there was some of that, too) or politically motivated in the patronage system of the ancient world (although ditto). The question of how the two-natures of Christ (which all three sides agreed about) relate to one another, and to us, touches the question of what was and wasn't accomplished for us in Christ, and touches the question of whether we really ought to be worshiping Jesus himself personally (though all three sides agreed on that, too).

Is that really necessary for Christians to get into today? From a practical perspective, probably not, as long as they believe little-t has the basic data right and are willing to act religiously on that without being worried about further details. But then, little-t has what looks like a major conceptual contradiction in its set: religiously worship only the one and only God, and religiously worship the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. What is religiously idolatry, and what isn't? Maybe that wouldn't be so much of a practical problem if the scriptures didn't indicate God cares a lot about idolatry, but they REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY DO (OT and the new texts both).

So there are huge tensions. ;) Leading to a huge T out of the little t.

(Then Islam comes along and provides a theologically simpler set of data by replacing the old data sets altogether.)





DaveB wrote:the ever-so-complicated speculations that resulted in the (so far) unanswered questions 1-4 at the beginning of the thread have me convinced that the problems presented there, unless they are totally wrong-headed, proclaim against the big T.


I'm pretty sure they proclaim against the little-t set, too; the little-t set just avoids the questions by focusing on the practical aspect of worshiping only God most high and worshiping F/S/HS. As long as people are doing that, what's the problem, right? It's an inscrutable mystery but if the authoritative texts point that way then why worry about it?

See, the inscrutable mystery parachute doesn't start with Big-T. Big-T imports it as a problem solving tactic from little-t; but whereas Big-T is Big-T by also trying to meet and solve problems in other ways, that appeal to revealed mystery data is all little-t is in a position to do.

But I'll have to illustrate that later; off to home now.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Stefcui » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:19 pm

JasonPratt wrote:See, the inscrutable mystery parachute doesn't start with Big-T. Big-T imports it as a problem solving tactic from little-t; but whereas Big-T is Big-T by also trying to meet and solve problems in other ways, that appeal to revealed mystery data is all little-t is in a position to do.


:lol: Jason, this commentary was very funny. I saw a vision of a dog chasing its tail as I was reading along with you. I don't think you are right in your historical appraisal of Mr T's war against Mr t, but it doesn't matter that much. There were other considerations apart from a fight for the truth. The trinity ('t') was first captured by the gnostic imagination of the Valentinians in the 2nd century:

"Valentinus, the leader of a sect, was the first to devise the notion of three subsistent entities (hypostases), in a work that he entitled On the Three Natures. For, he devised the notion of three subsistent entities and three persons — father, son, and holy spirit."


(See also, The Tripartite Tractate, http://gnosis.org/naghamm/tripart.htm)

This trinity was then wrestled with in the church. They decided to make a more precise definition to defend against gnostics. The problem was, they turned their inquisitors eye against other christians, including against Origen and Dionysius of Alexandria, which was instigated by the bishops of Rome. Rome had an ambition from the earliest time to become recognized as the leading church, and the bishops of Rome looked for opportunities to create a wedge between other christians so as to exert their authority over them. The trinity ('T') was used as a pretext to exert that authority. It allowed Roman bishops to be seen as superior to Origen, or any other church, bishop or christian. They always used prize fighters outside of Rome to do their dirty work. Athanasius, Augustine, Jerome, Hilary, Basil - these were the 'T' fighters, and they had Rome's backing. This was all politics, and it led to the establishment of the papacy. Christians didn't recognize then (or now) that they were being used as pawns in a political contest to give Rome supremacy.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Stefcui » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:22 pm

DaveB wrote:What I am taking away from this discussion thus far (and maybe there is a lot more to come, it's up to us) is that a belief in Trinitarianism (capital T) is not, for me, necessarily Orthodox (Orthodox=whoever won the fight). I don't see it (big T) in the scriptures; I finally see the difference between little t and big T in the divide between 3rd and 4th century thought - I'm a little t'er at this point, but definitely a trinitarian; and the ever-so-complicated speculations that resulted in the (so far) unanswered questions 1-4 at the beginning of the thread have me convinced that the problems presented there, unless they are totally wrong-headed, proclaim against the big T.


