Help me to explain the Trinity

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by luke, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. luke

    luke Member

    Posts:
    56
    Likes Received:
    51
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Christian
    Hello,
    I may be asking to much here, i need some help on HOW to explain the Trinity, its really not the easiest topic to explain , I have been discussing this with my wife and we cant seem to see Eye to Eye on it. Shes at the point when she says the Trinity ( as a theological belief) must be wrong, i am wondering if i am trying to explain it wrong :)

    I tried quoting from memory some of this but it just confused her more http://lukessanctuary.weebly.com/the-athanasian-creed.html
     
    Lowly Layman likes this.
  2. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    1,577
    Likes Received:
    1,532
    Country:
    America
    Religion:
    Anglican
    The way I've heard my rector explain it to me, the trinity is like water, ice, and vapor.

    Another, also dealing with water, is: the water itself, the pipe, and the pressure. Father is the pipe, say, the Son is the water, and the Holy Ghost is the pressure.

    Another version popularized by Augustine is the psychological model, analogical to the parts of the human consciousness: Father is the Mind, Jesus is the Affections, and the Holy Ghost is the Will.

    Another is the Social Model: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Trinity : there are three persons, and the Unity consists in their perfect love.

    Note that none of these are ideal explanations. The Trinity cannot be fully comprehended by the human mind. These are just the analogies to help us understand various aspects, but neither model can be taken all the way; for example the social model has been criticized for basically advocating tritheism (multiple deities, who come together, rather than one same divine essence in three persons as the orthodox view states).
     
  3. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    836
    Likes Received:
    412
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Celtic Christian
    Another analogy is the sun, with the sun itself being the Father, the light of the sun being Jesus, and the warmth of the sun being the Holy Spirit.
     
  4. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Member

    Posts:
    96
    Likes Received:
    86
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    Some things are not to be explained or understood, but to be experienced and believed, the mysteries of the faith.
     
  5. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

    Posts:
    311
    Likes Received:
    99
    Country:
    New Zealand
    Religion:
    none
    I wish you well with explaining the trinity.
    I think at best the trinity is an unfathomable mystery beyond human comprehesion, at worst it is a contradiction, possibly deliberately so.
    Dont forget the best brains at the time took a couple of centuries for the Arius-Athenasius conflict to settle down in the 4th and fifth centuries .
    It was the catylist for the great schism 'twixt Catholics and Orthodox in the 11th century and the trinity theory was a good enough excuse for the crusaders to ransack Constantinople one and a half centuries later.
    Even today the Jehovah Witness's have different views on it, possibly due to dodgy translations of John 1:1 and don't even get me started on what the Mormons believe about it.
     
    Lowly Layman likes this.
  6. Ogygopsis

    Ogygopsis Active Member

    Posts:
    123
    Likes Received:
    56
    Frightfully difficult to express what our reason and senses cannot comprehend fully. Metaphor is what we have. The water and the pipe described above is a good one. Another is that it is like a gem with 3 facets, and each facet of the gem or diamond is one of the personas of the trinity. Yet another is like a play, where one actor plays 3 characters. I find that each analogy breaks down somewhere, and I think the breakdown is because our reference is from the physical world which is but a shadow of the eternal (thanks to Plato's insight which Augustine elaborated for us). To mutilate Shakespeare, 'life is but a poor player that struts upon the stage thinking it understands, but we tell ourselves tall tales about the eternal and are idiots about it'.
     
    Scottish Monk likes this.
  7. Stephanos

    Stephanos New Member

    Posts:
    21
    Likes Received:
    11
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Texas
    Here is a video that pertains to us trying to explain the trinity. I do not want to be to negative but when we try to explain the trinity we usually end up falling into some heresy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLfgaUoQCw
     
    Lowly Layman and MatthewOlson like this.
  8. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,239
    Likes Received:
    1,994
    I think the problem with explaining the trinity stems from the fact that it is a mystery of the faith, meaning it defies full explanation and thus must be accepted on faith rather than reasonable assent. However, while I recognize it is stuffy and old, for understanding what is proposed by the Trinitarian concept of the catholic faith, I can think of no better explanation than that which is contained in the athanasian formula: " there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal."
     
  9. MatthewOlson

    MatthewOlson Member

    Posts:
    97
    Likes Received:
    30
    Country:
    United States of America
    Religion:
    Catholic
    Exactly, Stephanos and Lowly Layman.
    The doctrine of the Trinity is difficult, and I have grappled with it in the past year. I even briefly fell for Sabellianism (aka modalism), which I think is the most seductive heresy, out of all of the heresies of all the doctrines.
    When discussing the Trinity, it is best to be cautious.
     
    Lowly Layman and Stephanos like this.
  10. Desmond Perera

    Desmond Perera New Member

    Posts:
    6
    Likes Received:
    4
    Country:
    Saudi Arabia
    Religion:
    Christian (Anglican)

    This makes sense. I think you have explained it very well and is easy to absorb for an ordinary person.
     
    Stephanos and Lowly Layman like this.
  11. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

    Posts:
    311
    Likes Received:
    99
    Country:
    New Zealand
    Religion:
    none
    Yes but it still gets messy. Jesus says the father is greater then him "If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. Jn 14:28" . And this was at the time when Jesus as a man was "God" enough to forgive sin but not God enough to know when he was going to return.
     
    Stephanos likes this.
  12. Fotis Greece

    Fotis Greece New Member

    Posts:
    9
    Likes Received:
    12
    Country:
    Greece
    Religion:
    Christian (Low Anglican)
    A good explanation is this. ''1+1+1=3'' This is how we experience God and the different hypostases of Him. But God actually is ''1x1x1=1'' Three different hypostases yet one God
     
    MatthewOlson and Lowly Layman like this.
  13. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    490
    Likes Received:
    548
    Religion:
    Reformed
    Scottish Monk likes this.
  14. rstrats

    rstrats Member

    Posts:
    59
    Likes Received:
    6
    Country:
    USA
    Just as a side note, it might be interesting to note that not once does Paul
    mention anyone other than the father and the son in any of his epistles' salutations.
     
  15. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

    Posts:
    311
    Likes Received:
    99
    Country:
    New Zealand
    Religion:
    none
    Oh dear - lets hope the Holy Ghost doesn't throw a hissy fit over this. :think:
     
  16. Alcibiades

    Alcibiades Member

    Posts:
    91
    Likes Received:
    49
    Country:
    Perfidious Albion
    Religion:
    Uncertain

    Actually, if I may field this one: 2 Cor. 13.13 'The grace of the lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.'

    It's right there in the Greek: '...h koinonia tou agiou pneumatos meta pantwn umwn.'

    Unless I have overlooked something grave?
     
    MatthewOlson and seagull like this.
  17. Scottish Monk

    Scottish Monk Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    433
    Likes Received:
    305
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian