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I'm a Christian, married to a wonderful man, Steven, and mother to a wonderful little son. I have many interests and a few noteworthy journeys in life and I enjoy sharing them.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More on the Trinity

1 Thessalonians 5:21 "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."

I grew up believing the Trinity was false and man-made. In the last year, when I left the LDS church and decided to find Jesus the way the Bible talks about him, I've found the reality of the Trinity to be very different. I challenge all who see this, Christian or LDS, to read it carefully and investigate for themselves..

One of the first things I always believed was that the Trinity just didn't make sense. How could three people all be one? Well, let me ask this quest: how can you be three? Your are body, soul (mind, emotions, will), and spirit.

Its like a fire. You take three candles. You light one. You have fire. You use that fire to light the other two. You have three separate flames--but they're all still fire. Or its like time. You have past, present, and future--but its all time. Its like the sun. You get light, heat, and energy from it--but its all the sun. Another fire analogy--fire needs oxygen, fuel, and heat. If you remove any of them, you don't have a fire--but all three together make fire.

The second thing I've come to realize that the Council of Nicaea isn't what I was taught it was. I was always taught that it was a bunch of worldly, uninspired men who imposed their own doctrines without basis in the Word of God. First of all, this isn't historically true. The Council of Nicaea was convened because there were rampant heresies, particularly Arianism, that claimed that Jesus was not God, and many of these heresies even declared Jesus was not divine at all. The Council of Nicaea was convened to stamp out these heresies and establish truth. People like to argue that the word Trinity isn't in the Bible, and therefore the concept isn't there. First of all, words like monotheism aren't in the Bible either, but Christians and Jews are monotheistic. Its just a name for a concept that is in the Bible.

The big question is then to prove that the Trinity IS in the Bible.

First, before I list supporting verses, let's talk about a little bit of Hebrew both as the LDS understand it and as it really is. The LDS make two very important claims:
1) Jehovah (or YHWH, or Yahweh) is Jesus in the Old Testament.
2) Elohim is God's proper name.

In actuality, in Hebrew (which is a language, not a doctrine, so its not really negotiable):
1) Jehovah (or YHWH, or Yahweh) is God's proper name, and is translated LORD or GOD (all capitals).
2) Elohim is a title for God, and is translated as God (capitalized).

Let's look at these two in the context of a very well known verse:

Deuteronomy 6:4
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD"

The way this would be in Hebrew would be:
"Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah"

The way that the LDS would translate this would be:
"Hear, O Israel: Jesus our God is one Jesus."

Christians understand it the way it is written. I was surprised and had to completely change some parts of my thinking when reading the Old Testament because of this simple translational fact. I'd also like to add that the Dead Sea Scrolls show that the Hebrew manuscripts the Old Testament is translated from in these days is extremely, extremely accurate as compared to Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts older than Jesus.

Now let's look at some verses that support the Trinity. This is not an exhaustive list, but it proves that the men at the Council of Nicaea were not imposing doctrine without plenty of scriptural back-up.

John 14:4-7 (King James Version)

 "4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
 5Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
 6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
 7If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."

If you see Christ, you see the Father. That's like saying, "If you see me, you see me."

1 Timothy 3:16 (King James Version)

 "16And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

You notice how directly and obviously this is stated? "God was manifest in the flesh"! That seems pretty direct.

Isaiah 9:6 (King James Version)

" 6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

So Jesus is the child...and he is The mighty God and The everlasting Father.

Matthew 1:23 (King James Version)

 "23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

Emmanuel is one of Jesus' names...and it means "God with us." I don't think scriptures would lie about who he is in his own name.

John 1:1, 14 (King James Version)
 "1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
"14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

The Word is God and was made flesh...who might that flesh person be? It is Christ. Jesus is also identified as the Word elsewhere in the New Testament. I will list at least one verse below where he is.

John 12:44-45 (King James Version)

" 44Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
 45And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me."