I have a similar view to you, Dave. That was a good summary.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby JasonPratt » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:47 am

Stefcui wrote: :lol: Jason, this commentary was very funny. I saw a vision of a dog chasing its tail as I was reading along with you. I don't think you are right in your historical appraisal of Mr T's war against Mr t, but it doesn't matter that much. There were other considerations apart from a fight for the truth. The trinity ('t') was first captured by the gnostic imagination of the Valentinians in the 2nd century:


:roll: You yourself ought to know I'm not talking about the term "trinity". And referencing the Valentinians isn't a consideration "apart from a fight for the truth". They were starting from the basic received data and then trying to solve the problems of the rec'd data in a way different from (what became) the Catholic/Orthodox party. (Not totally different, of course, but different enough to be a different family of ideas.) Which is why they themselves were one of the "other Christians" whom "the church" (including for example Origen!) turned "their inquisitors eye against" -- also not a consideration apart from a fight for the truth.

What Dave was calling "little-t" doesn't, in itself, bother with trying to work out the details of the received data. At most it just tries to make sure the data (the faithful deposit) has all been properly received and passed on. But even that process leads as a practical result to Big T vs. Other Ideas (so there isn't a hard-and-fast line between little-t and Big T, no more than there's a hard-and-fast line between "tradition" and "theology".)

Would politicians exploit this situation for their own gain? Duh. Which is why I acknowledged a serious political dimension to what happened. But that doesn't mean the conflicts were "all politics".
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Stefcui » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:07 am

JasonPratt wrote:You yourself ought to know I'm not talking about the term "trinity".


Well, I actually did get a bit lost in what you were saying. Nevermind. I don't know your theology well enough to make any assumptions.

JasonPratt wrote:And referencing the Valentinians isn't a consideration "apart from a fight for the truth".


The reason for mentioning the Valentinians was to show that this war began between Gnostics and Christians, but ended between Christians and Christians. The OCD set in, and now there was only 'T'-rinity or the highway. Both 'T'-rinity and 't'-rinity were acceptable in the first centuries; that is my observation at least. The 4th century geniuses tried to go back in time and announce everyone as a heretic who did not agree with their OCD version of 'T'rinity. That is not something that I think should be endorsed.

JasonPratt wrote:Would politicians exploit this situation for their own gain? Duh. Which is why I acknowledged a serious political dimension to what happened. But that doesn't mean the conflicts were "all politics".


For some it was "all politics". For others, it was OCD. For others, it was like trying to give up smoking, and the detox was still making me ANGRY!!! For a few, it was altruism. Not many though...
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:59 am

I've been re-visiting some old threads this morning - there have been some GREAT threads on this forum.
Since I am still 'agnostic' on the subject of the trinity, I was happy to see the following from Fr. Kimel's Most Excellent) Blog (https://afkimel.wordpress.com) - it has become one of my favorites - as the selections I am quoting neatly wrap up the reason for my agnosticism. The first selection is from Channing, with whom Fr. Kimel and others (wrongly imo) disagree, followed by further elucidation - or may I say, with respect, non-elucidation (read it to see what I mean) - of the actual trinitarian position as per that blog.
This is not actually a big deal for me now - I worship God the Father through the Son Jesus Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit - and the sophisticated metaphysics that become a measure of one's Christianity is, for me, if not trivial, then superfluous.
All the following is from the blog:

What particularly interests me is Channing’s interpretation of “the irrational and unscriptural doctrine of the Trinity”:

( Channing) We object to the doctrine of the Trinity, that, whilst acknowledging in words, it subverts in effect, the unity of God. According to this doctrine, there are three infinite and equal persons, possessing supreme divinity, called the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Each of these persons, as described by theologians, has his own particular consciousness, will, and perceptions. They love each other, converse with each other, and delight in each other’s society. They perform different parts in man’s redemption, each having his appropriate office, and neither doing the work of the other. The Son is mediator and not the Father. The Father sends the Son, and is not himself sent; nor is he conscious, like the Son, of taking flesh. Here, then, we have three intelligent agents, possessed of different consciousness, different wills, and different perceptions, performing different acts, and sustaining different relations; and if these things do not imply and constitute three minds or beings, we are utterly at a loss to know how three minds or beings are to be formed. It is difference of properties, and acts, and consciousness, which leads us to the belief of different intelligent beings, and, if this mark fails us, our whole knowledge fall; we have no proof, that all the agents and persons in the universe are not one and the same mind. When we attempt to conceive of three Gods, we can do nothing more than represent to ourselves three agents, distinguished from each other by similar marks and peculiarities to those which separate the persons of the Trinity; and when common Christians hear these persons spoken of as conversing with each other, loving each other, and performing different acts, how can they help regarding them as different beings, different minds?

