MaryJehanne

Why Is There an Upset about Polytheism?

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On 9/24/2018 at 10:54 AM, MaryJehanne said:

This is probably a bit of an unusual question, but...

I've wondered, since some of the earliest encounters I've had in this topic with Latter-Day Saint believers, why the identity of "polytheism" is shied away from. In debates and arguments online, I see Latter-Day Saints being angry and upset at being identified as polytheistic, while I'm sitting there thinking, but why is that a problem?

The reason I don't like the label is that the definition is often incomplete.  People always quote something to the effect

Quote

Polytheism:  A belief that many gods exist.

Yes.  And if that were all there were to the definition, then there would be no problem with it.  But that is neither historically nor culturally accurate.

Polytheism always included (at least with the dozen or so cultures I'm aware of) a "pantheon" where:

  • Some god was the "god of wisdom" "god of love" "god of...whatever".  There were separate roles in aspects of life, not really coordinated at all.  Name one pantheon in all of the ancient myths who had any unity of purpose or cause?  Instead, they often battled one another.
  • Many polytheists did not really think of them as actual beings.  They were simply personifications of abstract concepts.  They didn't worship "Ares".  They worshiped "War".  They didn't worship "Poseidon" .  They worshiped "The Sea" (and "the land" in some tellings).  Hades wasn't "the god of the underworld".  He WAS the underworld just as Zeus WAS the sky.
  • Many polytheists worshiped idols and animalized their objects of worship (Egyptians, Native Americans).
  • All of them were false religions.

The only reason anti-Mormons are so quick to place that label on us is to characterize, not clarify.  They "say" the definition is what I quoted above.  But the REASON they use the label is not because it is denotatively accurate, but because of the additional meanings that come with it.  And the reason they like to attibute the additional meanings is to give more credibility to claiming the last item in my list above.

That's why it is wrong to call us polytheists.

Edited by Guest

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13 hours ago, Traveler said:

Thank you for your input - I believe there are 2 levels possibilities each with two sub possibilities in creation - If anyone disagrees or has something to add - please do so :

First Level : G-d knows - or does not know in advance of creation how each individual created will act and behave in all possibilities that can possibly exist.  

Second Level: G-d designs (creates) each individual with their all their characteristics including will along with all their strengths  and weaknesses - the other possibility is that the individuality and uniqueness of each individual already existed - That what G-d creates is everything else other than what makes an individual unique and is the same for all individuals.

I believe that G-d knows in advance how each individual will turn out - which is the first part of the fist level.  Then, I believe that what G-d creates is the same for all - that he does not create uniqueness.  This I believe because I do not believe G-d is a respecter of persons nor  will he do something or anything for one person that he will not do for another.  I do not believe what G-d creates or provides or gives anyone any advantage in eternity.

With that said - I am not convinced that this mortal existence is all of reality.  In this life we - I believe we are placed into condition that best serve our uniqueness.  So it may appear that because of circumstance some have advantage.  But I do not believe in this life we see the complete picture.  That any attempt to define justice, mercy, or even what is an individual on the parameters the are manifested between conception (or whenever a person starts life) and death is incomplete and misleading.  I believe there are 5 parameters that define our relationship with G-d and what he does for us as follows:

#1. G-d will not do for anyone that they are capable of doing for themselves.

#2. G-d will do for everyone that which they are not capable of doing for themselves.

#3. G-d will not do anything for anyone that is not for their eternal (long term) benefit.

#4. G-d will do whatever for everyone that is for their eternal (long term) benefit.

#5. G-d will not do anything for anyone without their permission and acceptance.

I have had many discussions with you @prisonchaplain and despite what you say of things according to doctrine you have been taught - I am not convinced that you fully believe some things you may say.  I do not say this to fault you or someone like @MaryJehanne or anyone else - but I am not sure that you understand the ramifications of certain doctrine.  For example - the doctrine that G-d is no respecter of persons.  I am not sure that your understanding of that doctrine come across well in you concepts of creation and the individuality of individuals. Especially why in scripture we are told that some are called to be prophets unto nations before their were born or conceived in their mother's womb.   I try to point out contradictions that I see.  But at the same time, I listen very carefully to each response and attempt to glean anything I may have missed - not just concerning what you say according to your understanding - but to carefully check my logic to determine something I may not have considered.  So I welcome your input.  

