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The Godhead and Trinity

 

One of the main reason Jehovah Witnesses (and a few others) play down the divinity of Jesus is that they have trouble with the philosophy of 'being' (Ontology).  They view God as like a large HUMAN person, with one personality.  There is a tendency to equate 'being' with 'personality', but some beings and creatures have really no personality at all...and no self awareness.  I would suggest a fly is just a biological robot, whereas dogs and people almost always have one personality.  God has more than one.  We see the working together of 3 at the baptism of Jesus and we know that God is Elohim...a God of pluralities, powers, and majesties.  One thing I have also noted is that within the Godhead there exists subbordination of the 'Son' to the 'Father' but this does not imply that Jesus was created by the Father or is a lower being, anymore than a mans wife is a lower being than he is, yet we know that the husband is suppose to be the head of the household.  The wife is not a lower creature!!!!!

Because JWs (and a few others) have problems with this they will strain at a few scriptures that could be used to make Jesus (the Logos) ontologically inferior.  For example JWs will sometimes use Colossians 1:15 (First born over all creation) as evidence that the Logos was the first thing created, however, they ignore what follows as its says that 'through him all things were created...'   The term "firstborn" is actually a title of inheritance, where the first born child is the main heir in many ancient Semite socities..

pastor zomok

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  • I think how Jesus summed it up is best. If you have Me, then you have the Father also.

    I, personally, find it hard to believe that God will send someone to hell for not believing in the trinity or for not believing in three seperate entities (Father, Son, & Holy ghost). The trinity discussion is one of the doctrines that seperate people the most, yet either side would agree on one point. Jesus, is the Word of God (John 1:1 & Revelation 19:13). Therefore, whether He is a part of the trinity or not, both sides should see Jesus' words as superior to anyone else; since everything He spoke is exactly what God wants us to know and do today. That is more important, in my opinion, to God, then only undersatnding the nature of God without understanding the importance of everything that Jesus said and did.

    At least, those are my thougts. (:

    Peace

    • One is indivisible with the other James, as in Matthew 28:19 when Jesus sends us out to make disciples in the name of the Trinity.  If we accept God we have to accept the Trinity, and the only unforgivable sin is denying the Spirit.  So we need to accept the Spirit and one with the Father and the Son.

      Way back in Genesis God hinted that although He was the 'One God' He had a plurality to Him.  He used the plural in Genesis 1:26, when He says to make man in 'our image', the same applies to Isaiah 6:8.  The third member of the Trinity of God, The Holy Spirit, is also found extensively in the Old Testament:

      Genesis 1:2

      1 Samuel 11:6

      Psalm 106:33

      Ezekiel 3:24

      Genesis 6:3

      1 Samuel 16:13

      Psalm 139:7

      Ezekiel 8:3

      Exodus 31:3

      1 Samuel 16:14

      Psalm 143:10

      Ezekiel 11:1

      Exodus 35:31

      1 Samuel 19:20

      Isaiah 11:2

      Ezekiel 11:5

      Numbers 11:17

      1 Samuel 19:23

      Isaiah 30:1

      Ezekiel 11:24

      Numbers 11:25

      2 Samuel 23:2

      Isaiah 32:15

      Ezekiel 36:27

      Numbers 11:26

      1 Kings 18:12

      Isaiah 34:16

      Ezekiel 37:1

      Numbers 11:29

      1 Kings 22:24

      Isaiah 40:13

      Ezekiel 37:14

      Numbers 24:2

      2 Kings 2:16

      Isaiah 42:1

      Ezekiel 39:29

      Numbers 27:18

      1 Chronicles 12:18

      Isaiah 44:3

      Ezekiel 43:5

      Judges 3:10

      2 Chronicles 15:1

      Isaiah 48:16

      Joel 2:28

      Judges 6:34

      2 Chronicles 18:23

      Isaiah 59:21

      Joel 2:29

      Judges 11:29

      2 Chronicles 20:14

      Isaiah 61:1

      Micah 2:7

      Judges 13:25

      2 Chronicles 24:20

      Isaiah 63:10

      Micah 3:8

      Judges 14:6

      Nehemiah 9:20

      Isaiah 63:11

      Haggai 2:5

      Judges 14:19

      Nehemiah 9:30

      Isaiah 63:14

      Zechariah 4:6

      Judges 15:14

      Job 33:4

      Ezekiel 2:2

      Zechariah 7:12

      1 Samuel 10:6

      Psalm 51:11

      Ezekiel 3:12

      Zechariah 12:10

      1 Samuel 10:10

      Psalm 104:30

      Ezekiel 3:14

      Malachi 2:15



      • It was said:  "... If we accept God we have to accept the Trinity ..."

        And, in this statement (sic), I will disagree, but not in the manner most would think, and so ask for all reading to consider what I say, not what I did not say, nor to what others think I implied.  My words will be specific.

        I do not lik the word "trinity" since it carries so much theological erroneous baggage.  The word itself would not be so bad if most simply defined, but it usually is not so defined simply, but instead defined dogmatically after Tertullian.

        For instance:

        Wikipedia [quick source]:

        “... The word "trinity" is derived from Latin trinitas, meaning "the number three, a triad, tri". This abstract noun is formed from the adjective trinus (three each, threefold, triple),[21] as the word unitas is the abstract noun formed from unus (one).

        The corresponding word in Greek is tριάς, meaning "a set of three" or "the number three".[22] The first recorded use of this Greek word in Christian theology was by Theophilus of Antioch in about the year of 170. He wrote:[23][24]

        In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity [Τριάδος], of God, and His Word, and His wisdom. And the fourth is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the Word, wisdom, man.[25]

        Tertullian, a Latin theologian who wrote in the early 3rd century, is credited as being the first to use the Latin words "Trinity",[26] "person" and "substance"[27] to explain that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are "tres personae, una substantia".[28] While "personae" is often translated as "persons," the Latin word personae is better understood as referring to roles as opposed to individual centers of consciousness. ...” - Wikipedia, Trinity; Etymology

        Already we can see 2 varying definitions, [1] between Ignatius of Antioch [which is were they were first called “Christians” [Acts 11:26 KJB]], and [2] the later Latin Tertullian, which included the erroneous ideology of “una substantia”. Yet, throughout history there are further definitions of the word.

        The word “trinity” or even “tri-in-unity” in Greek, simply means “threefold”, or “set of three”, and has nothing to do with an inherent idea of “una substantia” as Tertullian defines, though it now is often to include such dogma, which certain systems, and one in particular, adhere to upon pain of death.

        The Roman Catholic ideology is the most noted, in error, upon this, by saying:

        The Roman Catholic Definition of the word “Trinity”:

        Online Roman Catholic Library; Credo of the People of God; Promulgated by Pope Paul VI on June 30, 1968 - http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_pa06cr.htm

        “We believe then in the Father who eternally begets the Son, in the Son, the Word of God, who is eternally begotten; in the Holy Spirit, the uncreated Person who proceeds from the Father and the Son as their eternal love. Thus in the Three Divine Persons, coaeternae sibi et coaequales,[8] the life and beatitude of God perfectly one superabound and are consummated in the supreme excellence and glory proper to uncreated being, and always "there should be venerated unity in the Trinity and Trinity in the unity."[9]”

        Online Roman Catholic Encyclopedia, Holy Spirit; sections throughout - http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07409a.htm

        “... that the Paraclete "is not to be considered as unconnected with the Father and the Son, for He is with Them one in substance and divinity"...

        ... Proceeding both from the Father and the Son, the Holy Ghost, nevertheless, proceeds from Them as from a single principle. ... Hence it follows, indeed, that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the two other Persons, not in so far as They are distinct, but inasmuch as Their Divine perfection is numerically one. Besides, such is the explicit teaching of ecclesiastical tradition, which is concisely put by St. Augustine (On the Holy Trinity V.14): "As the Father and the Son are only one God and, relatively to the creature, only one Creator and one Lord, so, relatively to the Holy Ghost, They are only one principle." This doctrine was definded in the following words by the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons [Denzinger, "Enchiridion" (1908), n. 460]: "We confess that the Holy Ghost proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles, but as from one principle, not by two spirations, but by one single spiration." The teaching was again laid down by the Council of Florence (ibid., n. 691), and by Eugene IV in his Bull "Cantate Domino" (ibid., n. 703 sq.). ...

        ..."the Holy Ghost comes from the Father and from the Son not made, not created, not generated, but proceeding" ...”

        The Council of Florence (A.D. 1438-1445) From Cantate Domino — Papal Bull of Pope Eugene IV by Pope Eugene IV - http://catholicism.org/cantate-domino.html

        “The sacrosanct Roman Church, founded by the voice of our Lord and Savior, firmly believes, professes, and preaches one true God omnipotent, unchangeable, and eternal, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; one in essence, three in persons; Father unborn, Son born of the Father, Holy Spirit proceeding from Father and Son; that the Father is not Son or Holy Spirit, that Son is not Father or Holy Spirit; that Holy Spirit is not Father or Son; but Father alone is Father, Son alone is Son, Holy Spirit alone is Holy Spirit. The Father alone begot the Son of His own substance; the Son alone was begotten of the Father alone; the Holy Spirit alone proceeds at the same time from the Father and Son.

        These three persons are one God, and not three gods, because the three have one substance, one essence, one nature, one divinity, one immensity, one eternity, where no opposition of relationship interferes.

        “Because of this unity the Father is entire in the Son, entire in the Holy Spirit; the Son is entire in the Father, entire in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is entire in the Father, entire in the Son. No one either excels another in eternity, or exceeds in magnitude, or is superior in power. For the fact that the Son is of the Father is eternal and without beginning; and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son is eternal and without beginning.” Whatever the Father is or has, He does not have from another, but from Himself; and He is the principle without principle. Whatever the Son is or has, He has from the Father, and is the principle from a principle. Whatever the Holy Spirit is or has, He has simultaneously from the Father and the Son. But the Father and the Son are not two principles of the Holy Spirit, but one principle, just as the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of the creature, but one principle. ...”

        I do not believe the Roman Catholic definition of the word “trinity”, and neither should you, or any who adhere to scriptural definitions.

        I do believe in the three eternal Persons, the three eternal Beings, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost/Spirit.  I do not believe them to be "una substantia", for the scripture says no such thing.  I also do not believe that the nature of the Person of the Father, neither that of the Son (the nature of the Holy Ghost is a mystery, and not explained in scripture, and so I can say nothing here, for upon that which is not said in scripture, silence is golden, and to my wisdom) is bodiless, or without form, likeness, image.  I believe, from scripture, that both the Person of the Father and of the Son, have "form", "likeness", "image" even their own "body", while the doctrine of Roman Catholicism (and others such as self-proclaimed 'Orthodoxy', and even many that call themselves after their Protestant fathers (Lutherans, Calvinists, Methodists, etc), etc) do not, and instead aetherealize God into non-essence, non-Being, non-Personages, a three-headed hyrdaistric singularity of vapour and vanity (nothingness), for instance, the scripture says:

        God is not a perfume, not an aethereal essence pervading the universe.

        Mat_6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

        Mat_16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

        Luk_11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

        He, the Father, is a "Person", even His person (Job 13:8; Hebrews 1:3), of which Jesus (the Son) is the "express image" of.

        As for the rest, see "His person" (Job 13:8); "form of God" (Philippians 2:6), "shape" (John 5:37), "image" (Genesis 1:26,27; Hebrews 1:3), "likeness" (Genesis 1:26,27), "being" (Acts 17:28), has a very real movable "Throne" on which He sits (Daniel 7:9-10; Revelation 4-5, &c), has "the hair of his head like the pure wool" (Daniel 7:9), "whose garment was white as snow" (Daniel 7:9), has a "right hand" (Revelation 5:1; Acts 7:55-56), able to be looked upon, "to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone" (Revelation 4:2), having His own "nature" (Galatians 4:8).

        See also "back parts" (Exodus 33:23), and even a "divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4), see also "under his feet" (Exodus 24:20).

        The angels are also called 'spirits' and "persons" ("fellows"; Hebrews 1:9), "young man" (Mark 16:5; Daniel 9:21; &c), and yet have real celestial (Heavenly) "bodies" with unfallen angelic "flesh" (1 Corinthians 15:35-58; Jude 1:7, Genesis 17-19, &c) an unfallen heavenly "nature" (Hebrews 2:16), where as we have bodies terrestrial (dust).

