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The aspect of faith is a contentious issue and therefore different Christian denominations have different beliefs in various aspects pertaining to God, the Supreme Being. There are however certain elements of faith that are almost universal to all Christians while others are treated differently.
The Nicene Creed that emphasizes on the Blessed Trinity, for example, attracts different views as some completely adhere to it while others reject it on the basis that it is not part of the bible. This paper tries to evaluate the Church’s understanding of mystery of the Blessed Trinity and the various arguments associated with it.
The Blessed Trinity and the church
The Blessed Trinity comprises of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as one body and spirit. It shows the unity among the three parts in one God. It is given high emphasis in the Nicene Creed which is adopted by most churches including the Anglican Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches, Assyrian Church of the East, the Roman Catholic (Old Catholic Church and Eastern Catholic Churches), the Lutheran church and most Protestant denominations. Some churches and Christians however consider it as unauthoritative because it is not part of the bible, for example, the Church of the New Jerusalem and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
According to the Nicene Creed, there is only one God who is the creator of everything that is visible and invisible, one Lord Jesus, the Son of God who was born of the Holy Spirit through the Virgin Mary for the sake of our salvation, crucified, suffered and died for our sins then rose and ascended into heaven and will come again for judgment, and the Holy spirit who is worshiped and glorified together with the Son and the Father. The Nicene Creed also states that there is also the resurrection of the dead and life after death (eternal life).
The creed gives a person some form of identity in professing what he/she believes and gives him/her the spirit to keep growing in faith and doing the right things knowing that at the end of it all there is life after death just as Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. Any person though has the option of either professing the creed or not. The creed clarifies opinions on whether and how Jesus Christ is God and also serves as a basis of church doctrines.
A Christian should believe and understand the mystery of the Trinity. In prayer Christians should ask God the Father to draw them close to the Son, the Son to reveal the Father to them and Holy Spirit to unite them to the Father and the Son. The trinity should be treated as one God in three persons and none of the persons should be under-emphasized. The three persons interrelate and work together as one.
The Catholic Church preaches that there is only one God who is infinite in knowledge, power, and other aspects of perfection. In this supernatural being there are three self who are perfectly equal to each other.
Jesus Christ is God for he is over all things and Man since he was born as man through incarnation and lived a normal life and died as we do. The sign of the cross used by Christians, for example, in baptism shows a profession of faith in the Blessed Trinity. Members of the church should be united and believe in the same doctrines of revelation (Gibbons, 2003).
The Blessed Trinity is a concept adopted by the church in its practices. A Christian should in all ways believe that God manifests Himself in three bodies; The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as one. Just as there is unity in the Blessed Trinity, the church expects unity and harmony among the church members and also among the various organs that constitute the church. People should co-relate and work together to achieve what God require of them and in the long run to inherit the kingdom of God.
The controversial element in the Blessed Trinity is the second person; the Son; where people tend to disagree to the idea that He is God basing their arguments on the fact that he was created by God the Father. Further arguments state that the Son is not equal to the Father as He is visible as opposed to the Father, He is a created being and that his generation is not eternal and hence He is inferior to the Father.
In His teachings Jesus Christ also stated that there is a powerful God who had sent Him making us feel the superiority of God the Father. Nevertheless, the church teaches that Jesus Christ is God since he is of the substance of the father and he is also Man since He was born of the Virgin Mary through incarnation, and he lived and died as man.
The Blessed Trinity has co-existed and neither the Father has lived without the Son or the Son without the Holy Spirit. The Blessed Trinity aspect has been given great emphasis by various congregations by integrating the Nicene Creed in their ways of worship in the liturgy. The creed is recited after the word of God is read and before the prayers of intercession and this shows the importance attached to it since it acts as a link between the word of God and prayer.
Though the Blessed Trinity idea is not in the Bible it receives great support from the scripture, for example, in baptism where Jesus Christ authorized baptismal of people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Mathew 28:19). He also told them to recognize him as the Son of God and promised them that the Father would send them a divine person; the Holy Spirit.
It is nonetheless associated with debate since some people believe that since the three persons have equal powers, there are three Gods as opposed to one God in three persons. The fact that the Son and the Holy Spirit draws power from the Father also makes people believe that they are less equal or inferior to the Father.
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The Blessed Trinity teaches God’s nature. It is evident that God implements His powers through three persons who have a divine nature. The persons; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are perfectly equal though distinct from each other. The Son is begotten of the Father by eternal generation and the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and Son by an eternal procession. It is however through divine revelation that this concept of Blessed Trinity can be understood, all in all this remains an impenetrable truth to reason.
Geitz, E. Gender and the Nicene Creed. Church Publishing, New York, 1995. pp 11-85.
Gibbons, J. Faith of our fathers; blessed Trinity’, Tan Books and Publishers, New York, 2003. pp 17-19.
Lafrance, J. Abiding in God; Prayer and Life in the Blessed Trinity, National library of Canada, Canada, 2004, pp 47-56.
Willies, D. Clues to the Nicene Creed: A brief Outline of the Faith. WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing co., Cambridge, 2005, pp 14 -18.
- E Geitz, Gender and the Nicene Creed. Church Publishing, New York, 1995. pp 11-85
- D Willies, Clues to the Nicene Creed: A brief Outline of the Faith. WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing co., Cambridge, 2005, pp 14 -18.
- J Lafrance, Abiding in God; Prayer and Life in the Blessed Trinity, National library of Canada, Canada, 2004, pp 47- 56
- J Gibbons, Faith of our fathers; blessed Trinity’, Tan Books and Publishers, New York, 2003. pp 17-19.