"outside of time" argument

by Blotty 66 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • aqwsed12345

    I did not "accuse" anyone of having a psychological problem, at most I pointed out that the fact that if it is difficult for him to review a longer text and interpret it MAY also indicate ADHD, for which is a typical symptom. If this is the case, it is not a moral judgment or a stigma, since he is not responsible for it, but it is a serious disadvantage in an intellectual discussion if his attention quickly fades.

    Of course, it can not only be ADHD, it can also be the zeitgeist of today, everyone wants quick and instant answers, no one takes the burden to delve into something, the education system is also primitive and dumbed down. A hundred years ago, every school taught Latin, often Greek as well, and now there are only books filled with pictures and in a primitive language. If someone was brought up on this and is used to this zeitgeist, of course it is unusual for them that a question is often more complicated, and requeres more sophisticated answers than parroting like 'Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad'.

    The links and studies I referenced above refute Tertullian's abusive and out-of-context citation (typical Watchtowerite dung beetle stategy) that seeks to prop him up in support of a theology he did not actually support.

  • Blotty

    "it wouldn't hurt to prove first whether it is possible for the whole Church to fall into "great apostasy" and that "true Christianity" is supposed to be restored " - bible prophesy's this... I omit the rest because its a longshot.. Israel fell into a string of idolotry.. not hard to believe Catholics would.. now whos the one ignoring the bible.

    ancient writers statements sound like the trinity because its what the council used as a baseline for the arguments.

    "God could not have had a [masterworker]" - holy crap you are really really slow.. shall I list the parallels for the 14th time? shall I list the trinitarian bibles that CR prov with Heb, Col & John? shall I point out no one even in the council said that proverbs wasnt symbolic of Christ

    lol the irony o taking things out of context... you do it all the time, in almost every sentence.

    you do know everlasting can just mean no strict beginning or end point in Hebrew and Greek right? doesn't mean they dont exist in alot of cases (with few exceptions)

    like to see you prove the outside of time argument based on what a heavily biased trinitarian website says - and your the one making the argument, not anyone else.

  • aqwsed12345


    Calm down, mate, take it easy, my goal was not to upset you or to attack you personally, it just annoys me when someone doesn't take the trouble to delve into my thoughts, but instantly "shoots back".

    3. "En archē ēn ho Logos" (John 1:1a) - it's not aorist, but simply imperfect indicative of εἰμί (eimi), which is used to show continuous action in the past, meining that the Logos was pre-existing, ongoing "in the beginning". For the aorist of the copula (eimi, "to be") the verb γίγνομαι (gígnomai, "to come into being", "to become") was used, so it would have been "Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐγένετο ὁ λόγος". The different form of the Greek words depends on how they function in the sentence. For example, ἐγένετο (Genesis 1:3, 5, LXX; John 1:3), γέγονεν (John 1:3), and Γενηθήτω (Genesis 1:3, LXX) come from the verb γίνομαι (become, to come into existence, happen, be made). When John uses these verbs in the same context, ēn implies “existence” and egeneto [ginomai] implies “coming into being.” For example, in John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was [became], I am.’” Whereas Abraham became (genésthai [ginomai]), Jesus pre-existed (egō eimi).

    What is also important here is that "en archē" is exactly the same wording as what we see in the LXX in Genesis 1:1 ("Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς..."), for the Hebrew word “beginning” (בְּרֵאשִׁית, bĕrēʾšît) as an absolute noun “in the beginning”. Prepositional phrases can imply definiteness with the inclusion of the article. John was alluding to the Septuagint usage in Genesis 1:1 which also does not use the article, mimicking Hebrew syntax. So in John 1:1a "in the beginning" by definition means the absolute beginning, when the Logos already "was". Check THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS.

    4. God the Father is not needed to be called "firstborn", because because He - unlike the Son - is unbegotten, thus not born. In the Talmud, the title "Bekorah" is used for God, which means "first-born". Don't forget that, according to Nicene theology, the Son received both his existence and his divinity from the Father, but not in time and not in a derivative, separable manner. Just a reminder: "The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten." (Athanasian Creed)

    5. You have to indicate specifically what you objected to, otherwise this is called "vagueness" or "lack of specificity". Unfortunately, I still didn't find out which of my statements you specifically labeled "Greek philosophy", nor on what grounds you labeled this. The next question is whether labeling it "Greek philosophy" in itself is enough to push its content aside.

    7. "list everything created and where it is called a "creature". Here you are:

    • Mark 16:15 "the gospel to every creature" (πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει)
    • Romans "and served the creature rather than" (ἐλάτρευσαν τῇ κτίσει παρὰ τὸν)
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17 "[he is] a new creature; the old things" (Χριστῷ καινὴ κτίσις τὰ ἀρχαῖα)
    • 1 Timothy 4:4 "Because every creature of God [is] good...") (ὅτι πᾶν κτίσμα θεοῦ καλόν)
    • Galatians 6:15 "but a new creature" (ἀλλὰ καινὴ κτίσις)
    • Hebrews 4:13 "there is a created thing hidden before" (οὐκ ἔστιν κτίσις ἀφανὴς ἐνώπιον)
    • James 1:18 "of firstfruits of his creatures." (τῶν αὐτοῦ κτισμάτων)
    • Revelation 5:13 "And every creature which is" (καὶ πᾶν κτίσμα ὃ ἐν)
    • Revelation 8:9 "third of the creatures which" (τρίτον τῶν κτισμάτων τῶν ἐν)

    There are a few more, but I haven't looked them up in all their inflected forms. The other words meaning "to create" in the New Testament are egeneto (see John 1:3) and poieó (for example Romans 1:20 "...what has been made...", κόσμου τοῖς ποιήμασιν νοούμενα καθορᾶται). Neither of these are used for the Son in the NT.

