Over at Secular outpost we had a big Dust up over the Trinity,. Parsons and Sotnak were the major voices of reason for their side.The situation was complicated by atheist trolls but ignoring them I will just use Eric as my foil:
The thing is he never really get/s specific about what properties. Before getting into that I will say some things about the doctrine in general. First I take the Methodist view that I require the creeds for salvation ir membership but I do look to them as guides and theological models. They are Christian paradigms. Secondly in affirming the doctrine I am not concerned with the "fiddly bits," I don't care so much about modalism or whatever, mothalitesiam not hurt them. I just pretty much stick to the Nciene creed such that this is what we must account for in the doctrine:
|The Nicene Creed|
We believe in One God, the Father all sovereign maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made; who for us men [all humans] and for our salvation came down from the heavens and was made flesh of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man, and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the scriptures, and ascended into the heavens, and sitteth on the right had of the father, and cometh again with glory to judge living and the dead of whose kingdom there shall be no end:
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Life-giver,that proceedeth from the Father, who with Father and Son is worshiped together, and glorified together, and who spake through the prophets;
In one Holy and Catholic and Apostolic Church: we acknowledge one baptism unto remission of sins. We look for a resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come.
I think the basic formulation three identities in one essence accounts fr this, By begotten and not created it is asserting that God ( the three id's) are eternally generated by the one essence of deity, there was not a time when the son was produced by some prior material by the father. In callking Jesus only begotten it is saying there was a timewhen Jessu was not and then Jesus ccame to be out of the prior materail ofMary's gneekic stgrujcture(althougtheydidnotkonw abut aht) and the Logos,
Overview of the Doctirne
The Trinity is a doctrine of Church, that is, it developed over time (from about the second to the fourth centuries) in response to a continuing need. The first emergence of Trinitarian thinking was in response to the question of Christian identity. With Gnosticism infiltrating the church, the Bishops had to find a way of understanding who was a believer and who was not, and of demonstrating this in a clear and definite way. The Gnostic hearsay also forced the understanding of several difficult questions, such as the deity of Christ and the humanity of Christ. Since the Gnostics said that Jesus was just an ethereal being, a ghostlike wreath who only appeared to be flesh and blood, it became just as important to safe guard Jesus' humanity as to explain his deity.
Though the first aspects of the doctrine can be seen forming up in the New Testament, and in the very first extra-canonical Christian literature, at the end of the first century, the problems of Gnosticism forced a sharpened understanding. The Doctrine first took shape in the late second century (contrary to what many skeptics think, who argue that it didn't appear until the fourth). The first Christian theologians to coin the term "Trinity," Was Turtullian. But the doctrine can be seen shaping up as far back as 1 Clement in AD 95.
The Trinity is often misunderstood by many skeptics and anti-Trinitarians who think it calls for three gods. The Doctrine actually says that there is one God. But this one God exists in three persons who share in the same Divine essence. In order to understand this the early church fathers had to draw upon the Aristotelian concept of essence; the essence of a think determines what it is. A thing is the thing that it is because it contains the essence of what it is. Thus a dog is a dog because it exists as a dog, it has "doggedness." Thus, the three persons of the Trinity share the same divine essence. The term actually used by the Fathers was persona the term the Greek actors used for the masks they wore in tragedies. This means that we are actually talking about three identities through which the one divine essence is manifested. Thus one God, three persona; as the creed states (Athenasian creed) the persons are not to be confused, the essence not to be diluted.
Skeptics often quibble over the nature of this doctrine, thinking that its development over time and prescription by the church hierarchy means that it isn't valid. They reason that it must be stated openly in the New Testament to be valid. This they mistake for Luther's notion of Sola Scriptura. But the reformers were totally committed to Trinitarian doctrine. Sola Scriptura just means that Scripture is the final authority, it does not mean that the church has no teaching office. This is what the skeptics are always missing, especially the Christian "wannabe's" like the Christadelpians and Jehovah's Witnesses; that the church has a tradition, and the tradition is the guardian of the faith and the knowledge of the faith; the New Testament is a creature of the Tradition. The same people who chose what books went into the canon of the New Testament also drew up the creeds and developed the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity. If we can trust one we have to trust the other. In dealing with the doctrine the church was only doing what theologians are supposed to do, to understand through sudsy of and participation in, the nature of a religious tradition.
Despite the fact that the Doctrine was formulated by the church over several centuries, the basic elements of it can be seen clearly in the New Testament. Several verses actually depict the there persona of the Godhead working together at the time time, in concert but distinctively.In fact, a formula of the Trinity can be seen in many passages. I think the Orthodox church made a mistake in trying to pin it all down so exactly, They forgot why they needed creeds and doctrines and began to think of the doctrine as a thing for it;s own sake rather then a means of sorting out Christian identity from Gnostic heresy, The exception I make on the heresy bit is with Arianism. I still reject that one.
The discussion with Sotnak