Questions for christians: more trinitarianism

zarathustra
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Questions for christians: more trinitarianism

The doctrine of the trinity remains an ambiguous topic. There are some ongoing discussions about the role jesus plays in the trinity (1,2); I am seeking clarification on some other points of trinitarian confusion, primarily in regard to the 3rd member.

1) What exactly does the holy spirit do, which cannot be accomplished by the father and son?

2) If the holy spirit is the one who impregnated the virgin, then why is the father called “the father”?

3) I’m assuming that the son and the holy spirit always existed, alongside the father. Had man not sinned, would there be any need for them? Did they serve any function prior to the creation (and fall) of man?

It would be good if these get clarified before anyone tries to tell us again why “the Blasphemy Challenge doesn’t work.

Thank you in advance.

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1) the spirit resides

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1) the spirit resides

1) the spirit resides within each of us like a soul where as the father and son are singular and do not reside in us

2) the spirit residing within acted like the sperm within so it was a product of the father while still being the father within the spirit sperm which created the son which is also the father which was in the spirit sperm

3) the son always existed but wasn't created until hte moment of the inpregnation of mary. but because god omnipresent and is outside of time he became the father at that point but then was the father at all points because he was outside of time ... this might indicate that there was a 'first pass' where the son was not omnipresent yet since he had to be born first to become omnipresent but in fact becasue the father and spirit sperm were already outside of time and the son is the feather and the spirit sperm the son was alreayd outside of time and was always there despite being created at the moment of his birth as the son of himself. If you question any of this just repeat the cycle over and over until you're too exhausted to argue.

 

 


In summary:

The father, the son, and the holy spirit sperm are outside of time yet the son was created at the point of inpregnation. the sperm is the father within the sperm and the son is the father created by the spirit sperm but is actually the father born as the son of the father so he is the son of the father but also the father and spirit sperm which resides in all of us. 


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zarathustra wrote: The

zarathustra wrote:
The doctrine of the trinity remains an ambiguous topic. There are some ongoing discussions about the role jesus plays in the trinity (1,2); I am seeking clarification on some other points of trinitarian confusion, primarily in regard to the 3rd member.

Interesting to see you post this.  Haven't seen you post something new like this in a while...

zarathustra wrote:
What exactly does the holy spirit do, which cannot be accomplished by the father and son?

First I'm going to assume we are talking about only the Christian definition of "holy spirit" and not the [non-Christian] Mormon definition or Jehovah Witness version either.

Off that assumption, the "holy spirit" is not a separate entity by definition of the Trinity.  Based on your opening statement though, it seems like you might not understand what the Trinity is exactly so before it goes any further really, what do you understand the Trinity to be?

I did want to add I don't understand questions like this since they typically end up back to the whole "but your belief is stupid so na-na na-na na-na na" meaning if you are asking because you really want to know and not insult, the discussion can be reasonable.

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote: First

razorphreak wrote:

First I'm going to assume we are talking about only the Christian definition of "holy spirit" and not the [non-Christian] Mormon definition or Jehovah Witness version either.

 Despite a long (and relatively amicable) discussion about christianity, we didn't arrive at any standard definition.  You are free to give your christian definition; if any mormons or jw's want to throw in their 2 shekels, they are more than welcome.

razorphreak wrote:

Off that assumption, the "holy spirit" is not a separate entity by definition of the Trinity. Based on your opening statement though, it seems like you might not understand what the Trinity is exactly so before it goes any further really, what do you understand the Trinity to be?

This is the profession of faith which we recited in catholic mass.  Despite a catholic upbringing as well as several years of theological study in college, I must admit I never found a well-defined explanation of the trinity.  I went to great trouble to come up with my own explanations, with ludicrous (if thoughtful) results, such as comparing the triune god to Plato's Republic and theory of mind.  Essentially, I professed faith in the trinity, and used my imagination to fill in the cracks.  So beyond its semantic meaning -- "3 in one"  -- I don't understand it.

razorphreak wrote:
 

I did want to add I don't understand questions like this since they typically end up back to the whole "but your belief is stupid so na-na na-na na-na na" meaning if you are asking because you really want to know and not insult, the discussion can be reasonable.

 I'm sure you're not shocked to know that I find beliefs such as the trinity to be irrational, but I'm not seeking to bait anyone here.  I placed this in KEWK specifically to spare posters any insults.  Only if I see fallacies being used in explanation, I will politely point them out.

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razorphreak
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zarathustra wrote:

zarathustra wrote:
Despite a long (and relatively amicable) discussion about christianity, we didn't arrive at any standard definition. You are free to give your christian definition; if any mormons or jw's want to throw in their 2 shekels, they are more than welcome.

I know. Interesting how that has become an issue lately.

zarathustra wrote:
This is the profession of faith which we recited in catholic mass. Despite a catholic upbringing as well as several years of theological study in college, I must admit I never found a well-defined explanation of the trinity. I went to great trouble to come up with my own explanations, with ludicrous (if thoughtful) results, such as comparing the triune god to Plato's Republic and theory of mind. Essentially, I professed faith in the trinity, and used my imagination to fill in the cracks. So beyond its semantic meaning -- "3 in one" -- I don't understand it.

So then perhaps it should start there. It also should illustrate why Mormon and JW are NOT Christian since that is not a shared belief (and the primary reason for their exclusion to the title).

The Trinity is nothing more than the term to describe how the bible answers the question "Who is God?" That's where you get the 3 in one bit: the supernatural being that created all things, the spirit entity that communicates to his creation, and the man who walked the Earth known as Jesus. Is that any different from what you already have heard? If not, what is not understandable? If so, did it make reasonable sense?

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote:

razorphreak wrote:

The Trinity is nothing more than the term to describe how the bible answers the question "Who is God?" That's where you get the 3 in one bit: the supernatural being that created all things, the spirit entity that communicates to his creation, and the man who walked the Earth known as Jesus. Is that any different from what you already have heard? If not, what is not understandable? If so, did it make reasonable sense?

It's not much different than what I've already heard, but no, I don't find it understandable. The death & resurrection is one unintelligible part of it, but there are threads dealing with that already. Would you care to answer the specific questions in the OP? Let me know if what I'm asking isn't clear.

 

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Well part of the original

Well part of the original post that can lead us to going in circles is understanding the Trinity.  Not understanding the concept that God is a spirit, was a man on Earth, and is the essence of how he establishes a relationship with his creation is what answers question 1. 

zarathustra wrote:
2) If the holy spirit is the one who impregnated the virgin, then why is the father called “the father”?

Figure of speech.  Typically the creator of something is referred to as the "father" of that creation.  Oppenheimer is typically called the father of the atom bomb for example. 

zarathustra wrote:
3) I’m assuming that the son and the holy spirit always existed, alongside the father. Had man not sinned, would there be any need for them? Did they serve any function prior to the creation (and fall) of man?

You're asking for speculation which isn't exactly reasonable.  This in my mind goes back to what the Trinity is, which is to say all three are one, so "prior function" doesn't exactly make a lot of sense. 

  

zarathustra wrote:
It would be good if these get clarified before anyone tries to tell us again why “the Blasphemy Challenge doesn’t work.

That's another discussion which, by watch, was resolved ages ago.  The Blasphemy Challenge is not valid because it is out of context to the full passage in the bible.  But then that's not the point of this thread right?

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote: Well

razorphreak wrote:

Well part of the original post that can lead us to going in circles is understanding the Trinity. Not understanding the concept that God is a spirit, was a man on Earth, and is the essence of how he establishes a relationship with his creation is what answers question 1.

I can try to understand that concept, but I'm not quite clear how it answers what exactly the holy spirit does, which cannot be accomplished by the father and son.

razorphreak wrote:

zarathustra wrote:
2) If the holy spirit is the one who impregnated the virgin, then why is the father called “the father”?

Figure of speech. Typically the creator of something is referred to as the "father" of that creation. Oppenheimer is typically called the father of the atom bomb for example.

But jesus is called "the son", which I took to correspond to "the father". Yet according to the story, it was the holy spirit who actually did the "fathering".

When jesus asked his "father" in the garden that the "cup be taken away", which part of the trinity was he petitioning?

razorphreak wrote:


You're asking for speculation which isn't exactly reasonable. This in my mind goes back to what the Trinity is, which is to say all three are one, so "prior function" doesn't exactly make a lot of sense.

I can see why you find this unreasonable, but hopefully you can see why I'm asking. Am I at least correct in understanding that jesus and the h.s. existed prior to the creation of man? After man sinned, jesus took on the role of god coming down as a man to die, resurrect, etc. The h.s. took on the role of impregnating a virgin with jesus, empowering the disciples, etc. If not for man's fall from grace, would there be any roles for jesus and the h.s. to fill?

razorphreak wrote:

zarathustra wrote:
It would be good if these get clarified before anyone tries to tell us again why “the Blasphemy Challenge doesn’t work.

That's another discussion which, by watch, was resolved ages ago. The Blasphemy Challenge is not valid because it is out of context to the full passage in the bible. But then that's not the point of this thread right?

No, it's not. But as I'm sure you've noticed, every few weeks someone new shows up with their own earth-shattering explanation of why the BC doesn't work. I simply think one should first give a defensible explanation of what the holy spirit is, before pontificating about how denying it is not unforgivable.

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zarathustra wrote:

zarathustra wrote:
I can try to understand that concept, but I'm not quite clear how it answers what exactly the holy spirit does, which cannot be accomplished by the father and son.

I think the reason I'm having a hard time understanding the purpose of the question is probably because the way you structure the question itself. If the concept of the Trinity is all three are one, yet you are asking them to be separate, there is a fundamental problem there. Asking what the holy spirit can't do over God or the Son is asking what can't the Father or Son themselves do.

I've been trying to think of some kind of analogy, the closest I've come would be something like if you had Smuckers brand strawberry jelly, and then you see the store brand which is Smuckers repackaged, you are asking what would one strawberry jam do over the other (outside the price difference) that the former can't do even though they are both the same jelly and when used, both provide the same taste.

zarathustra wrote:
But jesus is called "the son", which I took to correspond to "the father". Yet according to the story, it was the holy spirit who actually did the "fathering".

When jesus asked his "father" in the garden that the "cup be taken away", which part of the trinity was he petitioning?

