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In the Christian religion, God is the eternal being that created and preserves the universe. The Bible never speaks of God in an impersonal sense. Instead, it refers to him in personal terms — as one who is, who speaks, who sees, hears, acts, and loves. God is understood to have a will and personality and is an all powerful, divine and benevolent being. He is represented in Scripture as being primarily concerned with people. For he is an all seeing God

God is believed to be both immanent (meaning that he is with and within all things), and transcendent (meaning that he is outside space and time, and therefore eternal and unable to be changed by forces within the universe). Although the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox churches, and the various Protestant denominations believe that they worship the same God, some have differing beliefs about his nature.

God is usually held to have the properties of holiness (separate from sin and incorruptible), justice (fair, right, and true in all his judgments), omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, omnipresence and immortality (eternal and everlasting).

The Christian God is understood by Trinitarians as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; a single infinite being who is both within and beyond nature. Because the persons of the Trinity represent a personal relation even on the level of God to himself, he is represented by all Christian denominations to be personal both in his immanence (in his personal relation toward us) and in his transcendence (in his personal relation toward himself).

Nontrinitarians hold that God, the Father, is supreme; that Jesus, although still divine Lord and Savior, is the Son of God; and that the Holy Spirit is a phenomenon akin to God's will on Earth. The holy three are separate, yet the Son and the Holy Spirit are still seen as originating from the one, true, and eternal God.

Trinitarianism

The "Hospitality of Abraham" by Andrei Rublev


The Trinitarian doctrine is considered by most Christians to be a core tenet of their faith. Since the 4th century, in both Eastern and Western Christianity, this doctrine has been stated as "three Hypostases (or, less precisely, persons) in one God", all three of whom, as distinct and co-eternal persons, are of one indivisible Divine essence, a simple being. The majority of Christians are Trinitarian and regard belief in the Trinity as a test of true orthodoxy of belief.

"Father, Son and Holy Spirit"

Christians have always called upon God with the name "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" in prayer, baptism, communion, demon exorcism, hymn-singing, preaching, confession, absolution and benediction.

Trinitarian doctrine

In Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity states that God is one being who exists, simultaneously and eternally, as a mutual indwelling of three persons: the Father, the Son (incarnate as Jesus of Nazarethmarker), and the Holy Spirit. Since earliest Christianity, one's salvation has been very closely related to the concept of a triune God, although the Trinitarian doctrine was not formalized until the Fourth Century. At that time, Pope Sylvester I and the bishops of the Catholic Church, which had been recently legalised by Emperor Constantine, held the Council of Nicea and formalized the Trinitarian doctrine.

Most Christians believe that God is spirit, an uncreated, omnipotent, and eternal being, the creator and sustainer of all things, who works the redemption of the world through his Son, Jesus Christ. With this background, belief in the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit is expressed as the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which describes the single Divine substance existing as three distinct and inseparable persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ the eternal Word), and the Holy Spirit.

The term "Trinity"

Neither the Old Testament nor New Testament uses the term "trinity", but trinitarians believe the concept is implicit in various biblical passages. The doctrine of the Trinity is the result of continuous exploration by the church of the biblical data, argued in debate and treatises. It was expressed in early writings from the beginning of the second century forward. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD established a nearly universal Trinitarian dogma and expressly rejected any heresies. The most widely recognized Biblical foundations for the doctrine's formulation are in the Gospel of John. The Trinity concept is not to be confused with the idea of three separate deities, but the same god as three distinct, but not separate, persons.

God as Father

In the New Testament, God the Father has a special role in his relationship with the person of the Son, where Jesus is believed to be his Son and his heir. . According to the Nicene Creed, the Son (Jesus Christ) is "eternally begotten of the Father", indicating that their divine Father-Son relationship is not tied to an event within time or human history. See Christology. The Bible refers to Christ, called "The Word" as present at the beginning of God's creation. , not a creation himself, but equal in the personhood of the Trinity.

In Eastern Orthodox theology, God the Father is the "arche" or "principium" (beginning), the "source" or "origin" of both the Son and the Holy Spirit (which gives intuitive emphasis to the threeness of persons); by comparison, Western theology explains the "origin" of all three hypostases or persons as being in the divine nature (which gives intuitive emphasis to the oneness of God's being). The Cappadocian Fathers used this Eastern Orthodox monarchian understanding to explain why trinitarianism is not tritheism: "God is one because the Father is one", said Basil the Great in the fourth century.

