Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Being of God


  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 Ivo_G

Ivo_G

    Member

  • Inactive 1+ year
  • PipPipPip
  • 78 posts

Posted 13 December 2011 - 01:21 AM

Can someone please give a definition of "being" (as in "united in one being"). I know the meaning associated with the word in a Trinitarian context is different from the traditional everyday usage of "being" - however, having grown up as a (Greek) Orthodox I always thought that even if "united in one being" doesn't mean united physically -> at least it would mean they are united on some psychological/psychic/whatever level (don't know how to say it better) something akin to the Borg perhaps :D

However, I did a little online research and all definitions I managed to find talked about attributes, characteristics etc. all of which in no way, shape or form make the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost one "creature" (so to say) - at least no more than the LDS deffinition of "Godhead" :confused:

Am I missing something? If so - any clarifications are most welcome.

#2 Connie

Connie

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1760 posts
  • LocationSouthern Utah
  • ReligionLDS

Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:57 AM

What scripture are you looking at? Where in the Bible does it say "united in one being?"

#3 Ivo_G

Ivo_G

    Member

  • Inactive 1+ year
  • PipPipPip
  • 78 posts

Posted 16 December 2011 - 01:29 AM

lol...nowhere of course - but it's in the Trinity definition and I was just wondering what exactly does "being" mean in that context :)

#4 beefche

beefche

    The resident cow

  • Senior Moderators
  • 8390 posts
  • LocationHoosier State!
  • ReligionLDS

Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:53 PM

Are you asking what Tritarians believe "being" means? Or are you asking what LDS believe "being" means? I'm a little confused by your question.
I say that we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures...But the unfortunate thing is that so many of us are not reading the scriptures. We do not know what is in them, and therefore we speculate about things that we ought to have found in the scriptures themselves. I think that therein is one of our biggest dangers of today."
--President Harold B. Lee, December, 1972

#5 Ivo_G

Ivo_G

    Member

  • Inactive 1+ year
  • PipPipPip
  • 78 posts

Posted 17 December 2011 - 05:53 AM

Trinitarians of course - I'm not aware of any special meaning of "being" in LDS context... I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear enough :)

#6 Maureen

Maureen

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 6149 posts
  • LocationCity of Champions
  • ReligionProtestant

Posted 17 December 2011 - 06:14 PM

Ivo_G, Jason_J has already explained this very well in a previous thread. I am going to copy and paste his post.

As already mentioned, one need to understand the meaning of the words being used, especially because the Trinity doctrine is over 1000 years old, and therefore:

-1) it wasn't formulated by English speaking people
-2) the words being used by us are translations (and translations of translations)

Therefore, it is always helpful to go back to the Greek and Latin and learn what those words mean. The most important word to understand is "being". An LDS person would have no problem saying that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate beings (or use "person/personage" interchangeably with "being"), because they are using that word ("being") in its modern usage, where "being" is used interchangeably with "person" (i.e. human being=human person).

This is not possible with the Trinity. A Trinitarian would have no problem with someone saying that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons, but they would never say that they are three beings, because of what the word "being" means in its original context. The word translated as "being" in reference to the Trinity comes from the Greek word "ousia", which means "essence, being, nature". As you can see, it has nothing to do with "person", and cannot be used interchangeably with "person". Instead of saying "being", the word "substance" is also used. Substance is a translation of the word "substantia" from Latin, which in turn is a translation of the Greek "ousia".

So that is it. You have to remember that Trinitarians are not using the word "being" in its current meaning or usage (where it is used interchangeably with "person"), but the way that it was used over 1000 years ago when the Trinity doctrine came around, when the Greek word "ousia" was being used, and it was referring to the essence or nature of something. This is extremely important if one wants to understand what the Trinity is actually talking about.


Here's another one:

Quite simply, "being" ("ousia", "substantia") refers to the divine nature. The three distinct Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are of the same, one and only, divine nature. They are each fully divine/God because they are all of the same nature, and nothing/no one else is. The way that the Persons are one does not preclude them being three, because they are one and three in entirely different ways. "Being"/"nature" refers to what they are (namely, divine), and Person refers to "who" they are.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), "Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature."85


Frank Sheed in his book "Theology and Sanity" (essentially an indepth overview of the Catholic "plan of salvation") emphasizes the use of "nature" as a translation of "ousia", instead of "being", which is something that I personally favor, as it avoids the confusion that the word "being" brings due to its modern usage. Ousia is variously translated in Trinitarian discourse as "being", "essence", "nature", and "substance" (from the Latin "substantia", which is a translation of ousia).


