1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

The Trinity

Discussion in 'Catholic DIR' started by Watchmen, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. Watchmen

    Watchmen Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    6,409
    Ratings:
    +860
    I was a practicing Mormon for decades. I left Mormonism about three years ago and am now semi-investigating the Catholic Church. I’ve attended mass three times now, including on Easter. I also do the daily Catholic scripture readings, and I’ve read portions of the Catechism.

    One question that popped up recently when doing the scripture reading was the nature of the trinity. As a lifelong Mormon, I was taught and believed that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost were three SEPARATE entities united in one PURPOSE. I know that is contrary to mainstream Christian views. My recent scripture reading concerned Stephen, his testimony and eventual stoning. As he’s dying, he sees God and Jesus on the right hand of God.

    How does the Church reconcile this and other examples in the scriptures of the Trinity being three separate entities with the traditional teaching that the trinity is one?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2015
    Messages:
    6,982
    Ratings:
    +4,104
    Religion:
    Christian
    Good question!

    There are many other Scriptures to consider, too.
     
  3. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    Messages:
    33,183
    Ratings:
    +15,354
    Religion:
    ecumenical & naturalistic Catholic
    The issue of the Trinity in Catholicism has a long and contentious history with all sorts of ideas and combinations that went on for almost four centuries. The best way to view this, imo, is to use the oft heard Catholic phrase "the Mystery of the Trinity". The Church has tried its darndest to try and figure it out, and the Nicene Creed is its most used by-product. But the problem is just about any position one takes they run into roadblocks scripturally.

    I believe the key may be in the concept of "essence" used in Greek writings, especially from Aristotle and Plato. "Essence" goes beyond materialism, so we are more than just a sum of our parts. Apply that to Jesus, God, and the HS, and that might just be the key to the puzzle, especially since Paul was Greek educated. IOW, the "essence" of Jesus is that he was of God but not literally God.

    Now if I only knew I was right. :(
     
  4. Kirran

    Kirran
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    Messages:
    10,694
    Ratings:
    +6,390
    ***Moderator Notice***

    The Catholic DIR is for those identifying as Catholics only
    Everyone who is not a Catholic is limited to respectful questions and observation of discussion only

    Thankyou :)
     
  5. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    5,102
    Ratings:
    +2,340
    Religion:
    Catholic
    "Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God's right hand. ' I can see heaven thrown open', he said, 'and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
    God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is at his side, in Stephen himself. The invisible force and power proceeding from God fills him entirely and opens his eyes: in the Spirit, heaven is shown to him.
    But God himself remains hidden. Only -( in the Old Testament sense) - his "glory" (Hebrew kabod, Greek doxa) is visible: God's brightness and power, the brilliance of the light that proceeds from him. But Jesus does not sit: he stands, not in front of God but at his right hand:, in the same power and glory.


    In Paul's theology he sees the Spirit wholly in the light of that turning point which was decisive for him: the death and resurrection of Jesus. Since it was revealed there that God himself acted in Jesus, the Spirit of God can now rightly be understood also as the Spirit of Jesus taken up to God.
     
  6. Watchmen

    Watchmen Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    6,409
    Ratings:
    +860
    Thinks for the replies. Sounds like the best we can do is chalk it up to a “mystery.”
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    5,102
    Ratings:
    +2,340
    Religion:
    Catholic
    The doctrine of the Trinity is the expression of the Christian form of monotheism, monotheism in its final form. The only God that exists is the God revealed by Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Frederick Crowe presents an interesting idea; He proposes to "reverse the order in which commonly we think of the Son and the Spirit in the world". Rather than God first sending the Son and then the Spirit to complete the Son's work, God first sent the Spirit, and then sent the Son in the context of the Spirit's mission to bring God's mission to fulfillment. From the instant of creation, then, God has been present through the Spirit, breathing life, stirring up prophecy, bringing about healing and reconciliation. In Jesus, God's mysterious saving movement in history takes on a human face, and as Risen Lord sends the Spirit into the world not for the first time, but with new focus.
     
  8. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Messages:
    19,793
    Ratings:
    +1,351
    Religion:
    Catholic
    Here are some early references of the Trinity:

    St. Theophilus of Antioch (c. 181 A.D.)
    "The three days before the luminaries were created are types of the TRINITY [this is the first recorded use of the term referring to the Godhead]: GOD [the Father], HIS WORD [the Son], AND HIS WISDOM [the Holy Spirit]."

