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The semantics of the Trinity

Discussion in 'Bibliology & Hermeneutics' started by Alan Asquith, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. ewq1938

    ewq1938 Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States

    That's more punctuation than any bible has for the verse LOL

    1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
    1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
    1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

    Paul tends to use "God" for the Father and Jesus as someone separate. That doesn't mean Paul doesn't know Christ is also God, it's just his "shorthand" way of speaking of God the Father without writing the full title. In the above God our saviour is a reference to the Father. Both are called saviour just as both are called Lord.


    1 Timothy 1:1

    Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ; - see the notes on Rom_1:1.
    By the commandment of God - See the notes at 1Co_1:1.
    Our Saviour - The name Saviour is as applicable to God the Father as to the Lord Jesus Christ, since God is the great Author of salvation; see the notes, Luk_1:47; compare 1Ti_4:10; Tit_2:10; Jud_1:25.


    our Saviour; by whom is meant God the Father; and this character of him is mentioned, to show that the embassy the apostle was sent on as such, and in which the discharge of his office greatly lay, was the affair of salvation, to publish and declare that to the sons of men; and also to show the concern which God the Father has in that work: he resolved upon it, and appointed his people to it, and determined upon saving them by his Son, whom he pitched upon to be his salvation; he drew the scheme of it by his infinite wisdom, and sent his Son into the world to execute it; and he sends his ministers to publish the Gospel of it, and his Spirit to reveal and apply it to the hearts of his chosen ones; and keeps them by his power unto it, and will at last put them into the full possession of it; so that this character well suits with him, to whom it is also given, Tit_3:4 as well as with his Son Jesus Christ, to whom it is more commonly ascribed, and from whom he is here distinguished: for it follows,
  2. shadowhunter

    shadowhunter +collaboratively study, ~ debate, -fight. Supporter

    I forgot to put a colon after my name to add authority LOL

  3. ewq1938

    ewq1938 Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States

    It's what comes after the semicolon that adds authority ;)
  4. shadowhunter

    shadowhunter +collaboratively study, ~ debate, -fight. Supporter

    There is an ancient riddle asking why Genesis starts with the second letter of the alphabet rather than the first. To us it seems like a silly question. But consider the assumptions that have to be made in order to come up with that question:

    1. You must assume that the order of the alphabet is important.
    2. You must assume that God wrote Genesis.
    3. You must assume there is a reason, relating to the revelation of God as to why he would say things and why he would omit things.
    4. You must assume that there is meaning in the letter, not just the word.

    This really does have to do with the Trinity...

    1. The letters of the Hebrew alphabet are also numbers. There are 28 of them,
    2. Christians believe this one way or the other.
    3. We observe that Jesus interpreted the OT using the smallest of minutia to give meaning.
    4. John describes the meaning of some letters, as mentioned above.

    Though the rabbis have several answers to the riddle, they are silly in that they personify the letters and invent conversations between them.

    Consider the first letter: aleph א: it is drawn with two yods י and a vav ו. All the letters of the alphabet are formed by combining yods and vavs. The letter is drawn first with the vav, and then the yods are added. Imagine saying a few things from scripture while you draw them:

    God spoke and created
    the heavens and
    the earth

    The firmament was in the midst
    of the waters (above and

    The spirit hovered over the face
    of the waters (above and

    The aleph is a silent letter, it is not pronounced. In Gen 1:1 is also is invisible... When God spoke and created the heavens and the earth, there was no one to see or hear him do it.

    If I try to pronounce the strokes of the letters individually yod-vav-yod, it sounds like ee-oo-ee which is very similar to Yaweh. Yahweh is the name that God told Moses to use of him. ee-oo-ee is unpronounceable because the aleph is silent. It is his name before creation. The act of naming is an act of claiming dominion. We cannot claim dominion over God, because we cannot even say his name.

    Notice that the aleph has three parts.

    Since the first visible letter in Ge 1:1 is the bet in bereshit 'in the beginning' , making the first two letters the invisible aleph and the visible bet, spelling 'ab' or 'father'. But from the beginning (from bereshit) no man has seen the father (because the aleph is invisible).

    The first two visible letter we see are בר in bereshit, spelling 'bar' or 'son'. The first thing we see in scripture is the Son who makes the Father known because we ask, why doesn't Ge 1:1 start with the first letter?

