The History of the Development of the Trinity Doctrine
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1. "Hebrew and Muslim monotheism is unitarian - God exists as one being [one person]." - Encyclopedia International, Grolier, v. 8, 1966 ed.
2. "It seems unquestionable that the revelation of the mystery of the Trinity was not made to the Jews." - Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique (Dictionary of Catholic Theology), quoted in 15 Aug. 1984 WT, p. 28.
3. "As we have seen, Christianity inherited the monotheism of Israel, but gradually developed it by the elaboration of the doctrine of the Trinity." - p. 619, v. 6, 1941, Encyclopedia Americana.
4. From its earliest development in Christendom down till today the trinity doctrine has been viewed with disdain by Jews as a clear contradiction of "the essence of Judaism." "It is at this point that the gulf between the Church and the synagogue opens before us in all its depth and significance .... The teaching of the divinity of Jesus Christ is an unpardonable offence in the eyes of Judaism." - The Jewish People and Jesus Christ, Jakob Jocz. (Awake! 6/22/91, p. 5)
5. "The dogma of the Trinity is of relatively recent date. There is no reference to it in the Old Testament .... One can even say that it is a conception foreign to primitive [earliest] Christianity." - Professor Louis Reau of the Sorbonne (France's leading university), in Iconographie de l' Art Chretien, v. 2, Book 1, p. 14. (See Awake! 22 Sept. 1962, p. 7.)
5a. "Exegetes and theologians today are in agreement that the Hebrew Bible [the Old Testament] does not contain a doctrine of the Trinity ... Although the Hebrew Bible depicts God as the father of Israel and employs personifications of God such as Word (davar), Spirit (ruah), Wisdom (hokhmah), and Presence (shekhinah), it would go beyond the intention and spirit of the Old Testament to correlate these notions with later trinitarian doctrine.
"Further, exegetes and theologians agree that the New Testament also does not contain an explicit doctrine of the Trinity. God the Father is source of all that is (Pantokrator) and also the father of Jesus Christ; `Father' is not a title for the first person of the Trinity but a synonym for God....
"It is incontestable that the [Trinity] doctrine cannot be established on scriptural evidence alone." - The Encyclopedia of Religion, Macmillan Publishing Co., 1987, volume 15, p. 54.
6. "Neither the word Trinity, nor the explicit doctrine as such, appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: `Hear, O Israel: The Lord [Jehovah] our God is one Lord.' Deut. 6:4 .... The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies .... It was not until the 4th century that the distinctness of the three and their unity were brought together in a single orthodox doctrine of one essence and three persons." - The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 1985, Micropedia, vol. 11, p. 928. [see CREEDS for a discussion of some trinitarians' attacks on this quote.]
7. "Trinity, a word not found in Scripture but used to express the doctrine of the unity of God as subsisting in 3 distinct persons. Not only is the word `Trinity' not in Scripture, but there is no isolated exposition on this attribute of God in either testament. It is an inferred doctrine, gathered eclectically from the entire Canon." - p. 630 of the highly trinitarian publication, Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publishers, 1982.
8. "[The Trinity Doctrine] is not ... directly and immediately the word of God." - (p. 304) "The formulation `One God in three persons' was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian Dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers [those very first Christians who had known and been taught by the Apostles and their disciples], there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective." - New Catholic Encyclopedia, p. 299, v. 14, 1967.
9. "In the NT there is no direct suggestion of a doctrine of the Trinity." - p. 344, An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (ed.), 1945.
10. The trinitarian reference work, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1986, Zondervan, admits: "The NT does not contain the developed doctrine of the Trinity. `The Bible lacks the express declaration that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of equal essence and therefore in an equal sense God himself. And the other express declaration is also lacking, that God is God thus and only thus, i.e. as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These two express declarations which go beyond the witness of the Bible, are the twofold content of the Church doctrine of the Trinity.'.... It also lacks such terms as `trinity' ... and homoousios which featured in the Creed of Nicaea (325) to denote that Christ was of the same substance as the Father." And "All this underlines the point that primitive Christianity did not have an explicit doctrine of the trinity such as was subsequently elaborated in the creeds [after 325 A. D.] of the early church." - p. 84, v. 2.
11. "The earliest Apostolic teaching and the type of doctrine which seems long to have prevailed among the Churches of Judaic origin and cast was only to a very slight degree dogmatic and brought no enlarged or corrected doctrines touching the nature of God or the character of men. Indeed no New Testament authors ever approach these themes as if intending to communicate fresh truth, but rather to confirm and apply truth already commonly apprehended [including, of course the essential truth of exactly who our God really is - Jn 17:3; 2 Thess. 1:8; Ps. 83:18]." - p. 184, v. 20, Encyclopedia Americana, 1944, "New Testament Theology."
12. "The early form of the Apostle's Creed consisted of `I believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Christ Jesus his Son, our Lord, and in holy spirit, holy church, and resurrection of the flesh.'" - An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (ed.), p. 208, 1945 ed. [see CREEDS study].
13. "... the doctrine of the Trinity was of gradual and comparatively late formation; that it had its origin in a source entirely foreign from that of the Jewish and Christian scriptures; that it grew up, and was ingrafted on Christianity, through the hands of the Platonizing Fathers; that in the time of Justin [c. 100-165 A. D.], and long after, the distinct nature and inferiority [in comparison to the Father only, of course] of the Son were universally taught; and that only the first shadowy outline of the Trinity had then become visible." – p. 34, The Church of the First Three Centuries, Alvan Lamson, D.D. (see WT 15 Oct. 1978, p. 32.)
14. The Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Protestant) says: "The word Trinity is not found in the Bible .... It did not find a place formally in the theology of the church till the 4th century .... Although scripture does not give us a formulated doctrine of the Trinity, it contains all the elements out of which theology has constructed the doctrine."
15. "The trinity of persons within the unity of nature is defined in terms of `person' and `nature' which are G[reek] philosophical terms; actually the terms do not appear in the Bible. The trinitarian definitions arose as the result of long controversies in which these terms and others such as `essence' and `substance' were erroneously applied to God by some theologians." - Dictionary of the Bible (Macmillan Publishing Co., New York, 1965), p. 899.
16. Weigall relates many instances of the trinity concept in pre-Christian pagan religions and then states: "The early Christians, however, did not at first think of applying the idea to their own faith." And, "Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon, and nowhere in the New Testament does the word `trinity' appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord; and the origin of the conception is entirely pagan." - The Paganism in our Christianity, pp. 197,198, Arthur Weigall.
16a. “By the middle of the 3rd century A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols.” - p. 248, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine (trinitarian),Thomas Nelson, Inc.
17. "When the writers of the New Testament speak of God they mean the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. When they speak of Jesus Christ, they do not speak of him nor do they think of him as God." - John M. Creed, Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, in his book, The Divinity of Christ, p. 123. The clear distinction between the only true God and his Messiah, however, is (if possible) even more obvious in the Old Testament.
18. "That the historical Jesus did not present himself as God incarnate is accepted by all [theologians] ... Christian laymen today are not fully aware of it." And "[Jesus] did not teach the doctrine of the trinity." - John Hick, Professor of Theology at Birmingham University, in The Myth of God Incarnate (See 1977 WT, p. 687.)
19. "If Paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by paganism. The pure Deism of the first Christians (who differed from their fellow Jews only in the belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah) was changed by the Church at Rome, into the incomprehensible dogma of the trinity. Many of the pagan tenets, invented by the Egyptians and idealized by Plato, were retained as being worthy of belief." - The History of Christianity, (Preface by Eckler).
20. "Christianity did not destroy Paganism; it adopted it .... From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity, …. the adoration of the Mother and Child…." – p. 595, The Story of Civilization: vol. 3, Simon and Schuster Inc., by noted author and historian Will Durant.
