Trinity entered the church at Nicaea
The Apostles never used the word "Trinity". When the church agreed to add unscriptural words to the Bible, then Trinity could make its entrance.
In AD 70 Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. By then the Apostle Paul was dead, as were most of the other Apostles. Thus there was no longer a centre for Christianity - there was just a brotherhood of ideas.
Strangely enough, historians know almost nothing about the church between AD 70 and AD 120. By 120 AD a new type of church had emerged, different from the New Testament pattern, with a human leader calling himself the bishop of a city. Human leadership was replacing the doctrine of the apostles. Elders were being pushed aside by ambitious church leaders who imposed their opinion onto the local congregations.
Legends were developed, such as Peter being in Rome, when there is no evidence for this. Paul greets 27 people in his letter to the Romans, but never mentions Peter. So error was entering the church, and because it was endlessly repeated, later people regarded it as fact.
Ambitious church leaders also learned something about the political organization by which Rome ruled the world, and they decided that it was the destiny of the Church to rule the Roman Empire. They could only achieve this by strict organization, copied from the Roman political system, and rigid discipline whereby one man at the top of the church had to be obeyed.
By 170 AD every community was ruled by the elevation of church leaders, as officials who were promoted into higher and higher positions. The top leader was a bishop, and the bishop represented the community. The bishops soon became directors of the church as a party struggling against the state.
The church began to see itself as a world wide organization, just like the Roman empire was.
The church allowed its political environment, instead of the Scriptures, to determine the way that it grew. It became a practical organization for social duties and social welfare that imitated the political Roman government officials, so that towns, cities, and districts all promoted up human church leaders of increasing importance. Later the church would promote a man to leadership of a province as well. They lost the urge to evangelize the nations, and began to focus on being an important organization doing welfare work, and having political connections. They also drifted away from being Scriptural in what they believed.
All the communities were part of the same universal or Catholic church (so-called by Ignatius).
The Jews of the Old Testament could not believe that Almighty God could become a Man. Thus the Jews could not believe that Almighty God had come down to live inside a Man, and become manifest in the Man Jesus.
Paul taught that the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Him physically.
JOHN 4:24 God is a Spirit:
JOHN 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time;
A human cannot see a Spirit. You can never say that you have seen God. You can only see the Body that God dwells in. Jesus Christ is the human Body that the Spirit of God dwelt in.
COLOSSIANS 2:9 For in him [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
I TIMOTHY 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh,
The invisible Spirit of God the Father was manifest (showed Himself) by means of the actions and works that His Son, the Man Jesus, did. Watching Jesus is the closest we can get to seeing what God does.
Thus Jesus was both Man and God. His physical Body was not God. God is not flesh and Blood.
But God the Father was the invisible supernatural Spirit that dwelt in His human Body. His physical Body made Him the “Son of God”. The Bible never says “God the Son”. Because God is Spirit not flesh.
Jesus could claim to be equal with God because He, the natural Man, and the supernatural Father were one Person.
PHILIPPIANS 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Yet the invisible Spirit in Him told Him what to do and was thus greater than His natural Body.
JOHN 14:29 ... for my Father is greater than I.
Thus the Bible never says Jesus was "co-equal" with God.
So Jesus was the visible Body that God chose to dwell in so that God could be “seen” in the works that Jesus did.
Then the reverse problem occurred. Within one or two generations after the apostles died, the Gentile Christians were struggling to believe that the Man Jesus could be Almighty God.
It was easier for the human mind to see Him as only the “Son of God”. Slowly the idea was gaining ground that, if Jesus was the Son of God, then there had to be another Person in Heaven, who was “God the Father”.
At first this two-Person concept was very fuzzy, but it opened the door to vague human speculations about the nature of God. Slowly these Christians moved away from what was actually written in the Bible.
At first there was no Trinity, because there is no Scripture to say that three Persons were sitting on thrones in Heaven. So a Twoness doctrine of Father and Son as separate Persons started to gain ground. Much later the third Person was added in. The whole problem was to picture two or three People Who are each God, and yet insist that there is only one God. This controversy would go on for centuries, and is still not resolved today.
The Christians began to use arguments from Greek philosophy, and introduced the word “triad” which the Greek philosopher Plato had invented. Plato claimed that an egg was a triad consisting of yolk, white, and shell. One egg in three different states. But unfortunately the three states of yolk, white, and shell are not co-equal in any way. Nor is the yolk the whole egg. Anyway, calling God an "egg" was not complimentary. The earth was land, sea, and sky said Plato. Water was solid, liquid, and water vapour or gas. (They did not yet know about plasmas.) Three-in-one or one-in-three was a pagan Greek philosophy, and this kind of muddled thinking would slowly evolve into the unscriptural Word “Trinity”.
