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    Essence – The definition which makes a thing what it is. The essence is not something physical (like vanilla essence) but rather the minimal definition of a thing. So the essence of a cage would be something like ‘Is composed of bars’ and ‘is enclosed’. If an object has these properties, then it has the essence of a cage and we rightly refer to it as a cage without confusion. Having said this, the essence of a thing can be complex. What is the essence of ‘dog’? A precise definition of the canine essence would involve complicated calculations of genetic science. The essence of a thing can also be vague. What is the essence of a pile? There is no discrete number of grains that divide pile from non-pile. Since X+1 and X-1 number of grains all look the same, no definition can be made at exactly X. Despite these problems, the essence may be briefly described as the statement of the definition of a thing.

    Nature – This is a concept related to essence. The nature of a thing is more specifically the essence as seen as the source of action. The essence of the human being might be the body and soul but its nature is reason and sensation.

    Accident – the accidents are the properties of a thing which are extrinsic to its essence. Some things are necessarily accidents, such as height and breadth which only exist when instantiated within a particular thing that has spatial dimensions (for example, a building or person.) Other things are relatively accidental – for example, my skin colour, my hair colour, my arms and legs, are all accidents relative to me because they are not my essence; they are not what define me.

    Substance – the substance is sometimes used interchangeably with essence. However, it generally refers more specifically to the individual instantiation of the essence. So the essence of a cage is ‘is composed of bars and is enclosed’ but the substance would be the actual being which is the cage. The substance is defined by its opposition to the accidents. The accidents can be changed without any change to substance. For example, wood can be broken, glazed and painted but will remain wood. The accidents have changed (size and colour) but not the substance (it is still wood.) Consequently the changes are accidental. However, if the wood is burnt to ash, it no longer constitutes wood. The accidents therefore are the properties which can undergo modification without change to the substance of the thing; the substance however is the being of a thing which cannot undergo modification without becoming another substance. In short, the substance refers to the being itself without respect to its accidents. The divine substance refers to the divine being in its unity.

    Operation – the operation (deriving from the Latin ‘operari’ meaning ‘to work&rsquo😉 is the activity of the substance. The operation might be accidental (for example, my typing at this moment is only accidental to me; it is not my substance and I remain myself when I cease typing). However, operations can be the substance of a thing (for example, calculation, an operation, is definitely the substance of mathematics.)

    Relation – Relation is generally the property of a thing in respect to another. A man is in essence a human being who is male, that is, generally having or having had male genitalia or hormonal regularities of a male (again, the essence of a thing can be complex and vague; in the case of gender, some would dispute whether any essence is possible.) In relation, however, a man can be a father or a brother. A relation can be spatial (my relation to my desk) or temporal (my relation to my past) or logical (the relation between antecedent and consequent). A relation always requires plurality in some kind. A father is only a father by begetting a son. A relation can be accidental or substantial. In the case of a man, the relation of paternity is accidental (a man is not inherently a father); in the case of creation, the relation of creator-creation is substantial because to be creation requires a creator.

    Person – personhood is probably the hardest to define. In discussing the Trinity, all I am concerned to do is to distinguish it from being and substance so that when we say that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons we are not committed to polytheism or that there are three beings. In fact, many have already distinguished being from personhood on this forum. For example, when discussing the ethics of abortion and euthanasia, some argued that while an embryo and comatose patient in a vegetative state are human beings, they are not human persons and consequently cannot be accorded the same rights. Whether this is right or not, it shows that many people already can understand that being and person are different. Using the terminology above, a more precise definition of personhood is a ‘subsistent relation’. The person is not the substance itself or another substance or an accident superimposed on the substance; it is the substance as it moves beyond itself and relates to others, knows and is known, loves and is loved. Traditionally, the difference between substance and person has been defined by ‘what’ and ‘who’. When we ask ‘What is that?’, we are asking for a statement of its substance and the answer might be ‘a man’; when we ask ‘who?’ however we are asking for a statement of relation, or a name that distinguishes him from others, and the answer might be ‘the man next to that guy’ or ‘the son of the butcher’ or ‘Jim’; the person emerges as the movement of the substance towards another, as Pope Benedict XVI explained, as Cardinal Ratzinger, ‘The person is the event or being of relativity.’ It is inherently communal. It presupposes agency, freedom, intelligence and individuality of the being. So the person simply is the subsistent relation.
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    The application of these to the Incarnation and Trinity:

