The Trinity Doctrine is an unnecessary stumbling block

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  • #815105
     hoghead1 
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    Hi, Kerwin,

    Yu brought up an interesting and important subject: original sin.  However, it seems a bit off topic, doesn’t it?

    I don’t hold with original sin.  I don’t find it to be biblical and I find it to be an overly pessimistic assessment of ourselves.  We have had , for too long, a religion of sickness; now, we need a religion of health. I also find it contradictory.  If we are born totally corrupt through and through, if our  nature is essentially evil, then let’s be as evil as we can; it’s a sad, sick thing to do to go against your own nature.

    #815106
     hoghead1 
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    Hello, Gene,

    No problem.  As Eisenhower is credited with once saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Just try and do the must you can with the grammar and punctuation.

    I am inclined to agree with you that many Trinitarian formulations do collapse into polytheism.  Usually, that happens when proponents hold with modern definitions of  the “person.”  As I think I emphasized earlier, any Trinitarian teaching which posits three subjectivities within the Godhead automatically collapses into tritheism or polytheism. I think I also mentioned there is theoretically a way to go about this, posit three literal personalities as present, and then have one God, one overall personality,  but that does  some fancy metaphysical and psychological  footwork , beyond the scope of many.

    I don’t think, however, that all Trinitarian formulations necessarily collapse into polytheism. I think I explained that viewing the persons as roles of God does very well, and I often use it myself.

    I definitely agree that God is a relational being.  However, I also emphasize that persons are also relational beings.  I insist on viewing God as a living personality; anything other than that depersonalizes God, collapses   God  down  into an abstract  impersonal principle or power, cold, unfeeling. I think a major historic problem with the Judaeo-Christian religion is that it tends to make power the basic definition, the key defining characteristic,  of God, rather than love.  I find that to be true in the Bible as well, which is one of the reasons why I don’t accept the Bible as an ultimate, inerrant authority.

    #815107
     kerwin 
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    Hoghead1,

    The instruction is to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh and at least some believe flesh is human nature. If so then one does indeed go against their nature but perhaps not their deepest desires. After all, Jesus does promise those that hunger and thirst for righteousness that they will be filled.

    #815109
     hoghead1 
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    HI again, Kerwin,

    Yes, but you touched on one the  major contradictions here that I have trouble with.  If we are totally corrupt through and through, then we don’t hunger or desire for righteousness.  Incidentally, this latter point is very much emphasized in the doctrine of original sin.  That’s why I was what is said.  If our nature is truly evil through and through, if all we thirst for is evil, then let’s be evil. As to what Jesus said, I don’t think original sin is a truly biblical doctrine, to start with.  I think it’s far more Augustine than Scripture   But that is another story.

    #815122
     kerwin 
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    hoghead1,

    I do not know much about Augustine of Hippo’s hypothesis but my words in the first post were also based on Jesus’ word to the Jews where he mentions that anyone that sins is a slave to sin. Since no one outside of the new covenant has the Spirit to walk by it follows that the only thing they have to walk according to is the flesh no matter the desires of their inward self.

    Some are in conflict between there inner self and their human nature. As Paul writes about it in Romans 7 it is not a pleasurable place to be.

    #815125
     hoghead1 
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    Hello, Kerwin,

    Yes, I realize you don’t know much about Augustine or Calvin or other major extra-biblical sources which constitute the foundation of our concept of original sin.  That’s the problem. You may well think this concept is coming to you directly from the pages of Scripture and Scripture alone.  However, in point of actual fact,  it came to you largely via the Augustinian-Calvinistic tradition, which  is foundational in many churches.  OK, fine.  Well, OK, fine, as long as you realize where these concepts are actually from, how they are constituting the lens through which you read Scripture. Now, if you are unaware of all this, then it’s not so OK for you, as you are then walking blind, not really in touch with the foundations of your faith. How well aware are you of the rationale the Augustinian-Calvinistic tradition presents for original sin?  Are you aware at all that many Christians then and now disagree with the concept of original sin?  I find it totally unbiblical form day one.  I have already shared some of my reasons in a previous post and am, c course, willing to continue the discussion.  However, mu point here is simply that original sin is not the only possible sound Christian  interpretation of Scripture. Let’s consider “sins of the flesh.”  I don not think Scripture at has has anything near in mind to carnality or passion or sexual pleasure or hedonism in mind here.  In the Bile, “flesh” is being used in a wholly different sense; it denotes selfishness  insensitivity, not strong passion or the seeking of great physical pleasure or sexuality or anything of teh like.  That’s why I think I said earlier that sin isn’t flesh, it’s insensitivity.  God want passion, not perfection. We sin we when go flat, tune out our own emotions and those of others.  Now, Augustine, for example, did in fact equate sins of the flesh in teh carnal sense of the term.  That’s why he saw sex as inherently evil, enjoying sexual pleasure even in marriage a major sin. However, it must be remembered he was working with Hellenic standards of perfection, which enshrined the immune and the immutable. I guess what I am saying is that Christianity is not a monolithic religion, not just one way.  It ha always represented a rich plurality of POV’s which often did and do conflict.  The wise thing to do is bone up on the controversies. I am sure you have hear the old cliché that the Bible is subject to many different interpretations.  Well, cliché or not, it happens to be very true. Our faith is founded just as much extra-biblical teachings a it is on Scripture. What you get out of Scripture is very much a product of what you bring to it, what lens you choose to examine it through.