I really want to skip this question, not because of not having an answer, but only because I'm not sure I can give you an answer that would make much sense outside theology.

zarathustra wrote:
I can see why you find this unreasonable, but hopefully you can see why I'm asking. Am I at least correct in understanding that jesus and the h.s. existed prior to the creation of man? After man sinned, jesus took on the role of god coming down as a man to die, resurrect, etc. The h.s. took on the role of impregnating a virgin with jesus, empowering the disciples, etc. If not for man's fall from grace, would there be any roles for jesus and the h.s. to fill?

I can understand why you are asking. The reason I started my responses with "do you understand the Trinity" is because asking them to be separate is not a Christian concept or mode of thinking. God/Jesus/HS existed before man. God/Jesus/HS visited Mary and set in motion for God/Jesus/HS to be born as a man. God/Jesus/HS empowered those who believed. God/Jesus/HS died to open the gates of heaven. See where I'm going with this?

I'm over generalizing here, but I'm doing it for a reason so show the purpose of the definition of the Trinity. I can get into the details of God does this, the HS does that, and Jesus did this that could show separation, but the kicker is, they aren't separate.

zarathustra wrote:
But as I'm sure you've noticed, every few weeks someone new shows up with their own earth-shattering explanation of why the BC doesn't work. I simply think one should first give a defensible explanation of what the holy spirit is, before pontificating about how denying it is not unforgivable.

Denying the holy spirit, which is to deny Jesus, which is to deny God, but getting more specific in that "I deny the holy spirit" is more so to say denying the essence of God in man, what good works man does as not from God but from evil, i.e. Satan. Thing is, that's not what you guys are doing. You are making the implication they don't exist, which is no unforgivable sin. From my point of view, you simply don't know them.

Saying they don't exist is immaterial because it's not what describes the "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" in context of the bible. If you were an ER trauma nurse and I told you that helping people, saving lives, is an act against humanity because people are evil and they should die whenever possible is not a rational thought to begin with.  Even more so if I start to say you are contributing to that evil that is humanity by saving lives so your actions as a nurse are evil.  You could/would tell me that by desiring the death of the species, I'm "blaspheming" against the species that I belong to, especially since it is very obviously irrational to not use the knowledge we have gained through the evolution of our minds to better ourselves. I'm accusing you of committing an evil act by using medicine.  I did not say "I deny health care" because I choose not to believe in it but rather deny health care because those who use health care are evil, even though many of us know that health care is far from.  I don't know if that made any sense at all...

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote: I think

razorphreak wrote:

I think the reason I'm having a hard time understanding the purpose of the question is probably because the way you structure the question itself. If the concept of the Trinity is all three are one, yet you are asking them to be separate, there is a fundamental problem there. Asking what the holy spirit can't do over God or the Son is asking what can't the Father or Son themselves do.

By what criteria do you distinguish the "3" of "3 in 1"?  If the F & S can do everything the HS can do, what purpose does the HS serve?  What purpose, for that matter, does the S serve? 

I know this is nitpicking, As you have stated elsewhere, belief in the trinity is essential to being christian (on which account you exclude jw's & mormons); why is it necessary to have 3/1 instead of simply 1/1?

 

razorphreak wrote:

I've been trying to think of some kind of analogy, the closest I've come would be something like if you had Smuckers brand strawberry jelly, and then you see the store brand which is Smuckers repackaged, you are asking what would one strawberry jam do over the other (outside the price difference) that the former can't do even though they are both the same jelly and when used, both provide the same taste.

If I understand you, you are likening the trinity to 3 jars of the same strawberry jam, with different brand names on each.  First of all:  If it's all the same jelly and it all tastes the same, why does a christian have to acknolwedge 3 different brands?

Now, teetering on the brink of absurdity, consider how this analogy applies to the christian scenario:

 By the power of Brand C, Brand B was born of a virgin and became man.  He suffered, died and was buried.  He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of Brand A.

With all due respect, I don't feel the analogy carries. 

 

razorphreak wrote:

I really want to skip this question, not because of not having an answer, but only because I'm not sure I can give you an answer that would make much sense outside theology.

Understandable, and I thank you for that admission.  But please realize that in essence, this is circular reasoning:  that you first have to  believe in it in order for it to make sense.

 

razorphreak wrote:

I can understand why you are asking. The reason I started my responses with "do you understand the Trinity" is because asking them to be separate is not a Christian concept or mode of thinking. God/Jesus/HS existed before man. God/Jesus/HS visited Mary and set in motion for God/Jesus/HS to be born as a man. God/Jesus/HS empowered those who believed. God/Jesus/HS died to open the gates of heaven. See where I'm going with this?

I'm over generalizing here, but I'm doing it for a reason so show the purpose of the definition of the Trinity. I can get into the details of God does this, the HS does that, and Jesus did this that could show separation, but the kicker is, they aren't separate.

I'm not insisting on there being "separate" entities; but separate or not, they have to be distinct in some manner in order for the "tri" in trinity to at all be meaningful.   

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zarathustra wrote: By what

zarathustra wrote:
By what criteria do you distinguish the "3" of "3 in 1"? If the F & S can do everything the HS can do, what purpose does the HS serve? What purpose, for that matter, does the S serve?

I know this is nitpicking, As you have stated elsewhere, belief in the trinity is essential to being christian (on which account you exclude jw's & mormons); why is it necessary to have 3/1 instead of simply 1/1?

About the only way I can really answer any of this is theological like so you really want that kind of answer? 

zarathustra wrote:
If I understand you, you are likening the trinity to 3 jars of the same strawberry jam, with different brand names on each. First of all: If it's all the same jelly and it all tastes the same, why does a christian have to acknolwedge 3 different brands?

I think you might have missed the point.  We know they are all the same brand of jam.  They are labeled three different brands for the sake of simplisity and for our own understanding but they are all the same brand of jam.  Brand A, B, and C are all brand X for example, but we call them A, B, and C to distinguish it for easier understanding.  

If you recognize that nature is the general label for what we see and discover that is outside humanity, well we know that a volcano eurupting, a dog mating, or how the oceans can support something like a blue whale, that's nature but they are all three different things under the same heading...sorta.

zarathustra wrote:
With all due respect, I don't feel the analogy carries.

Yea I wasn't trying to force anything, I'm trying to keep it simple.

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote: About

razorphreak wrote:

About the only way I can really answer any of this is theological like so you really want that kind of answer?

If "theological like" means it is only intelligible to someone who already believes, then no.  

If you mean to say (I'm not assuming that you are) that one has to believe in the trinity in order to understand it, then I feel there's nothing further to discuss, and we can peacefully conclude. 

 

razorphreak wrote:

zarathustra wrote:
If I understand you, you are likening the trinity to 3 jars of the same strawberry jam, with different brand names on each. First of all: If it's all the same jelly and it all tastes the same, why does a christian have to acknolwedge 3 different brands?

I think you might have missed the point. We know they are all the same brand of jam. They are labeled three different brands for the sake of simplisity and for our own understanding but they are all the same brand of jam. Brand A, B, and C are all brand X for example, but we call them A, B, and C to distinguish it for easier understanding.

I think you are quibbling on my word usage.  Very well, if it's the same brand of jam, why is it crucial for the christian to acknowledge 3 distinct jars of the same-branded jam -- as opposed to 1 jar, or 17 jars, or no jar at all?

 

razorphreak wrote:

If you recognize that nature is the general label for what we see and discover that is outside humanity, well we know that a volcano eurupting, a dog mating, or how the oceans can support something like a blue whale, that's nature but they are all three different things under the same heading...sorta. 

 

Again, with all due respect, I fear the analogy is quickly reducing the discussion into absurdity. 

razorphreak wrote:

Yea I wasn't trying to force anything, I'm trying to keep it simple.

I'm not trying to entrap you.  You don't have to defend the analogy for its own sake. 

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zarathustra wrote:

zarathustra wrote:
If "theological like" means it is only intelligible to someone who already believes, then no.

If you mean to say (I'm not assuming that you are) that one has to believe in the trinity in order to understand it, then I feel there's nothing further to discuss, and we can peacefully conclude.

Na I'm not asking you to believe. I don't think you have to, not even close.

zarathustra wrote:
I think you are quibbling on my word usage. Very well, if it's the same brand of jam, why is it crucial for the christian to acknowledge 3 distinct jars of the same-branded jam -- as opposed to 1 jar, or 17 jars, or no jar at all?

I'm only working the analogy. Yes, it's stupid I know, but I'm trying something I'm sure you'd relate to.

Knowing there are three separate jars makes it so you can identify the three business models if you will on what makes up the X brand of jam. Of course, it's still the same jam no matter which jam you purchase, no matter which you use to eat with peanut butter, the same jam if you choose to have one for a storm kit (the cheap label), the same jam if you use it for your own deserts (called brand b), and the same jam that you'd use to make sandwiches for your kids (brand c, the one they like).

God is God no matter what you might call the entity, the man, or the essence. The fact that he's identified by three different names (if you wanna call them names) is incidental to identify the three forms that humans might identify God: the entity that exists, the man as he came about, and the essence that speaks to us.

Now do you wanna keep going down that road of theology?

As to why we must identify three, my answer behind that would be because we are incapable of saying all three was the same thing.  There is an entity, a man, and a "presence" which feels like three different objects but yet there are the same.  Moving to the supernatural as it were, nature no longer applies, nor can it.

zarathustra wrote:
Again, with all due respect, I fear the analogy is quickly reducing the discussion into absurdity.

I know...

zarathustra wrote:
I'm not trying to entrap you. You don't have to defend the analogy for its own sake.

Understood...

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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The Trinity

Alright, I'm going to try to clarify a few things first.  Also, anything I say here I will try to use in support of what was already said in this blog.

First things first, let's get it clear that "The Trinity" is a man made word.  It was established to help us better understand our God.  You will not find the word "Trinity" in the Bible.  However, you will find The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

In Genesis, and through the Old Testament if you look into the Hebrew and Aramaic, you will notice that God is referenced plurally, not singularly.  Therefore, any presupposition that the idea was not known or did not exist until Jesus is false. 