        The Son is also a "person" (Hebrews 1:3; 2 Corinthians 2:10; Matthew 27:24; Deuteronomy 27:25; &c).

        So is the Holy Ghost (John 14:16; &c)

        Mankind are also called 'spirits' (1 Peter 3:19; Hebrews 12:23) and yet are real tangible beings, with bodies (made of dust).

        Philippians 2:6; Daniel 3:25; Genesis 18:4, 19:2; Exodus 24:10-11; Psalms 18:9; John 5:37; Exodus 33:23,20,22; Daniel 7:9-10,13; Ezekiel 1:1,8,26-28; Acts 7:55-56; Psalms 24:1-10; John 20:17; 1 Peter 3:22; Matthew 18:10; Revelation 1:13-20, 2:1, 4:1-11, 5:1-14; Hebrews 1:13; Colossians 1:3-6; Numbers 12:8; Isaiah 45:23, 48:3; Revelation 3:16; Psalms 89:34; Psalms 104:33, 146:2; Acts 17:28; Genesis 1:26-27; Colossians 1:15; &c.

        "... PERSONALITY OF GOD

        MAN was made in the image of God. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him." Gen.i,26,27. See also chap.ix,6; 1Cor.xi,7. Those who deny the personality of God, say that "image" here does not mean physical form, but moral image, and they make this the grand starting point to prove the immortality of all men. The argument stands thus: First, man was made in God's moral image. Second, God is an immortal being. Third, therefore all men are immortal. But this mode of reasoning would also prove man omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, and thus clothe mortal man with all the attributes of the deity. Let us try it: First, man was made in God's moral image. Second, God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Third, therefore, man is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. That which proves too much, proves nothing to the point, therefore the position that the image of God means his moral image, cannot be sustained. As proof that God is a person, read his own words to Moses: "And the Lord said, Behold there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock; and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by. And I will take away mine hand and thou shalt see my [2] back parts; but my face shall not be seen." Ex.xxxiii,21-23. See also chap.xxiv,9-11. Here God tells Moses that he shall see his form. To say that God made it appear to Moses that he saw his form, when he has no form, is charging God with adding to falsehood a sort of juggling deception upon his servant Moses. {1861 JW, PERGO 1.1}

        But the skeptic thinks he sees a contradiction between verse 11, which says that the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, and verse 20, which states that Moses could not see his face. But let Num.xii,5-8 remove the difficulty. "And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words. If there be a prophet among you, I, the Lord, will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently." {1861 JW, PERGO 2.1}

        The great and dreadful God came down, wrapped in a cloud of glory. This cloud could be seen, but not the face which possesses more dazzling brightness than a thousand suns. Under these circumstances Moses was permitted to draw near and converse with God face to face, or mouth to mouth, even apparently. {1861 JW, PERGO 2.2}

        Says the prophet Daniel, "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hairs of his head like the pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire." Chap.vii,9. "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him, and [3] there was given him dominion and glory and a kingdom." Verses 13, 14. {1861 JW, PERGO 2.3}

        Here is a sublime description of the action of two personages; viz, God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ. Deny their personality, and there is not a distinct idea in these quotations from Daniel. In connection with this quotation read the apostle's declaration that the Son was in the express image of his Father's person. "God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person." Heb.i,1-3. {1861 JW, PERGO 3.1}

        We here add the testimony of Christ. "And the Father himself which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape." John v,37. See also Phil.ii,6. To say that the Father has not a personal shape, seems the most pointed contradiction of plain scripture terms.