    The incarnation – since the doctrine of the incarnation arose historically before the doctrine of the Trinity, I will start with this. The doctrine of the incarnation states that Jesus Christ is both man and God, human and divine. Since to say something is a man means to say that thing has the essence of a man, then Jesus must have the human essence, and since to say that something is God is to say that thing has the divine essence, then Jesus must have the divine essence. Consequently, the doctrine of the incarnation means that Jesus has two essences, two natures and two substances – one human, the other divine. What is true of God is true of Jesus and what is true of human nature is true of Jesus. Jesus has a human nature, a body and soul; Jesus also has the divine nature, the divine spirit. The incarnation further means that Jesus has two minds, one human and one divine, and two wills, one human and one divine (although always in perfect conformity.) However, the doctrine of the incarnation teaches that there is only one person. There is one relation, Jesus the son, teaching the gospel, forgiving sins, redeeming mankind. There is only one person because the two substances work as one; they talk as one; they perform miracles as one and they die as one.

    The Trinity – the doctrine of the Trinity is the obverse side of the Incarnation. The Incarnation posits two natures in one person whereas the Trinity posits three persons in one nature. Historically, the Trinity emerged between two extremes: Arianism which said that the three persons were three beings each divine (resulting in a kind of polytheism or tritheism) and Sabellianism which said that the three persons were modes or manifestations of one God (resulting in modalism.) The doctrine of the Trinity seeks to find a midway between the two. According to the Trinity, there is only one being: God. There is only one substance and nature, one mind and one will. Furthermore, God is simple. This means that there are no accidents in God (nothing which can be changed without a change to His substance) and consequently whatever is true of God is God’s essence. Thus, God’s actions are also God’s essence. When I type, it is a mere accident to my nature (typing does not define me.) But for God, being simple, what God does God is. So if God loves, He is also His loving. Loving must be His substance if He is truly simple. For this reason, especially in Catholic circles, God has been described as ‘pure action’ as well as pure being. In God, there is no difference between being and action.

    It is from this that the idea of personhood develops. The Father is pre-eminently God. The Father is the source of existence and the first person of the Trinity. He is pure spirit. His first action, however, is to know and consequently know Himself. This act of knowing however cannot be accidental to His substance (because in God, there are no accidents.) In this act of self-knowing, he brought forward the idea and image of Himself – and being an act of God which cannot be an accident, it was God’s substance too. This act, while not changing the substance, introduces a relation (the Father and the Father’s self-knowing.) Consequently, according to the definitions above, there are two persons – the Father and the image and self-knowing of the Father. Since the image is generated, begotten not created, it is called the Son (the name of this relation is technically metaphorical.) Furthermore, being perfect, the Father loved the image of Himself, the Son. This is not a romantic love but an intellectual love, an evaluation of the essential good of Himself. Thus, a new act arose, the act of love, which proceeded from the Father and the Son. It too, not being an accident, was of the same being and substance but different relation. Consequently, it too was a person. The three persons of the Trinity therefore are the internal relations of action within the one being. They are all one substance and being but, being different in relation, are called distinct persons. It is important to distinguish these persons from entities; they are internal to the one entity, God, and they arise from the actions within the one substance and they are pure relations. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit may be equally known as Paternity, Filiation and Spiration.

    The Perichoresis / circuminsession – Since the persons of the Trinity are of the same being, distinct only in relation, there is never a moment where the Father is and the Son and Holy Spirit is not. To be one person is to be God (because being that person is the act and substance of God, not an accident), however, while the person is distinct from the others in relation, he is not in being. The consequence of this is the doctrine of the Perichoresis or circumincession (or compenetrability) which says that the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son.’ Each person dwells in the other (this both has philosophical grounds and scriptural grounds, as Jesus says ‘I am in the Father and the Father in me.&rsquo😉

