THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY (THE TRINITY)
Part III- Trinitarian Heresies
Yesterday we started looking at the various alternatives to Trinitarian thinking that have sprung out of historical Christendom (especially in the early days).
Continuing that discussion, we move from Arianism to Adoptionism.
Adoptionism- Some suggested that Jesus was born entirely human (non-Divine), but then because He was so obedient, God the Father said, “You know what? I’m gonna make Him my special divine Son.” Now there were some biblical verses that made sense of this view: For example, But again, John clearly declares in chapter 1 of His Gospel that the “Word was with God and was God” before He came and dwelt in the flesh. And in John 8:58, Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (referring to Himself by the very name of the eternally present Yahweh).
Partialism- Well then, maybe since God is One, they each are just parts of God. In other words, 33% Father, 33% Son, 33% Spirit. When they are all working together, than God is formed. But each of the persons are said to be fully sufficient on their own within the Scriptures.
Modalism- Well maybe these are just different titles for God depending on His work at the time: So when He’s creating He calls Himself Father, and when He’s saving, He calls Himself Son, and when He’s making you holy, He calls Himself Spirit. They’re just descriptive names for the One God’s activities. The most easy refutation of this idea would be found in Jesus’ baptism: There all at once, the Son goes into the water and is baptized. The Father speaks from heaven, and the Spirit descends as a dove. How can all 3 members be there at once, if all three members are really just different ways of describing the One God?
Tritheism- Okay fine, then maybe the Bible’s wrong when it says that God is One. There’s really 3 separate Gods!
You see the problems, the headaches, the stretching people have tried to go through in order to fit the mystery of God into their minds. But in the final analysis, as much as it doesn’t make sense to us, the Bible’s teaching is: There is 1 God revealed in 3 distinct persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All do the same actions, and all are equal. All constantly love, serve, and defer to the Other. There is never a time at which they disagree, for from eternity, they have never not worked together. Our reason cannot comprehend it, but we accept it.
So then tomorrow, we’ll discuss whether any of this actually has relevance in your day to day to life….
Soli Deo Gloria,