And if I can connect to any truth I have not previously understood - I will embrace it in less than a nanosecond.  And I can honestly say I have learned more from you (PC) than you realize.  Though our opinions are very different - I trust you (and I believe that to trust someone is a greater honor than to love them).  I do not learn much from anyone of my same exact opinion.

 

The Traveler

I seek not to dispute what you have said   I  am in the extreme south where they believe he is the same as the Father but what matters is they don't even believe in a being. Just a great mist that we cannot understand. The toughest part is scriptures conflict. I do not choose to debate members because someone loses regardless of who is right. The in issue is those who worship the Son not the Father

I have not found perfection among us history conflicts history and I don't think it matters, I have read Constantine enforced the Trinity doctrine. This was a secular decision

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22 hours ago, Zaccheus said:

 

The doctrine of the Trinity was not started by Constantine.  That's a claim with no basis in historical fact.  The surviving contemporary records that describe the events at the Council of Nicea make no mention of it. The doctrine can be dated to at least a century prior to the birth of Constantine and 150 years prior to the Council of Nicea, where Constantine allegedly invented the doctrine and imposed it on the church.

Irenaeus, a 2nd century Catholic bishop of Lyon, France, addressed the nature of the Father and the creation.  He clearly taught that God made all things out of nothing (ex nihilo creation), that God is 'a spiritual and divine essence...who contains all things,' and that only God is uncreated.  All of these very Catholic doctrines are core tenets of the doctrine of the Trinity, contrary to LDS teaching that Heavenly Father is a man, with a glorified body of flesh and bones, who created all things out of pre-existent, eternal matter. 

Ireneaus penned the following in the late 2nd century, around 180 a.d.:

 “The rule of truth which we hold, is, that there is one God Almighty, who made all things by His Word, and fashioned and formed, out of that which had no existence, all things which exist.” (Against Heresies 1.22.1)

“And that they may be deemed capable of informing us whence is the substance of matter, while they believe not that God, according to His pleasure, in the exercise of His own will and power, formed all things (so that those things which now are should have an existence) out of what did not previously exist...”

“...but they [Ireneaus here speaks of the Gnostics] do not believe that God (being powerful, and rich in all resources) created matter itself, inasmuch as they know not how much a spiritual and divine essence can accomplish...

“For, to attribute the substance of created things to the power and will of Him who is God of all, is worthy both of credit and acceptance. It is also agreeable, and there may be well said regarding such a belief, that ‘the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.’ While men, indeed, cannot make anything out of nothing, but only out of matter already existing, yet God is in this point preeminently superior to men, that He Himself called into being the substance of His creation, when previously it had no existence.” (Against Heresies 2.10.2-4)

But the things established are distinct from Him who has established them, and what have been made from Him who has made them. For He is Himself uncreated, both without beginning and end, and lacking nothing. He is Himself sufficient for Himself; and still further, He grants to all others this very thing, existence; but the things which have been made by Him have received a beginning. But whatever things had a beginning, and are liable to dissolution, and are subject to and stand in need of Him who made them... (Against Heresies 3.8.3)

“Truly, then, he Scripture declared, which says, ‘First of all believe that there is one God, who has established all things, and completed them, and having caused that from what had no being, all things should come into existence: He who contains all things, and is Himself contained by no one.’” (Against Heresies 4.20.2)

 

It's obvious that Constantine did not create the doctrine of the Trinity.  Here we have evidence of the core tenets predating him by at least a century.  It goes back further than that. Prior to being the Catholic bishop of Lyon when he wrote Against Heresies, he was a priest for about twenty years (beginning in 161 a.d.) and before that was a disciple of Polycarp, Catholic bishop of Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey).  Polycarp, who died as an old man in about 155 a.d., was a disciple of the apostle John the Beloved - author of the Gospel of John.  Irenaeus, disciple of Polycarp, disciple of John, is the author of the doctrines quoted above.  Clearly, the fundamentals of the doctrine of the Trinity are a lot older than Constantine.  The claim that Constantine created the doctrine is demonstrably false.

