One God | Salvation | Baptism | Faith
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My purpose is not to state emphatically that my theory is the only one but to set the stage so to speak for the development of the Trinitarian Doctrine. There is evidence out there for all of this.
The earliest recorded use of the word Trinity in a document was in 180 A.D. by a man named Theophilus in a letter to Autolycus defending his Christianity. My question again is that if this was such an essential doctrine why was it a topic of not little, but no discussion even among the Apologist or defenders of Christianity of this age for 80 odd years after the Apostolic era? Are we to believe that the early "Church Fathers" neglected this crucial teaching in their writings for 80 years? We are left with one of two options; either the Trinity was of no importance to them or they had no idea there was such a doctrine. It is important to note that the idea of the Trinity was not accepted readily by anyone in the "church." We have no way of knowing exactly what was meant by this man by his use of the word Trinity and I quote: "In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity of God, and His Word, and his Wisdom." Why didn't this man know that the third person in the Trinity is the Holy Spirit and not God's Wisdom? The use of the plural "types" above denotes each individual day as a type of the Trinity. Sounds to me as if he might have had a different concept of the Trinity than people today have. The real problem arises in that so did everyone else of that day as well as the fact that there is no agreement on the particulars of this doctrine today.
The next recorded use of the term was a discourse on the subject by Gregorious Thaumaturgus in 270 A.D. - 90 years after Theophilus! I hate to beat this old horse but are we to believe the Trinity was a topic to be debated only every 80 or 90 years?
This brings us to 325 A.D., 225 years after the Apostolic era, when Constantine, the Emperor of Rome called a council of 318 of the up-and-ups in the church to settle the dispute betweem two men in regard to their teachings on the Godhead.
These two men were Arius and Athanasius. What were their beliefs?
Arius said that there was only one God ( that's right- one!) and that Jesus wasn't Him since He was (according to him) the first creation who was the express image of God. I can tear this apart but space doesn't permit. Suffice it to say that Jesus and the Apostles believed He, Jesus, was God manifested in the Flesh. What about Athanasius? Here again I will not go into detail for the sake of brevity, but will quote two statements from the creed mistakenly attributed to him and considered one of the defining documents for the Trinity that will make my point. Article 22 of the Athanasian Creed reads: "the Son is of the Father alone: not made, nor created, nor begotten." Articles 30-31 read: " 30 For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess: that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; 31 God, of the substance (Essence) of the father, begotten before the worlds: and Man of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world." This is a direct contradiction not 100 words apart! Neither of these men offer the first bit of Scriptural evedence in thier claims.
The debate raged on even after the Nicean Creed, which made no mention of the Holy Ghost as a Person in the Godhead, was published abroad with both men being exiled at various times and later reinstated to the church. Ahtanasius was the stronger of the two with more influence and political power. The division was so great that in 381 A.D. Theodius 1, new Emperor of Rome called the Council of Constantinople and modified the Creed to include the "Person" of the Holy Ghost in the Godhead as Athanasius proported making it a Trinity and imposing exile and death to those who would not embrace this new doctrine. This decision to "unite the church" was political and again, never did anyone offer Biblical text to support the Trinity.
I am not against Trinitarians in any fashion or form and through the Love that lives in me by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, wish that all of what ever denomination would come to a saving knowlege of Him: The One True Living God manifest in the Flesh!