What I like about the Trinitarian view.

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What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mitchellmckain » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:33 am

You are likely to find these quite surprising and even shocking. But I should explain that these are not the reason why I believe the Trinitarian view. These are more of a delightful bonus in my view. The reasons I believe are a bit more standard Christian fare, having to do with the divinity of Christ.

#1. The first thing I like about the Trinitarian view is that it is not in the Bible. I think there is a very good argument for it being the view of God that is most compatable with all of the canon taken together, but the doctrine itself is nowhere to be found in it. I love this, because it punches a hole straight through the ridicuous attitude that all truths, even truths about God are all to be found in the Bible. I think that the doctrines relationship to scripture is that instead of just seeing the Bible as a little contradictory on the topic of God and trying to smooth these over, it embraces all of it with a view of God that is far less simplistic.

#2. The second thing I like about the Trinitarian view is that it is messy. This is not a logically simple doctrine. It is challenging to find a logically consistent understanding of it. I think that this is WONDERFUL. It strongly reminds me of the challenge that quantum physics poses to the scientists. To most physicists, quantum physics seems utterly opposed to what they would expect and thus punches a hole right through the attempts to create a simple and logical understanding of reality. I think this docrine does the same thing for theology in Christianity, challenging misguided attempts to make a simple logical picture of God which I think is the fundamental motivation for unitarian and Arian (like the JWs) views.

#3. The third thing I like about the Trinitarian view is that it pushes us beyond the personal God to a bigger conception of God. Many philosophers and scientists (like Einstein) found the idea of the personal God rather hard to accept. The personal God looks an awful lot like a God made in our own image, but the Trinitarian God is anything but that. Thus the Trinitarian God really answers a lot of the objection that people have to the idea of a personal God without making God something smaller -- a transpersonal God rather than a subpersonal God.

#4. The fourth thing I like about the Trinitarian view is that it borders on polytheistic. It is is monotheistic to be sure, but I think it pushes monotheism in a direction that is less hostile to pagan viewpoints. Often you find Christians lamenting and criticizing pagan influences on Christianity. But I take the opposite attitude that there is much in pagan thought that we desperately need and should greatly value. The respect and reverence for the natural world is in partular something that is badly lacking in Christian thought. So instead of hiding or rooting out the pagan influences in Christianity I think they should be celebrated and explored, not to accept a polytheistic view but to make our monotheistic theology a richer one.

#5 This isn't a reason why I like the Trinitarian view but rather how I deal with one of the reasons why we might dislike it. In other words, here I give my answer to what I think is the most potent theological objection to Trinitarian doctrine. If we are to see God as any kind of explanation for the existence of everything, even a subjective one (since I personally don't think it can stand as an objective explanation), we have to adopt the view that God is self-existient (i.e. that God Himself doesn't require a cause or explanation). But to this idea of a self-existent God, the Trinitarian doctrine introduces a rather serious flaw - because it means that we can ask the question, "why three?" How can we possibly think that this does not require a cause or explanation? It reeks of "particularness" and finitude. To say that God is one does not have this problem because this can be a one-ness that is without limit. But for God to be three is a limit in of itself - a limitation to three!

Well my answer is to essentially remove this "particularness" and finitude from the docrine all-together and say that God isn't limited to three but rather that God is completely infinite and it is only our knowledge of God that is limited to three persons. We encounter these three different persons of God in scripture and in the Christian experience of God and thus we know that the oneness of God is not a oneness of persons, but a oneness of being that transends any singularity of personhood. But just because these three persons are the limit of our knowledge and experience of God does not mean that God Himself is really limited in this way.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby Rian » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:45 am

very good thoughts, thanks for sharing!
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:42 pm

Yes I like all of that. The last point you put I gather is the view of Eastern Orthodoxy. Personally I tend towards the view that in himself God is not denumerable. So he is no more literally one than literally three.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mitchellmckain » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:57 am

Moonwood the Hare wrote:Yes I like all of that. The last point you put I gather is the view of Eastern Orthodoxy.