    Immanent versus economic Trinity – This explanation of the Trinity is described as ‘Immanent’ (‘immanent’ coming from the Latin ‘immanere’ meaning ‘to remain inside&rsquo😉. It describes the Trinity only in terms of internal relations, not external relations. This is how it differs from Modalism or Sabellianism which understands the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as manifestations of God to the outside world (the Father as God-creating, the Son as God-begotten-in-Mary and the Holy Spirit as God-dwelling-in-creation.) This immanent explanation however overlooks how the Trinity is involved in the economy of salvation (how Jesus becomes incarnate and uniquely performs the redemption; how the Holy Spirit uniquely descends on the apostles and teaches and comforts them.) The doctrine of the Trinity would stress both the economy and the immanence of the three persons (that is, that the persons are not just God’s external manifestations in the history of salvation, which would be Seballianism, but internal relations within God.) Hence, it is not wrong to describe the persons as manifestations of God, so long as it is also said that they really correspond to the inner life of God. It is this last point which is most controversial within Trinitarian theology: the extent to which the internal relations of God act independently within creation -- which I myself cannot explain.
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    29 Dec '09 00:43
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    The application of these to the Incarnation and Trinity:

    The incarnation – since the doctrine of the incarnation arose historically before the doctrine of the Trinity, I will start with this. The doctrine of the incarnation states that Jesus Christ is both man and God, human and divine. Since to say something is a man means to say that thing has the esse ...[text shortened]... he internal relations of God act independently within creation -- which I myself cannot explain.
    A few simple questions that I have asked a few times and not gotten an answer to is this.

    Why does the Bible use the terms Father - Son?
    Or the names Jehovah - Jesus?
    God Almighty - God?
    Why does the Holy Spirit not have a name and some other term applied to it like Son or God or nephew or whatever?

    The point of these seemingly simple questions is why are these terms used at all in the Bible? Would not God the author of the Bible forsee the confusion that these terms would cause and the divisions that would happen?

    For example God told someone in the beginning; "Let's make man in our image." As far as I know there is nothing on this earth that is some type of a 3 in 1 being?

    If it is true that there is a three in one God and all knowing and all powerful then it seems there would be some explination in the bible to explain to humans what our God really is?
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    29 Dec '09 02:24
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    The application of these to the Incarnation and Trinity:

    The incarnation – since the doctrine of the incarnation arose historically before the doctrine of the Trinity, I will start with this. The doctrine of the incarnation states that Jesus Christ is both man and God, human and divine. Since to say something is a man means to say that thing has the esse ...[text shortened]... he internal relations of God act independently within creation -- which I myself cannot explain.
    Very good.

    Worth reading more than once.
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    29 Dec '09 12:091 edit
    Originally posted by galveston75
    A few simple questions that I have asked a few times and not gotten an answer to is this.

    Why does the Bible use the terms Father - Son?
    Or the names Jehovah - Jesus?
    God Almighty - God?
    Why does the Holy Spirit not have a name and some other term applied to it like Son or God or nephew or whatever?

    The point of these seemingly simple ques ems there would be some explination in the bible to explain to humans what our God really is?
    Why does the Bible use the terms Father - Son?

    Because these denote relations within God: the Father as begetter and Son as begotten; the Father as the eminent source of existence and the Son as the self-knowledge, word and image of the Father. These terms are justified because they refer to real relations in God.

    Or the names Jehovah - Jesus?

    Because the first is the name of the person as revealed in history. The Son incarnate is Jesus, not as another person but as the same person under another name. This name enables us to view the inward person of the Trinity (the Son as the begotten image and word) in a more outward idea (the Son as Jesus, teaching us, forgiving us and redeeming us.) Jehovah however is the name of God, not as a single person, but as the substance and being itself. The distinction is essentially between the name of the person and name of the being; the difference is not in person (like Father-Son) or in being (which would be polytheism.)

    Why does the Holy Spirit not have a name and some other term applied to it like Son or God or nephew or whatever?

    Firstly, these titles are only metaphorical. The Father is Father by an act of begetting, of knowing himself and producing his image and word which is analogous to a father begetting a son. He is not Father in the same way as a father normally is by an act of procreation but by an analogous act of begetting His own image. Secondly, these names refer also to relations, the Father as paternity, the Son as filiation, and the Holy Spirit as spiration. Nephew could not be a proper relation within God (it would suggest new relations, like another Father). The Holy Spirit is called so because the name best captures the relation between the Father and Son and the act of love that proceeds from them. It is like the breath between them (hence, it is called by the relation of 'spiration', literally meaning 'breathing'.)