21. "A passage in the work `Against Heresies,' written by Saint Irenaeus, who died about 202 .... says of the Christians of his day: `All teach one and the same God the Father, and believe the same oeconomy [`creator's plan'] of the incarnation of the Son of God, and know the same gift of the Spirit, and meditate on the same precepts, and maintain the same form of constitution with respect to the Church...'" - p. 174, vol. 8, 1944, Encyclopedia Americana. - Irenaeus also wrote: "But there is only one God .... he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ [compare John 17:1, 3, NEB]." - p. 111 of A Short History of the Early Church, by strong trinitarian Dr. H. R. Boer, 1976. Even trinitarian historian W. H. C. Frend admits: "Irenaeus's monotheism was Hebraic rather than Greek" - p. 245, The Rise of Christianity, Fortress Press, 1985. - See the CREEDS study, "Irenaeus."
22. "Wherever in the New Testament the relationship of Jesus to God, the Father, is brought into consideration, whether with reference to his appearance as a man or to his Messianic status, it is conceived of and represented categorically as subordination [to God]." - Professor Martin Werner of the University of Bern, writing in The Formation of Christian Dogma, 1957.
23. "[In the early days of Christianity] one believed in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, but no tie was available to unite them together. They were mentioned separately. Prayers were addressed, for example, to the Father who `alone,' according to the statement of Clement of Rome, `was God' [cf. Jn 17:3, NEB; 1 Cor 8:6]." - Revue d' Histoire et de Litterature Religieuses (Review of History and of Religious Literature), May-June, 1906, pp. 222, 223. (See Awake! 22 Sept., 1962, p. 7.) "Clement, St., Pope of Rome (ca. 92-101) .... St. Clement is looked upon as the first of the `Apostolic Fathers'." - p. 177, An Encyclopedia of Religion.
The writing of Clement of Rome is "the earliest and most valuable surviving example of Christian literature outside the New Testament" and "was widely known and held in very great esteem by the early Church. It was publicly read in numerous churches, and regarded as being almost on a level with the inspired scriptures." - pp. 17, 22, Early Christian Writings, Staniforth, Dorset Press, New York.
24. Cardinal Newman was "one of the most influential English Catholics of all time ... universally revered at the time of his death." - The Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia, 1968, v. 2, p. 758. Cardinal Newman wrote that the Christian creeds before Constantine's time (4th century A. D.) did not make any mention of a trinity understanding. "They made mention indeed of a Three; but that there is any mystery in the doctrine, that they are coequal, co-eternal, all increate, all omnipotent, all incomprehensible, is not stated, and never could be gathered from them." - The Development of Christian Doctrine, p. 15. (See Awake! 8 Jan. 1973, p. 16.)
25. The Apostles' Creed (and other very early creeds) grew out of very early baptismal questions. "Around the year A. D. 200, the candidate for baptism answered questions before being baptized as follows:
" Do you believe in God the Father Almighty? [Answer:] I believe.
" Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was born of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and died, and rose the third day living from the dead, and ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father [Ps. 110, Acts 2:32-36], and will come to judge the living and the dead? [Answer:] I believe.
" Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Church, and the resurrection of the flesh? [Answer:] I believe.
"This form of questioning the candidate began in Rome. In the course of time, questions were changed into a statement or declaration. The beginning of the Apostles' Creed is found in this development. For a long time the creed that came into being in this way was known as the Roman Creed. [This earliest Roman Creed was still in substantial agreement with the above Baptismal Questions even as late as 341 A. D. - see The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, vol. 1, p. 204, Eerdmans.] As need arose, other beliefs were added. The form in which the Apostles' Creed exists today dates from about the fifth century." - A Short History of the Early Church, Dr. H. R. Boer (Trinitarian), pp. 75-76, 1976, Eerdmans Publishing Co. (Cf. p. 280, Augustus to Constantine, Robert M. Grant, Harper & Row, 1990.)
An Encyclopedia of Religion confirms the above and adds that "in the fourth century, the myth of composition by the twelve apostles appears." And, "The final form of the Apostles' Creed was reached in Gaul whence it returned to Rome in the eighth century. The traditional text can hardly be traced beyond the sixth century". - pp. 33, 208, 1945 ed.
Here then, is the true confession of the earliest Christian congregations in Rome itself. These are the beliefs one must have before he can even be baptized! Number one, of course, is that most essential question: `Who is the God you worship?' It is "God the Father Almighty"!
Certainly, if there had been any thought in the Christian community of this city (that over 100 years later would force the teaching of a trinity concept upon the entire church) the question would have been something like "Do you believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit who are Almighty?" or "Do you believe God is one and God is three: The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit?"!!
But there is no suggestion of such a thing. God is "God the Father Almighty" - period!!
Then we go to question #2 in these essential baptismal questions. It is entirely about Jesus but in no way even implies that he is God or equal to God! In fact, it clearly designates him as separate from God ("Son of God") and, of course, separate from the Father, who is God (Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father). Certainly, if Jesus were thought to be God, it would have been as clearly stated in this question as were the other required beliefs about Jesus in this question that a candidate must answer before being baptized!
Then we go to question #3. Do we see even a hint of the essential knowledge of a 3-in-one God: that the Holy Spirit is a person who is equally God? No! In fact, we see a question dealing with important things!
Question number one deals with the most important belief about the individual who, alone, is the God we must worship.
Question number two is a question about the second most important belief (and about the second most important person in existence).
And question number three is about the next most important beliefs: The holy spirit, The holy church, and the resurrection. That these three things are lumped together is highly significant!
A trinitarian might say (although clearly false from context alone) that each of the three questions deals with one aspect of the Trinity. But question number three alone shows the falsity of such a statement. If this question were truly speaking of believing in the Godhood of the Holy Spirit, it certainly would not include the church and the resurrection equally in that very same statement.
Now notice this admission by another trinitarian scholar and church historian:
"Besides Scripture and tradition one finds at the end of the second century another entity of fundamental significance for the doctrine of the church, namely the creed .... One of the oldest creeds to be canonized in a particular church was the old Roman baptismal creed, which is generally designated as Romanum (R) .... an early form of this confession read as follows:
"`I believe in God, the Father, the Almighty;
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord,
And in the Holy Ghost, the holy church, the resurrection of the flesh.'
"In this form the old Roman confession probably originated not later than the middle of the second century." Toward the end of the 2nd century the information about Jesus (`who was born of the Holy Spirit, etc.' as found in the quote from trinitarian Boer above) was added to R. "More or less similar creeds were extant in most of the Christian congregations of the West .... Later the wording of R became generally accepted in the West." The East (the original home of Judaism and Christianity), however, had a slightly different form. The original eastern creed read as follows:
"`I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, of whom everything [else] is,
and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, through whom everything [else] is,
and in the Holy Ghost.'
".... Hence the formula of faith was intended primarily for the instruction of candidates for baptism. This leads to a further point, namely, that the creed functioned as a formal summary of the Christian faith. It was the criterion of faith upon which catechetical instruction was based." - pp. 33-35, A Short History of Christian Doctrine, Bernard Lohse, Fortress Press, 1985.
Please notice that this "summary of the Christian faith" hundreds of years after the death of Christ affirms one God only: the Father only!
So, just as the complete lack of any single clear statement of a trinity idea for the all-important knowledge of God (Jn 17:3) in the entire Bible shows that the Bible writers did not believe any such thing, so does the complete lack of such a suggestion in the baptismal questions about the most important, basic beliefs of a Christian 100 years after the last book of Scripture had been written also show that these early Christians (even in Rome at that time) had no concept of a three-in-one (or even a two-in-one) God!!
26. Quotes from A Short History of the Early Church, by trinitarian scholar Dr. H. R. Boer, 1976, Eerdmans: "The Apostolic Fathers wrote between A. D. 90 and 140. Their discussion of the person of Jesus Christ simply repeated the teaching of the New Testament. None of the Apostolic Fathers presented a definite doctrine on this point. In this respect the New Testament, The Apostolic Fathers, and the Apostles' Creed stand in one line." - pp. 109-110, Boer.
