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Author Topic: I need help with the Trinity.  (Read 1706 times) Average Rating: 0
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yeshuaisiam
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« on: May 11, 2011, 11:31:08 AM »

I need help with the Trinity.   (I may be hopeless)

Many of you can see that I have been going through extreme faith issues.  I see the vast disagreement between churches and it has ripped me apart.  Between EO, OO, RC, and protestant, Anabaptists, Messianic Jews etc.  It's taken me to levels (other thread) where I have doubts about Paul and his follower Luke.  It's taken me to places where I'm even questioning the councils and where all the levels of EO came from...

I'm going to say all the following in respect because I know everybody loves God.

But I need some serious help, because I can't just take stuff blindly.  Yes, I know Jesus said "those who have not seen..." I get it.  I haven't seen.  All I've seen is what other men through thousands of years have given me who claim to have voted backed by the Holy Spirit...

So lets go back to Nicea & to the initial coined term "Trinity".  Tri - Unity.  3 in 1 or 1 in 3.
I need for this to work out.  In respect, I hope somebody can explain the Trinity and how it makes sense. (Which is why I wonder about Arius & banishment from non in charge Constantine)

God the Father
God the Son
God the Holy Spirit

 God (father) came down incarnate to Mary.
 Mary is the Mother of God (Jesus).
 Mary is the Bride (ever virgin) of God (Orthodox Prayers) (Bride of the Father)

A) The Bride of God (Father) is also God's Mother (son)?
B) Jesus prayed to himself, what's the point of praying to yourself who "holds the universe" (akathyst hymn).  If to go by his example why not Kosher & circumcision?
C) God was baptized and God came down on himself like a dove which was not there before?
D) Jesus truly died, did God temporarily become a "binity" or did all of God die?
E) How did God rise if God died because no miracles can happen without God?
F) Did God die or not die on the cross?  If God was dead, why didn't the world cease to exist?  If a "binity" existed, then God didn't die?
G) If God (Jesus) was the lineage flesh from David, then David had to exist before Genesis. "Let us make man in OUR image".
H) The Eucharist in Orthodoxy - The Eucharist IS God, is the lamb sacrificed, God's alive & dead?, transmuted bread & wine, still tastes like bread and wine.  So we eat God who is sacrificed, but God's still there.  (One reason people reference symbolic).  Which part of the Trinity do we eat or do we eat and sacrifice the entire Trinity?

Do you feel if God wanted us to know him, that this would be easier and not such a mystery?
Doesn't the points of Arius make more sense before he was punched and banished (history by vicars)?

So I suppose as far as the Trinity goes, I kind of see things as Arius.  But please don't punch me & banish me, I'm trying to work out my understanding.

I'm not sure if its possible I become an Eastern Orthodox Christian.  I don't know if I can just "accept" and "follow" without knowing.  Truly that would be called blind faith.  Though it may be my weakness, I still have it.

Believe me I jump all over on faith.  Some days I feel I see more clearly and other days I go another direction.  One moment something makes sense then the next it does not. 

But it makes sense if its symbolic, despite what the early church fathers say.  God's not DEAD, but it's a Sacrifice, and "the bread of life".
It would make more sense "God's not dead, the Eucharist not a sacrifice, but by taking the Eucharist we symbolically consume him".

Thanks and God bless.  I may be helpless. 
If you guys would rather I just hush I will.
Perhaps I can come to some understanding through time of reading.

Thanks again.
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 11:57:25 AM »


 Mary is the Bride (ever virgin) of God (Orthodox Prayers) (Bride of the Father)

A) The Bride of God (Father) is also God's Mother (son)?
Careful not to forensically analyze beautiful poetic imagery.

B) Jesus prayed to himself, what's the point of praying to yourself who "holds the universe" (akathyst hymn).  
Jesus is the Son, he prayed to the Father, not Himself. When Jesus mentions God, He's talking about God the Father. Same with St. Paul. The Son is the Word of the Father, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father. Even an Orthodox Jew will aknowledge that God has always existed with His Word and Spirit. The Father Almighty is the One True God.

