the trinity would be revealed in a Jewish way of thinking

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21centpilgrim
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the trinity would be revealed in a Jewish way of thinking

Post by 21centpilgrim » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:33 pm

As I have been wrestling with the 'trinity' off and on over the last few years- one of the ideas I have come across is that this notion a couple of times- 'The Trinity, or Jesus's divinity, isn't explicitly taught because the idea is revealed in a Jewish way rather than a straightforward "Hey disciples, I am Yahweh the second person in the Godhead!"
have you guys come across this type of thinking or think it yourself perhaps?

My initial problem with this is that the gospels and the NT as a whole is actually very clear and makes it straightforward that Jesus is the Messiah. So then there are two different reasonings to explain two different amazing revelations of the supposed identity of Jesus of Nazareth. One plain and clear and the other clouded in layers.
Do you see my pause in going along with this defense?
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.

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darinhouston
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Re: the trinity would be revealed in a Jewish way of thinkin

Post by darinhouston » Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:20 am

I believe something of this import to such a strong monotheist community would be at least as clearly taught as messianic truths. But more than that, I would expect much more resistance and conflict over receiving this as a truth than even the circumcision or dietary issues. I think the Jerusalem Council itself is perhaps the best proof against a traditional view of the Trinity. This is not to deny some other form of deistic argument for Jesus. But it should give great pause for such a controversial affront to the strong monotheism of the Jews. Argument from silence is a weak argument usually. But in this case I think it speaks volumes.


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Paidion
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Re: the trinity would be revealed in a Jewish way of thinkin

Post by Paidion » Wed Nov 21, 2018 1:44 pm

I don't know whether or not the following is relevant, but Justin Martyr (who was not a Trinitarian) used the following verse to show to the Jews with whom he was debating for days, that there were two divine Individuals who shared the name "Yahweh."

Then Yahweh rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from Yahweh out of heaven. (Genesis 19:24)

Justin indicated that the Yahweh on earth who had been speaking to Abraham, was the pre-incarnate Messiah, and that he caused the brimstone and fire, the source of which was Yahweh, the God in Heaven.
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Re: the trinity would be revealed in a Jewish way of thinkin

Post by Singalphile » Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:13 pm

What is the "Jewish way" by which Jesus' divinity (leave aside trinitarianism) was taught?

The OT mentions the Spirit of God (or the Lord). What did the Israelites think about that? Were they binitarians (God in two persons)? Perhaps Justin Martyr should have mentioned that to Trypho ... unless they didn't understand the Spirit like that.

There are passages - at least a few - that speak of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit as divine. Trinitarianism is one way to try to formulate that, and it's reasonable enough, but I suspect that it is inadequate. The lack of any clear, specific teaching about it is not evidence that it's inaccurate, but it is strong evidence, I think, that our correct understanding of it is not important to God.

As was pointed out, there are statements that are repeated over and over again, such as that Jesus is the Messiah/Christ and the Son of God and is to be honored and trusted and obeyed. These are surely the important things.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

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Paidion
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Re: the trinity would be revealed in a Jewish way of thinkin

Post by Paidion » Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:29 pm

I don't think that either the Jews or the early Christians were either Trinitarians or Binitarians.

In His prayer, Jesus addressed the Father (the Father alone) as the ONLY true God. (John 17:3). He said, "that they may know you, the only true God, AND Jesus Christ whom you have sent." By use of that conjunction "and," Jesus seems to have not included Himself as "the only true God" or part of "the only true God." Yes, Jesus was divine in virtue of having been begotten by the only true God, and therefor He is said to be "God" in John 1:1 in the sense of being divine, just as you and I can be said to be "man" in the sense of being human.
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Homer
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Re: the trinity would be revealed in a Jewish way of thinkin

Post by Homer » Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:06 am

I do not see that John 17:3 provides nearly as much support as is claimed as a proof text in opposition to trinitarianism. I do not think the point in Jesus' prayer is at all in regard to the nature of God, but rather is a pointed denial (first clause) of false Gods, which the pagans believed were many. There is only one true (alethenon, real, genuine) God as opposed to the imagined ones. The second clause of the verse separates Christianity from Judaism. A real, personal knowledge of both God and Christ is to be required for eternal life.

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Re: the trinity would be revealed in a Jewish way of thinkin

Post by Paidion » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:09 pm

Just read Jesus' prayer in context. I see nothing in it at all that indicates "a pointed denial of false gods."
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darinhouston
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Re: the trinity would be revealed in a Jewish way of thinkin

Post by darinhouston » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:02 pm

Singalphile wrote:The OT mentions the Spirit of God (or the Lord). What did the Israelites think about that? Were they binitarians (God in two persons)? Perhaps Justin Martyr should have mentioned that to Trypho ... unless they didn't understand the Spirit like that.
Since they understood God to be Spirit, I don’t think they meant any more than what I might mean when I say “I saw the very body of my friend Bill walk in the room.” Or “bill came to the party in his very flesh.” Or if I’m talking about my father I might say Dad came in or my Father came in or Frank came in. There aren’t three persons. They refer to the same one.


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darinhouston
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Re: the trinity would be revealed in a Jewish way of thinkin

Post by darinhouston » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:34 pm

darinhouston wrote:
Singalphile wrote:The OT mentions the Spirit of God (or the Lord). What did the Israelites think about that? Were they binitarians (God in two persons)? Perhaps Justin Martyr should have mentioned that to Trypho ... unless they didn't understand the Spirit like that.
Since they understood God to be Spirit, I don’t think they meant any more than what I might mean when I say “I saw the very body of my friend Bill walk in the room.” Or “bill came to the party in his very flesh.” Or if I’m talking about my father I might say Dad came in or my Father came in or Frank came in. There aren’t three persons. They refer to the same one.


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Maybe a better example is how we refer to the Body of Christ.


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Homer
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Re: the trinity would be revealed in a Jewish way of thinkin

Post by Homer » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:03 pm

It is ironic in a way that this thread title is in regard to the Jewish way of thinking. The Jews of Jesus' day who heard Him speak certain words clearly understood that Jesus was equating himself with God and because of this they intended to stone Him. Seems to me that we should be at least as perceptive as those Jews.

As has been mentioned, understanding the doctrine of the trinity isn't likely to be as important as some make it out to be but I think if all the biblical data is considered it is the best we can do. The Greek text of the NT clearly indicates, as Paidion has argued, that Jesus is divine. His properties, his essence, are the means that determine what He is. He is obviously part of the trinity, binity, or another god it seems to me.

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