    #815126
     kerwin 
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    Hoghead,

    You are correct that I do not know much about Augustine or Calvin’s teachings nor do I think much of the original sin doctrine some teach.    That is that every human has guilt for Adam’s sin.  Instead Adam’s sin separates us from God and Jesus’ act of righteousness reconciles us to him.

    I do know that the only way to interpret Scripture correctly is through the Spirit.

    I also know Peter did not think well of those that misinterpreted Scripture; even hard to understand places.

    Augustine  is a late comer and the roots of the truth should exist in extra biblical sources earlier though finding it may be difficult.

     

    #815127
     kerwin 
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    Hoghead,

    I do not believe Adam’s sin is hereditary but I do believe his offspring including Jesus suffered the effects.  Jesus was given a way to supersede the effects and he shares is with those that believe.

    #815128
     AndrewAD 
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    Hoghead and Kerwin,

    I know the doctrine of original sin/total depravity may be off topic here on this thread as was pointed out but I want to chime in on it and it is imo also an unnecessary stumbling block as the trinity is to some also. First off as a former long time Calvinist what I was taught about original sin or total depravity is not that we are naturally as evil as we can be or evil through and through but that all our deeds are unacceptable to God outside of Christ.This is also the Arminian concept of it but the difference is that in Calvinism our very wants for righteousness/Christ only comes from God and cannot arise from our depraved selves. “by grace we are saved through faith and that not of ourselves”

    I understand sovereignty,predestination,the “effectual call”,limited atonement and have stood for some of these issues from scripture on this site but tbh from my own personal experience it’s a very hard system to live by.

    #815130
     hoghead1 
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    Hello, Andrew and Kerwin,

    Calvin’s argument was that we are in fact born corrupt through and through.  Unless we are among the predestined elect, we can want and will nothing but evil.  The elect can and should do better, but they generally fail to do so.  Hence, according to Calvin,  even the “pillars of the  church” deserve eternal damnation, as do all of the elect.  They all but  are but very lucky reprobate that God, for some secret reason, predetermined to be saved.  Granted, the elect can do some good things, still, it isn’t really their own choosing.  All our decisions, great and small, were predetermined by God to occur.  We may be seem to make choices, but, in teh end, it was God who predetermined what choices we would make. Hence, freedom in any true sense of the term is out of teh question for Calvin.  Because of this denial of free will, I cannot accept Calvin. But, and this is an important  point I am  trying to make to some other members here, I’m glad I had the opportunity  to really study up on  Calvinistic tradition.  Knowing what this tradition stood for enabled me to better define my own faith, better understand where I, as a Protestant and Presbyterian, came from.  Of course, I don’t agree at all with Calvin here or on most other of his doctrines.  But I just don’t think you can have a truly healthy informed faith without studying church history and doctrine.

