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In what ways did the early Church belief in monotheism and in the resurrection of Jesus lead to the doctrine of the Trinity?

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2011-09-13 00:02:16
2011-09-13 00:02:16

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The doctrine of the Trinity is the result of continuous exploration by the church of the biblical data, thrashed out in debate and treatises, eventually formulated at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD... >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinitarianism

AnswerI always hate it when I can't answer a question without rephrasing it. Let's see...how about.. instead of saying ,"in what ways," we say instead, "how could it be possible". The answer is simple, those are not the reasons for the formation of this quite controversal doctrine. The Jews of course for the most part still worship the God of the Hebrew scriptures. Since they are still waiting for the messiah,[even though the 70 weeks of years ran their course over two thousand years ago], nothing much has changed,[ with the possible exception that they are divided into many, many factions and sects]. The resurrection of Jesus, by the always living God who cannot die Habbakuk 1:12, Plus the fact that Jesus did die and remained dead for parts of three days makes one wonder how his 'death' could mean that he is in any way God almighty. A christian could and should be defined as anyone who at the very least embraces the teachings of the Christ and follows his steps closely. What did Jesus teach about God his father? 1. He is the only one to be worshipped. Matt. 4:10 2. Not my name but,'your name' is to be sanctified. Matt. 6:9,10 3. John 14:28 - The father is greater than I'am. [not equal] 4. Jesus born a Jew and a monotheist also died a Jew and a monotheist. The church he left for his followers to build up and maintain was based not on Jesus worship but on worship of the 'Jehovah' of the Hebrew scriptures...on this point the The New Encyclop�dia Britannica says: �Neither the word Trinity, nor the explicit doctrine as such, appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: �Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord� (Deut. 6:4). . . . The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies. . . . By the end of the 4th century . . . the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since.��(1976), Microp�dia, Vol. X, p. 126.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia states: �The formulation �one God in three Persons� was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective.��(1967), Vol. XIV, p. 299.

In The Encyclopedia Americana we read: �Christianity derived from Judaism and Judaism was strictly Unitarian [believing that God is one person]. The road which led from Jerusalem to Nicea was scarcely a straight one. Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching.��(1956), Vol. XXVII, p. 294L.

According to the Nouveau Dictionnaire Universel, �The Platonic trinity, itself merely a rearrangement of older trinities dating back to earlier peoples, appears to be the rational philosophic trinity of attributes that gave birth to the three hypostases or divine persons taught by the Christian churches. . . . This Greek philosopher�s [Plato, fourth century B.C.E.] conception of the divine trinity . . . can be found in all the ancient [pagan] religions.��(Paris, 1865-1870), edited by M. Lach�tre, Vol. 2, p. 1467.

John L. McKenzie, S.J., in his Dictionary of The Bible, says: �The trinity of persons within the unity of nature is defined in terms of �person� and �nature� which are G[ree]k philosophical terms; actually the terms do not appear in the Bible. The trinitarian definitions arose as the result of long controversies in which these terms and others such as �essence� and �substance� were erroneously applied to God by some theologians.��(New York, 1965), p. 899.

and on and on. The theologans would have us all believe in the trinity while the scholars refute it and with fact not philosofy.

Here are some scriptures for comparison: Does the Bible agree with those who teach that the Father and the Son are not separate and distinct individuals?

Matt. 26:39, RS: �Going a little farther he [Jesus Christ] fell on his face and prayed, �My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.�� (If the Father and the Son were not distinct individuals, such a prayer would have been meaningless. Jesus would have been praying to himself, and his will would of necessity have been the Father�s will.)

John 8:17, 18, RS: �[Jesus answered the Jewish Pharisees:] In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true; I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me.� (So, Jesus definitely spoke of himself as being an individual separate and distinct from the Father.)

Does the Bible teach that all who are said to be part of the Trinity are eternal, none having a beginning?