(Fr. Kimel) The Fathers did not understand the divine persons as three independent agents “possessed of different consciousness, different wills, and different perceptions, performing different acts, and sustaining different relations.” If this were the catholic doctrine, St Athanasius and the Cappadocians would have joined Channing in rejecting it. As St Gregory of Nyssa writes: “For the persons of the Divinity are not separated from one another either by time or place, not by will or by practice, not by activity or by passion, not by anything of this sort, such as is observed with regard to human beings” (Ad Graecos 25).
That which distinguishes the divine hypostases are their originating relations: the Father is unoriginate, the Son is begotten by the Father, the Spirit is spirated by the Father. The persons of the Godhead are not “persons” in the way that individual human beings or even angels are “persons.” We need to stop thinking in such anthropomorphic terms.

When someone objects to the trinitarian doctrine on the ground that it makes no sense to them, that is precisely the point. If the doctrine made sense, it would not be speaking of the holy and ineffable three-personed Creator narrated in the Scriptures and experienced in the eucharistic liturgy. Karen Kilby elaborates:

We learn to worship the Father through the Son in the Spirit, but we do not have some very sophisticated idea with which to put all this together, with which to envisage or explain or understand that the three are one, with which to put to rest on a conceptual level worries about the coherence of a claim to monotheism. This is why attention to the doctrine of the Trinity should serve to intensify rather than diminish our sense of God’s unknownness: believing in the Trinity, we are not so much in possession of a more fully textured concept of God than a mere Enlightenment deist has, but in fact much less than any deist in possession of any sort of manageable concept of God at all. (“Is an Apophatic Trinitarianism Possible?” International Journal of Systematic Theology 12 [January 2010]: 76)

Me: in a nutshell, there's the problem. Neither 'side' understands the concept 'trinity'. And we will defend our not understanding come hell or high water!
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby JasonPratt » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:59 pm

I'm no more a fan of apophatic non-understandings of the Trinity than any unitarian is; and I've never once advocated someone believe something they themselves think is logically nonsensical, including the Trinity. No one ever lived and died for a cloud of unknowing. If anyone ever said they did, I respectfully submit they were self-mistaken. They died for what and for Whom they thought they knew.

Better to be agnostic, or to be unitarian or modalist or non-Christian at all, than to wallow in what one thinks is nonsense. That isn't the way to reach or appreciate truth; all it does is train habits of being unable to detect error.

That being said, even the rank apophaticists were (and where applicable still are) trying to be faithful in religious devotion to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to pass along correct teaching concerning them, in concert with the testimony found in the scriptures (and the various flavors of unitarians and modalists etc. to their own degrees.) Someone agnostic about how it all fits together can't be doing wrong to do the same thing. :)
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:19 pm

I agree with you Jason. However, if I wasn't taught the Trinity, I would never have believed it. Now, I admit that the Trinity could be true, but so could a lot of things. I think the burden of proof is on those who teach the Trinity, not on those who refuse to accept it. Because (in my opinion) there is evidence for both sides, it is almost one of those topics that you cannot build a doctrine on, because there are legitimate concerns. The Trinity, is clearly an act of faith. Nothing wrong with that, though. :-)
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby JasonPratt » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:39 pm

Certainly, the burden of proof is on those who teach the Trinity. The burden of proof is on anyone making any case for acceptance. ;) That's just intellectual responsibility. And I don't like it when trinitarians doff that responsibility off as though only opponents have a burden of proof.

However:

1.) Even where someone doesn't yet accept the (or perhaps a) trinitarian doctrinal set, a trinitarian can and I think should go on to explain how they think further positions follow if trinitarian theism is true. That doesn't mean the trinitarian should then expect the non-trinitarian to agree to the consequent belief, or not on that ground, but I think there's a service to be made to opponents when proponents (of any idea) take the time and effort to work out implications of the idea (or the idea set).

