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Bible Study Trinity

StoveBolts

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I thought a good study on the Trinity would be a nice thing. I'd like to stay away from metaphors such as water has three states
1. liquid
2. ice
3. vapor
The thing about these pictures, is that it puts the attention on the noun, not the verb.
Since this is the Bible Study Forum, we should also look at what the Bible says, and build a picture from there.

To start, we need to know what God is.
1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
If we look at love in the verb sense, Dictionary.com says, like very much; find pleasure in

If we look at the original word for God, it's an ancient Sumarian word Elohim, which is plural. Lets look at this in context.
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD (YHVH) our God (Elohim) is one (echad) LORD (YHVH):

You may have noticed this word one (echad). Note, this does not denote a singularity numeric value that you would find in accounting etc. It's essentially "oneness", let me explain.
Remember way back in Creation when Eve was made.. guess what we find, yup, echad :)
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one (echad) flesh.

I don't think anyone would dispute that Adam and Eve were two separate individuals, yet not only were they "one", but it is why we leave our mothers and fathers to be one with our spouse.

So lets talk about this for a moment. Within the context of creation, what we see is perfect harmony, so we can understand that the idea of oneness is a picture of perfect harmony.

When we think about the idea of Trinity, what we see is a picture of perfect harmony. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three in perfect harmony. Oneness. From this perspective, we see that the idea of Elohim, which is plural is actually a very accurate term.

Let's get back to that love thing. You know, God is Love. What kind of Love? How about a Fathers love? Check this out, this is pretty cool. It's packed pretty tight, and it's easy to miss the depth here. Remember when Jesus is praying for us? He says a lot of cool things, but check this out.

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

First, we see that Jesus was around before the foundation of the world, that is, before creation. Second, he calls God Father and elsewhere, Jesus is called the Son of God. And what is God doing before creation? He is loving his Son.

This is an important picture, because many don't know what a loving father looks like and it might be hard for some people to understand what it's like to be loved by their Father. We could talk lots on this, and maybe we will at a later time.

Lets look at what the Hebrew writer says about Jesus.

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

I liked what Gregory of Nicea said about this verse. (I think that's who said this). It was something to this effect and if anyone want's to look it up and post, that would be great. Where does a lamp go where it's light is not present for the light even illuminates the lamp. And at what point did God not have Glory? Thus, Jesus was always with the Father.
In essence, we see who the LORD is through His son Jesus.

I sure hope I can finish this study, there is so much to say it feels like we just got started.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and additions here and when I get the time, I'll try and post some more.

Enjoy, be blessed, encouraged and grow in the Lord!
 
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thanks for this. The Trinity is something I kind of just rolled with, largely because it goes with the "Christian Worldview" I'm trying to develop, but I have never done intensive review of -why- The Trinity is such a big deal within Christendom, so...thanks, again. :)
 

Jim Parker

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I thought a good study on the Trinity would be a nice thing. I'd like to stay away from metaphors such as water has three states
1. liquid
2. ice
3. vapor
The thing about these pictures, is that it puts the attention on the noun, not the verb.
Since this is the Bible Study Forum, we should also look at what the Bible says, and build a picture from there.

To start, we need to know what God is.
1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
If we look at love in the verb sense, Dictionary.com says, like very much; find pleasure in

If we look at the original word for God, it's an ancient Sumarian word Elohim, which is plural. Lets look at this in context.
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD (YHVH) our God (Elohim) is one (echad) LORD (YHVH):

You may have noticed this word one (echad). Note, this does not denote a singularity numeric value that you would find in accounting etc. It's essentially "oneness", let me explain.
Remember way back in Creation when Eve was made.. guess what we find, yup, echad :)
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one (echad) flesh.

I don't think anyone would dispute that Adam and Eve were two separate individuals, yet not only were they "one", but it is why we leave our mothers and fathers to be one with our spouse.

So lets talk about this for a moment. Within the context of creation, what we see is perfect harmony, so we can understand that the idea of oneness is a picture of perfect harmony.

When we think about the idea of Trinity, what we see is a picture of perfect harmony. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three in perfect harmony. Oneness. From this perspective, we see that the idea of Elohim, which is plural is actually a very accurate term.

Let's get back to that love thing. You know, God is Love. What kind of Love? How about a Fathers love? Check this out, this is pretty cool. It's packed pretty tight, and it's easy to miss the depth here. Remember when Jesus is praying for us? He says a lot of cool things, but check this out.