    You write: "shall we look at the other usages in the lxx where the one called firstborn was not only part of his respective group (sons of, creation etc), but also the first one in a position."

    The genitive does not at all mean that he is included, that "the firstborn of the whole creation" does not mean that the Son is among the creatures, any more than "Lord of worlds" means that the Lord is also a world himself, or "the king of the country" means that the king is also a country himself. The genitive in itself expresses a relation, not "belonging" to a group. If you think he always belongs to that respective group, then it doesn't really mean anything good for you if the Son is also the firstborn of the Father, with this logic this just justifies the "homoousios" doctrine, that the Son "belongs" to the same category as the Father, thus God. Or what about Exodus 4:22? If Israel is "the firstborn of the God", then Israel is also God?

    "Firstborn" is a title of preeminence or of unique relationship with the Father, rather than suggesting that Jesus was a created being. The Son is eternally begotten, not made or created. I point to the rest of Colossians 1, particularly verses 16-17, which suggest that Jesus, the Son, is not part of creation but is instead the agent through whom all things were created.

    "did anyone called firstborn only have pre-emminence and was never born..."

    Why should anyone else than the Son called the way the Son is called? Isn't the Son unique? It's not us, who are practically denying the the Son is actually begotten, and not made of the Father.

    "in Hebrews 11:17 theres a reason monogenes is used of Issac - he is not eternally begotten as trinitarians would have it "

    Lol, here Isaac is not only-begotten Son of God, but of Abraham. Of course only the only-begotten of the God the Father is eternal.

  • aqwsed12345


    ""it wouldn't hurt to prove first whether it is possible for the whole Church to fall into "great apostasy" and that "true Christianity" is supposed to be restored" - bible prophesy's this..."

    No it's not, in fact, the exact opposite was promised, and the verses mentioned by the supporters of the "great apostasy" theory do not justify the disappearance of the true faith for almost two thousand years. I'll copy the substantial arugmentation for you:

    Objections with ‘evidential’ verses
    Various Protestants invoke certain passages, in order to support the alleged apostasy of the Church. They assert that what the Apostle Paul prophesied in his Epistle I to Timothy has been fulfilled, i.e., ‘in later times, some will apostatize from the Faith, paying attention to spirits of deception and to demonic teachings etc.’ But this passage of Timothy I, 4:1 doesn’t imply that the entire Church was supposedly going to apostatize. The verse clearly says that ‘…….. some will apostatize from the Faith….’, not the entire Church! The Holy Bible speaks of those who will apostatize, in other verses also: “…. With faith and an innocent conscience, which some – after discarding it – became shipwrecked in their faith” (Timothy I, 1:19); “which some, in professing it, strayed from the faith” (Timothy I, 6:21). Furthermore, in Acts 20:28-30, there is no inference that the entire Church is going to apostatize; it only says that some men will appear, who will teach the truth falsified” (Evangelic translation “Logos”).
    The Holy Bible says: They came forth from among you, but they weren’t one of your kind; for if they were one of your kind, they would have stayed with you. But they came forth so that it might be revealed, that not all of them are one of your kind.” (John I, 2:19). It is obvious that this verse proves that those individuals who apostatize from the true faith DO NOT remain in the Church, but move out of it, thus allowing the Church to preserve its dogmatic teaching unadulterated!

    The Church cannot apostatize!
    According to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Church cannot apostatize: “… the portals of the underworld shall not overpower” (the Church)” (Matthew, 16:18). The Holy Bible also clearly states that the truth shall remain in the Church forever: “...for the truth, which resides in you, and shall be with you for all time (John II, 2); just as Jesus Christ Himself likewise promises that He shall continuously be with the Church, from the 1st century to the end of time, unfailingly: “I am with you, for all days, until the end of time (Matthew, 28:80). The Holy Spirit also eternally resides in the Church, continuously, from the 1st century: “And I shall ask the Father, and He shall send you another Paraclete, to remain with you to the end of time (John 14:16).
    Therefore, the Church cannot ever apostatize, because Christ – the head of the Church – remains forever joined to His Body, just as the Holy Spirit remains continuously within it, to guide it throughout the truth (John 14:26), hence the truth must also perpetually reside within the Church! If the Church had indeed apostatized, as various teachers of deception claim, it would mean that Christ had given false promises, which He didn’t keep! But, isn’t that a blasphemous conjecture?
    However, some protestants maintain that those promises do apply, but not to the visible Church, only the invisible one! But the Holy Bible doesn’t say that the Church founded by Christ was an invisible one! Quite the opposite, it very clearly talks about a visible Church: “ ….and if someone disobeys them, tell this to the Church; but, if he disobeys the Church also, then you should treat him as a gentile and a tax-collector” (Matthew 18:17). If the Church is invisible, then how does someone speak to the Church, and how does an…. invisible Church reprimand the one who has sinned?
    “For I am the least of the apostles, who is unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God (Corinthians I, 15:9). If the Church were invisible, then how did Paul manage to persecute it?
    “For if one does not know how to govern his own home, how shall he take care of the church of God? (Timothy I, 3:5). How does a bishop take care of an ….. invisible Church?”
    These are just a few of the verses that prove that the Church founded by Christ is definitely visible, and not invisible. Consequently, in this visible Church, the promises that it cannot apostatize hold true, and the truth, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit will remain inside it eternally!

    * * *

    Let's continue:

    "Israel fell into a string of idolotry.."

    ... but not into complete "great apostasy", and of course God did not punish them by handing over the status of the chosen people to another people (back then), but sent them into Babylonian captivity, of course not for two thousand years. God sent prophets to guide and rebuke Israel, not a self-appointed "pastor" from a foreign nation to reinvent the whole true faith from scratch.

