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Mores

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@Mores, as human beings it is only normal to anthropomorphize God. We are finite, he is infinite. We see God as a being with fatherly and even motherly qualities. He loves us, protects us, cares about us. It's just natural to visualize God as a fatherly figure. But just because we do that, does not mean he actually is "human" or a glorified "human". I can easily visualize God as a father figure and at the same time accept and wholeheartedly believe in the Trinity.

M.

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56 minutes ago, Maureen said:

@Mores, as human beings it is only normal to anthropomorphize God. We are finite, he is infinite. We see God as a being with fatherly and even motherly qualities. He loves us, protects us, cares about us. It's just natural to visualize God as a fatherly figure. But just because we do that, does not mean he actually is "human" or a glorified "human". I can easily visualize God as a father figure and at the same time accept and wholeheartedly believe in the Trinity.

M.

Yes.  That is exactly what I said.

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6 minutes ago, Mores said:

Yes.  That is exactly what I said.

I'm too lazy to look. Please provide a quote where you said exactly that.

M.

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On 4/30/2019 at 10:14 PM, Just_A_Guy said:

@prisonchaplain, would it be fair to conceptualize the trinity (and obviously this isn’t technically accurate; but as a paradigm a human can begin to wrap their minds around) as identical triplets who are  literally made of the same substance (hydrocarbons) and share the same DNA—and are telepathically linked into a sort of hive-mind (all of which might give an observer legitimate cause to call them “one”)—but who are nevertheless three distinct individuals, any one of which may manifest separately from the others?

My biggest issue would be that all three are corporeal (in physical bodies). In Trinitarian belief only the Son is in  a glorified human body.

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17 hours ago, Mores said:

Well, apparently, most mainstream Christians are also heretics.  I've specifically heard the modalism definition as their explanation of the Trinity.  Yet they ignorantly claim that they believe in the Trinity. When I point out that their description is called "modalism", they are surprised and admit they've never heard of it.  I've mentioned to a few of them that it is often considered heresy among Trinitarians.  They scoffed at the notion.

PC:  Perhaps. However, I suspect that the Trinitarians you've encountered are just not apt at describing the belief in terms that are both clear and accurate. For example, in emphasizing that yes, the three persons are distinct, one could easily end up sounding modalist, unless great care was taken.

 

Again, I realize that not all mainstream Christians are trained as much as a pastor or minister.  But this sure seems central to the disagreement between sectarians and Latter-day Saints.  And to have sectarians unable to describe or even agree on the meaning of the Trinity is kind of confusing to us outsiders who are simply trying to understand it.

PC: Part of the difficulty may be that you are calling for answers and precision that the Bible does not offer. Joseph Smith answered many of the theological controversies of his day. He also taught continuing revelation. Latter-day Saints became accustomed to answered questions, and grew impatient with "divine mysteries." Sometimes we Trinitarians do best to honestly answer that we do not have the precision on some questions. God's nature is described in scripture, but our ability to grasp is not complete. That can sound evasive, but if that's how it is, what more can we do?

That's the language I keep hearing.  But every time I delve deeper into asking what that really means, we end up with a description of the Godhead or an idea that is a "mystery".  I've honestly tried to understand.  I'm really not trying to criticize.  I understand it is a deeply held belief.  And I don't want to shame you for your deeply held belief.  It's your faith, not mine.

PC: The primary unanswerable question is probably: How can God be one and three at the same time? Everyone else has a clearer answer than Trinitarians. You say God's oneness is in purpose only. Modalists say Jesus is one and only reveals himself in three ways. Jews/Muslims/Jehovah's Witnesses say God is absolutely one, and cannot be three. Everyone is clearer. However, we believe we are right, but fall short in explaining how it is so. We can explain the what, but not the how.

But I'm very interested in learning everything. I just don't understand what it is other than the Godhead or something people can't describe (all my discussions end up with those two results).  I'm amazed at how much Trinitarians are describing the Godhead when they try to explain the Trinity to me.  I'd like to know what the difference is.  And when they make a clear distinct line, then they struggle to define what it actually is.

PC: Trinitarians believe that God is one essence, and He cannot exist in two corporeal persons (Father & Son). Jesus is in a glorified human body, but we believe the Father and the Spirit exist as spirits. The three persons are distinct personalities, but they are truly and essentially one God.

You know, I've had difficulty finding out what JWs actually believe about the Holy Trio (for lack of a better generic term).  They've described it and end up saying things that seem self contradictory.  This is different than the Trinity which doesn't actually contradict, but is simply incomprehensible (to me).

PC: Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus is not God. He may be godlike, but He is subordinate (of a lesser being) than the Father. Only the Father is Jehovah. I believe they argue that the Spirit is simply a term for the power of Jehovah.