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

First, we see that Jesus was around before the foundation of the world, that is, before creation. Second, he calls God Father and elsewhere, Jesus is called the Son of God. And what is God doing before creation? He is loving his Son.

This is an important picture, because many don't know what a loving father looks like and it might be hard for some people to understand what it's like to be loved by their Father. We could talk lots on this, and maybe we will at a later time.

Lets look at what the Hebrew writer says about Jesus.

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

I liked what Gregory of Nicea said about this verse. (I think that's who said this). It was something to this effect and if anyone want's to look it up and post, that would be great. Where does a lamp go where it's light is not present for the light even illuminates the lamp. And at what point did God not have Glory? Thus, Jesus was always with the Father.
In essence, we see who the LORD is through His son Jesus.

I sure hope I can finish this study, there is so much to say it feels like we just got started.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and additions here and when I get the time, I'll try and post some more.

Enjoy, be blessed, encouraged and grow in the Lord!
Saint Patric trying to explain the Trinity
 

Jim Parker

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To start, we need to know what God is.
And there we encounter our first impassible roadblock.
We cannot fully know what God is; only little bits.
He is way, way, WAY, beyond our ability to grasp.
Kinda like trying to put the Pacific ocean into your coffee cup.
If we look at the original word for God, it's an ancient Sumarian word Elohim, which is plural.
A Hebrew plural can also refer to the greatness, enormity or immeasurable vastness of the subject and all of its attributes.

my 2 kopecks

iakov the fool
 

Free

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I thought a good study on the Trinity would be a nice thing. I'd like to stay away from metaphors such as water has three states
1. liquid
2. ice
3. vapor
The thing about these pictures, is that it puts the attention on the noun, not the verb.
And yet, God is a being. It's probably best to not reduce him to a verb, to just one of his many attributes.

Since this is the Bible Study Forum, we should also look at what the Bible says, and build a picture from there.

To start, we need to know what God is.
1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
If we look at love in the verb sense, Dictionary.com says, like very much; find pleasure in
The Bible uses at least three different Greek words for "love". In this case, it is agape--"1) brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence" (Thayer's).

The idea that love is an essential aspect of God's nature, seems to be lost on those who deny the Trinity. Love is something that is necessarily shown towards another. This can only be explained by the Trinity. Both Oneness/Modalism and those who teach the Son as a creature, cannot account for "God is love".
 

StoveBolts

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thanks for this. The Trinity is something I kind of just rolled with, largely because it goes with the "Christian Worldview" I'm trying to develop, but I have never done intensive review of -why- The Trinity is such a big deal within Christendom, so...thanks, again. :)
Then I welcome you to this thread.
Before I continue, I feel I have to explain what I am not teaching, as not to be misunderstood.
It's sad, but I learned when I first started teaching that those who dwell in criticism never hear what you are saying, but rather hear what they want to as to devour you, or hedge that you are not teaching heresy.

I do not teach using expressions as liquid, Ice and vapor for that is modalism. That is to say God has moods, and at any given time you are simply dealing with one of his moods.

By oneness, I am not equating that to a numericle number. I am equating it with perfect harmony. And how can harmony occur in the singular tense? That would be isolation.

God is love, and he is a Father. He was a Father before the creation of the world, and he was loving his Son. We will get to the Holy Spirit later.

If God is eternal love, then there has always been an eternal son for with nothing to love, we can only love ourselves, and we do not call that love rather, we call that selfishness.
 

for_his_glory

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We can know who God truly is through Jesuswho has always been the arm of God. By comparing all these scriptures what you see in Jesus is what you see in God as who is the "I Am".

Exodus 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto

John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

John 4: 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The Spirit that indwells us is God in us by His Spirit. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all one that is God.
 

StoveBolts

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And there we encounter our first impassible roadblock.
We cannot fully know what God is; only little bits.
He is way, way, WAY, beyond our ability to grasp.
Kinda like trying to put the Pacific ocean into your coffee cup.
While we will never fully realize what God is, we can get a glimpse through Holy Scripture.
The text I quoted was simply this. God is love, but regardless if we will ever be able to fully comprehend this, God remains love.

Most people look at God formost as creator. But this is actually secondary. We have to start with Jesus, and what he says in John 17. He says he has a Father who loved Him before the creation of the world.

