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Friday, December 21, 2007

Constantine and the Trinity

How many times have you heard it? It will likely be repeated until Christ comes and settles the dispute once and for all. Unfortunately, the proponents of the claim don't seem to care about backing up the claim. It's as if making the claim is sufficient to prove it. What claim? The oft-repeated accusation against 1600 years of Christian doctrine is that the Trinity was a manufactured belief inserted by Constantine at the Council of Nicaea.

Now, I've already offered a host of biblical reasons for the doctrine (reasons that precede Nicaea). Unfortunately, I've also offered the caution of playing the "For the Bible tells me so" card too easily. And we're all aware that "lots of Scriptures" doesn't equate to "necessarily true." So, your Honor, I'd like to offer a couple of other pieces of evidence.

Did you know that the Emperor Constantine was not a believer in the Trinity? Truth be told, Constantine favored Arianism. There was an argument in the Church, so Constantine I called the very first Church Council together to unify the Church. The primary question was the nature of Jesus. The outcome was the Nicene Creed, which includes this statement about Christ: "very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father". Arius denied this and claimed that Jesus was made, not of one substance with the Father. The Council voted some 316 to 2 against Arius. Constantine's role in all of this was to call the Council and to pay for some of their travel and lodging expenses. As it turns out, Constantine himself supported Arianism, but felt that unity in the empire was more important than his view and exiled Arius. Several times in later years he attempted to bring back Arius and his beliefs, but the subsequent Councils continued to deny the Arian doctrine as valid and the Church officially adopted the doctrine of the Trinity against Constantine's personal preferences.

The doctrine of the Trinity, however, predates the Council of Nicaea. This is a key point that so many detractors seem to fail to comprehend. The Council of Nicaea didn't bring it about; it was already in place. The Council of Nicaea didn't make the doctrine; it defended it against a challenge.

Take a cruise around the Internet sometime. You will find several sites that offer a variety of quotes from sources as early as the first century that assume or defend the doctrine of the Trinity. From Polycarp to Irenaeus to Tertullian to Origen, all of whom precede the 4th century, there is a host of references to the Trinity. Indeed, it was the lawyer Tertullian who first coined the term "persons" in reference to the three "persons" of the Trinity. The doctrine historically existed and was assumed as true centuries before it was affirmed at Nicaea despite the best arguments of its detractors.

In closing, your Honor, I'd like to offer one last piece of interesting evidence. It's somewhat outside of the normal realm of the argument, but I think it is pertinent. There are those who argue that the Aramaic Peshitta version of the Bible is the original form. They argue that, rather than being written first in Greek, it was written first in the language of the day, Aramaic, then translated to Greek. There are several interesting reasons for the argument and I don't intend to offer them here or settle that dispute. However, one of the differences between Aramaic and Greek is found in the solely Hebraic word for the Name of God: YHWH. In the Old Testament translations we often find the word YHWH translated as "LORD", where the letters are all capitalized to signify that it is the Tetragramatton -- YHWH. In Greek, however, there is no such possibility. So what if an author of a New Testament book intended that usage? Well, they would have used YHWH in their original Aramaic version, but it would have been translated to kurios in the Greek version. Interestingly, in the English translation of the Aramaic Peshitta version of the New Testament we read this:
No one can say, "Yeshua is YHWH," except by the Set-Apart Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3).
It would appear that one of the earliest known versions of the New Testament assumes an equivalence between "Jesus" (Yeshua) and Jehovah ("YHWH"). That is Trinitarian at its heart.

The next time you hear that Constantine interjected the Trinity into the Church, shake your head and walk away. It has been repeated enough that you will be thought a fool do deny it ... but it isn't true. The historical facts don't support it. Your Honor, I object. Assumes facts not in evidence. Instead, all the evidence -- both biblical and historical -- supports the doctrine of the Trinity from the start of Christianity.


Anonymous said...

Ps. 34:8
the LORD (i.e. Hebrew Yahweh)is good.

Quoted by Peter:
1 Peter 2:3
tasted that Lord (i.e. Greek Kurios) is good.

Therefore by scriptures Yahweh is Kurios is Jesus the Christ.

Stan said...

Oh, yeah, there are a lot of Scriptures that prove the point.

