Modalism + Partialism = Trinitarianism?

Longfellow

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The Trinity doctrine looks to me like some strings of words that can help people avoid some ways of thinking about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that can impede our. progress and limit our possibilities in our relationship with God. Trying to explain it or even understand it, and arguing and debating about whether it’s true or false, is missing the whole point of it.

(later) I’m thinking that part of the misunderstanding is thinking of the Abrahamic religions as “monotheistic.” The God of Abraham has no number. He is not limited to the number “one.” The passages in the scriptures that are commonly understood as monotheism are not about how many of Him there are. They are about how many others there are like Him: none.

Another way to think of it is as a mnemonic device for avoiding some possible ways of misunderstanding the scriptures that can get in the way of learning from them and what they can do for us. For example, Jesus says things that only God can say truthfully, and does things that only God can do. If we deny that He is God, that can lead to misunderstanding or even denying those parts of the scriptures. Jesus talks to the Father, and about the Father. If we deny that they are distinct persons, that can lead to misunderstanding or even denying those parts of the scriptures. To put it another way, if we deny that Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, then we will misunderstand or shut out what some parts of the scriptures are telling us. If we deny that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct from each other, then we will misunderstand or shut out what some other parts of the scriptures are telling us. It's all about not deforming or discounting what God is telling us in the scriptures. Arguing about whether it's true or not outside of that context is missing the whole point, and can never lead to anything but endless, aimless and mostly divisive debating.
 
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Longfellow

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From some discussions that I’ve seen, and what I’ve read, I’m thinking that the Trinity doctrine was and is a response to people trying to resolve what look like contradictions in the scriptures by interpreting them in ways that resolve the contradictions, or by simply denying the authenticity of some parts of them. Either way is either deforming or shutting out part of what the scriptures are telling us. For example, Jesus says things that only God can say truthfully, and does things that only God can do, but He also calls God His Father, and talks to Him, and about Him, in terms of an interpersonal relationship between them. Sometimes people see a contradiction in that and try to resolve it by denying the authenticity of some parts of the scriptures or interpreting them in some way that resolves the contradiction for them. I’m thinking that either way is deforming or shutting out some parts of the scriptures, and depriving us of the knowledge, wisdom and power in them. I’m thinking that’s the whole reason for the Trinity doctrine. There isn’t any reason to try to promote it or defend it outside of that context. All that does is divert attention from what the scriptures are saying, and repel people away from them.
 
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RJM

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From some discussions that I’ve seen, and what I’ve read, I’m thinking that the Trinity doctrine was and is a response to people trying to resolve what look like contradictions in the scriptures by interpreting them in ways that resolve the contradictions, or by simply denying the authenticity of some parts of them. Either way is either deforming or shutting out part of what the scriptures are telling us. For example, Jesus says things that only God can say truthfully, and does things that only God can do, but He also calls God His Father, and talks to Him, and about Him, in terms of an interpersonal relationship between them. Sometimes people see a contradiction in that and try to resolve it by denying the authenticity of some parts of the scriptures or interpreting them in some way that resolves the contradiction for them. I’m thinking that either way is deforming or shutting out some parts of the scriptures, and depriving us of the knowledge, wisdom and power in them. I’m thinking that’s the whole reason for the Trinity doctrine. There isn’t any reason to try to promote it or defend it outside of that context. All that does is divert attention from what the scriptures are saying, and repel people away from them.
People who believe in the Trinity believe that it tries to describe, in human terms, a divine, spiritual relationship (God) with nature (Man). It is a mystery, that leads to deeper contemplation. The doctrine is the shell of the nut.

Catholics believe in God REALLY -- not as a man made construct -- and that God (really) guides the church: "And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matt 16:18)

People may not like the mystery, but trying to reduce it to simplistic binary concepts, and taking human terms like Father and Son literally, is not what it's about. IMO

Just my thoughts ...
 
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Thomas

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If god was a trinity then tell me what part of you is this trinity.
Me, as an existing entity, my consciousness of me, that the 'me' which considers who and what I am, and what that self-reflective process engenders about me, and the world around me.
Everything comes down to the law of minds.
For me, 'Mind' is dynamic and reaches through different sphere of being – I would use the term Intellect – there is no space nor time in Mind, so there is no inside nor outside, no higher nor lower – all creation is Mind manifesting Itself as instances, as particular humans, particular minds, as particular other modes of being.

