Jesus Christian And Christianity
The Doctrines Of Christianity.
Definition Of Christianity.
In Previous Post:
- Definition of Christianity.
- The conception Of God in Christianity.
- The Doctrine Of Trinity.
- Unity in Three (Father, Son abd Holy Spirit).
In This Post:
- The Unity Of Three And One.
The Unity Of Three And One:
As the Question arises from previous post that, ” how can God remain one when the father, the son and the holy spirit are each believed to be God? They must necessarily be three”.
This question has since the beginning of Christianity until the present day been a riddle. Great Christian thinkers have attempted to solve this riddle in different forms and ways. There arose on this basis numerous sect. In truth, however, no rationally acceptable answer to the question was offered. Professor Maurice Relton in his excellent work “Studies in Christian Doctrine” has in a stimulating discussion dealt with the solutions offered by various sects, more specifically at the end of the second century and the beginning of the third century of the Christian era.
When the Ebionite sect emerged to solve this problem, they took up the cudgels at the first step- they stated that, in believing Jesus Christ to be God, they could not reserve the belief in the unity of God. Accordingly, it must be said that he was not completely and fully God. He be regarded as the resemblance of God, or The image of God’s character. However, it could not be said that in assence and substance he was God as the father was.
This sect in attempting to resolve the issue struck at the basis and foundation of Christianity. For that reason, the church openly opposed and declared its adherents innovators and heretics. In the result, this solution to the problem was not worthy of acceptance.
A group of Ebionites themselves emerged and asserted that the divinity of Christ must not be so openly denied. He must be believed to be God. But in order to avoid the Slander of polytheism, it must be said that in assence the father only was God. However, the doctrine of Trinity was also correct because the father had conferred divine status on the son and the Holy Spirit.
This theory also was opposed to the Doctrinal principles of the church because the church believe the son to be of one substance or essence as that of the father. Hence, this sect was also declared heretic and the matter remained unresolved as before.
A third sect known as Patripassianism sprung up. It’s almost proponents were Praxeas, Noetus, Zephyrinus and Callistus. They presented a new philosophy in order to resolve the problem. They asserted that the father and son were not separate and distinct person, but were modes of manifestations of one person to whom separate names were given.
In reality, god was the father. He in relation to his essence is eternal and Immortal. He is imperceptible to man, and not subject to human needs and wants. In view of the fact, however, that he is God, and nobody can stop God’s will, it follows that he may at any time by his will assume the human character and be subject to human wants and needs. And, if he wills, he may be visible to people by manifesting himself as man. To the extent that, if he wills at any time, he may die before people. Consequently, on one occasion God willed that he appear in the form of man. Accordingly, he appeared bodily in the world as Jesus Christ and became visible to man.
The Jews brought untold hardships on him to the extent that they crucified him one day. Hence, Jesus Christ or the son, is not in reality a separate person, but he is the father who in asuming human from called himself the son.
It is clear that although on the one hand this philosophy to a degree solved the problem of “The unity of Three and one”, it raised on the other hand a number of unsolvable problems. Moreover, this sect did not assist the teachings of the church which decreed the father and son to be distinct and separate person. Accordingly, the sect was rejected and declared heretic. And the problem is still remained unsolved.
There were other attempts on the part of the heretica sects to solve this problem. But, all of these were not worthy of acceptance because they in some way or the other violated the accepted principles and teachings of the church.
Roman Catholic Church:
The question is: how did the Roman Catholic Church itself solve this problem? Our research reveals that the majority of Roman catholics theologians have openly refused to solve this riddle, and have asserted that three in one and one in three is a mystery which we are unable to understand. Some theologians have attempted to present a rational interpretation to the doctrine of Trinity. In regard to Indian priest who propagated Christianity for the duration of the previous century in the Indo Pak continent – it appears after considering their arguments that by virtue of the distance from the seat of Christianity, they could not fully understand the detailed teachings of Christianity.
We shall give only one example to show the extent of their understanding of Christianity. Reverend “Quaimuddin” wrote a small booklet as “Takshifut Taslis” in order to explain the doctrine of Trinity. The booklet was published in Lahore Pakistan in 1972. In giving an example of the doctrine of Trinity, he writes therein:
If the composition of the human body is reflected on, then also it is made up of its own species, that is, material parts – whose United form could be viewed from a material level. For example, the bone, flesh and blood – by reason of their integration, the human body remains in existence. If one of the three is missing, the completion of the structure of the human body cannot be conceived.
The reverned has in the above statement attempted to establish that just as the existence of man is composed of three parts – flesh, bone and Blood, the existence of god is similarly composed of 3 persons. It is clear that the reverend understand that the three persons in Christianity means three parts. And just as each thing which comprises of parts is in totality one, the essence of God despite being composed of 3 persons is in like manner one. Whereas, Christianity does not believe the three persons to be three parts. On the contrary, it decrees them to be three distinct and separate person each having separate substance and existence.
For this reason, it has left out the word “Parts” for the father son and holy spirit and has chosen the word “person”. the existence of man is undoubtedly composed of flesh, Bone and Blood. However, nobody refers to only flesh, or only to bone, as man, but refers to them as part of man. As opposed to this, Christianity declares each of the father the son and the Holy Spirit God – and does not believe in each as a part of God.
The purpose of presenting this example was only to show that Indian priests in seeking to prove Trinity by means of rational arguments are themselves obvious of the detailed teachings of their religion. Accordingly, we shall disregard the arguments in this work, and shall discuss and analyse the views of early Christian theologians and thinkers in this regard. As far as our research reveals, the most comprehensive and detailed treatise written on this subject is that by the well known theologian and philosopher of the third century, Saint Augustine. Later Scholars have drawn heavily on his work. The English translation of his work was rendered by A.W. Haddan and was published under the title “On the Trinity”. It forms part of those writing of St. Augustine which has been collected and published in New York in 1948 under the title “Basic Writings of St. Augustine”.
In Next Part:
A large part of this work is devoted to scriptural discussion. Towards the end, however, Augustine has, in endeavouring to prove. “The Unity of Three and One” view reason adduced certain examples. We shall present a synopsis of these examples in next part.
Till then take care and stay connected to