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Back to:  The Universe Reveals. . .    Trinity Pages 1, 2, 3, 5, 6

Answers to Arguments
About The Trinity I

 Answers to Arguments that the Doctrine 
 of the Trinity Did Not Exist Before the 

 Council of Nicea in 325 AD 

First, the term Trinity is mentioned throughout the writings of the church fathers in the second and third centuries over 106 times.87 In many of these cases they were explaining and defending the doctrine of the Trinity, in other cases mentioning it in passing to an audience they believed were already familiar with the subject. Names used were "Holy Trinity," "Blessed Trinity," "Perfect Trinity," "Eternal Trinity," "Sacred Trinity," and "most Divine Trinity." Other phrases used were "holy and consubstantial Trinity" and "consubstantial and indivisible Trinity." These statements indicate clearly that the church fathers both taught and upheld the doctrine of the Trinity long before the Nicene Council of 325 AD. Not everyone used the Term Trinity. Other terms used to describe God were Three-in-One, one Deity in three Persons, three Persons in one substance, etcetera. People who claim that the Trinity was invented at the Counsel of Nicea have never read the writings of the Church Fathers.

 Early Church Teaching  on the Trinity 

1.The Trinity was believed and taught by Jesus, the Apostles and Church from the beginning.

2.Ignatius (d. 117 AD), a disciple of the Apostle john, wrote a letter to Polycarp, another disciple of John, and referred to Jesus as God twelve times.88/139 He believed Jesus was both God and Man, instruction he received from the Apostle John, and also believed Jesus retains His humanity into eternity. He wrote about the crucifixion of Jesus:

"For He suffered all these things for our sakes (that we might be saved); and He suffered truly, as He also raised himself truly; not as certain unbelievers say, that he suffered in semblance .... for I know and believe that he was in the flesh even after the resurrection."88/157

3.Polycarp’s belief in the Trinity is reflected in the following prayer he wrote:

"I praise You, I bless You, I glorify You, through the eternal and heavenly High-Priest, Jesus Christ, Your beloved son, through whom with him and the Holy Spirit be glory both now and ever and for the ages to come. Amen."88/208

4.The secular Greek writer Lucian, in his book Philopatris, written in AD 160, confirmed the well known belief of the Christians in the Trinity: "The exalted God. . . Son of the Father, Spirit proceeding from the Father, One of Three, and Three of One."41

5.Trinity reaffirmed by the Church during a Church council held at Alexandria, Egypt in AD 317.

6.One of the earliest known manuscripts is known as the Shepherd of Hermas. He was a brother of Pius, the Bishop of Rome. Some scholars believe this is who the apostle Paul is talking about in Romans 16:14. Hermas wrote, "The Son of God is more ancient than any created thing, so that He was present in council with His Father at the creation."42

7.Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), a Church father in AD 150, wrote that the Trinity was proclaimed with great clarity from the earliest ages of the Church. He taught that all communications in the Old Testament of God with men was Jesus Christ speaking to them (The Word of Yehovah, Zechariah 12:1, John 1:1):

"Now that Christ is Lord, and substantially God the Son of God, and in times past appeared potentially as a man and an angel, and in fiery glory as He appeared in the bush. and at the judgment of Sodom, has been proved by many arguments."43

He taught that the early church knew they were saved by faith, not by works and that they learned this from Jesus Christ Himself. He also said that they worshiped Jesus. Only God is to be worshiped and adored. He also believed and taught that Jesus was Yehovah in the burning bush that Moses talked to. He clearly believed and taught that Jesus is Yehovah. He also made it clear that Jesus and the Father were two distinct persons and that Jesus was the Father’s only Son meaning of His essence, God Himself.83/105-106 He also taught that the Holy Spirit was a person of the Godhead distinct from the Father and the Son.

9.Irenaeus (120-203 AD) was a pupil of Polycarp and a strong defender of the Christian faith. In his book Against All Heresies he taught that God created all things, that there is only one God and that there is nothing above this one God.84/67-70 He taught that Jesus was God the Creator. He believes it was Jesus Abraham was talking to in Genesis 19:24, therefore he believed Jesus was Yehovah. He also believed that the Father and the Son were two different persons but that God is One.

10.The Council of Sirmium was held in A.D. 351 to deal with a number of heresies that were beginning to plague the Church. This council established a creed as a clear statement of the teaching of the Church regarding the Trinity. In one of its comments on this subject we find the following words: "If any one says that the Father did not speak the words, ‘Let us make man,’ to His Son, but that he spoke them to Himself, let him be anathema."44/743 "Anathema" meaning to be currsed and cut off from the church. This indicates strongly the Church held to the doctrine of the Trinity.

 Teachings on the Trinity in the Late 
 Second Third Centuries AD 

1.Athenagoras (late 2nd century), who was a professor of philosophy in Athens, originally sought to destroy Christianity. In order to be effective in this endeavor he studied the Scriptures. As a result of his study, he came to realize their truthfulness, became a Christian and defender of the faith.85/21 His greatest work is called A Plea for the Christians. In it he said the following about Christians that they are, "... men who speak of God the Father, and of God the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and who declare their power in union and their distinction in order."84/43 He taught that there are two kinds of existence: God and matter. The Son and Spirit and Father are one and one existence, and the other finite powers are angels and demons which are distinct from the Trinity. He taught that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one in essence, therefore the Son and the Holy Spirit are also uncreated beings just as the Father is. He stated clearly that Christians believe God is only One but that He is manifested in three Persons: the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

2.Tertullian (c.160-220 AD) addressed the Three Persons in One God issue. His greatest work is titled The Apology. In it he wrote:

"We have been taught that He [the Son] proceeds forth from God, and in that procession He is generated; so that He is the Son of God, and is called God from unity of substance with God."84/92-93

He used the words "nature," "essence," and "substance" to mean the same. He taught that the Father and the Son are equal in essence, but that the Son is second in position to the Father. We can be equal to someone in our humanity but below them in position. Therefore the Son can be second in position to the Father while being equal to Him in His essential nature as God. In his work titled Against Praceas he stated clearly that God is One

in essence but Three Persons.85/396 A "Person" meaning self-conscious, capable of independent thought, will and interaction with others.