Anonymous said...

there were many apostate teachings in the church already from the time of the apostles. even the writings of the apostles mention the sect of nicolaus. jesus himself mentions you tolerate the woman "jezebel" refering to another apostate sect. so the earliness of the trinity doctrine does not prove its truth. it proves that the pagan people of europe were ill-inclined to give up their multiple gods and beleive in the oneness of the true god. if you want to understand how pagan the idea that christ is God is, study Hinduism.

Stan said...

If you don't understand the Trinity (and comparing it to Hinduism is proof that you don't), perhaps you ought to understand it before defying it. I provided lots of Scripture for the doctrine. This post simply addressed the nonsense that "Constantine did it!" The doctrine of the Trinity is not based in "early Christian writings" or "Constantine" or "the Council of Nicaea". Those things support it, but it is based in Scripture. But your refusal to see that suggests that you might need to examine whether or not you have any relationship with God at all ... you know, in your own best interest.

Anonymous said...

The word "trinity" does not even appear in the bible. why? Because it was a concept which slowly evolved in early christianity.

Flavius Valerius Constantius (c. 285-337 AD), Constantine the Great, was the son of Emperor Constantius I. When his father died in 306 AD, Constantine became emperor of Britain, Gaul (now France), and Spain. Gradually he gained control of the entire Roman empire.

Anonymous said...

Theological differences regarding Jesus Christ began to manifest in Constantine's empire when two major opponents surfaced and debated whether Christ was a created being (Arius doctrine) or not created but rather coequal and coeternal to God his father (Athanasius doctrine).

The theological warfare between the Arius and Athanasius doctrinal camps became intense. Constantine realized that the his empire was being threatened by the doctrinal rift. Constantine began to pressure the church to come to terms with its differences before the results became disastrous to his empire. Finally the emperor called a council at Nicea in 325 AD to resolve the dispute.

Only a fraction of existing bishops, 318, attended. This equated to about 18% of all the bishops in the empire. Of the 318, approximately 10 were from the Western part of Constantine's empire, making the voting lopsided at best. The emperor manipulated, coerced and threatened the council to be sure it voted for what he believed rather than an actual consensus of the bishops.

Anonymous said...

The present day Christian church touts Constantine as the first Christian emperor, however, his 'Christianity' was politically motivated. Whether he personally accepted Christian doctrine is highly doubtful.

(The idea that he did not even believe in the trinity is nothing surprising. He advocated for the trinity concept
for political reasons... even though he knew it had no basis in christinaity. why? he was interested in maintaining his power and position, rather than preserving christianity).
Read on and you will see that he sided with the 'team' which had the most support from the people.

The majority of bishops voted under pressure from Constantine for the Athanasius doctrine. A creed was adopted which favored Athanasius's theology. Arius was condemned and exiled. Several of the Bishops left before the voting to avoid the controversy. Jesus Christ was approved to be "one substance" with God the Father. It is interesting that even now, the Eastern and Western Orthodox churches disagree with each other regarding this doctrine, the Western churches having had no influence in the 'voting'.

Two of the bishops who voted pro-Arius were also exiled and Arius's writings were destroyed.
Constantine decreed that anyone caught with Arius documents would be subject to the death penalty.
The Nicaean Creed read as follows:
I believe in one God: the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God: begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made. . .

Anonymous said...

Even with the adoption of the Nicaean Creed, problems continued and in a few years, the Arian faction began to regain control. They became so powerful that Constantine restored them and denounced the Athanasius group.
Arius's exile was ended along with the bishops who sided with him. It was now Athanasius who would be banished.
When Constantine died (after being baptized by an Arian Bishop), his son reinstated the Arian philosophy and bishops and condemned the Athanasius group.
In the following years the political foes continue to struggle and finally the Arians misused their power and were overthrown. The religious/political controversy caused widespread bloodshed and killing. In 381 AD, Emperor Theodosius (a Trinitarian) convened a council in Constantinople. Only Trinitarian bishops were invited to attend. 150 bishops attended and voted to alter the Nicene creed to include the Holy Spirit as a part of the Godhead. The Trinity doctrine was now official for both the church and the state.
Dissident bishops were expelled from the church, and excommunicated.
The Athanasius (Trinitarian) Creed was finally established in (probably) the 5th century. It was not written by Athanasius but adopted his name. It stated in part:
"We worship one God in Trinity . . . The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; and yet they are not three gods, but one God."
By the 9th century the creed was established in Spain, France and Germany. It had taken centuries from the time of Christ for the trinity doctrine to catch on. Government and church politics were the reasons the trinity came into existence and became church orthodoxy.
As you have seen, the Trinitarian doctrine came from deceit, politics, a pagan emperor and warring factions who brought about death and bloodshed.

Anonymous said...

Contradictions to the trinity concept:

"Why callest me good? There is none good but one, that is God" (Matthew 19:17)

". . .for my Father is greater than I. . ." (John 14:28)

"My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me." (John 7:16)

"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39)

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)

"But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." (Mark 13:32)

"Who has gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God" (Peter 3:22)

You would probably not publish any of the stuff... my purpose was really for you to read the material. If you enable the comments, good on you. If not, than know that you may be held responsible for misleading people from the worship of the one Creator. And God knows best.

Stan said...

Anonymous, the post was about the false claim that the Trinity was a dream of Constantine. If you're interested in why I affirm the Trinity, don't look at a post aimed at refuting that false claim. Look at something like this post on The Doctrine of the Trinity in which I offer the biblical reasons. It was not a concept that "slowly evolved"; it was a concept deeply entrenched in Scripture from beginning to end.

So, let's see what you say about Constantine and the Trinity. There isn't any question about the call to resolve the doctrinal conflict. However, it is your contention that the voting was "lopsided at best". This requires certain facts not in evidence. 1) The bishops did not vote their consciences. 2) The Council of Nicaea did not include a group of men gathered by God to correct the problem, but a group of men gathered by men to be coerced, threatened, and manipulated. 3) Constantine forced a conclusion with which he disagreed. Indeed, you offer a position without any support. You make all these claims regarding Constantine and his motivations and machinations, but no evidence. You claim that the Trinitarian doctrine "came from deceit, politics, a pagan emperor and warring factions" while you ignore that Scripture maintains that doctrine, not deceit, politics, a pagan emperor or factions.

You suggest in the end that I am "misleading people from the worship of the one Creator." That's fine as long as you recognize that your "Creator" is not connected to Christianity. Christianity requires the Trinity. John was not unclear in the first 3 verses of his gospel that Jesus was God. The Scriptures are not vague in making it clear that the Holy Spirit shares all the same characteristics as God. If Jesus was not God, then His death did not pay the debt for all. If the doctrine of the Trinity, upheld throughout Scripture, maintained by the Church from the beginning, defended throughout history, and still held today, is not the truth, the Christianity is of no value. We have no Savior and, in Paul's words, you are still in your sins.

Anonymous said...

Lol the trinity is in no way scriptural. Not even the idea of it. Why would Jesus say he didn't know the time of the end, yet his father did, if he in fact WAS the father (God) himself? Why would god need to sacrifice HIMSELF to cover over adams' initial sin? Adam was a perfect human, meant to live forever on earth. He sinned, and therefore passed sin onto all his offspring (us). Jesus was sent as a perfect human to cover/ransom/buy the sin by Adam. A perfect human for a perfect human. God, being the CREATOR, would not need to sacrifice himself. Humans and god are NOT equals.

Stan said...

Nice claim. "The Trinity is in no way scriptural." You really ought to research it before making such a claim. Here, let me help you. I did a substantial piece on it. All from Scripture.

A perfect man can cover the sins of one imperfect man. That won't cut it for a world of sinners.

The overarching message of Scripture including Jesus's own words about Himself and all of the rest of it prove that Jesus was God the Son, and "the trinity is in no way scriptural" isn't an argument that removes the tons of Scripture that disagree with you.

Stan said...

By the way, arguing that Jesus was merely human, one of God's creations, gets really, really stupid when you read that "All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). That would require that Jesus made Himself, patent nonsense.

Anonymous said...

God is called the Father and Jesus is the Son. We understand what this means because we all have fathers. Some fathers have sons, others have daughters. A father / son relationship immediately implies that one existed before the other, one has authority over the other and one played a part in the other's existence. Now there are many titles that God could have chosen to use in his inspired Bible to describe the relationship between himself and Jesus; brothers for example, or partners, or two masters. But he specifically uses Father and Son. Therefore we cannot use those titles and at the same time understand a relationship that is co-existent, co-eternal or co-equal. Because to do so would be to change the meanings of the words 'Father' and 'Son'. And if we change the meanings of words we already understand, we end up with a different Bible.

