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Why Do We Believe in the Trinity?
Catholic Exchange ^ | June 14, 2006 | Fr. Roger Landry

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 didn’t 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 God’s 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.

It’s 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.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; General Discusssion; History; Prayer; Theology
KEYWORDS: faith; theology; trinity
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To: FJ290

You didn't, but you complained at 595 that the conversation was headed in that direction. Therefore, I pinged you, so you would know that I am paying attention.


601 posted on 06/20/2006 9:30:48 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Religion Moderator
You didn't, but you complained at 595 that the conversation was headed in that direction. Therefore, I pinged you, so you would know that I am paying attention.

I see. I wanted to be sure I had not committed an infraction of the rules somehow. I didn't think I had, but sometimes we can't see our own errors. Thank you for the response.

602 posted on 06/20/2006 9:36:50 PM PDT by FJ290
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To: FJ290
"We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead" (Letter of Barnabas 15:6–8 [A.D. 74]). "[T]hose who were brought up in the ancient order of things [i.e. Jews] have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s day, on which also our life has sprung up again by him and by his death" (Letter to the Magnesians 8 [A.D. 110]). St. Ignatius of Antioch

"[W]e too would observe the fleshly circumcision, and the Sabbaths, and in short all the feasts, if we did not know for what reason they were enjoined [on] you—namely, on account of your transgressions and the hardness of your heart. . . . [H]ow is it, Trypho, that we would not observe those rites which do not harm us—I speak of fleshly circumcision and Sabbaths and feasts? . . . God enjoined you to keep the Sabbath, and imposed on you other precepts for a sign, as I have already said, on account of your unrighteousness and that of your fathers . . ." (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 18, 21 [A.D. 155]). Justin Martyr

"But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead" (First Apology 67 [A.D. 155]). Justin Martyr

Tell me again that Constantine was the originator of Sunday being the new day of worship for Christians? Compare the date that you gave of 321 C.E.(which should rightfully be A.D.)with the Early Church Fathers that I gave. It doesn't mesh does it? Proving that the early Christians celebrated Sunday worship before this "decree" of Constantine's.

579 posted on 06/20/2006 5:54:18 PM MDT by FJ290

Do you follow the will of the L-rd G-d, creator of the universe or mere men ?
b'shem Y'shua
603 posted on 06/21/2006 7:20:42 AM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Hosea 6:6 I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings)
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To: Buggman; Dr. Eckleburg; xzins; P-Marlowe
I'm arguing that the Jews acknowledged that the Gentiles were not starting off having been trained all their lives to study and follow the Scriptures, and therefore shouldn't be shunned while they were still learning and growing.

Again, consider the difference between a person who was raised in the Church, but just fell away for a few years before personally repenting and receiving the Lord, and a person who has never read the Bible and has spent their whole lives in a homosexual lifestyle. Which one will probably need more time to "ramp up" to a congregations standard of righteous living?

Now, by acknowledging the gay man's extra hurdles, am I condescending to him...

Then by definition, I am not following my own (natural) will in my desire to keep the Torah; it must be from God.

You have yet to show where I've misquoted or misunderstood you, despite repeated invitations to do so...However, that doesn't help you: Since the Lord is the one who said that the Torah had not passed away, and that breaking the least of its commandments and teaching others to do the same lessened one's position in the Kingdom.


604 posted on 06/21/2006 10:59:55 AM PDT by HarleyD ("Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures" Luk 24:45)
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To: XeniaSt
Do you follow the will of the L-rd G-d, creator of the universe or mere men ?

Now wait a minute. I will respectfully answer your question, but is it right to disregard mine to you? I showed where early Christians were worshiping on Sunday way before Constantine's time. You claimed it was because of Constantine that we now worship on Sunday. The dates didn't mesh did they?

I do believe that I follow the will of the Lord. After all, it is He that came to earth and chose the Apostles that would carry on in His name. They celebrated on Sunday, He rose on Sunday, and that's the completion of the New Covenant.