C) God was baptized and God came down on himself like a dove which was not there before?
This sounds like Sabellianism/Modalism. The Trinity is not 3 faces/personas with 1 true God essence. The Father is the source of the Godhead, of Divinity itself, of the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is three ontologically separate Persons united in one essence having its source in the Father.

D) Jesus truly died, did God temporarily become a "binity" or did all of God die?
The Logos continued to sustain the universe even as He laid dead on the Cross. The Son didn't cease to exist when he died (nor did the Patriarchs, for that matter, or us when we die).

E) How did God rise if God died because no miracles can happen without God?
Because the Bonds of Death could not hold the Author of Life.

F) Did God die or not die on the cross?  If God was dead, why didn't the world cease to exist?  If a "binity" existed, then God didn't die?
As I said before, The Logos continued to sustain the universe even as He laid dead on the Cross. The Son didn't cease to exist when he died (nor did the Patriarchs, for that matter, or us when we die). You should read St. Athanasius's "On the Incarnation of the Word of God."

G) If God (Jesus) was the lineage flesh from David, then David had to exist before Genesis. "Let us make man in OUR image".
No, because God created David after His image. God does not have David-genes floating in space somewhere, and the Holy Spirit didn't put God genes into Mary's womb during the Incarnation.
 
H) The Eucharist in Orthodoxy - The Eucharist IS God, is the lamb sacrificed, God's alive & dead?, transmuted bread & wine, still tastes like bread and wine.  So we eat God who is sacrificed, but God's still there.  (One reason people reference symbolic).  Which part of the Trinity do we eat or do we eat and sacrifice the entire Trinity?
We sacrifice ourselves and all of humanity along with Christ's broken body and spilled blood.

"Thine Own of Thine Own we offer unto Thee, on behalf of all and for all."

Do you feel if God wanted us to know him, that this would be easier and not such a mystery?
The Lord said in the Gospel of Matthew, ""For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." But if we trust as a child, "the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Mark)

Doesn't the points of Arius make more sense before he was punched and banished (history by vicars)?
I think you're trying to say history by victors. Anyway, Arius believed everything Orthodox believe about the Son/Jesus, except he believed that long ago, before the creation of the universe, at some distant point, the Logos/Son was created by God, and thus is a different substance from God. That still leaves you, yeshuaisiam, with virtually all the same theological problems you have with Christian doctrine.

So I suppose as far as the Trinity goes, I kind of see things as Arius.  But please don't punch me & banish me, I'm trying to work out my understanding.
Don't act like Arius was a Mr. Nice Guy and Nicea was big bad Empire. The primary sources do not support this assertion.  angel

I'm not sure if its possible I become an Eastern Orthodox Christian.  I don't know if I can just "accept" and "follow" without knowing.  Truly that would be called blind faith.  Though it may be my weakness, I still have it.
You should definitely work through these issues. It would be wrong to say that you should simply ignore them, because that would essentially divide your Personhood. It is said that "blind belief leads to unbelief". I am concerned that you're willing to trust disreputable internet sources found on Google regarding the Council of Nicaea, the Trinity, and the Church Fathers. You need to start reading the primary sources, and scholarly works, for yourself, instead of taking conspiracy theorists and the likes of Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists seriously.

I am still working through a few issues myself. You're no less of a Christian for doubting and struggling.

« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 12:07:55 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 12:04:23 PM »

Vicars was actually a failed pun.  Tongue

"vicars of the disciples"

At least the Vicar of Christ didn't happen till the 1900's in the RC church.  LOL.
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 12:08:22 PM »

Vicars was actually a failed pun.  Tongue

"vicars of the disciples"

At least the Vicar of Christ didn't happen till the 1900's in the RC church.  LOL.
Oh, I see.  Cheesy

You know St. Nicholas was arrested and deposed after slapping Arius, right?
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 12:12:07 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
yeshuaisiam
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2011, 12:15:32 PM »

NicholasMyra

I won't quote it all out because I don't want to make the response very lengthy in text.  But from your answers.

