1 Thess. 4:8 and the Doctrine of the Trinity


#1

“8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” 1 Thess. 4:8 (NASB)

The traditional doctrine of the Trinity is that the Holy Spirit is the third member in the Godhead. I understand why this is so and that there are passages which support this in Scripture, but I have a couple questions:

  1. In this above passage the Holy Spirit doesn’t seem to be the third member of the Godhead, but rather something that is possessed by God himself. So how do we make sense of this?

  2. Where is the Holy Spirit in the book of Revelation? I do understand that the Holy Spirit may be mentioned indirectly by the fact that there’s a Satanic trinity (the devil, the beast, and the false prophet) which seems to mean that there’s a Holy Trinity. But in Revelation it says things like “the throne of God and the Lamb,” etc. Why doesn’t it mention “the throne of God, the Lamb, and the Holy Spirit”?

Thoughts?


#2

For the Church’s perspective on the Holy Trinity see the paragraphs beginning with: scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s2c1p2.htm#232.

For references in the Catechism to the Holy Spirit, of which there are many, see here: ccc.scborromeo.org.master.com/texis/master/search/?sufs=0&q=holy+spirit&xsubmit=Search&s=SS.

Having cited all this, the thing to keep in mind is that the Church founded by Christ on the Apostles does not use the Bible as a proof-text for her doctrines/dogmas. Certainly the Scriptures are consulted, but the Bible is a witness to God’s dealings with man culminating in the Incarnation of the Word, Jesus Christ, not the sole rule of faith. Jesus founded his Church, not the NT. The NT consists of several writings written for the existing Church and her members. As I stated, it is not the sole rule in matters of faith and morals–the Magisterium (all the bishops of the Church in union with the Pope) has that authority. So, no one or two verses ever determine any doctrine/dogma. Rather, the nature of the Trinity was declared in an early Church council to combat heresy. The material from the Catechism cited above contains a wealth of information to help you in your researches.


#3

Hi!

…yeah, it is disconcerting…

…as much as Jesus’ Resurrection… He adamantly asserts that He gives His Life voluntarily because He has the Power to give it up and the Power to take it back (self-Resurrection)… then we have the various passages where we are taught that the God (the Father) Resurrected the Son… still we have the passages where we are taught that we will be resurrected by the one who, through the Holy Spirit, resurrected the Son… it is quite perplexing!

…I concur with you that it seems that there’s a missing Person in the Apocalypse… but the Revelation is made by Christ… He states that He must return to the Father so that He may send the other Paraclete…

…we have seen a tiny window into this in Jesus’s Baptism where the Son is Anointed by the Holy Spirit Who appears in the form of a Dove and the Father’s Voice is Heard from Heaven: ‘…this is My Beloved Son, to Him you must Listen!’

…we are also told by Christ that once He returns to the Father, the other Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, will come to the Church and He will Reveal to them the things that He has yet to tell them… and that He will remind them of Jesus’s Words as He will speak what Jesus tells/gives Him (here we see the Singularity and Union of God), because All that Belongs to the Father is His–so Bringing the Church to the Fullness of Truth is not the function of the Father or of the Son but that of the other Paraclete, the Holy Spirit.

…so we have a definite Unity of the three Persons of God; and we also have the three Persons of God relating to the Church (chosen people) as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: the Triune God in an indissoluble Union.

…so where’s the Holy Spirit?

…here’s what Jesus says:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

(St. John 4:24)

…so how can we separate the Spirit from the Spirit?

…our finite mind need direction (as a linear timeline, etc.); it is the reason why God’s Revelations are made analogous to our finite existence while being peppered with Divine consciousness…

…the Church had issues in the past with the understanding of the Holy Spirit… it was a cause for friction when the East would not accept the West’s rendering of the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son… yet, if we look at three tiny windows, in Apocalypse, we find that it is quite natural to see this relationship since Scriptures state that:

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of **[size=]him who holds the seven spirits of God **[/size]

and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, **which are the seven spirits of God **sent out into all the earth.

From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder.** In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God**.
(Apocalypse 3:1, 5:6, 4:5)
…God is Spirit and He can Reveal Himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit… He allows our finite understanding to Know Him in an analogous understanding… He allows the infinite to be Known, in measure, by the finite; yet, only at the Resurrection, when we are brought into the change, would we truly Know God as He Knows us:

12 We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known.

(1 Corinthians 13:12)

Merry Christmas!
Maran atha!

Angel
[/size][/FONT]


#4

I don’t follow. If God gave His only begotten Son, and Jesus is the second Person, then why would His Holy Spirit not be the third Person of the Trinity?

  1. Where is the Holy Spirit in the book of Revelation? I do understand that the Holy Spirit may be mentioned indirectly by the fact that there’s a Satanic trinity (the devil, the beast, and the false prophet) which seems to mean that there’s a Holy Trinity. But in Revelation it says things like “the throne of God and the Lamb,” etc. Why doesn’t it mention “the throne of God, the Lamb, and the Holy Spirit”?

The Holy Spirit is the river, “flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” in Rev 22:1.