 

So...if the doctrine of the Trinity is an invention, it must have been created in the early second century and no later.  Either Irenaeus invented it himself or he learned it from Polycarp, who invented it, or Irenaeus learned it from someone else who invented it, after Irenaeus' discipleship with Polycarp.  Surely, no LDS church member can believe that the Apostle John invented it?

Zaccheus

 

 

 

 

Bumping this to make sure it’s seen. I’m not sure it was. I wrote it in response to the claim, asserted twice now, that the doctrine of the Trinity was created by Constantine.

Edited by Zaccheus

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5 hours ago, john4truth said:

I  am in the extreme south where they believe he is the same as the Father but what matters is they don't even believe in a being. Just a great mist that we cannot understand.

Are you referring to trinitarians? If so, as a Roman Catholic, I’ll say we believe God is Spirit, not a mist. He exists eternally the same and would still be God in undiminished perfection, holiness and divinity, even if nothing else but God existed. God the Holy Trinity is, therefore, not ‘a being’ among beings, but Being itself.

Edited by Zaccheus

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10 hours ago, john4truth said:

I seek not to dispute what you have said   I  am in the extreme south where they believe he is the same as the Father but what matters is they don't even believe in a being. Just a great mist that we cannot understand. The toughest part is scriptures conflict. I do not choose to debate members because someone loses regardless of who is right. The in issue is those who worship the Son not the Father

Just as Creedal Christians frequently misunderstand our LDS view of God, I think we frequently misunderstand theirs.  Hence, I like to make the effort to go a couple extra miles and understand and respect Creedal beliefs there-- after all treat people how you would like to be treated.  

The idea that the Father/Son/Spirit are all the same one person put in different roles is an idea known as "modalism", and is regarded as heresy by Trinitarian theologians.   The Trinity actually teaches the the Father/Son/Spirt are three different persons.  Now that's not to say you can't find a person sitting Catholic* pew that actually mistakenly believes modalism-- they do totally exist.  But them holding that modalism belief is their own flawed understanding, and not reflective formal Catholic teaching.    (*Catholic here is just an example faith).

Also, even when working with people who do actually believe in the three-person-in-one-God Trinity, that they frequently struggle to communicate that belief.  Heck, we LDS run into the same problem-- human language rather sucks at conveying God.  And you'll get people who describe the same thing from different angles, so to an outsider at first glance it looks like they're describing very different things.  Again, we LDS run into the same language flaws, as seen in this very thread.  

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27 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

The Trinity actually teaches the the Father/Son/Spirt are three different persons. 

Yes, but certainly not the same way we teach it.

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3 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

Just as Creedal Christians frequently misunderstand our LDS view of God, I think we frequently misunderstand theirs.  Hence, I like to make the effort to go a couple extra miles and understand and respect Creedal beliefs there-- after all treat people how you would like to be treated.  

The idea that the Father/Son/Spirit are all the same one person put in different roles is an idea known as "modalism", and is regarded as heresy by Trinitarian theologians.   The Trinity actually teaches the the Father/Son/Spirt are three different persons.  Now that's not to say you can't find a person sitting Catholic* pew that actually mistakenly believes modalism-- they do totally exist.  But them holding that modalism belief is their own flawed understanding, and not reflective formal Catholic teaching.    (*Catholic here is just an example faith).

Also, even when working with people who do actually believe in the three-person-in-one-God Trinity, that they frequently struggle to communicate that belief.  Heck, we LDS run into the same problem-- human language rather sucks at conveying God.  And you'll get people who describe the same thing from different angles, so to an outsider at first glance it looks like they're describing very different things.  Again, we LDS run into the same language flaws, as seen in this very thread.  