I had not heard that this was an Eastern Orthodox view. I would be delighted if it was. I am always happy to find out that someone in Christendom has come to the same conclusions I have since it backs up my conclusion that I am a Christian. It's not that I feel it a neccessity to claim that title it's just usually nice to see ones conclusions confirmed, don't you think?

Moonwood the Hare wrote:Personally I tend towards the view that in himself God is not denumerable. So he is no more literally one than literally three.

I am sorry but that does not seem to answer the question for me but only avoid it. I know the Trinitarian doctrine which is that God is three seperate and distinct persons even though there is only one God -- one being I think you could say. We can enumerate these persons: God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy spirit. There are three persons there. So while it is clear that God is not limited to a singularity of personhood, what is not clear in either the doctrine or the Nicene creed is whether God is limited to a threesome in regards to personhood, but I think you would agree that such a limitation does not sit very well with everything else we think about God, does it?
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mikedsjr » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:22 am

The bottom line is the Trinitarian doctrine is true, because of one thing: Its Scriptural. That's it. I am a Biblical Trinitarian. And you're #5 seems to demonstrate you are a Modalist.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby Rian » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:30 am

To throw another thought into this interesting chat - I was a bit of an intelligent geek growing up and was pretty shy, and when I became a Christian, and then grew old enough to go to church on my own apart from my parents, it was hard for me to go alone to a new church and make friends. I thought that the verses in the Bible about "not forsaking fellowship" were to compensate for a weakness in us - IOW, we were to go to church because it helped us, among other things (worship, etc.) I thought that if we were perfect, then we wouldn't need to go to church, because of the verses that tell us that God is all-sufficient. IOW, if we have our relationship with God right, we don't need anything else, including other people. And I also thought of the Trinity in terms of their tasks - OK, there's these things to get done, and these types of people can do it right, so there are three persons in God.

But then as I grew older and thought about it more, and read some good books (some of John Eldgridge's books), I came to see that God is, at his core, relational, and that an important part of the Trinity is that it provides relationship. If it was only God before He created people, then it would be only God, with no one to be in relationship with. But with the Trinity, God is in eternal and perfect relationship in his very essence.

So I would definitely go with persons instead of just essences, although when we say "persons", it's obviously not as simple as, say, three of us sitting down to chat.

As far as three, there might be more that weren't mentioned (IOW, while I think that the Bible is true, I don't think it contains ALL truth), but also, I think there is something right about three. One is special - it's a unique person. Two is special - it's "me and the other". I think that three is also special - it's "me, you and them" - and after three, any more doesn't give you any more, so to speak. Four is also "me, you and them".

I think the Trinity is pretty cool - in a simplistic manner, God kinda watching the shop and keeping the universe running while Jesus comes down among us to live with us and save us, then the Holy Spirit living in us when Jesus returns to God.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mitchellmckain » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:11 pm

mikedsjr wrote:The bottom line is the Trinitarian doctrine is true, because of one thing: Its Scriptural. That's it. I am a Biblical Trinitarian. And you're #5 seems to demonstrate you are a Modalist.

Modalism states that God is a single person and I state that God is NOT a single person but that God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit are three seperate and distinct persons. Not a relational or functional illusion of three persons but three real and distinct persons and not temporarily but for all eternity. Nope, you are completely wrong. If the question is whether I am a Trinitarian or a modalist, the answer is blindingly clear that I am a Trinitarian.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mikedsjr » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:33 pm

Mitch, It was more of a question, or statement, for you to reply to, and I don't have to find excuses on whether you are a Christian, or not. My statement was to get clarity from you. You stated that you believe there are more Gods than the 3 in Scripture. So if you don't like being questioned on your statements, then don't post.

Trinitarian theology is not the belief that there is only 3 known persons of the Trinity and then there maybe others that are not known. Trinitarian theology is there are 3 and only 3 persons and there is one being called God.

