Page 1 of 9 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 89

Thread: Question about the Trinity

  1. #1
    tWebber
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    218
    Amen (Given)
    0
    Amen (Received)
    30

    Question about the Trinity

    The doctrine of the Trinity says that there is one being called God who exists as three persons. In order to avoid a contradiction, the definition of the word "being" would have to be different from the definition of the word "person." What would be the difference between a being and a person?

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    2,054
    Amen (Given)
    1
    Amen (Received)
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxb View Post
    The doctrine of the Trinity says that there is one being called God who exists as three persons. In order to avoid a contradiction, the definition of the word "being" would have to be different from the definition of the word "person." What would be the difference between a being and a person?
    According to the Cappadocian fathers (Basil the Great), a divine person is a mode of being of the divine substance. The divine persons are diverse according to substantial relation, and origin, but united in substance with the one being. Each divine person has -

    1) the same divine being according to the mode of essence, but

    2) a diverse mode of divine being according to the mode of person.

    The diverse modes of being do not conclude to diverse species of being, like a cat and a dog that are really diverse substances. The diversity of modes of being within God is a real diversity, and in which includes the unity of being in both the three divine persons and the one divine essence.

    How is this so in God? We simply do not know. As the Cappadocian fathers taught, we know what God has revealed about Himself as a Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but we know God has not revealed the interior machinations of how the mystery exists within God. We can deduce that the Father generates the Son, but we don't really know what divine generation is, other than through comparison with the generation of living, created substances and the generation of ideas. So too, the divine spiration of the Holy Spirit is not understood in itself, with only some analogous comparison being made with an act of creatures love performed by the will, which has an inclination towards the thing loved.

    These creaturely examples give us only tenuous insight into how generation and spiration occur in God.

    JM

  3. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
  4. #3
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    49,803
    Amen (Given)
    4977
    Amen (Received)
    22077
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMartin View Post
    According to the Cappadocian fathers (Basil the Great), a divine person is a mode of being of the divine substance. The divine persons are diverse according to substantial relation, and origin, but united in substance with the one being. Each divine person has -

    1) the same divine being according to the mode of essence, but

    2) a diverse mode of divine being according to the mode of person.


    JM
    You realize that modalism is a heresy, right?

  5. Amen Christianbookworm amen'd this post.
  6. #4
    tWebber Christianbookworm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Northern Hemisphere
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Female
    Posts
    9,409
    Amen (Given)
    5583
    Amen (Received)
    1790
    Right! The Trinity is not like Bruce Wayne changing to be Batman! That would be stupid!
    If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

  7. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
  8. #5
    tWebber
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    218
    Amen (Given)
    0
    Amen (Received)
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMartin View Post
    According to the Cappadocian fathers (Basil the Great), a divine person is a mode of being of the divine substance. The divine persons are diverse according to substantial relation, and origin, but united in substance with the one being. Each divine person has -

    1) the same divine being according to the mode of essence, but

    2) a diverse mode of divine being according to the mode of person.

    The diverse modes of being do not conclude to diverse species of being, like a cat and a dog that are really diverse substances. The diversity of modes of being within God is a real diversity, and in which includes the unity of being in both the three divine persons and the one divine essence.

    How is this so in God? We simply do not know. As the Cappadocian fathers taught, we know what God has revealed about Himself as a Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but we know God has not revealed the interior machinations of how the mystery exists within God. We can deduce that the Father generates the Son, but we don't really know what divine generation is, other than through comparison with the generation of living, created substances and the generation of ideas. So too, the divine spiration of the Holy Spirit is not understood in itself, with only some analogous comparison being made with an act of creatures love performed by the will, which has an inclination towards the thing loved.

    These creaturely examples give us only tenuous insight into how generation and spiration occur in God.

    JM
    Are you saying that God is a single person who manifests Himself in different ways or forms?

  9. #6
    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Wayne Township, PA
    Faith
    Full Gospel Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    1,824
    Amen (Given)
    2369
    Amen (Received)
    692
    Ok, so does anyone have an answer to the OP that does not immediately garner the "heresy" label?
    Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

    Beige Nationalist.

