Marc - would it be true to say that we LDS believe in a universal definition
of Godhood, and what is entailed in that high station, and see infinite
manifestations of that universal concept?  What is "God" is a universal
constant that many, many are exalted to conform with?

If this is true - then does the false notion of trinitarianism have a basis
in truth, but then it is corrupted in its application?


----- Original Message -----
From: "Marc A. Schindler" [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>e Monday, December 16, 2002 12:59 PM
Subject: Re: [ZION] "heck" ain't cussin

I'll give it a try (but of course keep in mind that I'm not defending it,
trying to explain it from a creedal Christian point of view).

There are a number of variations of trinitarianism, but I'll stick with the
one set up at the Council of Chalcedon. The creedal statement basically
reads that
God is three in person and one in substance (not three persons in one, which
how many LDS -- indeed many Catholics and Protestants themselves,
it). When the Orthodox and Roman churches split in the 11th century or
thereabouts, it was over a minor aspect of trinitarianism which I won't get
here, but the eastern churches felt that this was a mystery which transcends
rational understanding, and culturally they had no problem with that. This
approach dates back to the Cappadocians of the 4th or 5th century.

The Roman approach was taken by Augustine and expanded. Augustine felt that
had to be a rational explanation, so he took earlier interpretations by a
group of
Church fathers known as the Apologists (because they defended early
against Jewish and Greek pagan critics) and expanded on it. The Apologists
the first well-educated members (as a group) but they were trained in the
tradition of rationalism, also sometimes called neo-hellenism, or to get
technical, Middle Platonism. Plato held that there existed something called
"universal." If you have a red chair, then clearly it exists as a chair. But
"redness" exist independently? Some would say, no it doesn't -- it's merely
characteristic of something which exists, but Plato taught that it has an
independent existence. The Middle Platonists took this idea of the universal
said that that's what "God" is: a universal, which manifests itself in three
different persons.

When you read the original Greek of John 1:1, known as the Johannine
part of the verse reads "...and the Word was God." The naive literalist
interpretation of this by creedal Christians is that Jesus Christ was a
manifestation of God. However, this interpretation has to be read back into
original text, because John wrote in ignorance of Platonism, and the Greek
actually indicates what's known as a predicate relationship between the Word
God (the Father).

Here's what I mean by a predicate relationship, as opposed to an identity
relationship (the naive, everyday Protestant's and Catholic's view, and the
caricature that most LDS have of the trinity).

When I say "The United States is the 50 states, territories, the land and
inhabitants thereof, plus the government" I am making an identity statement.
I am,
in effect, defining, in a one-to-one way, what a term *is* (hence "identity"

But if I say "The United States is George Washington, Old Glory, motherhood
apple pie" I am saying something else entirely. This is clearly not an
relationship. It is known as a "predicate" relationship, something that's
hard to
show in English, but fairly easy to show in NT Greek (by means of an
proper noun, for those who care).

What "...and the Word was God" is, is a predicate relationship. It is saying
"whatever God was, that, too, was the Word." Trinitarians take this and say
that "whatever" is a universal which has independent existence. They believe
even though this is not found in John's writing, which predate this
view, that trinitarianism is a later but entirely legitimate clarification
of how
to resolve the dilemma of monotheism but three Gods.

We LDS are actually closer to this view than many might think. The
difference is
that we reject Middle Platonism, and would say that the "universal" is an
concept only. It's as if there were an office with a brass nameplate on it
"God," which has three persons in it.

Does that help, or just muddy the waters more?

Chet wrote:

> Stacy Smith wrote:
> > I think that as a former Protestant I understood much about trinitarian
> > theology and understood what it meant.  I had very few vague ideas about
> >
> > the subject.
> Could you explain it to me, then?  In all my years in Southern Baptist,
> and in all my wife's years in various Protestant churches, neither of us
> thought it made sense.  I thought it sounded like an accident with
> Scotty's transporter.  ("Aye, Cap'n -- we've accidently merged two life
> forms again.")
> *jeep!
>   --Chet
> "Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly you
> are doing the impossible."
> ///  ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at  ///
> ///      ///

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

"Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will
himself up and continue on" - Winston Churchill

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author's
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

///  ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at  ///
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///  ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at  ///
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