        OBJECTION. - "God is a Spirit." John iv,24. {1861 JW, PERGO 3.2}

        ANSWER. - Angels are also spirits [Ps.civ,4], yet those that visited Abram and Lot, lay down, ate, and took hold of Lot's hand. They were spirit beings. So is God a Spirit being. {1861 JW, PERGO 3.3}

        OBJ. - God is everywhere. Proof. Ps.cxxxix,1-8. He is as much in every place as in any one place. {1861 JW, PERGO 3.4}

        ANS. - 1. God is everywhere by virtue of his omniscience, as will be seen by the very words of David referred to above. Verses 1-6. "O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my down-sitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a [4] word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high; I cannot attain unto it." {1861 JW, PERGO 3.5}

        2. God is everywhere by virtue of his Spirit, which is his representative, and is manifested wherever he pleases, as will be seen by the very words the objector claims, referred to above. Verses 7-10. "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." {1861 JW, PERGO 4.1}

        God is in heaven. This we are taught in the Lord's prayer. "Our Father which art in heaven." Matt.vi,9; Luke xi,2. But if God is as much in every place as he is in any one place, then heaven is also as much in every place as it is in any one place, and the idea of going to heaven is all a mistake. We are all in heaven; and the Lord's prayer, according to this foggy theology simply means, Our Father which art everywhere, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is everywhere. {1861 JW, PERGO 4.2}
        Again, Bible readers have believed that Enoch and Elijah were really taken up to God in heaven. But if God and heaven be as much in every place as in any one place, this is all a mistake. They were not translated. And all that is said about the chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and the attending whirlwind to take Elijah up into heaven, was a useless parade. They only evaporated, and a misty vapor passed through the entire universe. This is all of Enoch and Elijah that the mind can possibly grasp, admitting that God and heaven are [5]
        no more in any one place than in every place. But it is said of Elijah that he "went up by a whirlwind into heaven." 2Kings ii,11. And of Enoch it is said that he "walked with God, and was not, for God took him." Gen.v,24. {1861 JW, PERGO 4.3}

        Jesus is said to be on the right hand of the Majesty on high." Heb.i,3. "So, then, after the Lord had spoken unto them he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God." Mark xvi,19. But if heaven be everywhere, and God everywhere, then Christ's ascension up to heaven, at the Father's right hand, simply means that he went everywhere! He was only taken up where the cloud hid him from the gaze of his disciples, and then evaporated and went everywhere! So that instead of the lovely Jesus, so beautifully described in both Testaments, we have only a sort of essence dispersed through the entire universe. And in harmony with this rarified theology, Christ's second advent, or his return, would be the condensation of this essence to some locality, say the mount of Olivet! Christ arose from the dead with a physical form. "He is not here," said the angel, "for he is risen as he said." Matt.xxviii,6. {1861 JW, PERGO 5.1}

        "And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail! And they came and held him by the feet, and they worshiped him." Verse 9. {1861 JW, PERGO 5.2}
        "Behold my hands and my feet," said Jesus to those who stood in doubt of his resurrection, "that it is I myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honey-comb, and he took it and did eat before them." Luke xxiv,39-43. {1861 JW, PERGO 5.3} [6]

        After Jesus addressed his disciples on the mount of Olivet, he was taken up from them, and a cloud received him out of their sight. "And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel, which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts i,9-11. J. W. {1861 JW, PERGO 6.1}

        IMMATERIALITY

        THIS is but another name for nonentity. It is the negative of all things and beings - of all existence. There is not one particle of proof to be advanced to establish its existence. It has no way to manifest itself to any intelligence in heaven or on earth. Neither God, angels, nor men could possibly conceive of such a substance, being, or thing. It possesses no property or power by which to make itself manifest to any intelligent being in the universe. Reason and analogy never scan it, or even conceive of it. Revelation never reveals it, nor do any of our senses witness its existence. It cannot be seen, felt, heard, tasted, or smelled, even by the strongest organs, or the most acute sensibilities. It is neither liquid nor solid, soft nor hard - it can neither extend nor contract. In short, it can exert no influence whatever - it can neither act nor be acted upon. And even if it does exist, it can be of no possible use. It possesses no one, desirable property, faculty, or use, yet, strange to say, immateriality is the modern Christian's God, his anticipated heaven, his immortal self - his all! {1861 JW, PERGO 6.2}

        O sectarianism! O atheism!! O annihilation!!! [7]

        who can perceive the nice shades of difference between the one and the other? They seem alike, all but in name. The atheist has no God. The sectarian has a God without body or parts. Who can define the difference? For our part we do not perceive a difference of a single hair; they both claim to be the negative of all things which exist - and both are equally powerless and unknown. {1861 JW, PERGO 6.3}

        The atheist has no after life, or conscious existence beyond the grave. The sectarian has one, but it is immaterial, like his God; and without body or parts. Here again both are negative, and both arrive at the same point. Their faith and hope amount to the same; only it is expressed by different terms. {1861 JW, PERGO 7.1}

        Again, the atheist has no heaven in eternity. The sectarian has one, but it is immaterial in all its properties, and is therefore the negative of all riches and substances. Here again they are equal, and arrive at the same point. {1861 JW, PERGO 7.2}

        As we do not envy them the possession of all they claim, we will now leave them in the quiet and undisturbed enjoyment of the same, and proceed to examine the portion still left for the despised materialist to enjoy. {1861 JW, PERGO 7.3}

        What is God? He is material, organized intelligence, possessing both body and parts. Man is in his image. {1861 JW, PERGO 7.4}

        What is Jesus Christ? He is the Son of God, and is like his Father, being "the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person." He is a material intelligence, with body, parts, and passions; possessing immortal flesh and immortal bones. {1861 JW, PERGO 7.5}

        What are men? They are the offspring of Adam. They are capable of receiving intelligence and exaltation to such a degree as to be raised from the dead with a body like that of Jesus Christ, [8] and to possess immortal flesh and bones. Thus perfected, they will possess the material universe, that is, the earth, as their "everlasting inheritance." With these hopes and prospects before us, we say to the Christian world who hold to immateriality, that they are welcome to their God - their life - their heaven, and their all. They claim nothing but that which we throw away; and we claim nothing but that which they throw away. Therefore, there is no ground for quarrel or contention between us. {1861 JW, PERGO 7.6}

        We choose all substance - what remains
        The mystical sectarian gains;
        All that each claims, each shall possess,
        Nor grudge each other's happiness.

        An immaterial God they choose,
        For such a God we have no use;
        An immaterial heaven and hell,
        In such a heaven we cannot dwell.

        We claim the earth, the air, and sky,
        And all the starry worlds on high;
        Gold, silver, ore, and precious stones,
        And bodies made of flesh and bones.

        Such is our hope, our heaven, our all,
        When once redeemed from Adam's fall;
        All things are ours, and we shall be,
        The Lord's to all eternity. {1861 JW, PERGO 8.1} ..." - Personality of God, by JSW, 1861, pages 1.1 - 8.1

        But instead, what certain doctrinal definitions do is take away all of that, the very form, nature, likeness, image, etc of God the Father, and that of the Son, and vaporize it into spiritualism, and end up teaching pantheism, or its other ofrm panentheism, that God (being this pervasive essence of non-being) is in all things, or God is all things, etc.

        God is not in the sinner, see Revelation 3:20 for example.  Jesus stated that the Father was specifically in Heaven (3rd; aka the location of Paradise, original Eden above, the one on earth in Genesis, was merely the planting of the Heavenly shcool).

        So, are there 3 Persons?  Yes.  Are they 'una substantia'?  No, and I could list many scriptures to this effect as needful  The word "one", as in Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29, doesn't mean 'una substantia', but refers to multiplicity working in unity, or rather several persons/beings united in effort, not in person/being.

        Simple exmaples are the Gospels themselves, being 4 works, all united in speaking the same thing.  Or take the prophets of the OT, all differing persons, all speaking together as a united voice, or take the whole of the scripture (Bible) in its 66 books (demonstrable upon request), in their unified position, as the 12 apostles, along with the other of the 120 or so, in the upper room, being all together in one accord (not in person), or take marriage from beginning to ending, in that two humans unite together in the bond of love, not being some hideous hybrid of flesh, but rather as still two persons, looked upon as a united front, a new 'head' and a new 'body' in a greater sense than before, yet not negating their previous indivudality, persons.

        So I believe, in the Hevaenly trio (notice the word 'trio' and its correct definition):

        Three distinct agencies, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, work together for human beings. They are united in the work of making the church on earth like the church in heaven.

        The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either. They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in person.

        The same with the three Persons of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost/Spirit.

        The three great and glorious heavenly characters are present on the occasion of baptism. All the human capabilities are to be henceforth consecrated powers to do service for God in representing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost upon whom they depend. All heaven is represented by these three in covenant relation with the new life. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.