Stan said...

And a husband/wife relationship implies sex ... except we're pretty sure that Christ and the Church are not an image of sex (Eph 5:31-32). Don't let the implicit override the explicit. You haven't offered any explanation of ALL the Scriptures that make the Father and the Son ONE nor all of Church History that agrees with that idea.

Anonymous said...

A husband / wife relationship doesn't imply sex. It only demonstrates that two people have participated in a marriage ceremony. If you look up the definition of 'husband' it says 'a married man considered in relation to his spouse'. A wife is 'a married woman considered in relation to her spouse'. Sex is irrelevant. These are definitions of those words, therefore they are explicit, not implicit.

The words God uses to describe his relationship with Jesus are 'Father' and 'Son'. If any exploration of the Bible leads one to suggest that their relationship is anything other than Father and Son, then it's worth re-reading the Bible to make sure that we are adhering to the simple framework God provides us with by using these specific words.

For example, if we believe that God and Jesus are 'one' in that they are the same God in different forms, then that belief isn't compatible with the relationship God has described by using the terms 'Father' and 'Son'. We can then either discard those terms, or change the meaning of them, or instead we can study other parts of scripture that help with our understanding, because something clearly isn't right based on the structure of the language God has given us. In John 17:11 Jesus prays to his Father asking that his disciples 'may be one as we are'. Not 12 coexistent, coeternal, coequal disciples as one (or we may say the word dodecagonisciple isn't found in scripture yet is implied?) but instead one in purpose, in agreement, in fulfillment of God's plan for the world.

God uses specific words for a reason, that we may understand his plan and purpose for the world. Not that we should change their meanings.

Stan said...

I'm sorry. You appear to have misinformed about the nature of marriage as God describes it. "Two become one." "Multiply." Sex is part of marriage among humans. And you'll have a hard time finding a defined "marriage ceremony" in Scripture.

But, look, nothing I say will change your mind. I have lots of Scripture on the subject (look at the labels) and I have lots of reasons to believe it and your objection is "It doesn't align with my simplified version of 'father' and 'son'." But, here, give me this much. John says that Jesus created everything that was created. If that is true and still you affirm that God created Jesus as a father creates a child, how did Jesus create Himself?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why you keep referring to sex and marriage! I'm happy to answer your questions though. In order to be defined as 'married' a couple only need to go through a marriage ceremony. That's all. 'One' in 'two become one' doesn't mean that the couple exist as the same human being in two different forms. They are one in mind, in plan and in purpose.

Sex doesn't have to be part of marriage:

A new reader of the Bible would be able to understand the relationship between God and Jesus because they have the titles 'Father' and 'Son'. To understand that relationship a different way would be to change the meaning of those words.

I assume you're talking about 1 Colossians 15-18?

These words are self explanatory and they are consistent with other verses, such as the prophecy in Psalm 89:27, which tells about an event that was still future when the Psalms were recorded. "Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth."

Jesus Christ became the firstborn from the dead. We read also, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." (1 Corinthians 15:20) He is the firstborn and the firstfruits of a new creation- called a "new and living way" in Hebrews 10:20. (This is also called a new heaven and a new earth in Revelation 21.)

Christ is the "head of the body, the church". Consequently, it can also be said of him that he is the creator of this new and living way. It was his life of obedience to the Father's will and his faithful sacrifice that laid the foundation stone for his spiritual temple, the body of believers. He is also said to be the "author and finisher of our faith" in Hebrews 12:2.(Compare Revelation 1:8,) All of these terms of praise and exaltation are appropriate for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master in the new creation. Jesus is the author, the Lord, the creator of this new order of things.

The prepositions used in verse 16 can be translated in different ways, as explained by Strong's, so the translator's choice of English word can be based on a pre-existing idea; a famous example of this was when Tyndale translated the word 'ekklesia' as 'congregation', much to the chagrin of the Catholics who had interpreted it as 'church' in order to maintain their hierarchical structure of worship. This is why it is important to trust that when God uses terms such as 'Father' and 'Son' he does so because those titles are indisputable.

Stan said...

