Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quotations About the Trinity

I'll be collecting and posting interesting and notable quotes on the Trinity and Trinitarianism in this blogpost.

In the declaration, then, of this doctrine unto the edification of the church, there is contained a farther explanation of the things before asserted, as proposed directly and in themselves as the object of our faith, — namely, how God is one, in respect of his nature, substance, essence, Godhead, or divine being; how, being Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, he subsists in these three distinct persons or hypostases; and what are their mutual respects to each other, by which, as their peculiar properties, giving them the manner of their subsistence, they are distinguished one from another; with sundry other things of the like necessary consequence unto the revelation mentioned. And herein, as in the application of all other divine truths and mysteries whatever, yea, of all moral commanded duties, use is to be made of such words and expressions as, it may be, are not literally and formally contained in the Scripture; but only are, unto our conceptions and apprehensions, expository of what is so contained. And to deny the liberty, yea, the necessity hereof, is to deny all interpretation of the Scripture, — all endeavours to express the sense of the words of it unto the understandings of one another; which is, in a word, to render the Scripture itself altogether useless. For if it be unlawful for me to speak or write what I conceive to be the sense of the words of the Scripture, and the nature of the thing signified and expressed by them, it is unlawful for me, also, to think or conceive in my mind what is the sense of the words or nature of the things; which to say, is to make brutes of ourselves, and to frustrate the whole design of God in giving unto us the great privilege of his word.- John Owen, Brief Declaration and Vindication of The Doctrine of the Trinity

“The Old Testament may be likened to a chamber richly furnished but dimly lighted; the introduction of light brings into it nothing which was not in it before; but it brings out into clearer view much of what is in it but was only dimly or even not at all perceived before. The mystery of the Trinity is not revealed in the Old Testament; but the mystery of the Trinity underlies the Old Testament revelation, and here and there almost comes into view. Thus the Old Testament revelation of God is not corrected by the fuller revelation that follows it, but only perfected, extended and enlarged.” —Benjamin Breckinridge Warfied, Biblical Doctrines (New York: Oxford University Press, 1932; reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003), 141-42

Nothing could be more relevant to your life than the doctrine of the Trinity. For life is meaningless to you unless you know life’s meaning. And the meaning of life, the ultimate purpose of life, the greatest good, the supreme value, is love. And the doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation for that, because it means that love ‘goes all the way up’ into ultimate reality, into the very essence of God. The doctrine of the Trinity means that God is love.- Peter Kreeft, Because God Is Real, (Ignatius Press, 2008), p.87.
This is why I believe the intra-Trinitarian love is the basis and ground of creaturely morality. I plan to eventually write a blog on this concept.

An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God – that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying – the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on – the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers. - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Christian (and Jewish Messianic Believer in Jesus) Dr. Michael L. Brown, wrote
Interestingly, Dr. Benjamin Sommer, a professor in Bible and ancient Near Eastern languages at the Jewish Theological Seminary (that’s right, the Jewish Theological Seminary), came to similar conclusions in his recent book, The Bodies of God. He wrote: “Some Jews regard Christianity’s claim to be a monotheistic religion with grave suspicion, both because of the doctrine of the trinity (how can three equal one?) and because of Christianity’s core belief that God took bodily form. . . . No Jew sensitive to Judaism’s own classical sources, however, can fault the theological model Christianity employs when it avows belief in a God who has an earthly body as well as a Holy Spirit and a heavenly manifestation, for that model, we have seen, is a perfectly Jewish one. A religion whose scripture contains the fluidity traditions [referring to God appearing in bodily form in the Tanakh], whose teachings emphasize the multiplicity of the shekhinah, and whose thinkers speak of the sephirot does not differ in its theological essentials from a religion that adores the triune God.”
So, it appears that there are Jewish scholars who do not believe in Yeshua who can see what my dear friend Rabbi Blumenthal cannot. Let’s continue to pray for Rabbi Blumenthal!
More quotes regarding Sommer's book Here.

In no other subject is error more dangerous, or inquiry more laborious, or the discovery of truth more profitable. - Augustine De Trinitate 1.3.5 
God created us so that the joy He has in Himself might be ours. God doesn't simply think about Himself or talk to Himself. He enjoys Himself! He celebrates with infinite and eternal intensity the beauty of who He is as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we've been created to join the party!- Sam Storms, A Christian Theory of Everything

 Before going on, notice the practical importance of this. All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that ‘God is love’. But they seem not to notice that the words ‘God is love’ have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love.- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

The Trinity eternally had communion. The uni-personal God, only one Person, no Trinity, is, to a gracious mind reflecting on the subject, an impossible thing. For a moment reflect. Eternally alone, eternally silent, eternally without communion, no creatures made, no Fellow with Himself, what an awful thought! Unitarianism is the utmost blank, and the most terrible conception imaginable. But the Trinity in Unity, the Father un-begotten, the Son begotten, the Spirit proceeding from Them both, Three Persons equal in essence, power, and glory, but distinct in Personality, distinct, but not different, having eternal communion; this received by faith is a glorious truth to a soul. On this eternal communion between the Three Persons in the Godhead, is built the communion of the saints; communion of saints follows. Think for a moment what it would be if we had no fellowship of any kind with one another, or any creature. What a blank this world would be! What a blank would the house be, no fellowship, no interchange of any sort of thought, or plan, or love, or wish, or design, always in yourself! It is a great thing if we are enabled to believe with a God-given faith in the Trinity. - J.K. Popham, The Testimony of the Trinity
The late Martin Hengel exposed many of the tenuous arguments put forward for an evolutionary process of christological development, He argued: "The time between the death of Jesus and the fully developed Christology which we find in the earliest Christian documents, the letters of Paul, is so short that the development which takes place within it can only be called amazing."6 If that is the case, then "more happened in this period of less than two decades than in the whole next seven centuries, up to the time when the doctrine of the early church was completed."7- How Jesus Became God, p. 13

6. Martin Hengel, "Christology and New Testament Chronology: A Problem in the History of Earliest Christianity," in Between Jesus and Paul (London: SCM, 1983), 31

7. Martin Hengel, The Son of God: The Origin of Christology and the History of Jewish-Hellenistic Religion (London: SCM, 1975), 4. This reminds me also of G. B. Caird's remark (New Testament Theology [ed. LD. Hurst; Oxford: Clarendon, 1994], 343): "the highest Christology of the NT is also its earliest."- How Jesus Became God, p. 207

"Martin Hengel, perhaps the greatest living scholar of Christian origins, is correct in saying,
The discrepancy between the shameful death of a Jewish state criminal and the confession that depicts this executed man as a preexistent divine figure who becomes man and humbles himself to a slave's death is, as far as I can see, without analogy in the ancient world.17

17 The Son of God: The Origin of Christology and the History of Jewish-Hellenistic Religion (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976), 1."
"- James R. Edwards, Is Jesus The Only Savior?, p. 55.

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