 

Edited by prisonchaplain

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On 4/25/2019 at 1:13 PM, prisonchaplain said:

I'm not supposed to know about Irish Coffee...but I understand it has Bailey's Irish Cream (alcoholic) in it.

As in "If I know I'll have to stop drinking so much of it?" 😜

There are a lot of drinks that use coffee or coffee flavoring.  White Russians and Colorado Bulldogs use kahlua, Sicilianos use cold brew coffee, Irish Coffee, Italian Coffee and several other variants are regular hot coffee spiked with different liquor, etc.

Find yourself some Primitive Baptists to hang out with and they can probably tell you more details.

Edited by NightSG

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6 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

PC:  Perhaps. However, I suspect that the Trinitarians you've encountered are just not apt at describing the belief in terms that are both clear and accurate. For example, in emphasizing that yes, the three persons are distinct, one could easily end up sounding modalist, unless great care was taken.

The examples most cited from these "Trinitarians" is the ice/water/steam analogy (clearly a modalist ideology).  I've also heard a weird one with an egg.  I never really understood that one.  The person I was speaking with lacked the linguistic skills to explain it to me.

Quote

PC: Part of the difficulty may be that you are calling for answers and precision that the Bible does not offer. Joseph Smith answered many of the theological controversies of his day. He also taught continuing revelation. Latter-day Saints became accustomed to answered questions, and grew impatient with "divine mysteries." Sometimes we Trinitarians do best to honestly answer that we do not have the precision on some questions. God's nature is described in scripture, but our ability to grasp is not complete. That can sound evasive, but if that's how it is, what more can we do?

I would be perfectly happy with such an answer.  I rarely hear it.  But I have heard it a couple of times.  And you know what?  It shuts me up.  I myself have to admit that even Latter-day Saints don't have precision on the nature of God.  So, what can I say?

But I disagree with our attitude with "mysteries".  We actually do believe in mysteries.  But our definition is not simply "We cannot understand them in this life."  Ours is "something that can only be understood through the influence of the Holy Ghost."  Though, admittedly, many are also impatient with even that.

Quote

PC: The primary unanswerable question is probably: How can God be one and three at the same time? Everyone else has a clearer answer than Trinitarians. You say God's oneness is in purpose only. Modalists say Jesus is one and only reveals himself in three ways. Jews/Muslims/Jehovah's Witnesses say God is absolutely one, and cannot be three. Everyone is clearer. However, we believe we are right, but fall short in explaining how it is so. We can explain the what, but not the how.

Yes.  That does pose an obstacle.  And I'm impressed with people like you who can admit that.  It's just that most of the time, I hear people trying to define it with analogies and so forth, rather than simply saying "it's a mystery."

Quote

PC: Trinitarians believe that God is one essence, and He cannot exist in two corporeal persons (Father & Son). Jesus is in a glorified human body, but we believe the Father and the Spirit exist as spirits. The three persons are distinct personalities, but they are truly and essentially one God.

Apart from the "two corporeal persons" aspect of this description, I find this to be a perfectly acceptable description of the Godhead.  And this goes a LOT farther in explaining the Trinity than I've ever heard from ANYONE.  A large part of that is your statement on the "two corporeal persons."

But doesn't that come dangerously close to modalism?

Quote

PC: Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus is not God. He may be godlike, but He is subordinate (of a lesser being) than the Father. Only the Father is Jehovah. I believe they argue that the Spirit is simply a term for the power of Jehovah.

As I was speaking with one JW, I delineated the fact that we both believe there is a Father and a Son.  But they believe the Jehovah of the O.T. was the Father.  But we believe it to be the Son.  He agreed that this was the primary theological difference in our understanding of the Godhead.

I believe Brigham Young said something similar about the Holy Ghost.  But that never really stood the test of time.  I don't believe it was repeated much.  And it doesn't really match up with any of our other doctrines. So, it appears to be a personal musing rather than revelation.  Rather interesting.

Anyway, bottom line is that as a matter of friendly advice to Trinitarians trying to explain it to Latter-day Saints, we may want to say that is is something we don't have the revelation on.  The nature of God is a "mystery" (as defined in LDS theology -- you may need to explain the LDS idea of a mystery) and we need to look to God for answers on that.

As for your description of the "corporeal persons", I only see this because I've made an honest effort to understand it for many many years.  I don't know if an average Latter-day Saint would understand what you're getting at.  Most would simply chalk it up to more double speak.

Edited by Mores

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27 minutes ago, Mores said:

The examples most cited from these "Trinitarians" is the ice/water/steam analogy (clearly a modalist ideology).