Therefore, admits this trinitarian: none of the earliest sources calls Jesus "God the Son" (or the Holy Spirit "God the Holy Spirit") and there is no clear statement that "God is Three" or that "three (or even two) persons are equally God"! God is only spoken of as a single person, the Father of Jesus.
The very first Christians to really discuss Jesus' relationship with God in their writings, according to Boer, were "The Apologists." "Justin [Justin Martyr, `the best known' of the Apologists] and the other Apologists therefore taught that the Son is a creature. He is a high creature, a creature powerful enough to create the world but, nevertheless, A creature. In theology this relationship of the Son to the Father is called subordinationism. The Son is subordinate, that is, secondary to, dependent upon, and caused by the Father. The Apologists were subordinationists." - p. 110, Boer.
(In fact, the trinitarian Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity, 1977, pp. 112-113 admits: "Before the Council of Nicaea (A D 325) all theologians viewed the Son as in one way or another subordinate to the Father." - also found on p. 114 in the revised 1990 ed. of The History of Christianity, Lion Publishing.)
Then came Saint Irenaeus (ca. 130-200) who still did not say that Jesus was equally God: "'How then was the Son produced by the Father?' We [Irenaeus writes] reply to him, that no man understands that production, or generation, or calling, or revelation, or by whatever name one may describe His generation, which is in fact altogether indescribable." And, "But there is only one God, the creator ... He it is ... whom Christ reveals .... he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ .... But the Son, eternally co-existing with the Father, from of old ... always reveals the Father to ... all to whom He wills that God should be revealed." - p. 111, Boer. (Also see pp. 406, 428, 434, vol. 1, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Roberts, Eerdmans Publishing.) And, "The Father is indeed above all, and He is the Head of Christ [cf. 1 Cor. 11:3]" - Against Heresies, Ireneaus, Book V, Chapter 18.2.
Irenaeus still didn't teach Jesus as being equally God with the Father (and didn't even suggest that the Holy Spirit was even a person, let alone a person who was equally God), but he did develop the concept that Jesus has somehow always existed beside the Father although not equally God Himself.
This development of the concept of Jesus' "eternal existence" by Irenaeus "led many to ask whether Christianity believed in polytheism. This fear found expression in ... very different conceptions." - p. 111, Boer.
26a. Even Clement of Alexandria (died ca. 215 A. D.) called Jesus in his prehuman existence "A creature" but called God "the uncreated and imperishable and only true God." He said that the Son "is next to the only omnipotent Father" but not equal to him. - ti-E, p. 7.
27. "In the unity of that one only God of the Babylonians, there were three persons [Anu, Enlil, and Ea], and to symbolize that doctrine of the trinity, they employed, as the discoveries of Layard prove, the equilateral triangle, just as [Christendom] does today." (and, as we shall see, so did a pagan, pre-Christian Greek philosophy/mystery religion.) - The Two Babylons, Hislop, p. 16.
28. "There is a tendency in [pagan] religious history for the gods to be grouped in threes .... Even in Christianity, the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost reflects the underlying tendency. In India, the great Triad included Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer. These represent the cycle of existence, just as the Babylonian triad of Anu, Enlil and Ea represent the materials of existence: air, water, earth." - An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm, p. 794, 1945.
29. Not only did the ancient Babylonians have the major trinity of Anu, Enlil, and Ea, but they worshiped more than one trinity of gods. - Babylonian Life and History, Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, 1925 ed., pp. 146, 147.
It is this concept (of many gods being manifestations of the one God - or having the essence of that one God - known as pantheism) when coupled with the strong ancient pagan trend of grouping gods in unions of three that gradually led to the trinity doctrine for Christendom.
"He was later known as an incarnation of the Son of Osiris, and was called the `life of Osiris,' who gives life, health, and strength to the nostrils of the king. Osiris was in fact connected with Apis in predynastic times, when Osiris was allied with bull-peoples in the Delta; it was then that he acquired the title `Bull of Ament' (the underworld). The later association of Apis and Osiris derived especially from the creation, death and resurrection triad of Ptah-Seker-Osiris. Osiris-Apis became known as Serapis or Sarapis. In an attempt to associate the popular cult of Osiris with that of Ra, the Heliopolitan priests put forward the notion that when the Apis bull died his soul rose to heaven to be united with that of Osiris; Serapis was therefore a sort of heaven-god." - Egyptian Mythology, Ions, 1968, p. 123.
33. The Encyclopedia Americana tells of the fully developed "Hindu Trinity" existing "from about 300 B. C.," p. 197, v. 14, 1957. Brahmana writings, probably from 800 B. C. or before, frequently include the Vedic triad concept. - Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., v. 3, pp. 1014-1016, and 34, also see The Portable World Bible, The Viking Press, pp. 23, 25.
"Those accustomed to the worship of concrete gods and goddesses did not take kindly to a colorless deity, however, even if the deity was Brahma [Brahma, neuter]. To satisfy them Brahmanism was forced to incorporate certain objects of popular devotion, and accordingly, the three gods Brahma [masculine], Vishnu, and Siva were worshiped equally. This triad was a triple impersonation of the divinity responsible for the creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe. Brahmanism thus effected a compromise that satisfied both the esoteric members of the Hindu community and the more popular demands of folk religion." - Collier's Encyclopedia, pp. 458, 459, v. 4, 1975 ed. (Also see Encyclopedia Americana, 1944, v. 14, p. 196.)
36. "[The sacred syllable Om] referred to the Hindu trinity of Vishnu, Brahma, and Siva. It symbolized the abstract unity of the universe: Absolute (a) and Relative (u) are related (m). (a-u-m, pronounced `om')." - World Book Encyclopedia, v. 16, 1961 ed., p. 100. (Also see p. 579, The Portable World Bible, Viking Press, and The Encyclopedia Americana, p. 724, v. 20, 1957. This sacred symbol of the Hindu trinity may be found even in the Upanishads of 800-600 B. C. - The Portable World Bible, The Viking Press, pp. 25, 50.
40. Professor E. Washburn Hopkins said of the trinities of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christendom:
41. "There are also trinitarian concepts in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism." - p. 348, Merit Students Encyclopedia, Macmillan, v. 18, 1985 ed.
43. "I, the supreme indivisible Lord am three - Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva." - p. 378, New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, 9th impression, 1974.
44. "[Pythagoras] was by common consent one of the most influential forces in the whole intellectual history of the west." - p. 49, Greece - The Horizon Concise History of Greece, Eliot, 1972.
47. "God, he [Pythagoras] declared indeed, is `number.'" - Men of Mathematics, E. T. Bell, p. 22, 1965.
49. The Pythagoreans worshiped the "holy tetractys" an equilateral triangle composed of 10 dots - Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., v. 18, p. 803, and An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm, 1945, p. 630.
We can see that the whole holy symbol (an equilateral triangle - remember the ancient symbol of pagan trinities which is also the symbol for the trinity in Christendom today) represents the monad or unit (the source) and the three equal sides represent the whole (made up of three equal members: beginning, middle, end) and the ten dots denote "the system of the world." Therefore the Pythagoreans apparently worshiped a symbol representing three equal gods ("god is a number") making up a single "unit" or "source" for the "system of the world."
50. "The triple interwoven triangle ... was used by the Pythagoreans as a symbol of recognition between the members." - Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., v. 18, p. 804.
53. "[The] singular numerological metaphysics [of the Neo-Pythagoreans] was a development of that aspect of Pythagoreanism which had chiefly influenced Plato himself." - The Greek Philosophers, Warner, pp. 218-219, 1958.
54. "Pythagoras' conception of number, form, was influential on Plato's thinking." - An Encyclopedia of Religion, p. 630.
56. The French Nouveau Dictionnaire Universel (New Universal Dictionary) speaks about Plato's trinity of the 4th and 5th centuries before Christ:
56a. Even the highly acclaimed (and very trinitarian, of course) The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, John McManners (ed.), admits that Plato's teaching of "the divine triad" is "so close to the now known truth" of the much more modern `Christian' trinity doctrine! - p. 47, Oxford University Press, 1992.