2.) Among people who (at least nominally) accept the idea set, the trinitarian should be encouraged to work out corollaries and implications from the set, and to oppose ideas which can be shown to conflict with the commonly believed set. (Obviously the same would be true for any shared set of ideas.)


That's why among trinitarians I'm keen to appeal to the ideas of the doctrinal set, in their logical coherence (which obviously CANNOT BE DONE WHEN APOPHATICISM IS THE PRIMARY METHOD OF THEOLOGY :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x ), for purposes of working out and otherwise testing soteriological ideas: soteriology can and should only follow logically from the prime theological claims. And even among non-trinitarians, I want to provide an account of the implications of its hypothetical truth or, perhaps, falsity.

So in those two senses, it can be legitimately built on; but only hypothetically among opponents.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:54 pm

Jason Pratt, thank you for the response. :D

Tho I don't know what all the :x :x :x :x :x is about :? :? :? :?

edit: just found out that the max number of smilies allowed is 10! I had to edit!
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Eaglesway » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:19 pm

I was never comfortable with the Trinitarian model, and I hold another view, but I actually most appreciate what DaveB said here,

This is not actually a big deal for me now - I worship God the Father through the Son Jesus Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit - and the sophisticated metaphysics that become a measure of one's Christianity is, for me, if not trivial, then superfluous.

What if the truth concerning the actual construction/relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, in all reality transcends our definitions, resulting in endless debate without possible resolution :) It might make sense that God is not as concerned with our understanding and defining the details as we are. Where God has purposely left some fuzzy edges to confound us, and even possibly judge us(in the kindest discerning and exposing way) as to whether being correct is as important as we think it is, or even possible, and how we deal with each other over the question of it.

Having studied intensely over the years with Modalists and Unitarians and Trinitarians, I have always gotten a kick out of the evasive maneivers necessary to fully embrace any of those positions in their particular orthodoxy.

I am by no means saying I fully understand it, I am unconvinced it can be, or even should be, fully understood- but I am nevertheless completely thrilled when I get to munch on it with an educated and open mind.

That God would be so indifferent to such an understanding as to leave it for a few centuries out from the new-born church to extrude a detailed definition of it, and then make that (the result of a centuries enduring intellectual and political wrestling match) a salvation essential doctrine makes me wonder if a less impirical approach is preferable to Him. One with a little more child-like mysticism allowed and even appreciated. Jesus spoke of it in a manner destined, and probably intended, to leave a fair amount of room for reasonable, conscientious, differences of opinion.

One thing I am sure of tho. As soon as someone begins anathematizing people over the mystery of the Godhead- whatever their view, they have probably got a spiritual problem much more serious than mere doctrine can resolve. :lol:
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby davo » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:41 pm

Eaglesway wrote:It might make sense that God is not as concerned with our understanding and defining the details as we are.

Yep... and that likewise goes for a whole bunch of other historic dogma.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Eaglesway » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:53 pm

Yup.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:30 am

Yep+1
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Paidion » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:43 am

Jason wrote:I'm no more a fan of apophatic non-understandings of the Trinity than any unitarian is.


As I see it, subscription to the doctrine of the trinity is inherently apophatic. It is necessary to posit some cataphatic explanation of God in order to be coherent.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:57 am

Whereas, as I see it, subscription to the doctrine of the Trinity is inherently kataphatic; otherwise there would be no doctrinal details to be accepted (or rejected) at all! :roll:

(Any proposed doctrinal set is inherently kataphatic, be the proposals right or wrong.)
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Eaglesway » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:04 pm

It seems to me that any complete systematic theology on the Godhead is both. Defining what God is, in one view, represents what He is not(to some extent) in another view.

For instance, if one defines the relationship of Jesus as less than co-equal to the Father, they see it as kataphatic- Jesus is the Son, an image of the Father, a seed out of YHWH, a composite of the Almighty Invisible God. To an orthodox Trinitarian that is apophatic, asserting(in relation to their view) that God is not something(composed of three co-equal persons) that they think He is.

