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Old 11-08-2005, 08:43 AM
lanifiel lanifiel is offline
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Difficult Christian concepts

I feel that in Christianity, and certainly in some other religions, there are certain aspects which are difficult to understand, and I started this therad in hope that I can state what I don't get, and others can too.

For example, I find it difficult to believe in the Christian Trinity, because I haven't seen any solid proof of it in the bible. It also doesn't make sense to me literally or metaphorically.
I don't understand the issue of original sin either - Why should humans take the responsibily/label of something they didn't do, and then accept salvation through the blood of someone who didn't do anything wrong either.
I just don't get it.
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Old 11-08-2005, 11:43 AM
Magister Magister is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

I personaly believe this was a scam created by the church to convert witches into Christianity. Mostly Catholics use The Holy Trinity, and they're the most obviously related to Wicca.

Mother, Maiden, Crone.
Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

It's suppose to mean the cycles of life. Also I think numerology mixes in.

Personaly through premanitions I have mixed it as

The Mother
The Son
And The Holy Spirit

Which sounds much more plausible to both witches and Christians seeing as witches believe in a god, and Christians (Well Catholics anyway..) hold alot of sincerity towards The Virgin Mary..

The Mother came first, she created The Son.
The Son though second, was always one with The Mother, he became his own being and liberated many. Proving to be more powerful then The Mother, but nothing without her.
Both are dictated by The Holy Spirit. The Living Force. That resides in us all.

It sounds a bit confusing, but I'm looking at this from a 4+ dimensional perspective..

The reason for Father/Son or Mother/Maiden is purely social sexism I believe. In the older days women were it, then untill recently, men were the big cheese. There is a constant battle over the supramacy of femmenine and masculine quantities, ying/yang. However, The Son realized he was nothing without The Mother, and The Mother realized she needed The Son to see any sortof change, so what the hell is our problem?
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Old 11-08-2005, 12:10 PM
Tiroth United Kingdom Tiroth is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Magister? This thread is talking about Christian concepts and what they mean, not where you think they came from. plus, I have a hard time understanding what on earth you're talking about.

lanifel, it depends on what you mean by the Christian Trinity. If you mean the Catholic version, then it is God manifesting Himself as three separate beings - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (apologies to any Catholics if I am wrong, and please correct me if that is the case). If you mean the other version, it's very similar (ie, Father, Son, Holy Spirit), but they are separate, individual beings rather than three parts of one omnipotent whole.

As for original sin, well...I don't understand it either. But someone on here probably does (that's your cue, Bobslob).
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Old 11-08-2005, 12:11 PM
Space Wizard United_States Space Wizard is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Lets on start with easy stuff but jump right into the big questions about Christianity, I’ll do my best and get people to help me with this. First the holy Trinity, it is he Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one. The Father is God, Son is Jesus and Holy Spirit is Jesus after the resurrection. They are all the same thing just not really…..this is where it gets confusing and most Christians have trouble understanding it. Many people say that it is the mystery of the trinity but this is not so. A "mystery" is not something we can know nothing about; it is something which we know but can never entirely comprehend. Thus everything having to do with our Infinite Creator is a mystery, for the depths of God are ultimately incomprehensible. Yet we do know something about God, for God has revealed Himself to us. And one thing God has revealed is that there are Three Persons in the Godhead. The best way to say this w/o making a contradiction would be that there are Three Persons in one God, meaning that the Three Persons share one and the same Divine Nature. Are you confused yet because I’m starting to confuse myself, but first I need to explain Person and Nature to you. The words person and nature describe two different things. Person denotes who someone is, while nature denotes what one is. So if we ask "Who is God?", the answer is "God is Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit". If we ask "What is God?" the answer is "God is One - a Single Divine Nature". If we put these two truths together we find that God is Three Divine Persons who share one Divine Nature. (having a dictionary on your computer is really helpful!) I might have contradicted myself some where and if I did sorry, tried not to but with this issue one must choose their words carefully. But this should help clear things up a little bit.
Now I’m going to get a little anger towards your next statement about having “trouble believing in the trinity because there is no solid proof of it in the bible.” Of course there is no solid proof, the trinity is a concept not a tangible item like the triforce (though it was a good example). But if you understood what I said above Jesus had the same mind as God and the Holy Spirit, and Jesus was solid. People saw the Holy Spirit, and since it was a spirit one could not touch if, even thought Jesus told Mary no to touch him after the resurrection. God himself is not tangible but everything he made is (to an extent) but going by your logic you mush have trouble believing in God since he was never solid. Ah it’s all so maddening but do you get it?
I will get to the other two subjects later, right now I gtget to class, hope this did help some and if not tell me why and I will see what I can do.
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Old 11-08-2005, 02:54 PM
lanifiel lanifiel is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Well firstly, we are told in the bible, in 1 Corinthians to 'Prove all things, hold fast that which is good',which means we must not take things for granted, but prove what we believe.

You said that they are
Quote:
Three Persons share one and the same Divine Nature
, yet Jesus never once claimed to be man and God. In the contrary, he said 'But in vain do they worship me, teaching in doctrines the commandments of men'. If they have the same divine nature, surely that would mean they are equal in power, but that is not so. Jesus said:

'I can of my own self do nothing'
'My father is greater than I'
''My father is greater than all'
''But of that day (day of judgement) and that hour knew it no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven, neither the Son, but the Father'.

You also said that there is not solid proof of the Trinity; why then should we belive in it? Where, if at all, did you get that information from? Surely it must have come from somewhere? Yet nowhere in the Bible does Jesus claim to be God.
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Old 11-08-2005, 02:59 PM
2 Dope United_States 2 Dope is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Ok, on the part of Original Sin, original Sin was brought together when Adam and Eve took a bite of the fruit from the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden(which they were instructed by God NOT to do). They sinned against God, and made the human race imperfect, therefore all born after that, have original sin from the sin that Adam and Eve commited. Hope that made sense.
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Old 11-08-2005, 03:08 PM
lanifiel lanifiel is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

^ I knew what it meant, I just don't understand how we can be responsible; if my grandfather did somethiing, I shouldn't be constantly punished for it. Surely the fact that they were thrown out of heaven is enough punishement. Is then a new-born child imperfect, before they even set eyes on the world? If a baby died, say without getting baptized, would they then go to hell?
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Old 11-08-2005, 03:16 PM
2 Dope United_States 2 Dope is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

^Well technically, I would assume yes. But Trust me, the Catholic church has lightened up since Vatican II. Not sure if that was adressed but, I doubt in my own mind that a baby would be sent to hell if not baptized.
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Old 11-08-2005, 03:24 PM
Mr. Moogle Mr. Moogle is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

youd think so aye. but i remmember someone saying that the ignorant still get into heaven. if they have never heard of god and christianity then its not their fault. but i find this to be a rather convenient way to worm your way out of the question though (aimed at Christians that use that line)
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Old 11-08-2005, 05:28 PM
Bobslob Bobslob is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magister
I personaly believe this was a scam created by the church to convert witches into Christianity. Mostly Catholics use The Holy Trinity, and they're the most obviously related to Wicca.
Or perhaps, it is possibly you holding the absurd, ahistorical position.

In the first place, the idea that the Trinity is related to Wicaa is simply abusrd. Wicca is a modern invention (it may have roots in paganism, but it is modern), the concept of the Trinity has existed for nearly two thousand years.

Quote:
Which sounds much more plausible to both witches and Christians seeing as witches believe in a god, and Christians (Well Catholics anyway..) hold alot of sincerity towards The Virgin Mary..
What? Has Pope Benedict XVI amended the Trinity to the Quadrinity without telling me?! I thought we only revealed that to the initiated...

I'll attempt to make a short Biblical exposition of the Trinity.

Jesus advises the Apostles after his resurrection: Matthew 28:19
Quote:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
Also see 2 Cor. 13:14, Heb. 9:14 for more of the parallelism between the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.

Now, starting with the Augustinian tradition that the New Testament is revealed in the Old Testament, we can go right back to creation.

Start with creation (where else?).

Genesis 1 has a creation with three Divine actors

Quote:
1 1 In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
So, verse one has God creating the earth.
Verse 2 has "the Spirit of God," rushing over the water. (Some translations have a poor rendering 'a mighty wind,' but following the Vulgate's "spiritus Dei" and the Septuagint's "pneuma Theos," the Spirit of God is most accurate.) And the text also God's Word that he speaks. (Note that Gen 1:26 seems to speak in the plural, "Let us create man in our image, after our likeness.")

Of course, that's just a peak at it. There are numerous times in Scripture where we see God's Spirit-- whether in the great glory cloud upon the Ark, descending over the waters in Genesis, or overshadowing Mary.

And of course, God's son. Notice how I mentioned God's Word in Genesis-- well, that connects rather nicely to John 1
Quote:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
This delineates it pretty nicely. After all, John later explicitly tells us who "the Word," is: "And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14).

Quote:
In the beginning was the Word.
God is uncreated. Only God is eternal.

Quote:
and the Word was with God
How can God be with God-- wait, we've got an explanation-- Jesus is one of the persons of the one divine being.