You state in your answer of #5, with no Scriptural basis at all,
Well my answer is to essentially remove this "particularness" and finitude from the docrine all-together and say that God isn't limited to three but rather that God is completely infinite and it is only our knowledge of God that is limited to three persons. We encounter these three different persons of God in scripture and in the Christian experience of God and thus we know that the oneness of God is not a oneness of persons, but a oneness of being that transends any singularity of personhood. But just because these three persons are the limit of our knowledge and experience of God does not mean that God Himself is really limited in this way.


What evidence do you have but your own arrogant mind that this is the case? Are you teaching this at your church? Does your church know you believe this? Why don't you take your belief to your church's elders and pastor and see if they are cool with you believing this. And then come back and see if I'm some Pharisaical cult member. The issue is I will defend my stance with Scripture. I don't look for answers beyond Scripture to make my stance on the Trinity because what God wants us to know about Him is in Scripture.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mitchellmckain » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:02 pm

mikedsjr wrote:Mitch, It was more of a question
...
So if you don't like being questioned on your statements, then don't post.

Liar. It was an accusation and you know it.

mikedsjr wrote:You stated that you believe there are more Gods than the 3 in Scripture.

No I did not and your fabrication reveals the truth about your real motivation, just as it reveals your weak understanding of the Trinity and Scripture. There are NOT 3 Gods in Scripture. There is only ONE God in Scripture. There are three persons in scripture who are God but there is only one God.

mikedsjr wrote:Trinitarian theology is there are 3 and only 3 persons and there is one being called God.

Incorrect, Trinitarian theology is that God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy spirit are three seperate and distinct persons but only one God. There are no words "only three" in the doctrine of the Trinity because there are no such words in any version of the Nicean creed and certainly no statement even remotely similar to yours or my statement of Trinitarian theology anywhere in scripture. You are a hypocrite my friend, which is an unavoidable consequence your attempt to justify yourself by your beliefs and supposed "evidence".

My statement is the one that adds nothing and assumes nothing and it is you who add this legalistic doctrinal restriction to "only three" with absolutely no scriptural support. Yes, unlike some people, I use the brain that God gave me. But I put no trust in it or in any works of my body or mind for my salvation, whether by the name of belief, doctrine or evidence or anything else.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mikedsjr » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:39 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:
mikedsjr wrote:Mitch, It was more of a question
...
So if you don't like being questioned on your statements, then don't post.

Liar. It was an accusation and you know it.

Yes, i am a liar but i wasnt lying then.
mitchellmckain wrote:
mikedsjr wrote:You stated that you believe there are more Gods than the 3 in Scripture.

No I did not and your fabrication reveals the truth about your real motivation, just as it reveals your weak understanding of the Trinity and Scripture. There are NOT 3 Gods in Scripture. There is only ONE God in Scripture. There are three persons in scripture who are God but there is only one God.

I did make an error. I meant more than 3 persons of Godhead, not more than 3 Gods. I did see how you put it and wasn't trying to misquote you.
mitchellmckain wrote:
mikedsjr wrote:Trinitarian theology is there are 3 and only 3 persons and there is one being called God.

Incorrect, Trinitarian theology is that God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy spirit are three seperate and distinct persons but only one God. There are no words "only three" in the doctrine of the Trinity because there are no such words in any version of the Nicean creed and certainly no statement even remotely similar to yours or my statement of Trinitarian theology anywhere in scripture. You are a hypocrite my friend, which is an unavoidable consequence your attempt to justify yourself by your beliefs and supposed "evidence".

My statement is the one that adds nothing and assumes nothing and it is you who add this legalistic doctrinal restriction to "only three" with absolutely no scriptural support. Yes, unlike some people, I use the brain that God gave me. But I put no trust in it or in any works of my body or mind for my salvation, whether by the name of belief, doctrine or evidence or anything else. Just like the Pharisees and the Circumcizers you think that by making up excuses to exclude others you can justify yourself by these fabricated doctrinal and scriptural criterion. Not only does it fails miserably to justify you one tiny little bit, but by your exclusion of others you exclude yourself, just as the Pharisees did when they looked for excuses in scripture to condemn Jesus. All your fabricated restrictions amount to chopping up God and boxing Him into your little scheme of thought like all the other legalists. You really think that your "evidence" will stand in the court of the Almighty and that you will justified by them? Your beliefs and evidence cannot justify you. You will die in those beliefs along with all of your other works.