All they had to do is become more minds then anything else to figure him out. If I can figure you out I have more minds then you do, and if you have more minds then me you can figure me out.
No, you're talking quantity – 'more minds' – but those minds are the same, and think the same way. They cannot transcend their own level of being and knowing. There is a hierarchy. Minds are not at the top.
So you see they just needed to find a mind that nothing else could figure out, and was so many more minds then anything else.
In Christianity we have Logos, which is the Mind of God, as it were. He is the logos, we are logoi.
When you talk of the trinity it just makes no sense to me when god is himself only nothing else.
LOL, Trinity is not figuring God out, Trinity is a response to the question, if there is only God, why is there anything else? The Christian doctrine is informed by Revelation, a disclosure, if you like, of the Mind of God. I haven't figured God out, and nor can your minds figure God out, as they are not God.
The reason or driving force behind life is that nothing can become god or figure him out this paradox forms life and is why you are yourself only and not a pile of mixed ingredients laying on the floor.
That's circular logic. That's the driving force behind trying to figure things out, not life. There is more to life than Mind. There is more to God than Mind.
 

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The Trinity doctrine looks to me like some strings of words that can help people avoid some ways of thinking about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that can impede our. progress and limit our possibilities in our relationship with God. Trying to explain it or even understand it, and arguing and debating about whether it’s true or false, is missing the whole point of it.
OK, two things here: To be a Christian does not require a profound insight into the doctrines of the Church. The doctrines are there to preserve the truth of Revelation. That mystery, which is essentially what it is. Most people are content to rest in the Mystery. As my dear departed mother used to say, "I love hearing you talk theology, but all that matters to me is the Eucharist."
That's the right way round.

I’m thinking that part of the misunderstanding is thinking of the Abrahamic religions as “monotheistic.”
Most Abrahamics don't think in terms of One God, they just think in terms of God. They don't entertain the notion.

Another way to think of it is as a mnemonic device for avoiding some possible ways of misunderstanding the scriptures that can get in the way of learning from them and what they can do for us. For example, Jesus says things that only God can say truthfully, and does things that only God can do. If we deny that He is God, that can lead to misunderstanding or even denying those parts of the scriptures. Jesus talks to the Father, and about the Father. If we deny that they are distinct persons, that can lead to misunderstanding or even denying those parts of the scriptures. To put it another way, if we deny that Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, then we will misunderstand or shut out what some parts of the scriptures are telling us. If we deny that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct from each other, then we will misunderstand or shut out what some other parts of the scriptures are telling us. It's all about not deforming or discounting what God is telling us in the scriptures. Arguing about whether it's true or not outside of that context is missing the whole point, and can never lead to anything but endless, aimless and mostly divisive debating.
The doctrines of Incarnation and Trinity are doctrines that accept all that Scripture says and denies none of it.

When people try and argue against the Trinity, or the Incarnation, they always cite this verse at the expense of that.

The various interpretations of Christianity all weight certain aspects of Scripture some way. They accept this, and refute that. They choose to say this is the Word of God, that isn't, usually based on little other than the limits of their own credulity, and the unconscious inability to all God absolute credibility.

Someone – Tertullian, I think – famously said, "I believe it, because it is impossible!" Tertullian was a great orator, he was trained in Roman jurisprudence. He had some wonderful turns of phrase, and is credited with coining the Latin term Trinity (his detractors would say invented it). When he made this statement, he wasn't being foolish, perhaps a tad hyperbolic.

The point is, people decide what God can and cannot do, who God is and is not, based on their own credibility.

Many, many Christians see God as an old man, sitting on a cloud, with a long white beard ... it's a childish and innocent image, but metaphorically, in many ways, correct and entirely fitting. But the point is, those people do not go into lengthy explanations, quoting Scripture and the Sages, to make their point ... they just hold to the image because it comforts them.

Mind twisting theological contortions, discussions of comparative religion, symbol and metaphor, trawling through the writings of the Fathers, contemplations on the Multiple States of Being, are God's way of comforting me. As long as I don't lose sight of the 'one thing necessary'. It's my vocation, it's not everyone's.

My mum once said, "I love listening to you talk theology, but as long as I have the Eucharist, nothing else matters."

If you want good Christian practice, look at my mum.

A Zen master was once praised for the excellence of his spiritual practice. Truly a man who lived in the moment, all that good Zen no-mind stuff. "You want to see a master?" he said. "Come with me."
He took them outside, and walked round the village until he came to a house where a basket-weaver was sitting outside his door, weaving a basket. "There," he said, pointing to the man. "There is a master."

+++

I'm a firm believer in mystagogy – the ongoing practice of spiritual formation – but I argue that it should be there for people who seek it, not that it should be required of a Christian.
 

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Me, as an existing entity, my consciousness of me, that the 'me' which considers who and what I am, and what that self-reflective process engenders about me, and the world around me.

For me, 'Mind' is dynamic and reaches through different sphere of being – I would use the term Intellect – there is no space nor time in Mind, so there is no inside nor outside, no higher nor lower – all creation is Mind manifesting Itself as instances, as particular humans, particular minds, as particular other modes of being.


