August 4, 2007

No Trinity Either?

My goodness, what is wrong with me. I don't believe in the trinity either. Now I truly am a heretic.

Recently we have been talking about labels that we could use to describe ourselves. I am the only person that I am aware of that says I follow God. All others are Christ followers. (Though what they will do when the Christ is gone after the thousand year reign I don't know) Ooops, there it goes again. I will explain later. Some say they are Jesus followers. Why would they follow the son of God, who on his own has absolutely no power at all. OOOPS, there I go again.

Then it hit me. Not believing in the trinity, makes me think absolutely differently from a large group of believers. Fundamentally think different. My perception and paradigms are completely different. This comes across in the words we choose to use. Such as, I call him Christ Jesus, or Jesus the Christ. Because Christ is an office, not his last name. That is why when I call myself a servant of God, no one wants to follow me in that because they think that following Jesus is following God. So in essence, the part that is important to God, we are both following the same thing. But refuse, because of our passion for this, to be called the other.

Did you know, that the trinity was never mentioned in the bible? I don't know anywhere that the bible equates the Holy Spirit as being the same as God. I know that the number of times that the bible clearly states Jesus and God as two separate entities way out numbers the times that they mention them being in common. Were you aware that someone in the catholic church in 360 AD came up with the idea? "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." John 1.1 is the verse thrown out the most to show that this is true. But if correctly translated to be understood by modern english from the greek manuscripts, it would read, "In the beginning was the word, and the Word was facing God, and the Word was Godlike." In the Greek, and specifier is placed in front of the proper person to signify it is THAT person. So for Jesus in that verse to actually be God, the phrase would have to be "and the Word was THE God." The specifier is not there. So it is just a descriptor, not a noun. (anyone that would like to argue with my grandpas 45+ years of greek, let me know. He would love to debate it with you.)

But this also just makes me realize that "no human can know God." He is incomprehensible to us. So trying to define him is useless. So I gave up on it. I will just love God no matter what he is. Even accept those who do try to define him. It will not let it separate myself from others.


Erin said...

Ok I think I'm tracking you on this, at least in part.

Let me ask you this: I have heard it said that God is like water - you have three manifestations of water - vapor, liquid, and ice (not that the three correlate, but it's a good example of how something can be three things and one thing) but that God can manifest as any of the three concurrently.

So who do you see Jesus as? The human manifestation of God, or as separate but also joined with God? Or something else?

I'm just curious, if you believe God is God, then who is Jesus? I generally see Jesus and God as interchangeable and when I say I follow Jesus I mean that I follow Him in His example as a human, not that I worship Him as God, not by Himself, anyhow. He is God but He is also a part of God.

I've been thinking about this a lot and have taken some heat for it, so I'm wondering if you will expand on your thoughts.

Nate said...

In human relationships, I would explain it this way. God as the CEO, Jesus as the COO, (Chief Operations Officer), and the Holy Spirit as CIO. (Chief Iformation Officer, which is in charge of communicating the will of the CEO throughout the company) All are working closely together, talking constantly, and know what the other knows. But for me, the biggest tell is, when Jesus cried out on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me." Meaning that there must be a separate entity that can forsake the other.

Qustion 1: I see Jesus as God's only begotten son.
Question 2.1: He being the son of God, would be the closest manifestation of God on earth as possible.
Question 2.2: He is separate from God in the fact that he is his own entity.
Question 3:Not something else now. Before, he was an angel style being, but now a human with the glorified body that we will receive in the kingdom of God.
Question 4: Jesus is the Christ. The person who has been put in charge of the earth. He is the one that intercedes for us with God. So by following God's agent on earth, you are following God.

It is not a popular stance. A baptist minister that I know said that you could tell who was a false prophet by the fact that they tell you that God is not triune. But by a quick look in any concordance, you can see that neither the word trinity, or the word triune are even in the bible. So, how did something that is not even in the bible become the staple of our religious diet? I have an answer for that but it is a long one filled with history. But suffice it to say, that almost every major denomination of the "christian" faith, broke away from the catholic church, or broke away from someone else that broke away. So when it came from the catholic church, it made it's way into our faith.

Sorry about the length. But, those are my thoughts on it.

Dena G said...

Nate, Nate...and here I was, thinking we were going to be friends. ;-)

I've actually been studying the whole "why we 'do' church the way we do" thing lately--I've been reading a fascinating book called "Pagan Christianity" by Frank Viola that has answered a lot of my "but WHY?" questions.

I'm sometimes too quick to write off as "mere semantics" something that might be seen by others as a huge difference of opinion, but after reading your answers to Erin's questions, I really DO think some of my differences with what you're saying truly are matters of semantics.

Case in point: I've decided that calling myself a "Christ follower" or "follower of Jesus" is preferable to calling myself "Christian". It seems to make a clearer upfront statement (ie, less "new age-ish, there are many paths") than the "I believe in God" statement.

In response to Erin, you say..."Jesus is the Christ. The person who has been put in charge of the earth. He is the one that intercedes for us with God. So by following God's agent on earth, you are following God."

Semantics? Or way off-base? (And I think we'll still be friends, either way.)

jON said...

