The Christian Church teaches that there is one God. Paradoxically, it also teaches that God is three persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost- and that they are not mere manifestations of the deity. The Father is God, the Son is God, and so is the Holy Ghost. And they are co-eternal, co-equal, and co-existent.
Each, we are told, exists as an individual "person" but all three are "one God." As the familiar hymn puts it: "God in three persons; blessed Trinity.
But the concept will not bear examination. Matthew's Gospel tells us that before Mary of Nazareth became pregnant with the infant Jesus, the angel Gabriel appeared to the troubled Joseph - to whom she was betrothed - and told him not to be concerned, that "that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.'
But the logic here is difficult to follow: If Jesus of Nazareth was, as the Christian church asserts, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, he was "begotten" by a member of his own family, the Holy Ghost.
Moreover, the purported facts of Jesus' birth seem to indicate that the members of the Holy Trinity are not, as the Apostle's Creed states, co-equal and co-eternal. The Father, for instance, is unmistakably senior. He is the creator, the law-giver, and the prime mover, and the Son and the Holy Ghost are subject to him and do his bidding. It is he who directs the Holy Ghost to impregnate Mary - apparently with no reference to the Son - and he who has a voice from Heaven announce at Jesus baptism, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Jesus invariably addresses the First Person of the Holy Trinity as "Father" and is clearly subject to his authority. As John 3;16-17 states: "God so loved the world that he... sent his son into the world that the world might be saved through him." During his years on earth, the Son looked to the Father daily for guidance and wisdom. In difficult times, such as during his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Son even pleads with the Father to be relieved of his assignment: "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me,' but makes it evident that he is subject to the Father by adding, "Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done." In the agony of the crucifixion he seems momentarily to doubt the Father's loyalty, addressing him as his God and crying out, "My God. My God, why have you forsaken me?"
There is another incongruity: If Jesus is, in fact, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, why is he not mentioned in the Old Testament? There is not even an indirect reference to him. Nor is there any mention of him during the Creation. He played no part during Israel's captivity in Egypt nor in the miraculous escape when the Red Sea was parted, not even during the difficult years when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. Nor was he present during the preparation of the Ten Commandments on Sinai - which, incidentally, he later reduced to one - or during the bloody conquest of the Promised Land. Where was God the Son through all those centuries and what was his role before the Nativity?
Who can blame the Jews for not recognizing him as their God? He played no part in Israel's history.
IN EVALUATING THE Christian concept of the Trinity, the reader can either accept by faith the claims of Jesus' divinity made by the Christian church or recognize the Nativity story for what it is - an invention of early Christians who came to believe that Jesus was divine and sought to validate their claim by insisting that he was the Son of God.
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