Trinitarian Terms and Concepts

In order to discuss the Trinity, we must first look at several different definitions and concepts so that we will have a better understanding of the Trinity. This will also give us a better understanding of the struggles that the early church fathers had to deal with. During those early years, there were many different theologies that had opinions on the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. 

Today, we will mainly look at the characteristics of God, different names and attributes of God all for giving us a better basic understanding of who God is. As well as different reasons for God, some early theologies that display a reason for God, and other beliefs about God or a perceived lack of God. 

Adonai“my lords, or master, lord, Lord” 425 times used exclusively of the true God, often together with Yahweh (310 times, 2 Sam 7:18). Adonai is perhaps a plural of majesty or intensity as about 100 other Hebrew words (signifying “lord par excellence). Less evident than Elohim, Adonai likewise suggests divine plurality. normally this divine title is rendered simply “Lord” without any regard for the possessive suffix (“my”). Reflects master-servant, owner-slave relationship.

Apophatic Theology – Sometimes termed negative theology or the via negativa, apophatic theology defines God by what he is not; human language is said to be incapable of describing the infinity wonder of God, thus he is in-finite, im-mutable,.

Augustinian Theodicy: A theodicy is an explanation of evil in light of an omnipotent, morally perfect Creator. The Augustinian theodicy is the argument from the freewill of finite personal beings (angels, humanity): that is, the allpowerful, good God created finite beings good and gave them freedom of choice. God knew that some would choose against him (thus, God created the possibility of evil), but he is not culpable for the free choices of finite beings against him. Therefore evil in the universe is a consequence of personal choices of finite beings. Natural evil includes the consequent physical judgments this has brought (Gen. 3).

Carson’s 5 Biblical Aspects of Divine Love: 1. The love of the Father for the Son 2. God’s providential love for all creation. 3. God’s salvific love for the fallen world. 4. God’s particular, effective, selecting love toward the elect 5. God’s conditional love for believers. What does this mean? 1. Because God is personal and we are created in His image, live life to the fullest. 2. Because God is holy, we too should be upright and holy in all we do. 3. God is gracious and forgiving; therefore, we are to be caring and forgiving.

Classical Arguments for God (Theism): articulated in the “Five Ways” of Thomas Aquinas (1125-1274) in the Summa Theologica. employed as bridges for dialogue with non-Christians or used to help confirm Christian. The Cosmological, Teleological, Anthropological, Moral, Ontological, universal religious experience, and pascal (7 total). Cosmological: Effects lead finally to First Cause. Teleological: Purpose & design necessitate Creator. Anthropological: Personhood is grounded in God. Moral: Morality, ethics, & judgment evidence God. Ontological: To conceiving greatest being proves him. Universal Religious Experience: Why almost all? Pascal’s Wager: Why take the risk of not believing?

Communicable and Incommunicable AttributesIncommunicable attributes are those characteristics which God does not share (or communicate) with finite humanity (e.g., omnipresence). Communicable characteristics are those with which we can more directly identify (e.g., love, justice). These roughly correspond with the division above of nature (what, incommunicable) and person (who, communicable), for God is infinite in nature and we are not, yet God is personal and we, too, have been created as persons in the divine image

 Deism Until the 17th century synonymous with theism, the term Deism came to distinguish a view that affirms that a Supreme Being created the world but has little or no direct involvement in that creation; knowledge of this God comes through natural reason as opposed to divine revelation. Nevertheless, “father of deism,” Lord Herbert of Cherbury set forth belief in a supreme God, humankind has obligation to worship, live ethically, and repent of sin in light of eventual divine judgment. In the 17th c. deism and theism were used interchangeably, however deism gradually developed into a family of beliefs or religion of its own. In modern usage, deism refers to belief in a Supreme Being as creator of the universe and ground of morality, however, unlike theism this God does not intervene in the world. Special revelation, incarnation, salvation and miracles have no place in a worldview where God is believed to have created the world and then (to varying degrees) left it to function on its own. Deism serves as a response to the problem of evil, where God is all-powerful but not necessarily loving or good in relation to the world. It often presents itself as the “mother” religion to all religions, one universally accessible to all mankind through reason. deism derives from: (1) attacks on the justice, rational basis and historical foundations of Christian faith; (2) a rationalist approach to religion; and (3) emphasis on natural revelation as the essence of truth. Although “deism” is a fairly uncommon term today, the basic concept of a universal God expressed in a diversity of religions (particular to their founders and cultures) continues quite popular. Deism’s influence on higher education, science of religion, and biblical criticism remains profound

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