You're simply demonstrating my point. You've bought the definition of marriage that the world has today that is as vague as "a couple only need to go through a marriage ceremony." Thus, "gay marriage" is legitimate even though the Bible doesn't support it. Here, a couple of quick questions -- what "marriage ceremony" did Adam and Eve have? Which government entity endorsed Noah's wedding? In Scripture, where do you find the first "marriage ceremony"? You have a biblical problem here. So, having lost your moorings in biblical truth, you attempt do redefine biblical truths in humans terms rather than in biblical terms. Yes, the world considers the teenager with cancer "married" because he did a hospital ceremony, but that doesn't make it so. I explain marriage from a biblical perspective in a couple of entries, one a few years ago and another this year. It is not "They did a marriage ceremony."

To what Scriptures am I referring? You think this entire thing is based on Colossians 1:15-18?? (Your notation makes me think you haven't really spent much time in the Word.) That passage says it, but there is so, so, so much more. I have a large list here.

And you haven't answered my critical question. If God "fathered" Jesus in the human sense that you are requiring, that makes Jesus a "created being". But John says of Jesus, "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (John 1:3). So you understand Jesus to be a created being that created Himself after He had created everything. You find that defensible. I find it thoroughly irrational.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why you've made this conversation about marriage! The definition of marriage is that which the dictionary says. I'm not saying nor trying to prove that there is any kind of marriage ceremony in the Bible. All I'm doing is trying to answer your questions about this subject for you, as it seems to be something you want to talk about :) You seem to have written some stuff on marriage already, so that's good.

No, I don't think the 'entire thing' is based on Colossians 1 15-18. Where did I say that? Perhaps my words are being changed. But I'm glad that you have accepted the explanation I gave. I know there are others so I can help with those too.

God uses specific language in the Bible to make it easy for us to understand. What we shouldn't then do is change the words so that they have a different meaning. In John 1 the subject is the word.
Here's what it says: 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.
Here's what you are reading: In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. 2 Jesus was in the beginning with God.

So here the word 'logos' has been changed to become 'Jesus'. We know what words are, they are used to help us understand things, to communicate, to instruct, and the word of God is his plan and purpose for the world which he formulated before creation. The human translator of John's gospel recognised that the Greek 'logos' was a masculine noun, and based on his pre-conceived idea (like with ekklesia) chose the word 'he' rather than 'it'. In French for example, the noun is feminine and therefore translated as 'she'. So the word is God's plan and purpose for the world. It has always existed. Everything that has ever been created is because of God's plan. It continues throughout history, God's plan never fails. The word became flesh in the form of Jesus Christ who was born (not transplanted, another change of meaning!) then lived then died (not lived on somewhere else, another change of meaning!) Then Jesus came back to life then spent 40 days on earth. Then he ascended to heaven and sits at God's right hand.

But – crucially – the word continues!! Logos appears in Acts 2:41, 4:4. 4:29, 4:31. 5:24, 6:2, 6:4, 6:5, 6:7, 7:22, 8:4, 8:14 etc. etc. God's plan continues! The word of God spread and multiplied in the first century church and also today, long after Jesus completed his mission on earth. It's important that we don't change the meanings of words because that's where irrationality begins. God has specifically chosen these words to help our understanding and the understanding of anyone who wishes to read a Bible for the first time.

Stan said...

Oh, okay, got it. You're a Jehovah's Witness. Likely the one that argued with me a month or two ago. (The "anonymous" thing doesn't become Christians.) (And, no, I didn't buy your arguments on Col 1. I didn't bother.)

No, it's not about marriage. It's about your failure to grasp the concept.

So John says, "All things came into being through Him" (John 1:3). Through whom? (Not "what", but "whom".) The Logos. What more does John say about this Logos? "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). John (the gospel writer) goes on to explain that John the Baptist spoke of "Him" (John 1:15). It is undeniably clear, following the text and the logic, that the "Him" that created all things is the Word, and the Word is Christ. (Note: A "purpose" cannot create all things.)

But, look, we're clear now. You're a heretic without any interest in biblical truth and I am commanded by Scripture, "Reject a heretic after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned" (Titus 3:10-11). I'll certainly pray for you, but I won't continue this dialog with you.

Anonymous said...

If you're interested in a friendly discussion of issues, I'm willing to have one, even if we disagree. Let's keep it friendly, though, okay?

I'm not a Jehovah's Witness. I don't have a Google account so your blog only offers the 'anonymous' option :) My name is Jon.