    "ancient writers statements sound like the trinity because its what the council used as a baseline for the arguments."

    To your greatest regret, the early Christian sources even before the Nicene Creed do not teach anything else, and except for the term "homoousious", the Nicene Creed uses only New Testament terminology, and its content is completely consistent with the New Testament: "the Son is begotten from the Father before all aions, not made".

    ""God could not have had a [masterworker]" -

    You should just answer the rhetorical question YHWH God asks in Isaiah 44:24. There is clearly no place for a secondary creator demigod. In the Bible, there is only one Creator, God himself (Genesis 2:4-7, Acts 14:15), and God created everything himself with "his own hands" (Neh 9:6, Isa 44:24, 45:12, 48:13, Job 9:2.8, Psalm 95:5-6), thus alone. Creation is the work of God alone and directly. The Bible clearly states that only God can and does create, and does not use secondary agents, co-creator angels, etc. for this. These statements are explicit and clear, and by the way, common sense also supports this. So there is no room left for the archangel Jesus vindicated by WTS.

    "shall I list the trinitarian bibles that" etc.

    No Bible translation is inspired, no translation could be used to justify doctrine.

    " shall I point out no one even in the council said that proverbs wasnt symbolic of Christ"

    Which council said that Proverb 8 is literally about the Son? It's meant as a type (see typology), could be applied to him. First of all, Proverbs is a wisdom book, that's how it shall be interpreted. The Hebrew Bible, from which the Book of Proverbs comes, does not include the concept of God the Father begetting God the Son, as this is a concept from Christian theology, which was developed later.

    Arius' view was summarized in their phrase "there was a time when the Son was not." As you've noted, they interpreted Proverbs 8:22, and specifically the verb ἔκτισέ με in the Greek translation (Septuagint), to support this view. Orthodox Christianity, on the other hand, rejected this interpretation and maintained that the Son is of the same substance as the Father and is co-eternal with the Father.

    It should be highlighted the complexity of Greek and Hebrew words that are often translated into English as "created." In the original languages of the Bible, these words often carried a range of meanings, and their interpretation can greatly influence one's understanding of the nature of Jesus.

    Even Jewish translators (Philo of Alexandria, Aquila, Theodotion, Symmachus) preferred to translate the verb in Proverbs 8:22 as ἐκτήσατο, meaning "acquired" or "possessed." In the Book of Proverbs, the Hebrew verb 'qanah' (קָנָה) is often translated as 'get', 'acquire', or 'gain' in many English translations, in the Book of Proverbs in all instances, 'qanah' denotes the act of obtaining or acquiring wisdom or knowledge.

    Jerome argues that the correct translation of "קנני" (qanani) in Proverbs 8:22 is "possessed" rather than "created." He bases his argument on the distinction between the Hebrew words for "create" (ברא, bara) and "possess" (קנה, qanah). The verb 'bara' (בָּרָא), which means 'create' in Hebrew, is indeed used throughout the Bible to denote the divine act of creating. This verb is exclusively used for divine creation in the Hebrew Bible. It conveys a sense of the initiation of something new, bringing something into existence that was not there before.

    But even the translation of the LXX is not suitable to justify Arianism. For instance, the Greek word ἔκτισέ (ektise) does indeed have nuances. While it often means "created," it can also be understood in the sense of "established" or "ordained." ἔκτισέ in the context of Proverbs 8:22 doesn't mean that Wisdom (interpreted as the Son or Christ) was created, in the sense of being brought into existence, but rather that the Son was appointed or established as the beginning of God's ways. Furthermore, discussing the nature of biblical language, especially focusing on the meaning of the term ἔκτισέ (ektise) which is often translated as 'created', it can be argued that in the context of passages such as Proverbs 8:22, this term does not denote creation out of nothing, but rather a form of making or establishing. The Arians used the ἔκτισέ με (He created me) as a proof of their doctrine of the filius non genitus, sed factus (son not begotten, but made), i.e., of His existence before the world began indeed, but yet not from eternity, but originating in time; while, on the contrary, the orthodox preferred the translation ἐκτήσατο (He acquired me), and understood it of the co-eternal existence of the Son with the Father, and agreed with the ἔκτισε (He created) of the LXX by referring it not to the actual existence, but to the position, place of the Son (Athanasius: Deus me creavit regem or caput operum suorum (God created me as king or head of his works); Cyrill.: non condidit secundum substantiam, sed constituit me totius universi principium et fundamentum (He did not create me according to substance, but established me as the beginning and foundation of the whole universe)). Thus, the Son is not a created being, but rather eternally begotten, sharing the same divine essence with the Father.

    This is further supported by differentiating between the concepts of "made" and "begotten." In Christian belief, "made" implies creation from nothing or from pre-existing materials, while "begotten" suggests an eternal relationship, with no beginning, between the Father and the Son. So, Christ is considered "begotten, not made", which means he shares the same divine nature with the Father and wasn't created at a certain point in time.

  • slimboyfat

    Looking at the NT evidence of the word “firstborn”:

    In Matt 1.25 and Luke 2.7 Jesus is described as Mary’s firstborn son.

    In Romans 8.29 Jesus described as the “firstborn among many brothers” in the new creation.

    In Col 1.18 Jesus is called the “firstborn from the dead”.

    So you can see why the straightforward reading of Col 1.15 is that Jesus truly is “the firstborn of all creation”. Origen, who described Jesus as a creature and the oldest creation, and other pre-Nicene Christians understood the phrase in its straight forward sense. Even in the fourth century dispute with Arius the tendency of Trinitarians was to argue that Col 1.15 “the firstborn of all creation” doesn’t refer to the original creation rather than attempting to deny the meaning of the word “firstborn”.

