Sometimes Christians may say that Genesis supports the Trinity theology. E.g. “Elohim”, “our image”.
While I have read that the Hebrew doesn’t support this interpretation, it also occurred to me: I believe that God did make us in His image, and we (each human) is not a trinity of persons, we are each one person.
So, I would propose that use of this passage actually does more to raise questions about Trinitarian theology than support it.
(By the way, at the same time, I propose that these and similar Hebrew Scriptures, do support the Catholic belief in angels. Another topic though.)
We can never be like God entirely in our nature, though.
We are absolutely finite, whereas God is infinite and eternal. We are not all-good as God is, but we are… humans. We are not even omnipresent, but God is. Why would we be a Trinity? This is a unique attribute of God Himself, possessed by no other being.
We do, however, share some of God’s traits (I don’t know of any examples right now).
That’s my point in regards to God’s oneness and human oneness of personhood.
To further the discussion:
Most of the Scriptures used to support the Trinity are in John I would think (I’m not a JW or any similar religion BTW, I assure you, I simply question the Trinity as an explanation for God [the Father] living in Jesus).
Jesus said that His words were not His own but that of the Father. He also said that the Father is in Him. So He seems to be emphasizing that He should be listened to, not because of His own divinity as a member of a Trinity, but rather because God speaks in Him. There are other Scriptures that support the belief that God became a human being in Jesus. I don’t question that as a believable concept but I don’t think that the Trinity teaching is required to explain the incarnation. God became a human being and at the same time God in His infiniteness also remained infinite so that indeed Jesus is truly God and man. So, when Jesus speaks, it’s the same as God (the Father) speaking. When Philip sees Jesus, it’s the same as seeing God the Father (as He is having become human, not the beatific vision) e.g. in His behavior and holiness.
There is no Trinity explanation needed IMHO. “Son of God” and “Son of Man” are Jewish terms with certain connotations but from what I understand these terms do not necessarily imply divinity (in fact “son of god” may be a concept in paganism). Still, I do not debate/question the divinity of Jesus here, I simply don’t believe that a Trinity explanation is needed. Is the Trinity explanation possibly influenced by (ancient) Roman thought?
Why can’t one simply believe that God Himself came in human form?
The Trinity explanation comes from the Son and Holy Spirit being considered worthy of divine worship but as distinct entities from the Father. “Son of God” was used in reference to the Savings kings, and “Son of Man” from Messianic prophecies in Daniel. These terms are not the reason for Trinitarian belief.
Each person is one, but a better analogy is the union of man and woman as one flesh and their love producing a new person between them. In this way, the family is an image of God. It should also be noted that God isn’t just metaphorically a father as creator, but has eternally been Father (and Son) in himself and in relation to himself. The Son is also the perfect image of the Father. A perfect Son carries out the will of His Father.
A better parallel from Genesis 1 is with God the Father as being what’s obviously referenced to as God the Spirit over the water, and creation being made by divine speaking (the Word). It should be stressed that God is one, not three. God became flesh in Christ. It’s not that God has a Son, but that God is a Father and Son and the love between them.
John 1 makes clear that the Word made Flesh is God but is distinct from the Father. Jesus is also at times clearly distinct from the Father. The Trinity is not pagan influence but the way to preserve the tradition that Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct but all worthy of worship as God and that God is one. That is the root of it, before any language on the topic was formulated. The earliest traditions received is that they are distinct, all worthy or worship, but also only one God. Even if language adapted later is not inherent to Judaism, it was applied to protect this early understanding that was transmitted.
Well, respectfully, I don’t know if one can say that “being with” the and at the same time “actually being” is clear.
BTW, I also question whether certain influences of the time (e.g. Roman-pagan) affected what resulted in what is now considered the NT. I certainly respect the NT as Sacred Scripture in the sense that it is the book of a sincere religion. In fact, I agree with Catholicism that is must be understood properly in its context, and IMHO this context includes the environment (Greek/Roman/pagan) from which it sprang.
So, I propose/question that “was God” and “was with God” simultaneously, is a.) a contradiction of reason if taken literally and b.) describes a division in God that no Jew, not even the disciples, would (readily) accept. For example, Jews believe in the Holy Spirit (God is referred to this way in the OT) but they absolutely don’t interpret those Scriptures as God having parts/persons. Therefore a Jew (it seems IMHO) could easiliy interpret John also, in a non-Trinitarian way. Which is why I question that the Trinitarian view may have been influenced by the environment in which Sacred Scripture emerged. Doesn’t Revelations (also believed to be by John) have all kinds of symbolic language? If you think of what I am saying, it’s actually friendly to Christianity. I’m proposing, why let errant Roman/pagan philosophy interfere (if that is what happened) with the understanding of God becoming man.
My proposal is that the current theology is still underdeveloped (i.e. subject to development). I propose that many of these understandings were solidified in a tumultuous environment (325 AD) and have such legacy that no one questions them. (The Pope has hinted IMHO that maybe a softening [analogous to Jesus’ flesh] is in order and that it’s not an era of change but change of an era. Correct me if I’m wrong about Pope Francis saying these things. Now, I’m not saying that that necessarily supports my thesis but I also propose what the Pope is saying as a clue that maybe a new era allows better and more reasonable understanding.)
So, I don’t dispute that some Scriptures can be interpreted in support of the Trinity. However, I would propose/question whether they are misinterpretations (including the full context as I referred to). I would also propose that, from a purely objective standpoint, it is believable that God could become man (which I don’t question here) and not be a Trinity.
This isn’t a full response, but only a quick thought. The Arians were rationalists. They questioned the Trinity, too, but rather than deny the Trinity and push for God as one person becoming flesh, they instead found the distinction between Jesus and God (the Father) to be convincing enough that they instead chose to deny Christ’s divinity. I don’t think the idea that the Father could become flesh is inconceivable and so THAT is the reason we believe in the Trinity (it is conceivable) , but that the scriptures are more convincing in that they are not the same (when taken altogether, full context). If I have time later, I’d like to pull out scriptural support for this. Not that quote-mining is the best way to go about things, but the reason for the belief are from scripture and tradition, so if scripture is an authority to appeal to and not flawed . . .
Understanding the inner life of an infinite, triune God is beyond us, and what we do know is known only because He has chosen to reveal it to us.
*]There is only one God.
*]Within that one God are three persons.
*]They are not three Gods.
How is that possible? Well, consider that a dog is a being but not a person. A man is a being and one person. God is a being and three persons. From this you can see that while we usually think one being = one person, in fact, the number of persons “in” a being can vary depending on the nature of that being.
We have a human nature. God has a divine nature. The three persons who share the one divine nature are referred to by God Himself as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All of them are referred to individually or collectively as “He”. The Holy Spirit is not an “It”.
Unlike human fathers who are older than their sons, God the Father did not exist before God the Son or God the Holy Spirit.
*]The Father is God.
*]The Son is God.
*]The Holy Spirit is God.
*]The Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit.
*]The Son is not the Father or the Holy Spirit.
*]The Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son.
But let’s take a look at the phrase “Son of Man” to see how Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and the Son of God Before the Sanhedrin:
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Daniel prophesied that the Son of Man would be worshiped as God.
61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death.
Replying to the High Priest at His trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus quoted the Daniel and applied this prophecy to Himself. Examples of this prophecy being fulfilled include:
*]Thomas worshipped Jesus (John 20:28-29)
*]John declared that Jesus is God. (John 1:1, John 1:14)
The Hebrew does support the Trinity. Let’s look at Gen 1:1, The verb bara, He created, not they created so one and only one creator. But Elohim usually translated God (sometimes gods) but really meaning Gods three or more, is the one who does the creation. Hebrew has a dual plural which could have been used, so we know that God is not just two, but three or more. Genesis goes on to say let “us” make man in our image…
Grace and peace
…the underlined problem you have is that you are seeking advise from one team (say the mets) on how to help out another team (say the yankees)–it would be counter productive for a competing team to help its opponents gain an advantage!
Consider the issue of “on that rock I will build my Church…” I’ve head & read such interpretations of this passage that would make Chinese acrobatics elementary… the root problem being the rejection of Church Authority–the competing “team” cannot yield to the Word of God even when directly pronounced by Christ! :whistle:
…as for Created in God’s Image and Likeness–we are composed of a physical body, that contains both a biological life-force, self-awareness, and a spiritual (no not hollowood’s hype) entity. So if you are seeking a type for the Holy Trinity: 1:3:1, humans are composed of 1 body, comprised of 3 elements, which function as 1.
…well helping along… Creator & Omniscient–humans are ignited with the fuel of God (revelation) and we are able to obtain and use the knowledge He has placed in both our minds and the universe; through that compilation and use of knowledge we are able to create, in God’s Image and Likeness.
…well that’s exactly what the term Trinity is willing to explain: the Father (explicitly Revealed in the Old Testament), is the Same as the Son and the Holy Spirit (both only implicitly Revealed); yet, existing as One from the very Beginning.
Revelation is the issue. Yet, it is God Himself that chose to Reveal Himself in (not having a better term) stages.
First we have Yahweh God Revealing that He is the YHWH (I AM WHO AM–some insist on ‘Who Is and continue/remain being/revealing’ or some other sort of addendum). As Yahweh God, He Reveals that a) He is One God, the Creator, Eternal, Existing from the Beginning, Immutable, and that no other God exists with Him nor before Him, nor after Him.
Hence Yahweh God Exists as He Reveals Himself from the very Beginning: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
Remove the term “Holy Trinity” from the lexicon of the Church and we would still have the Holy Trinity: the Father, Who Reveals the Son, and the Son, Who Reveals the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit, Who Reveals God’s Omniscience and Power!
Part of the problem man has with Revelation is his psyche: man must submit to God’s Will in order to receive the Holy Spirit’s Guidance to Understanding and Faith.