No, you're talking quantity – 'more minds' – but those minds are the same, and think the same way. They cannot transcend their own level of being and knowing. There is a hierarchy. Minds are not at the top.

In Christianity we have Logos, which is the Mind of God, as it were. He is the logos, we are logoi.

LOL, Trinity is not figuring God out, Trinity is a response to the question, if there is only God, why is there anything else? The Christian doctrine is informed by Revelation, a disclosure, if you like, of the Mind of God. I haven't figured God out, and nor can your minds figure God out, as they are not God.
I think when @powessy uses the word 'minds' he intends more than the usual meaning of the term? More like essences, or existences ...
 

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Me, as an existing entity, my consciousness of me, that the 'me' which considers who and what I am, and what that self-reflective process engenders about me, and the world around me.

For me, 'Mind' is dynamic and reaches through different sphere of being – I would use the term Intellect – there is no space nor time in Mind, so there is no inside nor outside, no higher nor lower – all creation is Mind manifesting Itself as instances, as particular humans, particular minds, as particular other modes of being.


No, you're talking quantity – 'more minds' – but those minds are the same, and think the same way. They cannot transcend their own level of being and knowing. There is a hierarchy. Minds are not at the top.

In Christianity we have Logos, which is the Mind of God, as it were. He is the logos, we are logoi.

LOL, Trinity is not figuring God out, Trinity is a response to the question, if there is only God, why is there anything else? The Christian doctrine is informed by Revelation, a disclosure, if you like, of the Mind of God. I haven't figured God out, and nor can your minds figure God out, as they are not God.

First thing I need to explain is my use of the word mind. An atom is a mind, all the things inside a single cell are minds, you have trillions of minds becoming you. Every mind = time, so the more minds you have the more time you have.

The next thing I will explain is yourself and my use of this word. Every mind has a yourself, you can call this the Holy Spirit. Yourselves are like boxes that tell you how many times something is inside something else. Example of this would be, inside gods yourself you would find a box yourself labeled universe, open that box and you would find trillions of yourselves galaxies, find the yourself galaxy labeled milky way and open it to billions of yourselves worlds, stars and celestial objects. Open the box our solar system and you would find nine planets and a sun. Open that box and find earth and everything on it. Find Tomas and open his box you would find the 12 or so systems of your body within it. Open each of these systems and you would find yourselves cells. Open those boxes and find yourselves mitochondria, rna, dna, the nucleus and all the other minds within yourself cell. Open the box rna and find yourselves simple strands of sugar. Open those boxes and find yourself atoms. Open the box atom and find it is itself only there are no more boxes.

By understanding the number of times you are inside something else teaches me what god is and he is not some trinity of this that and something else. Let’s say you could become everything in the known universe. As you become each thing to figure it out you place it in your box/yourself. Now everything you figure out to make it yourself you have to then become every me inside yourself to become yourself inside yourself. Let also say that everything inside yourself also can become itself only and not some meatball. Meatballs are minds that are not themselves only and are everything inside them to become something like an omelette or meatball. The thing you find at the end of your becoming everything is you, yourself and god remaining. You cannot figure out god and yourself is everything inside god and you are still himself not god but everything inside god.

You see this is the only way your trinity works god is the father you become the son and yourself or everything else is the Holy Spirit.

Powessy
 

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You see this is the only way your trinity works god is the father you become the son and yourself or everything else is the Holy Spirit.

By "your trinity," do you mean the Trinity doctrine of Christianity? Maybe that's the only way it works for you, but it isn't the only way that it works for me.
 

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I like this discussion of the Trinity doctrine:

The Doctrine of the Trinity: No Christianity Without It

Sometimes it’s easier to understand what we believe by stating what we don’t believe.
- Orthodox Trinitarianism rejects monarchianism which believes in only one person (mono) and maintains that the Son and the Spirit subsists in the divine essence as impersonal attributes not distinct and divine Persons.
- Orthodox Trinitarianism rejects modalism which believes that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are different names for the same God acting in different roles or manifestations (like the well-intentioned but misguided “water, vapor, ice” analogy).
- Orthodox Trinitarianism rejects Arianism which denies the full deity of Christ.
- And finally, orthodox Trinitarianism rejects all forms of tri-theism, which teach that the three members of the Godhead are, to quote a leading Mormon apologist, “three distinct Beings, three separate Gods.”

It looks to me like when people try to defend the doctrine, or explain it to people who don't believe in it, they fall into one of those fallacies almost every time, most often some kind of modalism.

(later) The author discusses why the Trinity doctrine matters. One reason it matters to me is that it might be a way to help prevent people from depriving themselves of some of the knowledge, wisdom and power in the scriptures, by denying or deforming what they are saying, trying to resolve what they see as contradictions between them.
 