  • aqwsed12345

    Jesus is the firstborn of Mary: it is customary in the Scriptures to call not the one who is followed by siblings, but the one who is born first, the firstborn. Thus, Paul also calls Christ the firstborn Son of the Father (Heb 1:14; cf. Ex 34:19 Num 18:15). Among the Jews, the firstborn is primarily a legal concept; therefore, it also applies to the only child. Firstborn can mean the same as the only child, as Christ is called in John (1:14), because according to the scriptural language usage, the only children are also called firstborns. See Joshua 17:1. According to the Old Testament legal conception, the firstborn, as the future head of the family, has a distinguished position in the family; he receives a larger portion of the inheritance than the other children.

    Romans 8:29: it's not genetivie what is used, but look after the "ek" in the Greek text, and of course here Paul is talking about Jesus status according to his Incarnation, when He became human as well, talking about the content and nature of adopted sonship of the saved ones, so it is about Jesus coming into the world so that we too may become children of God. The adoption of a son is the adoption of a foreign person for sonship and inheritance. By grace, God not only adopts a stranger (that is, not born from his reality), but a disloyal, hostile, sinful person; and not just in a moral and legal sense, as it happens among people, where adoption does not give the adoptee any inner value; but in a majestic and mysterious way, it compensates for natural birth, as it grafts the seed of divinity into him, making him not only morally, but physically partake in the divine nature, thus imitating the superiority of natural sonship, the community of nature (so to speak, the blood), so that we are now not only in name, but in reality, the sons of God. As a result, our adopted sonship is a copy, a faithful imprint of the eternal filiation of God. At the same time, we have become brothers of Christ in a very special sense; and it is understandable why it is customary to attribute son-ship adoption to the Father. Jesus Christ, who on the one hand as a man of the same nature as us and the firstborn among the brothers is one of us, on the other hand he is completely pure and holy.

    Colossians 1:18 doesn't mean he's the first person to ever die. It means that by His resurrection, He overcame death and made is possible for a new generation of humans called to glorious resurrection (Rom. 8:29). And He took over the power and the primacy over everything.

    Colossians 1:15: the apostle intends to express the preeminence of the Firstborn above of the whole creatured world: Christ existed before the entire created world and stands above it. He is the only-begotten before all creatures, and He Himself is not a creature; for He is the cause of existence for all creatures, and therefore cannot be a creature, as it becomes clear from the continuation of the text: He is the Firstborn of the whole creation BECAUSE in Him all things were created. He is heir of all things, and inherits the throne of his ancestor David. By the way if apply this to the Messianic Kingship of Christ, it's meant according to his Incarnate human natura, according to which, He is a creature, even for the Orthodoxy. This interpretation, as we can see, is also compatible with the interpretation of the Watchtower, apparently they only fight because they lose the very few "proof texts".

    Athanasius wrote:

    Not then because he was from the Father was he called “Firstborn,” but because in him the creation came to be; and as before the creation he was the Son, through whom was the creation, so also before he was called the Firstborn of the whole creation, the Word himself was with God and the Word was God. … If then the Word also were one of the creatures, Scripture would have said of him also that he was Firstborn of other creatures; but in fact, the saints’ saying that he is “Firstborn of the whole creation” demonstrates that the Son of God is other than the whole creation and not a creature. (Discourses Against the Arians II.63)

    Ambrose similarly writes:

    The apostle says that Christ is the image of the Father—for he calls him the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. Firstborn, mark you, not first created, in order that he may be believed to be both begotten, in virtue of his nature, and the first in virtue of his eternity. (Of the Christian Faith I.VII.48)

    John Chyrsostom also wrote a long dissertation on this theme in his 3rd Homily on Colossians.

    And you misinterpret Origen many times, so it seems I am talking to the wall.

  • BoogerMan

    I calmly and respectfully discussed/debated the trinity dogma for over 20 years with someone who had been a trustworthy and loyal friend for over 30 years, until I felt that "flogging the dead horse" was serving no good whatsoever.

    On more than one occasion I suggested that we "agree to disagree" and that one day we'll get the truth. Nope!

    He couldn't let it go - he was on a crusade - and when I declined his offer to watch a 4 minute YouTube video of a Catholic priest trying to "prove" the trinity, my friend went totally ballistic - screaming & shouting at me, falsely accusing me of various motives for my refusal. Based on this, he ended our friendship.

    QUESTION: Why do so many people get bitter & twisted about a dogma which even the Catholic Church admits is an inexplicable mystery?

    If they can't explain it, "Christians" should leave it in the hands of Christ the judge. John 5:28,29, Acts 10:42, Acts 17:31, Romans 14:9, 2 Cor. 5:10, 2 Tim. 4:1, 1 Pet. 4:5, Rev. 11:18 & 20:12.

    The hatred which opposite opinions generate, reveal much regarding John 13:35!

    Just sayin.'

  • aqwsed12345


    In fact, God Himself is a mystery, since the finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite God. The fact that the trinity is a mystery does not mean that what is in Revelation cannot be understood by reason. The doctrine of the Trinity summarizes the biblical data: there is only one God, but at the same time there are three persons, who by nature are what only God can be, and who do things that only God can do. God is one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is not meaningless, it is just beyond reason, unprecedented in the created world: God bless you. it does not resemble human ideas (cf. Acts 17:29). Otherwise, the term "Jehovah" or "theocratic organization" is not in the Bible either. 1 Cor 14:33 does not speak about the being of God, but about the need for church order (i.e. he is the God of peace).