If God has a purpose for the world, who can stop him creating all things for that purpose?

The word 'him' in John 1:3 is the Greek word 'autos' A concordance tells us that this can be translated as 'he', 'she', 'it' or 'the same'. So why has the translator chosen 'him'? It's important to find this out urgently, because this human translator is presenting a barrier to understanding.

The plan and purpose (word) of God became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw Jesus' glory. So Jesus is the word become flesh, God's plan being fulfilled, vital to God's plan for mankind, not the word itself.

The word 'logos' continues after Jesus ascends to heaven. How can this be? It's because the meaning of the word 'word' has been changed by humans from its original meaning in the early chapters of John, but thankfully we can see this inconsistency in the examples I gave in Acts. Is there another explanation why the word (logos) continues after Jesus ascended?

The reason that we have to believe that God is the Father and Jesus is the Son is because those are the words that God uses to describe their relationship. We cannot change their meaning. If we believe that Jesus is God then it is impossible for us to believe that he can die - God is eternal - unless of course we change the meaning of the word 'death' (the total cessation of life processes that eventually occurs in all living organisms - Encyclopedia Brittanica). We need to get this right because Romans 10:9 says 'That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved'. If we believe that death is something else because we have changed the meaning of that word then it is impossible for us to believe that scripture and be saved.

My point remains because it hasn't been refuted. God uses words like 'Father', 'Son' and 'death' because they are clear and indisputable. Problems only arise when humans change the meanings of those words.

Stan said...

Simple fact, John. Purpose doesn't create anything. Nothing at all. I can purpose to make a sandwich, but until I do it, it isn't done. And when I do it, it wasn't my purpose that did it. The translators took the text in context and standard usage and translated it like it should be. You simply refuse to allow that. For instance, if "Word" means "purpose", you would have me to believe that God's purpose was with Him and God's purpose was Him? Makes no sense. Nor can I make any sense of ALL THAT SCRIPTURE I listed that demands the doctrine of the Trinity. And, at the end of the thought, I cannot conclude that every, single believer for all of Church history got it wrong. Not that they're so smart; it would be a colossal failure on the part of the Holy Spirit. So, given 1) the massive weight of Scripture, 2) the singular message from beginning to end, and 3) all of Church history, I'm going to have to conclude that you're wrong on your argument that Father and Son cannot be one.

And before you offer a rebuttal, remember ... I'm including ALL THAT SCRIPTURE I have listed. If you wish to explain it away, you'll need to start there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stan,

Happy new year.

Ok, that's fine. I'll have a look at your page that you linked to and offer some comments on that.

All of the events that happened throughout history were due to God's plan. Yes, his plan alone doesn't do anything, but God does. Like you are required to make your sandwich once you've decided to do so. God's plan and purpose for the world wasn't an accident, or changed after the events of Eden, so it was always with him, and still is today.

If the translators all translated the text 'like it should be', then you're forgetting the example I gave about the word 'ekklesia'. Tyndale translated it as 'congregation' from the Greek text; Wycliffe had earlier translated it as 'church' from the Latin Vulgate Bible. So which should it be? The translators used their own pre-held beliefs to choose what they thought was the correct word. It's impossible for them both to be right. So the word of God is the only true guide, not a human's interpretation, so we should stick to the original Bible words.

You have a lot of trust in every single believer for all of church history! And yet, many, many errors have in fact been made by man throughout history. From a single church in the 1st century we now have hundreds of different Christian denominations, multiple Bible translations, differences of opinion, many other world religions, Atheism, etc. That's the way man is! That's why, in order to discover the real message of the Bible (let's call it the truth) we have to understand and not change the words that God gives us to read. If God is the Father and he calls Jesus his son, we just have to trust that he is using the perfect words to describe their relationship. In the OT God is described as a Father on very few occasions, mainly to Israel. But only in the NT does he become Father to Jesus Christ, after his birth. As the Trinitarian doctrine changes the meanings of the words father and Son it would certainly raise alarm bells for me.

I've had a look at your Trinity page and there is quite a lot there! I'm happy to read your thoughts. The meaning of the word 'eternal' would be an initial problem for me because if Jesus is everlasting then it is impossible to believe both that and also that he died. It's like believing that something is both black and white. The passage from Isaiah 9:6 is written a few hundred years before Jesus is born and is inspired by God himself. Therefore, if Jesus existed in heaven before his birth, Isaiah wouldn't write about the name Jesus is given in the future 'he will be called' - he would say that he already had it, at the time of writing, in heaven. Philippians 2:9 confirms that Jesus was indeed only later given 'the name which is above every name'.