Pagans had for a long time tried to express the idea of a trinity.
An Egyptian sculpture showed three persons sitting on one throne, which symbolizes their trinity godhead.
"IHS" is still seen on the altar cloths of some denominational churches. This is copied from the altar cloths of the ancient pagan Egyptian priests.
A picture of the Trinity done by a modern painter shows the same basic idea.
The Hindus had a sculpture showing three faces on one head.
So the pagan concept of god was "one-and-yet-three" in the various pagan trinities. Judging from these sculptures, it was a very confusing idea. Thus the pagans easily ended up believing in three gods. Then they went on to believe in even more gods.
The Trinity Christians wanted to believe in three Persons, but only one God.
The picture below is the typical Christian belief of what the three Persons in the Godhead look like.
To have three Persons, each of Whom is God, and yet to believe that there is only one God was, and still is, a huge challenge . The Christians, who realized that the Greeks were very clever thinkers, now followed Greek pagan thinking. God is one-yet-three. One what? Constantine the Roman emperor forced the bishops at the Nicaea Council in 325 AD to accept the word “essence”. God was one essence (whatever that means). This is typical Greek philosophy. The Greeks were brilliant at describing something vague by means of a word that has no clear cut meaning. Today we call this "verbiage" -- using words as a smokescreen to hide the fact that there is no real meaning to the concept of Trinity. Thus at Nicaea in 325 AD, this was the first case of actually adding an unscriptural word "essence" to the Bible. It caused much controversy, but the Emporer Constantine threatened to severely punish those bishops at the Council who objected and disagreed. He also gave lavish financial rewards to those who agreed to accept the unscriptural words “essence” and “ Trinity”. This opened a can of worms, and more and more unscriptural words had to be accepted in their attempts to explain the Trinity.
"Three Persons are in the Godhead" -- Despite being completely unscriptural, this became the orthodox belief. It was however very controversial as God could no longer be described by one Name. Three Persons cannot have one Name. So they just dropped the Name of God and replaced it with three Titles. With time the people began to claim that God’s three Titles was His Name. (Even the grammar is wrong.) Everything was done in the Name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. People failed to notice that the Name of God had just disappeared.
AMOS 6:1.0...Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD.
So today, Christians do not know the Name of their God.
Describing God as one God, yet three separate Persons, is a very blurred picture. So the Trinity would always be a confused and controversial idea that fluctuated between "three People Who were each God", and yet there was only one God. So “three-in-one” and “one-in-three” were expressions borrowed from Greek philosophy to try to create a smokescreen over an idea that people could not understand.
In the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is not God the Father as they are separate Persons. Yet Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, Who placed in her womb the Seed that formed the Baby Jesus. But that act makes the Holy Spirit the Father of Jesus. As a human Baby, Jesus cannot have two separate fathers. Thus the Holy Spirit is God the Father. So the Trinity, right from the start, was contradicting Scripture and had to be explained by non-Scriptural words. Worse still, Christians were ignoring as wrong the Scriptures that contradicted their idea of the Trinity.
MATTHEW 1:20 ...for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
Only the father of the child can conceive the child in the mother’s womb.
There was a fierce debate at Nicaea, but the emperor Constantine threatened to persecute any dissenters, and offered lavish church buildings and money to those bishops who accepted these words and ideas that are not in the Bible.
A growing carelessness as to these non-Biblical additions to Scripture led to the sad but fatal denial of statements that are written in the Bible.
- “God the Father” is Scriptural, but not “God the Son”. Nor is “God the Holy Spirit” found in the Bible.
- “God the Son” is not in the Bible, but the “Son of God” is. Trinity believers cannot explain this difference.
- “Three Persons in the Godhead” is unscriptural.
- Father and Son are “co-equal”. The term “co-equal” cannot be found in the Bible.
Jesus said that His Father was greater than what He was.
JOHN 14:28 ... : for my Father is greater than I.
PHILIPPIANS 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:Yet Jesus claimed to be equal with God.
How could He be equal to God if God was greater than Him?
This Trinitarian problem cannot be resolved as long as they are two separate Persons. The word “co-equal” is unscriptural, and thus explains nothing. Worse still, it contradicts Jesus when He said the Father was greater than Him.
"First Person of the Godhead", "Second Person of the Godhead", and "Third Person of the Godhead" -- these are more unscriptural terms.