The nicene creed does not define God. Scripture does. The nicene creed is a subordinant doctrinal statement that only demonstrates what Scripture states but in a concise form. Scripture tells us everything that is in the Nicene Creed. Scripture teaches that there are 3 persons in the Godhead. No more. No less. Conjecture is never beneficial in Christianity, except to appease the mind that rejects to acknowledge Scripture for what it is. That puts you right up there with Benny Hinn saying Adam was able to fly before he sinned.

You still did not answer my question whether you have told this belief to your church that you have of more than 3 persons of the Godhead.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mitchellmckain » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:32 am

mikedsjr wrote:The nicene creed does not define God. Scripture does. The nicene creed is a subordinant doctrinal statement that only demonstrates what Scripture states but in a concise form. Scripture tells us everything that is in the Nicene Creed. Scripture teaches that there are 3 persons in the Godhead.

Incorrect. There is no word Godhead in the Bible. There is nowhere in the Bible that it says there are 3 persons in anything that can even be interpreted as a "Godhead". Thus scripture teaches no such thing that you claim here. This is why I say that you are a hypocrite. You believe and say things which are not in scripture yet demand that everyone demonstrate that everything that they believe and say are in scripture (selectively that is -- only when they are things which you never heard of before).

The reality is ONLY, as I have said in my OP, that you can make a good ARGUMENT for the Trinity based on the Bible just as the early Christian Fathers of the church did so long ago. They also used the BRAIN that God gave them and dared to say things that legalists would ridicule them for in defense of the things that they ALSO just like you believed but which were not in the Bible. Thus it is inevitable that the whole legalist enterprise and mindset must collapse under its own ridiulous weight, inherent self-importance and hypocritical false modesty.

Yes it is by knowledge of scripture AND use of reason that I come to my own theological conclusions, just as it is that I came to the conclusion that the doctrine of the Trinity was correct by the knowledge of scripture and the use of reason, in the same way that the early Christian fathers came to that same conclusion. Yes I reject the unsupportable "argument from authority" based on some supposed authority of those early Christians. I simply walk in their same footsteps in the sense that I also use all the knowledge and ability that God has given me, putting faith not in myself or any supposed evidence but in God alone.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the doctrine of the Trinity is the essence and the point of the Nicene creed. Every Arian and Unitarian knows this fact very well and thus they opposed it back then (and nearly defeated it) just as they reject it today. This is where the doctrine of the Trinity was first officially agreed upon by a consensus of the Chruch as the understanding of God that Christians believed in. Thus it is to the Nicene creed that we indeed should look in order to see exactly what that doctrine of the Trinity consists of and NOT to the declarations of some gnostic legalist.

mikedsjr wrote:Conjecture is never beneficial in Christianity.

The use of the brain by God's children in all its facets, whether it be reason, imagination, or conjecture is never of benefit to those who would use and abuse Christianity and the scriptures for their own bid for power over God's children -- which is what legalism always really amounts to in the end.

mikedsjr wrote:That puts you right up there with Benny Hinn saying Adam was able to fly before he sinned.

I don't know who Benny Hinn is. The claim that Adam was able to fly before he sinned is certainly absolutely ridiculous. But considering how you have repeatedly decided that I believed the most preposterous things, I can put no trust whatsoever in any claim that you make that any person believes something or the other. Thus I can only say that I cannot feel the slightest bit of insult from the attempt of a legalist like yourself binning me with the rest of the people who refuse your attempts to dictate what people believe in order for you to imagine that you can dispense salvation to them.

mikedsjr wrote:You still did not answer my question whether you have told this belief to your church that you have of more than 3 persons of the Godhead.