In Christianity, God is called "Father" in a previously unheard-of sense, besides being the creator and nurturer of creation, and the provider for his children, his people. The Father is said to have an eternal relation to his only Son, Jesus; which implies an exclusive and intimate familiarity that is of their very nature: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." In Christian theology, this is the revelation of a sense in which Fatherhood is inherent to God's nature, an eternal relationship.

To Christians, God the Father's relationship with humanity is as a father to children. Thus, humans in general are sometimes called children of God. To Christians, God the Father's relationship with humanity is that of Creator and created beings, and in that respect he is the father of all. The New Testament says, in this sense, that the very idea of family, wherever it appears, derives its name from God the Father, and thus God himself is the model of the family.

However, there is a deeper sense in which Christians believe that they are made participants in the eternal relationship of Father and Son, through Jesus Christ. Christians call themselves adopted children of God.

God as Son

According to the Bible, the second Person of the Trinity, because of his eternal relation to the first Person (God as Father), is the Son of God. He is considered coequal with the Father and Holy Spirit. He is all God and all human: the Son of God as to his divine nature, while as to his human nature he is from the lineage of David. . The core of Jesus' self-interpretation was his "filial consciousness", his relationship to God as child to parent in some unique sense (see Filioque controversy). His mission on earth proved to be that of enabling people to know God as their Father, which Christians believe is the essence of eternal life.

God as Holy Spirit

In mainstream Christianity, the Holy Spirit is one of the three divine persons of the Holy Trinity who make up the single substance of God; that is, the Spirit is considered to act in concert with and share an essential nature with God the Father and God the Son (Jesus). The Christian theology of the Holy Spirit, or pneumatology, was the last piece of Trinitarian theology to be fully explored and developed. For this reason, there is greater theological diversity among Christian understandings of the Spirit than there is among understandings of the Son (Christology) and understandings of the Father. Within Trinitarian theology, the Holy Spirit is usually referred to as the "Third Person" of the triune God - with the Father being the First Person and the Son the Second Person.



Christians believe that the Holy Spirit leads people to faith in Jesus and gives them the ability to live a Christian lifestyle. The Holy Spirit dwells inside every Christian, each one's body being his temple. Jesus described the Holy Spirit as paracletus in Latin, derived from Greek. The word is variously translated as Comforter, Counselor, Teacher, Advocate, guiding people in the way of the truth. The Holy Spirit's action in one's life is believed to produce positive results, known as the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables Christians, who still experience the effects of sin, to do things they never could do on their own. These spiritual gifts are not innate abilities "unlocked" by the Holy Spirit, but entirely new abilities, such as the ability to cast out demons or simply bold speech. Through the influence of the Holy Spirit a person sees more clearly the world around him or her and can use his or her mind and body in ways that exceed his or her previous capacity. A list of gifts that may be bestowed include the charismatic gifts of prophecy, tongues, healing, and knowledge. Christians holding a view known as cessationism believe these gifts were given only in New Testament times. Christians almost universally agree that certain "spiritual gifts" are still in effect today, including the gifts of ministry, teaching, giving, leadership, and mercy. The experience of the Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as being anointed.

After his resurrection, Christ told his disciples that they would be "baptized with the Holy Spirit" and would receive power from this event, a promise that was fulfilled in the events recounted in the second chapter of Acts. On the first Pentecost, Jesus' disciples were gathered in Jerusalem when a mighty wind was heard and tongues of fire appeared over their heads. A multilingual crowd heard the disciples speaking, and each of them heard them speaking in his or her native language.

Nontrinitarianism

Some Christian traditions reject the doctrine of the Trinity. In the early centuries of Christian history Arians, Ebionites, Gnostics, Marcionites, and others held nontrinitarian beliefs. These views were rejected by many bishops such as Irenaeus and subsequently by the Ecumenical Councils. The Nicene Creed raised the issue of the relationship between Jesus' divine and human natures. Monophysitism ("one nature") and monothelitism ("one will") were heretical attempts to explain this relationship. During more than a thousand years of Trinitarian orthodoxy, formal nontrinitarianism, i.e., a doctrine held by a church, group, or movement, was rare, but it did appear.