#5

I am unable to shed light on your question, but I would point out that there was a group of believers who considered themselves Christians and did not believe in the third Person of the Trinity. They called themselves Binatarians instead of Trinitarians. I do not think they exist anywhere in the world today, but who knows?


#6

Hi!

…their theology lives on with the JWs and others… just as Arianism.

[FONT=“Palatino Linotype”][size=]Merry Christmas!
Maran atha!

Angel
[/size][/FONT]


#7

The Holy Spirit anointed onto Jesus at
His baptism and enabled Him to preach,
teach and heal was given up at the moment
Christ died: “Father, into Your hands I
commit My Spirit”, and was poured out
on the Church at that first Pentecost, now
He indwells every baptized believer. See
Acts 2:38.


#8

Because God “giving his only begotten Son” is a reference to Christ being manifested in the flesh. The Holy Spirit never took fleshly form; he’s supposed to be a distinct third member of the Godhead. When it says that God gave “his Holy Spirit” it makes it sound as though the Holy Spirit isn’t a third distinct member of the Godhead, but is rather the spiritual essence of God.

Is there a Biblical passage that supports this? If you’re referring to this passage:

“38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From *his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Jn. 7:38-39 (NASB)

…then I think it’s a stretch.*


#9

#10

Here are a few more interesting passages:

“Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” Ps. 51:11 (NASB)

“But they rebelled
And grieved His Holy Spirit;
Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy,
He fought against them.
11 Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses.
Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the [g]shepherds of His flock?
Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of [h]them,” Isa. 63:10-11 (NASB)

“3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking [a]by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is **accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except [c]by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Cor. 12:3 (NASB)

“30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, [w]by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Eph. 4:30 (NASB)**


#11

Hi!

…glanced through it; noticed a few typos; found it interesting (though I do not read in-depth, not even Catholic sources).

[FONT=“Palatino Linotype”][size=]Merry Christmas!
Maran atha!

Angel [/size][/FONT]


#12

Christ is also called the power of God and the wisdom of God but that doesn’t mean He is not the Second Person. Just because the Holy Spirit is called His Holy Spirit does not mean that He is not the Third Person. Besides the Holy Spirit took other forms like a dove and tongues of fire.

Is there a Biblical passage that supports this?

There might be, don’t know off hand, I took that interpretation from St. Bonaventure. He identified the Holy Spirit as the river in that verse.


#13

Hi, Chesster!

…I think it goes to Jesus giving the Believers the Water of Life and the visual found in the book of the Apocalypse:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]37 And on the last, and great day of the festivity, Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. 38 He that believeth in me, as the scripture saith, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 Now this he said of the Spirit which they should receive, who believed in him: for as yet the Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

(St. John 7:37-39)

1 And he shewed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Apocalypse 22:1)

Merry Christmas!
Maran atha!

Angel
[/size][/FONT]


#14

Right, I understand, but when it says “his Holy Spirit” it sounds as though the Holy Spirit is something that God possesses, not the pre-existent third member of the Trinity.

Also, another point: it seems to me that we are never commanded to worship the Holy Spirit in Scripture, and I do not believe that there is ever worship of the Holy Spirit in Scripture (please correct me if I’m wrong). I think that the Holy Spirit is clearly the most “hidden” member of the Trinity.


#15

This is one of the dilemmas that relying solely on Scripture presents, isn’t it? It begs the question: Is the Bible the final authority on matters of faith and morals? The Catholic Church’s response is that it isn’t. Rather, it is one part of Sacred Tradition which includes the patriarchs and prophets of the OT, as well as the oral and written teachings of the Apostles and their successors. Without a proper understanding of where the Scriptures fit into God’s revelation to man, we cannot resolve the kind of question you raised in this thread. It would be a matter for every man to determine instead of a matter for Christ’s Church to resolve, as the Church did on other important issues raised in the First Council of Jerusalem cited in Acts 15. And as the Church did in other councils held down through the centuries. :slight_smile:


#16

Interesting. As far as I am aware, the church did not decide this issue until the Council of Constantinople in 381.


#17

Such issues aren’t decided until it becomes necessary, as in the First Council of Jerusalem after a large number of Gentiles had converted. The year in which any doctrine is declared has no relation to when the Church believed it to be true.


#18

I see. So when did the church believe it to be true?


#19

Since Jesus himself revealed the Holy Spirit to us at his baptism (remember he was present as the Son, the Holy Spirit descended upon him as a Dove, and the Father spoke from heaven) the Church has always believed in the Trinity. It was only the nature of the Trinity that some brought into question, not if the Trinity existed.


#20

It says “His Holy Spirit” not because He is an attribute of God but because the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. The Father is said to be the principle of both the Son and the Holy Spirit, thus because the Holy Spirit receives His substance from the Father He is called “His Holy Spirit”.

Also, another point: it seems to me that we are never commanded to worship the Holy Spirit in Scripture, and I do not believe that there is ever worship of the Holy Spirit in Scripture (please correct me if I’m wrong). I think that the Holy Spirit is clearly the most “hidden” member of the Trinity.

There isn’t a command that explicitly states to worship the Holy Spirit but I don’t think that should bother you.


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