57. Encyclopedia Americana, p. 98, v. 20, 1982 ed.
58. The Greek Philosophers, Warner, p. 219, 1958.
59. New Standard Encyclopedia, v. 1, 1952, "Alexandrian School."
60. World Book Encyclopedia, p. 211, v. 1, 1952 ed.
61. The Outline of History, p. 309, v. 1, 1956.
62. Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 341, v. 20, 14th ed.
63. An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (ed.), p. 704, 1945.
64. Webster's Third Unabridged Dictionary, "Serapeum" - "LL, fr. Gk Sarapeion,
Serapeion, fr. Sarapis, Serapis, Egyptian god.”
65. Encyclopedia Americana, p. 372, v. 1, 1944 ed.
And, "Alexander's campaigns gave the first powerful impetus to universal syncretism which confounded the nationality of gods as well as of men." - p. 188.
And, "Alexander's unification of mankind and of culture led of necessity to mutual borrowing and lending and conduced to a unity of religion. He adopted the Persian policy of tolerance toward foreign religious usages and cults subsisted side by side.... His Graeco-Oriental cities were permanent centres for the amalgamation of culture and religion. Of these foundations the most successful in fulfilling Alexander's policy of blending the nations was Alexandria, which remained for centuries the headquarters of syncretism." - The Mystery-Religions, S. Angus, Dover Publications, 1975.
67. "... various religious and philosophical systems which attempted to fuse the doctrines of Christianity with Greek philosophy were devised in the city [of Alexandria]" - The Universal Standard Encyclopedia, (Funk and Wagnalls abridgment), p. 155, v. 1, 1955 ed.
The Pagan Trinity at Alexandria, Egypt
“The trinity was a major preoccupation of Egyptian theologians .... Three gods are combined and treated as a single being, addressed in the singular. In this way the spiritual force of Egyptian religion shows a direct link with Christian theology.” - p. 254, Egyptian Religion, Morenz.
“The Egyptians believed in a resurrection and future life, as well as in a state of rewards and punishments dependent on our conduct in this world. The judge of the dead was Osiris, who had been slain by Set, the representative of evil, and afterwards restored to life. His death was avenged by his son Horus, whom the Egyptians invoked as their “Redeemer.” Osiris and Horus, along with Isis, formed a trinity, who were regarded as representing the sun-God under different forms.” – Easton’s Bible Dictionary, "Egypt," Thomas Nelson Publ.
This triad of Abydos [Horus, Isis, and Osiris] is apparently much older than even the earliest records .... These 3 main gods were skillfully incorporated into the Great Ennead or State religion of Egypt .... particularly during the first 5 or 6 dynasties when the worship of this triad was prominent.” - The Ancient Myths, A Mentor Book, Goodrich, p. 25, 1960.
A later triad was centered at Alexandria Egypt.
"After the Greek conquest, the new city of Alexandria became the centre of Egyptian religious life, and indeed of the religious life of the whole Hellenic world. A great temple, the Serapeum, was set up by Ptolemy I at which a sort of trinity of gods was worshipped. These were Serapis (who was Osiris-Apis rechristened), Isis and Horus. These were not regarded as separate gods but as three aspects of one god" A Short History of the World, 1922 -
“This fusing of one god with another is called theocrasia, and nowhere was it more vigorously going on than in Alexandria. Only two peoples resisted it in this period: The Jews, who already had their faith in the one God of heaven and earth, Jehovah, and the Persians, who had a monotheistic sun worship [Mithras]. It was Ptolemy I [who died in 283 B. C.] who set up not only the Museum in Alexandria, but the Serapeum, devoted to the worship of a trinity of gods which represented the result of a process of theocrasia applied more particularly to the gods of Greece and Egypt.
“This trinity consisted of the god Serapis (= Osiris + Apis), the goddess Isis (= Hathor, the cow-moon goddess), and the child-god Horus. In one way or another almost every god was identified with one or other of these three aspects of the one god, even the sun god Mithras [very important in the religion of Constantine the Great which we shall see when we examine the Nicene Council] of the Persians. And they were each other; THEY WERE THREE, BUT THEY WERE ALSO ONE.” - The Outline of History, Wells, vol. 1, p. 307, 1956 ed.
"There was little danger of the small cult of Mithras, influential though it was, stemming the tide of Christianity and taking over the world. However, the cult of Isis had the numbers and the appeal to mount a serious threat to Christianity. Some scholars assert that the Holy Trinity of Isis, Serapis and Horus were not really defeated - they were merely absorbed into the new Holy Trinity of Christianity. The reverence for Mary among high Christian churches is similar to faith in Isis. We should consider at the very least that many chapels to the Virgin were built purposely on the remains of temples to Isis, and that furthermore the iconography of the Madonna and Christ is quite similar to Isis and Horus." -
"As a part of the Alexandrian triad of Serapis, Isis, and Harpocrates, he became the form of Horus most worshipped in late times, particularly with the rise of Isis as great-mother goddess. The god of the poor and humble, "Horus-the-child is specifically the potential that is still weak and defenceless as a child, the power that needs to be nurtured" -
"The cult of Isis spread from Alexandria throughout the Hellenistic world after the 4th century B.C.E. It appeared in Greece in combination with the cults of Horus, her son, and Serapis, the Greek name for Osiris. .... The tripartite cult (Trinity) of Isis, Horus, and Serapis was later introduced around 86 B.C.E. into Rome in the consulship of Lucius Cornelius Sulla and became one of the most popular branches of Roman religion." -
"In the Greek era, Ptolemy the First introduced Serapis to Egypt so that both Egyptians and Greeks would have a supreme deity in common. Serapis was a composite of several Egyptian and Hellenistic deities, especially Osiris and the bull Apis. The official trinity of the Ptolemaic period was Serapis, Isis, and Harpocrates. The temple of Serapis was constructed in Koum Al-Dekka in Alexandria and his legacy lasted well into the Roman period." -
72. "Neo-Platonism, as interpreted by Plotinus, says: `Each is Spirit and Being, and the whole is all Spirit and all Being.' .... There are `no separations in the world of Spirit .... There all things are together and yet remain distinct.'" - The Greek Philosophers, p. 228.
74. "Plotinus ... evolved a form of Platonism which results in a trinity not dissimilar to that of orthodox Buddhism and Brahmanism." - Origin and Evolution of Religion, Prof. E. Washburn Hopkins.
75. "Nor is it only in historical religions that we find God viewed as a trinity. One recalls in particular the Neoplatonic view of the Supreme or Ultimate Reality which was suggested by Plato." - Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Hastings, p. 458, vol. XII.
77. "the church gradually absorbed Neoplatonism almost entire. The Christian [?] Platonists of Alexandria led the way; then came Augustine himself." - Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 81, v. 18, 1956 ed.
Although Augustine probably did more than any other man to keep the trinity doctrine as a part of the Church, it had already been developed and adopted by that Church by the late 4th century.
78. "The philosophy of Plotinus [Neo-Platonism] was the last great effort of the Greek genius; it was succeeded by, and powerfully influenced, the more strictly theological writings of Christians [?]." - The Greek Philosophers, Warner, p. 230, Mentor Books, 1958.
81. New Standard Encyclopedia, v. IX, "Tertullian".
82. Cairns, p. 111, 1977 ed., Christianity Through the Centuries.
83. Cairns, p. 111.
Even though Tertullian is often "credited" with being the first (c. 215 A. D.) to apply the term `trinity' to the Christian God, he wrote (c. 210 A. D.):
Not only did Tertullian condemn the interpretation of the divine nature by philosophy, but he shows his familiarity (and contempt for) the use of the term `trinity' (as applied to man) many years before he is `credited' with first applying that philosophically derived term to God (and the divine nature)!
87. Tertullian wrote in his Apology, XXI,
We must not forget, however, that even angels are spirit, and are called sons of God, and are even, on occasion, called gods! (see the BOWGOD study) - pp. 39, 591, Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publ.; and pp. 37, 1133, New Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed., Tyndale House Publ.