    "Mystery of faith" (mysterium fidei) in the full sense of the word: every religious truth that the mind, with its sheer natural talents, cannot either determine or understand with its specific concepts. Thus, it contains two components: The mind on its own cannot determine its existence, and even if it has gained knowledge of its existence through revelation, it is subsequently unable to justify it with purely natural reasons; moreover, it cannot define its meaning with specific, but only with analogical concepts. In other words: A mystery of faith is such a religious truth for which the mind on its own cannot determine either that the predicate "must" be asserted about the subject, or that the predicate "can" be asserted about the subject; for example, the one God is three persons; Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine. If either of these two components is missing, that is, if the existence of a religious truth can be recognized by reason, but its manner is not comprehensible (for example, God created the world), or its existence cannot be determined by reason, but once we learned it from revelation, its content is already accessible to reason (for example, Christ appointed a head for His Church; there are seven sacraments), then we are not dealing with a mystery of faith in the full sense of the word, a primary mystery, but only with a secondary mystery of faith.

    Those who define the mystery of faith as the incomprehensible, indomitable religious truth do not define it accurately. Because there is something incomprehensible, indomitable in every human knowledge; and that is why the deeper-thinking people of every age talk a lot about the depths and mysteries of existence, and praise the docta ignorantia (Nicholas of Cusa). However, this is something entirely different from the nature of the Catholic mystery. The world of nature hides secrets because our mind does not create its realities but faces them as givens and can only perceive them fragmentarily; the mystery of faith, on the other hand, cannot be measured by reason because it is from the higher, superhuman world of realities.

    The Bible uses the word "mystery" in two different senses. Generally, it tends to refer to an event or phenomenon in which God and man meet each other, and God gives Himself as a gift to man (Eph 1:9; 3:9-11; 5:32; Col 1:26). The other meaning of the mystery in the Bible is concealment and incomprehensibility (Rom 11:25; cf. 11:33-34; 1Cor 15:51; Rev 17:7). In this regard, theologians categorize the mystery of the Trinity among the so-called absolute mysteries (mysteria absoluta).

    The fact that the doctrine of the Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense is indicated by the Jesus himself when he says: "No one knows the Son except the Father; no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." (Mt 11,27.) John the Evangelist: "No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son (the only begotten God), who is in the bosom of the Father, has revealed him." (Jn 1,18) Paul the apostle: "No one knows the things of God, except the Spirit of God." (1 Cor 2:11; cf. 1 Tim 6:16.) Since the Church Fathers Irenaeus and Origen, it has been unequivocally taught that the Trinity surpasses the mind. When the Arians boldly wanted to lift the veil that covers the inner nature of the Deity, their main weapon against their heretical position was reference to the mystery of the Trinity (Iren. II 28, 6; Origen. Princip. IV 1; Athanas. Serap. I 20; Cyril. H. Cat. 4, 7; Basil. Ep. 38, 4; Nazianz. Or. 31, 8; Nyssen. Or. cat. 3; Cyril. Al. Trinit. 3; August. Trinit. IX 1.).

    But what does this mean? It cannot be determined by the mere powers of the natural mind that the one divine reality is a trinity of persons.

    It's not a posteriori: for the a posteriori proof of God starts from the created world and reaches the absolute being through the thread of causality. It is already a theologically established truth that God's trinity as such is not manifested in creation; for God's external activity is the common work of the three persons: Therefore, the mind does not have a foothold in creation to recognize the one God subsisting in three persons as the absolute being.

    And it's not a priori either: we cannot deduce the Trinity from the nature of God known through reason; partly because we do not know the divine reality in a proportionate way, partly because experience does not provide any analogy for a triple relative subsistence of one substance.

    But even if we have come into possession of this mystery through revelation, we can neither understand nor subsequently justify it. For even if the analogy of human spiritual life suggests that God's absolute life cannot lack the richness that feeds on the contrast of spiritual activities and life contents, and even if the mind faithfully following the traces of revelation can penetrate a good way into the cloud hiding the Divinity, its laborious thought processes invariably lose their way at three landmarks in the impenetrable fog sea of the mystery:

    Initially, independently of the revelation, the mind cannot determine that there are only two categories of spiritual activities and capabilities, reason and will, and hence only two origins are possible in God.

    Initially, without revelation, it cannot determine and prove to be necessary that divine life activities are productive; because it is very conceivable from the outset that the object and proportional expression of divine understanding and volition is the independent infinite absolute reality, without the difference of opposing subsistent aspects.

    Independently of revelation, the mind can neither determine nor judge it possible that the one divine absolute reality can be the existential content of three subsistent aspects, which are only value-differently from it, but are really different from each other.

    While the Trinity is a supra-rational truth, it is not irrational, but completely rational. For the Trinity is God's self-revelation. But God is absolute reason, therefore this revelation is the radiance and evidence of absolute reason. God cannot give anything other than what is his essence. True, the Trinity is a mystery in the strict sense of the word, and therefore the human mind cannot fully demonstrate the logic that this mystery contains. But for this very reason, irrationality cannot be demonstrated from it either. The mind on its own can determine that God is immeasurably superior; this unattainability is always maintained for our mind, whether it reaches for it for understanding or for refutation.

    But the mind, illuminated by revelation, can demonstrate in a negative direction that the mystery of the Trinity does not contradict clear arguments, and in a positive direction it can catch a ray of the abundance of light bursting forth from it.

    The doctrine of the Trinity could only be shown to be irrational if it contradicted any logical principle, namely the principle of identity and contradiction. But this is not the case. We do not say that the same subject is one and three, but we affirm that the divine reality is one, and the persons are three; or we call the substance one and we state the subsistence as relatively three.

