He’s drowning, and I can’t swim well enough to save him (metaphorically).
Pejman, an Iranian-Jewish attorney and one of the best voices in the blogosphere, has innocently walked into dangerous country. He asks:
How does the Trinity work, exactly?
Jesus died for our sins, according to Church teachings. Does that mean that we are now without original sin?
And the answers he’s gotten: Aiyiyiyiyi.
One man writes:
About original sin: I don’t need to tell you that o.s. is a kind of metaphor for flawed human nature, with its innate propensity to evil. Having been born just one month after V.I. Lenin went to his reward; having been 12 when my German-speaking mother developed the habit of throwing her apron over her head while listening to Hitler on the short-wave (moaning “Schrecklich, schrecklich!”) all the while; having learned at 15 that my eldest brother’s best friend, a brilliant idealistic young Jew who volunteered to fight in Spain, had been shot by his comrades for the crime of insufficient Stalinism, I personally have never had any problem with believing in original sin.
Which I think is very good, but then:
Sadly, the doctrine is that the death of Jesus enables forgiveness of personal trespasses for those who sincerely repent. It did not expunge original sin. That is what the sacrament of baptism is all about. The squalling infant at the baptismal font is in danger of never being admitted to the presence of God even if it should have the misfortune of dying innocent of personal transgression. Hence the “need” for baptism to expunge the stain of original sin.
It is purely ritual, independent of any personal volition. Once admitted to christianity by baptism, one cannot cease to be christian, one can only become an apostate. The catechism will more than suffice to explain this draconian doctrine.
Sorry to go on at such great length. Briefly, the Father is the God of the Torah–pure disembodied Intellect, Will, and Power. He thinks; He thinks in words; the Word of God made human flesh is Jesus, the Son. The Holy Spirit is the eternal relationship of love between Father and Son. There you have it: a huge, indigestible lump of mystery that has to be taken on faith. If one can swallow that, all the rest–Incarnation, Immaculate Conception (which means the man Jesus was born free of original sin), virgin birth, miracles, crucifixion and resurrection, moral precepts–all is relatively easy.
Father = Brahma – Creator
The Son = Vishnu – Sustainer
Holy Ghost = Shiva – Destroyer
A Hindu take on the Christian holy trinity.
The “Holy Trinity” is peppers, onions, & celery, as any New Orleanian could tell y… what? We’re not talking Red Beans & Rice recipies? D’oh! At least with Red Beans, there’s never been a war over the ingredients. (As opposed to how the whole “Pops, Junior, & The Spook” thing works…)
Here’s one that’s not bad:
Re: the Trinity, think of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with this analogy:
God is the sun in the sky. Jesus is the light emananting from the sun. The Holy Spirit is the heat emananting from the sun. All of them are one with separate properties, and each is dependent upon and useless without the other. What good would the sun be if it gave no light or heat? And heat and light could not exist without a source.
I love this one:
Pejman, What a marvelous question, and one that I cannot deign to answer. However, the spark you started grew into a raging fire as noted in all of the above answers from other worthies. I know that the Trinity is accepted by faith, whether understood or not. My grandfather was a Methodist Minister and I remember a wonderful sermon he gave on the subject. I remember being mesmerized by his eloquence, but I do not remember the text. Regardless, the upshot of his sermon was that the concept of the Trinity was a matter of faith, not proof.
My grandfather explained it all in a sermon, which I forgot. It’s probably a little like those dreams when you finally understand your own Purpose in Life and then wake up.
Sinfulness is our nature, our natural state without Grace. Salvation, Christ’s death on the cross, is the redemptive intercession of a loving God that enables Grace into our lives.
No, no, no. Humanness is our nature. Sinfulness is added on.
[quoting from another post]”Seems to me a subtlety about this also separates the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, but I forget the details.”
IIRC (and to vastly simplify), in large part it came down to a dispute over whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, or just the Father.
The religious wars that have resulted from this has caused me to have some sympathy towards the notion that the Devil invented the notion of the Trinity in order to give men yet another reason to kill one another.
Thank you for that vast simplification.
And then there’s this:
I recently read the version of the New Testament most popular in the USA (King James) and came away with the idea, sort of, that the Father is the God of the Jews, the Son came about when God through Mary created Jesus as a human and the Holy Ghost was God within when the individual accepts Jesus’ life as the son of God, his death by crucifixion and resurrection. And further that the holy trinity is the one God. As for original sin, I see it simply as disobedience of God. Hope my 2 cents doesn’t cloud the issue further, but you either believe or not, it’s our freedom to choose that makes us culpable for our actions. I also believe anyone who wants to harm others over the differences of opinion on this subject has totally missed the point of the Christ. Good luck.
“Begotten, not made,” the creed says. Thanks for the wish of luck. We’re all going to need it.
It also is the reason the Arabs didn’t sign on – that whole “3=1” thing is a little much for anyone familiar with math. You have better luck with ignorant goat-herders and fishermen.
Uh, the Middle East was Christian until the Muslim conquests beginning in the seventh century. Muhammed himself may have missed the Trinitarian nuance, having come into contact with Nestorian Christians. But St. Athanasius, who did a lot of the fourth-century groundwork in the Trinity, was from Alexandria (Egypt).
I like this one a lot:
Sheldon Vanauken, a student of C.S. Lewis, compared God to an author, and Christ as the character in the story who is the author. He’s creator and unlimited, and he injects himself into the story (the World) as one character, who leads and is the sacrificial lamb. And as one of the characters he’s the same as us, limited and subject to temptation.
And here’s one that has me wondering if I missed something:
One can go on and on : one of the major causes of the Great Schism of 1054 between the western and Orthodox churches was over whether Christ was both man and God, or man and God separately.
After a nice quote from Francis Schaefer, this one finds sibling rivalry among the three Persons of the Trinity:
If God is self-sufficient, He must also be capable of sacrifice without dependence on creation. Sacrifice involves three components: the sender and recipient of the sacrifice, and the thing to be sacrificed. Prior to creation, what would the persons of the Trinity have to sacrifice? Attention. Remember the old saying, “Two’s company, three’s a crowd?” All things being equal, when two people are together each receives 100% of the other’s attention. Throw in a third person, and each person present must divide his/her attention between two people. Jesus could sacrifice his life on Earth because He has always sacrificed.
Perhaps predictably, the Presbyterian response goes on for two screens. (I skipped it.)
This one gets right to the heart of the translogical logic:
There most certainly is a Christian doctrine of the Trinity that is not a matter of sectarian opinion, and it is really quite simple. This formulation is very ancient and considers the Trinity as a doctrine made up of six propositions along with the assumption that there is only one God. Each of these propositions are quite easily found in the Bible. They are as follows:
1. The Father is God
2. The Son is God
3. The Holy Spirit is God.
4. The Father is not the Son.
5. The Son is not the Holy Spirit.
6. The Holy Spirit is not the Father.
Not a bad baseline, to my mind.
OK. I’m going to weigh in. I won’t drown, just get all wet.
I’m back. My answer went on for two screens also, and if there’s any justice after my snarky comment above, no one will read it either.