Also, John 1:3 says right away; "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."  Him referring to Jesus.  Redundant? yes!, but the point of redundancy is to emphasize the fact that nothing existed without Jesus, therefore Jesus was there before anything existed.  (side note: Jesus is not a created being as the Jehovah's Witnesses might try to say)

The Jehovah's Witnesses also try to say that the Holy Spirit is just God's power or force and is not a being... but if we look up the dictionary definition of "Spirit", we will find right off that spirit is; "the principal of conscious life".  If you continue down the list of definitions, they consistently imply a being or life form of sorts.  If you read through more than half, you start getting into ideas of non-living references.  This is where the Witnesses take advantage.  However, if you read the Bible, you will notice that whenever the Bible references to "just a power" it doesn't say the spirit, it  says power!  or another variation of the word.    Where there is  the word Spirit used to reference to something other than a being, the original language wherever it might be  "e.g. Greek, Hebrew or  Aramaic" will distinguish whether it's talking about a being or not.  The Holy Spirit is always referenced to in the original language as a  being. 

OK, now onto the Trinity and what it is.

I'm going to use James R. White's explanation because I see this as the clearest understanding of what we're trying to say when we reference to God as a trinity.  this was originally used to explain the real Trinity idea to the Jehovah's Witnesses, so I will make it appropriate for this conversation.

I believe in the Trinity because the Bible teaches the doctrine.  As I said before, the word's not there, but the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are.

First, there is only One true God, YHWH, creator of all things.  Next, there are 3 divine persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  The Bible teaches the "full equality" of these divine persons.   This would include the deity of Jesus Christ and the personality of the Holy Spirit.  This is where I think the conversations fall apart.

This is where I think it needs to be clarified.  I am not asserting that there are three persons that are one person nor that there are three beings that are one being.  We are differentiating between the terms being and person.

The Bible teaches that all things have being, but only God, humans and angels are personal.  I as a human being am one person.  My being make me human, my personality differentiates me from all other human beings.  Since my being is finite and limited, only one person can properly subsist in it, namely, me.  But since God's being is infinite and unlimited, it can be, and is, shared by three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  

Therefore we see, there are 3 separate persons, not all "God", but they all share his being and are equal thereof. 

To add to it, the 3 are equal, though their own person.  So if you take for example, three identical circles and put one on top of another so that they are stacked, you can look at them and know they are the same in every way, it doesn't matter where you put them or how you put them, they're identical.  Now picture a hierarchy.  The top circle is the head, the middle circle, though identical and just as powerful as the head is subject to the head, yet has just as much power and authority.  And the third and bottom circle, again equal to the first two in every way is subject to the head and the secondary circle yet again has just as much power and authority.  If you put a larger circle around those three smaller circles, this will unite that hierarchy.  The top circle represents God the Father, the middle circle, Jesus Christ, and the bottom circle, the Holy Spirit.  The big circle around those little ones is God's being. 

I'm sure at this point logic is smacking you in the face and saying NO NO!!! NO!!! can't happen.  You can't have someone subject to another and yet have the same authority as the one they are subject to.  This is where I say, "you cannot compare God to a humanistic standard" 

In this instance all are in agreement with each other.  None are going to usurp another's authority, therefore there is no need to give less authority or power to any part.

Also, logically, everything could not have been created through Jesus Christ unless he had just as much power and authority as God as was equal and every way to Him.  There's just no way a lesser being could handle that. 

As far as the Holy Spirit is concerned, this Holy Spirit could not fill more than one person or many from around the world or be the "helper" as described in the Bible and not be an equal to God as well.  In order for Jesus to do what he does and for the Holy Spirit to do what he does, they would have to share being with God. 

Understand this is the best way I know how to explain a topic that is beyond human comprehension.  I'm sure my explanation is not without flaw and I'm sure you'll be more than happy to point out the flaws in my explanation.  I hope that you were able to at least follow what I was trying to say.   Understand the flaws in my explanation if any would be my error and not any indication that this cannot be possible.  In other words, let me explain myself before jumping to conclusions if there is a misunderstanding. 


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caposkia wrote:Alright, I'm

caposkia wrote:

Alright, I'm going to try to clarify a few things first.  Also, anything I say here I will try to use in support of what was already said in this blog.

First things first, let's get it clear that "The Trinity" is a man made word.  It was established to help us better understand our God.  You will not find the word "Trinity" in the Bible.  However, you will find The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

In Genesis, and through the Old Testament if you look into the Hebrew and Aramaic, you will notice that God is referenced plurally, not singularly.  Therefore, any presupposition that the idea was not known or did not exist until Jesus is false. 

Also, John 1:3 says right away; "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."  Him referring to Jesus.  Redundant? yes!, but the point of redundancy is to emphasize the fact that nothing existed without Jesus, therefore Jesus was there before anything existed.  (side note: Jesus is not a created being as the Jehovah's Witnesses might try to say)

The Jehovah's Witnesses also try to say that the Holy Spirit is just God's power or force and is not a being... but if we look up the dictionary definition of "Spirit", we will find right off that spirit is; "the principal of conscious life".  If you continue down the list of definitions, they consistently imply a being or life form of sorts.  If you read through more than half, you start getting into ideas of non-living references.  This is where the Witnesses take advantage.  However, if you read the Bible, you will notice that whenever the Bible references to "just a power" it doesn't say the spirit, it  says power!  or another variation of the word.    Where there is  the word Spirit used to reference to something other than a being, the original language wherever it might be  "e.g. Greek, Hebrew or  Aramaic" will distinguish whether it's talking about a being or not.  The Holy Spirit is always referenced to in the original language as a  being. 

OK, now onto the Trinity and what it is.

I'm going to use James R. White's explanation because I see this as the clearest understanding of what we're trying to say when we reference to God as a trinity.  this was originally used to explain the real Trinity idea to the Jehovah's Witnesses, so I will make it appropriate for this conversation.

I believe in the Trinity because the Bible teaches the doctrine.  As I said before, the word's not there, but the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are.

First, there is only One true God, YHWH, creator of all things.  Next, there are 3 divine persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  The Bible teaches the "full equality" of these divine persons.   This would include the deity of Jesus Christ and the personality of the Holy Spirit.  This is where I think the conversations fall apart.

This is where I think it needs to be clarified.  I am not asserting that there are three persons that are one person nor that there are three beings that are one being.  We are differentiating between the terms being and person.

The Bible teaches that all things have being, but only God, humans and angels are personal.  I as a human being am one person.  My being make me human, my personality differentiates me from all other human beings.  Since my being is finite and limited, only one person can properly subsist in it, namely, me.  But since God's being is infinite and unlimited, it can be, and is, shared by three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  

Therefore we see, there are 3 separate persons, not all "God", but they all share his being and are equal thereof. 

To add to it, the 3 are equal, though their own person.  So if you take for example, three identical circles and put one on top of another so that they are stacked, you can look at them and know they are the same in every way, it doesn't matter where you put them or how you put them, they're identical.  Now picture a hierarchy.  The top circle is the head, the middle circle, though identical and just as powerful as the head is subject to the head, yet has just as much power and authority.  And the third and bottom circle, again equal to the first two in every way is subject to the head and the secondary circle yet again has just as much power and authority.  If you put a larger circle around those three smaller circles, this will unite that hierarchy.  The top circle represents God the Father, the middle circle, Jesus Christ, and the bottom circle, the Holy Spirit.  The big circle around those little ones is God's being. 

I'm sure at this point logic is smacking you in the face and saying NO NO!!! NO!!! can't happen.  You can't have someone subject to another and yet have the same authority as the one they are subject to.  This is where I say, "you cannot compare God to a humanistic standard" 

In this instance all are in agreement with each other.  None are going to usurp another's authority, therefore there is no need to give less authority or power to any part.

Also, logically, everything could not have been created through Jesus Christ unless he had just as much power and authority as God as was equal and every way to Him.  There's just no way a lesser being could handle that. 

As far as the Holy Spirit is concerned, this Holy Spirit could not fill more than one person or many from around the world or be the "helper" as described in the Bible and not be an equal to God as well.  In order for Jesus to do what he does and for the Holy Spirit to do what he does, they would have to share being with God. 

Understand this is the best way I know how to explain a topic that is beyond human comprehension.  I'm sure my explanation is not without flaw and I'm sure you'll be more than happy to point out the flaws in my explanation.  I hope that you were able to at least follow what I was trying to say.   Understand the flaws in my explanation if any would be my error and not any indication that this cannot be possible.  In other words, let me explain myself before jumping to conclusions if there is a misunderstanding. 

1. Trinitarianism was not a concept that was known in Biblical times. Polytheism, however, was all over the place. What makes "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness" god referring to himself in the plural and not one humanoid god speaking to other humanoid gods?

2. John was referring to the "Word". If he really meant "Jesus", why hide it?

3. I think you're confusing "personality" and "person-hood". Personality is learned/acquired.

4. I think it's a good thing that people didn't listen when religious folk tried to put things "beyond human comprehension". If that were taken seriously, you still wouldn't be allowed to read the Bible (or anything else) and doctors would still be bloodletting and praying instead of destroying disease causing organisms.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote:1.

jcgadfly wrote:
1. Trinitarianism was not a concept that was known in Biblical times. Polytheism, however, was all over the place. What makes "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness" god referring to himself in the plural and not one humanoid god speaking to other humanoid gods?

True, trinitarianism is not expressly seen in the OT.  That the concept finds expression in some of the polytheistic religions is undoubtedly true, since all religions contain some aspects of the truth. 

Not only do we see in the Creation account in Genesis God referring to himself in the plural (which I believe is not only an indication of trinitarianism, but God expressing the dual nature of Man), but we also see the "spirit of God" hovering over the waters.  Why God's spirit and not God Himself if the Spirit is not a separate entity?  The Spirit hovering above the water is also a type of Baptism.

Quote:
2. John was referring to the "Word". If he really meant "Jesus", why hide it?

It is clear from the wording of the prologue to John's Gospel that he is deliberately mimicking Genesis, the implication being that Jesus Christ was "the Word" of Creation which God poke when He said, "Let there be..."

In John 1:14, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us", we have "beheld His glory", "John bore witness to Him".  John is certainly not "hiding" the identity of the Word.  He is, on the contrary, quite explicit in revealing the divine nature of Jesus.  In fact, the prologue to John is so devastatiing to the JW denial of the divinity of Jesus, that in the New World translation of the Bible, they changed the wording to say that the Word was "with God, and the Word was a God."