Historical evidence proves that early Christians were worshiping on Sunday. St. Ignatius was the Bishop of Antioch and it is said he was a disciple of St. John. He said in his Letter to the Magnesians that the Jews no longer observed the Sabbath, but observed the Lord's Day which is the day that the Lord rose from the dead. Why would the Bishop of a very early Christian church lie?

Here's an interesting article by a Protestant Professor of Theology. Maybe you will listen to him:

Why Christians Worship on Sunday

One more question. If you believe that I am breaking the law by worshiping on Sunday, would you hold to the Torah law that I be stoned to death for violating the Sabbath? Often I have to do business on Saturday, I do yard work, I travel on that day, all prohibited in the Torah. According to Torah, it is the will of God that someone like me be stoned to death. Would you follow the will of the Lord God on that law?

605 posted on 06/21/2006 11:57:04 AM PDT by FJ290
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To: FJ290; Buggman

The NT permits us to worship whenever we wish, Saturday worshippers notwithstanding.

We're not to be judged on "sabbaths" per the book of Colossians.

Col 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. 20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.


606 posted on 06/21/2006 12:03:04 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It. Supporting our Troops Means Praying for them to Win!)
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To: xzins
The NT permits us to worship whenever we wish, Saturday worshippers notwithstanding.

We're not to be judged on "sabbaths" per the book of Colossians.

Col 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Hmm.. then why did you ask me "Do you follow the will of the L-rd G-d, creator of the universe or mere men ?" if we're not to be judged? Weren't you just judging me for not following a Saturday Sabbath?

I'm glad you picked those particular verses for I put them up yesterday. Notice how verse 17 says that eating, drinking, religious festivals, new moon festivals and sabbaths were shadows of things to come? Have you ever wondered why St. Paul was telling them to let no man judge them on keeping these things? Who would have been judging them on such matters? Certainly it wouldn't be the Colossian Gentiles, it would have been the Jews judging them for keeping another day of worship, etc.

You must be using a newer translation Bible for all of the older ones I've seen say sabbaths instead of Sabbath day.

607 posted on 06/21/2006 12:43:46 PM PDT by FJ290
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To: FJ290
"Do you follow the will of the L-rd G-d, creator of the universe or mere men ?" if we're not to be judged? Weren't you just judging me for not following a Saturday Sabbath?

You've got the wrong guy. I didn't write the above.

I think it's an internet copy of the NIV.

You could do a day of rest on Tuesday and it wouldn't matter. I do, however, think the early gentile church gradually developed a Sunday service due to Sunday being resurrection day + Saturday evening was considered Sunday

608 posted on 06/21/2006 1:14:14 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It. Supporting our Troops Means Praying for them to Win!)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Mary could not have Original Sin because it would be unfitting for God Himself to take up residence in a vessel where sin existed. But Christ has graciously taken up residence in you and me and all Trinitarian Christians, so your defense of this idolatry is meaningless.

Amen.

Moreover, the child inherits his corrupt nature from the father, not the mother.

In Adam, all die. (1Cor.15:22)

609 posted on 06/21/2006 1:39:03 PM PDT by fortheDeclaration (Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? (Gal.4:16))
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To: xzins
You've got the wrong guy. I didn't write the above.

Pardon me! I should have looked at the ID more carefully. Must have looked at the beginning letters, saw that X, and assumed wrongly.

Hmm.. maybe I need a day of rest, LOL!

610 posted on 06/21/2006 2:01:10 PM PDT by FJ290
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To: fortheDeclaration
Mary could not have Original Sin because it would be unfitting for God Himself to take up residence in a vessel where sin existed. But Christ has graciously taken up residence in you and me and all Trinitarian Christians, so your defense of this idolatry is meaningless. (Dr. Eckleburg)

Amen. Moreover, the child inherits his corrupt nature from the father, not the mother.(Forthedeclaration)

It is ridiculous to call Catholics idolators because of what we believe about the Blessed Mother. Christ has taken up residence in us metaphorically, not physically as He did with Mary.

