Byblos wrote:The fact that you do not understand is a measure of your own shortcomings rather than it being incomprehensible. It is rather obvious there are many who do understand it.
It's strange that you should say that, because the Athanasian Creed actually defines the trinity as incomprehensible, and theologians down through the ages have argued consistently that it is incomprehensible.
Fortigurn wrote:But the trinity is a concept inferred from Scripture, not taught explicitly by Scripture. This being the case, the fact that it is a logical contradiction is merely illustrative of its human origin.
We've gone down both the inference road (implicit vs. explicit) and the so-called logical contradiction road and in both cases we've clearly shown the exact opposite of your position. Unless you want to rehash those topics again I suggest that you not go there.
Well no, in actual fact it has been agreed that the trinity is a doctrine derived by the process of inference. This has been agreed here in this thread.
In addition to that, it is also agreed among many standard trinitarian theologians that the trinity contains a logical contradiction. This is something we are just supposed to overlook, apparently.
Prominent trinitarians have confessed the difficulty in reconciling this doctrine with both reason and the Scriptures:
'It may startle those who are but acquainted with the popular writing of this day, yet, I believe, the most accurate consideration of the subject will lead us to acquiesce in the statement as a general truth, that the doctrines in question (viz., the Trinity and the Incarnation) have never been learned merely from Scripture.
Surely the sacred volume was never intended, and is not adapted to teach us our creed; however certain it is that we can prove our creed from it, when it has once been taught us.
From the very first, the rule has been, as a matter of fact, for the Church to teach the truth, and then appeal to Scripture in vindication of its own teaching.'
Cardinal Newman, 'Arians of the Fourth Century', pages. 55-56
'It must be allowed that there is no such proposition as this, That one and the same God is three different persons, formally and in terms, to be found in the Sacred Writings, either of the Old or New Testaments; neither is it pretended that there is any word of the same signification or importance with the word Trinity, used in Scripture with relation to God.
Dr South, 'Consideration on the Trinity', page 38
'Our belief in the Trinity, the co-eternity of the Son of God with His Father, the proceeding of the Spirit from the Father and the Son, these with such other principal points are in Scripture nowhere to be found by express literal mention; only deduced they are out of Scripture by collection.'
Richard Hooker, 'Ecclesiastical Polity', Book i, section xiv
'I ask with all humbleness where the idea of Threeness is expressed in the New Testament with a doctrinal sense and force? Where is the Triune God held up to be worshipped, loved, and obeyed? Where is He preached and proclaimed in that threefold character?
We read 'God is one,' as too, 'I and the Father are one;' but nowhere do we read that Three are one, unless it be in a text long since known to be interpolated.
To me the whole matter is most painful and perplexing, and I should not even speak as I now do, did I not feel on the threshold of the grave, soon to appear before the Throne of all truth.
Certainly not in Scripture do we find the expression 'God the Son,' or 'God the Holy Ghost.'
Whenever I pronounce the name of God, simply, and first, I mean God the Father, and I cannot help meaning that, if I am meaning anything.'
Reverend T Mozeley, as quoted in 'Origin of Doctrine of Trinity, page 21
You can see this poor fellow vastly perplexed by an issue which he knew to be important to his salvation, and tortured on his deathbed by the incomprehensible teaching the church required him to accept, against the evidence of reason and the Bible.
'My belief in the Trinity is based on the authority of the Church: no other authority is sufficient.
I will now show from reason, that the Athanasian Creed and the Scripture are opposed to one another.
The doctrine of the Trinity is this: --There is one God in three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Father is God, the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost is God.
Mind, the Father is one person, the Son is another person, and the Holy Ghost is another person.
Now, according to every principle of mathematics, arithmetic, human wisdom, and policy, there must be three Gods; for no one could say that there are three persons and three Gods, and yet only one God.
The Athanasian Creed gives the universal opinion of the Church, that the Father is uncreated, the Son uncreated: and the Holy Ghost uncreated -- that they existed from all eternity.
Now, the Son was born of the Father; and, if born, must have been created. The Holy Ghost must also have been created, as he came from the Father and the Son. And, if so, there must have been a time when they did not exist. If they did not exist, they must have been created; and therefore to assert that they are eternal is absurd, and bangs nonsense.
Each has his distinct personality: each has his own essence. How, then, can they be one Eternal? How can they all be God? Absurd. The Athanasian Creed says, that they are three persons, and still only one God. Absurd; extravagant! This is rejected by Arians, Socinians, Presbyterians, and every man following human reason.
The Creed further says, that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God and of man, 'not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God.' Now, I ask you, Did the Divinity absorb the manhood? He could not be at the same time one person and two persons.
I have now proved the Trinity opposed to human reason.'
Reverend James Hughes, 'Bible Christian'
It should be pointed out that this 'Reverend' was a Roman Catholic priest who was not arguing against
the trinity, but was arguing that it proved that the Roman Catholic Church had the authority to teach doctrines which were against human reason, but which must be believed.
'We ought to believe, that there are three persons and one essence in the Deity; God the Father unbegotten, God the Son consubstantial with the Father; and God the Holy Spirit proceeding from both.
But, though you attentively peruse the whole of Scripture, you will never find these sublime and remarkable words, 'three persons,' 'one essence,' 'unbegotten,' 'consubstantial,' 'proceeding from both.''
Johannes Cochlaeus, 'According To Sandius', pages 4, 5
'It must be owned, that the doctrine of the Trinity as it is proposed in our Articles, our Liturgy, our Creeds, is not in so many words taught us in the Holy Scriptures.
What we profess in our prayers we nowhere read in Scripture, that the one God, the one Lord, is not one only person, but three persons in one substance.
There is no such text in Scripture as this, 'That the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.'
No one of the inspired writers hath expressly affirmed, that in the Trinity none is afore or after other, none is greater or less than another.'
Bishop Smalridge, 'Sermons', Number 33, page 348
'What shall we say when we consider, that a case of doctrine -- necessary doctrine, the very highest and most sacred -- may be produced where the argument lies as little on the surface of Scripture -- where the proof, though most conclusive is as indirect and circuitous as that for episcopacy, viz., the doctrine of the Trinity?
Where is this solemn and comfortable mystery formally stated in Scripture, as we find it in the Creeds? Why is it not? Let a man consider whether all the objections which he urges against Scripture argument for episcopacy may not be turned against his own belief in the Trinity.
A person who denies the apostolical succession of the ministry because it is not clearly taught in Scripture, ought, I conceive, if consistent, to deny the Godhead of the Holy Ghost, which is nowhere literally, taught , in Scripture.'
Tracts for the Times, volume i, Number 45; volume v, Number 85
Source, 'The Doctrine Of The Trinity', Percy White.