        All the intelligences of heaven are in this army. And more than angels are in the ranks. The Holy Spirit, the representative of the Captain of the Lord's host, comes down to direct the battle. Our infirmities may be many, our sins and mistakes grievous; but the grace of God is for all who seek it with contrition. The power of Omnipotence is enlisted in behalf of those who trust in God.

        Notice,

        The Holy Spirit is more than angels, having omnipotent power, is an intelligence (in the truest definition of the word), and directs the battle on the behalf of Christ Jesus, the Captain of the host of the LORD, who is the Father.

        The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the eternal Godhead ... and notice I did not say "... the Eternal God ..." which most would incorrectly do, for the word "Godhead" is specific.  It is that:

        The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption.

         

        There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ.

        Do not be confused by the word "powers" as the WTS is, among others, for the word "powers" is also used of living persons/beings in scripture, whether of men (Luke 12:11; Romans 8:38, 13:1; Colossian 1:16, 2:15; Titus 3:1), angelic (Romans 8:38, 13:1; Ephesians 3:11, 6:12; Colossians 1:16, 2:15; 1 Peter 3:22) or Deity (1 Corinthians 1:24).

        When I use the word "being" in the above, I am not speaking of the "nature", but of the indiviual persons themselves.  So when I say that men are persons or beings, I am not referring to the nature of mankind as a whole, the human nature of being, existence, or as some like to use the word 'ontology, ontological'.

        I can also differentiate between the words persons and beings, depending upon what I am speaking about, whether, mankind or angelic or God, or that of brute animal, such as ant, dog, etc, which are beings (living intelligences), but not persons.

        I hope that this was helpful.

        I find, most of the times that the word "trinity" is not helpful, though I do not abandon it altogether, but simply define what I am speaking about when speaking with others who use the word.

        CATHOLIC LIBRARY: The Credo of the People of God (1968)
        Visit New Advent for the Summa Theologica, Church Fathers, Catholic Encyclopedia and more.
      • I can appreciate what you are saying, but I think what you are sharing about having to believe in the trinity in order to believe God, is more so of a theological statement, rather then based off what Jesus taught. During Jesus' own ministry, He never stated the trinity as something that someone must believe in in order to be saved. The only time the trinity was referenced is in the scripture you quoted about Jesus sending us out. However, I think the focus you are putting this passage on isn't Jesus' focus. If we read the scripture Jesus says, " Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

        It seems to me, that teaching people to obey Jesus is what this scripture is focusing on. It also is consistent with the rest of what Jesus taught about obeying Him. Luke 6:46, Matt 16:27, Matt 7:21-29, Luke 12:33 & 14:33.

        In peace

         

        • I realise that this is always a difficult concept to understand, but the Trinity are one, three aspects, or states of the One True God.  This has been accepted for thousands of years, except it's the language that confuses people, particularly in the Old Testament.  There we need to discern between different terminology, Spirit of the Lord, Angel of the Lord, etc., however even in the OT it was accepted that God had three conditions, since the Universe was created through Jesus, the word, as John 1 points out.  So when we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour and as God, we also accept the Spirit.  When He said He would send HIS Spirit, He was meaning God's Spirit, one part of the Trinity.

           

  • Indeed Steve, I could not agree more.  In the past I have tried to explain the Trinity to many people, and I have used many illustrative means from the illustration of 'ice, water and steam' to the committee picture, where the full committeetogether has the greatest power, but each member has authority and power, doing separate jobs, but needs to referr cack to the whole committee.

    The other thing most people don't get is Jesus' being' having been incarnated He was fully human at the same time being fully God.  He had all the restrictions and falabilities, not to mention sensibilities of man, and purely human capacities, which is why He needed to defer to the Father on certain things.  Jesus' brain capacity was no greater than ours, so the Father let Him know what He needed to know, and the Spirit was His main sourse of knowledge, just like us.

    • You are right and you are touching on 'kenosis'.  You are probably well aware of Phillippians 2:5...where it tells us that he emptied himself of his powers and perogatives and became a mere servant or man.  He was in the world, and he made the world, but the world knew him not...John 1:10.

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