Difficulties with the Trinity Doctrine.

In the past I have accepted the Trinity Doctrine on faith, but the more I read the Bible, the more I am having trouble accepting this belief. This is a problem for me because it is one of the most important doctrines to Catholicism. I have also been reading about other views of the trinity and Jesus lately (Pentecostal Oneness, the views of JWs, Christian Science, and Unitarians on Jesus). None of these doctrines make sense to me, but it does not make the trinity doctrine any easier.

My issues (some with related verses):

  1. There is only one god. The father is God. Jesus is the Son, not the father. If the father is God how can two other persons (Jesus and the Holy Spirit) also be God? (1 Cor 8:6, Eph 4:6)

  2. Jesus prays to God. I know this is a common argument, but I have never heard a good refutation for it.

  3. Jesus is the Mediator between man and God. (1 Tim 2:5). A mediator by definition is a third party.

  4. Jesus is not equal to the father. (John 8:54 and 14:28). If the father and son are both God, how can they not be equal?

  5. (Related to 4) The father has greater knowledge than Jesus does. (Mark 13.32). If they are both God, why do they not have equal knowledge?

  6. (Related to 4 and 5) Jesus was not on his own mission, but the mission of the father. He came to do his father’s will, not his own. (John 7:16 and John 14:10). He is obedient to the father, but he is following a plan that was not of his design.

  7. Prior to the resurrection, the disciples did not seem to think of Jesus as God. After the resurrection, they seemed to have an even higher opinion of Jesus than before, but I am still not sure that they ever believed that he was God.

Acts 3:13-15 states that God, not Jesus himself, raised Jesus from the dead.

1 John 4:12 states that no one has seen God. If Jesus is God, how is this possible?

I know there are a lot of issues here. If anyone can address any or all of them, it would be greatly appreciated. This is a troubling issue for me. I am looking for help, not an argument.

Thanks,
JK

I always go to John 1:1 >> In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God.

Now if God the Father spoke and the Son of God made it happen that makes two that are one…

If I could say “Let there be light” and just my words make light isn’t that one, yet two.

It is said that the “Holy Spirit” proceeds from the Father and the Son… It is also said that the “Holy Spirit” is the Love between the two… The “Holy Spirit” is the comforter… Doesn’t Love comfort? And where does Love come from?

Three, yet one >> It’s still a mystery.

Lord, I believe: Help my unbelief.

This isn’t much of an answer, but the truth is that having faith in things we can not see, touch or understand is really what most of us struggle with a lot. When I run into something that disturbs me, like the issues you are talking about, I remind myself that these are questions about faith and I will never have that absolute certain answer until I have my opportunity to meet wih God.

In regard to the confusing statements of/about Jesus in the NT, remember that Jesus took on a complete human nature so that when he was on Earth he spoke as obeying the Father, praying to the Father, etc.and even now in his heavenly human nature can be our mediator.
The apostles were pretty much as clueless as everyone else until Christ rose. I find this encouraging, personally.
Also, as was explained to me, God IS love and love has to express itself. God is all sufficient to himself and so this love is expressed within himself, being the lover, the loved, and the love between.

This is purely a revelation about God. He tells us what we need to know, but not all about how it can be. We are curious and intelligent and want to put our minds to the explanation, but just as Genesis is not a full scientific explanation of the universe the telling in the Bible of the Trinity may not be enough to satisfy a scientific view point because it is meant to be taken on faith. Just because God tells us so and few if any could really understand it even dimly though earthly analogies that would likely diminish the full understanding only really available to the three persons of the Divinity.

I know a lot of people have trouble understanding the trinity. I have not found anyone who can explain it, but I have been given a very good explanation as to why we can’t understand it! God is so big and our brains are nowhere near His, so things that are easy to God are not easy for us. If we were to try and understand God and how and why He works and is then our brains would explode from the pressure. The reason why we need God is that He is so powerful and so mighty that we need His help. The things we don’t understand about Him make us closer to Him as we realise how little we know and can do without Him. I believe that when Jesus said to Thomas “You believe because you have seen. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet still believe” it can also mean that when we don’t understand we can still have the faith that it is true! I know that this does not answer your question, but I do hope that it gives you peace.:shrug:*