    Furthermore, the Holy Spirit does have other names. He is Paraclete, Helper and Counselor (John 14:26). The other persons also have other names: the Son is also known as the Logos and Word (John 1:1) and also interchangeably as Redeemer, Savior and Mediator. These names however do not indicate the distinctive relation of each person within the Trinity; they indicate the relations of the persons to us.

    The point of these seemingly simple questions is why are these terms used at all in the Bible? Would not God the author of the Bible forsee the confusion that these terms would cause and the divisions that would happen?

    I don't think God ever wanted us to be philosophers. He is not interested in our ability to verbalise the difference between substance and person; rather, God wants us know Him and love Him. Consequently, He shows us each person, especially Christ, and welcomes us into a relationship with Him. It is not our ability to explain this doctrine that is so important but our ability to love Jesus Christ as God. So if there is confusion about doctrine and debate about the significance of personhood, it hardly matters if everyone is, as St. Paul says, coming to the Father, by the Son, through the Holy Spirit.

    For example God told someone in the beginning; "Let's make man in our image." As far as I know there is nothing on this earth that is some type of a 3 in 1 being?

    The Trinity stands out eminently above all else; it is distinct. Only God is and can be a Trinity -- and in claiming that man is the image of God, the scripture writers did not mean to weaken God's distinctiveness from creation. Hence, we should not expect that there be other trinities. God really is distinctive and to expect exact replicas of Him is blasphemous because it confuses Him with His creation. By 'image' it has traditionally been understood to mean that mankind shares in some of the divine attributes; man has reason and intellect, power and creativity, truth and beauty -- not that he should be a being with three persons.

    Some would however say that other trinities really do exist in creation. The most frequent example is that of the mind. The mind has memory, understanding and will. Memory generates understanding (because understanding simply is the ordering and categorising of past information stored in memory) and from memory and understanding, the will comes forth (because the will simply is a decision based on understanding what is the case).This inter-psychic analogy very closely resembles the Trinity I have described and is often used as the classical example of the Trinity imaged in man. It is important to note that it is not a true Trinity because memory, understanding and will are not persons in the human mind because, unlike in God, they are imperfect, inconstant, repeatable, unindividuated and non-integral.

    If it is true that there is a three in one God and all knowing and all powerful then it seems there would be some explination in the bible to explain to humans what our God really is?

    This is a complex question and really does divide Christians between Catholic-Orthodox and Protestant. I do not see the Bible as the divine command-code, as the definitive statement of doctrine; I see it primarily as a composition of books and stories narrating God's gradual revelation of Himself to mankind and His salvific work through history. Doctrine is not in the bible but only derives from the bible as people reflect on and interpret it. I do not expect the Bible to explain the Trinity to me, rather I expect it to show it, out of which I can extract the Trinity. So if God wanted us to know the Trinity, all he needed do is give the essential picture in the Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to guide men to interpret it properly to develop the Trinitarian formula.
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    29 Dec '09 12:342 edits
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    [b] Why does the Bible use the terms Father - Son?

    Because these denote relations within God: the Father as begetter and Son as begotten; the Father as the eminent source of existence and the Son as the self-knowledge, word and image of the Father. These terms are justified because they refer to real relations in God.

    Or the names Jehovah - oly Spirit to guide men to interpret it properly to develop the Trinitarian formula.[/b]
    Why does the Holy Spirit not have a name and some other term applied to it like Son or God or nephew or whatever?

    Actually, St Thomas Aquinas agrees with you that the Holy Spirit does not have a proper name, while the Father and Son do. His explanation is that this is because the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and Son has no similarity in the world (whereas the Father begetting His image clearly parallels a father and son relationships.)