"So who do you see Jesus as? The human manifestation of God, or as separate but also joined with God? Or SOMETHING ELSE...?"

you rang?

one of the issues that came up with "church" last year was when i started meditating on the differenecs between the one called jesus and the one called the god. and many of the ways jesus talked about it. and started to talk about these ideas out loud.

jesus was the word. whatever that means, i think we can all agree on that. jesus is "the word of the god" who resided in a human body. yet he spoke of a father who was greater than he. he said that he is the way to the father. he said, "i do not accept worship from men." and he also said, "you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."

paul said jesus was the "first-born over all creation." not co-eternal. jesus was not born until the word was born. when god spoke. "let there be light." the word came into existence first and through the word, light and the world came into being. yet the power and intention behind the word was the power and intention of the god.

consider your own blogs and comments. these are "the word of the person" who writes them. they are a representation of that person. you can experience that person through them. but they, in themselves, are NOT that person. your words are a true representation of you, but they are not you.

one place where i parted thought with many and it became a real deal breaker is that i don't think jesus is the point. i think christianity is too christ-o-centric. it's why i can't worship that way anymore. not that i don't love, admire, and respect jesus and recognize his example of subversive living, and the fact that his voluntary death secured grace for me in the eyes of the father, i just know that at the end of all things the christ will step aside and hand the kingdom over to the father. the one god.

which says to me that this human "king" is not the point. he is simply a servant for a season. rather the infinite being beyond him who he was representing was the point, and i feel i should direct most of my energy that way instead.

not enough time to nuance it all, but there it is for now.

Dena G said...

...wondering if I can come to your next family reunion...?? ;-) How many of you are there? And do you all talk at once? What marvelous conversation must take place!

Erin said...

Ok, now you guys are really messing with my head. Not necessarily in a bad way - just articulating something that started to gel in the back of my mind years ago...

Bear with me as I process...please know my questions are inquisitive in nature, not trying to "stir the pot".

So here's the thing I can't get past...Jesus gave his life for us. I mean, if we accept that reconciliation with God is impossible without the work of Jesus - doesn't that give us more than enough reason to worship Him?

And what does the idea that Jesus was fully God and fully man mean?

I have long struggled with "normal" theology...because there are so many holes in it and so many things that defy intelligence and science (both things God created) and I'm working to iron it out.

In the end, I guess I have always seen God and Jesus (and the Spirit) as one in the same and unified - yet having distinct personalities and purposes. Or more as Jesus and the Spirit being different manifestations of God, designed to help us better understand God, but that God is always God. Or something like that.

Nate said...

Erin, I bequeth you the largest ladle you want, and then ask you to stir away. (do you like that bequeth word, I had to look it up) It is how I learn, through the challenge of my ideas. I change them often when proven wrong. Because, I may be wrong.

Also, I have not heard the idea that God was fully man, nor fully God. What is that?

Valorosa said...

The Rock

But Joseph's bow remained steady,his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father's God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you Genesis 49

I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink."
Exodus 17

"Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink. So Moses took the staff from the LORD's presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice ...
water gushed out ...
Numbers 20

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deuteronomy 32

"There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
1 Samuel 2

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
2 Samuel 22

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer
Psalm 19

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation
Psalm 95

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal
Isaiah 26

Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."
Isaiah 44

"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
Isaiah 51

"In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
"The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy."
Daniel 2

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them,

and that rock was Christ

1 Corinthians 10

Here's another phrase you will not find in the bible but it is true ...

Jesus is the rock of my salvation ... his banner over me is love.

The words trinity and triune are not there, this is so .... but the Father Son and the Holy spirit are introduced one by one and they are so ...

Words ... or the Word

Nate said...

"In the begining was the word." Yes Jesus was ther since the begining. My grandfather believes that Jesus and Jehovah are one and the same, but Jehovah was not God. I have not studied this, and do can not have a biblical arguement on the situation. I will see if I can get him in on this.

Nate said...

Got ahold of my grandfather, and he explained that Jesus being the Word, was the Word of God in the old testament. So Jesus was Jehovah. Also that no man has EVER seen God's face nor heard his voice. That is definitive. So if Jesus were The God, then that statement in the bible would not be true. Also a manifestation is a copy, not the real thing. That Jesus was a manifestation of God on the earth, and acted as God would act so that we as humans could get to know the personality of God.

Erin said...

I think what I see is this: I have always believed that in the Bible God explains His nature in the simplest terms possible so that humans could relate Him - or similarly, the human men who wrote the text of the bible used human terms to explain God because they lacked any real ability to describe God with any measure of accuracy.

The idea of God as father, Jesus as son, is simply a human, earthly relationship. I imagine the reality is something far more complex, maybe not logically complex, but spiritually complex.

It's the Chalcedonian Creed that says Jesus was both fully God and fully man. Heb 1:3 says Jesus is the exact representation of God. So I'm not sure there is really an differentiation between God and Jesus in their nature, they are simply different expressions of the same thing.

Valorosa said...