Anyway, I'll look more later. Just to summarise and reiterate what we've been discussing - 1) my belief is that God is the Father and Jesus is the son of God. These terms are used to elucidate their relationship because it accurately and truthfully describes it. The reason this is important is so that when Jesus returns and asks us (as he did to Peter in Matt 16:15) 'Who do you say that I am?' we can accurately and truthfully reply as Peter did: 'You are the Christ, the son of the living God'. 2) You consider my beliefs heretical.


Stan said...

Just a note. "You have a lot of trust in every single believer for all of church history!" You misunderstand. Jesus promised to send His Spirit and He (the Spirit) would lead His people into the truth. Your position is that all believers for all time have been wrong. I have more trust in the Spirit than that ... not believers. Believers as individuals make mistakes in their beliefs, but Jesus promised to lead them into the truth. You believe that the Spirit had a massive failure on this point. You have little faith in the Spirit.

But, then, you don't believe in a Triune God, so you don't see the Spirit as part of the Godhead and that's no problem for you. And you have to see, quite plainly and blatantly, that you and I believe in two different Gods. Mine includes Christ and the Spirit; yours does not.

Anonymous said...

Can you please add a Bible reference to these quotes so I can look them up? From initial examination, the phrase you have quoted once again uses the future tense, so my faith in the power of God's Holy Spirit to perform this future event is unshaken. If we read the prophecy of Ezekiel 38:16-38, God speaks of a future time when Israel (his chosen people) will be restored. The last verse says 'Then they shall know that I am the Lord'. Israel today doesn't fit this description. But when Jesus returns to set up God's kingdom the whole world will know who both he and God is.


Stan said...

Wait ... so you're saying, "Of course He (meaning the Spirit) will lead His into the truth ... it will just take Him (it?) several thousand years in which even the Apostles never had it"? Are you saying that God's Word is not sufficient?

Anonymous said...

Can you please add a Bible reference to these quotes so I can look them up?

If God's word is sufficient, which it is, then all we need is the Bible. As this is the inspired word of God, the Bible is indeed the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the power of God, leading us to the truth essential for salvation. Everything we need is in the Bible. The fact that there are many hundreds of Christian denominations, and indeed non-Christian religions, yet only one Bible, shows that men have and will continue to make mistakes right up until Jesus' return.

Stan said...

A reference for the quotes? That the Spirit will lead Christ's disciples into the truth? You need a reference? Or another quote? (I only have one quote in my comment you're referencing, and it was a quote of what you said.) The reference for that statement from Christ is John 16:13.

Yes, we'll make mistakes until we're in heaven, but if the Spirit is doing His job, the truth will be clear and visible to Christ's people. There will be variations in nonessentials, but your version that negates salvation for all people is not nonessential.

Anonymous said...

That's right, the truth will certainly be clear and visible. The way that this is clear and visible is because of the language God uses in his Bible. He is the Father and Jesus is the son. Because he uses those terms to describe their relationship it is both clear and visible to us. God could use any other term to describe their relationship, and there are indeed many; brothers, co-workers, twins, colleagues etc. But he specifically, deliberately and accurately uses 'Father' and 'Son'. He uses language which is clear and visible so that anyone anywhere has the choice whether or not to accept that truth.

It would be impossible for Peter to declare 'you are the Christ, the son of the living God' if he believed that 'son' meant something else.

Stan said...

Got it. Here's what I just heard you say. "I don't care what the rest of Scripture has to say about the nature of Christ as God. I don't care about the massive contradictions that this position causes in the Scripture. I don't care about the fact that a non-divine Christ lacked the ability to save the world from their sin. Because I demand that 'Father' and 'Son' mean what I demand it means and nothing else, even if it is perfectly suitable in our language and understanding, I am willing to damn all of Christendom to the dust heap so that my understanding reigns supreme. Don't bother me with logic, Scripture, Church history, or anything else you may wish to offer. I'm done here." And we are.

Stan said...

I'm sorry you failed to understand. We're done here. Argue your case somewhere else.