    "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

  10. #7
    tWebber
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Faith
    Christian (PCUSA)
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    288
    Amen (Given)
    0
    Amen (Received)
    73
    Iíve just had a discussion about modalism in another context. The actual theology during the time when it was defined was a mess, so itís a bit hard to translate it into current terms. But as I understand it, modalism denies any real distinction between the persons. Indeed many modalists arenít trinitarian at all. If Schaff is right, for Sabellius, Father, Son and Holy Spirit were temporary, different ways in which God acted in the world at different times.

    The use of the word ďmodeĒ doesnít make someone a modalist, as long as itís being used to describe a personal distinction in God.

    The West (I canít speak for the east) sees God as primarily one. The persons represent relations, the Father as the source, the Son begotten and the Spirit proceeding. In all respects other than that, God is one. Aquinas defines the persons pretty precisely, I think, though the argument is a bit subtle. http://newadvent.org/summa/1029.htm.

    Here's what I understand him to be saying: Aquinas defines a person as ďa subsistent individual of a rational nature.Ē Hypostasis is more general, as it is not necessarily rational. With normal people, itís obvious that we are subsistent individuals, and one hopes most of us are rational. :) However the question is whether God is three subsistent individuals. That kind of sounds like tritheism.

    Aquinas, however, wants to use the classical definition of person, but he also wants to say that in the Trinity the persons are defined only by their relations. So the arguments is this: persons are by definition individuals. But what it means to be individual depends upon your nature. For humans it means having separate flesh, bones and soul, because thatís the nature of humans.

    But, he argues, God doesn't have flesh, so he is individuated in a different way. Distinction in God is only by relation. In particular, the Father is paternity, the Son is begotten from him and the Holy Spirit proceeds from him. [Iím extrapolating from what he actually said.] Therefore for the divine persons, distinction and individuality come from their relations to each other, the Father being source, etc.

    At least this is what I get from him, given that some of his metaphysical statements donít make much sense to me.

    Note that modern theology retains the Trinity, but typically not the definition in terms of person and substance. If Jesus really shows us God, then God is not just the Father, but the obedient Son. So I think Christianity has to have an idea of God that's not just a monad. Whether the Trinity is the best way of expressing that is a legitimate question, but something like it is going to need to be in our theology.
    Last edited by hedrick; 05-27-2016 at 04:54 PM.

  11. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    2,054
    Amen (Given)
    1
    Amen (Received)
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    You realize that modalism is a heresy, right?
    Modalism (Sebalianism) says there are three modes of the one person in God. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are said to be three modes of the one person, which is manifested in creation. At the end of creation, the three modes will return back to the one person again. The Cappadocian fathers spoke of three real persons within the Trinity distinct according to -

    1) origin.

    2) relation.

    3) and mode of being.

    The Cappadocians may have used the word, mode, but they did so in a sense different to that of modalism. Modalism is unitarian, whereas the Cappadocians were Trinitarian.

    JM

  12. #9
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    2,054
    Amen (Given)
    1
    Amen (Received)
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by NorrinRadd View Post
    Ok, so does anyone have an answer to the OP that does not immediately garner the "heresy" label?
    Question - What would be the difference between a being and a person?

    Answer - being in God is the divine nature. God is being. A person is understood diversely as -

    1) a hypostases or supposit of rational nature. A hypostases is a concrete thing, for example a a chair existing in the real is a concrete thing. Likewise a person is a concrete thing existing in the real, and therefore a hypostases. A person is also different from a chair for a person is rational, and thereby has the spiritual powers of intellect and will. A person is then a concrete thing, existing in the real, with an intellect and will.

    If this definition is transferred to the notion of a divine person, each person is then a concrete thing with an intellect and a will. Yet in God, there is only one intellect and one will, for God is not composed of parts, nor has accidental perfections. A divine person is also a hypostases or supposit as a concrete thing. Such means the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three, concrete things that exist in the real. Each concrete thing existing in the real is really distinct from the other. The Father is not the Son, nor the Holy Spirit and so on. The Father is then a concrete thing with an intellect and will. This definition does tell us something of the nature of a divine person, but the definition is lacking according to the manner in which 1) the Father's personhood is not that of the Son and Holy Spirit, and 2) the Father's intellect and will is identical to that of the Son and Holy Spirit. Likewise for the Son and Holy Spirit.