Col. 1:15, 16, RS: �He [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth.� In what sense is Jesus Christ �the first-born of all creation�? (1) Trinitarians say that �first-born� here means prime, most excellent, most distinguished; thus Christ would be understood to be, not part of creation, but the most distinguished in relation to those who were created. If that is so, and if the Trinity doctrine is true, why are the Father and the holy spirit not also said to be the firstborn of all creation? But the Bible applies this expression only to the Son. According to the customary meaning of �firstborn,� it indicates that Jesus is the eldest in Jehovah�s family of sons. (2) Before Colossians 1:15, the expression �the firstborn of� occurs upwards of 30 times in the Bible, and in each instance that it is applied to living creatures the same meaning applies�the firstborn is part of the group. �The firstborn of Israel� is one of the sons of Israel; �the firstborn of Pharaoh� is one of Pharaoh�s family; �the firstborn of beast� are themselves animals. What, then, causes some to ascribe a different meaning to it at Colossians 1:15? Is it Bible usage or is it a belief to which they already hold and for which they seek proof? (3) Does Colossians 1:16, 17 (RS) exclude Jesus from having been created, when it says �in him all things were created . . . all things were created through him and for him�? The Greek word here rendered �all things� is pan�ta, an inflected form of pas. At Luke 13:2, RS renders this �all . . . other�; JB reads �any other�; NE says �anyone else.� (See also Luke 21:29 in NE and Philippians 2:21 in JB.) In harmony with everything else that the Bible says regarding the Son, NW assigns the same meaning to pan�ta at Colossians 1:16, 17 so that it reads, in part, �by means of him all other things were created . . . All other things have been created through him and for him.� Thus he is shown to be a created being, part of the creation produced by God.

Rev. 1:1; 3:14, RS: �The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him . . . �And to the angel of the church in La-odicea write: �The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning [Greek, ar�khe�] of God�s creation.��� (KJ, Dy, CC, and NW, as well as others, read similarly.) Is that rendering correct? Some take the view that what is meant is that the Son was �the beginner of God�s creation,� that he was its �ultimate source.� But Liddell and Scott�s Greek-English Lexicon lists �beginning� as its first meaning of ar�khe�. (Oxford, 1968, p. 252) The logical conclusion is that the one being quoted at Revelation 3:14 is a creation, the first of God�s creations, that he had a beginning. Compare Proverbs 8:22, where, as many Bible commentators agree, the Son is referred to as wisdom personified. According to RS, NE, and JB, the one there speaking is said to be �created.�)

Prophetically, with reference to the Messiah, Micah 5:2 (KJ) says his �goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.� Dy reads: �his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.� Does that make him the same as God? It is noteworthy that, instead of saying �days of eternity,� RS renders the Hebrew as �ancient days�; JB, �days of old�; NW, �days of time indefinite.� Viewed in the light of Revelation 3:14, discussed above, Micah 5:2 does not prove that Jesus was without a beginning.

Does the Bible teach that none of those who are said to be included in the Trinity is greater or less than another, that all are equal, that all are almighty?

Mark 13:32, RS: �Of that day or that hour no ones knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.� (Of course, that would not be the case if Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were coequal, comprising one Godhead. And if, as some suggest, the Son was limited by his human nature from knowing, the question remains, Why did the Holy Spirit not know?)

Matt. 20:20-23, RS: �The mother of the sons of Zebedee . . . said to him [Jesus], �Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.� But Jesus answered, . . . �You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.�� (How strange, if, as claimed, Jesus is God! Was Jesus here merely answering according to his �human nature�? If, as Trinitarians say, Jesus was truly �God-man��both God and man, not one or the other�would it truly be consistent to resort to such an explanation? Does not Matthew 20:23 rather show that the Son is not equal to the Father, that the Father has reserved some prerogatives for himself?)

Matt. 12:31, 32, RS: �Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.� (If the Holy Spirit were a person and were God, this text would flatly contradict the Trinity doctrine, because it would mean that in some way the Holy Spirit was greater than the Son. Instead, what Jesus said shows that the Father, to whom the �Spirit� belonged, is greater than Jesus, the Son of man.)

John 14:28, RS: �[Jesus said:] If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.�

1 Cor. 11:3, RS: �I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.� (Clearly, then, Christ is not God, and God is of superior rank to Christ. It should be noted that this was written about 55 C.E., some 22 years after Jesus returned to heaven. So the truth here stated applies to the relationship between God and Christ in heaven.)

1 Cor. 15:27, 28 RS: ��God has put all things in subjection under his [Jesus�] feet.� But when it says, �All things are put in subjection under him,� it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one.�

The Hebrew word Shad�dai� and the Greek word Pan�to�kra�tor are both translated �Almighty.� Both original-language words are repeatedly applied to Jehovah, the Father. (Ex. 6:3; Rev. 19:6) Neither expression is ever applied to either the Son or the holy spirit.

Does the Bible teach that each of those said to be part of the Trinity is God?

Jesus said in prayer: �Father, . . . this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.� (John 17:1-3, RS; italics added.) (Most translations here use the expression �the only true God� with reference to the Father. NE reads �who alone art truly God.� He cannot be �the only true God,� the one �who alone [is] truly God,� if there are two others who are God to the same degree as he is, can he? Any others referred to as �gods� must be either false or merely a reflection of the true God.)

1 Cor. 8:5, 6, RS: �Although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth�as indeed there are many �gods� and many �lords��yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.� (This presents the Father as the �one God� of Christians and as being in a class distinct from Jesus Christ.)

1 Pet. 1:3, RS: �Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!� (Repeatedly, even following Jesus� ascension to heaven, the Scriptures refer to the Father as �the God� of Jesus Christ. At John 20:17, following Jesus� resurrection, he himself spoke of the Father as �my God.� Later, when in heaven, as recorded at Revelation 3:12, he again used the same expression. But never in the Bible is the Father reported to refer to the Son as �my God,� nor does either the Father or the Son refer to the holy spirit as �my God.�)

In Theological Investigations, Karl Rahner, S.J., admits: �???? [God] is still never used of the Spirit,� and: �? ???? [literally, the God] is never used in the New Testament to speak of the ????�? ????? [holy spirit].��(Baltimore, Md.; 1961), translated from German, Vol. I, pp. 138, 143.

Do any of the scriptures that are used by Trinitarians to support their belief provide a solid basis for that dogma?

A person who is really seeking to know the truth about God is not going to search the Bible hoping to find a text that he can construe as fitting what he already believes. He wants to know what God�s Word itself says. He may find some texts that he feels can be read in more than one way, but when these are compared with other Biblical statements on the same subject their meaning will become clear. It should be noted at the outset that most of the texts used as �proof� of the Trinity actually mention only two persons, not three; so even if the Trinitarian explanation of the texts were correct, these would not prove that the Bible teaches the Trinity. Well I hope this has been helpful. Jim S.

See Related LinksSee the Related Link for "Christology" to the bottom for the answer. answer"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one" (I John v, 7).

This is the only passage in the New Testament which clearly teaches the doctrine of the Trinity, and this passage is admitted by all Christian scholars to be an interpolation.

When the modern version of the New Testament was first published by Erasmus it was criticized because it contained no text teaching the doctrine of the Trinity. Erasmus promised his critics that if a manuscript could be found containing such a text he would insert it. The manuscript was "found," and the text quoted appeared in a later edition. Concerning this interpolation Sir Isaac Newton, in a letter to a friend, which was afterward published by Bishop Horsley, says: "When the adversaries of Erasmus had got the Trinity into his edition, they threw by their manuscript as an old almanac out of date."

The early church did not teach or believe in the trinity. The trinity is a man made doctrine formulated by Tertullian & implemented by Constantine. It's a false doctrine.

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