    Indeed, the content of the mystery of the Trinity (the triple relative subsistence of one absolute reality) contradicts experience, even the metaphysical findings derived from the material of experience. But its irrationality cannot be inferred from this. For every deeper thinking person has sensed that experience does not exhaust the categories and possibilities of existence, and that is why even within this world, the mind inferring from the present to the past, from the here to the far, is cautiously warned not to hastily infer from non-existence to impossibility. This is particularly true when the mind, leaving the ground of experience beneath itself, rises toward the regions of the absolute Being, where, according to the strict requirement of natural theology, every metaphysical concept must be re-evaluated with the triple method of God-knowledge. Therefore, it cannot be said that the relatively triple subsistence of the absolute Being is irrational; the less so, because reason also determines that God is above the sexes, therefore the Aristotelian categories cannot set a limit to his existential content and mode of existence.

    The mind can first and foremost pour its content into systematically processed concepts and thus speak appropriately about it; it can determine which expressions and phrases correspond to the content of the mystery and which do not.

    The general rule of speaking about the Trinity is: everything in God is one, where there is no contrast of relations; therefore, if the excellence of nature is the predicate, the subject can be nature or a person; if the predicate is personal excellence, the subject can only be a person. If we now consider that the concrete noun (and the male adjective in Indo-European languages) generally denotes the autonomous reality, the suppositum, hence the person in the doctrine of the Trinity, the abstract noun (and the neuter adjective) denotes the nature, it is generally not difficult to navigate and determine the correctness or incorrectness of a phrase or expression. Thus,

    a) we can say that the Father, as well as the Son and the Holy Spirit, are eternal, omnipotent, etc., but we cannot speak of three eternal or omnipotent entities.

    b) It is correct: the Son is someone else (alius) than the Father, but not: the Son is something else (aliud). It's correct: the one God is in three distinct persons (in tribus personis distinctis), not correct: the one God is divided into three persons (in tribus personis distinctus), as this endangers the unity of the essence.

    c) We can say: God begets, God breathes; the Son is God from God; because the concrete noun signifies the suppositum; but we can't say: divinity begets, divinity is Father. However, often the established language usage decides. The speech of the believer cannot roam freely like that of the philosopher; "our speech must be according to a definite rule, lest the liberty of speech should generate an impious belief about the thing itself". (August. Civ. Dei X 23.) If anywhere, here, in the mystery of mysteries, Paul's warning is appropriate: "O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter". (1 Tim 6,20. How much the sealed language usage of the Church decides is a telling example: the Latin Deus triplex is incorrect, but the identical etymon, dreifaltig, threefold is orthodox.)

    The believing mind may attempt, in the humble consciousness of its limitations, to illuminate some aspects of the mystery of the Trinity with analogies taken from natural or supernatural life. Of course, it must not forget that in these there will always be more difference than similarity; each one is only good for casting a faint, fading light on one aspect of the mystery. The Greek church fathers used more external analogies: the sun, its light, its ray; in a tree the root, trunk, flower; plant, flower, fragrance; source, stream, estuary; three torches that are ignited from each other (perhaps better: three torches whose flames merge). The newer catechesis and speculation also refer to other analogies: the three dimensions of space, the three moments of time (past, present, future); the three moments of processes: beginning, continuation, end; the three transcendent basic properties: one, true, good; the three basic categories of causality: real, formal and goal-cause (with the last two in relation to the three proofs of God the onto-, nomo-, teleological). The most fruitful analogy, however, is human spiritual life. The Greeks also stayed more on the surface here, as they associated the second divine person, the Word, with the spoken word, the Holy Spirit with the breath. The brilliant mind of Augustine reached the root of spiritual existence, and there he found the purest mirror image of the Trinitarian origins: "The Trinity gives a certain image of itself in the intellect and in the knowledge, which is the offspring of the intellect: the word it says about itself; thirdly, love; and these three are one substance. And the Begotten One is not less, for the intellect knows itself as much as its existence is; and love is not less, for it loves itself as much as it knows itself, and as much as it exists". (August. Trinit. IX 12, 18.)

    If we consider any of the aspects that make up the mystery of the Trinity as given from the revelation, we can almost unravel the rest along its thread; a clear sign of how powerful logic prevails in all the relations of the Trinity. For example, if we take this truth as given: there are two fertile origins in God, we can deduce that these origins are immanent, eternal, and substantial, that their product can only be a person and there can only be three persons, two of whom generate the third as one principle.

    Finally, the believing mind can reveal the philosophical, theological, and religious significance of the mystery of the Trinity.

  • BoogerMan

    "...it is just beyond reason..."

    I rest my case!

  • aqwsed12345

    According to Catholic dogma, there are two inherent, eternal, and substantial processes in God: one by which the second divine person originates from the first as the Son from the Father, which therefore bears the name generation, begetting, birth (generatio), and one by which the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as from one principle, which we call spiration (spiratio).

    A procession (processio, ἐκπόρευσις) generally refers to a process that starts from one reality and ends at another, with the content being the real existence of the endpoint originating from the starting point. Since God is simple, in God there can only be immanent processions: the starting and endpoint of the procession cannot exceed the boundaries of the divine reality, but remains entirely within the Godhead. And since the Godhead itself cannot be divided in its essence, the resulting reality can only encompass the entire, undivided divine reality; in other words, divine procession can only be substantial, that is, the resulting reality can only be God. Finally, since God is pure actuality (actus purus), processions in God cannot represent transitions from potentiality to actuality; that is, they are eternal. Therefore, the originator cannot exert a creative, constitutive, or causative activity in relation to the originated; hence, the originating persons cannot be called the cause of the originated but only their principle (principium); the principle is a more general concept than cause and does not necessarily express a causal relationship; for example, the point is the principle of the line, but not its cause.