    While there are two processions in God (Son and Holy Spirit), one of these, the procession of love, has no proper name of its own, as stated above (27, 4, ad 3). Hence the relations also which follow from this procession are without a name (28, 4): for which reason the Person proceeding in that manner has not a proper name. But as some names are accommodated by the usual mode of speaking to signify the aforesaid relations, as when we use the names of procession and spiration, which in the strict sense more fittingly signify the notionalacts than the relations; so to signify the divine Person, Who proceeds by way of love, this name " Holy Ghost" is by the use of scriptural speech accommodated to Him. The appropriateness of this name may be shown in two ways.

    Firstly, from the fact that the person who is called "Holy Ghost" has something in common with the other Persons. For, as Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 17; v, 11), "Because the Holy Ghost is common to both, He Himself is called that properly which both are called in common. For the Father also is a spirit, and the Son is a spirit; and the Father is holy, and the Son is holy."

    Secondly, from the proper signification of the name. For the name spirit in things corporeal seems to signify impulse and motion; for we call the breath and the wind by the term spirit. Now it is a property of love to move and impel the will of the lover towards the object loved. Further, holiness is attributed to whatever is ordered to God. Therefore because the divine person proceeds by way of the love whereby God is loved, that person is most properly named "The Holy Ghost."


    http://newadvent.org/summa/1036.htm[/b]
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    29 Dec '09 12:38
    Originally posted by jaywill
    Very good.

    Worth reading more than once.
    Thanks. I understand that in explaining the Trinity, I have moved far away from mere explication of the Bible. I would like to stress that this explanation of the Trinity is not extra-biblical; it is not an attempt to hijack scripture with a foreign Greek philosophy. Rather it is the result of an attempt to understand scripture, the clear indications of Jesus' humanity and divinity and at the same time God's unity.
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    29 Dec '09 17:55
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Thanks. I understand that in explaining the Trinity, I have moved far away from mere explication of the Bible. I would like to stress that this explanation of the Trinity is not extra-biblical; it is not an attempt to hijack scripture with a foreign Greek philosophy. Rather it is the result of an attempt to understand scripture, the clear indications of Jesus' humanity and divinity and at the same time God's unity.
    So to verify what I think your saying is this explination is not from God or the Bible but from man?
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    29 Dec '09 18:02
    Originally posted by galveston75
    So to verify what I think your saying is this explination is not from God or the Bible but from man?
    Man did write the Bible.
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    29 Dec '09 19:22
    Thanks that was a clear and informative exposition of the trinity.
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    29 Dec '09 19:341 edit
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Thanks. I understand that in explaining the Trinity, I have moved far away from mere explication of the Bible. I would like to stress that this explanation of the Trinity is not extra-biblical; it is not an attempt to hijack scripture with a foreign Greek philosophy. Rather it is the result of an attempt to understand scripture, the clear indications of Jesus' humanity and divinity and at the same time God's unity.
    it seems to me Conrau that the problems you are facing are insurmountable, for you state that you have given an explanation that is not to be considered in itself as extra biblical, yet you needed to resort to ideas and terminology that in themselves are extra biblical, the very same problem that you faced when asked if God and christ were separate entities and if not then they must therefore be considered as different facets of the same personality. The fact of the matter remains unresolved, as Badwater states, 'you want to eat all of the cake'.

    Christ never mentions this doctrine, its unknown by Paul or any of the apostles and is an attempt to establish an extra biblical concept through philosophic argument and terminology, while maintaining that its an attempt to understand scripture, whence not one scriptural reference has been proffered, it cannot be done. It may of course suit those who are already indoctrinated and have a predisposition towards the trinity because of the traditions of the church, but those whose faith is based on scripture shall never accept it, for it cannot be established scripturally as is self evident from your attempt to explain in through non scriptural means.
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    29 Dec '09 19:58
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    it seems to me Conrau that the problems you are facing are insurmountable, for you state that you have given an explanation that is not to be considered in itself as extra biblical, yet you needed to resort to ideas and terminology that in themselves are extra biblical, the very same problem that you faced when asked if God and christ were separate e ...[text shortened]... scripturally as is self evident from your attempt to explain in through non scriptural means.
    Plus the Bible gives clear warnings that after Jesus and the apostles were gone, false teachings and doctrines of "men" would come into the Christian congregations.

    """""Acts 20:28-30."""""