88. The very trinitarian New Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House Publ., 1982, p. 1222, admits:
But even these three pagan-influenced church writers (who are usually blamed for introducing the elements of the trinity doctrine) taught that Jesus Christ is not equally God (which denies the "essential belief" of the trinity doctrine for 99.9% of Christendom today)! - See note #26 (Irenaeus); note #85 (Tertullian), and the CREEDS study. And Origen also believed that the Son was not God nor equal to God, but a person who was subordinate to and lesser than God. He wrote: "compared with the Father, [the Son] is a very small light." - quoted in Should You Believe in the Trinity?, p. 7.
Origen also wrote: "The agent of redemption as of all creation is the Divine Logos or Son of God, who is the perfect image or reflection of the eternal Father though a being distinct, derivative, and subordinate." - An Encyclopedia of Religion, p. 551. Origen believed that "the Son can be divine only in a lesser sense than the Father; the Son is qeo" (god), but only the Father is autoqeo" (absolute God, God in himself)." - p. 1009, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, Oxford University Press, 1990 printing. [Trinitarian Murray J. Harris likewise writes: "Origen, too, drew a sharp distinction between qeo" and oJ qeo" [theos and ho theos]. As qeo" [theos], the Son is not only distinct from (`numerically distinct') but also inferior to the Father who is oJ qeo" and autoqeo" (i.e. God in an absolute sense). - p. 36, Jesus as God, Baker Book House, 1992.] And trinitarian Latourette admits that "Origen held that God is one, and is the Father" - p. 49, Christianity Through the Ages, Harper ChapelBook, 1965.
"It was possible, for instance, for Origen to say that the Son was a creature of the Father, thus strictly subordinating the Son to the Father" and "Origen is therefore able to designate the Son as a creature created by the Father." - pp. 46, 252, A Short History of Christian Doctrine, by respected trinitarian (Lutheran?) Professor of Church History, Bernard Lohse, 1985, Fortress Press. Lohse also tells us that Origen used the concept of homoousios to describe a unity and harmony of will (p. 46).
In fact, Origen also wrote: "The Father and Son are two substances ... two things as to their essence." - Should You Believe in the Trinity? - p. 7. So the "unity of `substance'" (homoousios) concept which was used by those who later developed the "orthodox" trinity doctrine apparently meant merely a unity of will for Origen. One example of this can be found in Origen De Principiis, Book IV, ch. 1, v. 36: "Everyone who participates in anything, is unquestionably of one essence and nature with him who is a partaker of the same thing. For example, as all eyes participate in the light, so accordingly all eyes which partake of the light are of one nature." - p. 381, vol. 4, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Eerdmans Publ., 1989 printing. ("The term Homoousios had begun to become current with Heracleon [c. 160 A.D.] who had claimed that those who worshiped God in spirit and in truth were themselves spirit and `of the same nature [homoousios] as the Father" - p. 394, note #111, The Rise of Christianity, W. H. C. Frend, Fortress Press, 1985. Obviously homoousios, as it was used by Heracleon, did not have the same meaning as later trinitarians made it seem.) .'
Apparently even as early as 268 A.D. this term had begun to have different meanings for a few Christians. Noted scholar (and trinitarian) Robert M. Grant tells us that the Bishop of Antioch, Paul of Samosata,
Grant tells us that this very same Council or Synod of 268 A.D. also excommunicated Paul of Samosata! - Augustus to Constantine, p. 218, Harper and Row, 1970.
It would be strange indeed if those Christians who condemned this doctrine believed that homoousios meant what it did for Origen (and other early Christians). They surely would not disagree with the statement that the Word (Logos) was united in will [homoousios] with the Father as Origen and others taught.
Therefore these Christians must have known that the heretical Bishop of Antioch was intending a new meaning that God and the Word were of one substance in a more literal sense that suggested that Jesus was equally God (and they most emphatically denied that new teaching!). At any rate, it is certainly significant that this council so strongly condemned the concept that the Logos was homoousios in any new literal sense with God as late as 268 A.D.!
And as for Origen's development of the "Eternal Generation" of the Son - it is true that Origen used the term, but it is apparent that it did not mean to him what those later trinitarians used it to mean. Lohse tells us:
In fact, Origen apparently considered all creation as `eternally generated.'
"Did this mean, though, that Logos and world, since each in its different way is coeval ['of the same age or duration'] with God, are therefore equally primordial with God? .... The `eternal generation' of the Logos did not for [Origen] imply that the Logos is God's equal; being `generated' or `begotten' entailed being secondary - i.e., subordinate." - p. 93, A History of the Christian Church, Williston Walker (trinitarian), Scribners, 4th ed. - See OBGOD (f. n. #4).
It is ironic that Origen (and the other very early Christian writers) have been "credited" with the beginning of the development of the trinity doctrine. It is clear that he had no such concept, and, in fact, clearly taught that the Word (Logos), Jesus, was separate from, inferior to, and created by God!
The same holds true for the renowned first century A.D. Jewish scholar, Philo. He, too, clearly taught that God was a single person only, the Father and that the Word (Logos) was an angel (or `a god'), intermediary between God and man. And yet their teachings have been distorted by early "Christian" philosophers into a trinity-supporting teaching! - See CREEDS and LOGOS studies.
89. "Origen [see #71] tried to express the Christian faith in terms of the prevailing Platonic philosophical ideas of his time. Some of his speculations, for example about the pre-existence of souls and universal salvation, were repudiated by the church, and helped bring about his later condemnation." - p. 108. "Origen's ideas were deeply coloured by middle Platonism." - p. 112, Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity, 1977.
90. Death Shall Have No Dominion, Prof. Douglas T. Holden.
91. An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (ed.), p. 615, 1945.
93. Encyclopedia Americana, p. 559, v. 11, 1966.
94. "Before the Council of Nicaea (A D 325) all theologians viewed the Son as in one way or another subordinate to the Father." - pp. 112-113, Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity, 1977.
95. Cairns, p. 142.
"This is the earliest evidence for the process by which Sunday became not merely the day on which Christians met for worship but also a day of rest, and it is noteworthy that in both law and inscription Constantine's stated motive for introducing this custom is respect for the sun." - The Early Church, p. 128, Chadwick, 1967.
100. Constantine "made a great effort to reconcile [the religious] differences in order to have one uniform and harmonious teaching in the community." - The Outline of History, Wells, p. 438, v. 1.
101. "Constantine was probably attracted to Christianity ... by the political use he could make of it."- Encyclopedia Americana, p. 555, v. 7, 1957.
103. Cairns, p. 143.
104. Constantine first called the council to convene at Ancyra but then transferred "the council from Ancyra to Nicaea so that he could control the proceedings." - The Early Church, Chadwick, p. 130, Dorset Press, NY, 1986 ed.
Although this is the interpretation that the trinitarians put on this term after the Council, "it hardly expresses the original meaning of this expression: the concept homoousios was not understood in this sense at the time [although Eusebius rightly suspected it might be taught that way by the trinitarians anyway - p. 135, Williston Walker, Hist.]." - p. 55, A Short History of Christian Doctrine by distinguished trinitarian scholar Bernard Lohse, Fortress Press, 1985. (See note #88.)
It is important to note that in the third century (about 50 years earlier) the Council of Antioch condemned the use of the term homoousios in describing the relationship of Jesus to God! It was proclaimed instead that the term heteras ousias (`different essence') must be used in describing Christ's relationship to God!! But, of course, fifty years later at Nicaea the new trinitarians managed to reverse this and institute the previously condemned term (homoousios) as the required term. Those who would disagree with the new reversal of terms were to be persecuted, banished, and their writings burned.