    It’s really easy to say that all we need to understand Scripture is the Spirit and easy to say we all feel we have been moved by the Spirit in our understanding.  But let’s be honest here.  Every kook and fanatic in the book also claims he or she has been instructed by the Spirit and has the one true  interpretation of Scripture. We need to test others, be as iron upon iron, sharpening one another, testing ourselves as well.  The Spirit brings us into community, and that means dialogue with one another. Hence, we should no go to Scripture with the blinders on, with this kind of modern-day cowboy theology, where you feel you don’t need to bump heads with others, least of a with  the major leaders and thinkers. Also, much as I am critical of certain traditional Christian teachings and the fathers on a number of issues, I also gained much  valuable spiritual insight from them as well. You can call them usurpers or any other name in the book, still, given a choice between them  and what some member here has to day, I’d choose the fathers any day.  They were light years beyond us. No question about it.   They were the  great movers and shakers and there is damn good reason why they were so, though again, I certainly do not agree with everything they said.  Well, I reserve the right  not to have to agree with everything those contemporary theologians in my field say, either, for that matter.  If you want to grow and go,pick the brains of the “biggies” and then try and go ’em one better.  That’s my  motto. When it comes to biblical studies, or just general knowledge of the Bible, I go strictly on the world of modern  biblical scholarship, not tradition or the opinions of  laity.  I’m not saying that the laity are dumb or anything like that.  I am simply saying  I want to swing with the most scholarly crowd I can find.  So,  color me an elitist  or an effect intellectual snob or anything else you want   and turn the page. That’s simply my way of maintaining quality control in my belief system.

    #815131
     hoghead1 
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    Thanks for teh clarification, Kerwin.  Yes, that would seem to posit you as  outside the original-sin camp. However, to  totally candid, some of your earlier statements definitely do fall into that school of thought. And, as I said, that’s OK, just as long us you know where  you are coming from and respect the fact others reserve the right to disagree on biblical and theological grounds.

    #815135
     kerwin 
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    Hoghead,

    The Jews believe a lot like Calvin though they do not label it the doctrine of original sin.  They just refer to it as human imperfection and believe that is begins when a child is born as opposed to in the womb.  I have not checked if they also believe Adam was created perfect.  There is some difference of belief among Jews on the issue.

    Of course the fallen nature of man is not the nature man was created with but rather the result of eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    #815136
     kerwin 
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    AndrewAD,

    I do not believe it is off topic as I believe the Trinity Doctrine is a stumbling  block to walking according to the Spirit.

    Thank you for clarifying Calvin’s variation of the original sin/total depravity.

    #815137
     kerwin 
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    Hoghead1,

    Calvin’s doctrine is extreme as Scripture claims the elite are freed from bondage to sin if they walk according to the Spirit.  It is an intense promise that can certainly only be fulfilled by the power of God.  Jesus is the prodigious example but even then it is hard to believe so many look for alternative interpretations.

    #815147
     hoghead1 
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    Kerwin, please, it’s the “elect,” not the “elite.”   I find your view highly Calvinistic in that  you, too, seem to follow his idea of the elect and reprobate.  I argue that is unbiblical.  In the Bible, God loves and saves everyone, not just the elect, not just some minority of persons.  Also, I’m having trouble following your last sentence.  Could you maybe rephrase it a bit?  See, I’m not sure what you are referring to  here.

    #815148
     hoghead1 
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    Hello again, Kerwin,

    Correct.  Modern-day Jewry holds more than  one view on this and many other biblical topics. For my part, I do not agree the Bible says anything here about a “fallen nature.”  Nothing in the one biblical account of creation  (Gen. 1) was ever said to have been perfect: good, yes; perfect, no.  I hold Gen. 1 and  2 to be two wholly separate creation accounts later butt edited  into one, by the way.  But that is another story. I see nothing in 2 that says anything was perfect or that Adam and Even lived in a Paradise.  You can read that in if you want, but it is never stated in the text.

     

    #815151
     kerwin 
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    hoghead,

    Chapter 2 does claim that the two lived in Eden but 1 does not mention it.

    I favor the hypothesis that one is the the order of the plan and two is how things actually occurred.

    Whatever the case the two are only summaries which is common with pre-Abraham passages.

    #815152
     kerwin 
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    Hoghead,

    Genesis 2:15 states God placed them in the Garden and Genesis 3:23 states he banished them from it.

    In case you do not know that paradise is derived from the Koine Greek word for pleasure garden.

    #815153
     hoghead1 
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    Yes, Kerwin, I am aware of the Koine Greek here.  That, however, has nothing to do with what I am talking about.  Most assume that the Garden of Eden was some type of heavenly paradise, or prefect life, but, actually, there is nothing in the Bible that actually says that.

    #815154
     hoghead1 
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    Common with pre-Abrahamic passages?  How on earth did you come up with that?  Also, I know many share your view on Genesis.  However, it doesn’t square with the text.  I could post a kind of summary I composed on the relationship of 1 and 2, but that is getting way, way off topic, as is this discussion on Eden.

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