The extreme of either approach is just as deforming to actual truth as the other, one being dogmatic, the other being agnostic.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:31 pm

I am uncertain as to which of the -tics this would fit:

"When someone objects to the trinitarian doctrine on the ground that it makes no sense to them, that is precisely the point. If the doctrine made sense, it would not be speaking of the holy and ineffable three-personed Creator narrated in the Scriptures and experienced in the eucharistic liturgy."

That was in my post above, selected from Fr. Kimel's blog. I think he puts a fine point to it. Elsewhere on that page he or another spoke of the truth of the trinity only being know by 'vision".

My only point is this: don't make a doctrinal necessity out of an experience that cannot be communicated.

One more: we can't claim someone else has a lesser vision of God because he/she/it is not persuaded to believe in something that we cannot explain.

And one last: we can't pretend to have reasoned our way into the truth of the Trinity - noone has ever done that. It is speculation, it is vision. I'm not saying the experience or the speculation is not valuable (though HOW one experiences a trinity is puzzling) in itself. But it should not be binding on others. Those that are asked, at their Ordination, if they believe in the Holy Trinity - should be thankful they are not asked to explain it. :-)
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:32 pm

That's why I don't expect, much less ask, anyone to accept a doctrine they haven't seen the truth of yet. If I or anyone else haven't communicated it clearly yet, it hasn't been communicated yet, that's all.

But I play fair another way, too: I do expect and even ask people to reject a doctrine they honestly think they've seen the falsity of, whether that's universal salvation or trinitarian theism.

What you quoted Fr. Kimel on is pretty much the nadir of apophotic theology -- or maybe not quite, because it still recognizes kataphatic content to negate. :roll: But you ought to be able to see the difference, yes?

I can't in good conscience ask people to accept something that in principle cannot possibly make sense. It's even a self-refuting position to try to take: someone understands a position well enough to see that it makes sense that it cannot possibly make sense?? And that's why it should be believed?

Having personal faith in someone is different than that. We trust specialists, so far as we have reason (or desperation) to believe THEY KNOW and understand the truth of something even if we don't, or under the circumstances can't. But there has to be a point at which we can distinguish the con artist from the true specialist. And throwing up a cloud of unknowing isn't that point. We're called to reject falsehood and accept truth, and that means rejecting contradictions, unless and until we see they aren't really contradictions. Training people to accept contradictions is how cults and false religions, and false philosophies, fool people.


I will also add that while I completely agree that someone should never pretend to have reasoned their way to understanding the Trinity (or pretend to have reasoned their way to understanding anything, unless they're making a harmless joke); by their own admission, people who think the Trinity cannot even possibly make sense to anyone, are in no position to say that no one has ever done that: that's either their own sheerly ungrounded assertion, or they somehow understood enough of the Trinity to say that it makes sense that the trinitarian doctrine cannot make sense, which is self-refuting nonsense. It would be better, and more consistent with positively valuing truth, for them to say that (as far as they can tell) the Trinity is a mistake and wrong -- and that they understand (they think) where the errors are and so why it's a mistake and wrong. The agnostic can have an honorable agnosticism, but nothing, so far as that goes, to say about whether the Trinity can be understood by a human reasoning.


Now, if Fr. Kimel only meant that no creature can fully understand the Trinity, I totally agree. No creature can, demonstrably or even in principle, fully understand the keyboard I'm typing on right now, myself included. ;) But lots of creatures (myself included) can understand it well enough to distinguish it as a keyboard and not as the holy and ineffable three-personed Creator (for example), even though none of us can fully understand it except the holy and ineffable three-personed Creator -- which is not a claim anyone could even possibly truthfully make without a holy and ineffable three-personed Creator making some kind of legitimate sense to them, not-incidentally! No more than someone could even possibly truthfully make a claim about a keyboard without it even possibly making some kind of legitimate sense to them. And a keyboard makes a lot more sense to a lot more people than me, even though none of them (except the Ground of All Existence) can understand it completely.


