1.2.5: Historical origin of the "Trinity" myth:
"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Mr. J says: "Most "proofs" against the traditional teachings of Christianity consist of pitting one passage of Scripture against another." Should it not be impossible to "pit one verse of the Bible against another"? Should the verses of the Bible not be consistent? Should they not reinforce each other rather that refute each other? What kind of logic is this?
As we shall now begin to see, humanity has over the ages taken great liberties with the text of the Bible. This has ultimately resulted in countless contradictions between the verses. This means that as a result of this continuous unrelenting tampering, the message of the Bible can no longer be trusted as the original 100% unchanged word of God. The Bible itself bears witness that a "false witness" will always result in discrepancy (Mark 14:56). Mr. J continues, "...and almost always taking such passages out of context."
Please go back to such verses as "I and my father are one" and the many others which we have just dealt with in the last two sections and see whether Muslims or the Church quote the Bible out of context? Please show me where I have been unjust or unfaithful in my presentation of the verses. If the Bible had remained 100% the word of God then it would be impossible for its verses to contradict each other, however, if mankind has been taking liberties with the words of God then the verses will indeed contradict themselves: "Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would have surely found therein much discrepancy." The Qur'an, Al-Nissa(4):82. Why not apply the same test to the Bible?
"The Christian message about Jesus revolves around three facts: the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection." Have we now totally given up on such matters as the "Trinity," the "original sin," the "atonement," and so forth...? We have already disproved all of these. "Prove from the Bible or otherwise that any one of these three things are not true, and like a three-legged stool the truth of the message would collapse." Please go back and have another look at your stool. Does it not need the doctrines of "Trinity," "begotten son of God," "original sin" and "atonement." In order to remain standing? If you would like, you can find many very serious discrepancies in the narration of the crucifixion and many other matters in Ahmed Deedat's books "The Choice," and "Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction," as well as his many other publications (you may get a sample from sections 2.1 and 2.2).
But someone may now say: "If the Trinity was not revealed by God Almighty or Jesus (pbuh) then why does Christianity believe in it?" The answer lies in the council of Nicea of 325 CE.
As we just read in section 184.108.40.206, in "The New Catholic Encyclopedia" (Bearing the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, indicating official approval) we get a glimpse of how the concept of the Trinity was not introduced into Christianity until close to four hundred years after Jesus (pbuh):
".......It is difficult in the second half of the 20th century to offer a clear, objective and straightforward account of the revelation, doctrinal evolution, and theological elaboration of the Mystery of the trinity. Trinitarian discussion, Roman Catholic as well as other, present a somewhat unsteady silhouette. Two things have happened. There is the recognition on the part of exegetes and Biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century. It was only then that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian dogma 'One God in three Persons' became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought ... it was the product of 3 centuries of doctrinal development" (emphasis added).
"The New Catholic Encyclopedia," Volume XIV, p. 295
They admit it!!! Jesus (pbuh), John, Matthew, Luke, Mark, all of the apostles, and even Paul, were completely unaware of any "Trinity." !!
(Please read sections 220.127.116.11, and 18.104.22.168 for more)
So what did exactly happen in this fourth century CE? Let us ask Mr. David F. Wright, a senior lecturer in Ecclesiastical History at the University of Edinburough. Mr. Wright has published a detailed account of the development of the doctrine of the "Trinity." We read:
"...Arius was a senior presbyter in charge of Baucalis, one of the twelve 'parishes' of Alexandria. He was a persuasive preacher, with a following of clergy and ascetics, and even circulated his teaching in popular verse and songs. Around 318 CE, he clashed with Bishop Alexander. Arius claimed that Father alone was really God; the Son was essentially different from his father. He did not possess by nature or right any of the divine qualities of immortality, sovereignty, perfect wisdom, goodness, and purity. He did not exist before he was begotten by the father. The father produced him as a creature. Yet as the creator of the rest of creation, the son existed 'apart from time before all things'. Nevertheless, he did not share in the being of God the Father and did not know him perfectly." Wright goes on to demonstrate in this book how before the third century CE the "three" were separate in Christian belief and each had his or its own status.
"Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity," chapter on "Councils and Creeds,"
Tertullian (155-220AD), a lawyer and presbyter of the third-century Church in Carthage, was the first Christian to coin the word "Trinity" when he put forth the theory that the Son and the Spirit participate in the being of God, but all are of one being of substance with the Father (Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, V4, p. 711).
About this time, two separate events were about to lead up to the official recognition of the church by the Roman empire. On the one hand, Emperor Constantine, the pagan emperor of the Romans, began to notice the increasing number of converts to the new faith among his subjects. They were no longer a petty fringe sect of no great concern to the empire, rather, their presence was becoming increasingly noticeable, and the severe division and animosity between their ranks was beginning to pose a serious threat to the internal stability of the empire as a whole.
On the Christian front, controversy over the matter of the Trinity had in 318C.E. once again just blown up between two church men from Alexandria, Arius, the deacon, and Alexander, his bishop. Now Emperor Constantine stepped into the fray. The emperor sent these men many letters encouraging them to put aside their "trivial" disputes regarding the nature of God and the "number" of God, etc. To one who had become accustomed to being surrounded by countless gods, and goddesses, and demi-gods, and man-gods, and incarnations of gods, and resurrections of gods, and so forth, the issue of whether a given sect worshipped one god or three gods or "three gods in one" was all very trivial and inconsequential.
After several repeated attempts by the emperor to pacify them failed, he finally found himself in 325 CE faced with two serious controversies that divided his Christian subjects: the observance of the Passover on Easter Sunday, and the concept of the Trinity. Emperor Constantine realized that a unified church was necessary for a strong kingdom. When negotiations failed to settle the dispute, the emperor called the "Council of Nicea" in order to resolve these, and other matters. The council met and voted on whether Jesus (pbuh) was God or not. Arius was at a marked disadvantage since he was not given a seat on the council. The council then effectively voted Jesus into the position of God with an amendment condemning all Christians who believed in the unity of God. All books written by Arius were then burned and those who hid them were killed.
The Trinitarians quickly coined the word "homoousious" (consubstantial/same substance) and then used their new found political backing to force all attendees to accept their definitions of the nature of God. No compromise would be tolerated. Even those of moderate views were forced to either sign the decree and uncompromisingly accept it while condemning the Unitarians, or else be the object of severe persecution. To avoid banishment and still remain somewhat true to his beliefs, bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia allegedly tried to compromise by adding the letter "i" to "homoousious" making it read "homoiousios" meaning of "similar" or "like" substance. He, however, was soon banished for allowing Arians in his church.
We should further remember that all of this was done not based upon religious principles but rather out of political necessity. The debate in the council was probably very similar to a modern debate in the House between Democrats and Republicans. Who knows what kind of behind-the-seens lobbying and deal making goes on to switch people's votes. One Catholic historian states:
"At the beginning of the council, the party of moderate Arian views of which Eusebius of Nicomedia was the most influential member, was in the majority, and 'homoousious' had some difficulty in securing acceptance; it was imposed rather than accepted. Hosius supported it energetically; the same was true of the bishops of Alexandria and Antioch. The Emperor made it known that he desired the use of the word. This was, for many, a capital argument"
Another historian said that the
"...Council was, for Constantine, much more an affair of the state than an affair of the Church. Desirous of putting an end to the disputes which troubled his provinces, he worried little that they approve Arius or Alexander, but he worried a great deal that the majority should arrive at a conclusion of which they could make use to impose silence on the opponents, no matter who they were."
(The above mentioned quotes come from "Apostacy from the Divine Church" by James L. Barker.)
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