Quote:
and the Word was God
In case you didn't get the point-- Jesus is God.

Another point in the Gospel where we see all three Divine persons interacting Matthew 16-17:
Quote:
16 After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him.
17And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, 13 with whom I am well pleased."
Jesus is being baptized-- the Holy Spirit alights on Him-- God the Father sends His voice from the Heavens.

The question is, how to reconcile the fact that God the Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and their peculiar relationship.

The answer lies in Israel's monotheism.
John 17:3
Quote:
3 Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God
Quote:
"‘You are my witnesses,’ says the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me’" (Is. 43:10).
How to reconcile the two? As orthodox Christians always have-- with the Trinity.

The only Son begotten of the Father-- a familiar quote? There's a reason Christians encased it in the Nicene creed in 325AD (although certainly believed it before that).

Some people falsely get caught up in Jesus' quote John 14:28 "the Father is greater than I," but the earliest creeds of Christianity explain it quite easily.

The Son is begotten. To beget is to become the father of, quite simply. The Father begets the Son. But since the Father is God, the Father begets God (you beget something of your own type). This isn't to say 'created,' you create something lesser-- a man begets a child but creates a sculpture. In the sense that the Son is begotten by the Father, He indeed is "lesser." (Likewise with the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father, and the Son-- Jn 14: 16-17, 26) The lesser and greater refers to the relationship between Father and Son, not to their Divine essence, which is one and the same.

The real question is why Christians today would not want to believe in the Faith of their Fathers. You know-- the early Christians.

Justin Martyr:
Quote:
"We will prove that we worship him reasonably; for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. For this they accuse us of madness, saying that we attribute to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all things; but they are ignorant of the mystery which lies therein" (First Apology 13:5–6 [A.D. 151]).
Theophilus of Antioch:
Quote:
"It is the attribute of God, of the most high and almighty and of the living God, not only to be everywhere, but also to see and hear all; for he can in no way be contained in a place. . . . The three days before the luminaries were created are types of the Trinity: God, his Word, and his Wisdom" (To Autolycus 2:15 [A.D. 181]).
Tertullian:
Quote:
"We do indeed believe that there is only one God, but we believe that under this dispensation, or, as we say, oikonomia, there is also a Son of this one only God, his Word, who proceeded from him and through whom all things were made and without whom nothing was made. . . . We believe he was sent down by the Father, in accord with his own promise, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father and the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. . . . This rule of faith has been present since the beginning of the gospel, before even the earlier heretics" (Against Praxeas 2 [A.D. 216]).

"And at the same time the mystery of the oikonomia is safeguarded, for the unity is distributed in a Trinity. Placed in order, the three are the Father, Son, and Spirit. They are three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in being, but in form; not in power, but in kind; of one being, however, and one condition and one power, because he is one God of whom degrees and forms and kinds are taken into account in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (ibid.).

"Keep always in mind the rule of faith which I profess and by which I bear witness that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are inseparable from each other, and then you will understand what is meant by it. Observe now that I say the Father is other [distinct], the Son is other, and the Spirit is other. This statement is wrongly understood by every uneducated or perversely disposed individual, as if it meant diversity and implied by that diversity a separation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" (ibid., 9).

"Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent persons, who are yet distinct one from another. These three are, one essence, not one person, as it is said, ‘I and my Father are one’ [John 10:30], in respect of unity of being not singularity of number" (ibid., 25).
Origen:
Quote:
"For we do not hold that which the heretics imagine: that some part of the being of God was converted into the Son, or that the Son was procreated by the Father from non-existent substances, that is, from a being outside himself, so that there was a time when he [the Son] did not exist" (The Fundamental Doctrines 4:4:1 [A.D. 225]).

"No, rejecting every suggestion of corporeality, we hold that the Word and the Wisdom was begotten out of the invisible and incorporeal God, without anything corporal being acted upon . . . the expression which we employ, however that there was never a time when he did not exist is to be taken with a certain allowance. For these very words ‘when’ and ‘never’ are terms of temporal significance, while whatever is said of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is to be understood as transcending all time, all ages" (ibid.).

"For it is the Trinity alone which exceeds every sense in which not only temporal but even eternal may be understood. It is all other things, indeed, which are outside the Trinity, which are to be measured by time and ages" (ibid.).
Augustine:
Quote:
"All the Catholic interpreters of the divine books of the Old and New Testaments whom I have been able to read, who wrote before me about the Trinity, which is God, intended to teach in accord with the Scriptures that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are of one and the same substance constituting a divine unity with an inseparable equality; and therefore there are not three gods but one God, although the Father begot the Son, and therefore he who is the Son is not the Father; and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son but only the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, himself, too, coequal to the Father and to the Son and belonging to the unity of the Trinity" (The Trinity 1:4:7 [A.D. 408]).
There's more where that came from.