Jesus Himself stresses His divinity repeatedly.

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totus_tuus wrote:jcgadfly

totus_tuus wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
1. Trinitarianism was not a concept that was known in Biblical times. Polytheism, however, was all over the place. What makes "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness" god referring to himself in the plural and not one humanoid god speaking to other humanoid gods?

True, trinitarianism is not expressly seen in the OT.  That the concept finds expression in some of the polytheistic religions is undoubtedly true, since all religions contain some aspects of the truth. 

Not only do we see in the Creation account in Genesis God referring to himself in the plural (which I believe is not only an indication of trinitarianism, but God expressing the dual nature of Man), but we also see the "spirit of God" hovering over the waters.  Why God's spirit and not God Himself if the Spirit is not a separate entity?  The Spirit hovering above the water is also a type of Baptism.

Quote:
2. John was referring to the "Word". If he really meant "Jesus", why hide it?

It is clear from the wording of the prologue to John's Gospel that he is deliberately mimicking Genesis, the implication being that Jesus Christ was "the Word" of Creation which God poke when He said, "Let there be..."

In John 1:14, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us", we have "beheld His glory", "John bore witness to Him".  John is certainly not "hiding" the identity of the Word.  He is, on the contrary, quite explicit in revealing the divine nature of Jesus.  In fact, the prologue to John is so devastatiing to the JW denial of the divinity of Jesus, that in the New World translation of the Bible, they changed the wording to say that the Word was "with God, and the Word was a God."

Jesus Himself stresses His divinity repeatedly.

1. Do we really know for sure that it was "spirit of God" and not "spirit of a god"? I'm not trying to be facetious here - I just don't know if there's a basis for it in the text or if it was just a leap by the authors. For all I know, they could be talking about the Canaanite deity El.

2. That must've been why he always referred to himself as the "son of man" ( A common messianic title) and only hinted at being the son of God maybe twice.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote:1. Do we

jcgadfly wrote:
1. Do we really know for sure that it was "spirit of God" and not "spirit of a god"? I'm not trying to be facetious here - I just don't know if there's a basis for it in the text or if it was just a leap by the authors. For all I know, they could be talking about the Canaanite deity El.

In John 1:1, the original Greek is as such.  "...Kai logos en theos" with theos being a masculine noun.  Additionally, the use of the word theos in other parts of the Greek based portions of the bible reference the singular use of the definition while the NWT basis is for the potential for more than one, incorrectly I might add, since meaning was distorted according to their belief of separate entities.

By the way, is this thread to be about the CHRISTIAN view of the Trinity or how other dogmas regard the Trinity?  Jcgadfly, you never did chime in with what you understand the Trinity to be.

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote:By the

razorphreak wrote:

By the way, is this thread to be about the CHRISTIAN view of the Trinity or how other dogmas regard the Trinity?  Jcgadfly, you never did chime in with what you understand the Trinity to be.

I'll chime in with mine, for what it's worth.

In my understanding, the trinity is three aspects of God. Each aspect has distinct characteristics, just like my liver is different from my heart; however, without either, I could not live. (Yeah, that's simplifying a tad, but you get the picture.)

The Father is the judge. He's the aspect which embodies order and judgement. The Holy Spirit is all the good feelings in life: hope and love and acceptance and so on. Jesus represents redemption and forgiveness. Each without the others is isolated and incomplete. But, since they are merely aspects of one God, they are complete. This is the God that created the Universe -- not the Father, nor the Holy Spirit, but God complete.

So, that's my understanding, as vague as it is.

Here's my major problem with the whole thing:

If that is so, then Jesus' sacrifice was essentially moot. As Jesus is a part of God, He could not die. Whatever his mortal shell might be, He Himself is immortal, being simply an aspect of God, and God is eternal. If God is omniscient, then He had already experienced great pain many times, as He would know the suffering of everyone who came before. So the agony couldn't have accounted for the sacrifice. A sacrifice is when you give up something. I don't understand what God gave up.

Anyway, that's the part of the trinity that most confuses me. It seems the very definition of the trinity nullifies the central tenet of Christianity -- Jesus' sacrifice.

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nigelTheBold wrote:Here's my

nigelTheBold wrote:
Here's my major problem with the whole thing:

If that is so, then Jesus' sacrifice was essentially moot. As Jesus is a part of God, He could not die. Whatever his mortal shell might be, He Himself is immortal, being simply an aspect of God, and God is eternal. If God is omniscient, then He had already experienced great pain many times, as He would know the suffering of everyone who came before. So the agony couldn't have accounted for the sacrifice. A sacrifice is when you give up something. I don't understand what God gave up.

Anyway, that's the part of the trinity that most confuses me. It seems the very definition of the trinity nullifies the central tenet of Christianity -- Jesus' sacrifice.

Your understanding isn't far off.  Actually I like the heart-to-liver analogy.

As to what confuses you, you aren't alone.  We could go on all day and night and then some about "if God already knew we'd fall/sin/kill him/fail to live up to expectations" yada yada yada and why did he still did what he did seems illogical to do.  I'm not going to lie; it baffles me if God did know we'd fall from the garden, why did he put us there?  If he knew that we wouldn't be able to meet his laws, why would he send his son to be killed even though he knew we'd kill him?

But it does remind me there is a reason to be served though, the sacrifice as you put it.  Perhaps it's more for our reason than his.  Why he did what he did would be more about humanity than tootin his own horn if you will.  That I would think says way more that what he did was nothing off his back but means everything for us.

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote:jcgadfly

razorphreak wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
1. Do we really know for sure that it was "spirit of God" and not "spirit of a god"? I'm not trying to be facetious here - I just don't know if there's a basis for it in the text or if it was just a leap by the authors. For all I know, they could be talking about the Canaanite deity El.

In John 1:1, the original Greek is as such.  "...Kai logos en theos" with theos being a masculine noun.  Additionally, the use of the word theos in other parts of the Greek based portions of the bible reference the singular use of the definition while the NWT basis is for the potential for more than one, incorrectly I might add, since meaning was distorted according to their belief of separate entities.

By the way, is this thread to be about the CHRISTIAN view of the Trinity or how other dogmas regard the Trinity?  Jcgadfly, you never did chime in with what you understand the Trinity to be.

If I had an understanding of the Trinity, you'd get it.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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caposkia wrote:First things

caposkia wrote:

First things first, let's get it clear that "The Trinity" is a man made word.  It was established to help us better understand our God.  You will not find the word "Trinity" in the Bible.  However, you will find The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

Correct - which raises the question legitimate question of whether there is actual scriptural provenance for the concept of trinity, or whether it was a doctrine conceived well after christianity had begun.  Bear in mind the new testament canon -(which you cite for references to the father, son and holy spirit) was not established until the 4th century.

caposkia wrote:

The Bible teaches that all things have being, but only God, humans and angels are personal.  I as a human being am one person.  My being make me human, my personality differentiates me from all other human beings.  Since my being is finite and limited, only one person can properly subsist in it, namely, me.  But since God's being is infinite and unlimited, it can be, and is, shared by three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

If god's being is "infinite and unlimited", why does it settle on 3?  Is god subject to some overarching triune rule, is 3 some optimal value which god naturally proceeds to, or does god arbitrarily choose 3?

caposkia wrote:

Therefore we see, there are 3 separate persons, not all "God", but they all share his being and are equal thereof.

Is that to say "neither father, son nor holy spirit is 'god', but father + son + holy spirit = god"?

caposkia wrote:

To add to it, the 3 are equal, though their own person.  So if you take for example, three identical circles and put one on top of another so that they are stacked, you can look at them and know they are the same in every way, it doesn't matter where you put them or how you put them, they're identical.  Now picture a hierarchy.  The top circle is the head, the middle circle, though identical and just as powerful as the head is subject to the head, yet has just as much power and authority.  And the third and bottom circle, again equal to the first two in every way is subject to the head and the secondary circle yet again has just as much power and authority.  If you put a larger circle around those three smaller circles, this will unite that hierarchy.  The top circle represents God the Father, the middle circle, Jesus Christ, and the bottom circle, the Holy Spirit.  The big circle around those little ones is God's being.

You describe these three circles as "identical".  Yet according to the same scripture upon which you rely, each "circle" executes a particular role which could not be assumed by the other two "circles".  If the role of each is unique, they cannot be said to be identical.

caposkia wrote:

I'm sure at this point logic is smacking you in the face and saying NO NO!!! NO!!! can't happen.  You can't have someone subject to another and yet have the same authority as the one they are subject to.  This is where I say, "you cannot compare God to a humanistic standard"

This is what I see as the inherent problem with the defense of a belief such as trinitarianism -- one has to abandon "humanistic standards" in order to accept it.  I find such a defense duplicit for this reason:  Above, you seek to discredit jw's non-trinitarianism by pointing out the scriptural provenance for trinitarianism.  That is to say, you attempt to establish continuity (a "humanistic standard" of accuracy) between scripture and your belief, and hold jw's in error for lack of such continuity (failure to meet a "humanistic standard" of accuracy).  Yet proceeding with your explanation, you suddenly exempt yourself from these same "humanistic standards", since abiding by them would render your belief unintelligible.

caposkia wrote:

Understand this is the best way I know how to explain a topic that is beyond human comprehension.  I'm sure my explanation is not without flaw and I'm sure you'll be more than happy to point out the flaws in my explanation.  I hope that you were able to at least follow what I was trying to say. 

I appreciate your response.  Yet I hope you realize that as long as this belief requires a "beyond human comprehension" escape clause, I cannot be obliged to respect the belief, much less subscribe to it myself. 


 

 

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razorphreak wrote:Your

razorphreak wrote:
Your understanding isn't far off.  Actually I like the heart-to-liver analogy.

Thanks. I do try to understand, heathen though I might be. Smiling

Quote:

As to what confuses you, you aren't alone.  We could go on all day and night and then some about "if God already knew we'd fall/sin/kill him/fail to live up to expectations" yada yada yada and why did he still did what he did seems illogical to do.  I'm not going to lie; it baffles me if God did know we'd fall from the garden, why did he put us there?  If he knew that we wouldn't be able to meet his laws, why would he send his son to be killed even though he knew we'd kill him?