From an article in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
"(Gr. homoousion - from homos, same, and ousia, essence; Lat. consubstantialem, of one essence or substance), the word used by the Council of Nicaea (325) to express the Divinity of Christ. [Note that the trinitarian word is homo (same) ousia not homoi (similar but different) ousia]
...."The question was brought into discussion by the Council of Antioch (264-272); and the Fathers seem to have rejected Homoousion, even going so far as to propose the phrase heteras ousias, that is, Heteroousion, "of other or different ousia [essence]". Athanasius and Basil give as the reason for this rejection of Homoousion the fact that the Sabellian Paul of Samosata took it to mean "of the same or similar substance". But Hilary says that Paul himself admitted it in the Sabellian sense "of the same substance or person", and thus compelled the council to allow him the prescriptive right to the expression. Now, if we may take Hilary's explanation, it is obvious that when, half a century afterwards, Arius denied the Son to be of the Divine ousia or substance, the situation was exactly reversed. Homoousion directly contradicted the heretic. In the conflicts which ensued, the extreme Arians persisted in the Heteroousion Symbol. But the Semi-Arians were more moderate, and consequently more plausible, in their Homoiousion (of like [similar] substance)." - http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07449a.htm
Yes, Athanasius and his followers believed Jesus was God simply because they needed him to be God in order to satisfy their own non-scriptural concepts which were based on Neo-Platonic philosophy and paganistic Egyptian traditions:
Most Christians today would quickly acknowledge the Mormon [LDS] doctrine of `man becoming God' ("as God is, man may become" - The Gospel Through the Ages, Hunter, pp. 105, 106, Salt Lake City, 1945-1946) as a clearly non-scriptural false doctrine. However, this is said to be the very doctrine that Athanasius and his trinitarian followers desperately wanted to be true. Athanasius wrote and taught: "He [Christ] was made man that we might be made God." - p. 13, Christianity Through the Ages, 1965, Latourette (trinitarian), Harper ChapelBooks (Harper and Row).
So Athanasius (and his few but influential trinitarian followers) believed he not only needed a Savior who was God in order to sufficiently combat the terrible demonic powers that would otherwise surely bring about the hideous, unthinkable destiny of men, but, even more importantly, if men were to "become God" as he is said above to have falsely believed, surely the only one able to save them and be King over them would, himself, also have to be God. Hence, the desperate, never-ending drive to promote a false doctrine making Jesus equally God was in turn based on other false and unscriptural doctrines!
"[Eusebius of Nicomedia, a staunch non-trinitarian Arian] appears to have been agreed with Eusebius of Caesarea in placing Christ above all created beings, the only begotten of the Father, but in refusing to recognize him to be `of the same essence' with the Father, who is alone in essence and absolute being." - Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 892, v. 8, 14th ed.
"The largest party [at the Nicene Council] was led by the gentle scholar and Church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, whose dislike of controversy led him to propose a view that he hoped would be an acceptable compromise .... over two hundred [the Semi-Arians] of those present [about 300] followed his views at first .... His creed [Caesarean Creed] became the basis of the creed that was finally drawn [at Constantine's and Hosius' insistence] at Nicaea, but that one differed from his in its insistence upon the unity of essence or substance of the Father and the Son." - Cairns, p. 144.
"The interference with the Church by the temporal power [began] with the control of the Council of Nicaea by Constantine in 325." - p. 19. And, "Constantine at Nicaea in 325 arrogated to himself the right to arbitrate the dispute in the Church, even though he was only the temporal ruler of the Empire." - p. 137, Christianity Through the Centuries, Cairns, 1977.
"[The] majority eventually acquiesced in the ruling of the Alexandrians [trinitarians]; yet this result was due ... partly to the pressure of the imperial will. .... We are compelled to the conclusion that in this point, the voting was no criterion of the inward convictions of the council. Accordingly [?] that the Caesarean creed should be modified by the insertion of the Alexandrian [Constantine-proposed trinitarian] passwords ... and by the deletion of certain portions. That he appreciated the import of these alterations, or realized that his revision was virtually the proclamation of a new doctrine [Trinity], is scarcely probable. The creed thus evolved by an artificial unity was no ratification of peace: in fact, it paved the way for a struggle which convulsed the whole empire. For it was the proclamation of the Nicene Creed that first opened the eyes of many bishops to the significance of the problem there treated; and its explanation led the Church to force herself ... into compliance with those principles, annunciated at Nicaea, to which in the year 325, she had pledged herself without genuine assent." - Encyclopedia Britannica, pp. 410-411, v. 16, 14th ed.
117. "the emperor sustained the trinitarian position [at the Nicene Council]." - The Outline of History, p. 438, v. 1.
118. "During the Arian controversy [Eusebius of Caesarea] inclined to the doctrine of the subordination of the Son of God. To the charge of heresy [during the Nicene Council] Eusebius replied by renouncing [for the moment] Arius." - Collier's Encyclopedia, v. 9, 1975 ed.
120. "Soon after the Nicene Council had concluded its work, the semi-Arians began to assail the creed [which they had been forced to sign earlier]." - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 251, v. 2, 1957 ed.
121. "Later [after the Council] also Eusebius [of Caesarea] sided actively with the Arian faction against ... Athanasius." - An Encyclopedia of Religion, pp. 260-261.
122. "[After the Nicene Council] the large party known as Semi Arians ... carried on the strife against the Nicenes [trinitarians] and especially Athanasius." - p. 359, Encyclopedia Britannica, v. 2, 14th ed.
123. Cairns, p. 145.
124. "The Emperor [and his designee, Hosius] presided over the council and paid its expenses. For the first time the church found itself dominated by the political leadership of the head of state." - Cairns, p. 143.
125. The Ancient World: "Christianity: From Hunted Sect to State Religion" - p. 225, Mankind Publishing Company.
126. "There is no doubt that Constantine's signature to the decrees of the Council was gained by his religious adviser [Hosius]." - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 426, v. 14, 1957 ed.
127. "[Hosius] powerfully influenced the judgment of the emperor."- Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 790, v. 11, 14th ed.
128. An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (ed.), p. 247, 1945.
129. The Catholic Encyclopedia, p. 185, 1976 ed.
"The first pronouncement that celibacy be required for priests was issued in 305 during the Council of Elvira in Spain. ...the Council ruled that all men engaged in performing priestly functions refrain from enjoying the company of women - wives included - else forsake their priesthood." - p. 279, The Christian Book of Why, by Lutheran professor and minister Dr. John C. McCollister, NY, 1983.
131. The Outline of History, v. 1, p. 432.
132. The Outline of History, v. 1, p. 308.
133. "Former Pope John XXIII, ... said: `Ecclesiastical celibacy is not a dogma. The Scriptures do not impose it. It is even easy to effect a change. I take a pen, I sign a decree and, the next day, priests who wish to may get married. But I cannot.'" - How very revealing! And how very similar to the unscriptural addition of the Trinity doctrine by this same organization at the same time in history! The clergy finds the unscriptural pagan trinity addition equally impossible to deny because it has become such a strong tradition! - Jer. 16:19-21; Mark 7:7, 8, 13.
134. The History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church traces priestly celibacy to ancient pre-Christian India. - Awake! 5/8/75, p. 28.
135. The Encyclopedia Britannica notes that the faithful followers of Judaism certainly did not practice celibacy "but Alexander's conquests brought the Jews into contact with Hindu and Greek mysticism" which probably accounts for the growth of the Essene sect which did sanction celibacy shortly before the Christian era. - Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 94, v. 5, 14th ed.
135a. Yes, the `fruits' of the Nicene Council itself also included the forbidding of a certain food:
136. "The sons of Constantine continued to favor the semi-Arian party, which included a large majority of Eastern bishops; but the Western [Alexandria-influenced] churches generally adhered to the Nicene Creed." - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 233, v. 2, 1957 ed.
137. Gibbon writes of a similar deathbed statement made by Emperor Galerius:
“It is not usually in the language of edicts and manifestos that we should search for the real character of the secret motives of princes; but as these were the words of a dying emperor, his Situation, perhaps, may be admitted as a pledge of his sincerity.” - p. 296, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Dell, 1963.
138. "On the whole, the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the Spirit as a divine energy or power." - A Catholic Dictionary.
139. "The true divinity of the third Person [the Holy Spirit] was asserted ... finally by the Council of Constantinople of 381." - A Catholic Dictionary.