Quote:
lanifel, it depends on what you mean by the Christian Trinity. If you mean the Catholic version, then it is God manifesting Himself as three separate beings - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (apologies to any Catholics if I am wrong, and please correct me if that is the case). If you mean the other version, it's very similar (ie, Father, Son, Holy Spirit), but they are separate, individual beings rather than three parts of one omnipotent whole.
The Catholic belief, as it has always been, is Three Persons in One Divine Being. Yes, they really are three distinct persons, and yes, they really share One Divine Being.

The idea of three persons in one being seems to trip many people up. But it's not that hard to grasp. Take any typical object-- say a rock. A rock is a being (or, if you prefer "metaphysical reality,"), but it is not a person. 0 persons, 1 being. A human is a person and a being. 1 person, 1 being. But God is 3 persons, 1 being.

Quote:
Lets on start with easy stuff but jump right into the big questions about Christianity, I’ll do my best and get people to help me with this. First the holy Trinity, it is he Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one. The Father is God, Son is Jesus and Holy Spirit is Jesus after the resurrection.
The Holy Spirit is not Jesus.

Quote:
They are all the same thing just not really…..this is where it gets confusing and most Christians have trouble understanding it.
They all are united in one divine essence, or being. They are, however, distinct persons. Don't fall into the heresy of "modalism," which really reduces the three persons into one person with different "offices."

Quote:
,yet Jesus never once claimed to be man and God. In the contrary, he said 'But in vain do they worship me, teaching in doctrines the commandments of men'. If they have the same divine nature, surely that would mean they are equal in power, but that is not so. Jesus said:
In John 8:58 Jesus notes "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am"-- using God's own name "I Am" (Ex. 3:14). And yes, his audience clearly understood him-- "So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple" (John 8:59). After all, he equated himself to God. That's blasphemy.

That's besides the obvious of John 1 "the Word was God."

What about Jesus's healing of the paralytic and forgiveness of his sins?

In John 20:28, Thomas falls at Jesus’ feet, exclaiming, "My Lord and my God!"

In Philippians 2:6, Paul tells us that Christ Jesus "[w]ho, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped." So, they do have the same divine nature-- your assertion to the contrary doesn't lessen it.

Note God in the OT using:
Quote:
"Thus says Yahweh, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, Yahweh of armies: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides me there is no god’" (Is. 44:6; cf. 41:4, 48:12).
And Christ in the NT using:
Quote:
"When I saw him [Christ], I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the First and the Last’" (Rev. 1:17)
Quote:
"And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the First and the Last, who died and came to life’" (Rev. 2:8)
Quote:
"Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the beginning and the end" (Rev. 22:12–13).
What about
Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15, 19:
Quote:
11 For thus saith the Lord God: Behold I myself will seek my sheep, and will visit them. 12 As the shepherd visiteth his flock in the day when he shall be in the midst of his sheep that were scattered, so will I visit my sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
Quote:
15 I will feed my sheep: and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God.
Quote:
19 And my sheep were fed with that which you had trodden with your feet: and they drank what your feet had troubled.
And
John 10: 15, 26-27:
Quote:
15 As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep.
Quote:
26 But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. And I know them: and they follow me.
And then, see what Jesus commands to Peter in John 21: 14-19, "Feed my sheep."

According to your interpretation, these aren't Jesus' sheep because God says in Ezekiel "I will feed my sheep," and yet Jesus refers to "his sheep," in John.

The Catechism explains it succinctly:
Quote:
The dogma of the Holy Trinity

253 The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the "consubstantial Trinity".83 The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: "The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God."84 In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), "Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature."85

254 The divine persons are really distinct from one another. "God is one but not solitary."86 "Father", "Son", "Holy Spirit" are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: "He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son."87 They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: "It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds."88 The divine Unity is Triune.

255 The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another: "In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance."89 Indeed "everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship."90 "Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son."91

256 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, also called "the Theologian", entrusts this summary of Trinitarian faith to the catechumens of Constantinople:

Quote:
Above all guard for me this great deposit of faith for which I live and fight, which I want to take with me as a companion, and which makes me bear all evils and despise all pleasures: I mean the profession of faith in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. I entrust it to you today. By it I am soon going to plunge you into water and raise you up from it. I give it to you as the companion and patron of your whole life. I give you but one divinity and power, existing one in three, and containing the three in a distinct way. Divinity without disparity of substance or nature, without superior degree that raises up or inferior degree that casts down. . . the infinite co-naturality of three infinites. Each person considered in himself is entirely God. . . the three considered together. . . I have not even begun to think of unity when the Trinity bathes me in its splendor. I have not even begun to think of the Trinity when unity grasps me. . .92
(St. Gregory was writing that last bit during his life, which was from 329-389AD)

EDIT: Apparently I've been asked to explain original sin. Perhaps after I get some of my schoolwork done. (Perhaps this link might be helpful in the interim.)
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Old 11-09-2005, 06:55 PM
Mrs Ganondorf Norway Mrs Ganondorf is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Bobslob, I can't believe you're calling Jesus blasphemic.