It is blasphemy to pretend to know Christ and present another ‘man’ or demigod in His place. There is only one nature in the Person of Christ, it cannot be divided on will. At this time we see God, on another time we see man - He is BOTH in a perfect unity, not conjoined. Where the Scripture state that he must be a mortal man are those vary verses you’ve stated above and Luke 1 and John 1. He is the incarnate word of God. This is a hypostatic union of God and man. Not just the flesh born over the God like cloths are born over the human body, rather both natures so joined as to be indistinguishable. The incarnation was that hypostatic union with both the Holy Spirit and Mary cohabitating in a spiritual union.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Catholicism holds to " one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus". The honor due Mary doesn’t conflict with this verse. What does conflict however, is to fail to recognize Mary’s role in Christ’s life. In so doing we ‘gloss’ or “pave” over His one nature as God/man. Consequently we fail to view the true, real, Christ in Scripture - in short not to understand and honor who Mary is clouds our view of reality.
The error itself lies in the relativistic philosophy of the schismatic reforming God into his own image.

I keep this in my files, as it is no longer available on line. (from Catholic Legate) It is the best explanation of the Trinity I have yet seen:

In seeking to understand the traditional family, Christians should keep in mind that not only are individual persons created in the image of God, but so is the family itself. The human family is the closest analogy that mankind will ever come to concretely understanding the Blessed Trinity.

The creeds teach that while there is one God, He exists in three distinct persons. The bible, on the other hand, reveals that man is made in the ‘image of God’. From these two truths, therefore, we can acknowledge that the complete image of God is found in the Triune understanding of Him.

This understanding of His Triune nature is reflected by the human family whose personal relationships approach the likeness of the Trinity.
There are multiple demonstrations of this truth.

Consider the unity of the Trinity which is reflected in the unity of the family. Or the “family of persons” which is found in both. The persons of the Trinity share the 'same substance ’ while a human family becomes one flesh: wife with husband and parents with children.

There is also another element in the Trinity that lends itself to human likeness. The Nicene Creed professes this about the Trinity: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life who proceeds from the Father and the Son.”

In Catholic theology, the Holy Spirit is said to proceed from the will of both the Father and the Son, or in other words, through the activity which they engage in, otherwise known as “love”.

The Holy Spirit is poured forth through the exchange of love between the Father and the Son. This is why perhaps Jesus says to the Apostles: " Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (John 16:7)

In the eternal economy of the Trinity, therefore, a person ‘proceeds’ from the love between two other persons. And so, the Holy Spirit is love ‘proceeding’ or ‘coming from’ the first two persons of the Blessed Trinity.

The human family has a rather striking parallel to this dynamic. The ultimate act of intimacy in a marriage mirrors the eternal exchange of love between the first two persons of the Trinity.

And like the eternal or continual procession of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, the act of love between a man and a woman causes a ‘procession’ of another human person (i.e. the birth of a child).

Thus, it is precisely because the homosexual sex act is not ordered to the procession of another person, that it can never be a Trinitarian reflection of the divine essence.

Indeed, the sexual act itself, which is supposed to be a reflection of the Trinitarian relationship, becomes, through the homosexual act, a blasphemy against God since it ends up distorting the Trinitarian image of Him.

The human sexual act either affirms God’s image or it distorts it. This is why all forms of contraceptive sex, including the homosexual act, are serious sins: they seek to create God in another image. It is anti-Trinitarian.

This is a query that has come up since time immemorial in the Church and the lives of Christians and non-Christians alike. The notorious case with Arius and Arianism comes to mind. You have been struggling with this, as have many, myself included, and I’m sure you have heard the story of the heresy that I refer to. And no, you’re not a heretic for having doubts, no. It is ok to have doubts and questions; they will eventually make your faith stronger.
There is a problem when we try to impose a natural and human criteria to things spirtual and sacred mysteries. Sometimes, and always, it will confuse us due to the obvious conflict that will arise. It will be good if we read parts of the book, “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic” by David B. Currie:
“Not until Rationalism (and its first born child scepticism) had started to transform the thinking of Europe would any movement call into question…” “With Rationalism, something that could not be unterstood through reason was rejected. It has been said that mystery is an embarrassment to the modern mind.” “Protestantism is at its very core a child of Rationalism” The Church Fathers understood that some things are impossible to understand rationally but that they are nonethless true. It is a mystery. “That the impossible is no problem for God can be seen … when he fed the five thoudand. Modern sceptics, who are more consistent than Evangelicals, reject that miracle, as well.” “On a practical level the Evangelical has reduced the soul of man to little more than his intellect.”
Bill Loader says about the Trinity: Yet it is an attempt to hold together some essential ideas which don’t fit together well and yet which seem to belong. On the one side, all our talk about God in Jesus must never lead to the idea that there is more than one God. On the other side, Jesus cannot be described just simply as God; otherwise he is hardly a human being. The third figure, the Spirit, is also sometimes spoken of separately: for example, God sent the Spirit. The one we meet in all is the one God, yet the language allows for three figures to be spoken of.

