The equivalent Latin word is " procedure ", but unlike the Greek word it doesn't include the notion of a starting point within something; it's a more general word for movement. This different meaning may have contributed in a small way to the dispute. Latin theologians taught that the Spirit comes from both the Father and the Son, but comes from each of them in significantly different ways. These differences do not diminish the Father's role as the only cause of everything that exists.
Understanding The Trinity
The arguments in the dispute are highly technical, and seem pretty dull to anyone except a theologian - but they stirred hugely passionate debates in the church because they were about something that mattered terribly: To get a flavour of the passion the debate aroused, look at this comment from a 9th century Patriarch:. But when the Counsellor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me.
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be unto you. As the Father has sent me, even so send I you. In December Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople revoked the excommunications of and called for an active pursuit of mutual understanding. Appropriation and Perichoresis are two ideas that are important in reconciling God's one-ness with the three-ness of God in human experience.
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Appropriation teaches that all three persons of the Trinity do everything God does, but that it is appropriate to see some actions as being particularly associated with one specific person of the Trinity. So the Father is associated with creation and the Son with redemption, but all three persons are actually involved with these actions. This is the idea that each of the persons of the Trinity shares completely in the life of the other two.
Theologians say that each of the persons of the Trinity "interpenetrates" the others, so that the distinctions between the persons are preserved and the substance of God is not divided into three. The theologian Leonardo Boff described perichoresis as "the intimate and perfect inhabitation of one Person in the other," meaning that the three persons of the Trinity live in and relate to each other perfectly. Many modern writers prefer to use the word indwelling to express the idea of perichoresis. They say there is a mutual indwelling of the persons of the Trinity.
All facets of divine activity are reflected in all three persons of the Trinity. They are dynamically intermingled. They may not be separated. The traditional statement of the doctrine of the Trinity is this: These three persons have equal status and are equally divine. But the word person in this definition doesn't mean person in any sense that modern people understand it - it's an ancient technical philosophical term, which originally meant the mask worn by actors playing parts in an ancient Greek play. The Greek word was hypostases the singular term is hypostasis.
The ancient writers said that there were three distinct hypostases in one ousia ousia is the word now translated as substance - see below. There's a hint here of a very important concept in the idea of the Trinity. Actors playing a part in a play do so in relationship to other members of the cast, and a key element of the doctrine of the Trinity is that the three persons of the Trinity are in relationship with one another. But "person" to modern people means, at the very least, a separate centre of consciousness, and more usually, an individual human being. That is not what it means in the definition of the Trinity.
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The idea that the three persons of the Trinity are separate individuals is the heresy of tritheism. Unfortunately, modern theological translations of the word "persons" into phrases such as "distinct manners of subsisting" don't make things much clearer and that particular phrase, as it happens, sounds very like the heresy of modalism.
This word is used to describe the coming forth of one of the persons of the Trinity from another or from both the others. The use of this word in statements of the Trinity is a reminder that there is movement and dynamic energy in the Christian concept of God. It comes from the Greek word ousia , which means "beingness", but it has a more restricted meaning in this context than it had had to the ancient Greek philosophers who coined the word. A substance is a thing which fully exists; a presence in the universe - so for example, a dog is a substance.
Although in the case of God this is not a substance made of matter. The key concept of substance is that of unity - it's not separate from the three persons of the Trinity, it's what makes them one. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets CSS if you are able to do so. This page has been archived and is no longer updated.
Find out more about page archiving. The Trinity Last updated Introduction to the Trinity The core belief The doctrine of the Trinity is the Christian belief that: Bible and why Christians believe in the Trinity The Bible and why Christians believe in the Trinity Christianity adopted this complicated idea of God because it was the only way they could make sense of One God in the context of the events and teaching of the Bible.
Keith Ward, Religion and Creation, Making use of the Trinity Is the Trinity a useful idea?
THE HOLY TRINITY
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee; Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty, God in three Persons, blessed Trinity! I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three. Shine, Jesus, shine, fill this land with the Father's glory; blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire. How are we to live and relate to others so as to be most Godlike?
