How many Gods will you see in heaven?


#1

Hello,

I’m not trying to be argumentative with this question. This question was posed to me by someone who disagrees with using the term “Trinity” and rather prefers the term “Godhead.” They also want to make a distinction between the “Catholic Trinity” and the “Christian Trinity”.

They proposed to me that
"The difference between Catholic and Christian “trinity” is in this question:
How many Gods will you see when you get to heaven? In Catholicism, they have
an old man depicted as the “Father”, and they believe they will see “two or
three” (if the bird is present). They also claim that the “trinity” is “a
mystery no man can understand”. "

I actually think I’m ready to answer this question from a Biblical
stand point, but I’ve got reservations about answering it
without putting some more thought and getting advice on it.


#2

I think I adequately answered the “mystery or not” question, but if I were to answer the “how many Gods” question, it would follow these points:

One God

3 Distinct Persons

Jesus is in heaven, in His resurrected body, at the right hand of the throne of God (I’d use, for example, Colossians 3:1)

I’d say that seeing God (I better not use the term “Beatific Vision”) is part of it. I’d back that up with Revelation 5:1-7 and 7:9-17.

As for the Holy Spirit. That’s what I’d need help with. Actually, I’d take advice on the whole question. But mainly help with the Holy Spirit.

By the way, have any of yall ever thought about this? Surely some of you have, but I think it’s new for me, at least this focused.


#3

Reformed Bob,

You wrote, "They also want to make a distinction between the “Catholic Trinity” and the “Christian Trinity”. Oh me Oh my, so Catholics are not Christians, huh? With mistakes like this your “friend” will probably have other mistakes. Doesn’t he know that the center core belief of the Catholic Church is a belief in Jesus Christ. Catholics ARE Christians!

Not one of us knows what we will SEE in heaven. I understand that “he” is thinking there is God the Father, His Only Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Who knows, I’ll be so happy if I get to heaven that I probably won’t be able to see straight, ha ha.

God is a spirit. FOr us humans to imagine that God LOOKS like an old man is to be anthropomorphic. To give human traits to inantimate things such as a spirit. We do that. But it is probably wrong…don’t you think?:whacky:


#4

[quote=Reformed Rob]Hello,

I’m not trying to be argumentative with this question. This question was posed to me by someone who disagrees with using the term “Trinity” and rather prefers the term “Godhead.” They also want to make a distinction between the “Catholic Trinity” and the “Christian Trinity”.

They proposed to me that
"The difference between Catholic and Christian “trinity” is in this question:
How many Gods will you see when you get to heaven? In Catholicism, they have
an old man depicted as the “Father”, and they believe they will see “two or
three” (if the bird is present). They also claim that the “trinity” is “a
mystery no man can understand”. "

I actually think I’m ready to answer this question from a Biblical
stand point, but I’ve got reservations about answering it
without putting some more thought and getting advice on it.
[/quote]

Hmmmm…Interesting, it sounds like the proposer of this question might have some hang ups about the Catholic Church. I note from your name you are called Reformed Rob so I assume you are not Catholic.

I guess first of all, I am pretty sure that the ‘Catholic Trinity’ is the same as the ‘Protestant Trinity’.

Your answer about One God 3 Persons is so doctrinally correct that really what else can I say. St. Patrick used the the Shamrock to explain the Trinity to the people of Ireland and it seems to have worked because Ireland is pretty Catholic.

Anyway, I’ll go away now and contemplate what we will see when we get to heaven. I can say one thing for sure, I don’t think the Catholic Church teaches too much with regard to what we will actually see when we are in heaven. So as far as your friend thinking that the catholic thinks they will see an old man, Jesus and a dove, that is ridiculous and has never been taught by the Church.

God Bless,
RS


#5

[quote=Reformed Rob]Hello,

I’m not trying to be argumentative with this question. This question was posed to me by someone who disagrees with using the term “Trinity” and rather prefers the term “Godhead.” They also want to make a distinction between the “Catholic Trinity” and the “Christian Trinity”.

They proposed to me that
"The difference between Catholic and Christian “trinity” is in this question:
How many Gods will you see when you get to heaven? In Catholicism, they have
an old man depicted as the “Father”, and they believe they will see “two or
three” (if the bird is present). They also claim that the “trinity” is “a
mystery no man can understand”. "

I actually think I’m ready to answer this question from a Biblical
stand point, but I’ve got reservations about answering it
without putting some more thought and getting advice on it.
[/quote]

One God, three persons does sum it up. I think that a person who would put forth such an argument is lacking in all sort of areas intellectually, and clearly has Catholics and Mormons confused. Catholicism is not anthropomorphic, so we do not literally believe God the Father is an old man and the Holy Spirit is a dove. God is pure spirit, therefore he has no parts and is not composed of matter. Jesus, through the incarnation is both human and divine and therefore he does have a glorified body.

