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Belief in Brief: The Holy Trinity

Monday, June 30, 2008 | 12:04 p.m. CDT; updated 1:56 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

According to Christian religious traditions, the word ‘Trinity’ is typically used to refer to God’s existence as a unified version of three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each person is completely distinct from the other but still unified in essence. In the Bible, God is described as being “God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit” . “He who has seen me has seen the Father,” Jesus says in John 14:8-11 and also is referred to as being “One God” in 1 Corinthians 8:4. “There is no God but one.”

Because the term Trinity is not used in the Bible, some religious groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses argue its validity. According to “The History of the Trinity,” the term “Trinity” did not come about until the 4th century and is borrowed from Greek philosophy — “Tri” meaning three and “unity” meaning one, thus “tri” plus “unity” equals trinity.

The Father is called God repeatedly in the Bible and is the first member of the Trinity. God the son, Jesus, is also mentioned as God in John 1:1 “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.”

Finally, the Holy Spirit is also referenced as God in Acts 5:3-4 “Why has your heart caused you to lie to the Holy Spirit? You have not lied to men, but to God.”

There are several analogies used to explain the Trinity, one theologian, Steven Brandt compares the Trinity to the fingers on a hand: Each finger is part of your hand, but respectfully called a finger — but still being part of the hand. Another common analogy used is compounds: H20 can be water, ice or steam individually, but each is classified as H20.

Christian belief states that as sinful beings, with our limited human experience, we are not able to comprehend the Trinity, but can be assured that God the Son (Jesus) is fully God, God the Father is fully God, and God the Holy spirit is one God. Well-known Evangelist Billy Graham has been quoted as saying “I can’t explain the Trinity, but I believe it.”

In the Bible, God refers to himself in a plural form as seen in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, rule over all the Earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

The Bible teaches that there is one church but many members; the same concept applies to the Holy Trinity. There is one God, but three persons, none higher or more powerful than the other.


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Comments

Jerry Jones July 1, 2008 | 10:08 a.m.

As a Born-Again Christian, who was reared as a Jehovah's Witness, I may be able to provide some insight and helpful advice to those Christians who struggle with the Trinity teaching. Even after I finally discovered that the WatchTower Society was a false cult, when I was around 40 years old, I continued to believe the JWs' anti-Trinity teachings and teachings regarding the soul (or rather no-soul). In fact, I was vehemently anti-Trinity, and I continued to fight against Trinity teachers on the internet.

Then, one day, when I was 45 years old, after recalling that I had not recently spent any time simply reading the Bible, I started flipping through a New Testament and reading scattered passages, when I eventually realized that every passage that I had been reading was teaching me the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Over the next few days, I also was repeatedly led to passages that taught me that humans have a separate, distinct soul and spirit that are unique to every individual, and that such survives death.

Sometime during all this, I also came to the "understanding" that I was being "tutored" by the Holy Spirit; that the Bible was His only textbook; and that only by His grace can humans come to an accurate understanding of such.

I also received an accurate understanding of my sinful state, and the need for redemption and salvation from GOD and through His Son, Jesus Christ, that years of saturation in WatchTower teachings had never provided.

Although I thereafter prayed for forgiveness, and gave my life to Christ, I still question whether I did not first receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which initiated everything else. But, I digress.

Months later, it eventually dawned on me that the Trinity Doctrine, and centuries of commentary thereon, were imperfect men's imperfect attempts to explain what is hinted at and referred to throughout the Bible, but never actually fully explained -- for GOD's own reasons.

Regardless of how well intentioned the authors are, many Trinity commentaries contain content that is erroneous, speculative, contradictory, and worse. It is such that has fueled anti-trinitarians for centuries.

I would recommend that Christians do as I was led to do. Stick with reading GOD'S WORD. Pray that the Holy Spirit tutor you and give you understanding to the extent that GOD wills. Trust, exercise faith, and be satisfied with what you are given. Be patient -- knowing that GOD will fully reveal everything in His own good time.

(Report Comment)
Brock Compton July 2, 2008 | 12:32 a.m.

Regarding Trinity,
Here's an interesting experiment, read Daniel 7:13-14 and ask yourself, Who is the ancient of days, who is someone like the son of man, why did the son of man have to gain access to the ancient of days, if he was the same being? Especially in the heavenly realm?

Also ask yourself, what would the point be of Satan's test at Matthew 4:1-11 if Jesus were God? If he coudn't fail because he was God, wouldn't Satan know?

The conception of Jesus being something other than what he taught (God's son) started with Cerinthus while the apostle John was still alive and accellerated with Origen in the second century, who coined the term trinity. Origen's tretise "On First Principles", established Origen's doctrines, including that of the Holy Trinity (based upon standard Middle Platonic triadic emanation schemas). This means he took the concept of trinity, not out of Jesus teachings, but the teaching of PLATO, a pagan. Why would I want to base my beliefs on a source outside the bible?

Here's another interesting question... Who did the people of the Bible think Jesus to be:
1. First lets ask the angel Gabriel?
Luke 1:35 -- Son of God
2. Next John the Baptist testified him to be:
John 1:34 -- Son of God
3. God himself declared him to be his son:
Matthew 17:5
4. Who did the apostle John say Jesus to be?
1 John 4:15 -- The Son of God
5. How about the apostle Peter :
Matthew 16:13-16 -- The Son of the Living God
6. Who did God promise to send Himself?
John 3:16 -- His only-begotten Son
7. Who did Jesus tell Thomas to believe him to be?
John 20:29-31 -- The Christ, The Son of God
8. Now, let's hear from Jesus himself. I wonder if he knew who he was???
John 10:36 -- "I am God's Son."
9. The chief priest of Israel said Jesus called himself what?
Matthew 27:43 -- God's Son
10. Now did Jesus, under oath, declare himself to be God? NO!
Matthew 26:63-64 -- God's Son
11. What about Mark? What did he have to say?
Mark 14:61-62 -- God's Son
12. What about the testimony of an army officer?
Mark 15:34-39 -- Son of God
13. Apostle Paul, the chief of the apostles, after getting the Truth went into the synagogues immediately and taught Jesus to be what? The number two person of a Godhead??? Let's look and see:
Acts 9:20 -- No, it's not there either. Paul said Jesus was the Son of God, after he returned to heaven.
14. Well now, we have heard from the brothers in the early Christian church. Maybe the brothers are mixed-up. Let's ask a sister -- Martha -- who she believed Jesus to be:
John 11:27 -- Son of God
15. What about the demons? Did they believe Jesus was God himself?
Read: Luke 8:26-28

Food for thought - Most “christian” religions teach the trinity, yet the bible tells us – The majority will be wrong!! Consider Matt 7:21-23

Also, weren’t we warned there would be wolves coming after the flock once the apostles were gone - Acts 20:28-30

CONCLUSION: Jesus is the son of the Living God.

(Report Comment)
Danny Haszard July 2, 2008 | 9:49 a.m.

Endless trinity debates by the Jehovah Witness apologist is a red herring distraction to complicate reader discovery of the Watchtower's real purpose of having come into existence.

To; DECLARE CHRIST SECOND COMING IN 1914
Yes,the central CORE watchtower/Jehovah Witness dogma is a false prophecy Remember that readers.(JW's love to talk trinity cause it's an enigma that they can spin)
Jehovah's Witnesses apologist use the trinity 'quandary' to divert and distract from the core issues

The central CORE doctrine of the Watchtower,yes the reason the Watchtower came into existence was to declare Jesus second coming in 1914.When the prophecy (derived from William Miller of 1842) failed they said that he came "invisibly".

I find this link below interesting
Logical fallacies and the Trinity
http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-fals...

(Report Comment)
Brock Compton July 9, 2008 | 6:55 p.m.

Mr Haszard, please go off and study your history. Then I invite you to make an intelligent comment on the subject at hand, if you can. I invite you to use a bible if you have one to prove me wrong...

(Report Comment)
buky Herrera January 24, 2009 | 2:51 p.m.

Mr.Buky

Very Well said Mr.Brock Compton

If we are sincerely looking for the truth we nee to do our homework..To me a Honest person is the one who do the research,gathers the facts and draw his conclusions in line with what the bible says over the subject matter.
As you can see it takes more that just repeating what the pastor or the priest teach to say..Your comments and opinions will be more intelligents when you have the facts at hand.
You just need to read the words of jesus at Mattew 15:14 ..that is being intelligent..saying to others that you were member of JW religion and that you left because you found something better..that means that you are practising the truth by doing more than what you learnt by being a Jehovah Witness..this means that you must be preaching more eagerly door by door..conducting More bible studies..Helping More people to know Gods Purpose for humankind..More personal Study and More efforts to be a better pearson,a better son,,a better Father,,a better friend,Right?
If you are not doing "More" in all the above..you are just a lier and only diceiving yourself... I would not trust a person like that neither believe any word that come out of his/her mouth..Would you?
So I hope you sincerely already started with the homework that Mr.Brock asked you to do.

Regards
Buky

(Report Comment)
Danny Haszard July 18, 2009 | 4:22 p.m.

JW ground zero

American war of 1812 army captain William Miller is ground zero for Jehovah's Witnesses. Yes,the "great disappointment"of Oct 22 1844 has never died out... it lives on in the Seventh day Adventist (who admit it) and the Jehovah's Witnesses who deny it.

The CORE creed doctrine of the Watchtower,yes the reason the Watchtower came into existence was to declare Jesus second coming in 1914.
When the prophecy (derived from William Miller of 1842) failed they said that he came "invisibly".Ergo,no 1914 then there can be no 1918 inspection and sealing of the 'anointed' so the entire Watchtower Bible and Tract Society doctrinal superstructure comes crashing down like a house of cards.

Jesus second coming aka 'return to power' aka 'establishment of his heavenly kingdom' aka 'invisible return to power' all mean the same thing.

--Danny Haszard Jehovah's Witness X 33 years

(Report Comment)
Jon Anderson September 11, 2009 | 10:56 a.m.

The teaching of the trinity was unheard of at the time of Christ, except for in greek mythology. Being that the new testament was written in the greek its no wonder that the greek culture had an influence on the beliefs of early christians. The belief in "hell" is totally greek mythology. The word 'hades' means 'grave' but because hades was the god of the underworld in greek mythology, people began translating the word hades to hell. People say that Jesus descended into hell but that word is hades. It means jesus descended into the grave and was raised three days and nights later.

The catholic church started the trinity belief. It originally consisted of Father, Mother, Son. The church worshipped Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. Eventually the holy spirit replaced Mary and God replaced Joseph. The catholic church has made that argument that they should be able to add mary to the godhead because they are the ones who invented the idea.

A simple study of the church and the trinity can prove all of that. You wont hear it in your church on sunday mornings. But the catholic encylopedia will even tell you they added the verse "bapitze in teh name of the father, son and holy spirit." the bible originally said "in the name of jesus christ". Thats the only verse that even hints at there bring a trinity and it was added by the pagan catholic church.

God is one!

(Report Comment)

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