The Doctrine Of The Trinity
The doctrine of the Trinity is that there are three separate and distinct Divine Persons in Godhead-God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Athanasian Creed states:
“There is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal… The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. Yet they are not three Gods, but one God… For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every person by himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say there be three Gods, or three Lords.”
This is obviously self-contradictory, let alone that the one who is a father and has a son cannot be God, for God by his very nature must be eternal, but the one who has begotten and been begotten is obviously a created being, not a creator. It is like saying, one plus one plus one is three, yet it is one. If there are three separate and distinct Divine Persons and each is God, then there must be three Gods. The Christian Church recognizes the impossibility of harmonizing the belief in three Divine Persons with the oneness of God, and hence declares the doctrine of Trinity to be a mystery, in which a person must have blind faith. This is what the Rev. J. F. De Groot writes in his book Catholic Teaching:
“The Most Holy Trinity is a mystery in the strictest sense of the word. For reason alone cannot prove the existence of a Triune God, Revelation teaches it. And even after the existence of mystery has been revealed to us, it remains impossible for the human intellect to grasp how the Three Persons have but one Divine Nature.” (pg: 101)
Strangely enough, Jesus Christ himself never even mentioned the Trinity. He knew or said nothing at all about being three Divine Persons in Godhead. His conception of God was in no way different from that of the earlier Israelite prophets, who always preached the Unity of God and never the Trinity. Jesus merely echoed the earlier prophets when he said:
“Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew: 4-10)
“The first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord; and that thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” (Mark: 12: 29-30).
The doctrine of the Trinity was coined by the Christians, many years after Jesus. The four Canonical Gospels, written between 70 and 115 C.E. contain no reference to the Trinity. Even Saul, who imported many foreign ideas into Christianity, knew nothing of the Triune God. The New Catholic Encyclopedia (bearing the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, indicating official approval) admits that the doctrine of the Trinity was unknown to the early Christians and that it was formulated in the fourth century:
“It is difficult, in the second half of the 20th century to offer a clear, objective, and straightforward account, and theological elaboration of the mystery of the Trinity. Trinitarian discussion, Roman Catholic as well as other, presents a somewhat unsteady silhouette. Two things have happened. There is the recognition on the part of exegetes and Biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins, to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century. It was only then that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian dogma ‘one God in three persons’ became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought.” (Vol. 14, pg.295, art. “The Holy Trinity”).
A little later the same Encyclopedia says even more emphatically: “The formulation ‘one God in three persons’ was not solidly established 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’ (Vol: 14, pg. 299).
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