Skip to comments.Why Do We Believe in the Trinity?
Posted on 06/14/2006 8:05:55 AM PDT by NYer
We believe in the Blessed Trinity because we believe in Jesus, Who revealed the Trinity. God had prepared the Jews not only to welcome the Messiah, but to recognize through revelation what philosophers like Aristotle achieved through reason: that there is a God and there can only be one God.
Moses said to the Jews, Acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other but to believe in God Who is the only God. When the Messiah finally came, He revealed a huge mystery that went far beyond what the Jews were expecting: that the one God in Whom they believe is not solitary, but a unity, a communion of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that the Messiah is the Son.
He told them explicitly that the Father and He are one (Jn 10:30). He told them that He and the Father would send the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26, Jn 15:26). And when He sent them out to baptize in the name of God, He didnt give them instructions to baptize in the names of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as if they were three different gods but in the name, for they are fundamentally a union of three persons. This is what the term Trinity means. It was devised by the early Church apologist Tertullian around the year 200 from the Latin words unitas and trinus, literally unity and three. It signifies that there is a unity of three persons in one God.
Since the beginning of the Church, theologians have spent their lives trying to penetrate this mystery and explain it to others. St. Patrick used the image of a three-leaf clover. St. Augustine used the image of the mind, with memory, reason and will. More recent minds have used the image of H20, which can exist as ice, water, or steam. But none of these analogies though interesting and somewhat helpful do justice to the reality of the mystery of how three persons can exist in the one God.
When St. Augustine was in the middle of his voluminous and classic study of the Blessed Trinity, he took a walk along the beach in northern Africa to try to clear his head and pray. He saw a young girl repeatedly filling a scallop shell with sea water and emptying it into a hole she had dug in the sand. What are you doing? Augustine tenderly asked. I'm trying to empty the sea into this hole, the child replied. How do you think that with a little shell, Augustine retorted, you can possibly empty this immense ocean into a tiny hole? The little girl countered, And how do you, with your small head, think you can comprehend the immensity of God? As soon as the girl said this, she disappeared, convincing Augustine that she had been an angel sent to teach him an important lesson: No matter how gifted God had made him, he would never be able to comprehend fully the mystery of the Trinity.
This, of course, does not mean we cannot understand anything. If we want to get to the heart of the mystery of the Trinity, we can turn to the most theological of the Apostles, who meditated deeply on all that Jesus had revealed and, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said simply and synthetically, God is love (1 Jn 4:16). For God to be love, He has to love someone. None of us can love in a vacuum; there must always be an object of our love. Who is the object of Gods love? It cannot be man, or the created world, or the universe, because all of these existed in time and God is eternal and therefore existed before time.
Its also impossible to say that God merely loved Himself in a solitary way, because this would not really be love but a form of egotism and narcissism. For God to be love, there needed to be an eternal relationship of love, with one who loves, one who is loved, and the love that unites them. This is what exists in the Blessed Trinity: The Father loved His image, the Son, so much that their mutual and eternal love spirated or generated the Holy Spirit. They exist in a communion of love. The three persons of the Blessed Trinity are united in absolutely everything except, as the early Church councils said, their relations of origin, what it means to be Father, what it means to be Son of the Father, and what it means to proceed from the Father and the Son.
These theological insights about the blessed Trinity may seem theoretical, but they become highly practical when we reflect on the fact that we have been made in the image and likeness of God and called to communion with God. To be in the image and likeness of God means to be created in the image and likeness of a communion of persons in love. Our belief in the Trinity the central teaching of the Catholic faith has given the Church the deepest understanding available to human beings of the nature of man, the meaning of human life, and what it means to love.
Indeed. Why, too, should an infinitely holy God wish to take on a human body and dwell among sinners in a fallen world? His thoughts are not my thoughts.
Lord help me if I fail to reject any attempt to add or subtract the truth of the Word of God through human 'reasoning.'
If Mary is "Blessed among women" she MUST be in all ways superior to every woman ever. So she must be superior to Eve who was created free from sin -- the Mother of God MUST be superior to the mother of Cain.