    2) that which is incommunicable. A person owns everything which it has. For example Peter owns his arms, legs, eye, heart, thoughts, willing and actions. Each of these parts can be communicated to another. Such as an idea. Peter can have an idea, which is known to him and is therefore Peter's idea. Peter can then also express the idea to another and thereby communicates the idea to another. Likewise Peter can give every other part of himself to another. For example, Peter can give all of his actions to another as to an employer.

    However, there is something Peter cannot communicate, or give to another. That which cannot be communicated to another is Peter's person. Peter is the name we give to the person, which is that that cannot be given to another. When Peter gives, it is Peter, and not another person that gives. Peter then cannot give something of himself that is Peter, for there is not person, prior to the person of Peter, by which Peter can be given to anther. Peter, then is the name given to the personhood of the rational substance, which is fundamentally incommunicable.

    When applied to God, the divine person is that which cannot be communicated to another within God. The Fathers, intellect, will, being, and life are all communicated to the Son and the Holy Spirit. Yet the Father as a person, cannot communicate His own distinct personhood to another divine person. For the Father is, and always will be a distinct, incommunicable being, other than the Son and the Holy Spirit. Like wise for the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    3) the first subject of attribution. The first subject is that subject which is before all others. A second subject is that which depends upon the first subject as a first. For example, my hand is the subject of my fingers. My fingers are dependent upon my hand as a third subject is dependent upon a second subject. The hand is then in turn dependent upon the first subject, which is the owner of all other subjects. The first subject, is the person that owns all the attributes of the man, called Peter. Peter has hands, legs and arms and habits, which are all owned by Peter. All these things are known as attributes. Therefore Peter, is the first subject of attribution, and is therefore the human person, who owns all of the attributes.

    When applied to God, the F/S/HS all own the divine attributes. The divine persons who own the divine attributes are the first subjects of attribution. Therefore in God, there are three, first subjects of attribution.

    4) Substantial relation. There is no examples in creation of a substantial relation. We do however have examples of accidental relation. Predicamental relation occurs when a substance has an accidental being towards another, whereby that relational (accidental) being is not the natural power of the substance. For example a Father has an accidental relation to the Son. The Father as man, is naturally a rational animal, and is not thereby naturally a Father. This means, man as the nature of man, is rational animal, and man as man is not from the nature of man, a father. In this way, fatherhood, motherhood, sonship and daughterhood are all accidental to the nature of man, and are thereby predicated of man. For example, Peter is a father, Jane is a mother. Both the predicates of father and mother indicate they are accidental to the nature of man.

    Transcendental relation occurs when there is a relation within a thing that is ordered to act towards another, from the nature of a thing. For example, the eye is an organ of sight and is thereby from the nature of eye, ordered towards another thing - illuminated colour. Similarly, the other senses are also ordered towards another, and thereby are transcendentally related to another, as to an object.

    In God there are no accidents. Therefore in God, there is neither predicamental, nor transcendental relation. All in God is substance. Yet in God it has been revealed that there is opposition and therefore relation. Each relation in God is not accidental, but substantial. Therefore in God, there are three persons, whereby each person is defined as a substantial relation. The F is a substantial relation to the Son. The Son is a substantial relation to the Father, etc. There are four relations in God of F->S, S->F, F&S->HS, and HS->F&S. Each relation, of F/S/HS indicates a divine person as a being towards another.

    Now as to the question of What would be the difference between a being and a person? The differences are according to manner of defining person within God.

    1) a hypostases or supposit of rational nature. A divine person is a hypostases. The divine being is the being had in common with the three divine hypostases.

    2) that which is incommunicable. A divine person is that which is incommunicable. The divine being is that being which is communicated to each of the divine persons.

    3) the first subject of attribution. A divine person is that first subject of the divine attributes. The divine being is owned by three divine, first subjects of the F/S and HS.

    4) Substantial relation. A divine person is a substantial being towards another. The divine being of each person is not had as a being towards another, but as being had is common. The divine person is then a mode of being, particular to each person, whereby the divine being had in common is being had as essence.

    JM

  13. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
  14. #10
    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    TN
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    1,242
    Amen (Given)
    400
    Amen (Received)
    129
    I think the original poster's definition is wrong, and God is not one "being."

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •