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Author Topic: The Trinity/Fr. Thomas Hopko  (Read 1218 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: July 08, 2008, 11:33:54 AM »

I've been listening to Fr. Thomas Hopko's podcast on the Holy Trinity, and something he said had me really confused.

He said that the "one God" is the Father, it isn't the Holy Trinity. Then goes on to talk about Jesus as being the Son of the one God, and the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the one God. Yet all as being a part of the Trinity.

But how can we worship "one God" and the Spirit and the Son? As I've always understood it, we worship the Trinity, who is God, and is the one God we worship.

Am I misunderstanding something here?
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SakranMM
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2008, 12:44:12 PM »

I think what Fr. Tom is saying is that the Father is the source and fountainhead of the divinity of the Holy Trinity.  From the Father, the Son is "begotten" before all ages, and the Holy Spirit "proceeds" eternally.  Now the Father is God, but we also refer to the Son and the Spirit as God since they share in the same essence as the Father.  Whatever the Father does, He does it through the Son in the Holy Spirit.  So all three are at work.

Father Hopko isn't saying anything theologically incorrect here; He is just referring to the Father as the source of the divinity.  You can even see this in the New Testament, especially in the Epistles of St. Paul; He often refers to all three Persons in the same passage, naming the Father as "God," and referring to Christ and the Spirit by name.
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2008, 12:48:27 PM »

Ok ty, is it then wrong to refer to the Son and Holy Spirit as God? Or the Holy Trinity as God?
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Fr. David
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2008, 02:20:51 PM »

Ok ty, is it then wrong to refer to the Son and Holy Spirit as God? Or the Holy Trinity as God?

I don't think so, no -- not if you're talking to theologically-read trinitarians.  But what I think Fr. Tom's talking about here is how some heretical groups talk about "the God who is Trinity" -- modalism, in other words -- where we have "the God" who IS the Father, who is ALSO the Son AND the Holy Spirit.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here with my (very) limited Greek abilities and say that, imo, when Christ or the Spirit is talked about as "God," the word theos can also mean "divine," or describe something as having the nature of God.  So "in the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God" -- because God the Father is not Himself completely without His Word which has been with Him from eternity, though the Word is not the One Who spoke Him, nor the Breath (pnevma, or "spirit") which was used to speak said Word eternally -- "and the Word was...divine."  "God," or "of the nature of God," in the same way that "God" (read: The Father) is divine.

Being "one in essence" is very much highlighted this way.

I really like how Frs. Tom Hopko, John Behr, and others have recently tackled the way in which the Trinity can be presented to others in more "semetic" terms -- particularly to Muslims and Jews, who do believe in one "person" as God, together with His Eternal Word and the Breath or Living Spirit of that One God.  Now, the differences in what Jews, Christians and Muslims believe are the activities of said God-with-Word-and-Spirit can and should definitely be discussed (for they are myriad), but at least this is a way in which we can begin to find common ground about the nature of the Godhead.
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Tags: Trinity theology Fr. Thomas Hopko 
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