My problem with the idea of the trinity

I know a lot of you will not like this thinking, but I am no trying to start a debate, simply learn.

In my study of the bible over the past several months I have come to seriously question the trinity. The bible seems to be overflowing with evidence contrary to the conclusion that the trinity exists. Jesus is always referring to the father as a seperate God, and being. He treats the father like he is the old testament God, and treats him with the same way old testament prophets treated God. He constantly prays to the father for guidance, questions the father on the cross, and seems to be inferior to the father?

So I came to the conclusion that the father is the old testament God, and Jesus was his son. While Jesus is still God and all knowing and eternal he is still inferior to God the God of the old testament and the jews.

Where did I go wrong?

The Old Testament is quite clear that there is really and truly only one God. Full stop. For example, it goes beyond merely forbidding the people of Israel from worshipping any of the gods of their neighbours, it makes clear that the gods worshipped by those neighbours are in fact dumb statues - not real entities. See, for example, Psalm 115 and Psalm 135.

The eternality of God to which you refer means God’s nature doesn’t change. So if God is One, God is always One, has always been One and will always be One. Our understanding may change, but God’s nature doesn’t. God didn’t multiply at the incarnation - or for that matter only become Trinity - only at the incarnation.

Jesus did indeed pray to the Father - as an example to us of how to do so. Teaching people to pray to Himself would, at the time, have caused even more confusion and scandal than that which he created - and he created plenty.

Offhand I can’t remember Him praying to the Father for guidance. And He did not, it seems, ever submit a contrary will of His own to the Father’s, rather He expressed the joint will of himself and the Father, and (eg in Gethsemane), prayed as He did as an example to us.

Then again, you have Thomas worshipping Him and Him accepting the worship. Why would an inferior being not direct Thomas to worship the superior instead?

I have read the Bible, cover to cover, trust me, there’s nothing wrong with the Trinity. If scripture seems to contradict Church teaching it’s not the Church that’s the problem., nor scripture, but the one reading it.

Here is a very short legend of St Augustine trying to figure out the mystery of the Trinity.

@TrinitySaves:

Jesus did not refer to the Father as a separate God.
Jesus referred to the father as a separate Person.

Further Jesus said: “The Father and I are One.” And also: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

Vade retro, Arius. :mad:

God is the Most Holy Trinity, three divine persons with one will. The person of the Son of God has assumed human nature.

John 14:9

9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

In addition to what the previous posters have said, consider Philippians 2:5-11:

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

St. Paul alludes here to Isaiah 45. God (YHWH) says this:

22 “Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn,
from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear.’

St. Paul did demanding that same homage given to God be given to Jesus. Hope this helps.

There’s only one God; Scripture is crystal clear on that. Now add that to;

Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” 17 …"Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

And

Hebrews 1:1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world . 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again, “I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me”? 6 And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” 7 And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.” 8 But of the Son He says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.

When I first became a Christian, I did not believe in the Trinity either.

After maybe 6-9 months of studying the bible, in particular the Gospels, my thinking on this changed. When you closely examine the preponderance of evidence, there is no other conclusion one can draw, imo.

Just this one passage should be a major eye opener for those who don’t believe in it:

John 8:56-59Amplified Bible (AMP)

56 Your father Abraham [greatly] rejoiced to see My day (My incarnation). [a]He saw it and was delighted.” 57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not even fifty years old, and You [claim to] have seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus replied, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus concealed Himself and left the temple.

He is clearly claiming to be God there with the “I AM” reference:

Exodus 3:14New International Version (NIV)

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[a] This is what you are to say to the Israelites:** ‘I am** has sent me to you.’”

That’s why the Jews tried to stone him there. They were learned and knew exactly what He was claiming.

And that’s just for starters.

You’re not entirely off, though I quibble over the term “inferior.” The Son is begotten by the Father within the Godhead whereas the Father is unbegotten. In terms of relationship, the Son is perhaps “inferior” to the Father, or obedient to the Father. However, we should also remember that a son is the image of the father, and in God this is perfectly so. In power, existence, His Being, His eternity, the Son is a perfect image of the Father, and the Son is begotten from the unbegotten Father. They differ only in relationship to each other. The Father is the God of the Old Testament (the only one revealed then), though the Church Fathers did see the Son as the actor in various theophanies of God.