140. "In the OT the Holy Spirit means a divine power" - The Catholic Encyclopedia, p. 269, 1976 ed.
143. A further distinction between Arius and Athanasius was Arius' dependence upon scriptural authority and Athanasius' dependence upon paganistic philosophical reasonings and poor scriptural reasoning: "[Arius] had a sharply logical mind and appealed to biblical texts which apparently backed up his argument" - (p. 157). Athanasius insisted on non-biblical language and concepts whereas "Arius could agree to any statement using solely Biblical language." - (p. 159). And "Athanasius .... used Scripture as inadequately as his contemporaries. He did not refute Arius by rejecting the relevance of Proverbs 8:22 and even quoted Psalm 110:3 (in the Septuagint) to prove [?] that the Son was not a created being." - p. 165, Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity, 1977.
Certainly not to be overlooked is Athanasius' idea of the nature of God and man and their relationship! This man who almost single-handedly finally managed to cause the "Church" to accept a Jesus who was "True God" also taught: "He [Christ] was made man that we might be made God." - p. 158, A History of Christianity, Latourette, 1953, Harper and Row.
144. Cairns, p. 144.
145. Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 892, v. 8, 1956 ed.
146. Arianism (although far superior to Trinitarianism) was still not pure Christianity: "Arius believed the Holy Spirit was a person, but not of the same substance as the Father or the Son and in fact inferior to both." - August 1, 1984 WT, p. 24. Also see September 1, 1984 WT, p. 28.
147. A Short History of the Early Church, Boer, p. 145, Eerdman's, 1976. (Also see Cairns, pp. 173, 174.)
148. "... the Creed of Nicaea became entirely distinctive because of its technical [non-scriptural] language and solemn curses (anathemas)." - p. 159. (This actually began the period of persecution of Christians by "Christians"!) And, "The Council of Nicaea set many precedents. The emperor called it, influenced its decision-making and used his civil power to give its decrees virtually the status of imperial law. The Council introduced a new kind of orthodoxy, which for the first time gave non-Biblical terms critical importance. .... In the long term did the whole church recognize that Nicaea had decisively developed its understanding of the divinity of Christ?
"At the Church Council in Nicaea, in 325 A. D., it was officially stated that it was forbidden for Christians to keep the Sabbath, to eat unleavened bread [1 Tim. 4:3] on Pessach (Passover) or to follow any Jewish custom. The Jewish Christians were banned if they did not heed this decree. .... now the root was cut off and the Jews were doomed to endless sufferings by the Church, which grew in power and strength." - pp. 31-32, "The Jews! Your Majesty," Dr. Goran Larsson (trinitarian), Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies and Research, 1987.
149. The Outline of History, v. 1, p. 439, 1956.
150. Cairns, p. 135.
This persecution of non-trinitarians has persisted for many centuries:
"She was burned to death in England in 1550. Her name? Joan Bocher. Her crime? The Encyclopædia Britannica (1964) says: "She was condemned for open blasphemy in denying the Trinity, the one offense which all the church had regarded as unforgivable ever since the struggle with Arianism." – WT '87 6/15, p.4, The "Blessed Trinity"-Is It in the Bible?
151. An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm, p. 200, 1945.
152. Cairns, p. 156.
153. Encyclopedia Americana, p. 512, v. 26, 1957 ed.
154. Universal Standard Encyclopedia, p. 8412, v. 23, 1955 ed.
155. Universal Standard Encyclopedia, p. 8412, v. 23, 1955 ed.
156. "[Cyril of Alexandria] was a great church father, a profound exponent of the Catholic truth, holding a place only a little below that of Athanasius and Augustine." - Encyclopedia Americana, pp. 371-372, v. 8, 1957 ed.
157. Cairns, p. 161.
158. Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 684, v. 2, 14th ed.
159. God, The Invisible King, Wells, quoted in 1964 WT, p. 376.
160. Encyclopedia Americana, p. 302, v. 20, 1944 ed.
161. The Roman Catholic Bible, The New American Bible, St. Joseph Edition, 1970, states in a footnote about Babylon the Great in Revelation 17:1-6 - "Babylon, a symbolic name (v 5) of Rome, is graphically described as the great harlot." And in a footnote for Rev. 18:3 this same Catholic Bible states: "Rome is condemned for her lewdness, symbol of idolatry (see note on Rv. 14,4) and for persecuting the church". - (See footnote #148.) The footnote for Rev. 14:4 noted above in the NAB tells us about God's chosen 144,000 that they are "pure: ... because they never indulged in any idolatrous practices, which are [figuratively] considered to be adultery and fornication."
But Babylon the Great cannot simply be the pagan Roman Empire as the Catholic Church believes because, at Rev. 16:19, we find it is still in existence as a world-domineering power at the very end time after the gathering of the armies at Armageddon. The Roman Empire didn't collapse until shortly after 400 A. D., and it had already been under the influence ("ridden by") the Roman Church for nearly 100 years by then! So, if Babylon the Great really pictures some great power seated on the seven hills of Rome as Catholic sources tell us, then it cannot be the ancient Roman Empire which died about 1600 years ago! What power has been seated there since the time of Constantine? The seat of the most powerful and most populous religious organization the world has ever seen! What could be a more appropriate symbol for all of worldwide false religion?
162. Footnotes from the Roman Catholic The New American Bible, St. Joseph Ed., 1970:
Rev. 2:14-15 - "Like Balaam, the biblical prototype of religious compromisers..., the Nicolaitans in Pergamum and Ephesus accommodated their Christian faith to paganism." And notice how strongly this was condemned by Jesus: He would come and "fight against them with the sword of my mouth"!
Rev. 2:20 - "The scheming and treacherous Jezebel of old...introduced pagan customs into the religion of Israel [note her fate - 2 Ki. 9:30-37]; this new ['Christian'] Jezebel [or religious `harlot'] was doing the same to Christianity." And, again, notice Jesus' powerful condemnation of her and of those who aided her - Rev. 2:22 - and of those who listen to and follow her teachings (her "daughters") - Rev. 2:23.
Now review HIST appendix notes #19, 20 (and #3-16) above. (Also see the Watchtower for the series "Did the Early Church Teach that God is a Trinity?" - WT issues of 1 Nov. 1991, 1 Feb. 1992, 1 April 1992, and 1 Aug. 1992.)
163. This is a very common tactic among trinitarian apologists. For example, Walter Martin in his popular The Kingdom of the Cults, 1985 ed., p. 67, implies that those who don't believe in Jesus' deity are "non-intellectuals". And on p. 71 he derides those who present evidence against Jesus' "deity" as "masquerading as Biblical authorities." And the booklet published by Seventh-day Adventists, God's Channel of Truth—Is it the Watchtower?, 1967, pp. 101,102, derides either the scholarship or the honesty (or both) of anti-trinitarian scholars.
Truth cannot be measured by the reputation of the man. Truth can be searched out and displayed by any man. If the matter is properly examined and presented, the facts will speak for themselves. Jehovah's Witnesses have done this as well as those with great worldly reputations and deserve to be heard on the basis of their results in Bible scholarship. However, if worldly reputation is a necessary requirement before some will listen, see notes 164 and 165 below.
164. Thomas Jefferson is considered one of the greatest men in history because of his great knowledge, intelligence, honesty and genuine love for his fellow man. "Whether regarded as a patriot, a statesman, or a scholar, he deserves to rank among the greatest men America has ever produced." - New Standard Encyclopedia, vol. 5, 1952. "History recognizes him as one of the greatest and fairest of men ever to hold public office in the nation." - p. 196, vol. 8, Britannica Junior, 1956. And in 1997 he was even called "the Man of the Millennium" (see USA Weekend, Feb. 14-16, 1997) - the greatest single individual to live in the last thousand years!
