Saturday, July 12, 2014

Is the Trinity Three Distinct Persons?

Ask a theologian of old Christianity about the Trinity, and many will tell you that the Trinity is three distinct persons.  A Trinity of three persons is derived from church councils, and doctrine derived from these church councils are used to interpret scripture.  Even to this day, the Catholic Church maintains it has the authority to interpret scripture.  As it goes against rationality and reason to declare that God exists in multiple persons, it is declared to be a "mystery of faith" to keep people from examining this more deeply. Anyone who is well versed in logic and reasoning can see how fallacious the logic is, but let us take a look at what arguments theologians use to support this kind of faith.

I bring this up again, because discussion concerning the Trinity is considered to be the "elephant in the room" that no one wants to talk about: no one understands it, no one can explain it, and not many are willing to bring it up for discussion. So we end up with this hidden tritheism in people's minds.

One website that expresses what many theologians think is What is the doctrine of the Trinity? It comes from the web site of John Piper, who looks like to be a well intentioned minister: he has been preaching for over 30 years, has written over 50 books, chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, and taught Biblical Studies for six years. He now has a web ministry of over 10,000 English resources, translated into multiple languages, and probably has a large following and it is highly unlikely that anything is going to change his mind. But I thought his page was a good representation of the thousands of others that keep repeating the same arguments. So lets take a look at what he has to say. He begins:
The doctrine of the Trinity means that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons--the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Stated differently, God is one in essence and three in person. 
That three distinct persons is nothing more than Tritheism, is shown from this later statement, which is an utter falsehood that shows no understanding:
The personhood of each member of the Trinity means that each Person has a distinct center of consciousness. 
So, according to the above, God has three distinct centers of consciousness?  Does everyone recognize how ridiculous this argument is? For if God is in three persons, with three distinct centers of consciousness, that implies God is not omniscient. And the one God is not a person? He is an "essence," and for some reason this one "essence" exists in three persons. Why? Based on a very literal reading of scripture. He continues:
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons. The Bible speaks of the Father as God (Phil. 1:2), Jesus as God (Titus 2:13), and the Holy Spirit as God (Acts 5:3-4). Are these just three different ways of looking at God, or simply ways of referring to three different roles that God plays? 
The answer must be no, because the Bible also indicates that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons. For example, since the Father sent the Son into the world (John 3:16), He cannot be the same person as the Son. Likewise, after the Son returned to the Father (John 16:10), the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit into the world (John 14:26Acts 2:33). Therefore, the Holy Spirit must be distinct from the Father and the Son.

So, is it true that "the answer must be no" that these are three titles of attributes of God?  Let's take a look at John 3:16-17:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
From a literal perspective, it looks like a Father being sends another Son being into this world. But does the phrase "God sent not his Son" mean one person sending another person?  Not necessarily. For many who read scripture are influenced by the Nicene Creed, which declares that the Son was "begotten from eternity."  But the Nicene Creed is a falsehood. Why? I will tell you why:

The Son was not begotten from eternity, but in time to the virgin Mary. Before the virgin birth of Jesus by Mary there was no Son.

Every theologian of old Christianity, when they read John 3:16-17, are influenced in how they believe what it is saying from the declaration of the Nicene Creed that says that the Son was "begotten from eternity."  But this is not only an error, it makes no sense. Moreover a Son "begotten from eternity" was unknown to the general Christian Church until the Nicene Creed of the fourth century. Anyone who reads the gospels will see that the Son born to the virgin Mary - IN TIME - is the Son of God:
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
(Luke 1:30-35)
So there you have it. The son of the virgin Mary - the human body that was born in time - is declared here to be the Son of God.  The Son of God was not begotten from eternity, but in time to the virgin Mary. So when scripture states God sent His Son into the world, that is speaking of the incarnation of Jehovah Himself in a human body. The human body, conceived in time by the Holy Spirit to the virgin Mary, is the Son of God. That is how the Son was "sent" into the world.

The argument those who believe in a Trinity of three person is that they regard these three distinct persons as eternal:
There was never a time when one of the Persons of the Godhead did not exist. They are all eternal.
There is one eternal being here: Jehovah. In the New Testament, we do not have the word Jehovah being used but instead Lord. And Jesus used many of the titles that Jehovah used for Himself in the Old Testament. There is one eternal being here, who in time became incarnate. The body of Jesus, of course, did not exist before he was born. Only Jehovah himself is eternal.