Since I never said to you that there is more than 3 persons in the Godhead, I am not like to say any such thing to them. I don't know any such thing. Instead I have said something more like what I say above, that all that Trinitarian doctrine means is that our knowledge of God in scripture is limited to those three persons who are God but that we cannot know that God is limited in that way and that it is certainly my opinion that God is infinite and unlimited in every way. But you have to understand that the people of my church despise legalists and powermongers about as much as I do and thus even when they do not agree with my opinions they don't pretend that they have the authority to reject me in any way whatsoever. On the contrary they have invited me to participate in the teaching which we usually do in teams, knowing full well that I have many unusal opinions. But then I don't use those teaching times as an opportunity to cram my opinions down the throats of other people, the way that legalists and powermongers would.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby ScottBarger » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:06 pm

Good discussion so far. There is no doubt in my mind that the Trinity is a theological construct. By that I mean it is a systematic, theological conclusion that attempts to harmonize statements in scripture. I think the orthodox doctrine of the trinity does a pretty good job as a construct, but it is certainly not an explicit teaching of scripture.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:39 am

mikedsjr wrote:Trinitarian theology is not the belief that there is only 3 known persons of the Trinity and then there maybe others that are not known. Trinitarian theology is there are 3 and only 3 persons and there is one being called God.

You state in your answer of #5, with no Scriptural basis at all,
Well my answer is to essentially remove this "particularness" and finitude from the docrine all-together and say that God isn't limited to three but rather that God is completely infinite and it is only our knowledge of God that is limited to three persons. We encounter these three different persons of God in scripture and in the Christian experience of God and thus we know that the oneness of God is not a oneness of persons, but a oneness of being that transends any singularity of personhood. But just because these three persons are the limit of our knowledge and experience of God does not mean that God Himself is really limited in this way.


What evidence do you have but your own arrogant mind that this is the case? Are you teaching this at your church? Does your church know you believe this? Why don't you take your belief to your church's elders and pastor and see if they are cool with you believing this. And then come back and see if I'm some Pharisaical cult member. The issue is I will defend my stance with Scripture. I don't look for answers beyond Scripture to make my stance on the Trinity because what God wants us to know about Him is in Scripture.

Actually Mike Mitch's views here are very close to those of John Calvin who taught that about God as he is in himself we can know only two things that he is eternal and that he is self-existent. Everything else we know is truth about God as he is for us. Take a close look at the institutes if you don't believe me.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby ChristianHeretic » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:26 am

I know I'm chiming in late here, but I just read your post and it's amazing to see how interpretation is everything...for instance, here are my reasons I DON'T like the Trinitarian view, strikingly similar yet opposite to yours:

#1. The first [concern I have with] the Trinitarian view is that it is not in the Bible.

#2. The second thing I [struggle with re:] the Trinitarian view is that it is messy. [Why would God introduce us to Himself in code left for others to decipher hundreds of years after the appointed messengers of the Word of God? See #1]

#3. The third [reason I disagree with] the Trinitarian view is that it pushes us beyond the personal God [described in Scripture and blurs the line of authority and power which were the sources of Jesus' acts here on earth.]

#4. The fourth thing I [hate] about the Trinitarian view is that it borders on polytheistic. [Because the depths of a "Trinity of persons existing as one God" is largely incomprehensible to the vast majority of modern Christendom, most are abandoned to their own practical interpretation of two separate not only personas but beings. Thus, polytheistic in truth in spite of the fact that they avoid the "term" like the plague.]

#5 [My 5 is really the most important for me. My Christology is too high to allow for a divine Jesus. He accomplished what He accomplished not because He was God, but because He was given the same Spirit that we have been given. He was our perfect example, and if He ever accessed deity while on earth, that example is undermined. So for me, the only argument one can make is that He was God in spite of the fact that we have no evidence that He was God.]
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mikedsjr » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:40 am

Moonwood, There are many more things we can know about God. Limiting it to those two things makes the Bible obsolete. Moreover, I have a hard time even remotely viewing Calvin and Mitch as having similar views in the least. If Mitch was to read Book 1, Chapter 13, sections 16, and on, I highly doubt he would come back stating he was in close in agreement.
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