Quotes from The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Koch and Peden, The Modern Library (Random House, Inc.), 1944:
(1) pp. 631-632 - Ltr to John Adams [who shared Jefferson’s views about the trinity] dated Oct. 13, 1813:
"In extracting the pure principles which [Jesus] taught, we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms, as instruments of riches and power to themselves. We must dismiss the Platonists[55-56] and Plotinists [73-74] ... the Eclectics,[66-69] the Gnostics and Scholastics, their essences [substance] [15, 105] and emanations, their Logos and Demiurgos ..., with a long train of etc., etc., etc., or shall I say at once, of nonsense. We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists .... The result is ... pure and unsophisticated doctrines, such as were professed and acted on by the unlettered Apostles, the Apostolic Fathers, and the Christians of the first century. Their Platonizing successors, indeed, in after times, in order to legitimate the corruptions which they had incorporated into the doctrines of Jesus, found it necessary to disavow the primitive Christians, who had taken their principles from the mouth of Jesus himself, of his Apostles, and the Fathers cotemporary with them. They excommunicated them as heretics...." [bold-type emphasis added by me - Jefferson's emphasis underlined.]
(2) pp. 693-694 - Ltr to William Short [close friend], Oct. 31, 1819:
(E.g. ... [Jesus'] deification ..., His corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the trinity ..., etc." - [This is Jefferson's note. - Bracketed information added by me. ])
(3) pp. 703-704 - Ltr to James Smith, Dec. 8, 1822:
165. We find similar expressions to Jefferson's above by other great geniuses of note: statesmen, scientists, justices, etc. They wrote and spoke against the great blasphemy of the trinity doctrine. For example:
Statesmen: U. S. Presidents John Adams, and John Quincy Adams (and, of course, Thomas Jefferson).
Scientists: Joseph Priestley, Samuel F. Morse, and Sir Isaac Newton. Sir Isaac Newton was voted by modern science historians (as reported in Science Digest) to have the greatest scientific mind of all time.
("Sir Isaac Newton ... was a devout Christian who contributed many papers through his personal study of theology. In fact, Newton made the Holy Scriptures as much a study that commanded his attention as any field of science to which he had given thought." - p. 71, One Who Believed, Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, trinitarian author and pastor of Christ Community Church.)
* * * *
"What is not as well understood about Newton was his deep devotion to religion--especially the more mystical variety of it. Newton considered himself a deeply devout Christian--though not of the normal sort. He was, in short, a unitarian [one who believes ... that the position of God is not shared by two other "persons," namely Jesus and the Holy Spirit; ... that Jesus is rather an adoptive "Son" of God--as we all have the potential to be--through having lived a Godly life]. Discovery of his unitarianism would have been ruinous for Newton in English society--so he kept his religious beliefs well away from public view.
"In any case, he stood himself before God in great awe--great awe of the One who crafted the universe with such precision. It was this precision that so inspired Newton--that he gave his life to its uncovery for human viewing. Science and mathematics were thus for Newton virtually religious enterprises." http://www.newgenevacenter.org/biography/newton2.htm
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Theology and the word of God
When Newton was made a fellow of the College, along with an agreement to embrace the Anglican faith, the Trinity fellowship also required ordination within 8 years. During his studies Newton had come to believe that the central doctrine of the church, the Holy and Undivided Trinity was a pagan corruption imposed on Christianity in the fourth century by Athanasius. Newton was faced with an enormous dilemma. He now felt that, in all consciousness, he could no longer take holy orders. However, to give the reason for this would have led to his immediate expulsion from Cambridge. At that time, and throughout Newton's life, denunciation of the Trinity was illegal. He was by rights a heretic. He sought special dispensation from taking holy orders, something that was eventually granted. It is not clear what reasons he gave for seeking this dispensation but it is unlikely that it was for the genuine reason. In 1710, Newton's successor to the Lucasian Chair, William Whiston, was ejected from his position for advocating Unitarianism, the rejection of the Holy Trinity.
Although these views make Newton a heretic from the perspective of established Christianity, he was in fact a fervent believer in the Bible. Newton's laws of motion contradicted the accepted biblical doctrine in the same way that Galileo's views had. But rather than contradicting the Bible, Newton believed that the Bible was accurate and that it was the interpretation of theologians that was wrong. He continued to study biblical prophecy until his death, being fascinated by its symbols and developing a lexicon of prophetic emblems. He was also intrigued by the architecture of the Jerusalem Temple, believing it to hold the secrets to many unanswered questions of the Bible.
* * * *
Enthralled by the power of mathematics, Newton launched a series of experiments to determine the nature of light and color. He next turned to theology. Not surprisingly, the doctrine of the Trinity captured his attention.
After scouring the Scriptures, he concluded that it was a lie fabricated by the church fathers. In truth, God was one. If Newton was a heretic, he was not a martyr. Comfortable with his Cambridge professorship and eager for a government post, he cautiously concealed his unorthodox beliefs.
Law: Chief Justice John Marshall and Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes - the two greatest legal minds of the U. S. Supreme Court.
Literature: And in the field of literature we have probably the greatest intellect of all time in John Milton. “He mastered Latin and Greek, and before long he was adept in most European tongues as well as Hebrew.” “It seems likely that Milton, in his time, read just about everything that was ever written in English, Latin, Greek and Italian. (Of course, he had the Bible by heart.)” - pp. 870, 871, The Norton Anthology of English Literature. “His Aereopagitica is, perhaps, the most powerful plea ever written for freedom of the press.” And, “Although Milton wrote only 23 sonnets, he is considered one of the most important sonnet writers in English.” - Britannica Junior.
Milton's "Paradise Lost is one of the few monumental works of the world." And, Paradise Regained is "one of the most artistically perfect poems in any language" and "Samson Agonistes is the most powerful drama in the English language after the severe Greek model." - Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 15, p. 514, 14th ed.
Milton's major poems "could have been produced only by a writer of genius who also held deeply sincere religious and ethical opinions." - Encyclopedia International, vol. 12, p. 99, 1966 ed. "...while Milton was...a genuine Christian, believing in the Bible over all the other books in the world, he was at the same time one of the most intrepid of English thinkers and theologians." - Encyclopedia Britannica. "Theologically, Milton rejected...the dogma of the trinity.... His anti-trinitarian position, set forth explicitly elsewhere, is obscured in Paradise Lost...." - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 138, vol. 19, 1957 ed.
166. Another way of looking at this might be summed up by Paul’s words at Gal. 1:8, 9:
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” - NIV, Zondervan, 1985.
“Preaching the Gospel” applies to
“the declaring of all the truths, precepts, promises, and threatenings of Christianity” - p. 266, Today’s Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publ., 1982.
Appropriately enough, the early English word ‘Gospel’ literally meant “the story concerning God” and in the Bible it can be understood to be “embracing all [Jesus’] teachings” - p. 1281, vol. 2, The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Eerdmans Publ., 1984 printing.
So, Paul’s words above certainly (as should be obvious, anyway) include the teaching of exactly who God is and exactly who and what Jesus is.
“Jesus looked up to heaven and said: ‘Father, .... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.’ “ - Jn 17:3, NEB, Cambridge University Press, 1970.
In fact, Paul himself taught that the glorified Lord Jesus in heavenly blazing fire will:
“punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction.” - 2 Thess. 1:7-9, NIV.
So Paul is telling us at Gal. 1:8, 9 above that what he had already taught about (1) God and Jesus and (2) what we must do to inherit eternal life was not to be expanded upon.
It might be worthwhile to see what the majority of members of the highly-respected trinitarian UBS textual committee said when discussing the original text for Romans 9:5:
“nowhere else in his genuine epistles does Paul ever designate o[ xristoj [‘the Christ’] as qeoj [theos: ‘God’ or ‘god’]. In fact, on the basis of the general tenor of his theology it was considered tantamount to impossible that Paul would have expressed Christ’s greatness by calling him God blessed for ever.” - p. 522, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Rev. Bruce M. Metzger, United Bible Societies, 1971.
Well, since Paul would not have taught (of course!) that the one God is three persons, it is clear that that is a gospel other than the one Paul taught!
“even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”
Please review page 1 and Notes 3-24 above.