If you will allow a somewhat irreverent, but amusing (at least I found it amusing), look at the Trinity and its analogies, look up Lutheran Satire's "St. Patrick's bad analogies" video on youtube, where Donall and Conall shoot down several analogies used for the Trinity. Even if it has difficulty explaining what the Trinity is, working through the bad analogies (and the associated heresies) I think helped me better understand what it is not, which at least partially helped me better understand what it is.

Be warned that, if you keep looking through their stuff, you will eventually come across Donall and Conall meeting our missionaries -- just in case you would prefer to avoid that.

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9 hours ago, Mores said:

The examples most cited from these "Trinitarians" is the ice/water/steam analogy (clearly a modalist ideology).  I've also heard a weird one with an egg.  I never really understood that one.  The person I was speaking with lacked the linguistic skills to explain it to me.

PC: Those analogies can work within our churches, but you are right. They are flawed. When we try to explain them to the not-already-convinced those flaws come out, and our people end up trying to defend the analogies rather than sticking with the actual doctrine. This may also be why you hear so much Modalist-sounding defenses from Trinitarian church people.

I would be perfectly happy with such an answer.  I rarely hear it.  But I have heard it a couple of times.  And you know what?  It shuts me up.  I myself have to admit that even Latter-day Saints don't have precision on the nature of God.  So, what can I say?

PC: Yeah, but it's frustrating. We all have faith questions (perhaps even some 'doubts'). However, we put those on the back burner because of our overall confidence. So, when a theological opponent challenges us, we KNOW that, "Well, it's a mystery...one of those back-burner concerns..." that it sounds like a cop out. So, we try to push our explanations, analogies and guesses, thus creating more chaos and confusion.

FUNDAMENTAL APPROACH TO INTERFAITH DISCUSSIONS FOR EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS: THE GOLF COACH WAS RIGHT--LET THE CLUB (I.E. BIBLE) DO THE WORK. IF THE BIBLE DOES NOT, THEN LET IT GO. WE OUGHT NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS (WITH CONFIDENCE) THAT THE BIBLE DOES NOT ANSWER.

But I disagree with our attitude with "mysteries".  We actually do believe in mysteries.  But our definition is not simply "We cannot understand them in this life."  Ours is "something that can only be understood through the influence of the Holy Ghost."  Though, admittedly, many are also impatient with even that.

PC: I am often guilty of overstating a tendency to make a point. LDS have many divine mysteries--especially those related to temples. Still, with Latter-day revelation, there are many matters that remain discussions in the Christian world, that are settled matters within your church. You believe that you know the answers to at least some of our mysteries. 

Apart from the "two corporeal persons" aspect of this description, I find this to be a perfectly acceptable description of the Godhead.  And this goes a LOT farther in explaining the Trinity than I've ever heard from ANYONE.  A large part of that is your statement on the "two corporeal persons."

But doesn't that come dangerously close to modalism?

PC: Only when we try to use them to convince theological opponents. The three states of h2o, the egg (yolk, white, shell, yet all egg), even the triangle--the can help those who already believe in traditional Christian teaching, but are trying to understand it better. The analogies help us picture three being one. As soon as someone says, "Yeah, but what about ...?" the imperfections of the analogies become apparent.

Anyway, bottom line is that as a matter of friendly advice to Trinitarians trying to explain it to Latter-day Saints, we may want to say that is is something we don't have the revelation on.  The nature of God is a "mystery" (as defined in LDS theology -- you may need to explain the LDS idea of a mystery) and we need to look to God for answers on that.

As for your description of the "corporeal persons", I only see this because I've made an honest effort to understand it for many many years.  I don't know if an average Latter-day Saint would understand what you're getting at.  Most would simply chalk it up to more double speak.

PC: Most LDS members at this site seem well-educated as to Evangelical beliefs about the Trinity. They know that we do not believe the Father exists in a physical body--that He is spirit. I now perceive that this disagreement helps explain why we are so reluctant to approve of the LDS Godhead. If we see two bodies that are God then we see two gods. If there are two bodies it is impossible for us to argue they are one essence. Then, either you are right or the Muslims/Jews/Jehovah's Witnesses are right. I suspect that not many Evangelicals, or other traditional Christians, see the LDS belief that the Father exists in body as a major sticking point. However, it may well be the major one.

 

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On 5/2/2019 at 7:45 AM, Mores said:

The nature of God is a "mystery" (as defined in LDS theology -- you may need to explain the LDS idea of a mystery) and we need to look to God for answers on that.

And of precisely equal importance, be sure to pester Him for His blood type and favorite cheese too.

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On 5/4/2019 at 3:24 AM, NightSG said:

And of precisely equal importance, be sure to pester Him for His blood type and favorite cheese too.

His favorite cheese is three-cheese blend with mozzarella, provolone, and soft romano.  I asked him. 

He has no blood remember?  Lost it all upon resurrection.

Edited by Mores

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