The problem with your proposal is that you reject God’s own Revelation. God chose to Reveal Himself as the Father, as the Son and as the Holy Spirit.
What you are accepting is garbled exegesis comprised of 20/20 hindsight with a dose or two of anti-formulation (remove one tile and the wall will come down).
American English is not the first language to adapt other words/terms from contemporary languages… however it is, as far as I know, the most corrupted language in the world (aside the actual grammatical changes we have abused the inventor’s license as we force words into American English usage)… this, however, is not what has transpired in Church Doctrine. The Unfolding of the Truth by the Holy Spirit has allowed the Church to define and expand on theological understanding that, as you have pointed out, are too difficult for man’s mind to wraparound it:
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But [size=]when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.[/size] He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (St. John 16:12-15)
Note that Jesus does not state ‘I’ve given you all you need to know’ or ‘when the Holy Spirit comes you will gain all Truth.’ Jesus is clearly stating that the Church (Believers) is not ready to receive the Fullness of Truth and that it is the Holy Spirit’s function to Bring (Unfold) the Truth to the Church–not in a deluge but in measured development.
The Holy Spirit is known in Judaism and is spoken of in Judaism today. They believe, and I tend to agree, that this is a manner of speaking about the incorporeal God and His presence and acts, and in no way implies that God can be thought of as having parts/persons.
St. Paul, formerly a devout Jew, says that “He is the image of the invisible God” and that “He is in the form of God”. I agree, and I see no reason to believe that God Has persons to explain the divinity of Jesus. God Himself simply took on the form of a human being while also remaining infinite - somewhat analogous to the burning bush when God spoke to Moses. Pure and simple theology as God, is Pure, Holy, and One.
Many Catholics may accept the Trinity theology not because they understand it and embrace but because this is what was “handed down”.
I don’t dispute that Catholic Church leaders and faithful are sincere and I don’t necessarily dispute that the Catholic Church is the one true Church. What I’m saying is that people might want to take a look at the proper perspective that Catholicism has of the Bible (unlike fundamental Protestants). That is that is must be understood in its context and I propose that it’s context was in a Greek/Roman/pagan world that may have influenced not only the wording but also the accepted canons. The proper Jewish theology may have been overridden to too much an extent.
Jewish theology we should respect and refer to because of the Jewish roots. The Church doesn’t pagan roots. The Church doesn’t have Greek roots. The Church doesn’t have Roman roots. The Church has Jewish roots.
Christians are simply fortunate enough to be grafted on the same tree and heirs of the same promise - that’s all. How can you have a valid theology that contradicts the tree you are grafted on to in regards to the oneness of God? The Church has corrected many errors in views of other faiths, and theology over the centuries. Consider that it’s possibly time to correct this one and purify the theology of influences that don’t come from the Jewish roots.
Can you demonstrate that the Father, Son, and Spirit each being distinct but all worthy of being worshipped as the one God is a pagan influence?
I’m not concerned with Greek and Roman terminology that may have been adopted in later in defense of this, but just the relation as described in my first sentence. We certainly don’t see any contradiction with the Old Testament and the Apostles and Paul saw no contradiction with their faith.
Edit: I need to expand on my question. Clearly the apostles claimed new revelation. I’m not interested in pre-apostolic faith in this question. I’m asking if you can demonstrate that the idea of three distinct persons being worshipped as God is a later pagan influence on the Apostolic faith professed by the first followers of Jesus: the Apostles and Paul. That the Son and Spirit are not the Father but still worthy of divine intervention worship.
Greek: The god Apollo is the son of the god Zeus.
Roman: The god Jupiter is the son of the god Saturn.
Apollo is a god.
Zeus is a god.
Zeus is not Apollo.
The list goes on and on.
They have gods that are patrons of things. We have saints that are patrons of things.
Their statues are similar to Christian statues.
Christianity gives new meaning to Jewish passover. Christianity gives new meaning to Roman and Greek theology/culture. This is fine as long as we don’t let it over-impact our understanding of the oneness of God IMHO.
I also think that we need to recognize our “continuation” (in the philosophy and culture of…) the Greeks and Romans. We did not pick up their religion entirely, no, but we did certainly steal some worthwhile stuff!
Apples and oranges. I fail to see how your comparison to Zeus and Apollo holds in these circumstances and I asked if there is evidence of actual pagan influences, not just probably unrelated parallels between religions. Show me that the Apostolic faith was tampered with, please. That one God in three persons was an addendum added in later to the Apostolic faith.
I don’t think that Coder is saying that our theology has been influenced by Greek polytheism, but that Christianity has given new meaning to it. We did use Greek terms in describing the Trinity, such as homoousios, and other groups used heteroousios and homoiousios.
He is saying that the Father became flesh in Jesus and that there is only one person in the Godhead and that the idea of three divine persons in one Godhead is a later pagan add in, unless I’ve misunderstood.