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How to Understand the Trinity

Re: Is Christian trinity and Hindu trinity similar?

Postby Sebastian » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:36 pm

> Mass and energy are in principle inter-convertible, through nuclear fission or fusion reactions.

How is being inter-convertible not modalism?

> We can, therefore, speak of the universe as a "space-light-time" universe.

How is one universe composed of space, light, and time not 'partialism'?
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Re: Is Christian trinity and Hindu trinity similar?

Postby jimwalton » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:48 pm

> How is being inter-convertible not modalism?

They are possibly analogous to the trinity because they are different "substances" and yet possess a qualitative kind of equivalence: different entities while being of the same essence.

> How is one universe composed of space, light, and time not 'partialism'?

Space, light, and time potentially show us the Trinity because they are separate and distinct realities while intersecting with each other to the point of, at times, being indistinguishable.
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Re: Is Christian trinity and Hindu trinity similar?

Postby Dildo » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:58 am

you are simply cherry picking scripture that supports your thesis, and conveniently ignoring all the verses that show jesus is, for example, subservient to God. that's special pleading. ignoring inconvenient scripture to confirm to dogma.
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Re: Is Christian trinity and Hindu trinity similar?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:14 am

There is a distinction between presenting verses that support my case to show the evidence for the truth I am claiming and just picking verses to skew and distort. I was doing the former. If you want to look at the verses showing Jesus is subservient to God, I'm glad to look at those with you. This is no distortion or special pleading. We'll look at all the evidence.

The Gospel of John is the most prominent one for Trinitarian theology, as well as Jesus's subservience to the Father. A good look at John should show us what the Bible teaches.

    * Jn. 1.1, 14. Right out of the shoot Jesus is presented as distinct from the Father but still God. Not just equal to God, like a sidekick, but one with God in identity and essence.
    * Jn. 1.3. To Jesus is attributed a function that rightfully belongs to God alone: Creation of all things, making him God.
    * Jn. 1.4-18: Jesus is portrayed as the way (1.12), the truth (1.17), and the life (1.4), all concepts that the book will develop as traits of God Himself.
    * Jn. 1.51: Jesus presents himself as the bridge between God and man, the revealer of spiritual truth. "Son of Man" is a claim to divinity. He is distinct from God, but He is God.
    * Jn. 2.19: As a metaphoric Temple, Jesus implies that God dwells in him in a special way, and that, again, he is the bridge between God and man. He is distinct from God, but He is God.
    * Jn. 3.16: Jesus portrays himself as the way to eternal life. He is distinct from God the Father.
    * Jn. 5.19-47 is where we get the first notion of subservience. At the same time he shows that He and the Father are one unit (vv. 19, 23, 26). Jesus's points are the God is distinguishable from Himself but that He was God (so the Jews understood clearly his message (5.18), and Jesus didn't make an attempt to change that understanding.
    * Jn. 6.38. Jesus again shows his subservience. This is the difference of the principle of divine action. They are of the same essence (already well established in John), but they effect different actions in what they do as separate Persons.

(I'll do some skipping. I don't want to bore you with much of the same, over and over. It's all the same message: Jesus is distinct from God, but he is God.)

    * John 10.30: "I and the Father are one." It hardly gets more clear than this. Jesus and the Father are not the same person, but they are one in essence and nature. If he meant separate persons, he would have used the plural. The Jews understand exactly and clearly what he said and meant (Jn. 10.33).
    * John 14.28: "The Father is greater than I." Having just said he and the Father were one and the same, now we read that he and the Father are distinct and that the Father is "greater." “Greatness” has a wide range of possible meanings: (1) spacially larger (measure: greater height; greater size), (2) larger number (quantity), (3) greater intensity (a great calm, for instance, a great deed), (4) higher rank or dignity, (5) greater power, (6) greater importance, (7) more extraordinary, (8) older. (9) more deserving of honor. Which did Jesus mean?

That the Father is superior to Jesus is not a point that Jesus has been making nor a concept He has been developing. He has been clear that the Father has a particular role to play, and the Son, in turn, also has a particular role to play. He has also been clear that He and the Father are one (Jn. 1.1; 10.30; 14.9).

Instead of making his case through the book and his teaching that the Father is superior, Jesus's points about the Father have been (1) His love for the world 3.16, (2) He enables people to do good deeds 3.21, (3) He deserves worship and honor 4.23-24; 5.23, 12.28, (4) He is always at work 5.17, 36, (5) raises the dead and gives life 5.21-30; 6. 33 et al., (6) Has sent and approves of the Son 6.27, 45. The main points are that the Father draws people to Himself to give them salvation, He gives people life through the Son, and He sent the Son to reveal Himself.

It all tells us that what he means by "the Father is greater than I" is that This verse is a re-cap of vv. 1-4: I am going away; I am coming back; you should not be troubled but be glad; I am going to the Father. Then Jesus emphasizes his own uniqueness and his own status: Jesus is the preparer, the way, the truth, the life, the revelation of the Father, the one who is “in” the Father, etc. The Father is the home owner (2), the goal and destination (6), the One at work (10), the sender (16, 25).

What we have is a scene of equality in essence but distinction in activity (in their roles). When Jesus says "the Father is greater than I," He can mean nothing other than during Jesus’s incarnation, the Father has a role as Sender that outranks Jesus's role as the One sent.

So I'm not cherry picking, but giving a complete rendering of John's thesis and Jesus's teachings. Let's talk.
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Re: Is Christian trinity and Hindu trinity similar?

Postby Sebastian » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:02 pm

I still fail to see how it is not more so either modalism or ‘partialism’. Plus, the Trinity is only one substance and each person is essentially the same. Additionally, any proof in the material world taken as being capable of explaining the Trinity necessarily must, in my opinion, be ‘partialism’ as we live in a complex universe. I don’t agree that any of your metaphors can possibly explain an orthodox Trinity. As far as I’m concerned, it takes the fudging of some details to equate the totality of the universe to only time, yet it is orthodox to equate the totality of God with the Son.
Sebastian
 

Re: Is Christian trinity and Hindu trinity similar?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:05 pm

The analogies are only that: comparisons to hep us understand. All analogies fail if pushed to extremes, because they are only parallel concepts to aid comprehension. They are not there as complete explanations. These analogies don't explain the Trinity but only show that in science and in our natural world we accept explanations of things that are plural and singular at the same time.

In Christian theology, the Trinity is one essence (God, monotheism) who exists in three Persons (still monotheism)—they act differently in the world.
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Re: Is Christian trinity and Hindu trinity similar?

Postby Dildo » Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:22 pm

while I appreciate your effort, I really don't se any harmony in your presentation, rather I see you downplaying verses that explicitly show the son is subservient to the father, and I see you ignoring the fact that most of the verses you quoted do not support a trinity, but rather they support polytheism or at best a Duology, as there isn't much about the mysterious Holy Spirit. my point stands: occam's razor easily dispenses with the trinity and instead points to an evolving, still-incoherent doctrine that has hints of the trinity, but has even more obvious polytheistic elements as well. as a non-believer, I am not forced to harmonize contrary verses, I can simply label them as they appear without forcing them into dogma.
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Re: Is Christian trinity and Hindu trinity similar?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:57 pm

We obviously disagree as to whether or not your point stands. The verses clearly support that God is a singular essence who exists in plural persons. It has nothing to do with dogma (though the dogma has followed the clear teaching of the texts) but rather with what the texts are saying.

If Occam's Razor easily dispenses with the Trinity, how does it change the clear Trinitarian teaching of John 1.1 or 10.30?


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