But it does remind me there is a reason to be served though, the sacrifice as you put it.  Perhaps it's more for our reason than his.  Why he did what he did would be more about humanity than tootin his own horn if you will.  That I would think says way more that what he did was nothing off his back but means everything for us.

Actually, I believe I understand why God would put us in the garden, knowing we would fall. We let our kids go out into the world, knowing they will stumble, knowing they will make stupid choices, and waiting for the day they beging to consistently make good choices. And when they don't, we just have to realize they are making different choices; not necessarily good, not necessarily bad. They are different from us, and we love them just the same.

It's the "why would he send his son to be killed even though he knew we'd kill him?" part I don't understand. Because if Jesus was part of the trinity, that is, part of God, then He couldn't die. His body was not Him; it was merely an envelope, a manifestation. So there was no sacrifice, no redemption through the blood of Christ.

If you could explain how it was a sacrifice, and worthy enough of a sacrifice to redeem us for salvation, I'd greatly appreciate it. It won't convert me, but at least it'll make the story make a little more sense.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold wrote:Actually,

nigelTheBold wrote:
Actually, I believe I understand why God would put us in the garden, knowing we would fall. We let our kids go out into the world, knowing they will stumble, knowing they will make stupid choices, and waiting for the day they beging to consistently make good choices. And when they don't, we just have to realize they are making different choices; not necessarily good, not necessarily bad. They are different from us, and we love them just the same.

Interesting perspective on that.  Could be.  Can't say I ever thought of it like that.

nigelTheBold wrote:
It's the "why would he send his son to be killed even though he knew we'd kill him?" part I don't understand. Because if Jesus was part of the trinity, that is, part of God, then He couldn't die. His body was not Him; it was merely an envelope, a manifestation. So there was no sacrifice, no redemption through the blood of Christ.

If you could explain how it was a sacrifice, and worthy enough of a sacrifice to redeem us for salvation, I'd greatly appreciate it. It won't convert me, but at least it'll make the story make a little more sense.

First, Jesus as a man - I'm not sure I have the words to paint the right kind of picture.  The Trinity as we know it puts Jesus as God on Earth as a man.  Because he was born of woman, he is man and all that comes with being a man.  Means he would feel pain, feel hunger, feel just about every sensation that you or I would feel on a daily basis.  The difference however is since he is God, his "spiritual" part is far different than ours.  His body dies but the spiritual part does not.

As to the sacrifice, are you familiar with the atonement from the old testament?  It's all about symbolism correct?  That's what his death represented.  That is the reason behind the "fulfillment" of the law.  It set the OT stuff as default since the sacrifice to God has been set so high that no human can ever sacrifice enough to please God.  That make sense?  We can go farther than that if you like...

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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I saw on another skeptic

I saw on another skeptic site ( DebunkingChristianity.com  ? ) where a very clear-thinking fellow referenced some verses where scripture clearly stated that God cannot be tempted by sin.  His Divine nature is in no way swayed by the allure of sinful urges and it is this quality that is the indisputable proof of God's holiness.

On to the next logical step: according to trinitarian doctrine the incarnate Jesus, although existing in flesh, was fully God.  No half-measures or almost but not quite God....Jesus is God  

Jesus is part of the triune god-head and as such posseses all of the divine atributes of the Father and The Holy Spirit.  

On to the next step:  Since Jesus, despite his fleshy covering, retained his Divine nature...how could he have been tempted by Satan ?   God ( ergo, Jesus ) cannot be tempted by sin.

I have no doubt that upon reading this example of inconsistency some theist minds will be burning and churning to defend this paradox  and will soon post a rebuttal.  Have at it.  Nevertheless according to Christian orthodoxy God does not change in regard to any aspect of his moral character and his Divine Nature sets him above all other beings in that he alone is immune to sin.

So...how could Jesus have ever been tempted by Satan in the Garden of Gethsemene ? Jesus is God...sin has no attraction for him.  If it did, then he is only partly God.

 

"Most people are ass holes." Jesus of Nazareth


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jcgadfly wrote:1. Do we

jcgadfly wrote:
1. Do we really know for sure that it was "spirit of God" and not "spirit of a god"? I'm not trying to be facetious here - I just don't know if there's a basis for it in the text or if it was just a leap by the authors. For all I know, they could be talking about the Canaanite deity El.

Could be the case, I suppose, I'm no expert in Hebrew.  I find it highly doubtful.

Quote:
2. That must've been why he always referred to himself as the "son of man" ( A common messianic title) and only hinted at being the son of God maybe twice.

Much more than twice.  Just looking at the "I am" statements Jesus makes using the divine name revealed by God to Moses:

 Mark 14:62, "62 And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven."

John 6:41 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven."

John 6:48 "I am the bread of life"

John 6:51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven."

John 8:58 "Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am."

John 18:5-6 "5 They answered him: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith to them: I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, stood with them.

6 As soon therefore as he had said to them: I am he; they went backward, and fell to the ground. "

John 18:8 "8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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razorphreak wrote:First,

razorphreak wrote:

First, Jesus as a man - I'm not sure I have the words to paint the right kind of picture.  The Trinity as we know it puts Jesus as God on Earth as a man.  Because he was born of woman, he is man and all that comes with being a man.  Means he would feel pain, feel hunger, feel just about every sensation that you or I would feel on a daily basis.  The difference however is since he is God, his "spiritual" part is far different than ours.  His body dies but the spiritual part does not.

But God, being omniscient, would feel all our pain to begin with. He wouldn't have to place an incarnation down here among us to feel it. So, though he went through pain, he didn't experience anything new.

This leads back to the OP: did the Christ aspect of the trinity exist before Jesus came among us? Or, did the trinity not exist until Mary gave birth in the barn?

Man, I see why the whole trinity concept is so difficult to wrap my noggin around.

Quote:

As to the sacrifice, are you familiar with the atonement from the old testament?  It's all about symbolism correct?  That's what his death represented.  That is the reason behind the "fulfillment" of the law.  It set the OT stuff as default since the sacrifice to God has been set so high that no human can ever sacrifice enough to please God.  That make sense?  We can go farther than that if you like...

Gotcha. It's the symbolism that matters, not the actual sacrifice per se.  It's not so much that Christ died for our sins, it's that God gave us an easy way out, without sticking by the rules of the OT. He could've done that in many ways, but that is the one he chose.

Or am I way off base here?

(BTW: have you read Neil Gaiman's American Gods? It's all about symbolic sacrifice. Your mention of the symbolism just reminded me of ending of that book.)

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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totus_tuus wrote:jcgadfly

totus_tuus wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
1. Do we really know for sure that it was "spirit of God" and not "spirit of a god"? I'm not trying to be facetious here - I just don't know if there's a basis for it in the text or if it was just a leap by the authors. For all I know, they could be talking about the Canaanite deity El.

Could be the case, I suppose, I'm no expert in Hebrew.  I find it highly doubtful.

Quote:
2. That must've been why he always referred to himself as the "son of man" ( A common messianic title) and only hinted at being the son of God maybe twice.

Much more than twice.  Just looking at the "I am" statements Jesus makes using the divine name revealed by God to Moses:

 Mark 14:62, "62 And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven."

John 6:41 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven."

John 6:48 "I am the bread of life"

John 6:51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven."

John 8:58 "Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am."

John 18:5-6 "5 They answered him: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith to them: I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, stood with them.

6 As soon therefore as he had said to them: I am he; they went backward, and fell to the ground. "

John 18:8 "8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way."

 

I haven't read the surrounding texts but just examining the above quotes I only see Jesus referring to himself in vague theistic metaphors and implied meaning.  Where in the above scriptures does Jesus come right out and plainly say "I am God."

As far as existing before Abraham, well, every angel who was created by God could authentically make the same claim. Even Satan predates the biblical patriarchs.

Lastly, claiming to be God is not the same as proving to be God.  Apparently the Jews, both ancient and modern, were not convinced.  If even God's chosen people considered Jesus to be a fraud what does that say about J's credability ?

 

"Most people are ass holes." Jesus of Nazareth


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Additionally Jesus states in

Additionally Jesus states in Mark 10:18:

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone."

What a peculiar question Jesus poses.  And a meaningless question from someone who supposedly claims to be God.

"Most people are ass holes." Jesus of Nazareth


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totus_tuus wrote:jcgadfly

totus_tuus wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
1. Do we really know for sure that it was "spirit of God" and not "spirit of a god"? I'm not trying to be facetious here - I just don't know if there's a basis for it in the text or if it was just a leap by the authors. For all I know, they could be talking about the Canaanite deity El.

Could be the case, I suppose, I'm no expert in Hebrew.  I find it highly doubtful.

Quote:
2. That must've been why he always referred to himself as the "son of man" ( A common messianic title) and only hinted at being the son of God maybe twice.

Much more than twice.  Just looking at the "I am" statements Jesus makes using the divine name revealed by God to Moses:

 Mark 14:62, "62 And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven."

John 6:41 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven."

John 6:48 "I am the bread of life"

John 6:51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven."

John 8:58 "Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am."

John 18:5-6 "5 They answered him: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith to them: I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, stood with them.

6 As soon therefore as he had said to them: I am he; they went backward, and fell to the ground. "

John 18:8 "8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you are extending this back to when Yahweh referred to himself as I AM when talking to Moses? For all we know, he could be simply trying to back up his Messianic claim or comparing himself to Mithra (common titles).

John 18:5-6? That's a bit of a stretch. If I asked someone who they were looking for and said "<my name> of Bloomington IN" and I said "I am he", do you really think that I just called myself God?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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zarathustra wrote: I

zarathustra wrote:

 

I appreciate your response.  Yet I hope you realize that as long as this belief requires a "beyond human comprehension" escape clause, I cannot be obliged to respect the belief, much less subscribe to it myself. 

 

 

And this is where I must stop then.  I asked you specific questions because this is where we need to level.

Consider for a moment that God is real.  In this instance, if God is who he is according to Biblical scripture, he would have to be beyond human comprehension because he's a spirit being, not a human being.  Spirit beings (considering for a moment that they are real)  would by all reason of logic and common sense be beyond human comprehension because we have little or no understanding of the spirit world or spirit beings.    Does that make any sense?