In many ways the problem seems easier to solve with the Spirit which is perhaps best taken as just another way of speaking of God in a particular mode of relating. The word, Spirit (old English used ‘Ghost’), goes back to Greek and Hebrew words which mean spirit, breath and wind. Spirit can be a more intimate way of speaking of God, like God’s breath. Traditionally it is also a way of describing God’s creative power bringing about new possibilities and realising future hopes and visions.

With Jesus things are considerably more complicated. Is he a combination of a human being and something else, namely, God? Did he have two personalities? I find most of this rather meaningless speculation. Perhaps we shall never be able to offer an adequate explanation. I prefer to understand Jesus’ relationship to God, exemplified by his praying to God, primarily as one of total human devotion and to avoid theories which demand some kind of shared combination of beings in the human Jesus. It was precisely because he was such an in-touch human being that God shone through his life so brightly.

Yet in general people make no difference between Jesus and God when they think about the present living Jesus. One person prays to Jesus, another to God, the Father. Really both are praying to God. This has made it easier for people to say simply, Jesus is God. To be in touch with Jesus is to be in touch with God. Thinking of Jesus in history leads us to stress his humanity, while thinking of Jesus in the present leads to a stronger emphasis on his divinity. The creeds of the church seek to hold onto both aspects.

Some people get excited by abstract models of God as a single community of beings, but I must say I find this too abstruse. I’m happier with what some of the traditional structures are meant to affirm than I am with what people think they affirm when they work with them in a more literal way. A lot of the problems which have arisen in such speculative discussions have come about because of the popularity of one particular model of thought about Jesus in the time leading up to when the creeds were written, especially from the second century of Christianity onwards." wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/DKJesus.htm

Might I suggest going back to the Catechism of the Catholic Church first, then to the Scriptures; for what it is worth this always helps me put my faith and thoughts into perspective again.

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p2.htm

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c3a8.htm

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s1c2a3.htm

These are but a few scriptural references;
I apologize if some of these have been stated already by others.

John 1:1-5
John 10:30
Matthew 1:18
Matthew 3:11
Matthew 28:18-19
Mark 1:8
Mark 12:29
Deuteronomy 6:4
1 Corinthians 2
1 Timothy 3:16

God Bless you!

scripturecatholic(dot)com. That should help you.

I think the Trinity indicates that God is three Persons in one Essence (His nature, His Godhead); and that “Essence” touches on the intrinsic properties of God; and that “Person” touches on the distinct individuality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And although “Essence” and “Person” may be shared characteristics, they are neither synonymous nor identical.

Since by definition God is omniscient, for example, and since each Person in the Godhead (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) experiences a specific task unique unto each other, it follows that each Person in the Godhead knows all things not only as a unit but also as an individual. For it’s only through the Father that the Son was sent to seek and to save those who were lost; and it’s only through the life, death, and resurrection of the Son that the sins of the lost are forgiven; and it’s only through the Holy Spirit that the promised “comforter” is sent (John 14:24), that the non-believers are lead to God, and that the believers are helped to live the Christian life.

In other words, each Person in the Godhead shares the same objective knowledge of every action that occurs; but each Person in the Godhead also has a uniquely subjective knowledge of every action.

The Holy Trinity is best described like an atom. There is a proton, neutron, and an electron together they are one. These things make one atom, if you do not have the proton for example you do not have an atom. These three parts are distinct but are one when we take in the whole being of the atom.

disclaimer:
Please do not look too deeply into the analogy as it can break down when over scrutinized.

Can the greatest commandments possibly describe how Christ is one with the Father? When Jesus spent his time on Earth he would have lived by these commandments,

Jesus loves God the Father with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.
Jesus loves each and every one of us as he loves himself.

Does God the Father respond to this love?

God the Father loves God the Son, with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.
God the Father loves each and everyone of us as he loves himself.

Can God the Father or Son love us more than they love themselves.

Can the spirit be the power of God’s love working through the greatest commandments?

This passage links the spirit and the greatest commandments…
1 Samuel 18 ( New International Bible )

**** 1 Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself****

Can the trinity possibly hang and depend on the greatest commandments?

Blessings

Eric

By any human logic the trinity doctrine is a paradox. I know it can’t be explained, especially by dubious analogies. My problem is not the paradox because I know that not everything can be explained logically. My issue is that the bible seems to contradict the trinity doctrine.

