Posted in March

Week 11 Homework (due 3/20/17)

Textbook Outline:

The Mosaic of Christian Beliefs, Chapter 6: God: Three and One

      1. Issues and Polarities of Christian Belief about Trinity
        1. All three major branches of Christianity affirm the faith of Nicaea (believe in the Trinity)
        2. some Christians emphasize the three more than the one, and vice versa
      2. The Christian Consensus about the Trinity
        1. Arian theology- denied Trinity; tried to uphold monotheism
        2. Athanasian theology- upheld Trinity
        3. Nicene creed- “the God worshipped in three persons (hypostaeis) and one substance (ousia) or being. God is one—monotheism—by virtue of the common essence or substance, and three by virtue of the distinction of persons within the Godhead.”
        4. Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) are God but not all of God
        5. The mystery of monotheism—God is one being—combined with worship of three distinct entitles who are equally God
        6. TRIUNE- Three recognized as God; Regarded as three distinct persons; Immanent and eternal, not merely economical or temporal; United in essence; No inequality; Explains all other doctrines yet itself inscrutable
      3. Alternatives to the Christian Consensus about the Godhead
        1. modalism (Sabellianism)- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not three distinct persons, but three modes of revelation of one God
        2. subordinationism (Arianism/adoptionism)- Son and Holy Spirit are less than God
        3. tritheism- implicit belief that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate gods
      4. Diverse Christian Approaches to the Trinity
        1. God is one “what” in three “whos”; one being manifested eternally as three persons
      5. A Unitive Christian Vision of God’s Triunity

        The Mosaic of Christian Beliefs, Chapter 11: Holy Spirit: Divine Person and Power

        1. Issues and Polarities about the Holy Spirit
          1. Nicene Creed- Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the Prophets
        2. The Christian Consensus about the Holy Spirit
          1. Nicene creed- the Holy Spirit is the third divine person of God, eternally equal with Father and Son as to his deity
          2. “Augustine introduced the much debated filioque- since the Spirit is the Spirit and Love of the first two Persons, he must be said to proceed from those Persons
        3. Alternative Views of the Holy Spirit
          1. Montanism- example: Mormonism
          2. Pneumatomachianism- denial of deity/distinction of the Holy Spirit
        4. Diversity within Belief about the Holy Spirit
          1. Renewalists- Christians who believe in an experience of the Holy Spirit called baptism/filling subsequent to conversion and the continuing presence of supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit
        5. Cessationism- Christians who believe gifts of Holy Sprit were withdrawn by God

Scripture Response:

In the Bible, the Holy Spirit takes on various roles and purposes.  The Holy Spirit guides and provides for the Jesus, Mary, the disciples, and the non-believers, in the New Testament.  The Holy Spirit functions the same way for humanity today.  Leading people to make moral and beneficial choices and giving comfort and peace are common ways people experience the effect of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  This essay will consider Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 3, and Matthew 28:16-20, to recognize the role of the Holy Spirit in each passage.

Luke 1:26-38 shares the story of the angel meeting with Mary to tell her that she is pregnant.  How the Holy Spirit plays into the narrative is in verse 35, “The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.’”  The meaning of this verse is that the Holy Spirit is how Mary became pregnant.  When I think about how the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, I am left confused, but I recognize that what the Holy Spirit does is often confusing to comprehend, but it is always for my good.  I might not know how the Holy Spirit is able to speak to me and help, but I know that I can trust Him, even when it seems improbable, as it did in this instance with Mary.

While the Holy Spirit’s role in the Luke passage happened only that one time, his role in the Matthew passages happens commonly, even today.  In Matthew, the Holy Spirit baptized people.  Many Christian churches still believe in the power of baptism.  The role of the Holy Spirit, in baptism, is to help Christians reach the goals they have in their lives, as well as show them the dreams and plans that God has for them.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a door that allows Christians to further experience the influence of God in their lives.

Question Response

The Trinity argues a compelling argument.  That three unique gods could take the form of one God.  The human brain easily becomes confused at this statement.  How could three distinct gods be united as one God?  Each person of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is essential for God to fulfill His purpose for humankind.

God does not work as an individual, but as a team.  God has various jobs to accomplish, such as Creator, Savior, and Guide, so in order to carry out these multiple roles, He had to take on multiple persons.  An example of why this is necessary is that if there was only one God, who came down to earth and died for humanity’s sin, there would be a span where there would be no God.  I am not sure what would happen during that time, but there is a fairly good chance the world, both earth and potentially heaven, would not survive this period.  A deity was required to justify and redeem mankind since humans were unworthy, but since God the Father could not do it Himself, He sent God the Son instead.

As a team, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have the same purpose.  Their heart toward humanity is one of love; their purpose is for humans’ profit, rather than their own profit.  The purpose of God is also to fellowship with His people—humanity—and have them be in a relationship, and loved, by Him.  While the tasks each person of God meets is different, they all work together in order to accomplish this purpose.  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all feel the same love toward humanity, and work together as a team to allow people to feel this love.

So how is God one person, while being three persons?  He is one in His purpose and heart for humanity.  Each person of God desires the same thing for humanity and work under the same power, authority, and holiness.  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons in that they have different tasks, and roles, in humans’ lives.  One deity could not successfully, or perfectly, meet each role in a person’s life, which is why God had to take the form of three-in-one.