A) Really wasn't an answer.  It's not really meant to be that forensic.  I mean Husband, wife, son or Father, Bride, son is very general. (no disrespect intended)
B) But Jesus is God.  If God is the father, God is the son.  The son is God.  The father is God.  God prayed to God?
C) So is the Father greater than the son who is one with the father?
D) If the logos was dead on the cross, how could he keep the universe going?
E) I think your response is beautiful, but didn't really answer.
F) I will look up the book, thank you.  (some of these books are tough to find)

Your Matthew quote is awesome.  Thank you.  It really may be what helps me.  I will pray on it.  "trust as a child".   Amen Brother...





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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2011, 12:16:01 PM »

Here are some good Patristic explanations of the Trinity...

St Gregory of Nyssa speaking on the Trinity: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf205.viii.v.html

St Basil the Great speaking on the Trinity: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf208.ix.xxxix.html
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2011, 12:17:14 PM »

Maybe this will help:

"Jesus
Orthodox Christians believe that Jesus is the human way God chose to get closer to us, to pull us up beside him, to put His arms around us and say, “I love you.”  The bedrock of Orthodox Christianity is that Jesus is in a unique sense “the image of the invisible God.”
(Col. 1:15)"

"The Holy Trinity
The Orthodox Church accepts the teachings of the Holy Trinity because it preserves God in His fullness.  To Orthodox Christians “God” means the Father who loves us, the Son who saves, the Holy Spirit who abides within us.  In the words of St. Paul, the fullness of God consists of “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor. 13:14)"
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yeshuaisiam
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2011, 12:19:02 PM »

Vicars was actually a failed pun.  Tongue

"vicars of the disciples"

At least the Vicar of Christ didn't happen till the 1900's in the RC church.  LOL.
Oh, I see.  Cheesy

You know St. Nicholas was arrested and deposed after slapping Arius, right?

Yes. He also repented.  I'll back off Arius right now because -

I'm going to focus on the verse in Matthew you gave me.
Hopefully I can come to some sort of peace with that.

My children have a trust in them that is amazing.  "Those such as these belong to the kingdom of heaven".
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yeshuaisiam
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2011, 12:20:13 PM »

Here are some good Patristic explanations of the Trinity...

St Gregory of Nyssa speaking on the Trinity: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf205.viii.v.html

St Basil the Great speaking on the Trinity: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf208.ix.xxxix.html


I love that site, but have not read these.  Thanks so much.
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2011, 12:20:58 PM »

Here are some good Patristic explanations of the Trinity...

St Gregory of Nyssa speaking on the Trinity: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf205.viii.v.html

St Basil the Great speaking on the Trinity: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf208.ix.xxxix.html


I love that site, but have not read these.  Thanks so much.

No problem. Cool
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2011, 12:23:40 PM »

Would it be fair if I viewed the Trinity as I view Love?  (Is that unorthodox?)  Because God is love.

I love my children differently than my wife.
I love my wife differently than my children.
I love my mother & father differently...

All different types of love but still love?

Could this be similar to the Trinity?  
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2011, 12:34:07 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I need help with the Trinity.   (I may be hopeless)

A) The Bride of God (Father) is also God's Mother (son)?
B) Jesus prayed to himself, what's the point of praying to yourself who "holds the universe" (akathyst hymn).  If to go by his example why not Kosher & circumcision?
C) God was baptized and God came down on himself like a dove which was not there before?
D) Jesus truly died, did God temporarily become a "binity" or did all of God die?
E) How did God rise if God died because no miracles can happen without God?
F) Did God die or not die on the cross?  If God was dead, why didn't the world cease to exist?  If a "binity" existed, then God didn't die?
G) If God (Jesus) was the lineage flesh from David, then David had to exist before Genesis. "Let us make man in OUR image".
H) The Eucharist in Orthodoxy - The Eucharist IS God, is the lamb sacrificed, God's alive & dead?, transmuted bread & wine, still tastes like bread and wine.  So we eat God who is sacrificed, but God's still there.  (One reason people reference symbolic).  Which part of the Trinity do we eat or do we eat and sacrifice the entire Trinity?

