Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Here....Chew on the Trinity for a while

Our Sunday School class began to study the Trinity last week. Father. Son. and Holy Spirit. Three in One. Simple enough. I wondered how we were going to talk about it for more than one week.

I forgot where I go to church now.

In a place that puts emphasis on the mind, my fellow classmates poked more holes and asked more questions than I knew what to do with. My view of the world tends to be pretty black and white. Things either are or they aren't. I either can or I can't. Gray area messes me up. I'm a rules follower and if you tell me how to do it, I will get it done. I don't break rules and I don't generally test boundaries. (though my parents might disagree with that last statement.) Likewise, when I learn Biblical truth, it becomes set in my mind. It just IS because God said so. Or because Scripture makes it clear. It doesn't really occur to me to poke holes in major points of doctrine and tradition.

(Minor ones? YES. Denominational ones? YES. Can we say slain in the spirit?...)

After learning about the three aspects of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) this week, we jumped into this crazy theological discussion of trying determine the roles of each and how that all ties back to one God. One man in our class believes that Jesus = God, but that Jesus was NOT God. He sees those two things as different and is pretty confident. He had some reasons, most notably that Jesus prays to the Father throughout his time on earth and if he was God, why would he pray to himself like he does. Now I know that Jesus IS God, but I'm not sure I could prove it, which is what I would want to be able to do before I started into the discussion. Next week, our class will center around that very issue, though. That Jesus IS God.

Here are a few of the other questions that came up during the discussion:
What does God look like?
How can Jesus sit at the right hand of the Father if He and the Father are One?
Is the Trinity more about the relationship between the Three and less about their roles?
How do we explain fully human and fully divine at the same time?

Obviously some of these don't have simple answers. I still wonder how we're going to talk about this for more than one more week, but I'm glad we'll be tackling the Jesus = God issue. I love that our class is a place of such deep discussion and learning. I also think it's unique in that people feel so comfortable to question things that are accepted Christian doctrine. (The Trinity isn't the only topic I've heard questioned.) But I am most grateful for a teacher who cultivates such an environment and then teaches the Truth in a non-judgemental, yet matter-of-fact way. No one feels stupid for the questions they raise, yet she doesn't allow misinformation to linger. Each week when class ends, I wish we had another 30 minutes to keep talking. Most Sundays, Michael and I talk about our Sunday School lesson all the way home from church!

Now you can wrestle these questions over in your mind too. (Aren't you glad I shared?) If you have any thoughts or anything that might be helpful, please leave it in the comments. It's really not as simple as it appears. The more you think, the more confusing it becomes!


Michelle in Mx said...

I LOVED that you shared, and yes, the questions will be good to mull over for quite some time. I'm all a-tingle now. So as good stuff comes up please share!

Adam Pastor said...


My suggestion is that you take a couple of hours to view this video:

The Human Jesus

Hopefully, it will aid you in giving you some scriptural pointers of what the Scriptures actually say concerning the
ONE GOD, the Father; his Son, the man Christ Jesus; and the spirit of GOD through which GOD and His Son operate thru the church.

You say, "Now I know that Jesus IS God, but I'm not sure I could prove it".

There is good reason for that!
Because Jesus Christ never ever said he was Almighty GOD!!
Rather, Jesus called His Father,
the only true GOD
[John 17.3]
Paul said the same thing i.e.
(1 Cor 8:4) ... that there is none other God but one.
(1 Cor 8:6) But to us there is but one God, the Father, ...

Both Christ and Paul (as well as the rest of the apostles & disciples) taught that solely the Father is the ONE GOD.
In Mark 12:28-32, Jesus in unison with the Jewish scribe, quoted the Shema of Deut 6.4,
(Mark 12:29) And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:;
confirming the fact that GOD is solely ONE!!
Listen to the scribe's response:
(Mark 12:32) And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
It ought to be obvious from this response that
a) Neither Jesus nor the scribe were trinitarians
(In fact, no Jew of Biblical times were) &
b) Obviously, the scribe did not believe that the man who just answered was Almighty GOD.

So ...
1) GOD is invisible.
No one has seen GOD at anytime.
[John 1.18, 1 John 4.12, 1 Tim 6.16]
(Yet thousands saw Jesus!)

2) Jesus and the Father are one in unity and purpose; in fact, Jesus prayed that the church would be one; even as we are one;
[John 17.11,21-23]
Everything Jesus has is what the Father has given him.
And when Jesus hands over the Kingdom to the Father, Jesus himself will be subject to GOD.

(1 Cor 15:27-28) For he [GOD] hath put all things under his [the Son's] feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he [GOD] is excepted [not included], which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [GOD] that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

3) There is no Three in the relationship;
There is the Father and the Son.
Hence, the greetings & salutations at the beginning of the epistles, always speak of the ONE GOD, the Father; and his human, glorified Son e.g. Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
[2 Tim 1.2]
Hence Two not Three!!

4) Jesus is fully human!
A man! Now glorified & immortalized, at the right hand of the ONE GOD. He is the first man who has been raised from the dead, and given immortality; hence,
the firstborn from the dead

(1 Tim 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Please watch the video.
Tell me what you think!

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor
The Human Jesus