M.

Edited by Maureen, 17 December 2011 - 06:18 PM.

I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who - is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has was once an are. - Milton Berle

Sound, balanced teaching is a must. Our default should be to partake. Our default should be to live in joy, not condemnation. Our default should be to love, not to correct, to encourage, not to criticize. (Quote from prisonchaplain)

#7 MrShorty

MrShorty

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 448 posts
  • ReligionLDS

Posted 17 December 2011 - 09:45 PM

In short: I read those kinds of descriptions and I still end up with some variation of "Three members of One [perfect] team." or "One species with a population of three individuals." (That's the biologist in me.) Which is fine if that's really what it means, but somehow I don't get the impression that anything along those lines is adequate. Granted the "species" idea leaves too much room for individual expression. Jesus was quite insistent that he didn't do anything independent of the Father. But, at least in discussion with LDS, Trinitarians seem to balk at a description that describes Them as perfect individuals on a perfect team. Which still leaves me struggling to understand what is meant by "being" or "nature" or "essence" or "substance" which makes a "three being" God monotheistic.

#8 Ivo_G

Ivo_G

    Member

  • Inactive 1+ year
  • PipPipPip
  • 78 posts

Posted 18 December 2011 - 11:59 AM

Thanks Maureen :) the second definition was particularly helpful...however, I still don't see how that definition makes God "one creature/entity" :confused:

"One species with a population of three individuals."


that's exactly how it sounds to me too - imagine some major world catastrophe that destroys all but 3 humans -> will they be a Trinity too (human not divine of course)? :P

#9 Maureen

Maureen

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 6149 posts
  • LocationCity of Champions
  • ReligionProtestant

Posted 18 December 2011 - 12:07 PM

For traditional Christianity, there is only one being that is divine and that is God; and scripture says there is only one God. M.
I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who - is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has was once an are. - Milton Berle

Sound, balanced teaching is a must. Our default should be to partake. Our default should be to live in joy, not condemnation. Our default should be to love, not to correct, to encourage, not to criticize. (Quote from prisonchaplain)

#10 Jason_J

Jason_J

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 496 posts

Posted 18 December 2011 - 02:56 PM

Thanks Maureen :) the second definition was particularly helpful...however, I still don't see how that definition makes God "one creature/entity" :confused:
p


That's because the Trinity doctrine doesn't "make God 'one creature/entity'". Trinitarians believe that God eternally exists as three distinct Persons.

#11 Ivo_G

Ivo_G

    Member

  • Inactive 1+ year
  • PipPipPip
  • 78 posts

Posted 21 December 2011 - 03:55 AM

That's because the Trinity doctrine doesn't "make God 'one creature/entity'". Trinitarians believe that God eternally exists as three distinct Persons.


true and not true :P the Trinity doctrine might not make God "one creature/entity" (and i completely agree with this) but 99.99% of all Trinitarians believe that (as i'm sure do most of the non-LDS christians who post on this forum) -> that's the whole point of the "One God" concept from a Trinitarian perspective or else we end up with an LDS definition of "One God" and as far as i'm aware Trinitarians reject that?

i've actually got a Bulgarian (Greek) Orthodox church like 5 min from home and i'm completely certain that if i go and ask the priest there he will tell me that God is one creature/entity in one way or another...certainly that's what i believed when i used to believe in the Trinity but then again i've never been overly religious before i met the LDS church and never really thought about the Trinity concept all that much...

Maureen, don't you believe God is One entity in some sense (not physical of course)?

Edited by Ivo_G, 21 December 2011 - 04:00 AM.


#12 anatess

anatess

    Resident Alien

  • Members
  • 11117 posts
  • ReligionLDS

Posted 21 December 2011 - 09:09 AM

true and not true :P the Trinity doctrine might not make God "one creature/entity" (and i completely agree with this) but 99.99% of all Trinitarians believe that (as i'm sure do most of the non-LDS christians who post on this forum) -> that's the whole point of the "One God" concept from a Trinitarian perspective or else we end up with an LDS definition of "One God" and as far as i'm aware Trinitarians reject that?

i've actually got a Bulgarian (Greek) Orthodox church like 5 min from home and i'm completely certain that if i go and ask the priest there he will tell me that God is one creature/entity in one way or another...certainly that's what i believed when i used to believe in the Trinity but then again i've never been overly religious before i met the LDS church and never really thought about the Trinity concept all that much...