a) Yes, the Virgin Bride of God the Father is also the Holy Mother, and through the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ is also His and Our Sister as well.  These are not meant to confuse, if you are stumbling feel these with your heart, don't even attempt to understand the with your intellect, they are meant for a prayerful understanding.
b) Don't you talk to yourself? Do you not have an internal dialogue? Why should God in His Triune form not also have this same ability?
c) God the Father is Formless, God the Son is the Physical Form, God the Holy Spirit is the Spiritual form which is perceived in vision.  It was not necessarily that the Holy Spirit came in the physical form of a dove, actually the Holy Spirit has no physical form.  Jesus Christ had to be physically baptized so that the formless Godhead of the Father could also be baptized, and the Holy Spirit is the mechanism which these Divine Mysteries are translated from the formless to the formed, from the purely spiritual into the physical realm which Jesus Christ was incarnated.
d) The Death which Jesus experienced was not a lack of existing, it was entering another dimension called Death, outside of the physical realm we understand to be our Earth, our Universe.  God did not stop existing in His Godhead when He entered into Death and Hell to save the captives there, quite the opposite.  Just as the dawning Sun casts light into the darkness of night and gloaming of the early morning, so did the Godhead in Jesus Christ enter into the gloom of Death (a place, a state of existing beyond our own sense of life and living) and bring Life into Death once and for all time, so that no longer does Death even exist, rather we are now thought to be "sleeping"
e) God rose from the Dead because He Was, Is, and Will Forever Be the Person of Jesus Christ.  When Jesus Christ rose from the grave, He in the power of the Godhead came out of the place of Death and reentered our own physical realm of our World.  The Godhead has the power to raise itself up, just as we living beings have the power to raise ourselves from sleep and slumber.
f) Yes, God in His Godhead experienced the Death of the Cross.  However, it is not right to say that the Godhead stopped existing at Death, and since the souls of the departed were in Hell starting with Adam, it is not right really to even say that those dead folks had ceased existing either.  Rather, they had translated from the form of living here on Earth towards existing in the limbo of Death and Hell.  Jesus Christ also entered into this place of Death outside of our life, and in doing so was not conquered by Death, rather brought Life into Death for all time there after Smiley
G) No, David does not have to exist until his own birth.  The Geneology of Jesus Christ is a testimony that life on Earth has a purpose.  All the ancestors of Our Lord lived normal, earthly lives with grace and sin, joy and blues.  However, even every single minute detail of their lives end resulted in Jesus Christ.  It is to remind us in our lives, that we do not know the future, nor the potential for God in our lives.  We should take courage to face each new day and each opportunity it brings, as one day our own children can rise to be great, as was the family of David which culminated its greatness in having brought forth our Holy Lady the Virgin Mother of God. These ancestors are then types for us, examples, on how to embrace even our daily lives and routines and obligations as part of our walk with God towards salvation not just of ourselves, but the whole world!
H) The Holy Eucharist is the form of the Second Person of the Trinity, the God-Man Jesus Christ, who is perfect God and perfect Man, His Divinity and Humanity fully united in the physical form of His Person (IE, the Body of Jesus Christ).  This is called Christology.  It is also what divides the various jurisdictions of Orthodoxy and also Protestants/Pentecostals.  At least in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church we teach that the Divine Godhead, the Pure Essence of Divinity, is equally present in the Blood and Body (bread and wine) of Jesus Christ.  The Trinity exists as One Esssense manifested in Three Forms, just as Water remains H2O whether it is liquid, ice, or a gas.  The Godhead remains the same Essence of the Divine whether is in the Person of the Father, the Person of the Son, or the Person of the Holy Trinity.  Each of these is a distinct yet unified manifestation of that One, Unified, Godhead.  So when we partake of the Communion we indeed partake of the Godhead of the Trinity, but not the other Persons.  The Father remains the Father, the Holy Spirit remains the Holy Spirit, only the Divine Essence of the Godhead is mutual to all three Persons.
Quote


But it makes sense if its symbolic, despite what the early church fathers say.  God's not DEAD, but it's a Sacrifice, and "the bread of life".
It would make more sense "God's not dead, the Eucharist not a sacrifice, but by taking the Eucharist we symbolically consume him".