I base my comments on attending 22 yrs. a church where the minister had a Drs. Degree and taught they are one and only one being, they are never separate Jesus was the Father come to earth and said that was the official view of the SBC. I know this is not always, but I attended many different churchs and those who attended theirbchurch seminary had no separation. Members felt otherwise?

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9 hours ago, Zaccheus said:

Are you referring to trinitarians? If so, as a Roman Catholic, I’ll say we believe God is Spirit, not a mist. He exists eternally the same and would still be God in undiminished perfection, holiness and divinity, even if nothing else but God existed. God the Holy Trinity is, therefore, not ‘a being’ among beings, but Being itself.

Sorry I should have said I have not learned RC beliefs and believe your answer. My  22 year experience is various Protestants. Not all believe the mist or nothing but everything. I am ignorant on all RC beliefs. I never accept what books say. I ask those teaching their congratulations... that is what matters. I can say with certainty some condemn all other religions but I have not ask RC experts because they were not common in my area.

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58 minutes ago, john4truth said:

I base my comments on attending 22 yrs. a church where the minister had a Drs. Degree and taught they are one and only one being, they are never separate Jesus was the Father come to earth and said that was the official view of the SBC. I know this is not always, but I attended many different churchs and those who attended theirbchurch seminary had no separation. Members felt otherwise?

Ah, here we have a communication mis-connect.  Trinitarians have a different definition for "person" and that the definition to "being".  Hence, from their perspective, both the statements "God is three persons" and "God is one being" are correct.

Speaking personally, I'll admit I find the semantics here to by royally confusing.  Hence to aide understanding, I go for other questions like "When Christ is saying The Lord's Prayer, is He talking to Himself?" and both LDS and Trinitarians will answer "no, He's talking the the Father".   We had some great posts by @MaryJehanne explaining this earlier in the thread.  Though I'm sure that very knowledgable @prisonchaplain and @Larry Cotrell will also be happy to clarify their beliefs. 

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2 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

"When Christ is saying The Lord's Prayer, is He talking to Himself?"

2 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

@Larry Cotrell will also be happy to clarify their beliefs. 

Always happy to explain :) First, there are three things to understand:

1) Jesus was fully God (John 4:49, Matthew 28:20, Matthew 8:26-27, John 8:58, and a whole lot more)

2) Jesus was fully man (1 John 4:2, 2 John 7) and therefore experienced human emotions (John 4:6, John 19:28, Matthew 4:2, John 11:35)

3) The Son is relationally subordinate to the father, meaning that His job is to do the will of the father, never the other way around (Luke 22:42, Hebrews 10:7). However, no part of the Trinity is inferior in nature or essence. (Matthew 28:19, John 10:30)

2 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

Hence, from their perspective, both the statements "God is three persons" and "God is one being" are correct.

Yes, God is three distinct persons eternally existing as one being, or essence (John 1:1-5).

So here's where I actually answer the question: Jesus prayed to the Father, who is a separate person. In His combination of divineness and humanness, He knew the pain he was going to go through and didn't want to go through it. However, because He was sent to do the Father's will, and they are one being or essence, He asks the Father, " Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42).

 

 

Edited by Larry Cotrell

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2 hours ago, Larry Cotrell said:

Always happy to explain :) First, there are three things to understand:

1) Jesus was fully God (John 4:49, Matthew 28:20, Matthew 8:26-27, John 8:58, and a whole lot more)

2) Jesus was fully man (1 John 4:2, 2 John 7) and therefore experienced human emotions (John 4:6, John 19:28, Matthew 4:2, John 11:35)

3) The Son is relationally subordinate to the father, meaning that His job is to do the will of the father, never the other way around (Luke 22:42, Hebrews 10:7). However, no part of the Trinity is inferior in nature or essence. (Matthew 28:19, John 10:30)

Yes, God is three distinct persons eternally existing as one being, or essence (John 1:1-5).