So we see that Gods identity is rooted in being a Father, but not any Father. He is a loving Father who is in perfect harmony with His Son.

As I stated earlier, the Son has always been with the Father, and the two are separate, yet remain as one through their perfect harmony. We may not fully comprehend this, but it gives us a picture to look at.

Love emanates outward. It is not self seeking.


A Hebrew plural can also refer to the greatness, enormity or immeasurable vastness of the subject and all of its attributes.

my 2 kopecks

iakov the fool
While that may be true, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not attributes of God and the shield of the Trinity can cause much confusion at first glance.

Ironically, Elohim is not of Hebrew origin, but rather it was a title for the head of the Pantheon. You can read many Akkadian myths with this word where the head, El, reigned above his council.

YHVH (LORD) is the head, but let's not think that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are two additional Gods that make up the trinity as we see in the ANE texts as some have mistaken.

This really drives at the heart of what I've said above. ANE gods created so that they themselves would be served because of spending eternity alone. How pitiful that a God's love would be so dependent upon his creation to even exist.

But our God is Love, and he is Eternal love for He has always been in harmony with the Eternal Son and the Eternal Holy Spirit.

But as you see, the plurality of the word will suffice nicely.
 

Jim Parker

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While we will never fully realize what God is, we can get a glimpse through Holy Scripture.
Yes.
Deut 29:29 The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

But as you see, the plurality of the word will suffice nicely.
YEs again.

good post
 

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While we will never fully realize what God is, we can get a glimpse through Holy Scripture.
The text I quoted was simply this. God is love, but regardless if we will ever be able to fully comprehend this, God remains love.

Most people look at God formost as creator. But this is actually secondary. We have to start with Jesus, and what he says in John 17. He says he has a Father who loved Him before the creation of the world.

So we see that Gods identity is rooted in being a Father, but not any Father. He is a loving Father who is in perfect harmony with His Son.

As I stated earlier, the Son has always been with the Father, and the two are separate, yet remain as one through their perfect harmony. We may not fully comprehend this, but it gives us a picture to look at.

Love emanates outward. It is not self seeking.



While that may be true, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not attributes of God and the shield of the Trinity can cause much confusion at first glance.

Ironically, Elohim is not of Hebrew origin, but rather it was a title for the head of the Pantheon. You can read many Akkadian myths with this word where the head, El, reigned above his council.

YHVH (LORD) is the head, but let's not think that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are two additional Gods that make up the trinity as we see in the ANE texts as some have mistaken.

This really drives at the heart of what I've said above. ANE gods created so that they themselves would be served because of spending eternity alone. How pitiful that a God's love would be so dependent upon his creation to even exist.

But our God is Love, and he is Eternal love for He has always been in harmony with the Eternal Son and the Eternal Holy Spirit.

But as you see, the plurality of the word will suffice nicely.
Three separate persons but united in everything... especially love.

Isn't this a form of polytheism?
 

StoveBolts

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Three separate persons but united in everything... especially love.

Isn't this a form of polytheism?
I tried to make that distinction to Jim in my above post. Our God isn't three separate Gods, but one eternal God.

It comes back to love. Free posted Thayers version of love for 1John 4:8

agape--"1) brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence" (Thayer's).

This lines up perfectly the verb love, find pleasure in

With polytheism, the head is the creator, and he creates because he does not choose to live eternity in solidarity for in solidariry, their is nothing in which to delight except oneself.

To love then, would be dependent upon creation because it is an inward love, and not an outward love.

We ask the question, where did God come from. The best we can say is he has always been. But we can say that scripture tells us that before creation, he was a Father loving his Son. God is Love, and that love of a Father. At what point was God not a Father for we know the Son was not created.

That's about the best I know how to distinguish the difference. If you have something to add, I'd appreciate the thoughts.

This brings us to the Holy Spirit, which we see hovering over the waters in Genesis 1... but I have run out of time.

Grace and peace Brother.
 
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Jim Parker

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While we will never fully realize what God is, we can get a glimpse through Holy Scripture.
Right.
I was just adding a footnote.
But as you see, the plurality of the word will suffice nicely.
Absolutely.
Thanks for the insights into the ancient language.

iakov the fool
 

StoveBolts

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Right.
I was just adding a footnote.

