Holy Trinity a Fake?

Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,362
Albuquerque, NM
#2
It is indeed a fact that many Christian denominations believe in defining God as a Triniti consisting of God the Creator, Christ his son and agent of human redemption, and the Holy Spirit that dwells within the human heart. That God exists is not a fact, but a matter of religious conviction. Even among those who accept the existence of a God, how that enity is defined can vary greatly. Thats also a fact.

As a matter of historical interest, tracing the origins and evolution of a devine Trinity might appeal to some of our members. Debating the theology and "truth" of any religion is probably not going to last long here. For your thread to prosper you will need to shift your source materials from a religious perspective to the historical record.

The history of early Christianity is of great interest to many, and there have been many studies published over the past couple of hundred years. The "primary sources" are more scarce, and often consist of texts written at some distance in time and place from the period when Jesus lived. It seems that the Jesus Movement was rooted in Jewish resistence to Roman occupation and popular dis-satisfaction with Judaism as practiced by the Herods. What exactly did Jesus teach/preach? After the death of Jesus, his brother James (James the Just) became leader of the Jesus Movement and presumably continued to promote the same doctrines. Christianity began as a relatively small Jewish Reform movement with the disiples and the family at its core. Paul recognized the legitimacy of the Jerusalem group, but many of the Paulen interpretations were not accepted by the Jerusalem Faction. After the murder of James the Just and the final Jewish Revolt, the Jewish School of Christianity faded and was basically lost.

So what we have today, is the version of Christianity taught by Paul. The emphasis changed from reforming Judaism and Roman resistance, to "the Messiah came not to reform, but to destroy the old Covenant". Paul's theology shifted the Abrahamic God from being the deity of Jews, to all of Mankind. Pauline theology also shifted from the importance of Old Testament strictures to making simple, but all abiding faith in what he was preaching as the core of the new religion. After the death of Paul, his writings formed the foundations for the gospels that continued to evolve. Small Christian communities around the Mediterranean Sea believed in a variety of doctrines based mostly on whatever documents and traditions they had until Constantine's Council of Nicaea.

After the Council of Nicaea, Christianity then became the official religion of the what remained of the Roman System. Anything that didn't suit, was declared an anathema and destroyed. In modern times a number of treasure troves of religious and secular documents from the period have been recovered. Serious studies of those documents underscore the lack of any single dominant theme in what Jesus taught and/or what the faithful believed. In the West Christianity became Roman, but in the East a more conservative expression of Christianity prevailed. Roman Christianity was a dominant part of the European Medieval that lasted until around the 15th century. Following the Renaissance, the Roman Church faced a growing Protestant Movement that itself broke into smaller sects and schools. Religious Wars devastated Europe until religious authority was banished from secular government, though echos of those Religious Wars continue today, ie. the Irish Troubles.
 
Jan 2016
388
Ohio
#3
It seems that the Jesus Movement was rooted in Jewish resistence to Roman occupation and popular dis-satisfaction with Judaism as practiced by the Herods... The emphasis changed from reforming Judaism and Roman resistance, to "the Messiah came not to reform, but to destroy the old Covenant".
Are you suggesting Christianity was an accident? Ive read something similar before and it has stuck with me. It was about how Jesus was trying to reform Judaism rather than create a new religion.

Back than, a christian wasn't of its own religion but someone who followed Christ.

It stated that Paul was executed because he refused to give up Judaism. It was stated that when he was in Rome, all he had to do was renounce his religion and claim he was no that of christian religion, which would have saved him from the laws of Judaism and the punishment he was facing.

Any of this true?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,829
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#4
I'm among those few Christian Protestants who don't believe in Trinity [I think that Jesus was the Son of G-d in the sense of the first creation of G-d ... not that Jesus is G-d and I consider the Holy Spirit a Divine Energy, not a Person].

This said, it's evident that it's all about a theological debate. If we want to keep it on the historical layer we should wonder when Trinity became the dominant belief about the nature of G-d.

Now ... to defend the theological conception [which appeared only in II century CE ...] someone says that already in the Gospel of Matthew it was present.

28:19

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Nice ... but where it's said that they are the same person?
 
Jan 2016
388
Ohio
#5
[I think that Jesus was the Son of G-d in the sense of the first creation of G-d ... not that Jesus is G-d and I consider the Holy Spirit a Divine Energy, not a Person].