Thanks again.

No, it makes absolutely NO SENSE if it were merely symbolic.  If it were merely symbolic how could the Sacraments have the real and operative Power of God to save us? If Christ or the Eucharist were merely symbols, how could they raise the Dead and bring us True Life? God HAD to come in the directness of His Godhead to perform these crucial acts of salvation.  Just talking about them or planning them was not enough, messengers and mediators were not enough. God had to do this directly HIMSELF.  However the Godhead had no form, hence the need of the Incarnation.  If we need God to save us from the Death of our physicality in the world, then God himself in His Godhead had to come INTO this physical realm from His own outside Eternity.  This is a mystery.  It is not meant to be understood, it is meant to be experienced!  Pray to experience the Mysteries of God then, not just to know or believe to understand them.  When you think you know them, you don't, instead you must FEEL it Wink
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 12:37:47 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2011, 12:36:20 PM »

Would it be fair if I viewed the Trinity as I view Love?  (Is that unorthodox?)  Because God is love.

I love my children differently than my wife.
I love my wife differently than my children.
I love my mother & father differently...

All different types of love but still love?

Could this be similar to the Trinity?  


One Father (I forget who) said: Fire begets light and heat proceeds form it.

Fire=Father
Light=Son
Heat=Holy Spirit
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2011, 12:41:57 PM »

B) But Jesus is God.  If God is the father, God is the son.  The son is God.  The father is God.  God prayed to God?
C) So is the Father greater than the son who is one with the father?
D) If the logos was dead on the cross, how could he keep the universe going?
E) I think your response is beautiful, but didn't really answer.
F) I will look up the book, thank you.  (some of these books are tough to find)

Your Matthew quote is awesome.  Thank you.  It really may be what helps me.  I will pray on it.  "trust as a child".   Amen Brother...

B) Yes, they are all God, but they are not all the same Person. The Trinity is not one God hiding under the appearance of three Persons. The Son prayed to the Father; in the NT, "God" usually means the Father. As I said earlier, even an Orthodox Jew will acknowledge that God has always existed with His Word and Spirit. The key to the Trinity might be found in the old version of the Doxa Patri: "Glory to the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages, Amen."

The Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from God, and the Son is eternally begotten of God. The Father is the One True God.

We can see the Spirit in Genesis 1:2 "The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."

And the Son and Word of God prophetically foreshadowing the incarnation is in Psalm 107:20 "He sent His Word and healed them, And delivered them from their destruction." and Psalm 110:1 says "The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."

C) Yes, the Father is greater than the Son. The Son says "the Father is greater than I." (John 14:28). The Son is God's Word, and therefore is truly God and equally Eternal with the Father, but the Father is greater than the Son relationally and because the Father is the source of the Son and Spirit; He is the Only Un-Begotten One.

D) When the Son became incarnate, he united His Divine (God) Nature with His human nature in His own Person; thus, humanity and divinity were united within the single undivided person of God the Son. The Person of God the Son died, but through his immortal divine nature continued to sustain all things.

If that doesn't make sense, think of it this way. God descended into Sheol after death, the abode of the dead. But King David tells us in the Psalms that God has power even in Sheol, the realm of the dead: "If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there." (Psalm 139:8 ).

E.) We [well, Orthodox] eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit to the Glory of God the Father.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 12:43:07 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2011, 12:48:44 PM »

G) If God (Jesus) was the lineage flesh from David, then David had to exist before Genesis. "Let us make man in OUR image".
Jesus Himself explains in the Gospel of Mark:

"And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, 'How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,

'The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.’

David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?' And the great throng heard him gladly."

Your Matthew quote is awesome.  Thank you.  It really may be what helps me.  I will pray on it.  "trust as a child".   Amen Brother...

=) This makes me very glad. I think it is better to maintain faith *throughout* one's doubting, rather than to ignore one's doubt through blind faith.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 12:51:04 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2011, 01:03:24 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

C) Yes, the Father is greater than the Son. The Son says "the Father is greater than I." (John 14:28). The Son is God's Word, and therefore is truly God and equally Eternal with the Father, but the Father is greater than the Son relationally and because the Father is the source of the Son and Spirit; He is the Only Un-Begotten One.