Maureen, don't you believe God is One entity in some sense (not physical of course)?


Ivo, just wanted to tell you that until last February, Jason_J was a devout Catholic Trinitarian, so yes, he knows exactly what he's talking about. It's kinda pointless to tell him he's wrong on the topic. It's like a Catholic telling a Mormon missionary the Mormon is wrong about his explanation of the Godhead...

Anyway, you hit it in the head on this comment when you said this:
"that God is one creature/entity in one way or another"

That's exactly what Jason_J was trying to explain to you.

The problem is that you keep on attributing something to the "one way or another" that is not what Trinitarians believe. I think your hang-up is in your understanding of what creature/entity is. It is common for Mormons to not understand this because of their pre-conceived notion of the Godhead. Mormons understand God the way they understand human beings. Trinitarians understand God as a completely different entity from humans so that when they say one creature/entity they don't apply the human construct to that entity.

And yes, I've been a devout Catholic for 30 years before converting to LDS. Trinity to Godhead was not a big chasm to me...

In any case, the Trinity versus Godhead discussion has been beat to death before on lds.net. It's probably to your advantage to look up those old threads and read up on a lot of the back-and-forth on it.

#13 Ivo_G

Ivo_G

    Member

  • Inactive 1+ year
  • PipPipPip
  • 78 posts

Posted 21 December 2011 - 10:36 AM

Ivo, just wanted to tell you that until last February, Jason_J was a devout Catholic Trinitarian, so yes, he knows exactly what he's talking about. It's kinda pointless to tell him he's wrong on the topic.


lol...i didn't mean it that way :) i know he's a recent convert and i know he knows what he's talking about ;) i've read many/most of his posts on this forum and he's probably the forum member whose posts have been most helpful to me in understanding certain concepts (incl. the Trinity)...

btw i was a Bulgarian (Greek) Orthodox Trinitarian till not very long ago so i too know what i'm talking about - probably not from a scholarly position but certainly from the position of an average everyday "Trinitarian" :P

It is common for Mormons to not understand this because of their pre-conceived notion of the Godhead. Mormons understand God the way they understand human beings. Trinitarians understand God as a completely different entity from humans so that when they say one creature/entity they don't apply the human construct to that entity.


erm...in my case the above doesn't really apply :rolleyes: if i have any "pre-conceived" notion at all it's more likely to be Trinitarian than Mormon :P

And yes, I've been a devout Catholic for 30 years before converting to LDS. Trinity to Godhead was not a big chasm to me...


for me either - but then again i've been an Orthodox Christian for just 23-24 years and never really devout to begin with :D

In any case, the Trinity versus Godhead discussion has been beat to death before on lds.net. It's probably to your advantage to look up those old threads and read up on a lot of the back-and-forth on it.


oh i did believe me ^_^ i read 3-4 years old discussions - pages and pages of them...however, i'm not really interested in another Trinity vs Godhead discussion cos i don't think i can read anything new on the subject -> what i'm actually interested in is the "being of God": the meaning Trinitarians invest in "being" and how do they reconcile that meaning with their faith?

i really like Jason_J's explanation and while i'm certain it's theologically sound i would've never been able to accept his definition or its implications a few years ago - it would've basically destroyed my idea of the Trinity back then...

btw i found a book on the topic (by an Orthodox priest): CLICK (it's in Bulgarian tho) and there it basically says that "God is one in His nature but with 3 faces" -> that's much closer to what i used to believe back when i used to believe in the Trinity but now that i think of it that's more like "modalism"...Jason_J's explanation on the other hand is closer to politheism and is definitely not how i understood the Trinity :huh:


p.s. btw if more Trinitarians believed as Jason_J explains it - then the LDS church would probably double and triple its conversion rates cos i see literally no difference b/w his explanation of the Trinity and the LDS Godhead...

Edited by Ivo_G, 21 December 2011 - 10:42 AM.


#14 Jason_J

Jason_J

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 496 posts

Posted 21 December 2011 - 10:42 AM

Perhaps I need to be clear that there is of course a distinction between what the Trinity doctrine actually teaches (which is really what matters), and what many Trinitarians themselves believe (which in many cases borders on modalism, which is not Trinitarian). The Trinity doctrine itself teaches, as found in the Athanasian Creed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other official documents, that God eternally exists as three distinct Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who are not each other.

