Hello & Welcome! Today I shall share about the historical background and context of the trinity, and some common misconceptions, before finally summarizing and closing. So let’s begin:
The trinity is a foundational Christian doctrine. This is due largely to the fact that it helps Christians understand who and what God is. Coloring and explaining many other elements of the religion. The three members are typically defined as God the Father, who is often associated with the God of Judaism, and shares many characteristics with Him. God the Son, or Jesus of Nazareth, where Christianity takes it’s name, as well as it’s prime Messianic figure. Finally there is God the Holy Spirit, explained in Acts 2 as a further different component and outpouring of God upon Christianity.
Historically Christians have always considered Jesus of Nazareth to be divine, With Jesus himself claiming to be one with God the Father. Thus the relationship between these two is firmly established inside of the Christian Bible. The Holy Spirit on the other hand is mentioned numerous times throughout the Bible, however how these three work together has been frequently misunderstood.
Some of these misunderstandings have grown and led to several Controversies in Christian church history. Most major misunderstandings of the trinity branch from the fact that the concept in and of itself isn’t fairly clear. For most Christians it is easier to define what the trinity is not, rather than specifically what it is. Because of this there are three unorthodox ways to look at the trinity, most Christian denominations define these three definitions as heretical. These 3 Misunderstanding are as follows:
- Modalism, or Sabellianism which says that God only exists in one form at a time. God is either The Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. Never all three, this is wrong because in the Bible there is an incident where all three are present.
- Arianism, a rather famous controversy, perhaps here on the pocket theologian we’ll break this controversy down on it’s own. But for now, this idea says that Christ and the Holy Spirit are creations of God the Father. This is wrong, because it lowers the nature of Jesus of Nazareth, thus he cannot pay the price for sin.
- Tritheism, which simply defines the trinity as three gods all coexisting together, but being completely separate. Similar to Polytheism. This is wrong due to the fact that it doesn’t allow for the members of the trinity to be of one substance, or sharing one being, which has always been a characteristic of the trinity.
Summarizing then, the trinity is an explanation for the character, the way decisions are made according to previous experience, and nature, the will and desires, of God. It is difficult to explain due primarily to the fact that God cannot easily be explained. But the Trinity is defined in the Nicene Creed as such:
“We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human.He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end. And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets.”
And that’s all I have for you on the trinity, go in peace!