Den of Lambs

Christian Defense of the Faith


April 2017

Understanding The Trinity

During this season of Advent, it is essential that we understand one of the Cardinal doctrines of Christianity; the Doctrine of the Trinity. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is the doctrine that God exists as a unity of three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy

TrinitySpirit. Each of the persons is distinct from the other yet identical in essence. In other words, each is fully divine in nature, but each is not the totality of the other persons of the Trinity.  This doctrine gives us logical affirmation for the Incarnation, the Atonement, and the Resurrection and allows us to be confident in the intellectual veracity of the hope that is within us.

My favorite analogy is explained by philosopher Peter S. Williams:

“…A musical chord is essentially composed of three different notes (to be a chord all three notes must be present), namely the first, third and fifth notes of a given musical scale. For example, the chord of C major is composed of the notes C (the root of the chord), E (the third from the root) and G (the fifth from the root). Each individual note is ‘a sound’, and all three notes played together are likewise ‘a sound’. Hence a chord is essentially three sounds in one sound, or one sound essentially composed of three different sounds (each of which has an individual identity as well as a corporate identity). By analogy, God is three divine persons in one divine personal being, or one divine personal being essentially composed of three divine persons. Moreover, when middle C (the root of the chord) is played it ‘fills’ the entire ‘heard space’. When the E above middle C is played at the same time, that second note simultaneously ‘fills’ the whole of the ‘heard space’; yet one can still hear both notes distinctly. When the G above middle C is added as well, a complete chord exists; one sound composed of three distinct sounds:” [1]

The Christian concept of God seems to be superior to the unitarian concept in that God, as the greatest conceivable being, must be loving rather than unloving. Love, however, reaches out to another person rather than centering wholly in oneself, as the very nature of love is to give oneself away. So if God is perfectly loving by His very nature, He must be giving Himself in love to another. But who is that other? Since God is eternal and creation is not, we can imagine a possible world in which God is perfectly loving and yet no created persons exist, as was the case without our space/time universe. So created persons cannot sufficiently explain whom God loves. Since God is a plurality of persons, as the Christian doctrine of the Trinity affirms, He can be in an eternal loving relationship without creation.

On the unitarian view God, however, God does not give Himself away in love for another; He is focused essentially only on Himself. Since God is essentially loving, the doctrine of the Trinity is more plausible than any unitarian doctrine of God.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Cor 13:14

1. Peter S. Williams, Understanding the Trinity, 2012.

Is There Any Extra Biblical Evidence of Jesus Of Nazareth?

Although extra Biblical writing concerning the historical Jesus are simply redundant (since the Gospels and Acts are the earliest and most reliable sources of the life of Jesus of Nazareth) there are extra Biblical writings, enough to satisfy the most skeptical unbeliever.

Lawrence Mykytiuk is associate professor of library science and the history librarian at Purdue University. He holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitic Studies and is the author of the book Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004).

Here are the major sections:

Works of Flavius Josephus
Works of Flavius Josephus

Roman historian Tacitus

Jewish historian Josephus

Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata

Platonist philosopher Celsus

Roman governor Pliny the Younger

Roman historian Suetonius

Roman prisoner Mara bar Serapion

And this useful excerpt captures the broad facts about Jesus that we get from just the first two sources:

We can learn quite a bit about Jesus from Tacitus and Josephus, two famous historians who were not Christian. Almost all the following statements about Jesus, which are asserted in the New Testament, are corroborated or confirmed by the relevant passages in Tacitus and Josephus. These independent historical sources—one a non-Christian Roman and the other Jewish—confirm what we are told in the Gospels:31

  1. He existed as a man. The historian Josephus grew up in a priestly family in first-century Palestine and wrote only decades after Jesus’ death. Jesus’ known associates, such as Jesus’ brother James, were his contemporaries. The historical and cultural context was second nature to Josephus. “If any Jewish writer were ever in a position to know about the non-existence of Jesus, it would have been Josephus. His implicit affirmation of the existence of Jesus has been, and still is, the most significant obstacle for those who argue that the extra-Biblical evidence is not probative on this point,” Robert Van Voorst observes.32 And Tacitus was careful enough not to report real executions of nonexistent people.
  1. His personal name was Jesus, as Josephus informs us.
  1. He was called Christos in Greek, which is a translation of the Hebrew word Messiah, both of which mean “anointed” or “(the) anointed one,” as Josephus states and Tacitus implies, unaware, by reporting, as Romans thought, that his name was Christus.
  1. He had a brother named James (Jacob), as Josephus reports.
  1. He won over both Jews and “Greeks” (i.e., Gentiles of Hellenistic culture), according to Josephus, although it is anachronistic to say that they were “many” at the end of his life. Large growthin the number of Jesus’ actual followers came only after his death.
  1. Jewish leaders of the day expressed unfavorable opinions about him, at least according to some versions of the Testimonium Flavianum.
  1. Pilate rendered the decision that he should be executed, as both Tacitus and Josephus state.
  1. His execution was specifically by crucifixion, according to Josephus.
  1. He was executed during Pontius Pilate’s governorship over Judea (26–36 C.E.), as Josephus implies and Tacitus states, adding that it was during Tiberius’s reign.

Some of Jesus’ followers did not abandon their personal loyalty to him even after his crucifixion but submitted to his teaching. They believed that Jesus later appeared to them alive in accordance with prophecies, most likely those found in the Hebrew Bible. A well-attested link between Jesus and Christians is that Christ, as a term used to identify Jesus, became the basis of the term used to identify his followers: Christians. The Christian movement began in Judea, according to Tacitus. Josephus observes that it continued during the first century. Tacitus deplores the fact that during the second century it had spread as far as Rome.

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