The Problem of the Trinity

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The Problem of the Trinity The Mystery The concept of the Trinity was first formulated by St. Augustine in the Nicene Creed in seven statements: 1. The Father is God 2. The Son is God 3. The Holy Spirit is God 4. The Father is not the Son 5. The Son is not the Holy Spirit 6. The Holy Spirit is not the Father 7. There is only one God (Augustine, 1948). The problem stated in the classical way was such: how can three equal one, or one equal three? Secondly on the one hand we are told that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God (i.e. One); on the other hand we are told that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct from God and that there are three separate Gods but that there are One. How can we understand this? (McGrath, 2008) To commentators such as St. Gregory Nazianzen, there was no problem. To him it was clear: "No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the splendor of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish them than I am carried back to the One. . . When I contemplate the Three together, I see but one torch, and cannot divide or measure out the undivided light." (Kelly, 1978, p. 13) God had three different properties or qualities. These three distinct qualities were united under one: the Godhead. For Bishop Kallistos Ware, on the other hand, the Trinity was ultimately a mystery. It was ultimately irrational, beyond human understanding and understood only by God in the metaphysical sense. At the end of the day, it was something that
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