Nice ... but where it's said that they are the same person?
This is the view I am now beginning to lean towards. Truthfully, it all started when I was reading Genesis and the days of creation screwed me up exponentially when Adam was thrust into the picture. It logically made no sense, so I had to research and see if any theologians could explain the mishap I had found. Then I happened to find a quote where God refers "we" which led to my hunt on the Holy Trinity.

I really don't see the big deal if Jesus wasn't G-d. It doesn't change anything to me. Truthfully, growing up I didn't understand the holy trinity so always thought of G-d and Jesus separate anyhow. Also, if we limit the Holy Spirit to a person, won't this lessen its effect in terms of multitude? I don't know. Maybe I'm thinking to hard. The more I think I know something, the more confusing it gets.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,829
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#6
This is the view I am now beginning to lean towards. Truthfully, it all started when I was reading Genesis and the days of creation screwed me up exponentially when Adam was thrust into the picture. It logically made no sense, so I had to research and see if any theologians could explain the mishap I had found. Then I happened to find a quote where God refers "we" which led to my hunt on the Holy Trinity.

I really don't see the big deal if Jesus wasn't G-d. It doesn't change anything to me. Truthfully, growing up I didn't understand the holy trinity so always thought of G-d and Jesus separate anyhow. Also, if we limit the Holy Spirit to a person, won't this lessen its effect in terms of multitude? I don't know. Maybe I'm thinking to hard. The more I think I know something, the more confusing it gets.
This is a history forum, not a comparative theology discussion group, so we have to keep the suitable attitude here.

From a historical perspective I can remind that the dogma of Trinity became official only in 325 CE ... then, considering literature, we can note that in the Gospels Jesus has never said to be His Father and/or the Holy Spirit.
 

Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,362
Albuquerque, NM
#7
1. The four Gospels all date from after the time of Paul, and show his influence. There is evidence that the earliest Gospel may have been taken from an earlier work that is now lost. Mark and Luke are almost pure Pauline, and John's Revelations was written even later. Using the Bible as it now exists is very problematical. First, the text has been translated too many times and each translation varies, often drastically from the original Greek and/or Aramaic spoken in Palestine during Jesus lifetime. The King James version is beautiful in its language, but not very accurate when compared with the earliest surviving original texts. The number of non-religious early texts that even mention the Jesus Movement is very small, with Josephas being one of the best. Josephas has to be taken with a large grain of salt because he had turned his coat to join the Romans and had to keep them sweet. He was an acute observer uniquely positioned to know what was going on at the highest political levels, and most of his assertions are verifiable. He only mentions Jesus in a few short passages, and some of those may well be forgeries inserted later by devout Chrisitians. Good reading, BTW.

2. There is evidence that in the early Church there was wide discussion and belief as to the nature of "the Christ". Some believed he was a mortal man who reportedly became God in crucification. Others believed the Messiah was God, and that led to the question of how God becomes Man, his own creation. Like other mystery religions of the time, some thought of God impregnating the mother to produce a deity. These were all constructions that led from the Pauline influence, because it seems the Jerusalim Faction regarded Jesus as just another member of the family who took to preaching reformation renewal of the traditional Jewish religion.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,829
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#8
I've read the work by Chaim Cohn about the process of Jesus. He [as historian of Jewish culture] noted that the general attitude of the Jews in the Gospels is more suitable for a time after the destruction of the last Temple. Before that the Romans destroyed the last Temple, Jews weren't that rigid [at least this is what Cohn sustains].

The fact that Jesus had criticized about his attitude towards the Sabbath [regarding doing useful works on that day] would indicate, according to Cohn, that the Gospels are full of interpolations introduced around the end of I century CE.

Unfortunately I'm not able to evaluate this stance, anyway it's in agreement with a diffused consensus about when the Gospels had composed.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,829
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#10
The Bible says that Jesus is the Son of God but it also says that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit? So then God the Father and the Holy Spirit are different aspects of the same thing.
Saying "the Bible" is a Christian instinct ... Jews sustain that the Tanakh [our "Old Testament"] doesn't contain any prophecy about a Messiah like we intend the Christ.

So you should say "the New Testament", not "The Bible".

A part this, the basic questions are ... where did Jesus say he was G-d? Where did Jesus say that he was the Holy Spirit?

But this would be theology, not history.

The historical question is: why Trinity wasn't an absolute and shared belief from the beginning?
 

Similar History Discussions