    So since this teaching was in no way shape or form taught by Jesus or the Apostles but out of no where popped up a few hundred years after their deaths, why would this teaching not apply to these warnings especially with it's pagan origins? If not in the trinitarians opinion, what teaching would qualify as fulfilling these scriptures? Nothing?
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    29 Dec '09 22:28
    Originally posted by galveston75
    So to verify what I think your saying is this explination is not from God or the Bible but from man?
    No. I am definitely saying that it is in the Bible, just not in the form of a creed or doctrinal formula. I am saying that it only emerged in its doctrinal form, 'one being in three persons', as a result of biblical exegesis and the Holy Spirit's governance in history.
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    29 Dec '09 22:38
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    No. I am definitely saying that it is in the Bible, just not in the form of a creed or doctrinal formula. I am saying that it only emerged in its doctrinal form, 'one being in three persons', as a result of biblical exegesis and the Holy Spirit's governance in history.
    So why isn't it in this creed or doctrinal form already in the Bible? If this is truth then why did it take a few hundred years to get it formulated? Everything that is a truth in the Bible is very clear to understand, is backed up by many other scriptures without any contradictions, was quoted and confirmed by Jesus or the Apostles. Why no mention of this trinity in the Bible at all, anywhere?
    And can you comment on my previous post also?
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    29 Dec '09 22:421 edit
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    it seems to me Conrau that the problems you are facing are insurmountable, for you state that you have given an explanation that is not to be considered in itself as extra biblical, yet you needed to resort to ideas and terminology that in themselves are extra biblical, the very same problem that you faced when asked if God and christ were separate e scripturally as is self evident from your attempt to explain in through non scriptural means.
    it seems to me Conrau that the problems you are facing are insurmountable, for you state that you have given an explanation that is not to be considered in itself as extra biblical, yet you needed to resort to ideas and terminology that in themselves are extra biblical, the very same problem that you faced when asked if God and christ were separate entities and if not then they must therefore be considered as different facets of the same personality. The fact of the matter remains unresolved, as Badwater states, 'you want to eat all of the cake'.

    I do not see any problem whatsoever. When explaining the Bible, everyone is likely to draw on analogies from real life and use current ideas and terminology. I have heard so-called 'sola fide' preachers use pop psychology as part of their exegesis. I don't see that as extra-biblical; I see it as a legitimate way of translating biblical ideas into current times. I would say that the Trinity is the same. It is an attempt to translate more explicitly what is already in the Bible using terminology which was current then (and I do think remains current -- notions of essence, substance and person are still legitimate.) It is a way of understanding how Jesus is God (as shown in John 1:1) and yet a distinct person (as shown in, say, Hebrews 3.)

    I think that Badwater's dichotomy between Trinity and Triune has been resolved. To say that there are three persons (just as to say that there are three modes) is not to say three beings. A person is merely a relation, which put poetically is a movement of a rational being in a social space, the event of relativity. In God, the relations are inward and internal and so do not presuppose a plurality of beings, only a plurality of relations. The cake is well and truly eaten.

    Christ never mentions this doctrine, its unknown by Paul or any of the apostles and is an attempt to establish an extra biblical concept through philosophic argument and terminology, while maintaining that its an attempt to understand scripture, whence not one scriptural reference has been proffered, it cannot be done. It may of course suit those who are already indoctrinated and have a predisposition towards the trinity because of the traditions of the church, but those whose faith is based on scripture shall never accept it, for it cannot be established scripturally as is self evident from your attempt to explain in through non scriptural means.

    I don't think that is right. The explicit Trinitarian formula is certainly unknown to St Paul and the apostles but the idea behind it is not. It is quite clear that the early church understood Jesus as the Son of God, as divine and also as a separate person; they saw the Holy Spirit as divine (acknowledging his power in prayer) and yet a distinct person (whom St Paul even quotes speaking to him.) The Trinitarian formula is not something imposed on the Bible but something that comes directly from what is already in the Bible.

    Again, though, I do not see the Bible primarily as a statement of creed and doctrine. Jesus speaks in parables, not in philosophical tracts. He preaches the kingdom and a new moral life. He proclaims a new law and testament. He offers himself as a redeemer. He does not come to hand us a theological textbook clearly explaining his relation to the Father. What he does say is 'I am the way, the truth and the light'. The Trinity comes out of this.
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