The Trinity Doctrine: Biblical Truth or Hellenic Philosophy?
Kindle (Mobi) Version ePub Version PDF Version
Greek and Hellenic Philosophy
As was shown in the first section of this Bible Study, under the heading of “Greece” we saw how the Philosophical concept of a Trinity was first created by Plato 400 Years before Christ’s birth. The full concept was outlined by him in the way it was set and how it represented God in a triune form. This was picked up and used by other philosophers and their schools of philosophical thought years and centuries after Plato’s’ death.
Later Greek philosophers refined on Plato’s concepts and referred to them as three “substances” - the supreme God or “the One,” from which came “mind” or “thought” and a “spirit” or “soul”, all effectively being different divine “substances” or aspects of the same God. It should be noted that such metaphysical thinking was common among the Greeks and this carried over strongly into the Roman civilisation of the New Testament period and succeeding centuries.
After the death of Jesus and the apostles, much of the true Church kept to itself, using only Scripture to correct itself and operate, was rarely seen outside of their own areas and resisted the infiltration of Philosophical incursion into their Scriptural understandings as best as they could. They did not enter into full philosophical discussions and debates, so there was in fact 2 churches, one true to the plain and simple teachings of scripture and the other increasingly compromised by pagan thought and practices adopted from Greek and Roman philosophical thought.
With the swell of debate occurring over the nature of God, it should be understood that many of the church leaders who formulated the doctrine of the Trinity were steeped in Greek and Platonic philosophy, this influenced their religious views and teachings. This can be seen clearly by the language they used in describing and defining the Trinity, and is in fact, taken directly from Platonic and Greek Philosophy.
Interestingly enough, Jedin comments regarding this directly:
“The Alexandria catechetical school, which revered Clement of Alexandria and Origen, the greatest theologians of the Greek Church, as its heads, applied the allegorical method to the explanation of Scripture. Its thought was influenced by Plato: its strong point was [pagan] theological speculations.
Athanasius and the three Cappadocians [the men whose Trinitarian views were adopted by the Catholic Church at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople] had been included among its members8”
It should be noted here the last statement in the above quoted text. Both these people, Athanasius and the three Cappadocians, had strong input into the creation of both the original Nicaean Creed and the final Constantinople Creed, which entrenched the concept of Yawheh God being a Trinity. We will look at the History and arguments of the Nicaean Council next.
8. Countess of Caithness Marie Sinclair, Old Truths in a New Light, or, an Earnest Endeavour to Reconcile Material Science with Spiritual Science, and with Scripture (New York Public Library: Chapman and Hall, 1876). p. 381↩
|Previous Page||Next Page|
PLEASE, now that you have read this article, do not just take our word for it. Get your Bible, look at it and read the Scriptures for yourself, and feel free to get our Book of Bible Articles or look at our articles website for further Bible Studies and Articles.