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Question about talking about the theology of the Holy Trinity

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  • Question about talking about the theology of the Holy Trinity

    Can it accurately be said that God is the Father - and the Son - and the Holy Spirit ?

    Or is it preferable to say that:

    the Father is God
    the Son is God
    the Holy Spirit is God ?

    Or are both kinds of talk equally legitimate, in different settings ?

    It is obvious that to say “God is X”, means something different from “X is God”. And it goes without saying that the Holy Trinity is so infinitely profound a mystery that it cannot be fully grasped by created beings.

    It seems very difficult to avoid some kind of Modalism OTOH, or tritheism OTO.


  • #2
    I think the English poses an issue in the statements you have presented. Equivalence is represented in the phrase the Son is God, for example. It is as if to say the Son is the totality of who God is -- or in the other direction -- God is the totality of who the Son is.

    I would say that Paul's writings seem to show God and Father as equivalent. Jesus is unique because he is of the Godhead and has a body (human but resurrected). and the Holy Spirit is God among us (I suppose).

    Anyhow, the best way of looking at the Godhead is through relationships. So we have the Father-Son relationship and the relationship of the Father and Son with the Holy Spirit.

    These three are persons of the sole God who is Trinitarian (or relational) in essence.

    We seem well-supported in speaking of Father God, and then Jesus, the Son of God. We also have the Spirit of God. These relational forms may be the best way to discuss them.

    I sometimes have to speak of Christ Jesus as Deity when speaking of Christ as co-equal in the Trinity. This is more about semantics but still is helpful.

    We could do well to say that the Father is of the Godhead, the Son is of the Godhead and the Spirit is of the Godhead.

    Comment


    • #3
      And I can't help but think of Dr J I Packer, as he sang....

      GOD in three PARE-sons, Blessed Trinity!

      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Rushing Jaws View Post
        Can it accurately be said that God is the Father - and the Son - and the Holy Spirit ?

        Or is it preferable to say that:

        the Father is God
        the Son is God
        the Holy Spirit is God ?

        Or are both kinds of talk equally legitimate, in different settings ?

        It is obvious that to say “God is X”, means something different from “X is God”. And it goes without saying that the Holy Trinity is so infinitely profound a mystery that it cannot be fully grasped by created beings.

        It seems very difficult to avoid some kind of Modalism OTOH, or tritheism OTO.

        When you say "God is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," it can sound like modalism to me. I would ask the person to clarify.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sparko View Post
          When you say "God is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," it can sound like modalism to me. I would ask the person to clarify.
          It seems like that statement is just based on the standard orthodox illustration:

          Trinity-Image.001.jpeg
          "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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          • #6
            English is weird. Is should be like an equal sign, but sometimes what comes after "is" is interpreted to be a part of what came before.
            If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
              It seems like that statement is just based on the standard orthodox illustration:

              [ATTACH=CONFIG]47986[/ATTACH]
              Yeah, I was just saying how it sounded. Using that sentence structure it could be someone saying that God is playing three roles.
              That's why I would ask them to clarify.

              Comment


              • #8
                What's the old saying? If you deny the Trinity, you lose your soul, but if you try to understand it, you lose your mind?
                "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                  What's the old saying? If you deny the Trinity, you lose your soul, but if you try to understand it, you lose your mind?
                  Pretty much, yeah.
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Theology can be headache inducing if you think too hard about it. Maybe it will all be explained someday? I'd love to learn about God from Jesus!
                    If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                      Yeah, I was just saying how it sounded. Using that sentence structure it could be someone saying that God is playing three roles.
                      That's why I would ask them to clarify.
                      What I had in mind in saying that was, that God (Who is of course Infinite) is - for lack of a better word - “realised/expressed” Infinitely in or as Each Divine Person, without being limited to any. That of course could be taken as an expression of the heresy of Tetraditism, which IIRC saw the Nature of God as a fourth Divine Person. It can be very difficult to get away from the notion that there is a “substratum” of Divine Nature, of which Father, Logos & Spirit are all expressions. That is one of the problems with the three-leafed clover analogy; the leaves are not the totality of the clover, but only part. But the Divine Nature is not a part of God; it Is God. It is not something in which Each Person participates, as three flowers might participate in the life of a single stem.

                      A danger is that one will think of the Divine Nature as “contained” in Each Person, like milk filling a bottle, and also, that the Divine Nature is a material substance, like milk, which can be present in three full bottles while leaving something over. God is not quantitative.

                      It’s regrettable - humanly speaking - that God is Incomparable, because that means that there is no adequate analogy in creation for comparing creatures with God; so all comparisons are necessarily inadequate, and frequently misleading.

                      The doctrine of relations “in” God, helps to keep Modalism at bay, without sacrificing what is common to All.

                      Comment

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