And if Mary did have other children, why is there no mention of them in scripture?
Jesus revealed that God was a Trinity of Persons, but in an indirect manner, implicitly found within the Scriptures as interpreted by the Church. We can point to passages that "show" the Trinity, but they rely on a certain paradigm, a mind set that sees a verse to be read a certain way. Thus, the Bible alone is not of much help in coming to the Doctrine of the Trinity.
Don't worry, no one will ever accuse you of using "reasoning."
Human "reasoning" is what ultimately produces humanism.
Yes Trinity means 3 and I repect your interpretation, but to say Jesus revealed the Trinity is a misleading for the word Trinity is not in the Bible.
I chose not to content your concept of the 3 personage My dispute is the fact that the word Trinity is not in the scriptures and to credit Jesus with use of the word Trinity is a misnomer!
With all due respect, I don't find in your quotations where anyone did any such thing. All have credited Him as revealing the concept.
What was the only church from 37A.D. - 1054A.D.?
Who started this church, and where was it started?
Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.
Yes, God preserved his Word through the Body of Christ, The Universal Church, the Catholic Church.
TheodenWhat was the only church from 37A.D. - 1054A.D.?
Correct, Christ's Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and was the only Church in existence for a thousand years, and took the name Universal Church after Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the empire. Catholic, meaning "Universal" from the Greek word êáèïëéêüò; (Katholicos-Spelling?).
TheodenWho started this church, and where was it started?
Correct again, the Catholic Church was started in the year 37A.D. at Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem by our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a liberal tactic to change the name of things, in order to blur their reality, but that still doesn't change their meanings, definitions, or factual base. Ex. Liberal --> Enemy Combatant /// Conservative --> Islamic Terrorist. Same thing, different names. Here, the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church, and no other.
Yes, through His Church.
What was the only church from 37A.D. - 1054A.D.?
The first Christians had no doubts about how to determine which was the true Church and which doctrines the true teachings of Christ. The test was simple: Just trace the apostolic succession of the claimants.
Apostolic succession is the line of bishops stretching back to the apostles. All over the world, all Catholic bishops are part of a lineage that goes back to the time of the apostles, something that is impossible in Protestant denominations (most of which do not even claim to have bishops).
Who started this church, and where was it started?
Matthew 16:18: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church."
I should have added "by Christ, through Peter the rock" at the end of my reply to the last question.
You guys make it sound like the men of the Catholic (Universal) Church are more important than Christ himself.
Please remember WHO is was that was/is/will always be, in charge, in the lead, at the head.
God and His Word and the Word (gathered by men at HIS direction) will always be at the head. Not a church, or a pope, or an apostle, or a prophet. (They are not infallible whether you believe it or not)
It has been my experience that people who dismiss infallibility do not have the slightest idea what it means.
Very true, and they do not care to even learn about it, or understand why Catholics believe in it.
Nor are they aware that both Calvin and Luther never wavered from traditional Catholic beliefs regarding the Holy Mother.
I admit many of the doctrines of the Catholic Church can be confusing, that's why there is such an emphasis on Catholic education and schooling. Not everything can be taken at face value, and requires a lot of thought to understand. That's probably a big reason so many people dislike the Catholic Church, they simply fear/dislike what they don't understand, and more often than not, don't even want to try to understand, because they already have certain points of view drilled into their heads. It's really too bad.
Actually, I've never had the chance to know anything about Catholicism except here on FR. The nearest Catholic Church to me while I was growing up was almost 100 miles. I knew not one Catholic, and had no opinion about them or their Church (of course, except they were wrong - but I believed that about all Christian denominations.)
I have to admit, that what I've heard about your dogman so far on FR, is not impressive....and no, I don't understand it. God has not made it one bit clearer to me (as He did with the Bible, once I read it without the direction of my former religious leaders.) God made his Word crystal clear, just by reading, studying and praying. No Writer, Pastor, Preacher, Minister, Prophet or Pope has to discern the meaning for me, but sometimes when I have questions, their opinion helps me work-out my understanding (yes, I even use the Pope to help me).
dogman = dogma
darn fat fingers!