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Chapter 2 - Understanding the Trinity

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on 21 February 2017

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Transcript of Chapter 2 - Understanding the Trinity

Chapter 2 - Understanding the Trinity
What is in a name?
Desiring to establish a new covenant with his people, God revealed his Name to Moses:

This name described the essence of his being
In revealing his name, however, God remained hidden and mysterious

Since God by himself is eternal and all-encompassing, he does not depend on anyone or anything else for his existence, but all things depend on him
Attributes of God
3 in 1
How do Christians see the Trinity?
The Christian Faith is unique in its proclamation of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

While other religions proclaim the greatness and oneness of God and deem him Creator of the Universe,
Christians alone hold the belief in God as a Blessed Trinity of Persons

This truth is beyond the capacity of human reason and can only be known through Divine Revelation given to us through the
, the
, and finally through Jesus Christ

Having learned the name of God, the Israelites, out of respect for his Holy Name, refused to say this name aloud

Instead, they referred to God as “the Name,” or “YHWH”– an acronym of the four Hebrew words for “I AM WHO I AM”
Review the quotes from Sts. Augustine and Athanasius (p. 44), and then discuss with a partner the following question:

How is this passage from the Athanasian Creed, in effect, a summary of what St. Augustine wrote in On the Trinity?
The Shema: Deuteronomy 6:4-9

The belief in one God is defining to the Jewish faith.

The book of Deuteronomy prescribes that they must say faithful to this truth. These verses are repeated several times a day to remind themselves of how they are to relate to God.
Jesus went on to call this the greatest commandment
It's a revelation!
The Mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity
is the pinnacle of God’s Revelation to mankind

Through his son, Jesus Christ, God revealed himself as three distinct Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

This teaching must be accepted on faith and Revelation. Alone as it is not possible for the human mind to understand the Trinity completely

Although these mysteries are not contrary to reason, they cannot be explained in terms of science
or reason alone
Christians are

We profess belief in the Trinity,
who is one God in three divine Persons

The three Persons are neither three gods, nor three different historical manifestations of God, nor “persons” in the sense that we refer to human individuals
They are three divine Persons, who comprise one God, each Person being fully God
We come to believe in these mysteries through faith in Christ and in his teachings as mediated through the Magisterium of his Church

The Blessed Trinity is the greatest of all revealed mysteries and the most important truth of the Christian Faith

Revelation tells us of the Blessed Trinity, and we have a partial understanding of it through our Faith

However, reason will never be able to comprehend fully or “prove” the Trinity – because supernatural truths, by nature – surpass the capacities of the intellect

Christians believe in the Revelation of the Trinity because of their Faith and trust in Christ

Prove it...
In the Incarnation of Christ is the nature of the Trinity revealed
It is the defining belief of Christianity that Jesus Christ is the Son of God – true God and true man

Through Christ, we learn the fullness of truth concerning the Father and also of the Holy Spirit

Although the word “Trinity” itself is not used in the New Testament (theological terminology developed over time), there are many Scripture passages that make explicit reference to God as a Trinity of Persons–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

The Trinity in Scripture
Handout Time!
God the Father in Scripture
The term
, applied to the First Person of the Blessed Trinity, emphasizes that he is the Creator, the origin
of all things. It also reveals his paternal relationship with his children.
Christ is the eternally begotten and only Son of the Father
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God."
Through baptism, Christians participate in the adopted sonship of the Father. St. Matthew goes on to prescribe how we are to participate in this:
knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven.” (Mt 6: 8-9)
When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your
who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Mt 6: 6)

God the Son
Christ is the eternal Word of God who came to reveal the Father, and St. John calls him “the only Son from the Father.”

Jesus is often referred to as the Son of God in the New Testament:
Those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Mt 14: 33)
Whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” (Mk 3: 11)

The OT spoke of God in all his grandeur, speaking of his might and justice. We can picture a
In the NT, Christ shows allows us to see his personal nature as well.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed
Trinity, distinct from the Father and the Son, and yet with them in one Triune God

In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is revealed as a personal and divine being, who carries out the task of sanctifying the Church and all humanity, bringing the redemptive work of Jesus Christ to its fullness:

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (Jn 14: 26)
For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. (Lk 12: 12)

The Trinity Foreshadowed in the Old Testament
"In Our Image" (Gn 1:26)
St. Irenaeus noted that God could not have been speaking to the angels, because the angels didnot take part in creating us. Therefore he concluded the plural must refer to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Abraham and the 3 Visitors (Gn 18:1-2)
Think, Pair, Share- Read Genesis 18: 1-15 and search “Three visitors icon” and look at the image that comes up.
Why do you think this is considered a foreshadowing of the Trinity?

Hypostatic Union

The First Council of Ephesus in 431 AD recognized this doctrine and affirmed its importance, stating that the humanity and divinity of Christ are made one according to nature and hypostasis in the Logos.

The term
(or “essence” or “nature”) to designate the being in its unity :
The Father is God; the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God


The term
to designate the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in distinction among them:
The three persons are united as one God

The term
to designate the fact that their distinction lies in the relationship of each to the others

Lateran IV described the relationship: “It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who is sent …”
metaphysical term meaning fullness of existence, completion, absence of any potential or need
God is
Pure Spirit
being material (partial or fully) limits person in space and time
being material also makes for possibility for change, nonexistence, and division
he is no place but everywhere
God is
*means unchanging
because God is perfect he cannot change
because God is immaterial it is possible that he not change and is perfect at all times
God is
*not eternal, immortal
*not eternal,
because represents time
God is uncreated, as such, He has no beginning and has no end.
*time=matter in motion
God is Omnibenevolent
God= All Goodness
Since God is Goodness itself all of his works are good.
Therefore, God is all loving
What about evil?
Evil is a lack of a good that should be there
God is Love
God is
*all knowing
1. Because of his perfection, he can lack no knowledge (by definition)
2. Because he is The cause of all things he must know all that he made
3. Because he is eternal all things for God are Now.
God is
*all powerful
Nothing exists that is not created by him. Everything is held in being by him at every moment.
God is
God is not confined by time or space
He transcends time and space
God is present at all times and in all places
God's life is immanent
*especially present in the soul of the person in the state of grace
Grace=Holy Spirit dwells within your soul as in a temple
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