In the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo tradition we disagree a bit regarding your interpretation.  Our Fathers have interpreted a true equality of the Trinity because of the equality of the Godhead, even if manifested into three distinct Persons.  
Our Christology is often most poetically elaborated in our Liturgical and Prayer traditions..

Quote
It is not with the Deity as it was with Abraham who was older than Isaac, or with Isaac who was older than Jacob, but the Father is not older than the Son, and the Son is not older than the Holy Spirit. Neither is the Holy Spirit younger than the Son, and neither is the Son younger than His Father.  
It is not with the Deity as it was with Abraham who gave commands to Isaac (IE because Abraham was the superior or greater person), or with Isaac who gave orders to Jacob, but the Father, being the Father does not have to give orders to the Son, and the Son being the Son is exalted in the Holy Spirit.

But the Divine Father, Divine Son, and Divine Holy Spirit are One God, One Kingdom, One Authority, One Government.  The Father Son Holy Spirit Think, the Father Son Holy Spirit speak, the Father Son Holy Spirit approve (IE, as ONE)
From the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Anaphora of Mary

Stay Blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 01:04:02 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2011, 01:04:30 PM »

C) Yes, the Father is greater than the Son. The Son says "the Father is greater than I." (John 14:28). The Son is God's Word, and therefore is truly God and equally Eternal with the Father, but the Father is greater than the Son relationally and because the Father is the source of the Son and Spirit; He is the Only Un-Begotten One.


In the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo tradition we disagree a bit regarding your interpretation.  Our Fathers have interpreted a true equality of the Trinity because of the equality of the Godhead, even if manifested into three distinct Persons.  
Our Christology is often most poetically elaborated in our Liturgical and Prayer traditions..

Quote
It is not with the Deity as it was with Abraham who was older than Isaac, or with Isaac who was older than Jacob, but the Father is not older than the Son, and the Son is not older than the Holy Spirit. Neither is the Holy Spirit younger than the Son, and neither is the Son younger than His Father.  
It is not with the Deity as it was with Abraham who gave commands to Isaac (IE because Abraham was the superior or greater person), or with Isaac who gave orders to Jacob, but the Father, being the Father does not have to give orders to the Son, and the Son being the Son is exalted in the Holy Spirit.

I don't see that as disagreeing with anything I said.  Cheesy I affirm that the Trinity is Co-Equal and Co-Eternal. The Son does do the will of the Father, but because the Son has the Divine Will of the Father, not because of some sort of domination. And the Son is indeed as old as the Father.

« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 01:08:01 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2011, 01:10:25 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

C) Yes, the Father is greater than the Son. The Son says "the Father is greater than I." (John 14:28). The Son is God's Word, and therefore is truly God and equally Eternal with the Father, but the Father is greater than the Son relationally and because the Father is the source of the Son and Spirit; He is the Only Un-Begotten One.


In the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo tradition we disagree a bit regarding your interpretation.  Our Fathers have interpreted a true equality of the Trinity because of the equality of the Godhead, even if manifested into three distinct Persons.  
Our Christology is often most poetically elaborated in our Liturgical and Prayer traditions..

Quote
It is not with the Deity as it was with Abraham who was older than Isaac, or with Isaac who was older than Jacob, but the Father is not older than the Son, and the Son is not older than the Holy Spirit. Neither is the Holy Spirit younger than the Son, and neither is the Son younger than His Father.  
It is not with the Deity as it was with Abraham who gave commands to Isaac (IE because Abraham was the superior or greater person), or with Isaac who gave orders to Jacob, but the Father, being the Father does not have to give orders to the Son, and the Son being the Son is exalted in the Holy Spirit.

I don't see that as disagreeing with anything I said.  Cheesy I affirm that the Trinity is Co-Equal and Co-Eternal.