Is experiential experience of the Trinity (theosis as it's called in the East; the Beatific Vision as it's called in the West), better than mere logical understanding of the Trinity? Sure it is! -- but no one could legitimately say that who doesn't also have some legitimately logical understanding of the truth of the Trinity. Otherwise they'd only be making a mistake (even if the mistake happened to be accidentally true anyway, so to speak). My own mystical experiences don't blot out or discount my logical understandings of the Trinity; often, even usually, they run concurrently -- not always, I'm only a creature, but the not-always doesn't mean the logical understanding is false, it's just a failure of my attention. That's a natural limitation, and there's nothing wrong with that. Typically my meditations on the logical coherencies and implications of the Trinity lead to a mystical experience; other people get there somewhat different ways, and that's fine -- so long as distinct truth isn't being thrown under the bus thereby. I'm glad Buddhists can have mystical experiences, too, but that doesn't mean Buddhism (of whatever variety and varieties) is just as true as trinitarian Christian theism. They probably (definitely?) take apophatic theology to its limit, though. ;)
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:41 pm

Negative mysticism (like apophatic theology) isn't inherently bad; it's useful for keeping positive mysticism (and kataphatic theology) from running rampant into the everything-is-true falsity.

But the ground of all reality is not a mere cloud of unknowing (though the privative aseity endemic to Christianity, and borrowed from classical theism and eastern mysticism alike, where God simply exists uncaused, thus not essentially active in self-existence, would tend to slope toward believing that). And so it doesn't make sense that the positive reality of the ground of existence is best and primarily experienced by a cloud of unknowing.

Which naturally the proponents of that method typically agree with: of course it doesn't make sense! It couldn't possibly make sense! Isn't that great? ;)
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:36 pm

JasonPratt wrote: If I or anyone else haven't communicated it clearly yet, it hasn't been communicated yet, that's all.


That might be a non-sequitur, Jason. It could be that 'it' cannot be communicated, and that's all. People of like belief can talk amongst themselves, of course, and share a common vocabulary and be jolly; however, that does not give truth-value to the propositions that are formed using that specialized vocabulary. You see that, yes? And though that group of like-minded individuals has the freedom to look down on, condescend to, and deny entrance to, anyone who might seem to be an unjollifier, (thank you, I'll be here all week :lol: ) it would certainly be ungracious. But it is human nature.

JasonPratt wrote:people who think the Trinity cannot even possibly make sense to anyone, are in no position to say that no one has ever done that: that's either their own sheerly ungrounded assertion, or they somehow understood enough of the Trinity to say that it makes sense that the trinitarian doctrine cannot make sense, which is self-refuting nonsense.


I don't know as I've ever said the concept of the Trinity did not make sense to anyone - my paragraph above shows that I think it is possible. But 'making sense to me' does not mean I am then in a position of judgment, condescension, and exclusivity. (I am not accusing you of that, JP, in fact I know your eyes are open and you strive for fairness.)

As to the "self-refuting nonsense" - your foe in that paragraph would be the individual who says that the concept "Trinity" : 1)cannot even possibly make sense to anyone and 2) cannot say that no one has ever understood it and 3) if that individual does say that it cannot make sense and never has, then 4) that individual is either spouting ungrounded assertion or 5) understood enough - to them at least - to say that the doctrine 'cannot make sense'.

I am not THAT foe. The doctrine CAN make sense - in the following way:

Here is a link to a short 4-min video on retrograde motion. Most of us know this - that, at certain times of the year, planets seem to stop moving against the background of the stars, then go backwards, then start forward again - i.e., retrograde motion. The vid explains it. The rather fascinating explanation, early on in science, was that of the epicycles. Again, the vid.
https://youtu.be/piBBQTkoQ9c

This is an example of 'saving the appearances' - I've mentioned this before. The epicycles did in fact MAKE SENSE of a very puzzling, almost contradictory state of affairs - the heavens were supposed to be perfect, perfect circles and everything!! So the epicycles, being their own little perfect circles, at least were circles, and made for an elegant and intellectually satisfying explanation.

So: I believe we are faced with a mystery, a state of affairs, and more than that, with Being Himself, that just blows concepts apart. The best we have been able to do to save most of the appearances - tying together in some manner "I and the Father are One" and also "There is one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ" - is to cobble together (sorry, but that is what it seems like to me) a coherent system of propositions that almost 'saves the appearances'.

I get it. It is a lovely theory that just cannot be explained. I could go much further - but we are not speaking in broadly Aristotelian terminology here - and I'm also agnostic about the efficacy of Aristotelian analysis in helping us either in affirmation or denial of the concept 'Trinity' anyway.