Yes, Erin, I agree with you ... that is probably the best way to explain it ... they have different tasks as well God the Father who cannot deal closely with man because of His purity and power and Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us who came to save and mediate between the all consuming purifying creator and the Holy Spirit who leads and guides and and comforts us until we do see Him face to face ...

Nate has said:

Also that no man has EVER seen God's face nor heard his voice.

Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,...
Deuteronomy 34

Moses sat with God and talked with Him and had to wear a veil over his face after doing so ... and at Mt. Sinai the Lord wanted to talk to Moses so the Israeli people would hear God talking to Him and thus establish their understanding of Moses' God established leadership.
Moses took the Israeli people out to Mt Sinai to "meet" God. There were strict instructions given to make it safe for them... and had they not been so afraid, they would have heard God talking to Moses.

I know there is a passage that tells us that no man has ever seen God and lived but that is not the case with Moses.

But if the ministry of death,in letters engraved on stones, came with glory,so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?

2 Corinthians 3:7

Nate said...

Alright, last thing I will say on the subject. Grammer. It is a defining thing that makes or breaks the arguments. The biggest problem in the translations of the bible is how desciptors/adjectives are used. Because saying "Jesus is God" in english means Jesus=God. That is how we read it. But, in the bible language, unless a specifying article is placed before the word, it then is not a noun, but an adjective. So, "Jesus is God" means, Jesus is like God. But if it were to say, "Jesus is the God." That would mean in the bible Jesus=God.

Anyway,quoting my post "But this also just makes me realize that "no human can know God." He is incomprehensible to us. So trying to define him is useless. So I gave up on it."

No matter what we try to decide about God on this earth, it is wrong. I will never get it right. Because in our current forms hear on earth. We cannot even begin to conceive who or what God is. So I don't try to any more. I have proof that he exists, I don't need anymore than that.

wanting more said...

I love this's been interesting, and it has made me think. The thing that kept going through my mind as I read all of these comments was intellect. I am not sure why this word kept going through my head other than knowing myself and my past, my intellect would try and try to disect things and make them logical. Sometimes I have to just agree to abide in the illogical.

It doesn't make any sense to me that someone could be raised to life from the dead, it doesn't make any sense to me that someone would give up their son for a bunch of humans who can't even keep their focus on God. Or...that a simple girl would be impregnanted by being overcome by the "spirit of God," to later birth that God's son.

I don't think I will ever understand this love, though it is the thing that keeps me going. I guess to add to your conversation, the thing that has kept me coming back to God, has kept me alive in this world is when I really believed in the fully God, fully man...that a love this amazing could actually be. That someone would not only die for me, but would come to live this life on earth that I live, to experience earthly reality as I do apart from His Father the way we are today (and all of the complexities arise here again, I know). I don't understand it, I just know something resonated in my spirit while pondering this love. Jesus is God, but is different than God. I guess to me, that is what is "faith" about faith. It's actually choosing to trust in what God is doing or saying to me. And, I also believe that the Holy Spirit (God, Jesus, or however you believe them to be intertwined) can speak to us things that are not specifically in the Bible, I believe in modern prophecy, and that one word can mean something completely different in the Spirit for me than it might to another. I'm terrible at Bible addresses, but I often find myself praying for a "peace that passes all understanding," and relying on the truth that "God's ways are higher than our own, and His thoughts are above our own." If I trust Him, then I don't worry so much about the technicalities of it all, though it does make for great conversation. Do you imagine that these are the kinds of things CS Lewis and Tolken used to talk about over a few bottles of wine? It is refreshing to get our God out of the box that we so often have Him in in our minds. I've enjoyed this!

jON said...

yes i do. tolkien loved to call lewis shallow in his writing.. :)

what i put earlier is simply some of the data i have collected for myself when i decided to begin doing so. i did this because i couldn't find any books on the subject actually willing to tackle the topic with any sort of genuine curiosity. and research in such a manner as willing to find and embrace whatever answer the data provided.

i don't know what i really think about the trinity right now. how it works or even if it does. i just know that once i started looking for them, the references that talk about a serparation bewtween the father and the son in terms of stature and "god-ness" far outweight the verses in which jesus=god. all through the book of revelation the pair are referred to as "him who sits on the throne and the lamb who was slain". father on the throne, son on the right. there is one reference, however, where jesus is referred to as the one on the throne.

i even started noticing paul separating them too, often, in his greetings. "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ." just one example.

if this is actually of interest and you so desire, i will most certainly provide all of my examples with verse references. not for heated debate, but i'll give them to you to look up in personal study. but if you guys don't care, i 've definitely got better things to do with my time.

wife & kids & whatnot...

Erin said...

I'm still following this - just haven't been back to comment again.

I guess for me, for most of my life I have been in Christian circles and have had to swallow the idea that faith shouldn't be logical because then it's no longer "faith".

But recently I've been more inclined to want it all to make sense - and that's kind of strange because I'm firmly in the "I don't know" camp for the most part. But I think what it really is is that it has to make sense to me, but for you, "I don't know". In other words, I no longer believe I have to have the answers for anyone else, but I do have to have answers that satisfy me. I got so sick of answers that defied logic and creationism, for instance.

I'm still not sure what I think of the trinity, but this conversation has provided some good thinking material.