Absolutely.
Thanks for the insights into the ancient language.

iakov the fool
And it was a great footnote. I like the Orthodox view for many reasons, and one of them is just what was expressed in your footnote.
While I'm no scholar, I got hooked into the Ancient Near Eastern texts when I was taking an OT Theology class many years ago. Our professor was a great teacher and impressed upon the class the value of understanding the ancient culture. I still find myself opening up that big ole book and reading the ancient stories, myths, history, etc.
Anyway, that was just a side note.
 

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The Holy Spirit
If we go back to Genesis 1, we see God's spirit hovering over the water.

Genesis 1:2-3 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
This same word for God's Spirit is also found in Genesis 6.

Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
Genesis 6:17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

We can see here that God's Spirit is the breath of all life and the Spirit appears as the power by which God's words go out. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the power in which God's Word goes out.

Looking back at Genesis 1, we can easily make a connection with Jesus.
First, we see the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus at his baptism with a voice from heaven says, "This is my son, whom I am well pleased". Mt 3:16-17

John puts it like this.
John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Paul puts it like this.
Colossians 1:12-19 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

And this same Holy Spirit works within us.
Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
 

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By oneness, I am not equating that to a numericle number. I am equating it with perfect harmony.
Isn't this a form of polytheism?
Could we say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit having oneness, as in perfect harmony/unity of purpose, etc. in all things, is just the opposite of polytheism which does not have unity between the gods/goddesses even within one belief system? Within polythesic religions different deities do not have unity of purpose, rituals, or even religion and we find what Paul cautioned against. One says, I serve Zeus, another says, I serve Athena, I serve Hermes, etc.
 

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Could we say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit having oneness, as in perfect harmony/unity of purpose, etc. in all things, is just the opposite of polytheism which does not have unity between the gods/goddesses even within one belief system? Within polythesic religions different deities do not have unity of purpose, rituals, or even religion and we find what Paul cautioned against. One says, I serve Zeus, another says, I serve Athena, I serve Hermes, etc.
That is a great way to put it in perspective! I didn't even think of it like that, but your right.
Another observation is this. Regardless of where the pantheon originated, they were always warring with one another.

At least Marduk was honest. They needed humanity to do the work...
http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/CS/CSMarduk.html
 
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Deborah13

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That is a great way to put it in perspective! I didn't even think of it like that, but your right.
Another observation is this. Regardless of where the pantheon originated, they were always warring with one another.

At least Marduk was honest. They needed humanity to do the work...
http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/CS/CSMarduk.html
That's quite a story. Something I noticed, it may not mean anything but this is Babylonian, Marduk/Bel, and in the OT Molech/Baal. Could it be the same pagan god just a Hebrew version of the name?
 

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That's quite a story. Something I noticed, it may not mean anything but this is Babylonian, Marduk/Bel, and in the OT Molech/Baal. Could it be the same pagan god just a Hebrew version of the name?
No... usually not even close.
Molech was unique category.
Baal was a unique term given by scriptures to a wide array of "Conflict resolution" gods that had many different names. Violence was always the worship center of this type of god.

Just like Ashera was the name given to the many "Fertility" God's. Sexual activity was the focus of worship for this god.

Molech was kinda a "bravery" type god. (Of different names) Didn't really appear until later in Israel's history but before the exile. There's still a lot we aren't sure about this type of god except that people would give their children to "pass through the fire" for this one.

There were a lot of gods all labeled with the same name regardless of their proper name. The scriptures showed a lot of contempt for all of them.

This contemptuous attitude was later realized in the new Testament by the Pharisees when the Roman's god of lords was deliberately called Beelzebub instead of Baalzebub...meaning lord of flies... infuriating the Romans for disrespect of their gods.
 
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I think Deborah is on to something. Jung, the psychoanalyst into "depth psychology" and such, explored the concept of "archetypes," which gained some popularity w/ Joseph Campbell. The idea is that the ancient deities may have different names, somewhat different myths associated with them, but the core concept, identities are the same. Earth Goddess, God of the Underworld, God of War, etc.

Christianity is a real game changer, of course. Jesus began His ministry at a time when The Mystery Cults--higher forms of paganism promising salvation and rebirth--were hitting it big in the ancient world. "You must die to be born again." So, there's an element of what pagans were looking for in Christ, but He is, of course, a one of a kind Savior. CS Lewis called the myths, stories, concepts, etc. that pagans had that overlap with Christianity "good dreams," presumably given to them by God Himself. Something like that, anyway.
 

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