The discrepancy is in your phrasing specifically saying, "The Father is Greater than the Son."  We in the EOTC do not necessarily like the flavor of that statement.  We think of the Trinity as operating as ONE, hence our prayers in the Anaphora which explain that the Father, Son, Holy Spirit together as ONE think, speak, and approve.  It is not that the Son is lesser (even in relationship) to the Father and so has to ask permission or seek counsel, neither is the Holy Spirit under the Son.  All Three act as one.  The Father does speak separate from the Son or the Spirit, the Son does not think aside from the Father, and the Holy Spirit does not approve aside from the Son, rather in full and cooperative unison the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit equally think, speak and approve all things.  That is to say, the Father does not have to think about it and then speak it to the Son and then all three approve or agree on a decision.  Rather, the Father, Son, Holy Spirit equally do all together at the same time.  The Father does not have to consult the Son, neither does the Holy Spirit have to seek the approval of the Father, rather they all work perfectly together.  At the least, this is the teachings of the Fathers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo tradition.

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
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« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2011, 01:15:47 PM »

We think of the Trinity as operating as ONE, hence our prayers in the Anaphora which explain that the Father, Son, Holy Spirit together as ONE think, speak, and approve.  It is not that the Son is lesser (even in relationship) to the Father and so has to ask permission or seek counsel, neither is the Holy Spirit under the Son.  All Three act as one.  The Father does speak separate from the Son or the Spirit, the Son does not think aside from the Father, and the Holy Spirit does not approve aside from the Son, rather in full and cooperative unison the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit equally think, speak and approve all things.  That is to say, the Father does not have to think about it and then speak it to the Son and then all three approve or agree on a decision.  Rather, the Father, Son, Holy Spirit equally do all together at the same time.  The Father does not have to consult the Son, neither does the Holy Spirit have to seek the approval of the Father, rather they all work perfectly together.  At the least, this is the teachings of the Fathers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo tradition.

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
Christ is Risen!

And I would agree with every word you said except for the bolded part, but let's not debate about that now.  Wink
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
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« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2011, 02:11:49 PM »

May I recommend you go and speak to a Priest?  Sometimes it is more helpful to speak one on one with someone in real time (especially in person) than it is to post back and forth on an internet forum.
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« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2011, 02:22:28 PM »

D) If the logos was dead on the cross, how could he keep the universe going?

God the Logos, who is a Person, died according to His humanity. His divinity is immortal and incapable of suffering or death. Essence is an abstract concept, essences don't 'do' anything....persons do things. So we speak of the Person of God the Son dying on the cross, but on account of the manhood He assumed. There was no confusion or mingling of His divinity and humanity, so His divinity did not become mortal on account of the Incarnation.
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2011, 11:21:45 PM »

Yeshuaisiam,

What helps me out with these things.. is the verse about how God's thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his ways our ways.  When you have the Creator of the universe choosing to act, he can over-ride the natural order of things.. and beget a Son from a virgin.  Remembering that the Son is ONE with the Father, is of the same essence or "stuff".. but is still different. 

I've understood that the main difference between Jesus and ourselves, is that we are creatio ex nihilo created out of nothing.  We did not come from God's being, the way some other philosophies make it sound.. but we were created as a distinct creation.   Jesus was NOT created out of nothing, and "create" is really the wrong word.  In English to create something means to imply that you are making something from materials that weren't there to begin with.  The words manifesting, emanating, or begotten would be closer to the truth than the word "create" would be.. and I think that was partially the mistake of Arius.

But basically, we CAN'T expect the INFINITE God to make sense to our human intellects.  We can't also believe either that ALL of the Church Fathers, saints, and martyrs who attended these Councils were out to turn people like Arius into "heretics", or banish them from the land..   that would be an unreasonable assumption.  ALSO, it is important to note that many individuals have been willing to die in defense of the doctrine of the Trinity.  May God preserve their souls at the hour of judgement! 