In terms of Jesus on Earth, remember that He was fully human as well. He had a human soul and a human mind that existed in a hypostatic union with God the Son, and which was obedient to God. That human mind likely needed comfort, to exist temporally, a need to pray. And certainly He wished to provide an example of how we should be. The fact that Jesus had both a human and a divine will is attested to most strongly by his agony in the Garden. However, Jesus did NOT act simply like an Old Testament prophet. He made many statements that would be blasphemy in the mouth of just a prophet, and I think we as Christians take such statements too lightly if we don’t stop to think. Jesus doesn’t ask us to only believe in the Father, he asks us to believe in him. He tells us that he is the only way, that he gives the law, that he is greater than the temple, that he is the divine I AM, that those who’ve seen him have seen the Father, that he forgives sins. He sets himself up as the true torah, priest, and king. He goes beyond what the prophets would say, and this is why people accusee him of blasphemy and tried to kill him on multiple occasions. There are good works that delve into these radical and even frightening (when properly considered) statements of Jesus. I cannot do so well here.

Anyway, our Orthodox brothers refer to the “monarchy of the Father” within the Trinity. We don’t use the term as much as Catholics, but we do recognize a patriarchy of the Trinity, the familial Fatherly superiority in the relationship.

P.S. Also, question the Father on the cross? Do you mean the “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”)? That is the opening line to Psalm 22. We should follow that psalm to its conclusion, which ends in proper vindication for the persecuted holy one and the triumph of God. We see the psalm’s truest fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus, at this moment, was also experiencing the pain of sin (that of others) for the first time, which should be considered.

I recommend the book Theology For Beginners by Frank Sheed. Get it and read it. Then read it again.

It’s a wonderful book, it’s not a very big book. It is exactly what you need to tackle this question.

I’ll try to answer this question simply. Jesus reveals the true nature of God the Father to us who was never fully understood in the OT and the Holy Spirit is God because God is spirit. Jesus is equal to God because Jesus is God. Jesus is God become Man so it is Jesus who we need to know because He is the Way and the Truth and the Life… He brings us in Communion with God when we follow Him and are filled with the Holy Spirit. God the Father never changed it’s us who come to understand God the Father through Jesus who is God revealed to us. That’s why Jesus is called the Word of God. Jesus is the Messenger who sends Gods message to us.

Think of it this way with this analogy With H2O there can be three different manifestations. Ice, Water and Vapor. Each has it’s own manifestation but they are not made of anything else but H20. We can breathe in H20 vapor (the Holy Spirit) and the living water Jesus (John 4:14), which allows us to connect to water and it saves us because we need water to survive. We are made of water and we can’t live without it you see? (John 15:5) God the Father has always been with us and so has Jesus and the HS but the communication with God was lost because of the sin of Adam. Through Jesus we are reconciled to God in heaven because Jesus is the ‘door’ to get to the Father. (John 10:7) and Jesus wants us to be with Our Father in Heaven. The reason Jesus prays to the Father is to show us the Way to the Father is through prayer to the Father, from his human condition. So Jesus prays for us and we should do the same to help others, and ourselves, into heaven. That is Gods will be done.

Hi, Karen. I want to advise caution over your analogy, as it could lead to the heresy of Patripassianism/Sabellianism/Modalism, which is actually non-Trinitarian. God is not one person who takes three different forms (like H2O under different conditions) or one person with split personalities. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not just different facets of God. Modalism implies that the one person who can be Father or Son was incarnated and crucified (meaning the Father was crucified).

That is probably not at all your belief, of course, but the H2O example, which I’ve used myself in the past, is flawed because it can be seen as modalist. Modalism is the position of Oneness Pentacostals.

The Trinitarian believes that the person of the Father is not the Son who is not the Holy Spirit.

I disagree. We believe in ONE God with 3 manifestations, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. I believe the Father was crucified because there is no separation from the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Yes God came down from heaven and became man who died for our sins. Then it is God who knows our suffering because He suffered also. If you say God is love, Jesus is love and the Holy Spirit is love…

If you believe they are not ONE than we cannot be ONE with the Father…

Hi, Karen. You would not be considered a Trinitarian, in that case. Your understanding of the relationship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is considered heresy by the Church.

Dear Wesrock. Above is not what I said. I never said that God was not One nor did I say God wasn’t three persons, it was you who put that upon me because of your past experience.

What you haven’t said is that we believe in ONE God… Respectfully your last line reflects that.

God is one. But the Father is not the Son who is not the Holy Spirit. The Father was not crucified. The Holy Spirit was not crucified. Only the Son was crucified. That is dogma.

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