Does the Bible distinguish between God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost as different persons? I don't see that that is possible. God has one mind, not three.

The extracts from Tertullian I found to be close to what kind of image the Bible gives of the Trinity. . .
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:08 PM
Issh24 Issh24 is a male United States Issh24 is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Ok... Mrs Ganondorf. This is just a little hard to explain but bear with me. Yes there are God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost. But they are the same. (I'm just a little lost too) It's like a ham sandwich, theres bread, meat and mayo. They are all different but it's a sandwich. It is very hard to understand because god made us that way. He doesn't want us to understand all the hard concepts. (I wish bbd was here) If you were a god would you wan't all you creations to understand and know everything about you. You would wan't them to know enough so that they could get to heaven (in our case) If they knew all about you, you wouldn't seem so *tries to find the right word* godly. Somewhere in the bible (I can't remember wich book) it sez that once we go to heaven we will be able to understand such concepts as that.
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:14 PM
Bobslob Bobslob is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs Ganondorf
Bobslob, I can't believe you're calling Jesus blasphemic.
It's blasphemy if Jesus is not God. The reason the Jews wanted to stone him was because they thought he was blasphemining in equating himself to God. People may not be convinced by the clear equation that Jesus makes with himself and God when he says, "Before Abraham was, I am." However, it is only all the more clear when you see it interpreted in the context of the Jews considering his statement as blasphemy.

Quote:
Does the Bible distinguish between God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost as different persons? I don't see that that is possible. God has one mind, not three.
Mind is, perhaps, the wrong word. Mind invokes the idea that God has a brain-- he doesn't, really. God does have a Will. And God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all have Divine Wills. Being as all three persons are Divine, they are in perfect harmony. (i.e., see Jesus praying in Gethsemane).

It becomes rather cumbersome not to say that there are three persons in the trinity. For whatever reason than that would one God pray to Himself? Or tell us that he is sending his Paraclete to guide us? If there are not distinct persons then how else could Jesus say "the Father is greater than I," while simultaneously holding "the Father and I are one?" The answer is, as always, that while the three persons do have a relationship to one another (the Trinity) they all share in the one Divine Nature, hence, one God. "God is one, but not solitary." "The Divine Unity is Triune."

The idea of a relationship might actually help you. One of God's innate attributes is Fatherhood. To be a Father means to have a Son. You can't be a father and not have a child. To say that God's Fatherhood is contingent on his created sons (i.e., on Earth) would be to say that God was not always Father. In order for God to be innately a Father he has to have had a Son from all eternity. Hence, Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father, begotten not made. Were he made, he would not be eternal. Begotten, he becomes the Son of God, and yet is begotten, thus God. But since he is begotten, this is his relationship to the Father. The Holy Spirit can be explained as the love from the Father through the Son (but so amazingly real that it is a person). The Father begets, the Son is begotten, the Holy Spirit proceeds.

I must say, it is a difficult concept to understand. However, Mrs. Ganondorf, as you've expressed to me your interest in Orthodoxy, I must say-- no one can convert to Orthodoxy without professing belief in what Orthodoxy believes-- including the Trinity and the three persons therein. If it makes it any easier, this is the consistent interpretation of Scripture since the foundation of the Church. There's something to be said for an interpretation of the Bible that has existed consistently for nearly two millenia.
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:24 PM
Imaginary Light Imaginary Light is a female United States Imaginary Light is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

I'm going to get massacred for this , but here I go...

Jesus is God, so is the Father and the Holy Spirit, but they are all seperate. I know this is confusing, but our tiny minds can't understand it. Jesus even says that the Father and him are one, and the Father says at Christ's baptism "This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased." Yes you are saying to yourself "That doesn't even deal with Christ being God," but it does(in a way). The Holy Spirit concived Jesus, Mary just was a host you could say, and that is how Christ became a human. Mary is not holy; she inherited the sin from her parents, but the Holy Spirit concived Jesus so he would not recieve sin. Aw, my head hurts.