I understand where you're coming from, but I have to say, if you can't respect this following because of God being beyond what you can fully comprehend, then I have to say you're wasting your time asking people what the trinity is about or basically having a spiritual or religious conversation with any believer for that matter.  The reasoning is, no matter what a believer says to you, you're always going to be stuck on God being bigger than you and you not being able to grasp that.  Therefore, there will never be progress to any of your conversations. 

Let me know if you want to go further with this


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caposkia wrote:zarathustra

caposkia wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

 

I appreciate your response.  Yet I hope you realize that as long as this belief requires a "beyond human comprehension" escape clause, I cannot be obliged to respect the belief, much less subscribe to it myself. 

 

 

And this is where I must stop then.  I asked you specific questions because this is where we need to level.

Consider for a moment that God is real.  In this instance, if God is who he is according to Biblical scripture, he would have to be beyond human comprehension because he's a spirit being, not a human being.  Spirit beings (considering for a moment that they are real)  would by all reason of logic and common sense be beyond human comprehension because we have little or no understanding of the spirit world or spirit beings.    Does that make any sense?

I understand where you're coming from, but I have to say, if you can't respect this following because of God being beyond what you can fully comprehend, then I have to say you're wasting your time asking people what the trinity is about or basically having a spiritual or religious conversation with any believer for that matter.  The reasoning is, no matter what a believer says to you, you're always going to be stuck on God being bigger than you and you not being able to grasp that.  Therefore, there will never be progress to any of your conversations. 

Let me know if you want to go further with this

So we have to believe that the Trinity is exactly as you describe because you can't adequately describe it?

Yet you KNOW it's real?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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nigelTheBold wrote:But God,

nigelTheBold wrote:
But God, being omniscient, would feel all our pain to begin with. He wouldn't have to place an incarnation down here among us to feel it. So, though he went through pain, he didn't experience anything new.

This leads back to the OP: did the Christ aspect of the trinity exist before Jesus came among us? Or, did the trinity not exist until Mary gave birth in the barn?

Man, I see why the whole trinity concept is so difficult to wrap my noggin around.

Might be over thinking this...

The "trinity" is nothing more than a human term to the concept of the 3 is 1 concept.  Jesus is still a man, being God or not.  But the idea that there has to be an absolute here seems too, well, absolute.  If he is not 100% God then how could he be God?  Because this concept of a man being God being a man has to deal with the supernatural, something I do not think any person responding to this thread will EVER be able to answer with any resolution, I think this thread might have reached the logical impasse.

That is, unless you are willing to discuss theological without looking at it as irrational.

nigelTheBold wrote:
It's the symbolism that matters, not the actual sacrifice per se.  It's not so much that Christ died for our sins, it's that God gave us an easy way out, without sticking by the rules of the OT. He could've done that in many ways, but that is the one he chose.

Or am I way off base here?

(BTW: have you read Neil Gaiman's American Gods? It's all about symbolic sacrifice. Your mention of the symbolism just reminded me of ending of that book.)

Not too far off.  Leviticus 16 goes deep into the whole what is necessary to please God as to the main atonement that was required.  The yearly reminder for the faithful was to be made aware of sins.  Now with Jesus, since HE is THE sacrifice for us, so we can not only be saved from sin but re-establish the relationship with God, the law is fulfilled.  Yes, he probably could have, but then, how effective would they have been considering how stubborn people are?  God has very specific reasons as to why he did what he did and how he went about them and those reasons are just as much of a symbol to us as they are a slap upside the head that isn't easily forgotten.  If that makes any sense I guess...

Can't say I've read that book.  Sounds interesting though.

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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jcgadfly wrote:So you are

jcgadfly wrote:
So you are extending this back to when Yahweh referred to himself as I AM when talking to Moses? For all we know, he could be simply trying to back up his Messianic claim or comparing himself to Mithra (common titles).

John 18:5-6? That's a bit of a stretch. If I asked someone who they were looking for and said "<my name> of Bloomington IN" and I said "I am he", do you really think that I just called myself God?

Isn't that a bit of a non sequitur? I mean that's not in the context of the bible, not even close.

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote:jcgadfly

razorphreak wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
So you are extending this back to when Yahweh referred to himself as I AM when talking to Moses? For all we know, he could be simply trying to back up his Messianic claim or comparing himself to Mithra (common titles).

John 18:5-6? That's a bit of a stretch. If I asked someone who they were looking for and said "<my name> of Bloomington IN" and I said "I am he", do you really think that I just called myself God?

Isn't that a bit of a non sequitur? I mean that's not in the context of the bible, not even close.

Here's the context:

John 18:1-8

1When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it.

2Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

4Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?"

5"Jesus of Nazareth," they replied.

"I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.

7Again he asked them, "Who is it you want?"
And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."

8"I told you that I am he," Jesus answered. "If you are looking for me, then let these men go." 9This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: "I have not lost one of those you gave me."[a]

Outside of the embellishment "they drew back and fell to the ground" added for dramatic effect (If they were that scared of him would they have bothered to arrest him and help beat him up?), where did I miss the context?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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jcgadfly wrote:So you are

jcgadfly wrote:
So you are extending this back to when Yahweh referred to himself as I AM when talking to Moses? For all we know, he could be simply trying to back up his Messianic claim or comparing himself to Mithra (common titles).

Yes, I am referencing God's introduction to Moses.  Of course Jesus is backing up His Messianic claim, it was one of His purposes for Incarnation.  Mithra clled himself "I am"?

Quote:
John 18:5-6? That's a bit of a stretch. If I asked someone who they were looking for and said "<my name> of Bloomington IN" and I said "I am he", do you really think that I just called myself God?

But your admission to being so and so of Bloomington, IN never knocked cops to the ground.  (BTW, if your so and so of Bllonington, IN, I'm so and so of Indianapolis, IN.  We're neighbors.)

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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caposkia wrote:Consider for

caposkia wrote:

Consider for a moment that God is real.  In this instance, if God is who he is according to Biblical scripture, he would have to be beyond human comprehension because he's a spirit being, not a human being.  Spirit beings (considering for a moment that they are real)  would by all reason of logic and common sense be beyond human comprehension because we have little or no understanding of the spirit world or spirit beings.    Does that make any sense?

What you are trying to say makes sense.  Does it make sense that I observe duplicity in your reasoning?

You make two assumptions in a row - 1)god is real, and 2)god is who he is according to scripture.  Realize that the 2nd assumption brings no clarity, as we clearly see those who subscribe to biblical scripture produce countless differing conceptions of who god is (e.g., the jw's).  You base your trinitarian belief - and your intended refutation of the jw non-trinitarian belief - on your reading scripture.  In doing so, you are claiming that the scriptural basis for the trinity is within human comprehension -- for if it wasn't, the trinitarian claim would be no stronger than the non-trinitarian.  Yet when pressed to make sense of the concept of trinity itself, you place it beyond human comprehension.  That is to say, you make place value on human comprehension as far as it supports your argument, but abandon it as soon as it detracts.

caposkia wrote:
  The reasoning is, no matter what a believer says to you, you're always going to be stuck on God being bigger than you and you not being able to grasp that.  Therefore, there will never be progress to any of your conversations.

I agree.  If I cannot make sense of it, and am expected to put any apparent contradictions out of mind, I will certainly not progress towards understanding said belief, much less accepting it as my own.  I would ask though, is there anything a jw or other non-trinitarian could say to you that would dissuade you from your own belief -- particularly when you cannot intelligibly represent that belief?


 

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totus_tuus wrote:jcgadfly

totus_tuus wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
So you are extending this back to when Yahweh referred to himself as I AM when talking to Moses? For all we know, he could be simply trying to back up his Messianic claim or comparing himself to Mithra (common titles).

Yes, I am referencing God's introduction to Moses.  Of course Jesus is backing up His Messianic claim, it was one of His purposes for Incarnation.  Mithra clled himself "I am"?

Quote:
John 18:5-6? That's a bit of a stretch. If I asked someone who they were looking for and said "<my name> of Bloomington IN" and I said "I am he", do you really think that I just called myself God?

But your admission to being so and so of Bloomington, IN never knocked cops to the ground.  (BTW, if your so and so of Bllonington, IN, I'm so and so of Indianapolis, IN.  We're neighbors.)

 

First, I was referencing when Jesys called himself "the light of the world", "the good shepherd", "the way, the truth and the life", etc. Those were also terms for Mithra. Otherwise, everyone who ansers "are you...? with "I am" is calling himself God.

Second, if just his mentioning "I am He" was enough to push people back and knock them down, no one should ever have gotten close enough to arrest him. Human nature would've said "Screw this, I'm not messing with him". As that didn't happen (the story says he was arrested), I say that the pushing people back and knocking them to the ground was added for effect and not because it was factual.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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razorphreak wrote:Might be

razorphreak wrote:

Might be over thinking this...

The "trinity" is nothing more than a human term to the concept of the 3 is 1 concept.  Jesus is still a man, being God or not.  But the idea that there has to be an absolute here seems too, well, absolute.  If he is not 100% God then how could he be God?  Because this concept of a man being God being a man has to deal with the supernatural, something I do not think any person responding to this thread will EVER be able to answer with any resolution, I think this thread might have reached the logical impasse.

That is, unless you are willing to discuss theological without looking at it as irrational.

I'm not sure I can discuss theology without assuming its irrationality. I can discuss it rationally, but I'm afraid I will always view theology as an irrational concept.

I agree about the lack of resolution concerning the supernatural. That's always been one of my "What if...?" scenarios. What if God did exist? How could we, mortal and limited, understand even one teensy bit about God? So any discussion of God would naturally be fundamentally irrational, as we grapple with the concept of a Being so far above us, He creates universes and holds them in His mind at all times.

Thanks for taking the time to help clarify the Crucifixion, though. I'm still not completely satisfied about the internal consistency of it all, but I think you are likely correct in saying we may never fully understand.

 

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold wrote:I'm not

nigelTheBold wrote:
I'm not sure I can discuss theology without assuming its irrationality. I can discuss it rationally, but I'm afraid I will always view theology as an irrational concept.