So here's where I actually answer the question: Jesus prayed to the Father, who is a separate person. In his combination of divineness and humanness, he knew the pain he was going to go through and didn't want to go through it. However, because he was sent to do the Father's will, he asks the Father, " Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42).

 

 

*thumbs up*

We got to build understanding bridges that go both ways, after all :)

Edited by Jane_Doe
tenses are the bane of my existence

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2 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

Ah, here we have a communication mis-connect.  Trinitarians have a different definition for "person" and that the definition to "being".  Hence, from their perspective, both the statements "God is three persons" and "God is one being" are correct.

 

Here's my simple understanding of the Godhead:

1. The Father is God.

2. The Son is God.

3. The Holy Spirit is God.

4. There is only one God.

Conclusion: The three persons are the one God.

Of course we agree on this points. Your church says the oneness of God is of purpose, and that is sufficient. Trinitarians say that the oneness must somehow be of shared substance. This, to my estimation, is the crux of our disagreement. Whether being wrong is damnable or not is what often gets debated. Clearly, it is important enough that we do not share sacraments, pulpits, or membership. At least here, we behave Christianly towards one another.

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Just now, prisonchaplain said:

Whether being wrong is damnable or not is what often gets debated. Clearly, it is important enough that we do not share sacraments, pulpits, or membership. At least here, we behave Christianly towards one another.

Commenting on just this part--

For LDS, this disagreement is not remotely damnable, nor is it the reason for different denominations/sacraments/pulpits/membership.  

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2 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

PS-- @Larry Cotrell, were you a minister or just well studied?  I'm trying to remember, but failing...

My father, grandfather, and grandmother were ministers, so I grew up around it and always had people smarter than me that I could ask about anything. It went a little like this, "So Dad, just one really quick question, what were the Nephilim?" :D

2 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

*thumbs up*

We got to building understanding bridges that go both ways, after all :)

I agree with @prisonchaplain here that the difference is if they are one in purpose or one in substance, and I believe it is a major difference. At least we understand each other now :bouncingclap:

Edited by Larry Cotrell

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12 minutes ago, Larry Cotrell said:

I agree with @prisonchaplain here that the difference is if they are one in purpose or one in substance, and I believe it is a major difference. 

Speaking my own thoughts, there's other things in Christendom (like Arminianism vs Calvinism) which are much bigger differences and have much larger implications than this particular subject.  Which isn't to dismiss this particular topic, but just to point out there's larger elephants in the room.  

Again, just my personal thoughts.  

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2 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

Speaking my own thoughts, there's other things in Christendom (like Arminianism vs Calvinism) which are much bigger differences and have much larger implications than this particular subject.  Which isn't to dismiss this particular topic, but just to point out there's larger elephants in the room.  

Again, just my personal thoughts.  

Arminianism v. Calvinism is big, but the different camps generally consider one another brothers and sisters in the Lord. A Calvinist could share communion in our church, rooted in Arminian doctrine though we be. Day to day, the question of purpose vs. substance may have little impact, but it is a discussion about the very nature of God.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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It varies from sect to sect, but another way to look at it is Buddhism.  I hear this is especially easy to understand if one is a Star Wars fan of the Force.

It is more expansive than the Trinity, however (and thus very different, but it can be used as a way to try to explain the basic idea of how three can be one and one can be three).

In this idea, there is a Oneness of the Universe.  Everyone is a part of it, but they are also separate.  Thus, we are all individuals.  However, we are all extensions of the great Oneness of the Universe.  Hence, when we die, if we have become perfect enough, we will gain the ultimate reward and rejoin with the oneness.

In a similar vein, in Star Wars you have the Force.  It flows through everything.  If one becomes one with the Force they are part of this universal thing.  They are an extension of it, even while they themselves may be an individual.  When they act with the Force, or are a part of the Will of the Force, they are acting in accordance with it.  They are thus part of the living Force.