Myself - I just kinda refuse to be put into a category on this. I firmly believe the Apostle's creed as I understand it. And every so often I too get a taste of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, imparted by the Holy Spirit - and while the term "Trinity" does not enter my mind at those times, I am overcome nonetheless, forgetting all about classification and who is 'right'. I just want to be THERE. :D

I'm far from trying to write a simple desultory phillipic (S+G fans will get that) -My point comes down to this question: would it be morally or intellectually right to exclude or denounce a confessing Christian, or even in our hearts alone consider her as lesser in faith or knowledge -somehow not seeing 'OUR truth' - SIMPLY on the basis of not believing that the case for Trinitarianism has been made? Is THAT the basis of our fellowship, and the basis of our judging the level of knowledge of another believer?
"Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth". -Albert Einstein
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Eaglesway » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:33 pm

My problem with the Trinity is not that I can't plug into the paradigm and make sense of it within the pseudo-logical(imo) framework created for it. I just dont think it fits the whole context of the scriptures.

There is a difference between a cloud of unknowing and a different paradigm based on another way of putting the building blocks together- but the kids just keep throwing those blocks at each other and there is so much blood spilled LOLOLOL

Oddly enough, to me the Trinity is based on a huge cloud of unknowing, since it requires the acceptance of a sort of illogical(for those outside the cloud) statement of a supposed fact, for which a person is supposed to set aside their reason, and the normal meaning of words to accept a construct that might not make sense because it is not-sensible rather than because it is mystical......but I understand the perspective from which Trinitarians view the scriptures on it, and I have no problem with the Trinity as a viewpoint, as long as it isnt represented as a soteriological absolute.

Also, as far as discussing this, there is the common sense issue of leavng room for ones own potential error on a subject over which learned and devoted men of spirit have disagreed for at least 1700 years, and avoiding the error of hammering down dubious authority on verses that can be interpreted with some diversity and also prioritized differently.

As far as I am concerned all one must believe about Jesus as He relates to the Father, is that He is the only begotten Son, of the One True God, YHWH, born of a virgin, who lived a sinless life, died as a propitiation for sin, was raised on the third day, ascended above all heavens as Lord of the Universe, and that in order to be "in Him" we must follow Him- and He will raise us up.

I disagree with Trinarians about the co-equality of the Son( and maybe the co-eternity), I disagree with Unitarians about the pre-existence of the Son(He created all things and had glory with the Father, so He pre-existed), Modalists I disagree with just on principle because their attitude is so obnoxious (LOL jus kiddin), Are there still any Bi-nitarians? :lol:
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Cindy Skillman » Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:02 am

I agree, Eagles' Way. I don't think we ought to hit one another over the head with it. It goes both ways. I've been assaulted (not here) by non-Trinitarians angry that I can't accept their beliefs as my own. It is Jesus who saves us; not our correct beliefs. I have no problem with their ideas; I just don't subscribe to them; can't subscribe to them. But just because we feel a brother or sister is mistaken about a doctrine is no reason to treat them with anything less than love. If they're wrong (or if we're wrong), it's not because anyone WANTS to be wrong. We just have limited understanding in our present state. All names will sort themselves out in the end (to paraphrase Aslan). Love is the essential. If we don't have it now, we will have it before we're able to join the society of the family of God. Until then, we're not safe to be allowed to play with the other kids. ;)
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Eaglesway » Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:08 pm

Cindy Skillman wrote:I agree, Eagles' Way. I don't think we ought to hit one another over the head with it. It goes both ways. I've been assaulted (not here) by non-Trinitarians angry that I can't accept their beliefs as my own. It is Jesus who saves us; not our correct beliefs. I have no problem with their ideas; I just don't subscribe to them; can't subscribe to them. But just because we feel a brother or sister is mistaken about a doctrine is no reason to treat them with anything less than love. If they're wrong (or if we're wrong), it's not because anyone WANTS to be wrong. We just have limited understanding in our present state. All names will sort themselves out in the end (to paraphrase Aslan). Love is the essential. If we don't have it now, we will have it before we're able to join the society of the family of God. Until then, we're not safe to be allowed to play with the other kids. ;)


:) Well-said :)
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby alatecomer » Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:43 pm