By using so many unscriptural terms to describe God, it becomes clear that the church has moved far away from the basic beliefs of the apostles.
The early church believed what was written by the apostles. They never argued or found fault with the apostles.
JOHN 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone [ the disciples ], but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
We only know about Jesus through the words of the disciples, or apostles as they came to be called.
Where did it go wrong? There is great danger of over-emphasizing one aspect, and omitting others entirely.
The problems started when Christians began to think of Jesus as a separate Person to God the Father.
They emphasized the Father and the Son as two separate Persons, and ignored the Scriptures that contradicted this idea.
The original contentious debate at Nicaea was all about the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit was only added in as an afterthought, “We believe in the Holy Spirit”. Another 56 years of frenzied debate passed before the Trinity became officially established at the council of Constantinople in 381 AD. But it all started at Nicaea in 325 AD.
Nimrod, the builder of Babel, set up the world’s first kingdom or empire in the vicinity of Babylon, which today is called Baghdad. He did such mighty deeds that eventually they called him “El Bar” which means “god the son”. This was a man who became a god thanks to his outstanding achievements.
The legendary Hercules had been elevated to becoming a god because of his incredible labours. He was also god the son, a man who became a god.
Alexander the Great had done such great military deeds that the Eastern people happily accepted him as a god. Even the Greeks reluctantly had to accept his godhood.
Alexander was the first real-life Greek who ascended to these dizzy heights as god the son in the minds of the people, due to his brilliant career, which still captivates people to this day.
Thus Athanasius, the main spokesman for the Trinity, pictured Jesus as a Man who was so incredible that He became “God the Son”.
This created a big controversy as it implied two Gods.
To have two Persons who were each God (God the Father & God the Son) and yet to only have one God, was going to require some nimble mental footwork, which could not unfortunately eliminate a sense of confusion. Sadly, most of this clever mental gymnastics occurred in the words of Greek philosophy. Bible verses could not support the idea of the Trinity.
The confusion started with Constantine forcing them to accept the unscriptural word “essence” . Father and Son were two People who had the same essence. The same essence made them one God.
But God is a Spirit Who is eternal, and Jesus had a human Body that was born. Spirit and flesh are not the same essence -- they are different. So even the idea of “essence” was controversial.
The Body of Jesus had a beginning and was not eternal. Athanasius and his followers tried to claim an “eternal Sonship” for Jesus, but this was not only unscriptural but also very unconvincing when applied to a human Man Who was born on a certain date.
Then came the claim of the Father and Son being “co-equal”. This unscriptural word caused more controversy.
JOHN 5: 36 for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
JOHN 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do:
Here Jesus made it plain that His Father was greater than Him.
A further problem was trying to put Jesus into the Godhead as the second Person. Because, to make it worse for their "clever" argument, instead of putting Jesus into the Godhead the Bible actually puts all the Godhead into Jesus.
COLOSSIANS 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.A warning against Greek philosophy with its words essence, three-in-one etc.
There were many trinities amongst the pagans.
Christians were not sure if the three Persons sat on one throne (like the Egyptian trinity) or if they sat on three separate thrones.
There was no Scripture stating that the Holy Spirit sat on a throne.
The Holy Spirit was always the difficult Person to include in the Trinity, which claims that He is a separate Person in the Godhead, co-equal with the other two and yet, in the Bible, He never has a name. A Person Who has no Name? Something is wrong.
So clever people tried unsuccessfully to imagine “one god in three persons” or else “ three persons in one god”. We have exactly the same problem today. People cannot understand something properly until they can picture it. (That is why Jesus taught in parables, which clothed His ideas in a picture that was easier to grasp). Deep in their minds, the bishops at Nicaea all had a personal picture of what they thought God looked like. But that picture at first blurred between one Person and two Persons. (The Holy Spirit was only added to the Trinity Godhead in 381 AD at the Council of Constantinople, although the bishops attempted to include the Holy Spirit in the Godhead at Nicaea, in a very unconvincing manner). Thus they could develop no clear cut picture of God. Some saw the second Person as an inferior Person. Others saw Father and Son as co-equal Persons. The debate would rage for centuries, and these rival groups would persecute and kill each other. But they could only produce a fuzzy out-of-focus picture, that seemed good in places and contradicted the Scriptures in other places. Unfortunately, both sides in the debate had the wrong picture. Even today, the Trinity is still a cause of confusion and mystery. People say much about the Godhead, but their words explain little as the Trinity remains a hazy smokescreen of unscriptural statements, because hardly any of their sentences come from the Bible. It is rather like listening to a politician.
The biggest casualty of the Trinity was the Name of God. God the Father was commonly called Jehovah. The Son of God is Jesus. So the first problem that arose is that there is no Scriptural Name for the Holy Spirit. Thus there are only two Names, Jehovah and Jesus, to describe three Persons.
Jesus said that we must baptize in the Name (singular) of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One name, singular, for three people. This is very difficult.
MATTHEW 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
There is not one Name for all three Persons.
So the Name of God was quietly dropped and replaced by three titles -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These are titles, and not a Name. So by introducing three separate Persons into the Godhead, the Christian bishops effectively removed the Name of God.
Then things got worse. Confronted with the baptism of the apostles who baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ, the church bishops promptly declared that the apostle Peter got it wrong.
ACTS 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
Christians were taught to ignore or modify or reject this Scripture. That was a fatal mistake which played a major role in burying the truth.
Baptism is symbolic of a burial. The sinner repents and dies to his old self. He is symbolically buried under water where he cannot breathe (symbolizing being dead), and then “resurrects” up out of the water as a new person in Christ.
Only Jesus died, was buried, and resurrected. God the Father never died, was never buried, and never resurrected. The Holy Spirit never died, was never buried, and never resurrected. Thus baptism does not concern these two Persons of the Godhead.
ROMANS 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:The bride takes on the name of her husband. So Christians, who are the Bride of Christ, must take on the Name of Jesus Christ who is our Husband. Water baptism is the only ceremony whereby we can take on that Name of Jesus.
Thanks to the Trinity doctrine, Christians stopped taking on the Name of Jesus Christ since 325 AD. They now have a very fuzzy belief that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is the Name of God. Three titles have replaced one Name. Christians no longer have a Name for their God. It is impossible to apply one Name to three separate Persons.
So what did the early Christians believe about the Name of God?
God is invisible. He is a Spirit that has no shape or form. He could make a Spirit body for Himself. He then created a Man, Jesus, that He could fully dwell in and manifest Himself, or show Himself in the actions of this man. This Man took His Blood to Heaven where His human Body was the Sacrifice for sin on the mercy seat. He then sent His Spirit back to earth to dwell in the hearts of His church.
As God the Father, God was above the Jews and was manifest in various Spirit bodies as he appeared to them as a Pillar of Fire, a Pillar of Cloud, a Rock yielding water, and as the Angel of the Lord.
In this manifestation God established the standards for salvation that proved impossible for any human to keep.
As the Father, the Jews called God "Jehovah" which is a Hebrew word that we translate as "Lord".
By living in Jesus, the Son was God, God was manifest in a human Body whereby He became the only Person Who was able to keep the full Law and thus earn His salvation. He then chose to offer up His Life so that we as unworthy and incapable people could claim a share in the salvation that He had won for Himself. As the Son of God, Jesus was Emmanuel which means God with us as a fellow human Being; a Kinsman Redeemer.
MATTHEW 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
God only has one Human Name, Jesus.
So when God was manifest with us in the flesh as the Son of God, His Name was Jesus.
Jesus took His Blood to Heaven where He sits on the mercy seat as the sacrificed Lamb of God, to forgive us from our sins. Then, miraculously He is able to send down (project) His Holy Spirit into the hearts of men and women. Thus, as the Holy Spirit, God is manifest in His believers.
JOHN 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
The Holy Spirit is the anointing. Jesus, the Anointed One, in Greek is called Christos. We translate that as Christ.
I TIMOTHY 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit,
Throughout history, God was manifest both as a Spirit and in the flesh.
- As the Father He was manifest as a Spirit above the Jews. He was called by the Hebrew title Jehovah which means Lord.
- As the Son He was manifest in the flesh of the Man Jesus, where God dwelled with us. He had a human Name, Jesus.
- As the Holy Spirit God is manifest in our flesh as He dwells in the hearts of those who are born again. He is the anointed One, (Christos in the Greek) called by the title Christ.
Lord and Christ are titles, but it helps to specify which Jesus we speak about. Jesus is His Human Name. So Lord Jesus Christ is one Name with two titles that fully covers the entire salvation plan of God.
So the Name of God is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Why add the titles Lord or Christ? Because many humans have the name Jesus. But no human is the Lord Jesus. No human is Jesus Christ. That is why the favourite swear word or blasphemy is Jesus Christ. Sinners know there is power in this Name. They know that this will upset God. Do not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain. This is called blasphemy. It is part of the ten commandments. So it is important.
EXODUS 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;
No sinner blasphemes in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The sinners know that those titles are not the Name of God. Hopefully the church will also wake up to that fact.