It's far more broad and general than the trinity (and concepts are different overall), but in a similar manner, there are three distinct personages.  They are unique and are their own individual.  However, they are also a united being, or the same substance. 

That's a rather general explanation of it, but in essence, thus you have three individuals that are all part of the same substance.  They are the three that are one, and the one that is three.

However, for any devout Christian it must also be admitted that while we can comprehend some of this, it is impossible to comprehend it at the same time, hence it is both comprehensible and incomprehensible.

Those who try to ignore the second portion of this typically are starting down the path to heresy and if they travel to far in refuting that it is incomprehensible and try to explain it, they have all sorts of unique ideas which don't really work in conjunction with the traditional idea of the trinity.  This is also where you get Modalism (which is making a comeback in our modern time, but is as old as the ideas of the trinity itself) where instead of three being one and one being three, they instead try to have an explanation where they use it as different aspects of the same being, rather than they being three completely different and independent persons.

(Edit - I should note, Buddhism was only an example to help explain, the Trinity IS NOT a universal, everyone is part of it, type thing like Buddhist have in their belief.  It is very different.  In the Trinity, the unity is confined to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost who are three separate essences but consubstantial.  Hence they are individuals, but are also the same being).

I never finished divinity training but I have about a year's worth of it.  I became a heretic instead (LDS).

Edited by JohnsonJones

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1 hour ago, JohnsonJones said:

However, for any devout Christian it must also be admitted that while we can comprehend some of this, it is impossible to comprehend it at the same time, hence it is both comprehensible and incomprehensible.

Agreed, the nature of the infinite God is far beyond what the finite brain can comprehend, let alone what the finite brain can explain in human words. That being said, if someone who doesn't believe in the Trinity asks me to explain it, me simply saying that it can't be explained would be a disappointing answer to anyone and everyone. So, I explain it the best I can, but at some point, it is beyond human words. Some say that if it can't be understood completely, it doesn't make sense to believe it and/or is probably not true. However, wouldn't one expect that the fullness of the very nature of God would be beyond human comprehension? I think so. I believe that if man could fully understand the nature of God, it would probably be a god that man himself made up because God would be bigger than the man He created.

So in short, yes I can't fully understand or explain it. But no, I don't see that as a problem, but rather I see it as a strength.

*I am not saying that you think this way or are arguing this way. However, I know a lot of people do think this way, and there are probably a few of them trudging through this thread.

Edited by Larry Cotrell

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Good morning. I’d like to add that, for trinitarians, God made everything that exists out of nothing (ex nihilo).  This is radically different from Buddhism (and the Force from Star Wars).  For Trinitarians, God made everything that exists.  In Buddhism, God is everything that exists (pantheism).  In Buddhism, matter is God and God is eternal, so matter is eternal. We are matter (and energy) so we are God. Trees, birds, rocks, rain, ocean waves are also God. Grasping this difference between Trinitarian Christianity and Buddhism is key to understanding what makes ancient Christianity so unique. Every other system in human history (Greek philosophy; pagan religion; Eastern systems like Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism; and Mormonism) posits that matter is eternal.  

 

Only in ancient Trinitarian Christianity (the church of the creeds) is there a distinction made between 1) everything that exists that isn’t God and 2) God understood as possibly being all that there is, with no diminution of goodness or greatness.  Whether God creates or if He does not create, remaining eternally alone, God remains eternally the same. No other system teaches this, especially not Buddhism, in which God is not a person and does not create the cosmos; God equals the cosmos.

 

Here’s another point that might clarify what trinitarians believe for those who might still be confused. God not only made everything that exists, He also maintains it in existence from moment to moment. If God were to wink out of existence (an impossibility, but stay with it  as a thought experiment),  so too would everything else. The same applies to Buddhism (and the other pantheist systems), since in that system God equals everything that exists. In pagan religion, and Christian churches that reject ex nihilo, which include Mormonism, the gods exist within and are part of the cosmos. If all gods (including Heavenly Father) were to suddenly cease to exist, the cosmos would keep on going; there just wouldn’t be any gods.

