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Symbols - What does heaven look like

Trinity, The Christian

Whilst there is extraordinary uniformity in practically all other religions as to the meaning of the Trinity, the Christian Church has its own unique view of the concept.  Here is one definition from Biblegateway…..

a word not found in Scripture, but used to express the doctrine of the unity of God as subsisting in three distinct Persons. This word is derived from the Gr. trias, first used by Theophilus (A.D. 168-183), or from the Lat. trinitas, first used by Tertullian (A.D. 220), to express this doctrine. The propositions involved in the doctrine are these:

1. That God is one, and that there is but one God (Deut. 6:4; 1 Kings 8:60; Isa. 44:6; Mark 12:29, 32; John 10:30).

2. That the Father is a distinct divine Person (hypostasis, subsistentia, persona, suppositum intellectuale), distinct from the Son and the Holy Spirit.

3. That Jesus Christ was truly God, and yet was a Person distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit.

4. That the Holy Spirit is also a distinct divine Person

The Theophilus to whom they refer was Patriarch of Antioch, a  theologian, born a pagan who was led to embrace Christianity by studying the Bible [Scriptures].  The one known extant work of Theophilus is his Apologia ad Autolycum. Its purpose was to convince a pagan friend, Autolycus, a man of great learning, of the divine authority of the Christian religion, while at the same time trying to show “the falsehood and absurdity of paganism”. I was unable to find out whether he ever succeeded.

Thus Theophilus was attempting to reconcile the widespread and almost universal acceptance of a Trinity involving a symbolic  Father or Mother figure, or a Sun/Moon figure and the unrelated statements made in the New Testament about the Son of God and the Holy Spirit and the Father.

2 Peter 1:17
For he received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.

Matthew 3:11
"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Note: Why the Biblegateway promotes the view “ That the Holy Spirit is also a distinct divine Person” when we have the sorts of passage above is beyond me. This merely goes to show I think how little real comprehension there is in the Christian Church of their theological invention.

Theophilus stated in the Apologia that 

  • The sun is the image of God;
  • The moon of Man, whose death and resurrection are prefigured by the monthly changes of that luminary.
  • And the first three days before the creation of the heavenly bodies are types of the Trinity (the Greek term used by Theophilus is τριας - trias).

This is very clearly a complete misunderstanding of the entire conceptual framework on which the Trinity of other cultures and religions – Greeks, Hindu, and so on are based and frankly makes not a deal of sense.

Theophilus then wrote of "the Trinity (Τριάς, trias) of God (the Father), His Word (the Son) and His Wisdom (Holy Spirit)". This is the first place in Christian writings where the Greek term Τριάς (trias) is known to occur with reference to the doctrine of the "Trinity".

But the Word and the Son are wholly unrelated, so again Theophilus introduced yet more confusion into an area he already appears to have confused enough.  Since then every theologian since has just added to the confusion.

It may be worth mentioning that Wikipedia are somewhat scathing about the capabilities of Theophilus and his contribution:


He contrasts the account of the creation of the universe and of man, on which, together with the history contained in the earlier chapters of Genesis, he comments at great length but with singularly little intelligence, with the statements of Plato, "reputed the wisest of all the Greeks", of Aratus, who had the insight to assert that the earth was spherical, and other Greek writers on whom he pours contempt as mere ignorant retailers of stolen goods.

Henry Chadwick in his The Early Church (London, 1967) describes the Apologia as "a rambling defence of Christianity". Donaldson is likewise harsh in his History of Christian Literature, pointing out Theophilus's many blunders, which include misquoting Plato several times, ranking Zopyrus among the Greeks, and speaking of Pausanias as having only run a risk of starvation instead of being actually starved to death in the temple of Minerva.

He asserts that Satan is called the dragon (Greek drakon) on account of his having revolted apodedrakenai from God, and traces the Bacchanalian cry "Evoe" to the name of Eve as the first sinner. His physical theories are equally embarrassing. He ridicules those who maintain the spherical form of the earth and asserts that it is a flat surface covered by the heavens as by a domical vault. His exegesis is based on allegories usually of the most arbitrary character. He discovers the reason of blood coagulating on the surface of the ground in the divine word to Cain, the earth struck with terror refusing to drink it in.

His direct evidence respecting the canon of the New Testament does not go much beyond a few precepts from the Sermon on the Mount, a possible quotation from Luke 18:27, and quotations from Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy


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