Christ lived the life of a human, but without sin. He took our place for death, and assured us that we would rise again when HE(not the Holy Spirit) had risen again. Christ concured death, sin, and the devil.

With original sin; we inherited sin from our parents when we were created, and that's even when we were a one celled organism.

And what is Tertullian? Is it a book from the Catholic Bible? I would't know because I'm a Lutheran. Could I have some more info on this Ter-tu-lli-an thing. PM me with the info, thanks.

Please don't kill me for saying this.

-----------------------------------------------

I'm a bit behind in the discussion, sorry.
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:40 PM
Mrs Ganondorf Norway Mrs Ganondorf is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobslob
It's blasphemy if Jesus is not God. The reason the Jews wanted to stone him was because they thought he was blasphemining in equating himself to God. People may not be convinced by the clear equation that Jesus makes with himself and God when he says, "Before Abraham was, I am." However, it is only all the more clear when you see it interpreted in the context of the Jews considering his statement as blasphemy.
Of course, I didn't get the context of what you wrote. It would have surprised me if it was your opinion that Jesus is/was blasphemic, which was what I initially assumed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobslob
Mind is, perhaps, the wrong word. Mind invokes the idea that God has a brain-- he doesn't, really. God does have a Will. And God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all have Divine Wills. Being as all three persons are Divine, they are in perfect harmony. (i.e., see Jesus praying in Gethsemane).

It becomes rather cumbersome not to say that there are three persons in the trinity. For whatever reason than that would one God pray to Himself? Or tell us that he is sending his Paraclete to guide us? If there are not distinct persons then how else could Jesus say "the Father is greater than I," while simultaneously holding "the Father and I are one?" The answer is, as always, that while the three persons do have a relationship to one another (the Trinity) they all share in the one Divine Nature, hence, one God. "God is one, but not solitary." "The Divine Unity is Triune."

The idea of a relationship might actually help you. One of God's innate attributes is Fatherhood. To be a Father means to have a Son. You can't be a father and not have a child. To say that God's Fatherhood is contingent on his created sons (i.e., on Earth) would be to say that God was not always Father. In order for God to be innately a Father he has to have had a Son from all eternity. Hence, Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father, begotten not made. Were he made, he would not be eternal. Begotten, he becomes the Son of God, and yet is begotten, thus God. But since he is begotten, this is his relationship to the Father. The Holy Spirit can be explained as the love from the Father through the Son (but so amazingly real that it is a person). The Father begets, the Son is begotten, the Holy Spirit proceeds.

I must say, it is a difficult concept to understand. However, Mrs. Ganondorf, as you've expressed to me your interest in Orthodoxy, I must say-- no one can convert to Orthodoxy without professing belief in what Orthodoxy believes-- including the Trinity and the three persons therein. If it makes it any easier, this is the consistent interpretation of Scripture since the foundation of the Church. There's something to be said for an interpretation of the Bible that has existed consistently for nearly two millenia.
That God has a mind, I do not mean to suggest he has a brain likes ours, all senewy and entangled with neurons and chemical channels.

I get your point. When you state that the Trinity consists of three distinct persons, how do you define a person? I'm used to seeing a person as an individual entity with a will of its own, a perception of its own and so on. But in the Trinity, God's will is the only Will, right?

But please don't teach me about Orthodoxy. I can perfectly well find out about that myself. I haven't joined the Orthodox church yet and don't know if I will as I have certain aversions against organised Christianity. I'd rather cherish the Bible for what it tells me than let some organisation teach me how to live. God shall teach me how to live, but if joining the church would be good for my spiritual education I might do it.
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:49 PM
Bobslob Bobslob is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda's love
I'm going to get massacred for this , but here I go...
Mmm... *licks lips*

Quote:
Jesus is God, so is the Father and the Holy Spirit, but they are all seperate.
Separate inasmuch that their persons are separate. Unified in that they all share the one Divine Nature.

Quote:
The Holy Spirit concived Jesus, Mary just was a host you could say, and that is how Christ became a human.
Just a host? Mary was asked by the angel to bear God's Son and carry out God's will. Mary responded with her fiat, a remarkable act of humility and obedience. Mary is no mere biological host, she is a glorified dwelling place for our Lord-- just as the Ark of the Covenant was the holy container of our God in the Old Testament, and just as the Spirit of God overshadowed the Ark with its great glory cloud, Mary too is the Ark of the New Testament, whom the Spirit overshadowed and in whom the Lord dwelt. (Before you guys freak out on me on how "unbiblical" I am-- read this page which presents this entire idea, and if you have a problem with what I said, argue with what this page says, not with me.)