This seemed like as good a place as any to insert this contribution of questionable worth. ;) As always, I'm simply responding to whatever happens to strike me at the moment, and simply trying to offer another perspective, which, though largely redundant, will perhaps nudge the discussion forward another inch, while including perhaps one or two thoughts not yet examined. You decide:

(BTW, it's going to sound like I've lost the thread of this conversation before I even begin. Trust me, I have a point to make, and it will lead me back around to "The Trinity," the subject at hand, eventually.) Blog rants from angry former Fundamentalists are a dime a dozen. I understand them...I'm often angry too...I bear some of the scars as well. But I often feel as if my ranting now comes from a different position: I no longer self-identify as an Evangelical (although I certainly can and do still learn and glean from those that do), and I no longer consider myself to be drawing principally from an Evangelical's primary categories of thought. So, for instance, I feel like I'm not being addressed very well, to say the least, when I read something like this article I found once upon a time: http://gordonatkinson.net/rlp-archive/i ... e-for-this. Granted, this particular rant was about a different topic - homosexuality - and I am not trying to dredge up that issue here - but the tenor of the author's words serves as an illustration of my larger point. He dismissively demands, "Show me what you got, Christian," and then proceeds to "debunk" a collection of Bible passages - IOW, to speak around, not to, someone like me. My response, should he even care to hear it, would be, "Well, I'm not trying to prove the rightness of a moral [or, in the current thread to which I'm replying, doctrinal] stance by the Bible, because I don't think the Bible is there for that purpose, and because unlike the average Evangelical, the Bible is not all I have to turn to, nor am I burdened with the necessity of making it 'agree with itself' in every detail. So 'what I've got' is not limited to a few scattered and (obviously) highly debatable excerpts of Scripture. Thanks be to God, I also have 2,000 years of ongoing Tradition within the Church: that is, the still evolving theological struggle of the whole Body of Christ, informed by the indwelling and ever-revealing Spirit of God." That now carries an authority for me that I couldn't have begun to imagine in my "evangelical" days. It runs hand-in-hand with the inward testimony or confirmation an individual must feel to see the truth of anything (what GMac called the "doctrine of the Spirit").

So it is with the Incarnation and the Holy Trinity. If it took centuries (millennia, really) to begin to see the truth of God as Trinity; if St. Paul barely saw it himself, or didn't see it at all; if the jewel of it is buried in Scripture only in the most recondite, esoteric, and undeveloped references; if God made use of human corruption, intrigue, and heavy-handed religious politics to fully bring it to the world's attention; if it could only be confirmed in this sinner's heart by an ecstasy over the beauty of the thought of perfect relationship within God himself...well, what of it? Does any of that make it any less beautiful, or any less true? For me, "Jesus of Nazareth" is not enough; the "cosmic Christ" who holds all things, including me, together, and can answer every need I have because he shares in the very essence of God - in a way I never will, nor ever want to - is infinitely satisfying. For me, inside the Circle of Father, Son, and Spirit is the only universe I care for.
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Cindy Skillman » Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:11 am

Beautiful, Latecomer. :D
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Eaglesway » Wed Jul 08, 2015 6:21 pm

if God made use of human corruption, intrigue, and heavy-handed religious politics to fully bring it to the world's attention; if it could only be confirmed in this sinner's heart by an ecstasy over the beauty of the thought of perfect relationship within God himself...well, what of it?


Sort of like He did in bringing Hell and eternal torment to the world?

(Said in the most humorous and non judgmental spirit possible :lol: )
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby Paidion » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:45 pm

Eaglesway wrote:Are there still any Bi-nitarians?


I once thought I was a Binitarian, since I believed that Jesus was divine, and did not believe that the Holy Spirit was a third divine Individual, but was the Persons of the Father and of the Son. However Binitarian thought considers God to be a Binity. In that way it is still subject to the same problems as the Trinity.

I find it so much simpler to believe as Jesus Himself did, in the "One True God." (John 17:3) and Jesus the Messiah whom He sent.

Or in one God—the Father, the Creator of all things, and in one Lord—Jesus the Messiah THROUGH whom God created all things. (1 Cor 8:6)
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Re: A challenging article re: Trinitarian thought.

Postby DaveB » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:56 pm

Count me in, Paidion.
"Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth". -Albert Einstein
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