    <it would appear that the first word of the Bible in Hebrew get filtered by a naughty-word filter lol>

    I know you are starting to think this is a bit far-fetched. Consider what else bere-s-h-i-t-h tells us:

    bara-s-h-i-t-h - he created six (in six days)
    bar-ash-ith - the son burned (totally devoted) to the end
    barit with an ish in the middle - a covenant with man at the center
    You may find more.

    The second word of Genesis 2 is bara ברא 'created'. Rabbis today will tell you that it means "created by the word" or "the word which created".

    John says the בראis in בראשית - In the beginning was the Word.

    In Ge 1:1 the 3rd word is אלהים 'God'. So bara was next to Elohim, "The word was with God".

    Bara is also the 'bar- <aleph> which is the "Son who spoke and created the heavens and the earth." So John says, the Word was God.

    Now it is just about too much to believe, but it continues:

    Elohim has three puns... I wont bore you with details, you can almost guess: alo-khoom which is 'not dark' or 'light, l'chaim which is 'Life', and lechem which is 'bread'.

    I have only shared observations. I personally believe that John got his doctrine of the 'Logos'/Word from Genesis 1:1 not from Philo.

    From these observations we see the Father and the Son in roles which are repeated elsewhere in scripture and perhaps even derived from the play of letters and words here.

    How does this relate to the Trinity? It gives weight to the testimony within the words and letters themselves to the things which distinguish the 'persons' of the Godhead.

    The Hebrew word for 'word' or 'said' is אמר which is identical for lamb אמר. When God said "let there be light" he created light by the Lamb, and when John the Baptist said "Behold the Lamb of God", undoubtedly some heard him say, "Behold the Word of God".

    This is really just a teaser because there is so much more concerning the Trinity in the 'mystery which was hidden from the beginning' that the discovery and conversation should not end with only those passages we commonly bring to bear.
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  5. jesus316

    jesus316 All Truth is in Jesus Supporter

    United States
    I think you have it backwards. By listing three characteristics of the three persons of the Trinity, you are placing them in the same category; in this case, they are all three equally God.

    Yes, sometimes the word "God" refers to the person of the Father in the Trinity. It's as good of a usage of language as you can expect, I suppose.
  6. bcbsr

    bcbsr Newbie

    Recently I discovered more scriptural evidence of the Diety of Christ which I've not heard spoken of before. The evidence is found in examining verses that containing phrases like "our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father ", that is "A and B" and then followed by a verb.

    One difference between Greek and English is that in Greek, the person and number of the verbs are specified by the greek endings. So if I say "He went to the store", in greek I'd have to use a singular ending for "went". But if I said "They went to the store", I'd have to use a plural ending. Whereas in English I use the same word "went". Thus when we read the Bible in English, there are some details clearly showing in the Greek which we can't see in English. Now consider this verse from 2Thess 2:16,17

    "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, (who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,) comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work."In Greek would you expect the word "comfort" to use the singular or plural ending? Well since he's referring to person A AND person B you would expect it to be plural. But it's singular as is "establish"! For to Paul the apostle "our Lord Jesus Christ Himself AND our God and Father" are as if one entity. Here is another example where this is true:1Thess 3:11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct(singular) our way to you.Counter examples:1Tim 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted (plural) Moses,
    Rom 16:21 Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet (plural) you.
  7. public hermit

    public hermit Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Alan, I feel your pain. I have wondered about this myself. Here's how I understand it. The harsh reality is...the formal doctrine of the Trinity that we embrace (one essence; three hypostases) was a later development. And, it was the accepted by council as orthodox. I would argue, it is too much to expect the NT writers to always write with that formal definition in mind, especially since it hadn't been developed yet. And, I see no reason why that should be worrisome. Consider "the Spirit will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13). It would be easy to argue that our formal conception of the Trinity is just such a truth the Spirit has guided us into.

    So, how did those who developed the formal concept of the Trinity defend their position in light of these passages? If memory serves me, Gregory of Nyssa in his "On not Three Gods," argued that the one distinction within the Trinity is causation. The Father is unbegotten (eternally not-generated). The Son is begotten (eternally generated). And, the Spirit proceeds (or something like that). So...one might argue it is appropriate to refer to the Father as God, exclusively, because the Father is the eternal Source, even of the Son and Spirit. Nonetheless (and this is an important "nonetheless"), the Son and Spirit are still divine (One essence) with the Father. I don't know that the Cappadocians, or anyone else for that matter, made that last argument, but they should have. :)

    Kudos to you for thinking deeply about these things, and asking the hard questions. Those kinds of hard questions is exactly why we now have the formal doctrine of the Trinity we embrace.