Trinity - Different Views  

The Christian Trinity doctrine evolved over many years due to the verdicts at various councils.

"Now we say, that if all of history were silent, if no record had come down to us respecting the faith of the first centuries, these creeds themselves would furnish incontrovertible evidence that the doctrine of the Trinity did not exist prior to the middle of the 4th century, and that it was a corruption, gradually introduced, of the true original doctrine." Cheneviere, M. (1832). Essais Theologiques-- Du Systeme Theologique de la Trinite. In Francis Jenks, James Walker, Francis William et al. (eds), The Christian Examiner and General Review, Volume 12. Boston: Gray and Bowen. p.42
"No responsible New Testament scholar would claim that the doctrine of the Trinity was taught by Jesus or preached by the earliest Christians, or consciously held by any writer in the New Testament. It was in fact slowly worked out in the course of the first few centuries in an attempt to give an intelligent doctrine of God." Anthony T. Hanson, Professor of Theology, University of Hull, England
The Image of the Invisible God, SCM Press, London (1982) p.87
"While it is necessary to make distinctions in the Godhead, these are of various kinds and do not lend themselves to a neat Trinitarian pattern. Different problems and distinctions are involved. Their terms cannot be treated as identical and summed up under the symbols of Father, Son and Spirit." Cyril C. Richardson, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Abington Press, Nashville TN (1958) p.13


In addition to the official council-sanctioned Creeds, the actual concept of Trinity was disputed by many early Jewish-Christians. The table below detail the various Trinitarian positions held.


1. TRINITY | Jesus is the Father
Jesus Christ is the same personage as God. He is the Father manifest in the flesh. There are not three persons; there is only one God.

KNOWN AS
    Patripassianism
    Monarchianism
    Oneness Pentecostalism
    "Jesus Only"

ADVOCATES
    Noetus of Smyrna
    Praxeas
    Pope Callistus I of Rome (d. 223 AD)
2. TRINITY | Jesus, manifestation of God
Jesus Christ is but one of several modes, or manifestations of the one true God.

KNOWN AS
    Sabellianism
    Modalism

ADVOCATES
    Sabellius
    Noetus at Rome
    Epigonus
    Cleomenes
    Marcellus of Ancyra
    Commodian
3. TRINITY | Jesus, attribute of God
Jesus Christ is but one of several attributes or appropriation, such as power, love, wisdom etc. of a single God.


ADVOCATES
    Monoimus (150-210 AD)
    Peter Abelard (1079-1142)
    Roland Bandinelli
    Pope Alexander III (1159-1181)
    Peter Lombard
    Gilbert de la Porree
4. TRINITY | Jesus, part of God
Jesus Christ is the same thing as the Father, but distinguishable, even as the root is the same as, but distinguishable from the tree, and the sun from its rays. The Father is the "whole", while Jesus Christ is the part.


ADVOCATES
    Tertullian
    Hippolytus
    Novatian
5. TRINITY | Jesus, a Prophet
Jesus Christ is not God except in an 'honorific sense' through the Father's grace, but is subordinate to the Father. He is made of a 'similar' or 'same type of' substance (Homoiousios) as the Father. And, because Jesus was created by the Father, only the Father is eternal.

Jesus is even considered by some to be a great man, prophet, religious leader, teacher, angel sent from God, or a Messiah.

KNOWN AS
    Arianism
    Ebionism

ADVOCATES
    Justin Martyr (100-165 AD)
    Dionysius
    Bishop of Corinth (170 AD)
    Arius of Alexandria (250-336 AD)
    Eusebius of Caesarea (d. 339 AD)
    Eusebius of Nicomedia (d. 342 AD)
    Emperor Constantius (337-361 AD)
    97 Bishops at Arian Councils at Antioch (341-344 AD)
    400 Bishops attending Synod of Ariminum (350 AD)
    160 Bishops attending the Synod of Seleucia (359 AD)
    Jehovah Witnesses (Today)
DECLARATION
    Arius' Letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia
    Arius' Letter to Alexander of Alexandria
    Arius' Letter to the Emperor Constantine
    Pronouncement of the Synod of Tyre and Jerusalem (335 AD)
    Confessions of Faith (1st, 2nd, 3rd) of the first Arian Council at Antioch (341 AD)
    Confession of Faith (4th) of the second Arian Council at Antioch (341 AD)
    Confession of Faith (5th) of the Arian Council at Antioch (344 AD)
    Confession of Faith (6th) of the second Arian Council at Sirmium (351 AD)
    Confession of Faith (7th) of the third Arian Council at Sirmium (357 AD)
    Confession of Faith (9th) of the first Synod of Ariminum and first Synod of Seleucia (359 AD)
    Confession of Faith (10th) of the Synod of Nice (359 AD) and Constantinople (360 AD)


Islam is in agreement with Arianism. Muslims believe Jesus, was a great Prophet sent by the Father. He was a Man gifted with many miracles, who successfully delivered the message of Monotheism to his disciples.
6. TRINITY | Trinity (Athanasius)
Jesus Christ is 'begotten' and not created, and is therefore, eternal, and of the same substance (Homoousios) as the Father. But, God is also comprised of three substances (Hypostasis).