Where did you get that people inherit corrupt natures from their father only?

611 posted on 06/21/2006 4:02:13 PM PDT by FJ290
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To: FJ290
I was trying, lol! She said that she was so tired she wanted to go on to bed.

*chuckle* Women.

I am enjoying the discourse as well.

I'm glad. Sorry I've not gotten back to you today. My boss dumped a big ASAP-type editing project on my desk this morning. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to you either late tonight (when I get home) or tomorrow.

Until then, Shalom.

612 posted on 06/21/2006 5:55:39 PM PDT by Buggman (L'chaim b'Yeshua HaMashiach!)
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To: Buggman
I'm glad. Sorry I've not gotten back to you today. My boss dumped a big ASAP-type editing project on my desk this morning. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to you either late tonight (when I get home) or tomorrow. Until then, Shalom.

Don't worry about it. Work comes first as it pays the bills so I understand. Take care.

613 posted on 06/21/2006 6:02:11 PM PDT by FJ290
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To: wagglebee

Here we go again. Joseph and Mary had other children. It's definitely mentioned: James (of the Epistle of James), Joseph, Simon, Jude (of the Epistle of Jude), and unnamed sisters. It mentioned that Joseph did not "have union" with Mary until after Jesus was born. Matthew 1:25

Matthew 13:55-56 "...Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us?"


614 posted on 06/21/2006 6:31:29 PM PDT by madison10
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To: FJ290; Dr. Eckleburg
Mary could not have Original Sin because it would be unfitting for God Himself to take up residence in a vessel where sin existed. But Christ has graciously taken up residence in you and me and all Trinitarian Christians, so your defense of this idolatry is meaningless. (Dr. Eckleburg) Amen. Moreover, the child inherits his corrupt nature from the father, not the mother.(Forthedeclaration) It is ridiculous to call Catholics idolators because of what we believe about the Blessed Mother. Christ has taken up residence in us metaphorically, not physically as He did with Mary.

First, Christ left Mary when He was born.

He never leaves a believer today.

,

Second, Christ has an active relationship with the believer He indwells.(Jn.15)

As a fetus inside of Mary, Christ did not have any active relationship.

Third, you make Mary, a sinning human being, as co-equal with Christ, who is God, and have prayers to her.

That is idolatry.

Mary is not God, as Christ is and she was born needing a saviour and calls Christ her saviour.(Lk.1:47)

Christ was born sinless, not needing a saviour, and that is why he had to born of a woman (truly human), but not of the seed of a man (not having Adam's sin passed to him)

Nor is Mary a mediator between God and man, since only Christ does that (1Tim.2:5)

Where did you get that people inherit corrupt natures from their father only?

Because the scriptures tells us that all die in Adam.

Christ is called the second Adam, since in Him there is only life (Rom.5:14-21)

The woman is only the carrier of orignal sin (being corrupted herself) but not the transmitter of it.

615 posted on 06/22/2006 4:32:57 AM PDT by fortheDeclaration (Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? (Gal.4:16))
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To: madison10

Neither James nor Jude ever identify themselves as the Lord's sibling, though Jude does say that he is James' brother and a "servant" of our Lord. No person is identified as a son of Joseph or Mary (the tradition of the time was "bar" which means son of). The term brother is often used to describe a relative Abraham's nephew Lot is called a brother.

The word "til" does not mean that the next event ever happens. In the OT it says that the tomb of Moses has not been found "til" this day, and we still don't know where it is.

As far as I can tell, the insistence that Mary bore other children is nothing more than a ploy to diminish Her importance.


616 posted on 06/22/2006 5:14:04 AM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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Comment #617 Removed by Moderator

To: wagglebee

Matthew 13:55 (KJV)

55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
So Jesus had 4 brothers. Why would you say that Mary didn’t have any more kids afterwards?


618 posted on 08/02/2012 2:37:13 AM PDT by Richard40475
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