But can you consider what I SAY as rational?  If you think of theology as irrational, does that mean you think of me as irrational?

nigelTheBold wrote:
I agree about the lack of resolution concerning the supernatural. That's always been one of my "What if...?" scenarios. What if God did exist? How could we, mortal and limited, understand even one teensy bit about God? So any discussion of God would naturally be fundamentally irrational, as we grapple with the concept of a Being so far above us, He creates universes and holds them in His mind at all times.

To talk theory is not irrational.  You might not subscribe what is being discussed but that does not make it any less valid as a possible line of thought.  That's why there is a thing called reason that should be common.

 

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote:But can

razorphreak wrote:

But can you consider what I SAY as rational?  If you think of theology as irrational, does that mean you think of me as irrational?

I'd have to take each statement on a case-by-case basis, just as I try to do with any statement.

I certainly don't think of you as irrational. (Net yet, anyway. Smiling ) We all hold irrational beliefs. Me, I believe we'll make it off this rock one day, and settle out among the planets, and then the stars. That's highly irrational, considering the likelihood that we'll end up killing ourselves first. Yet I truly believe we will do that. It's more than just hope. I am certain of it. Yes, I admit the possibility it won't happen. But I know it will. That's why it's irrational of me.

Quote:

To talk theory is not irrational.  You might not subscribe what is being discussed but that does not make it any less valid as a possible line of thought.  That's why there is a thing called reason that should be common.

Absolutely! So far I have truly enjoyed the conversation. And I do enjoy learning about religion.

Of course, that doesn't mean a whole lot. I also enjoy learning about UFOs, conspiracy theories, bigfoot, and past life regression. Human belief is amazing in all its myriad expressions.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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zarathustra wrote:What you

zarathustra wrote:

What you are trying to say makes sense.  Does it make sense that I observe duplicity in your reasoning?

I understand exactly where you're coming from.  This is why I'm trying to explain it as clearly as I can and in the way that I am.

zarathustra wrote:

You make two assumptions in a row - 1)god is real, and 2)god is who he is according to scripture. 

I believe God is real, and I'm trying to distinguish between a religious understanding of God and what the Bible says about him.  I use the 2nd reasoning because if I don't I get endless posts about who God is and the issues people have with certain religions views etc.  Just brings us way off topic. 

zarathustra wrote:

You base your trinitarian belief - and your intended refutation of the jw non-trinitarian belief - on your reading scripture.  In doing so, you are claiming that the scriptural basis for the trinity is within human comprehension -- for if it wasn't, the trinitarian claim would be no stronger than the non-trinitarian. 

yup

zarathustra wrote:

Yet when pressed to make sense of the concept of trinity itself, you place it beyond human comprehension.  That is to say, you make place value on human comprehension as far as it supports your argument, but abandon it as soon as it detracts.

huh???

The only thing I've placed beyond human comprehension is the spirit world, which logically would be.  The concept itself is in scripture and in my understanding is pretty clear. 

It's trying to understand how one being can posess more than one person.  Would you say that IS within your understanding?

zarathustra wrote:

I agree.  If I cannot make sense of it, and am expected to put any apparent contradictions out of mind, I will certainly not progress towards understanding said belief, much less accepting it as my own.  I would ask though, is there anything a jw or other non-trinitarian could say to you that would dissuade you from your own belief -- particularly when you cannot intelligibly represent that belief?

That's a tough question to give a strait yes or no answer to.  Let me try to explain myself here.  this is not a cop out.

I have always told everyone that I am open to any contradictory information they want to bring to me.  I've told them too that I will always consider everything brought to my attention.  I always challenge my understanding because I know that if God is really NOT real, then there will be information out there that will show me this. 

So far, every bit of "conclusive" information against my belief and understanding of God's existance has thus only reaffirmed my belief in God.  

Because I have yet to see any information what so ever that gives me even a remote indication that God might not be real, I will say no to your question. 

However, if God is not real, then I will say yes to your question because there would have to be information out there that would prove it. This information would also have to explain logically how all these spiritual happenings really occurred.  I'm talking about the relationship I have built and His work in my life.  To a believer, he is active.  The believers also see dramatic changes in their lives that they don't promote when they find God. 

 


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jcgadfly wrote:So we have to

jcgadfly wrote:

So we have to believe that the Trinity is exactly as you describe because you can't adequately describe it? Yet you KNOW it's real?

Who said you have to believe anything?  I'm not here to tell you what you have to believe.

I'm sorry also if I can't adequately describe the trinity for you.  Can you explain it better for me?

Also, you act as if the trinity idea is the foundation of my understanding of God.  The foundation of my understanding of God comes from the relationship I've built with him. 

note:  I can't explain how ball lightning works, but I know it happens.  Just because one can't fully explain something doesn't mean it's not there.  Otherwise, can you tell me where the universe ends? or if you don't believe in a universe that ends, how do we know that it just keeps going?  Is it because we haven't seen the end maybe? 


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caposkia wrote:jcgadfly

caposkia wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

So we have to believe that the Trinity is exactly as you describe because you can't adequately describe it? Yet you KNOW it's real?

Who said you have to believe anything?  I'm not here to tell you what you have to believe.

I'm sorry also if I can't adequately describe the trinity for you.  Can you explain it better for me?

Also, you act as if the trinity idea is the foundation of my understanding of God.  The foundation of my understanding of God comes from the relationship I've built with him. 

note:  I can't explain how ball lightning works, but I know it happens.  Just because one can't fully explain something doesn't mean it's not there.  Otherwise, can you tell me where the universe ends? or if you don't believe in a universe that ends, how do we know that it just keeps going?  Is it because we haven't seen the end maybe? 

Apologies. I meant no offense.

There seems to be a lot of "you have to believe before you can believe" stuff flying around here. Yours read like "I can't describe it so it must be true".

I'm glad your relationship with God formed your understanding. How did you make the jump from one God to three? Do you have an equal relationship with each or do they take shifts?

There's a lot of stuff we don't know yet. I'm just not ready to make the leap of "I don't know so God"

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


totus_tuus
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ProzacDeathWish wrote:I

ProzacDeathWish wrote:
I haven't read the surrounding texts but just examining the above quotes I only see Jesus referring to himself in vague theistic metaphors and implied meaning.  Where in the above scriptures does Jesus come right out and plainly say "I am God."

See Exodus 2:13-15.  I AM is the explicit name of God revealed to Moses.  The most expilicit claim Jesus Makes in the cites I provided is John 8:58 "...before Abraham was, I am."  Not "I was", but "I am".  Immediately after which, the Jews picked up stones to kill him.  He apparently did something in the course of this exchange to offend Jewish sensibilities, and this was that he had blasphemed.

In the citations from John 18, where the soldiers confront Jesus in the garden, the Greek words used for Jesus' reply are "ego eimi", in English simply "I am".  The pronoun "he" is added in translation to make the sentences gramtically correct in English.  Something in his utterance of these words is powerful enough to send these men to the ground.  I don't think it's their sudden realization the he's a Nazarene that does so, but, rather, it is the power of God pronouncing His own name that does so.

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As far as existing before Abraham, well, every angel who was created by God could authentically make the same claim. Even Satan predates the biblical patriarchs.

Quite true.  To which an angel would have had to respond that "Before Abraham was, I was", since none of the angels would be named "I am".

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Lastly, claiming to be God is not the same as proving to be God.  Apparently the Jews, both ancient and modern, were not convinced.  If even God's chosen people considered Jesus to be a fraud what does that say about J's credability ?

That's what all the miracles were about, that's what the Ressurection is about.  Remember, too, that God's chosen people had strayed before.  There's that whole thing about the golden calf in the desert.  In fact, the Old Testament is riven with stories of apostasy. 

 

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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ProzacDeathWish wrote:"Why

ProzacDeathWish wrote:
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone."

What a peculiar question Jesus poses.  And a meaningless question from someone who supposedly claims to be God.

Just my take, but I think Jesus asks this question with a wink.  The implication being that the man knows full well the identity of Jesus already.

Just so y'all know, this thread's doin something wierd.  I can read the subject line of JCGadfly's post, but then it cuts off and I can't see anything more.  I'm gonna log out and log back in to see if it unf--ks itself.  Just want you to know I'm not dodging y'all.

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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jcgadfly wrote:Apologies. I

jcgadfly wrote:

Apologies. I meant no offense.

There seems to be a lot of "you have to believe before you can believe" stuff flying around here. Yours read like "I can't describe it so it must be true".

I'm glad your relationship with God formed your understanding. How did you make the jump from one God to three? Do you have an equal relationship with each or do they take shifts?

There's a lot of stuff we don't know yet. I'm just not ready to make the leap of "I don't know so God"

I didn't mean my response to come across in that way.   I did not take any offense.  I just wanted to clarify before we fell into a tangent.   Many people I talk to try to claim that if it's not completely explainable, then it doesn't exist.  I just wanted to squash that assumption before it started.  I see now that the understanding there is not the issue.  Sorry about that.

"you have to believe before you can believe"

uh... I wouldn't say that.  Obviously no one is going to accept something that's not real.  Therefore, all believers understand God to be real.  Each person will have a unique explanation on why they believe.  Some say it's something they grew up with.  Others will claim to have had siginificant unexplainable happenings in their lives and that helped them understand the spiritual world.  Others will claim they found God in history/science.   Mine's a little bit of each.

You do have to believe before you can accept the gift of Jesus.  Otherwise, what are you accepting?  But believing comes in different ways to different people.  I guess I should ask what you'd be looking for in order to believe.  It seems to me explanations may not be the answer for you. 

"I can't describe it so it must be true"

Absolutely not.  I have described the Trinity in the best way I know how.  What one has to accept when trying to "understand" YHWH is that he is larger than we can comprehend.  Not that he's out of reach, He's just more than we can handle or understand in human form.   This is because we can't comprehend anything beyond anything we currently comprehend. 

I'm sorry if that's how I've been coming across. 

You talk about taking a leap.  yea, I know accepting Jesus and following Him is quite a life changing experience... but... I'm wondering what kind of leap you're talking about.  If you're thinking that by accepting Jesus, it would mean you'd suddenly have to become a regular church attendee and empty your wallet each Sunday and scream in peoples faces to repent or burn then you're dead wrong. 