KNOWN AS
    Trinitarianism

ADVOCATES
    Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria (296-373 AD)
    Marcellus, Bishop of Ancyra (Council at Nicaea)
    Tatian
    Nicene Creed Signatories (325 AD)
7. TRINITY | Three Substances, One Person
The Son, the Father and the Holy Spirit are three individual substances (Hypostasis) that are of one substance (Ousis) analogous to three people (Hypostasis), who are all human (Ousis).

Jesus Christ is 'the Son' (Hypostasis), and 'God' (Ousis). However, since the three Hypostasis are the only form that the Ousis has, or ever will take, the 'Threeness' cannot be separated from the 'Oneness'. The emphasis is on the 'Threeness' over the 'Oneness'.

KNOWN AS
    Contemporary Trinitarianism

ADVOCATES
    Basil of Ceasarea (329-379 AD)
    Gregory of Nyssa
    Gregory of Nazianzus
    Councils at Philippopolis (343 AD)
    Councils at Sirmium (351 AD)
    Councils at Ancyra (358 AD)
8. TRINITY | One Substance, Three Persons
The Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are of one substance (Substantia), three persons (Personea). Emphasis on the 'Oneness' over the 'Threeness'. The distinction of 'Persons' is only that of 'Relations'.

KNOWN AS
    Trinitarianism

ADVOCATES
    Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD)
    Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
    Athanasian Creed (5th Century) Adherents
9. TRINITY | One Substance Three Persons
The Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are of one substance (Substantia), three persons (Personea). The endeavor is to think simultaneously Unity and Threefoldness.

KNOWN AS
    Calvinistic Trinitarianism

ADVOCATES
    John Calvin
10. TRINITY | Three Distinct Gods
Jesus is one of three Gods (in one sense of the term 'God') comprising a Godhead. Yet there is only one God and mankind has the potential to become Gods, just as generations of other worlds have produced Gods.

KNOWN AS
    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

ADVOCATES
    Pope Clement I (died 99 AD)
    Origen (185-254 AD)
    Ignatius of Antioch (50-117 AD)
    Barnabas
    Gnostics
11. TRINITY | Valentianism
There exist 16 male/female pairs of emissions (Aeon) from the divine substance; which, along with the Supreme God (Bythius), constitute the Pleroma ('Fulness', Godhead or world of gods).

Jesus is depicted as a man (Aeon or Projection) who descends from the Pleroma in order to impart saving knowledge. Some have suggested that he was the incarnation of Simon Magus.

KNOWN AS
    Valentianism
    Christian Gnosticism

ADVOCATES
    Simon Magus
    Valentius (d. 160 AD)
    Basilides (85-150 AD)
    Ptolemy (100-178 AD)
    Heracleon
SUPPORTING TEXTS
    Odes of Solomon
    Gospel of Truth
    Letters to Flora
    Books of Jeu
    Shepherd of Hermas
12. TRINITY | Hierarchy of Gods
There exists a hierarch of Gods and Jehovah (creator God) being a 'lower God'.

KNOWN AS
    Mendantristism
    Christian Gnosticism

ADVOCATES
    Saturninus (d. 150 AD)
13. TRINITY | Tritheism - Three Gods
Jesus is one of three Gods (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

KNOWN AS
    Tritheism
    Christian Gnosticism

ADVOCATES
    Roscelin (d. 1093)
    John Ascunages
    John Philoponus
    Conon, Bishop of Tarsus
    Eugenius, Bishop of Seleucia in Isauria
14. TRINITY | Bithestic Variants
Jesus was the human body, while Christ was the spirit personage that inhabited the body until the time of Crucifixion. Christ is a part of the Godhead.

KNOWN AS
    Montanism
    Separationism
    Christian Gnosticism

ADVOCATES
    Montanus (156-172 AD)
    Catholic Apostolic Church (Irvingites 1832)
    Church of God in Christ (1907)
    Assemblies of God (1914)
    United Pentecostal Church (1914)
    Pentecostal Church of God (1919)
15. TRINITY | Good God vs Evil God
There are two Gods: the Evil and Merciless God of the Old Testament; and the Good and Merciful God of the New Testament.

There is also the Messiah of the Old Testament, who is seen as the enemy of the Christ of the New Testament. The Christ of the New Testament was not incarnate.

KNOWN AS
    Marcionism

ADVOCATES
    Marcion of Pontus (85-165 AD)
1110 views · 14 hrs ago |   Author: Guest   •   Updated: 07 Dec 2018
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