    To Autolycus 2:10; 2:15; 2:22; Jurgens, p. 75-76

    Athenagoras of Athens (c. 180 A.D.)

    "The Son of God is the Word of the Father, in thought and in actuality. BY HIM AND THROUGH HIM ALL THINGS WERE MADE, the Father and the Son BEING ONE. Since the Son is IN the Father and the Father is IN the Son BY THE UNITY AND POWER OF THE SPIRIT, the Mind and Word of the Father is the Son of God. And if, in your exceedingly great wisdom, it occurs to you to inquire what is meant by 'the Son', I will tell you briefly: He is the First-begotten of the Father, NOT AS HAVING BEEN PRODUCED -- FOR FROM THE BEGINNING GOD HAD THE WORD IN HIMSELF... Who, then, would not be astonished to hear those called atheists, who speak of GOD THE FATHER AND OF GOD THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, and who proclaim THEIR power in UNION and THEIR distinction in order...Just as we assert that there is a God, and a Son who is His Word, and a Holy Spirit, UNITED IN POWER -- THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE SPIRIT...."

    Supplication for the Christians 10, 24; Jurgens, p. 70

    St. Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 140 - 202 A.D.)

    "We hold, however, the rule of truth, according to which there is ONE ALMIGHTY GOD, who formed ALL things through His Word, and fashioned and made ALL things which exist out of that which did not exist; in which regard the Scripture says: 'For by the Word of the Lord were the heavens established, and all their strength by the Spirit of his mouth' [Psalm 33:6]. And again, 'All things were made through Him, and WITHOUT HIM WAS MADE NOTHING' [John 1:3]. From ALL, however, THERE IS NO EXCEPTION [that would include the SON]; and the Father made ALL things through Him, whether visible or invisible, whether of sense or of intelligence, whether temporal and for a certain dispensation or eternal and through the ages." (1:22:1)

    excerpts from AGAINST HERESIES; Jurgens, p. 84-104
     
  9. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Messages:
    19,793
    Ratings:
    +1,351
    Religion:
    Catholic
    From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    253 The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the "consubstantial Trinity".83 The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: "The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God."84 In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), "Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature."85


    254 The divine persons are really distinct from one another. "God is one but not solitary."86 "Father", "Son", "Holy Spirit" are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: "He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son."87 They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: "It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds."88 The divine Unity is Triune.

    255 The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another: "In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance."89 Indeed "everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship."90 "Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son."91
     
  10. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Messages:
    19,793
    Ratings:
    +1,351
    Religion:
    Catholic
    As for my thoughts…

    It is true that Scripture doesn't explicitly state how the Trinity are one, however it does say some quite specific things about the Son and the Holy Spirit. With respect to the Son, it says both that He existed in the beginning and that He was begotten by the Father. With respect to the Holy Spirit, it says that He proceeds from the Father. What begotten and proceed actually mean is not an order in time as some tend to interpret it. It is more a hierarchy, and not in that one is more than the other type of way. It’s more a title of respect and deference for how God Himself decided to reveal Himself to the world and in what order. The way He did it, matters. What does a Father represent to the world? What about a Son? What about a Spirit?

    Basically, the doctrine is this. God is One in His Divine Essence, His substance if you like, but He is made up of three Hypostases. Hypostasis is usually translated into English as a person, but that's a fairly poor translation, it's more like personal essence, that which makes an individual a unique person. This is where it gets abstract because we have no other way of seeing people but as a unique person…..this is how we experience the real world. It applies often when reading things in the scriptures about God and emotions. We only have human words to use to describe things……anthropomorphisms is all we got.

    The best way I can describe it is this: a human has one essence (that which makes you human) and one hypostasis (that which makes you uniquely you). God has one Essence (that which makes Him Divine) but three Hypostases. He is, then, One God (one individual) in three Hypostases and is always, simultaneously, One according to His essence but Three in His Hypostases.

    That’s honestly the best I can muster. Anyone telling you that the Trinity is simple, rest assured that they simply fail to grasp this as others have noted is a mystery.

    Mystery doesn’t mean we know nothing, it just means we can’t get a clear picture of it.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  11. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    Messages:
    33,183
    Ratings:
    +15,354
    Religion:
    ecumenical & naturalistic Catholic
    IMO, very well said.
     
Loading...