There are only two verses in the entire bible that I believe really support the trinity while there are dozens more in addition to the ones I listed that seem to contradict it. There are also plenty of arguments that the versus, such as John 1:1, that support the trinity could be mistranslated.

The ratio of verses for or against really doesn’t matter. As long as there are verses that contradict the trinity, it is hard to take the ones that support it seriously.

JK8619;6.
Jesus was not on his own mission, but the mission of the father. He came to do his father’s will, not his own. (John 7:16 and John 14:10). He is obedient to the father, but he is following a plan that was not of his design.

Firstly there is the will of the Father and this comes above all else, but did Jesus have the choice to say no?

But this leads to further questions;

Did God have a complete plan for the creation of everything, did he think ahead? Were Christ’s life, death and resurrection planned before the creation of the universe began?
To search for a deeper meaning, was Christ freely given the choice to accept his sacrifice before the creation of the universe began?
What purpose can be so great, that it would compel God to create the universe and life, knowing in advance the suffering involved and that his son would die?

Would it be to forgive the sins of mankind, or can there be some greater purpose?

Blessings

Eric

There is no such thing as human logic. Logic is logic. If the trinity doctrine is a logical paradox, then the trinity doctrine is false. it’s really as simple as that.
And of course everything can be explained logically. What’s the point of discussing anything if that isn’t true?

What is considered logical by humans is not always correct. By logic using logic, the world was believed to be flat. Logic can only explain things when one has the necessary mental capacity and the vital evidence to explain whatever the mystery is. Currently, we can not explain the origin of the universe or the origin of everything. Logic may never solve these mysteries.

That is why they call Christianity a religion of faith. We know it is true because it has been revealed by God and handed on to us by Tradition and the Church. The Creed begins with " I believe in God the Father Almighty, the creator of heaven and earty, and in Jesus Christ his only Son…I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church…" You cannot understand all the facts of revealation. The way the Church explains it is that the nature of God is the " Godhead " ( I call this the soul of God, just as an idea to help visualize things but it is not true at all). In the Godhead there are three persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Sort of like a family. In the family we have Mom, Dad, and a kid ( at least one). Again God spoke to Moses ( " …tell them ’ I am ’ sends you). Later God speaks to various prophets. Then Christ comes and tells us he is sent by the Father. And the Father confirms that Christ is his Son by speaking several times in the new testament. Then at the Baptism of Jesus we have the Father speaking, Christ being baptized, and the Holy Spirit appearing over Jesus. The Holy Spirit appears again to the Apostles after the Ascension of Jesus. And Jesus told us he would send the Advocate to us. You can’t understand these things, you just have to accept them. Are you reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Here it is, read it.

vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

:tiphat:

  1. why study other (false) thoughts on a subject you are not quite comfortable in knowing what the Catholic teaching is? that just adds confusion. then it will be hard to remember what is what.

  2. look towards Saint Patrick.

As it is explained, there are 3 Persons in one divine Being. “Persons” is not used to describe individuals but (as a loose description) parts. I am still trying to understand this portion, but complete understanding would not make this a mystery.

These three Persons are in one Being, therefore will act as one though possible to being acknowledged or identified ‘individually’.

best example is the 3 leaf clover. the clover itself is one leaf, however there are three distinct parts to the clover.

this is an analogy that best fits.

  1. If you are considering Bible passages, then you should consider multiple passages.
    here are some resources from this very web site:

catholic.com/quickquestions/was-the-trinity-ever-contemplated-expected-imagined-prophesied-or-talked-about-befo-0

catholic.com/tracts/the-trinity

[quote=Woolybabe]I know a lot of people have trouble understanding the trinity. I have not found anyone who can explain it, but I have been given a very good explanation as to why we can’t understand it! God is so big and our brains are nowhere near His, so things that are easy to God are not easy for us. If we were to try and understand God and how and why He works and is then our brains would explode from the pressure. The reason why we need God is that He is so powerful and so mighty that we need His help. The things we don’t understand about Him make us closer to Him as we realise how little we know and can do without Him. I believe that when Jesus said to Thomas “You believe because you have seen. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet still believe” it can also mean that when we don’t understand we can still have the faith that it is true! I know that this does not answer your question, but I do hope that it gives you peace.
[/quote]

Above is an explanation by Saint Patrick.

on another note, I agree that most humans may never fully understand the Lord and His mysteries for absolute knowledge would not result in Faith. as you have stated. as well as our limit in logic

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