Hello there, I have been struggling lately with the trinity doctrine. I realize that this makes me a heretic but I have lost faith in it almost completely. I know vaguely about the history of his rather large controversy and I can't quite understand something. The Athanasian Creed states; Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith; which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.
Please, if you would, explain to me from your point of view why the belief that Jesus is God' is necessary for salvation when from my perspective belief that Jesus is God Son is enough. He still has been vested with all power and authority in heaven and earth. (that is except over the one who vested Him such powers) as the scripture states "The head of every woman is the man, and the head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God (the Father).' If he truly has all authority who is able to stop Him saving one who believes that his is the messiah, The final revelation of the Father, the Son. Yet still preserves for the Father a separate and Higher and the only true eternal existence? (The word 'one' meaning in this context only that Jesus represents his Father perfectly in Thought and Word and Deed.
Struggling with understanding the Trinity ... that' nothing too uncommon! Augustine, one of the greatest Bible students, wrote a long row of books about this subject, probably more complicated that God Himself wrote about it in the Bible. At the end of the study, he still didn't understand it. One day, as goes the story, he walked along the beach and saw a little boy walking with a small cup from the ocean to a little hole he had dug. Augustine, observing the lad, asked him, "What are you doing?" He answered, 'I am emptying the ocean into my little hole!" Augustine took that as an answer on a different issue. Never are we able to comprehend the things of God with our little puny minds.
The subject of the Trinity is not something God expects us to understand. He knows that is beyond our comprehension. I also don't understand how God existed for always. Or how He could make a material universe out of nothing. Or how He could so love that He sacrificed Himself in His Son for enemies and attempted murderers of Himself. The list goes on. We aren't able to understand these things. Let's acknowledge that and let the thought liberate you and me that we also aren't asked to understand it. That doesn't mean we can't talk or think about it. To have an inquiring mind is healthy; to think beyond what you know is stimulating for that's how you learn more.
Yet God ask us to believe in what He has revealed to us. He asks us to believe His explanation about the origin of the world. He created it, He said. We can't prove that although there are enough evidences to support this revelation of God. Search on your internet to "creation international" or Creation Research Institute" and enjoy learning about those evidences. Yet, no one can fully comprehend it even thought God's fingerprints are everywhere to be found. From a "detective viewpoint" nothing is easier to prove that "God has had His hand in the every aspect of the creation (design, order, beauty, organization etc.)."With the Trinity it gets more difficult because it deals with the Person of God Himself. Creation is His work, something we can see and relate to; even explore or research. With the Trinity you can't do that. However, there are some theologians-scientists who find evidences within Creation of the Trinity. The universe, so they say is composed of a trinity: past, present, future; matter is composed of a trinity: solid, liquid, gas; space is measured with height, breath and depth. Take those thoughts for information. I find it difficult to use them to support the "personalness" of the Divine Being, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Yet, the Bible clearly teaches the Trinity. There are enough resources available for you to find out where and how the Bible teaches about the Trinity. That's wasn't so much your question. I take your question to be, "Why is it necessary to believe in the Trinity for me to be saved? " Your quote of the Athanasian Creed is significant. A person needs to believe in a personal Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three distinct Persons in the one God. One reason for stating this is that evidently Jesus Himself believed in the Trinity! Unless you can disprove from the Gospel records, especially from John, that Jesus Christ Himself didn't think that the Son was equal to the Father as a personal God as well as His clear faith in the "another" (a different One though similar) Comforter, the Holy Ghost, then you might have a point. Rarely do I see this question discussed from this angle. Jesus spoke as the Son of God, Whom He claimed to be and for which assumption He was finally condemned to die because it was considered blasphemy. Yet He spoke about His Father and Him sending forth the Holy Spirit to this earth. He equalled His Father and His love; His Father's sovereign right to judge and He confessed His own sovereign right to judge. From those statements and assertions I can only make one conclusion: Jesus Himself clearly considered the Father and Son as two distinct Persons and later clearly revealed the third Person of the Trinity. That forms then enough foundation to require His followers to believe and confess the doctrine of Trinity. He even claims Himself to be "Jehovah." One of the most shocking moments of self-revelation we often miss. It was upon His arrest in Gethsemane. When they answered Him who they were seeking, He answered, /I am!/ Upon those words, they fell backwards! Ever wondered why? Jesus used there the very words that refer to Jehovah's name in Ex. 3; the most sacred name to the Jews. The awe and impression that this temporarily made upon those about to arrest them is pictured in their falling backwards! For Jesus to make such claim and to accept the confession of Thomas, "My God and my Lord" in John 20 clinch the point. He considered Himself God! That's why you and I should if we want to be His followers.
Why do we have to hold that Jesus is God? Because it takes a Divine mind and Person to rule over the entire earth! You acknowledge that He has received all power and authority in heaven and earth. Unless that One has a divine ability to rule such a large place and hear the millions of prayers, rule over the myriad of details, even the hairs on our head and the sparrow on the housetop, who could do that unless you have a Divine ability. No human person, no matter how exalted his position be, is capable of maintaining and governing this world. His authority doesn't mean that He change things at His will. Your suggestion that "no one is able to stop Him from saving one who believes that He is the Messiah but not God" gives me an uncomfortable impression of your view of the Lord Jesus. He is no way is a "independent-minded Child" Who will do it His way even though His Father may not agree with us. Let's never think of Him in such a light. "I rejoice to do thy will" was the motto of His heart. And I am sure it is still that way. You are right that the Son is the highest and fullest revelation of the Father. Heb. 1:1-3 will support that view. Also other Scriptures from John 15-16 can be used to support that view. Those Who have seen the Son have seen the Father, He said. That's because the Father is an invisible Spirit and He has made Himself visible in the incarnate Son of God, Who assumed a human nature. The incarnation is one the greatest mysteries of the Scripture. How can God and man become the God-man. Let's adore the Being God, trust in Him and leave the questions which we can't possibly grasp to Him. I hope I have assisted you somewhat.
Pastor Arnoud Vergunst