And, who says we’ll have eyeballs in heaven anyway???

I believe the proper way to explain it would be that we will know God directly, through our intellect and will, but then you’d have to use the term Beatific Vision.


#6

There are some truths and falsehoods in the opening statement.
Yes, we will see Jesus, since He is the permanent physical manifestation of God. But God is spirit Jn 4:24 so ‘seeing’ the Father may not refer to seeing with our eyes. And the Holy Spirit dwells in us 1Cor 6:19, so we may not necessarily ‘see’ the Spirit either, although He resides in us. The Spirit was in the form of a dove, but there are a number of other synonyms for the Spirit in both the Old and New testament…water being another Jer 17:13 and Jn 7.

The trinity is the same whether catholic or protestant, so there shouldn’t be any argument there. The catholic church or protestant church for that matter does not describe the Father as some old man. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father.

And yes, the trinity is a mystery. But it is able to be comprehended to an extent. Whenever we are confronted with the finite (us) trying to understand the infinate (God) there will always be things we don’t know, and the trinity is just one. Hope this helps…


#7

Rev 21:21 says, “And he shewed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

I think “the river of water of life” in John’s vision refers to the Holy Spirit.


#8

[quote=Todd Easton]Rev 21:21 says, “And he shewed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

I think “the river of water of life” in John’s vision refers to the Holy Spirit.

[/quote]

Hey, that’s great! Not that I just believe it just right away, but thanks for contributing that little bit!


#9

No one knows what Heaven will be like. We’ll “see” only one God since there is only one God (or “Godhead” if you prefer.) I think we’ll be aware of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as separate Persons, and of course will see the Son in his bodily manifestation as Jesus Christ.

Some philosophers say that in the Beatific Vision, knowing God directly means that instead of knowing God through an idea of Him (which is how our human mind works), God Himself will be apprehended directly by our soul, in direct contact with Him, so to speak.

But other than what has been revealed, it is useless to speculate on things that we can only know by first getting to Heaven!


#10

[quote=Reformed Rob]Hey, that’s great! Not that I just believe it just right away, but thanks for contributing that little bit!
[/quote]

My identification of John’s phrase “the river of the water of life” in Rev 22:1 with the Holy Spirit comes from its similarity to John’s phrase “rivers of living water” in John 7:38 which he said referred to “the Spirit which those who believe in him [Jesus] will receive” (John 7:39). And it comes from the fact that the river is “flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb,” which is similar to the statement in the Creed, "I believe in the Holy Spirit…who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Otherwise, John’s vision of the New Creation seems to lack the presence of the Holy Spirit.


#11

Until the resurrection of our bodies at the end of time, we won’t “see” anything because spirits don’t have eyes. Our spirits will experience God’s presence.


#12

John seems to see both the Father and the Lamb on the Throne in Heaven in Revelation. Yes I realize that God the Father does not have a body, but is it possible that He will manifest Himself in some form we can behold? I’m just speculating…

As for imaging the Father as an ‘old man’ with white hair, this is right of Daniel’s vision in the OT (again I realize God the Father does not have a body, but this image of Him is appropriate as it is Scriptural) in Daniel 7:9.

God bless,
In Christ,
Tyler


#13

[quote=twf]John seems to see both the Father and the Lamb on the Throne in Heaven in Revelation. Yes I realize that God the Father does not have a body, but is it possible that He will manifest Himself in some form we can behold? I’m just speculating…

As for imaging the Father as an ‘old man’ with white hair, this is right of Daniel’s vision in the OT (again I realize God the Father does not have a body, but this image of Him is appropriate as it is Scriptural) in Daniel 7:9.

God bless,
In Christ,
Tyler
[/quote]

Thanks there Tyler and all. I will likely use bits and pieces of most everything here in my response. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.


#14

Reformed:

It sounds to me like your friend is a Modalist (or a “Oneness Pentecostal”). Modalists believe that the terms “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit” are simply three different designations for a single Divine Person.

Orthodox Christianity, however, teaches that God has one nature, which subsists in three Persons.


#15

[quote=DominvsVobiscvm]Reformed:

It sounds to me like your friend is a Modalist (or a “Oneness Pentecostal”). Modalists believe that the terms “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit” are simply three different designations for a single Divine Person.

Orthodox Christianity, however, teaches that God has one nature, which subsists in three Persons.
[/quote]

I’ll be sure to address that as an error in my response. If that indeed is what she is, it should come out eventually. I don’t know where they go to church.

I know they are against much defining of the dogma, however, they seem to affirm that the Trinity can be understood, so in order to be understood, wouldn’t it be ok to define it? Hmmm.

