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Augustine and His Trinity

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by freeatlast, May 23, 2012.

  1. freeatlast

    freeatlast New Member

    Mar 1, 2004
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    While I do not agree with what this person is saying how would you answer him?

    Modalistic Monarchianism and Tritheism

    Unwittingly Embracing Two Contradictory Propositions Without Apology or Explanation

    Introducing the indictment
    By: Dan Mages

    The problem seems clear enough. The orthodox speak of three different entities, three separate beings, Augustine uses the word persons, to describe the three. Yet does not the language he uses communicate three gods just as clearly as if he would have said, Zeus spoke from heaven, Hercules died and rose again, and Hermes came in the form of a dove?

    When these names of Greek mythology figures are substituted for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, it becomes all the more clear that Augustine is thinking of three gods, but refuses to admit it because this would directly contradict Scripture’s monotheistic affirmation as found in the Shema.

    In fact, this is his frank acknowledgment,
    …why do we not also say three Gods?…Is it because Scripture does not say three Gods? But neither do we find that Scripture anywhere mentions three persons…it was lawful through the mere necessity of speaking and reasoning to say three persons, not because Scripture says it, but because Scripture does not contradict it: whereas, if we were to say three Gods, Scripture would contradict it, which says, ‘Hear, O Israel; the Lord thy God is one God?’

    It is supremely unfortunate that Augustine felt the need to escape the logical implications of his own viewpoint and embrace a word just so that he could say something instead of nothing. Augustine candidly admits:

    Yet, when the question is asked, What three? human language labors altogether under great poverty of speech. The answer, however, is given, three ‘persons,’ not that it might be [completely] spoken, but that it might not be left [wholly] unspoken.

    At this point, I would think that as a scholar and a linguist, Augustine would have just acknowledged that he found three God’s in Scripture instead of playing word games and language tricks. His inexplicable proposition that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, yet there are not three Gods, unmistakably defies the laws of logic. There are plainly three Gods if this is the case, regardless if Augustine claims the contrary.

    Millard Erickson quotes Christian logician Steven Davis who summarizes the serious difficulty:

    1. The Father is God.

    2. The Son is God.

    3. The Holy Spirit is God.

    4. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit
    is not the Father.

    5. There is one and only one God.
    The problem is that these statements seem to constitute an inconsistent set, that is, a set of statements not all of whose members can be true. This can be shown easily,
    Since, 1,2,3 and 5 entail:

    6. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one thing.
    And 4 entails:

    7.The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are separate things.

    Since 6 and 7 are obviously inconsistent, 1-5 must be an inconsistent set of statements, in which case they cannot rationally be believed. If Christians are required to affirm both 6 and 7, as it seems they must, it then appears to be the case that they are obliged to contradict themselves…The truth of one premise, namely, ‘God is one,’ seems to imply the falsity of the other, namely, ‘God is three.’ How to resolve this tension has been the logical problem of the Trinity.’10

    Phillip Carey notes, the doctrine literally does not add up. Nicene doctrine names three distinct individual beings as God and then says they don’t add up to three Gods. Hence Nicene theologians must say God is beyond counting, beyond number – and thus beyond rational understanding. This was, however, a very common thing to say about God in the Platonist philosophical tradition.11

    Driven into an inexplicable linguistic safe haven, Augustine seems to stretch the rules of language12 in order to not concede to his theological contemporaries, whom he seems to demonize by calling them heretics. “What therefore remains, except that we confess that these terms sprang from the necessity of speaking, when copious reasoning was required.

    The above is only a small portion of this article that describes how Augustine developed the Trinity. Though lengthy, it serves to clearly reveal why the Trinity can never be proven by the Scriptures and is a recommended source for everyone to read, for a better understanding of how it came about, at the following:



    God is Spirit: Jn.1:18; Rom.1:20; 2 Cor.3:17-18; Col.1:15; 1 Tim.1:17; 1 Tim.6:16 Heb.11.27 and 1 Jn.4:12.

    God is Holy: Lev.11:44-45; Lev.19:2; Isa.43:3; Jos.24:19; 1 Sam.2:2; Job 6:10; Ps.99:3 and 1 Pet.1:15-16.

    According to the above, there is no option to the Scriptural fact God is the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit is also the Father of Jesus according to Mt.1:20 and Lk.1:35.

    The origin of the pre-incarnate spirit of the person who later became Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, was brought forth by the Father [Who is the Holy Spirit according to the Scriptures] in Pr.8:22-36, before the world began, the firstborn over all creation, according to Col.1:15. Fulfilling Ps.2:7 and Acts 13:33. Therefore, as the above Scriptures prove, there is no option to the fact the Holy Spirit is the Father of Jesus!

    Trinitarians declare God, whom the Scriptures reveal to be the Holy Spirit and the Father, to be two separate persons. Yet Insist Jesus and the Son are one person ! Since God is the Holy Spirit and Father [His title], are one and the same person, trinitarians insist are two, why don't trinitarians declare Jesus and the Son [His title] in the same way, as a fourth person of their formula, instead of three and have a Quad instead of a Tri Godhead? There is no way for any logical explanation of trinitatianism.
  2. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 9, 2004
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    It's curious that he objects to Augustine's view of the Trinity without citing anything Augustine wrote about the Trinity. That would be the starting point.

    Also, this guy thinks too much of himself, I'd point out that metaphysical essence is different from ontological form. There is a way that orthodox Christianity has understood the Trinity apart from the author's mischaracterization of it.

    The orthodox conception of the Trinity is that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal in essence and divinity yet unique in Person. They exist co-substantially in the Godhead as one unity yet are expressed individually with their interactions with humanity. While there is willing subordination within the Trinity it is not ontological subordination. Finally, the unity of essence in the Godhead is not corrupted or divided in the incarnation but is extended into humanity through God the Som who is Jesus Christ...not who partners with Jesus Christ.

    I don't think this guy has actually read Augustine's On the Trinity.
  3. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Mar 19, 2012
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    you are using "scholarship" to try to disprove the truth of the truine Gopd, but fail!

    augustine would have and did see God as being ONE God, as per the OT revelation, but also that Jesus and Holy Spirt as 2 others who were also God!

    You also err in saying the HS is the father, you have better "evidence" when paul said the Spirit of the Lord is Christ, so why Jesus is also the Holy Spirit?


    Bible VERY explicit in this, that Jesus called his father 'GOD", while he called the Son "GOD", and Jesus said thae HS was SAME type as he is, GOD!
  4. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 9, 2004
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    Who are you talking to and what are you saying JesusFan?