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"God in three Persons, Blessed Trinity"

Reader comment on item: Counting Islamists
in response to reader comment: LACANTIUS

Submitted by Lactantius Jr (United Kingdom), Nov 22, 2008 at 17:26

To btilly

Thank you for your complimentary remarks about me being well informed. I am glad and encouraged that you enjoy reading my comments, because I seek to be guided by and obedient to the Biblical commands to,

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"

1 Peter 3:15

"……………..contend for the faith once for all time entrusted to the saints."

Jude 3

You are correct that the word "trinity" does not appear in the Bible, and neither do the words "tawhid" or "Jerusalem" appear in the Qur'an, but that doesn't prevent the Islamic strict insistence on the absolute mathematical unity of Allah, and the claim to Jerusalem as its third most holy site, despite Muhammad never having been there.

In my previous posting titled "The Triune God and the Council of Nicaea," I briefly commented on the Egyptian mythological "trinity" of Horus, Isis and Osiris, and they are just that, mythological.

I am also familiar with the "pagan Arab trinity" of Al-Lat, Al-'Uzza and Manat, the "daughters of Allah," and am familiar with the very damaging implications for Islam, associated with the episode involving them, known as "the satanic verses," and I wrote in some depth about this episode in my posting "Allah's book, who wrote it?" http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/143055

The Egyptian mythogical "trinity" of Horus, Isis and Osiris, and the "pagan Arab trinity" of Al-Lat, Al-‘Uzza and Manat, are mythological, just that, without any existence or reality, and they have no bearing on, or connection with the God Who is, the Biblical God, whose self revelation of Himself as One God in three Persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, is recorded in the pages of both Testaments of the Bible.

The early Christians did indeed believe the Biblical God's self revelation of Himself as Unity in tri-Unity recorded in the Bible, and my previous posting referenced some early Trinitarian quotations, including one by Tertullian (115-190AD), who coined the word "Trinity" in an attempt to describe the Biblical God's self-revelation of Himself as One God in three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Everything we believe can only be expressed in the words available to us, and in an attempt to express God's self-revelation of Himself, early Christian theologians such as Tertullian introduced many new words. For centuries, theologians adopted many words to try to express God's self-revelation of Himself as three in one, yet they were all inadequate. As an example of the difficulty, Tertullian (115-190AD), created 590 new nouns, 284 new adjectives, and 161 new verbs to help explain this and other theological ideas found in the Bible; ideas which because of their sophistication, needed new terminology to try to understand them, in an attempt to express in words, God's self –revelation of Himself as One God in three Persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

"Why would Arius have debated the Trinity" you ask?

Like many in his day, and down the centuries to the present time, Arius denied Jesus' divinity and led many astray, and the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry for "Arianism" is at,

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/34124/Arianism

20 Centuries ago, at Caesarea Philippi, the Lord Jesus Christ asked some of His followers

"Who do you say I am?"

but before asking that, Jesus asked his followers the safe question, "Who do others say that I am?" Safe, because to answer it required no conviction, no commitment, and no risk. All it requires to answer the safe question is a bit of curiosity, or perhaps cynicism.

Apparently there had been a lot of speculation, rumours swirling around, a lot of wondering among those who followed and listened to Jesus —most of it well off the mark, and it's pretty much the same today. People still wonder about Him, and at least once a year, Jesus shows up on the cover of Time magazine or Newsweek because people still wonder about Him.

Jesus' question is an invitation to take personally and seriously, the necessity to stop taking refuge in the answers of others, and to answer for ourselves. It is an invitation to stand as exposed and vulnerable as we are able, before the One in whom our existence takes on new meaning.

Jesus asked "Who do you say that I am?" and Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God." and Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you…. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven." It was a self-defining moment for Simon Peter. Through the grace of God, he had discovered himself in the presence of the One who disclosed God, and revealed the Way of God and the way to God—the way of love and justice. "Who do you say that I am?" Naturally, we have to answer for ourselves, and our answers will disclose as much about us as they do about Him. My answer? You are the One in whom I am loved, and called to love. My life is about figuring out what that means for who I am and how I live, and being a deeply committed follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I affirm that Jesus is Christianity, and self-evidently, only authentic Bible-believing Christians have this Jesus.

If God hadn't "gone public" ~2,000 years ago, by being born in a shed at the back of a pub in Bethlehem, and had "only" given us a book, then we would have the Bible, but we wouldn't be Christians. We would be another noble philosophy of life, or a system of ethical virtues. But I believe what God did, was to come to us in the flesh, as a Jew from Nazareth named Jesus, or more Hebraically, named Yeshua meaning God saves. I believe that the peculiar way God saves, that God gets to us and gets us, is through Jesus Christ. It is the truly astounding claim of Christianity, that we look at the Jewish carpenter's son — who was born, lived briefly, died violently in his thirties, and unexpectedly rose from the dead to eternal life, that we see as much of Almighty God as we expect to see, this side of being in glory with Him for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and……………... how long's all that?

I don't know whether the bumper sticker, or the English meaning of it has crossed the Atlantic, but it's true that "Carpenter from Nazareth seeks Joiners."

Who do you say Jesus is btilly?

You refer to Biblical passages which have Jesus "going to the Father" John 14:28 and Jesus being "sent into the world" by the Father John 3:17 both references of yours demonstrating faulty logic. This argument actually establishes the Trinitarian view, namely that one who goes or is sent, cannot be the same person as the one to whom he goes, or to the one who sent him. Therefore, these are straw men arguments, since they either misrepresent or misunderstand what the actual doctrine of the Trinity teaches. "Sitting at the right hand of God" Psalm 110 cf.Hebrews 1:3 which has Jesus "sitting down at the right hand of the Majestic God in heaven," and these passages all centre on, and revolve around the identity of Jesus Christ and His relationship to God the Father, which is what was at the heart of the Arian heresy ~2,000 years ago, and which has continued down the centuries to our day. I now refer to Internet postings which examine these Biblical passages,

Examining Psalm 110:1

A look at Its Implications on God as a Multi-Personal Being and upon the Deity of Christ

Sam Shamoun sam_shamoun40@hotmail.com

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/psalm110_1.htm

and with his usual thoroughness, Sam does a careful exegesis of Psalm 110:1

again with his usual thoroughness, Sam does a careful exegesis of Isaiah 9:6 titled,

Isaiah 9:6 and its Trinitarian Implications

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/isaiah6_trinity.htm

another look at this passage being,

Isaiah 9:6

James D.Price

http://www.answering-islam.org/BibleCom/is9-6.html

Sam Shamoun contributing another fine piece of Biblical exegesis of Hebrews 1, titled,

The Supremacy of Jesus

The nature and position of Jesus according to Hebrews 1

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/jesus_hebrews1.htm

It's not my purpose or intention here to critique the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Brooklyn Inc. (‘Jehova's Witnesses,' JW's), but as a witness for Jehova (which is very different), I mention JW's, because they are present-day Arian's, and like you, attempt to use 1 Corinthans 8:6 to "prove" that Jesus Christ cannot be God. Here is what it says,

"But we know that there is only one God, the Father, Who created everything, and we live for Him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom God made everything and through Whom we have been given life."

Jehovah's Witnesses have often cited this passage to "prove" that Jesus can not be God. Since the passage reads that for ‘us' there is ‘one God, the Father', and since Jesus is not the Father, he cannot be God…so runs the reasoning. Yet such reasoning is superficial, because 1 Corinthians 8:6 distinguishes between ‘one God, the Father,' and ‘one Lord Jesus Christ.' The JWs conclude from this verse that since the Father is the ‘one God,' Jesus cannot be God. But by that reasoning, since Jesus is the ‘one Lord,' the Father cannot be Lord!

Because He is absolutely infinite, and I am absolutely finite, it doesn't at all surprise me that the pint-pot of my mind can't "understand" Him, and I believe that any "explanation" of Him which is fully clear to my understanding must be wrong, because He is far more than my finite mind can grasp, and I remain firmly persuaded that whilst He is beyond my "understanding" He is not beyond my belief, and I say with all conviction that if He was small enough for me to "understand," He wouldn't be big enough for me to worship.

All-in-all btilly, whilst the Biblical God's self-revelation is beyond the complete understanding of the ‘pint-pot' of my mind, it is not beyond my belief, that the God Who cannot lie Deuteronomy 32:4;Numbers 23:19;Psalms 89:35&36; 100:5;Isaiah 53:9; John 7:18;14:6;17:17;Ephesians 4:21;Titus 1:2;Hebrews 4:15;6:18;7:26;9:14;1 Peter 2:22; and 1 John 3:1-3,5,7 has given a true and trustworthy self-revelation of Himself in His printed word the Bible, and in His living, loving Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, and whilst I cannot fully understand it, or "explain" Him to you, I firmly affirm I do believe Him, and love to sing the lovely old hymn "Firmly I Believe and Truly"

"Firmly I believe and truly, God is Three, and God is One; And I next acknowledge duly,
Manhood taken by the Son…………….. Adoration aye be given, with and through the angelic host, to the God of earth and Heaven, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

With kind regards and best wishes

Lactantius Jr

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