Jesus once again says that if you see him, you see God.

John 10:30 (King James Version)

 "30I and my Father are one."

I'm pretty sure Jesus is saying that he and his Father are one...and I don't think he was meaning one in purpose.

Colossians 1:15-17 (King James Version)

 "15[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."

Compare to:
Genesis 1:1 (King James Version)
" 1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

So God created all things...and Jesus is the image of God, and Jesus created all things, and is before all things (in other words, he is in the beginning and before the beginning)...which would argue that Jesus is the creator, who is God.

John 20:28-29 (King James Version)

 "28And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God."

Instead of saying, "Thomas, I'm not God,"

"29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou has believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have yet believed."

Jesus acknowledged he was God and blesses Thomas for believing that, and blesses all those who never see him and believe it.

1 John 5:7 (King James Version)

 "7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

That's pretty clearly the Trinity right there. And again, it doesn't say one in purpose. Also, as I promised above, this is one of the places where Christ is called the Word.

John 4:24 (King James Version)

 "24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

God being a Spirit explains how these three separate beings can be one. They are all God as far as all being his Spirit. Jesus had the Spirit dwelling in him. God sends his Spirit to us. We, as believers, are therefore called the Body of Christ in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 12:27-28) because the Spirit dwells in us, which also answers how we can be one with God and Christ even though we will never be God. Its beautiful to imagine such a oneness.

Revelation 1:8 (King James Version)

" 8 I (Jesus) am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."

Is not God the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the Almighty? Yet Jesus identifies himself as such.


And finally, one of my favorites, which must begin in Exodus:

Exodus 3:13-15 (King James Version)

 "13And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
 14And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
 15And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations."

God's name is "I AM." This became such a sacred name to the Jew that they were careful how they said the words "I am" so as to not imply that they were God because there is only one God.

And then comes Jesus...

John 8:52-59 (King James Version)

 "52Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
 53Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
 54Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
 55Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
 56Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
 57Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
 58Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
 59Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by."

Read this carefully. When the Jews challenged him on his claims of knowing Abraham and being greater than Abraham, Jesus says, very firmly and clearly, "Before Abraham was, I am." He used I AM very, very definitely and as an identification of himself. He called himself God, the great I AM! And this is why they took up stones to cast at him! They knew exactly what he was saying--that he is God.


God also makes it very clear that he is the only God, which means that there cannot even be a Godhead of three separate Gods, because that would mean there is more than one.

Isaiah 43:10 (King James Version)

 "10Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."

Isaiah 44:6, 8 (King James Version)

 "6Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
 8Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any."

To believe this, a Christian has to be completely monotheistic. To believe that there are three separate persons in the Godhead jeopardizes this belief into impossibility for a Christian.

 I hope this helps readers--family, friends, Christian, LDS, or whatever else--better understand the Trinity and why I now believe it to be a Biblical doctrine
(Thank you to Shawn McCraney on Heart of the Matter for many of the analogies and a large part of the list of verses)

4 comments:

  1. Isn't modalism the heresy that God the Father and God the Son are the same Person? Personally, I believe there are three distinct Persons of the same Spiritual Substance Who Are One God and thus the Trinity. Also, I have come to an awareness that the Selfsame Spirit of both God the Father and God the Son are the One Holy Spirit and therefore One God, the same Spiritual Substance. Maybe you can help me along with this.

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  2. Stephen, you are correct. There are three personages that are all the same God. If I made it sound otherwise above, I apologize, I hadn't being trying to say that all three aspects of God (Father, Son, and Spirit) were all the exact same personage, only that each was an essential part of the being of the one God.

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  3. Thanks, Lee. No, I didn't hear you saying Father, Son, and Spirit are the same personage. I would say Joseph Smith taught the heresy of modalism & one can see that the LDS church corrected that in many verses by checking the 1830 Book of Mormon with later editions. It wasn't long ago that I was a modalist. I was never Mormon, though.

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