 

All of the foregoing must be kept in mind if you seek to understand what we mean when we say God is one and also three.  You have to remove matter, time and space from the equation, including all language, images and concepts rooted in matter, time and space.  Only then are you ready to contemplate what we mean by God. Perhaps that helps you understand why we also refer to God as Mystery.

 

Zaccheus

Edited by Zaccheus

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12 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Your church says the oneness of God is of purpose, and that is sufficient. Trinitarians say that the oneness must somehow be of shared substance.

And sensible people look at you and wonder just how many more people you could lead to Christ in the time you spend pondering and debating this. 

It's very important what kind of road base and preparation is used when building a highway, but absolutely unnecessary for any of the drivers on it to have a clue. God already built the road, so why not focus more on your driving? 

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10 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Arminianism v. Calvinism is big, but the different camps generally consider one another brothers and sisters in the Lord. A Calvinist could share communion in our church, rooted in Arminian doctrine though we be. Day to day, the question of purpose vs. substance may have little impact, but it is a discussion about the very nature of God.

(Just speaking my thoughts here, not excepting anyone to agree with with me) (Also note: LDS are staunch Arminians)

Arminianism v. Calvinism have radically different views of God, each one having a very different character than the other.  I feel MUCH estranged from a Calvinist talking about God than I do a Trinitarian.  Honestly, ... the Calvinist nature of God completely completely repels me.  I'm totally cool hanging out with Trinitarians.

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14 hours ago, Larry Cotrell said:

My father, grandfather, and grandmother were ministers, so I grew up around it and always had people smarter than me that I could ask about anything. It went a little like this, "So Dad, just one really quick question, what were the Nephilim?" :D

I agree with @prisonchaplain here that the difference is if they are one in purpose or one in substance, and I believe it is a major difference. At least we understand each other now :bouncingclap:

I am not so sure. No doubt the Oneness Christians, traditional Trinitarians, Social Trinitarians, and LDS all believe that the Father and Son and Holy Ghost are one in purpose, one in mind, and one in love.

Surprisingly, they also believe they are one in substance in at least two respects: 1) they are each composed of the same Godly spirit material (crudely analogous to water and ice and vapor all comprised of the same substance), and 2) they share the same spirit essence (crudely analogous to three bulbs sharing the same light).  

The distinction in substance here is crudely analogous to the difference between the Sun, itself (i.e. the material of which the Sun is composed) as differentiated from the substances of warmth and light emitted by the Sun.

Even still, all except the Oneness Christians, and to some extent certain traditional Trinitarians, view the Father and Son and Holy Ghost as separate logos of consciousness---i.e. -separate conscious entities (separate persons or personages). 

Where we trinity Christians differ is that LDS believe the three conscious entities (Father and Son and Holy Ghost) each have bodies, whereas other Christians only believe that the Son was and may yet be embodied (the Word was made flesh and later resurrected).

Even there I am not sure we differ in personal or inherent belief as contrasted with formal doctrine beliefs. Ask most any Christian child to describe God the Father, and it is likely they will depict a divine man rather than an amorphous spirit. 

In other words, the real difference isn't in our personal beliefs, but in our institutional doctrines. Most Christians are LDS in personal belief,  but Catholic and Protestant in practice. ;)

Thanks, -Wade Enlgund-

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6 hours ago, NightSG said:

And sensible people look at you and wonder just how many more people you could lead to Christ in the time you spend pondering and debating this. 

It's very important what kind of road base and preparation is used when building a highway, but absolutely unnecessary for any of the drivers on it to have a clue. God already built the road, so why not focus more on your driving? 

Got it.

Step 1: Anyone lurking, or who is unconverted, please, please, please come to Jesus!

Step 2: Okay, now let's discuss the nature of this God you just came to.  👍

BACK TO TOPIC . . .

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