    In the Prologue to the Epistle to the Hebrews (1:5), the divinity of Christ is proclaimed, referring to these words of the second psalm: "You are my Son, today I have begotten you." Christ says that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (Jn 15:26). Based on such biblical revelations, theology talks about the Trinitarian origins or derivations (processiones trinitariae), and about two forms of origins. Theologians refer to the origin of the Son as generation or birth (generatio), and that of the Holy Spirit as simple origin or derivation (processio simpliciter).

    Since each person of the Trinity is God, and God has existed eternally, it is utterly impossible for any divine person to precede the others in time; and since the persons share a single nature, no hierarchical difference can arise among them. Therefore, the Trinitarian origins merely signify logical succession, that is, the logical rationale (ratio) and principle basis (principium) of one person are different from those of another. The Father is a Father by constantly transmitting his essence to the Son from eternity, and the Son is a Son by eternally accepting this essence, in which the essence of the Father is eternally reflected. This acceptance, this becoming of the person in reflection, is what we call sonship or birth. The divine essence is the same in all three persons, but the "mode of existence" of this essence is quite different in the Father, who eternally imbues it into the Son, and in the Son, who eternally accepts it, and in the Holy Spirit, to whom the Father and the Son also eternally transmit it, and who accepts it from them.

    The earliest church fathers tried to illustrate the birth of the Son with analogies. Just as the rays of the sun constantly emanate from the sun as long as it exists, and just as water constantly trickles from an inexhaustible spring as long as the spring exists; the Son is similarly constantly born from the Father, indeed eternally, since the Father exists eternally. The "today" in the second Psalm refers to God's "eternal present," as there is no past and future, yesterday and tomorrow, for Him - as the dogma about God's eternity teaches. The Trinitarian origins are eternal origins. The church fathers' analogies are only partly accurate, and can be critiqued from multiple perspectives. For instance, the sun is the physical cause of the rays, the spring is of the brook, but physical causality must be excluded from God: God is not a cause of Himself (causa sui), but the spiritual rationale of His being (ratio sui), which means that the rationale of His existence is not to be found outside Him, but within Him. Nor are the aforementioned analogies good because the spring's water would be more if it didn't flow out as a brook, but the divine essence cannot lose anything in the Trinitarian origins, neither with the birth of the Son, nor with the origin of the Holy Spirit; since God is absolutely unchanging and indivisible. Due to the same unchangeability, neither the Son can gain anything extra by being born, nor the Holy Spirit by originating. The birth of the Son and the origin of the Holy Spirit - as stated above - may only create a different mode of existence for the same divine essence, but by no means a change. Because of this identity of essence, classical Trinitarianism calls the Trinitarian origins substantial origins (processiones substantiales). The latter also means that not only the originator but also the originated is God, as these origins are the various forms of existence of the common divine essence (substantia).

    According to Augustine, since God is spirit, we should look for analogies in the realm of spiritual processes when we want to study God's inner life.

    One of the most important manifestations of our spiritual life is the formation of concepts, the birth of our notions. Just as an unexpressed concept (verbum mentis) is conceived, born in our consciousness, the Son is born from the Father in the same way. The Son is essentially nothing more than the concept that the Father forms of himself, his self-knowledge, which on the one hand has always been there, and on the other hand possesses such power, intensity that it becomes a separate person.

    Since God is the infinite perfection of all values (true, good, beautiful, holy), and these values provoke spiritual love from the soul, the Father also infinitely loves himself as a totality of value, and this infinite love must also be reflected in the Son. The love of the Father reflected in the Son and the reflection of this love in the Father, as if “bouncing back”, is essentially one and eternal love, and it is also so intense that it becomes a separate person, the person of the Holy Spirit.

    Augustine's analogy has three advantages:

    a) It aptly shows that we can rightly speak of a spiritual kind of birth and origin, such as we encounter with the persons of the Trinity.

    b) What is born in the human soul as self-knowledge, and what is created as love, can also be "immanent": the originated does not "step out" of the originator in this case, just as the spoken word "steps out" of the speaker, or as the born child essentially separates from its mother. This immanence characterizes the Trinitarian origins: the life of the Son, indeed his entire essence, is identical with that of the Father, he does not step out of him, he does not separate from him in any reality; similarly, the life and essence of the Holy Spirit remains the same with the other two persons and stays within them.

    c) The divine and human self-knowledge are similar in that the birth of both can be equally referred to as conception and birth. Since the conception and birth of our thoughts coincide in time, not as it happens in the birth and conception of animals and humans. That's why these two expressions are completely synonymous: "the Father has been begetting the Son from eternity", and "the Father has been giving birth to the Son from eternity".

    Of course, there are essential differences between divine and human self-knowledge and self-love. These were already noticed by Augustine. Divine and human self-knowledge and self-love primarily differ from each other in that our conscious self-knowledge and self-love are not present from the first moment of our existence. Another difference is that human self-knowledge gradually unfolds, and even so, it does not become entirely perfect; the same goes for our self-love. Our internal image formed about ourselves never fully reflects what we are. However, the Father, without residue, perfectly "speaks into" his entire essence to the Son and loves him in the Holy Spirit. The third and most important difference is this: The intensity, the power of God's self-knowledge and the mutual love of the first two persons of the Trinity is such that this knowledge and love transcends the realm of thought (ens rationis) and enters the realm of reality (ens reale): it becomes a separate divine person that really exists, although its immanence also remains.

    We assert that the Father is without origin and birth (principium sine principio).