Accepting Jesus is something you do in your heart.  Following Him is what you actively do because of the acceptance you have done in your heart.  Your life will change, but only how you will let it change.  If you're worried about the name, you don't even have to call yourself a Christian.  You can say simply that you follow Jesus Christ. 

the jump from one God to three...

ok, I must have really misrepresented myself.  I never made any jump from one to 3.  there is one God.  Then there is God's son.  NOT God, but God's son.  Many Christians will say he is God because he is equal to God, but literally he is not, he is the Son of God.  The humanistic comprehension and reasoning for calling him God is that he is everything God is, therefore he is God.  For the sake of our conversation, he is literally God's son.  Equal with God in every way, but still a separate person all together. 

For all those who call Jesus God, they have to call the Holy Spirit God because that Spirit is also equal with God in every way.  Again, everything God is, therefore they call the Holy Spirit God, though he's not God.  He again is a separate person. 

Humans say they all must be God because all we know in our world is there is nothing that is exactly the same, therefore anything that is, is that particular thing and none other.  Do you see where the communication breakdown is? 

Let's not lose site of your position.  The most important thing to understand is the sacrifice made for you.  This whole trinity idea is something that will become clearer when you build a relationship with God. 

If you're thinking you need to know God inside and out in order to start a relationship with him, you're wrong.  It's really an acceptance first.  You don't need to even tell anyone you're seeking God.  You do this on your own. 

Every cult or religion in the world will tell you you have to do this and that, register here.  Confirm with these people.  I'm telling you, without telling anyone, you can accept Christ and become a follower.   People will find out because of the life you lead.  When you follow Christ, your actions will change.  Eventually, you will be openly expressing your faith to people, but only because you want to. 

So, what's the major dive on your part then, if you don't even have to tell a single person you're persuing a relationship with Jesus? 

 

 

 


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caposkia wrote:jcgadfly

caposkia wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Apologies. I meant no offense.

There seems to be a lot of "you have to believe before you can believe" stuff flying around here. Yours read like "I can't describe it so it must be true".

I'm glad your relationship with God formed your understanding. How did you make the jump from one God to three? Do you have an equal relationship with each or do they take shifts?

There's a lot of stuff we don't know yet. I'm just not ready to make the leap of "I don't know so God"

I didn't mean my response to come across in that way.   I did not take any offense.  I just wanted to clarify before we fell into a tangent.   Many people I talk to try to claim that if it's not completely explainable, then it doesn't exist.  I just wanted to squash that assumption before it started.  I see now that the understanding there is not the issue.  Sorry about that.

"you have to believe before you can believe"

uh... I wouldn't say that.  Obviously no one is going to accept something that's not real.  Therefore, all believers understand God to be real.  Each person will have a unique explanation on why they believe.  Some say it's something they grew up with.  Others will claim to have had siginificant unexplainable happenings in their lives and that helped them understand the spiritual world.  Others will claim they found God in history/science.   Mine's a little bit of each.

You do have to believe before you can accept the gift of Jesus.  Otherwise, what are you accepting?  But believing comes in different ways to different people.  I guess I should ask what you'd be looking for in order to believe.  It seems to me explanations may not be the answer for you. 

"I can't describe it so it must be true"

Absolutely not.  I have described the Trinity in the best way I know how.  What one has to accept when trying to "understand" YHWH is that he is larger than we can comprehend.  Not that he's out of reach, He's just more than we can handle or understand in human form.   This is because we can't comprehend anything beyond anything we currently comprehend. 

I'm sorry if that's how I've been coming across. 

You talk about taking a leap.  yea, I know accepting Jesus and following Him is quite a life changing experience... but... I'm wondering what kind of leap you're talking about.  If you're thinking that by accepting Jesus, it would mean you'd suddenly have to become a regular church attendee and empty your wallet each Sunday and scream in peoples faces to repent or burn then you're dead wrong. 

Accepting Jesus is something you do in your heart.  Following Him is what you actively do because of the acceptance you have done in your heart.  Your life will change, but only how you will let it change.  If you're worried about the name, you don't even have to call yourself a Christian.  You can say simply that you follow Jesus Christ. 

the jump from one God to three...

ok, I must have really misrepresented myself.  I never made any jump from one to 3.  there is one God.  Then there is God's son.  NOT God, but God's son.  Many Christians will say he is God because he is equal to God, but literally he is not, he is the Son of God.  The humanistic comprehension and reasoning for calling him God is that he is everything God is, therefore he is God.  For the sake of our conversation, he is literally God's son.  Equal with God in every way, but still a separate person all together. 

For all those who call Jesus God, they have to call the Holy Spirit God because that Spirit is also equal with God in every way.  Again, everything God is, therefore they call the Holy Spirit God, though he's not God.  He again is a separate person. 

Humans say they all must be God because all we know in our world is there is nothing that is exactly the same, therefore anything that is, is that particular thing and none other.  Do you see where the communication breakdown is? 

Let's not lose site of your position.  The most important thing to understand is the sacrifice made for you.  This whole trinity idea is something that will become clearer when you build a relationship with God. 

If you're thinking you need to know God inside and out in order to start a relationship with him, you're wrong.  It's really an acceptance first.  You don't need to even tell anyone you're seeking God.  You do this on your own. 

Every cult or religion in the world will tell you you have to do this and that, register here.  Confirm with these people.  I'm telling you, without telling anyone, you can accept Christ and become a follower.   People will find out because of the life you lead.  When you follow Christ, your actions will change.  Eventually, you will be openly expressing your faith to people, but only because you want to. 

So, what's the major dive on your part then, if you don't even have to tell a single person you're persuing a relationship with Jesus? 

 

 

 

A few questions.

1. Belief in God is relative to the believer? So much for theism being based on absolutes.

2. How can two things be equal in every way yet not identical (Jesus is equal in every way to God but he is not God)? Seems like a violation of a basic principle.

3. If you are already a good law-abiding person, chances are, a relationship with Jesus won't change you all that much. Like the song says, "Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't, didn't already have".

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


caposkia
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jcgadfly wrote: A few

jcgadfly wrote:
A few questions.

1. Belief in God is relative to the believer? So much for theism being based on absolutes.

I'm not sure if I get what you're saying here.  There are absolutes.  You can't make God your own.  You still can only be redeemed through Christ no matter what you want to believe.  (understanding of course that the truth is the Christian God). 

The point was you don't have to sign a contract or go through a pledge and commit yourself to a church.  Your acceptance of Christ is in your heart and in your heart alone.  Everything else spins off of that.  It's between you and God. 

In other words, no one is trying to tally up the numbers on how many people they got to follow their belief.  It's not going to change my life any if you decide to follow Christ and tell me about it.  It really won't matter if you accept Christ and don't tell me about it and I'm not going to lose sleep if you don't accept Christ.  My hope of course is that you will because I believe in this God and understanding the gift of life He has given us, I want you to understand His love for you as well. 

jcgadfly wrote:

2. How can two things be equal in every way yet not identical (Jesus is equal in every way to God but he is not God)? Seems like a violation of a basic principle.

This is not something we can humanly comprehend.  the basic principal is based upon standards that we fully understand.   In our minds, nothing can be equal in the most literal sense without being that thing itself; just like nothing can last forever or has always been here.  Yet we have many non-believers out there that believe in an eternal universe.   If you can understand a spiritual world, you can understand that there are happenings beyond our own explanations. 

I should clarify though that the point is Jesus is not God.  He is equal to God in the point that everything God has done has been through and with the help of Jesus.  Our only way to God is through Jesus.  Jesus cannot hold such a prestigious role unless he has such an equality with God.  Either that or he'd have to be more powerful, which isn't the case. 

Jesus' role is the gateway to God.  He is the way for us, the truth for us and the life for us.  yes, that's Biblical.  But the point is it's all through Jesus.  In a hierarchal point of view, Jesus is the Prince, God is the King.  God has the ultimate say.  Be it that they're equal, there is no hierarchal struggle for power or power over another, they work completely cooperatively with each other. 

jcgadfly wrote:

3. If you are already a good law-abiding person, chances are, a relationship with Jesus won't change you all that much. Like the song says, "Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't, didn't already have".

I see what you're saying, but no one is perfect.  This becomes an evangelists favorite tool, but I'll try not to be annoying about it. 

Sure, people can say "I'm a good person" because they've never gotten a ticket or been to jail.  Though the question also is proposed as how much have they gotten away with. 

Secondly, it's God's laws that are the ultimate rule (again assuming the Christian God is the truth).  According to God's standards, everyone falls short.  You basically compare yourself to the 10 commandments.  ah yes, those. 

But let's for example even take away all the "God" commandments and just keep the general social commandments.  Statistically, 99% of the people in the world cannot say that they've never lied or stolen anything, even something small.   yea, I've lied countless times in my life, and I do remember stealing a few unimportant things when I was younger.... It was still stealing however.  In a court of law, I'm guilty. 

If you do somehow squeeze by these, my first response would probably be have you forgotten, if not, then you have to consider if you've ever lusted after someone which is adultery in your heart according to God and love your neighbor as yourself among other things.  It's basically impossible to find someone who has actually not broken at least one of the aforementioned even once in their lives.   It's very hard to love even the annoying neighbors as you love yourself.  Especially in such a vain world. 

Quote:

As far as roles go for the three, maybe this will help.  I was thinking about it.

God is the head, he is God, the almighty.  The big Cheese

Jesus is the gateway.  Our way to God, our redemption from all the wrongs we have done in our lives so that we find favor in God's eyes.

The Holy Spirit is our helper.  He is the one that helps us do the work we need to do in this world for God's purpose. 

Notice it always goes back to God.  It's not for Jesus, it's not for the Holy Spirit, they just work in cooperation with God. 

They are each still in equality and are able to be so because none is trying to trump the other or take the power of the other.  They work in the most literal sense of the phrase "in complete cooperation". 

I don't know if that helped at all, but it was a different approach to what I was trying to explain before.


ProzacDeathWish
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totus_tuus

totus_tuus wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone."

Just my take, but I think Jesus asks this question with a wink.  The implication being that the man knows full well the identity of Jesus already.

 

 

You "think" Jesus asks this question with a wink ?  Is there anything in the text to indicate this ?

"Most people are ass holes." Jesus of Nazareth