This of course is a big mindshift for most Christians who have been taught incorrectly. Some might react to this and state it can't be true as Jesus said he pre-existed before he was born. Yes of course he pre-existed: he pre-existed as Jehovah. In the incarnation, Jesus is simply Jehovah in human form. The human form in which he dwells is the Son of God. The human form or body of course did not pre-exist before Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.


Another scripture of support used is one where Jesus said he would return to his Father (John 16:10):
I go to my Father, and ye see me no more.
How one interprets this depends on one's doctrine. If one believes the Father and Son are two distinct persons, it means when Jesus ascends he will be with his Father. Or, on the other hand, it means that the Divine Human, the visible human form, will become completely united with the Father in heaven. To clarify, I will give the definition of the true Trinity that was revealed in full waking visions to Swedenborg:

The True Trinity is that of the Divine itself (the Father), the Divine Human (the Son), and the Divine Proceeding (Holy Spirit), in one person Jesus Christ.

When Jesus was in human form, he was in a lower state of humiliation, and could be tempted to do evil. This was because his body was not completely united with the Divine. Thus after the resurrection, Jesus declared he was given all power on heaven and earth. If there are two distinct persons here, this of course does not mean the Father has no power. Rather, the Divine in human form had become completely united with the Divine itself. The Father is this Divine which dwells bodily in Jesus. They are not distinct personages, but different aspects of the Divine which became manifest in one person.


Another scripture of support used is John 14:26:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
To those who believe in a trinity of three persons, this literally means two other persons send a third person. And this again makes no sense, and becomes tritheism. The Holy Spirit is simply the spirit of God, flowing from the Divine itself (the Father) through the Divine Human (the Son) to all humanity.  In fact, each person has their own personal "aura" or "spiritual sphere" which flows from the soul out through their body to their immediate surrounding area. In the case of the incarnation. this outflowing Spirit or aura is infinite, and extends to all humanity. This could not happen until Jesus' body was made Divine, thus it was said the Holy Spirit "was not yet" as Jesus was not glorified (John 7:39).


In multiple passages Jesus' prays to the Father. While some take this as proof that he was just a prophet, others take this as proof that there are three distinct persons. The web site above takes the latter view:
Often it is objected that "If Jesus is God, then he must have prayed to himself while he was on earth." But the answer to this objection lies in simply applying what we have already seen. While Jesus and the Father are both God, they are different Persons. Thus, Jesus prayed to God the Father without praying to Himself. In fact, it is precisely the continuing dialog between the Father and the Son (Matthew 3:1717:5John 5:1911:41-4217:1ff) which furnishes the best evidence that they are distinct Persons with distinct centers of consciousness.
So what is the answer here?  For those who regard God as one person, some take Jesus to be some sort of prophet or avatar. But then there are other statements in the gospels where he makes himself equal with God - and it is in fact because of these other statements that he was crucified by the Jews as they considered he committed blasphemy.  So does this mean we must divide God into three centers of consciousness?  This is a horrible argument. No it does not: many Christian theologians are confusing two beings with two states of being. When Jehovah became incarnate in human form, he had to grow like any other human does. In his external body, which he inherited from his human mother, he could be tempted to commit evil. As to the soul he was Divine, but as to the body he was like you and me.  And as any other human, he had to progress towards God. Jehovah basically lowered himself into a lower state of being, and in this state of humiliation he could be tempted. One can only be tempted if there was an appearance of separation.  In some cases Jesus was in a state of humiliation in which he prays to the Father, and in other cases he had become united with the Divine and speaks as one with the Divine (this is described in more detail in The Doctrines of the New Jerusalem or Doctrine of the Lord and True Christian Religion). The Father is the invisible God no one can approach, but He became approachable when he became incarnate in a visible human form.

In modern terms, we can describe the human psyche as consisting of a higher self from which we receive dictates of morality, a middle rational self where we make decisions, and a lower self which promotes the selfish ego and selfish desires. This kind of psyche is described in various theories of modern psychology. When Jehovah became incarnate, He had the same kind of psyche - the higher self is the Father, the rational self (or waking conscious) the Son, and in the case of Jesus, it was through the lower base self that he was assaulted and tempted most grievously by all of hell. Once this was conquered, the Divine could flow out from his body as the Holy Spirit.

This is the hardest concept to understand when reading the Gospels. Without understanding it, it is easy to fall into error. Much of what was revealed to Swedenborg was describing in detail the different states Jesus had to go through in order to make his human Divine.