I know for me in my own life.. doubting is usually based off of the fear of being wrong.  I personally have been very afraid, that if I was wrong about something theologically speaking, or could not wrap my brain around it.. then God would send me to hell over it.  Your doubts may spring from a different source, but it is important to consider what that source might be.  Whatever it is, try to surrender it to God through the "Jesus Prayer".. don't use words because not everything can be communicated so easily.  Just allow your burdens to be given to God, and EVENTUALLY he will give you the gift of Faith.  Because faith comes from God, we can not produce it from ourselves.
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« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2011, 12:45:36 AM »

This recording of Fr. Behr may be helpful:

http://www.myocn.net/index.php/20080612873/Special-Moments-in-Orthodoxy/Special-Moments-in-Orthodoxy-Trinitarian-Theology.html
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« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2011, 12:50:22 AM »

When discussing the Trinity, it is all to easy to fall into heresy, but I'll describe it as it makes sense to me:

The Father is God in all his sublimity, as He is described apophatically: 'inexpressible, incomprehensible, invisible, unattainable, ever-existing, eternally the same'. That is, beyond our ability to know or imagine.

The Son is God as He manifested Himself in human history, at a specific time and a specific place: Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit is God's interaction in our lives, God making Himself known to us in ways that our limited senses can comprehend.
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« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2011, 11:50:29 PM »

One Father (I forget who) said: Fire begets light and heat proceeds form it.

Fire=Father
Light=Son
Heat=Holy Spirit
John of Damascus uses a similar analogy:
"The Father is a sun with the Son as rays and the Holy Ghost as heat."~On the Trinity
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« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2011, 10:52:13 AM »

I think part of the problem may be that you're attempting to understand or find a rational behind the Trinity. I love reasoning, I love logic, but I also recognize their limits.

Does the ant know about human lives? Can the ant contemplate on the depths of our love? Can the grasshopper reason its way to understanding us? The ant and grasshopper have a better chance of comprehending us than we do of simply understanding God, for He is infinitely above us. As such, the Trinity is a necessary mystery. Anything dealing with the 'nature' of God or God as God is always going to be a mystery to us.

That being said, perhaps I can suggest reading An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by St. John of Damascus (available through CUA Press), or On the Unity of Christ by St. Cyril of Alexandria, or even On the Holy Spirit by St. Basil the Great (both through St. Vladamir's Press).

Finally, let me offer this to you as a reason for the Trinity (the same reasoning is found in Richard Swinburne's Is Jesus God?):

Both of us would agree that God is love. As well as being love, He is also perfect (meaning that He cannot be added to or deducted from). If this is the case, then His love is perfect, meaning that it cannot get better or worse, but is always maximally and infinitely great. So when it comes to love, is love focused on the self greater than love focused on others? Of course not, for that is what we call narcissism. Even if God's self-focused love were greater than love focused on others, then there would be no reason to create us as His love for us would always be less than perfect. Thus, love directs towards another person is perfect love.

But this leaves us with a problem. Prior to creation, who did God love? Perhaps we could say that He loved us before we were created, but this is merely potential love, love that cannot be acted upon. Thus, His love would be incomplete prior to our creation. So either God is not a God of love, or there was someone for all eternity that He could love.

Only the Trinity solves the above issue. In the Trinity we see that God's love is directed towards Himself, among the three Persons of the Trinity. The Father loves the Son and the Spirit, and they in turn return the love and also love each other. If God is a God of love and created all things, meaning that all things are finite, then He must be Trinitarian.

Seeking to understand how the Trinity works will only lead you into heresy. But we can see that a belief in the Trinity is necessary should we desire to see God as a God of love.

I hope that helps.
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« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2011, 12:16:56 PM »

Yesh, I recommend that you take a break from all of this and go find some silence. It is difficult in this day and age, but you are full of such turmoil that you are not going to hear from God with all the racket inside your soul.

I suggest that maybe a trip to a monastery for a few days might be ideal.  Don't ask a lot of questions, but do try to examine your thoughts a bit.  You are wrestling with something inside you which you are not necessarily going to find here.

When you have prepared a place in your heart for the truth, the truth will come.  But, it requires a place, and that means you have to empty out what you have rather than trying to cram more in.  There is fear in letting go, so perhaps you might find it useful to realize that God will not abandon you just because you don't understand everything perfectly.  God's love is greater than that.
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