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Cino

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(later) I’m thinking that part of the misunderstanding is thinking of the Abrahamic religions as “monotheistic.” The God of Abraham has no number. He is not limited to the number “one.” The passages in the scriptures that are commonly understood as monotheism are not about how many of Him there are. They are about how many others there are like Him: none.

The Bible and Qur'an certainly insist rather strongly on the number "one".

And even the concept of uniqueness, which you refer to, is built on that number.

I'm not saying you're wrong to believe what you believe, but to my eyes you've replaced one string of words with a different one.
 

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One reason it matters to me is that it might be a way to help prevent people from depriving themselves of some of the knowledge, wisdom and power in the scriptures, by denying or deforming what they are saying, trying to resolve what they see as contradictions between them.
Good observation, imo
But is trinity a divine revelation, or just a human explanation?
 

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First thing I need to explain is my use of the word mind. An atom is a mind, all the things inside a single cell are minds, you have trillions of minds becoming you. Every mind = time, so the more minds you have the more time you have.
But the Trinity I'm talking about is before all determination, before all number, before multiplicity. Before created matter, before created natures, before minds.

I actually agree with a lot of what you're saying about the cosmos, but you're applying the same terms to God, and there, to me, they do not fit.

I have an equivalent sense of it, I don't don't see it your way. But then it's probably the case that neither of us see the real as it actually is, we're making sense of our gropings, our inspirations and our intuitions.

+++

I think, personally, 'mind' is a misnomer.

I think 'being' or 'self' is a better term, or at least, that's the term from where I am coming from.

In which case – everything is Self, in that everything is an instance of Self. Everything participates in Selfhood, but everything, all formal and all formless modes of being, all formal and all formless manifestation, does not constitute Self as such. Self is more than the totality of every self. Be it the biggest thing or the smallest, it's all Self, and the Selfhood of an atom is no more nor less than the Selfhood of a planet. It's the same Self. The Self doesn't increase or decrease.
 

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I'm thinking that in Abrahamic scriptures, when the word "one" is applied to God, it is not about how many of Him there are.

There are many ways to read the texts. This reading is new and unexpected to me. Thanks for sharing it!
 

Longfellow

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Good observation, imo
But is trinity a divine revelation, or just a human explanation?

I’m honestly not sure what your question is. There is a doctrine called “Trinity doctrine.” That is not words from the scriptures, so I wouldn’t call it divine revelation. The parts of the scriptures that it’s affirming are divine revelation, but they are not the Trinity or the Trinity doctrine. There isn’t anything called “the Trinity” in the scriptures. If there’s anything that could be called “the Trinity,” it would be God Himself, but then that would just be another name for God, but God is not a revelation. So I don’t understand what it could mean to say that the Trinity is a divine revelation.
 

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It looks to me like when people try to defend the doctrine, or explain it to people who don't believe in it, they fall into one of those fallacies almost every time, most often some kind of modalism.
Looks to me like you've been reading the wrong resources! ;) I can point you in the direction of some really good stuff ...
 

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I’m honestly not sure what your question is. There is a doctrine called “Trinity doctrine.” That is not words from the scriptures, so I wouldn’t call it divine revelation.
It is in the Church, which Catholics beleve is guided by God
 

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There is a doctrine called “Trinity doctrine.” That is not words from the scriptures, so I wouldn’t call it divine revelation... There isn’t anything called “the Trinity” in the scriptures... So I don’t understand what it could mean to say that the Trinity is a divine revelation.
A few thoughts:
1: Most Christians are not Biblical literalists. The Bible itself actually says there's more to it than the literal word.
2: Judaism, Christianity and Islam have 'the four senses of scripture', each from their own tradition, that roughly correspond.
3: The Scriptures themselves declare themselves to be 'layered' texts.
4: Slavery is a word in Scripture, and it seems it's acceptable – Jesus never condemned slavery.
 

Longfellow

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Good observation, imo
But is trinity a divine revelation, or just a human explanation?

I’m honestly not sure what your question is. There is a doctrine called “Trinity doctrine.” That is not words from the scriptures, so I wouldn’t call it divine revelation. The parts of the scriptures that it’s affirming are divine revelation, but they are not the Trinity or the Trinity doctrine. There isn’t anything called “the Trinity” in the scriptures. If there’s anything that could be called “the Trinity,” it would be God Himself, but then that would just be another name for God, but God is not a revelation. So I don’t understand what it could mean to say that the Trinity is a divine revelation.
It is in the Church, which Catholics beleve is guided by God

Other writings besides the Bible are called "divine revelation"? Sorry, I didn't know that.

Oh. Were you asking if I think that the wording of the Trinity doctrine was guided by God? I don't know what to think about that. Don't you think, or at least hope, that what you say and do is guided by God sometimes? Do you mean, do I think that the Trinity doctrine is infallible in the same way as the words of God Himself? I would say, no. Does the church say that it is?
 
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