Rob


#16

No one will see the Father in His essence. He is completely incomprehensible to our senses and will remain so even on our divinification.


#17

Finally!!! I’ve completed the response to the person who asked me this question.

I found the following websites particularly helpful regarding “seeing” God the Father in Heaven:

emmerich1.com/HEAVEN_PURGATORY_HELL.htm

biblebb.com/files/MAC/sg90-17.htm

newadvent.org/cathen/07170a.htm#III

The first one has some stuff from Aquinas. The second one is by John MacArthur and is a pretty good short read. The third one is the longest, and addresses many things, including some things the Catholic Church rejects. Apparently, there’s enough teaching on this by the Church through history to give a person information on what he should believe and not believe regarding the topic. Imagine that!!

If anyone wants it, I’d be glad to send it to you via e-mail. I’m not saying it’s particularly good, but I did spend some time on it, and there’s bits of your advice to me from this thread in it.


#18

[quote=Reformed Rob]I know they are against much defining of the dogma, however, they seem to affirm that the Trinity can be understood, so in order to be understood, wouldn’t it be ok to define it?
[/quote]

Reminds me of the Southern Baptist statement on faith. It begins with with a preamble about freedom of belief, and that confessions (read: creeds) are not authorative or binding on conscience.

Then it talks about how the Bible is the inspired word of God, and that there is a God.

But none of the statement is supposed to be binding on conscience.

Therefore, Southern Baptists can believe there is no God, or that Scripture is not inspired?

Protestantism didn’t use to be afraid of creeds. In fairness, not all Protestants today are, but even still…

– Mark L. Chance.


#19

‘And, who says we’ll have eyeballs in heaven anyway???’

the writers of the new testament do.

but, this depends on what you mean by ‘heaven’. we call the sky ‘heaven’, and the place of God’s presence used to be referred to as ‘the third heaven’, after the sky, and the cosmos.

even if you mean ‘the afterlife’, the book of revelation makes it clear that we who die now will go to a ‘holding place’, and afterwards be judged, and then go to reward (which it says is a new heaven, and a new earth), or punishment - the lake of fire. so does your friend mean ‘hades’ or ‘abraham’s bosom’, which will be emptied at judgment day, or does he mean our final destination, reward/punishment?

if he means our final resting place (i mean resting like a plane that lands, not like sleeping), then revelation says that we won’t need a light, because He will be our light (see my sig line). the writers of ezekiel, daniel, isaiah, and revelation talk of seeing God on His throne, and of a Lamb. the Spirit of God is often represented (in these prophecies) by other things, like eyes or wheels within wheels.

i think that the question itself misunderstands what heaven means. by this, i mean that when i was a child, i loved my toys. i might, being a child, ask my parents if i could keep my teddy bear and play with him for the rest of my life. the question itself, you see, is skewed. i didn’t understand that one day i wouldn’t WANT to play with teddy anymore.

i think many of our questions about heaven are skewed like this. we don’t know what to ASK, let alone what the answers mean, because we can’t comprehend what it will be like. stories and images and metaphors are all our minds can receive when we talk about heaven.

so you see, it’s not a simple question, or answer.
so you see, there is not a simple answer. even the word ‘heaven’ has many meanings. alot of people try to simplify God, or heaven, or life itself, into a manageable and understandable model. we do this because, among other reasons, the unknown scares us. it’s understandable. but we have to realize, and remind ourselves, that life is more complex than any model, and heaven more complex than this life, and God the most complex of all.

He is good. but He is not a tame Lion.


#20

[quote=Reformed Rob]Hello,

I’m not trying to be argumentative with this question. This question was posed to me by someone who disagrees with using the term “Trinity” and rather prefers the term “Godhead.” They also want to make a distinction between the “Catholic Trinity” and the “Christian Trinity”.

They proposed to me that
"The difference between Catholic and Christian “trinity” is in this question:
How many Gods will you see when you get to heaven? In Catholicism, they have
an old man depicted as the “Father”, and they believe they will see “two or
three” (if the bird is present). They also claim that the “trinity” is “a
mystery no man can understand”. "

I actually think I’m ready to answer this question from a Biblical
stand point, but I’ve got reservations about answering it
without putting some more thought and getting advice on it.
[/quote]

The triune nature of God IS beyond human comprehension. After all, how can a finite human mind comprehend the infinite?

In some Christian circles the definition of “trinity” has been watered down in order to make it more palatable to the finite human intellect. It sounds like your friend has fallen into this belief, namely that Jesus is Father, Son and holy Spirit rather than the second person of the trinity, the Father and the holy Spirit being distinct from Jesus and each other while still being One God.

Good luck in the discussion!

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


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