The Protestant Reformation of the 1500s also brought tradition into question. At first, nontrinitarians were executed (such as Servetus), or forced to keep their beliefs secret (such as Isaac Newton). The eventual establishment of religious freedom, however, allowed nontrinitarians to more easily preach their beliefs, and the 19th century saw the establishment of several nontrinitarian groups in North America and elsewhere. These include Christadelphians, Christian Scientists, Jehovah's Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Unitarians. Twentieth-century nontrinitarian movements include Iglesia ni Cristo, Oneness Pentecostals, and the Unification Church. Nontrinitarian groups differ from one another in their views of Jesus Christ, depicting him variously as a divine being second only to God the Father, Yahweh of the Old Testament in human form, God (but not eternally God), prophet, or simply a holy man.

During the Protestant Reformation (as Catholics maintained the authority of all the Councils), most of the emerging Protestant groups rejected some councils which were contrary to their beliefs as being spiritually tainted. Clemens Ziegler[477261], Casper Schwenckfeld, and Melchior Hoffman, advanced the view that Christ was only divine and not human. Michael Servetus denied that the traditional doctrine of the Trinity was necessary to defend the divinity of Christ. He claimed that Jesus was God himself in the flesh.

Latter-day Saints accept the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but deny that they are the same being. Rather, they believe them to be separate beings united perfectly in will and purpose. They believe that the Father, like the Son, has a glorified physical body. (see Godhead)

Ecclesiastical Swedenborgians, such as those in the New Jerusalem Church or Swedenborgian Church of North America take a somewhat different approach to nontrinitarianism. Emanuel Swedenborg spoke sharply against the concept of the Trinity in most of his works. Members of the New Jerusalem movement view Jesus Christ alone as the one god, of whom the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are aspects (corresponding roughly to Wisdom, Love, and Earthly Activity). This is somewhat akin to modalist theology.

Present-day groups who do not consider Jesus to be God include: Unitarians,descendants of Reformation era Socinians, Christadelphians, and Jehovah's Witnesses.

Christology



Christology was a fundamental concern from the First Council of Nicaea (325) until the Third Council of Constantinople (680). In this time period, the Christological views of various groups within the broader Christian community led to accusations of heresy, and, infrequently, subsequent religious persecution. In some cases, a sect's unique Christology is its chief distinctive feature, in these cases it is common for the sect to be known by the name given to its Christology.

Christians believe that, as the messiah, Jesus was anointed as ruler and savior of humanity, and hold that Jesus' Second Coming will be the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the rabbinical concept. The core Christian belief is that, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life, see also New Covenant.

While there have been theological disputes over the nature of Jesus, Christians believe that Jesus is God incarnate and "true God and true man" (or both fully divine and fully human). Jesus, having become fully human in all respects, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, yet he did not sin. As fully God, he defeated death and rose to life again. According to the Bible, "God raised him from the dead",According to the Gospels, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary. Little of Jesus' childhood is recorded there in comparison to his adulthood, especially the week before his death. The Biblical accounts of Jesus' ministry include: his baptism, miracles, preaching, teaching, and healing.

See also



Notes

  1. Machen, J. Gresham. God Transcendent. Banner of Truth publishers, 1998. ISBN 0851513557
  2. Vickers, Jason E. Invocation and Assent: The Making and the Remaking of Trinitarian Theology. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008. ISBN 0802862691
  3. J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines pp. 87-90; T. Desmond Alexander, New Dictionary of Biblical Theology pp. 514-515; Alister E. McGrath, Historical Theology p. 61.
  4. McGrath, Alister E. Understanding the Trinity. Zondervan, 1990. ISBN 0310296811
  5. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ..
  6. Compare. ; ; ;
  7. Stagg, Frank. New Testament Theology, Nashville: Broadman, 1962. ISBN 085416137
  8. Spurgeon, Charles H. "The Comforter", 1855. Online: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0005.htm Accessed 29 April 2009
  9. MacCulloch, Reformation pp. 185, 187
  10. Servetus, Michael. Restoration of Christianity. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2007.
  11. On Unitarians, see: UUA.org, Unitarian Views of Jesus; on connection with Socinianism, see: sullivan-county.com, Socinianism: Unitarianism in 16th-17th century Poland and Its Influence (Note that the icon at the top of the page expresses Trinitarian theology with a symbolic hand gesture); on this matter they parallel the ancient Ebionites, see: J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines pp. 139
  12. One God or a Trinity?, James and Deb Flint (Printland: Hyderabad). Assessed: 08–15–2007. Available online
  13. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus?
  14. Jewfaq.org, The Messiah


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