Quote:
Mary is not holy; she inherited the sin from her parents, but the Holy Spirit concived Jesus so he would not recieve sin. Aw, my head hurts.
This is where we would have to disagree. The Immaculate Conception of Mary was the conception of Mary without original sin, thus making her an acceptable Ark to hold our God. The Holy Spirit conceived Christ so that Christ was God and Christ was human, not for anything to do with sinfulness. (Before you object that Mary was without sin and that this rejects her need of a Savior, this only moves when she was 'saved.' Picture a man who walks, falls into a hole, and needs someone to throw down a rope so he can get out. This is the normal Christian. Now picture a man walking along who, as he approaches the pit, is held back and prevented from falling in. The latter is like Mary, who was saved in a higher and greater way-- still equally in need of salvation as all of us, but receiving it in a different mode.)

Quote:
And what is Tertullian? Is it a book from the Catholic Bible? I would't know because I'm a Lutheran. Could I have some more info on this Ter-tu-lli-an thing. PM me with the info, thanks.
I can't tell if you're being facetious or not.

The best way to interpret Scripture is by seeing how Scripture has been interpreted historically. Most Christians at least pay lip service to the idea that the Early Christians were pure and holy, and that we should emulate what the Early Christians did. Luckily, we have written records of and from the Early Christians explaining and defending what they did.

Tertullian is one of the Early Christians, as are Justin Martyr, Theophilus of Antioch, Origen and Augustine. There are many other Early Church Fathers-- Clement of Rome (who we have writings from-- he lived around 90AD), Ignatius of Antioch (another very early Christian, with writings from about 110AD), Ambrose of Milan, Gregory of Nyssa, etc...

The idea isn't that we're taking "extra-biblical" sources and using these to justify our faith. The idea is that we all claim to use the bible, yet we interpret it differently. The question then, is, who interprets the Bible correctly. The most powerful arguments often rest in the consistent historical interpretations of the Fathers of the Church, closest to the Apostles.

That the Fathers of the Church were so adamantly for the Trinity shows that the Trinity is neither manufactured nor unbiblical.
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:05 PM
Mrs Ganondorf Norway Mrs Ganondorf is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

You said enough in that post to answer my questions too, Bob. Thanks for time!
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:30 PM
~Talik~ United_States ~Talik~ is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Maybe the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the timeline of the universe The Father created all life and everything thus starting the beginning this lasted up until Jesus (the Son) which is the middle, the part of time that we are in, and the there is the Holy Spirit and that part of time is when Jesus comes to take all of his followers to Heaven. This could be and probobly is wrong.
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:35 PM
Bobslob Bobslob is offline
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Re: Difficult Christian concepts

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Talik~
Maybe the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the timeline of the universe The Father created all life and everything thus starting the beginning this lasted up until Jesus (the Son) which is the middle, the part of time that we are in, and the there is the Holy Spirit and that part of time is when Jesus comes to take all of his followers to Heaven. This could be and probobly is wrong.
Indeed.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God."

"and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." (John chapter 1)

"Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the beginning and the end" (Rev. 22:12–13).

As is clear from the context of all of these, Jesus is co-eternal with the Father. Jesus was merely incarnated at a specific time in history, but had always existed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs Ganondorf
Of course, I didn't get the context of what you wrote. It would have surprised me if it was your opinion that Jesus is/was blasphemic, which was what I initially assumed.
No worries. I did a double take of that very sentence when browsing my post over for errors. It didn't catch me by surprise that someone would point it out.

Quote:
That God has a mind, I do not mean to suggest he has a brain likes ours, all senewy and entangled with neurons and chemical channels.
I don't think you did. But I think you and I both tend to associate the will with the mind, but on a second thought, that can't be so in God.

Quote:
I get your point. When you state that the Trinity consists of three distinct persons, how do you define a person? I'm used to seeing a person as an individual entity with a will of its own, a perception of its own and so on. But in the Trinity, God's will is the only Will, right?
Each person of the trinity has its own will. However, since each person is part of the one Divine Nature, they are in perfect harmony. Really, the most beautiful example of this is in Matthew 26:
Quote:
39 He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, 25 if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will."
Quote:
42 Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, "My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!"
Really, and as a secondary lesson, we are to emulate the Son-- we are to align our will perfectly to God's will. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. That's a window of insight onto why certain Christians honor Mary so greatly-- she was obedient to God in the exact opposite way that Eve was defiant, and thus a great model to us all.
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Old 11-10-2005, 12:13 AM
Himura United_States Himura is offline
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The notion of the Trinity comes from John 14 where Jesus is talking to Philip.

Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father(God) and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered, "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been amoung you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. how can you say, 'Show us the father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? The words i say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. (John 14:8-11 NIV)

The Trinity is a very difficult concept to understand, untill we reach heaven and such matters are made clear to us. Nevertheless, I will try. Jesus is God's son. He chose out of love to come to earth in human form and sacrifice his life to save us. Yet he is with God in Spirit, in the Father as the Father is in him. This means God and his will are a part of him in his heart. It is similar to the way Jesus lives in us when we accept salvation. God lives in Jesus, who is our intercessor. Since Jesus died for our sins and comes into our hearts upon salvation God too, becomes a part of our hearts and in this way we are saved and allowed to eventually join the Father and Son in heaven. Now on to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit did not begin to fill his role in the Trinity untill Pentacost, when he descended upon the disciples as a tongue of flame. The Holy Spirit is responsible for the worship of and witness to God. Because the Spirit, Father, and Son are all in each other as formerly described, and Jesus is in each of us, The Spirit can work through us to do God's will, if we allow him to, because of Jesus' role as our intercessor and Savior. Without the Trinity Salvation through the blood of Jesus is not even Possible.

Original sin and the reason we need salvation is less complex, but harder for us to accept, because we do not want to think of ourselves as sinners. Original sin comes form THE Original Sin of Adam and Eve. When Adam chose to eat the forbidden fruit for Eve's sake he brought sin into the world and ruined God's perfect creation. For this he was cast out of Eden and forced to forevermore work for his life and living. Original sin means we are born with the curse of Adam's sin on our backs, not that we are born having sinned in the womb. The wages of sin is death, and without some intercession we are all doomed to die. A baby has not sinned in actuality yet, so many believe that untill a child reaches the end of a certain "age of innocence" and is able to understand right from wrong, just as Adam and Eve after tasting the fruit, he would go to heaven safely. Once you have sinned once, however, if you don't ask God for help you are screwed. in the Old Testament days this was done by sacrificing a pure and clean animal, usually a lamb, to God after one had sinned. Needless to say , this simply was impractical. Only those who walked with God were guaranteed to go to heaven. Then Jesus came to earth. He was the son of the One True Creator God, the Father in heaven. Because he was of God he was able to live a flawless, 100% sin-free life. It is important to inderstand that part. 100% sin-free, that means he never even so much as swore or looked the wrong way at a woman, or even told a single white lie. No one else has or will ever be able to do that. ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, EXCEPT Jesus Christ. Because he lived perfectly, he was made the ultimate Lamb of Sacrifice. He was crucified by the actions of both Jews and Gentiles, showing that the entire world sacrificed him to the Lord. For this reason anyone who calls on his name WILL be saved. His death would have been pointless and in vain, if it were not for what happened next. Jesus was God in the Flesh, and so he was able to conquer death because his life was lived perfectly. Three days after the crucifiction Jesus rose from the dead. Thats right, he got up alive and left his tomb three days after the world killed him. The Ressurection proves that he was perfect and that he died to save us from the inevitable conclusion of sin. Animal sacrifices have not been necessary since that day. All you have to do to go to heaven is admit you have sinned, ask forgiveness, and then ask Jesus to save you and to enter your heart and live in you, Just as the Father is in him, so that you may be one in the Spirit and able to live your life for the glory of God's kindom. After you accept Jesus you must do your best to live in the way God wants you to (This way of life can be found by reading your bible and praying often.). That is why Christianity is so hard for some people to accept, because it requires admiting to yourself that you have sinned, wronging God. It is the truth, though. Everyone has or will sin against God, and even after you are saved and sanctified by Christ you will continue to sin. Unrepented sin will bring death in the end, no matter how small it is. May be all you did was say a cussword once, or lust after the opposite sex with your eyes, it doesn't matter. All sin is equal in God's eyes, all sin will bring death if you do not accept the gift that Jesus gave you freely. That is how original sin works and why salvation through the Blood of Christ is necessary. If you want to accept salvation, but don't know what to pray, here is asimple prayer you can pray to accept your salvation and scure your place in heaven:

Dear Jesus,
I am not perfect, I am a sinner. But I want to change that, Lord. Please forgive me for my sins. I ask that you come into my heart and live with me forever, Jesus. Help me to learn to live my life for you from now on. Amen

Once you have prayed to ask Jesus into your heart you are freed from the consequnces of sin. God knows your heart, however. The way you try to live your life from then on will tell whether you really gave your heart to the Lord, or just asked for a free pass to sin as much as you want. God loves you, his Son died for you, and the least you can do to return the favor is to live for him. You will not always be perfect, but God will never abandon you. The road is not easy, but the destination is literally out of this world. God's mercy will save you form sin. That is salvation!
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