3.Origen (c. 185-235) taught what is known as the "Rule of Faith" which teaches the essential doctrines of Christianity. He taught concerning God that He is One, who created and set in order all things, that when there was nothing, He spoke the universe into existence. Concerning Jesus the second Rule of Faith taught that He was God from eternity who became man in time but remained God. This means that Jesus is now fully God and fully man and will continue to be so throughout eternity. Further this second rule teaches that Jesus is one person with two full and complete natures: humanity and Deity. The Rule of Faith teaches that the Holy Spirit is united in honor and dignity with the Father and the Son.86/199 Only a Person can be honored, so the Holy Spirit is not a force from God, but one of the three Persons in the One essence of God.

4.Dionysius of Alexandria (c. 190-264 AD) in a letter argued against three different heresies being taught on the Godhead by the mid-third century. The first heresy was "tritheist." This was the teaching that the Father and Son and Holy Spirit were three distinct gods. He wrote, "I may reasonably turn to those who divide and cut to pieces and DESTROY that most sacred teaching of the Church of God, THE DIVINE MONARCHY, making it as it were three powers and three separate substances and godheads three."

The second heresy he addressed was "modalism" which taught that the Father, Son, and Spirit are one and the same Person. He wrote about Sabellius, a primary opponent of this teaching, "He blasphemously says that the Son is the Father, and the Father is the Son."

The third heresy he addresses is known as Arianism after Arius who was its chief supporter. Arianism taught that Jesus was created. Dionysius said in response that while the Scriptures teach Jesus was generated from the Father, no where does it teach He had a beginning or came into being. Dionysius wrote:

"Neither then may we divide into three godheads the Wonderful and Divine Monad: nor disparage with the name of ‘work’ the dignity and exceeding majesty of the Lord; but we must believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ His Son, and in the Holy Spirit, and hold that to the God of the universe the Word is united.... For thus both the Divine and the the holy preaching of the Monarchy will be preserved."86/252-253

 Man Is  Spirit & Soul & Body 

1 Thessalonians 5:23 "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit4151 (pneu'ma) and soul5590 (yuchv) and body4983 (sw'ma) be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Matthew 28:18-20 "GO THEREFORE and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’"

Man is not a soul or a body or a spirit, but is a spirit and soul and body. The three make the one us. In the same way God is not a Father or a Son or a Holy Spirit, but Father and Son and Holy Spirit. The three make the One God.

Hebrews 10:12, & 15 "But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God. . . . And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us"

Here again we see the Trinity involved in Redemption.

H.A. Ironside wrote in his book The Holy Trinity:

"The doctrine of the Trinity is denied by various groups, from different standpoints. Some have insisted from olden days that God is simply a Trinity in manifestation. In the Old Testament they say it was the manifestation of God as the Father; when Christ was here it was the manifestation of God as the Son; now it is the manifestation of God as the Holy Spirit. But that is absolutely contrary to the Word itself. It was the Lord Jesus Christ who came to reveal the Father, and while here on earth spoke of coming from My Father and going to My Father and He speaks of sending the Holy Spirit; it was the Holy Spirit who witnessed to the glorified, finished work of Christ the Son. Scripture is very careful in the use of pronouns."

John 15:26 "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness of Me." (see also John 14:16-17)

Jesus made plain that God is Father and Son and Holy Spirit.

1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one in agreement." (1 John 5:7)

John Wesley wrote in a sermon on the Trinity concerning this passage:

"I would insist only on the direct words, unexplained, just as they lie in the text: ‘There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: And these three are one.’ 5. ‘As they lie in the text :’ — but here arises a question: Is that text genuine? Was it originally written by the Apostle, or inserted in later ages? Many have doubted of this; and, in particular, the great light of the Christian church, lately removed to the Church above, Bengelius, — the most pious, the most judicious, and the most laborious, of all the modern Commentators on the New Testament. For some time he stood in doubt of its authenticity, because it is wanting in many of the ancient copies. But his doubts

were removed by three considerations: (1.) That though it is wanting in many copies, yet it is found in more; and those copies of the greatest authority: — ( 2.) That it is cited by a whole gain of ancient writers, from the time of St. John to that of Constantine. This argument is conclusive: For they could not have cited it, had it not been in the sacred canon: — (3.) That we can easily account for its being, after that time, wanting in many copies, when we remember that Constantine's successor was a zealous Arian, who used every means to promote his bad cause, to spread Arianism throughout the empire; in particular the erasing this text out of as many copies as fell into his hands. And he so far prevailed, that the age in which he lived is commonly styled, Seculum Aranium, — "the Arian age;" there being then only one eminent man who opposed him at the peril of his life. So that it was a proverb, Athanasius contra mundum: ‘Athanasius against the world.’"56

In order for Jesus to be able to have relationship with all Christians, He would have to be infinite: fully God.

In order for the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers, He would have to be infinite: fully God.

God the Father sent Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit: God the Father is God.

Trinity Pages 1, 2, 3, 5, 6

Next:  Answers to Arguments About the Trinity II
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