The Trinity and the Christian Life. Social implications The Trinity as a power structure The relationships within God as a Trinity discredit any hierarchical power structure in which those lower down are dominated and oppressed by those above them. This idea can be developed in Church life: In this the members communicate with each other in a spirit of love that accepts responsibility for the well-being of each individual and that of the whole community.
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In this way the Church, and each church and community become a unity in which diversity flourishes and in which differences are seen as valuable and essential elements in the substance of these institutions. The Trinity and Liberation Theology The liberation theologians thought it was essential to start thinking about the Trinity by focusing on its three-ness first, then its oneness.
Trinity Doctrine - God is Beyond Comprehension! The core of the Trinity Doctrine is the reality of a triune Godhead - God lives in fellowship and relationship with Himself. This is a difficult concept to grasp. But let's put a God-sized doctrine into perspective -- God is beyond our comprehension. It shouldn't bother us that we can't understand "tri-unity. All we really need to know about the Trinity Doctrine: God , the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus , the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried , and rose from the dead according to the Bible.
If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior , declaring, " Jesus is Lord ," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven. What is your response? Is the Bible True? So in the form of the diagram with one vertex down, the caption "PATER" or Father is always placed in the top left node which is heraldically the top right or "dexter chief", when considered from the point of view of someone holding the shield from behind. And in the form of the diagram with one vertex up, the caption "PATER" or Father is always placed in the topmost node.
In the 13th-century versions of the diagram, the caption "FILIUS" is placed in the bottom node, and often a cross is drawn in the link between the center node and the bottom node, in order to symbolize the idea that the Second Person of the Trinity entered into the world or that "The Word was made flesh", as is stated in a Latin annotation on the diagram included in Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora which quotes from the Vulgate of John verse 1: However, when this form of the Shield of the Trinity diagram with one vertex down is used after the 13th century, the Son is much more often placed in the top right node, and the Holy Spirit in the bottom node as shown in the illustrations above.
The diagram below shows the earliest and most recent major variants of the "Shield of the Trinity" diagram: On the left, the form attested in various manuscripts c. Note that in the 13th-century manuscripts, the cross is often drawn as a detailed artistic illumination of Christ on the cross, which is not attempted here. A few authors of 20th-century books on Christian symbolism such as Edward N. West in Outward Signs: The Language of Christian Symbolism , have been of the opinion that the form of the diagram with one vertex down and the captions "PATER" and "FILIUS" in the two top nodes is more appropriate for Western Christianity with its Filioque , while the form of the diagram with one vertex up represents more closely the doctrine of the Trinity in Eastern Christianity without the Filioque —though this hyper-refined interpretation does not agree with 13th-century usage, nor with the use of versions of the diagram with one vertex up by modern Catholics and Protestants.
The main achievement of the Shield of the Trinity diagram is to transfer a large part of the essential "mystery" or "paradox" of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity from the realm of complex verbal philosophical abstractions and esoteric theological vocabulary to the realm of simple logic, as presented in the relatively easily graspable form of a concrete and conveniently compact visual diagram.
It is remarkable as a basically successful attempt, roughly years old, to represent a complex set of abstract concepts in precise graphic form as opposed to many of the near-contemporary attempts of Joachim of Fiore and Raymund Lull , which were not so successful.
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Thus it is perhaps one of the oldest widely attested "graphs", in the sense of graph theory technically, it is a complete graph on 4 vertices, the same as the vertices and edges of a tetrahedron. Of course, if the diagram is interpreted according to ordinary logic , then it contains a number of contradictions since the set of twelve propositions listed above is mutually contradictory.
However, if the three links connecting the three outer nodes of the diagram to the center node are interpreted as representing a non- transitive quasi-equivalence relation where the statement "A is equivalent to C" does not follow from the two statements "A is equivalent to B" and "B is equivalent to C" , then the diagram is fully logically coherent and non-self-contradictory. So the medieval Shield of the Trinity diagram could be considered to contain some implicit kernel of the idea of alternative logical systems.
Unlike some other logical or mathematical constructs sometimes offered as analogies for the Trinity such as the Venn diagram and the cube viewed by inhabitants of a two-dimensional plane  , the Shield of the Trinity does not too easily lend itself to interpretations which are non-orthodox from the traditional mainstream Christian point of view.
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