Here is the argument theologians use to indicate that the Trinity must be three distinct persons: in addition to Jesus praying, personal pronouns are used.  But this is proof of nothing - for the one Divine Being is everywhere present. But even with this, those who regard the Trinity as three distinct beings recognize that this argument starts to get weak in regards to the Holy Spirit - for nowhere, at no time, has the Holy Spirit appeared as a distinct person:
Sometimes the Personhood of the Father and Son is appreciated, but the Personhood of the Holy Spirit is neglected. Sometimes the Spirit is treated more like a "force" than a Person. But the Holy Spirit is not an it, but a He (see John 14:2616:7-15Acts 8:16). The fact that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not an impersonal force (like gravity), is also shown by the fact that He speaks (Hebrews 3:7), reasons (Acts 15:28), thinks and understands (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), wills (1 Corinthians 12:11), feels (Ephesians 4:30), and gives personal fellowship (2 Corinthians 13:14). These are all qualities of personhood. In addition to these texts, the others we mentioned above make clear that the Personhood of the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Personhood of the Son and the Father. They are three real persons, not three roles God plays.
The above arguments or rationale is ridiculous, as now we have to regard the Holy Spirit as something distinct from the Spirit of God. Each person has an aura or spirit flowing from their body, and this is not a separate distinct person. In multiple passages Jehovah is spoken of as a spirit.


Ironically, the author who supports the Trinity of three distinct persons then quotes the great commission as yet another proof:
If there is one passage which most clearly brings all of this together, it isMatthew 28:19: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." First, notice that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinguished as distinct Persons. We baptize into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Second, notice that each Person must be deity because they are all placed on the same level. In fact, would Jesus have us baptize in the name of a mere creature? Surely not. Therefore each of the Persons into whose name we are to be baptized must be deity. Third, notice that although the three divine Persons are distinct, we are baptized into their name (singular), not names (plural). The three Persons are distinct, yet only constitute one name. This can only be if they share one essence.
Note again: the one God is not a person, he is now an "essence."  But notice the fallacious logic here.  If each person is distinct, each person would have a distinct name.  The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have one name. And what is that name? Jesus Christ of course.  And nowhere in the Acts of the Apostles did the apostles of Jesus Christ baptize in the the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They always baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  Why would they disobey the commandment of Jesus by baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ, if Jesus was just the Son?  The answer here is that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit reside bodily in one person, Jesus Christ. In fact, it was from this argument alone that the Pentecostal church arrived at a similar conclusion, independent from the writings of Swedenborg.


What exactly did Jesus say on this issue?  As he always spoke of his Father, the question actually came up from one of his disciples:
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
(John 14:7-11)
None of the above dialogue makes sense if the Father is a distinct person from Jesus Christ. Why does Jesus say you have now seen the Father? How can two distinct persons reside inside each other? The answer is the Divine itself, the Father, resides in Jesus as the soul does the body, and the body of Jesus, his human form, completely dwelled in the Father as the body does the soul. 


The author of the above article next devotes a whole section entitled "Is the Trinity Contradictory"?  Of course it is, anyone who reads this can see that. If it wasn't contradictory the author would not start to try to fix the logical error. It is so logically contradictory that churches typically avoid talking about it.  Does it lead to enlightenment, or confusion?  Utter confusion. The author goes into a whole dialogue of defining what "essence" is, which is different from "person." And what is "essence"? The author says it is "being." And how, exactly, is "being" different from "person"?  There isn't one, of course. So in the end, what results in the mind of every person who follows this doctrine is one of Tritheism, although with the mouth one will declare it to be one God. In fact, the same arguments used to support a Trinity of three persons can be used to support any polytheistic religion of multiple beings - for they will all say that each of their gods shares one "essence."

All of these arguments, of course, completely ignores the Old Testament, which is rather consistent in presenting one God as one personal being, whose name is Jehovah. And what is the consequence?  A trinity of three distinct persons detracts from a personal relationship with Jesus. How so? In the Lord's prayer, people will now pray to the Father, which is regarded as someone else other than Jesus Christ. When it is seen that the Trinity of three persons is false, that there is only one person Jehovah who became incarnate, then much of the other false theology that uses this as a foundation falls with it, especially vicarious atonement and justification by faith alone. Such a theology is founded on a trinity of three distinct persons.