#15 anatess

anatess

    Resident Alien

  • Members
  • 11117 posts
  • ReligionLDS

Posted 21 December 2011 - 10:58 AM

lol...i didn't mean it that way :) i know he's a recent convert and i know he knows what he's talking about ;) i've read many/most of his posts on this forum and he's probably the forum member whose posts have been most helpful to me in understanding certain concepts (incl. the Trinity)...

btw i was a Bulgarian (Greek) Orthodox Trinitarian till not very long ago so i too know what i'm talking about - probably not from a scholarly position but certainly from the position of an average everyday "Trinitarian" :P



erm...in my case the above doesn't really apply :rolleyes: if i have any "pre-conceived" notion at all it's more likely to be Trinitarian than Mormon :P



for me either - but then again i've been an Orthodox Christian for just 23-24 years and never was really devout to begin with :D



oh i did believe me ^_^ i read 3-4 years old discussions - pages and pages of them...however, i'm not really interested in another Trinity vs Godhead discussion cos i don't think i can read anything new on the subject -> what i'm actually interested in is the "being of God": the meaning Trinitarians invest in "being" and how do they reconcile that meaning with their faith?

i really like Jason_J's explanation and while i'm certain it's theologically sound i would've never been able to accept his definition or its implications a few years ago - it would've basically destroyed my idea of the Trinity back then...

btw i found a book on the topic (by an Orthodox priest): CLICK (it's in Bulgarian tho) and there it basically says that "God is one in His nature but with 3 faces" -> that's much closer to what i used to believe back when i used to believe in the Trinity but now that i think of it that's more like "modalism"...Jason_J's explanation on the other hand is closer to politheism and is definitely not how i understood the Trinity :huh:

btw if more Trinitarians believed as Jason_J explains - then the LDS church would probably double and triple its conversion rates cos i see literally no difference b/w his explanation and the LDS Godhead...



Excellent! We all are coming from the same background then!

All Trinitarians I personally know (yes, they're mostly Roman Catholics - I went to Catholic schools from kindergarten all the way through college) - well, those who bother to ponder on the doctrine of the Trinity anyway - believes exactly as Jason_J explains. It is taught in the Catechism after all.

Yes, the big giant question all Trinitarians face is exactly WHAT that "creature" is. Hence, the coinage the Great Mystery. We don't exactly know WHAT that is in the same way that we can know what a human being is because - we can't see the WHAT. But, we do know - from scripture study - a full description of that WHAT - God is omnipotent, God is omniscient, God is omnipresent, etc. etc.

A good analogy I would think is knowing exactly WHAT gravity is. We know that if we drop a tennis ball from the rooftop, it drops to the ground - the reason provided on why that happens is not a fact, but just a theory - that it's because of this thing we call Gravity. So we don't really know what gravity is exactly - but we can describe it using a mathematical formula of its effects on everything. And because it is only a theory and not a fact - we might find that we have to adjust our understanding of what gravity is when new scientific "revelations" comes to light - just like Einstein had to adjust his understanding of gravity when he came up with the relativity theory.

Does this make sense to you?

The objections Trinitarians have to the Godhead is their feeling that attributing God as literally the same creature as spiritual man is "cheapening" God - hence causing the big chasm. So, yes, they may not know exactly the WHAT of God but they will attest to the fact that it is NOT the same as "us".

Edited by anatess, 21 December 2011 - 11:05 AM.


#16 mordorbund

mordorbund

    wordHat

  • Ask Gramps Team
  • 2264 posts
  • ReligionLDS

Posted 22 December 2011 - 02:12 PM

I think it comes down to what ousia (the Greek word that gets translated as "being") really means. Can any of those in the know give us some other examples of where this word is used?

#17 madeleine1

madeleine1

    Senior Member

  • Inactive 6+ Months
  • 117 posts

Posted 27 December 2011 - 10:03 PM

Can someone please give a definition of "being" (as in "united in one being"). I know the meaning associated with the word in a Trinitarian context is different from the traditional everyday usage of "being" - however, having grown up as a (Greek) Orthodox I always thought that even if "united in one being" doesn't mean united physically -> at least it would mean they are united on some psychological/psychic/whatever level (don't know how to say it better) something akin to the Borg perhaps :D

However, I did a little online research and all definitions I managed to find talked about attributes, characteristics etc. all of which in no way, shape or form make the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost one "creature" (so to say) - at least no more than the LDS deffinition of "Godhead" :confused:

Am I missing something? If so - any clarifications are most welcome.


Ivo_G, you are one person, one being, God is three persons, one being. *HOW* this works, we don't know, we only know what God has revealed about Himself. It is a matter of believing by faith what is known by reason. They are of the same divine substance, not divided.


God was not created and so is not a creature.

St. Gregory Palamas is a major Saint for the Greek Orthodox. I recommend looking up his writings on the Holy Trinity.

The Athanasian creed explains the Trinity better than the Nicene-Constantinople creed (IMNSHO).

Athanasian Creed

Edited by madeleine1, 27 December 2011 - 10:31 PM.


#18 Ivo_G

Ivo_G

    Member

  • Inactive 1+ year
  • PipPipPip
  • 78 posts

Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:17 AM

Ivo_G, you are one person, one being, God is three persons, one being.


I think (as mordorbund said) it does all come down to what "ousia" actually means? The literal and far less confusing translation of "ousia" is "nature, substance" and that's what we use in Bulgarian - "същност" (substance, nature)

I, however, have the feeling that despite the fact that (English speaking) Trinitarians keep insisting that when describing the Trinity "being" has nothing to do with its everyday usage they still kinda confuse both meanings (theological and everyday one) :huh: like when you said I am "one being" - you kinda implied that there's no other person of the same "being" or did I just misunderstand you?

As you said I am "one person and one being" but keeping in mind that being=nature/substance than you are "one person too and the same being as me" ;) the same goes for mordorbund - he is "one person and the same being as both of us" and so on and so on :)

What I was really curious about is how the three members of the Trinity are one? As in: what kind of "one" are they? Me, you and mordorbund are of the same "being/nature/substance" but I don't believe we are considered "one" the same way the Trinity is considered "one", are we?
I think we can safely say that the Trinity "oneness" is not physical or mental or any other kind of "oneness" known to human kind?
It includes the LDS definition of one in purpose, love etc. but it obviously entails something more than that since Trinitarians don't accept the LDS definition :confused:

I think Jason_J and anatess explained what was possible to be explained and I'm fine with accepting that we just don't know how or what kind of "one" the Trinity is...

Edited by Ivo_G, 28 December 2011 - 04:24 AM.


#19 madeleine1

madeleine1

    Senior Member

  • Inactive 6+ Months
  • 117 posts

Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:39 PM

Right, you are one being.

The kind of One that the Trinity are we call GOD. It is not physical, mental I wouldn't think so, as you are implying an action of a human brain, of which, God does not possess.

If you want to name what unifies the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, Love is an answer you will find in all theological discussions, East and West. God is Love. The East also goes into "divine energies" of God, which you will find in the writings of St. Gregory Palamas.

#20 madeleine1

madeleine1

    Senior Member

  • Inactive 6+ Months
  • 117 posts

Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:58 PM

I came to Catholicism from a long stint at studying Hinduism, and so being made complete sense to me. So perhaps it would help you to understand ousia in its meaning, which is, "to be". This is not a difficult concept for people of Eastern religions, such as Hinduism or Buddhism. Westerners are not raised to understand being, we're raised to understand doing.

Being, is a state of existing. God tells Moses at the burning bush, "I AM". Which is a statement of being. God does not say, "WE ARE". The OT also teaches, there is but One God. So we know by what God has revealed that GOD is singular and not plural.

The Father then revealed to us the Son, who repeated these very words "I AM", as describing Himself. Which was very scandalous to the Jews, as this is the Name of God. The Father and the Son reveal the Holy Spirit. We know God as three Persons because this is what He has revealed about Himself.

There is but One God. This is foundational Christian doctrine. God exists. If you say "Gods exist", this is polytheistic, and so, falls outside of Christian doctrine and would be a foundational error.

So while some explanations given here might sound as though Mormon doctrine regarding the nature of God is not different than anyone else, the foundation difference is, Mormons do say "Gods exist". Saying three Gods are united in purpose (doing), and called a Godhead. But this Godhead are not one being.

Edited by madeleine1, 28 December 2011 - 05:02 PM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

IPB Skin By Virteq