    Indeed, the Scripture attributes origin to the other two persons, but never to the Father, and by this, it implicitly teaches his lack of origin. Early patristics applied such descriptors to the Father: without beginning (anarchos, ἄναρχος, ἀναίτιος), uncreated (agenetos, ἀγένητος), unbegotten (agennetos, ἀγέννητος), there is no principle from which he would originate. This statement, however, is linguistically negative in meaning, yet it proclaims the positive that the Father possesses the common divine essence in such a way that He does not receive it from anyone, but only gives it to the Son and, together with the Son, to the Holy Spirit. The Father is "principium sine principio". He is the ultimate solution to the origin of the other two persons.

    Paul considers the fatherhood of God so important that – as we have already seen – instead of Father, he sometimes says God. He is primarily the "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Cor 1:3), to whom Jesus turns not only as a human, but also as the second divine person, with feelings of devotion and mutual love; and as the God-man, he comes into the world as the Father's emissary (John 3:17), emptying himself (Phil 2:7) to reconcile the world with the Father and make humans God's children. His entire human life is childlike devotion before the heavenly Father, from whom he received his divine essence, and whom in this sense he can call greater than himself (John 14:28). His perfect self-sacrifice is both a model and a means for humans to become children of the heavenly Father in a non-identical, but analogous sense. Because God also wants to be primarily a Father to us: "For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son; that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren" (Romans 8:29; cf. Galatians 3:26). The characteristic warmth of the New Testament is that God spoke the final word to humanity as Father. He sent his Son and revealed through him that he accepts humanity into his merciful love.

    The Son originates from the Father through generation, begetting, birth.

    This follows from the fact that the second person is a son to the Father not only in a moral sense, but also in a metaphysical sense. According to the Scriptures,

    a) the second divine person is the only-begotten Son of the Father in a natural sense, in the metaphysical sense of the word (φύσει not θέσει, that is, not by adoption). However, the natural son originates from the father by generation.

    b) This is also formally taught in the New Testament, when it correctly interprets the places in the Old Testament that refer to the Son's birth. So: "To which of the angels did He ever say (the Father): 'You are my Son, today I have begotten you'?" (Heb 1:5–Ps 2.) "The seas were not yet, and I was already conceived." (Prov 8:24) Furthermore: "No one has ever seen God; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has declared him." (Jn 1:18; cf. 1,1.)

    c) The Father is the primal model and source of all fatherhood: "For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity [i.e. fatherhood] in heaven and earth is named." (Eph 3:14.) Similarly, the second divine person is the primal model and form of all sonship: "For those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Rom 8:29 cf. Gal 3:26) However, sonship is characterized by origination through generation. If this were missing in the Son, it would be a false or distorted primal model and pattern.

    Sonship in the natural, metaphysical sense necessarily presupposes generation or being generated. Therefore, he is the "own" Son (Rom 8:3), the "only-begotten" Son (John 1:14; 1 John 4:9) of the Father. Following the letter to the Hebrews (1:5), we can also refer to two expressions of the Psalms: to give birth (110:3), to give life (2:7).

    This is also the universal teaching of the Church Fathers even before the Council of Nicaea. According to Justin, the Logos is that God whom the Father has begotten (Justin. I 61 62). The teachings of the Apologists are somewhat obscured by their less successful attempts to associate the birth of the eternal Word with the creation of the world (Clem. Al. Adumbr. (Μ 9, 734), Origen. in Jer hom. 9, 4). The Alexandrians and Tertullian are more precise in this regard (Tertull. Prax 2 8 9; Marc. II 27.). Later, in opposition to the Arians, especially the Greek Church Fathers defended the eternity of the Son's generation (the Arians' main argument was that the begotten is later than the begetter, see: Nyssen. Eunom. (M 45, 441 ff.); Basil. Eunom. II 17; cf. Thom I 42, 2.); also the necessity of this generation (according to the Arians, God could not be forced to beget, so the Son exists by the will of the Father, that is, he was created), which, however, is as different from blind compulsion as the free decision to create (See Athanas. Ctra Ar. or. 3, 60 ff. cf. 1, 21–28; Nazianz. Or 29, 1.); and finally, its substantial and spiritual nature (according to the Arians, generation involves division), which is compatible with God's absolute simplicity (Athanas. Decret. Nicean. 13; Nyssen. Eunom. IV. (M 45, 617 ff.); Cyrill. A. Thesaur. 6.).

    We must understand the Son's generation or birth based on the pattern of earthly children's generation, but not in an identical, but in an analogous sense. For God is spirit, so only a spiritual birth can occur with him. However, the analogy is maintained, so we must speak of a real birth. Because here everything is realized that is included in the definition of earthly birth: the living comes from the living, the two have a living connection, and the origin implies essential identity.

    When we say "verbum mentis" with Augustine, we emphasize the immanence of the Son. However, when we see birth in the Son's origin, we do not emphasize immanence, but the communication, the "handing over" of identical nature.

    The sonship of the second person is also of great significance in the order of salvation. According to Paul, the Father created everything in him that is in heaven and on earth, and everything subsists in him (Col 1:16-17). Even before the creation of the world, the Father chose the called ones in him (Eph 1:4). For the Father constantly speaks his eternal thoughts into the Son, so the Son could be the Father's measure in the creation of the world. Therefore, he is the founder of God's kingdom, he is the norm of all moral perfection, therefore he will be the measure and executor of the last judgement. The final state is formed in such a way that the Father brings together all created values under his sovereignty (Eph 1:10). The Son is also the "causa formalis" of our individual supernatural life, insofar as the grace, the giving of which is the common work of the three divine persons, transfers the image of sonship to the justified human soul. We will become children of the Father in the same form as Christ is in childlike relation to the heavenly Father. Thus we become partakers of Christ's divine sonship and become co-heirs with him. And just as the Spirit connects Christ with the Father, the Holy Spirit will also be the soul of our childlike relationship.

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