Most everyone who is born into a particular religion thinks the religion they are born into is the absolute truth. Very few question the authorities concerning what they are taught. Towards the end of a religion, things begin to be taught based on traditions of men rather than revelation. And the trinity of three distinct persons is based on the traditions of men.  There has not been one single revelation where God described himself as three distinct persons. It is all based on writings invented by men, and supported by theologians who are stuck in a very literal interpretation of scripture. When I described this to someone who was Orthodox, his reaction was, how could God allow this for so long? There are many reasons, one of which was that it could not be corrected until the political power of the Catholic Church was overthrown. Immediately after that, once censors became relaxed and the Inquisition lost its power, God revealed the true doctrine in the 18th century: the Trinity is the Divine itself, the Divine Human, and the Divine proceeding. It is the emanation of the Divine in one person. The reason why there are three is that a trine of soul, body and spirit exists in every person.

There are many prophecies in scripture that concerns how the Christian Church would become corrupt towards its end. And we are at that end today. But Jesus is still present with those who follow Him, for he said, "I am with you always, even to the end of the world" (Matt. 28:20).  The world here is not the earth beneath our feet. The world here is the church on earth. Jesus is speaking of the time when the Christian Church becomes so corrupt that there is nothing of Christianity left in it.  We have the following passage:
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Matt. 24:1-3)
So begins the discourse of Jesus concerning the signs of the end times, which symbolically refers to the gradual corruption of the Christian Church in the following ages. In the most literal sense the temple is the Jewish temple, but in a spiritual sense the temple is the Christian church. For each stone to be thrown down means that all of its truth would become corrupt. Corrupt to such a point, that it will fulfill the prophecy of Daniel which predicts that even in the very center of the temple itself there would be a false god, the "abomination of desolation." In the spiritual sense, Jesus said that when one recognizes the church one has been born into is corrupt, to not depart from one's love of God. Don't let a corrupt church corrupt or distort your faith into departing from following Jesus and his commandments. Unfortunately, many have fallen away because of this.


One can recognize when a religion is at its end when it starts to fall into ridiculous reasoning based on fallacious logic. Such happened in Egypt: in very ancient times, they had a true understanding of the one God, and represented different aspects of him in their temples, but in the end the statues that represented a different aspect of God were each worshiped as a personal being. Sound familiar? It should. The argument between the Pharoah of Egypt with his priests and Moses was concerning worshiping the one true God. They had no idea who Jehovah was. And what do we have today? Those who believe in a trinity of three persons will declare any theology that states that God is one personal being as a heresy or unorthodox. That is how bad it is, for their falsehood is used as a measure of the truth.

That the fallacious logic of the trinity of three beings is symbolically portrayed in the argument between Pharoah and Moses can be seen when we look at the symbolic meaning behind the miracles that occurred during the Exodus. The seventh chapter of Exodus symbolically portrays how false logic and fallacies ruled over the people at that time: 
"In this chapter in the internal sense are described the first three degrees of vastation. The first, which is that mere fallacies began to reign with them, whence came falsities, is described by the serpent into which the rod of Aaron was turned. The second, which is that truths themselves became falsities with them and that falsities became truths, is described by the blood into which the waters were turned. The third degree, which is that from falsities they reasoned against the truths and goods of the church, is described by the frogs out of the river." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 7265)
Swedenborg then quotes multiple passages to show how serpents represent the lowest kind of fallacious reasoning, based on an extreme external literalism. That such fallacies would begin to rule over people's thinking and worship in the church is shown in the Apocalypse, where a third of the sea and rivers were turned into blood (Rev. 8:8-11).  And note that the plagues are always by thirds. That a false religion would arise, using false reasoning to deceive others is also foretold in the Apocalypse:
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Rev. 16:13-14)
False reasoning coming out of the mouths of three personal beings? That the dragon, beast, and false prophet symbolizes a false Christian religion, one that divides God into three beings and states that one is saved by faith alone, can be seen in Apocalypse Revealed, or Apocalypse Revealed and Explained, which discusses the symbolism in more detail.

If only we can throw down a staff and have it become a serpent to swallow another serpent to settle this argument with the theologians and ministers who believe in a trinity of three beings once and for all. While I was thinking of Aaron throwing down his staff on the ground in front of Pharoah, I was spinning a penny, and the penny came to a stop. It came to a stop standing up. I just took a photo of it to prove it:

How often does that happen? First time for me. Reminds me of the time I dropped a paper cup containing coffee, and the cup fell perfectly flat on the floor and the coffee converged to the middle in one giant fountain making a glob, and it fell back in without spilling. So perhaps we can settle this argument with theologians by spinning pennies? Because after years and years of study, will Christian theologians admit to their fault? I would certainly give a penny for their thought.

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