Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series 1, Volume 3 - Enhanced Version (Early Church Fathers)

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John confirms this statement: No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. In John Jesus states: I and the Father are one , complemented by John The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me cf. Hebrews as part He 1 supplies a solid description of Jesus-as-part-of-God: The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

Within the New Testament context, it made sense for Jesus to present himself as the Son of Yahweh - called the Lord or the Father with reference to the Old Testament use of 'Father'; see below , serving as a perfect metaphor for a well-known and precious notion to the Jews - the household.

Family metaphor: The household of God. During the era of the Old and New Testament, the family was very precious to ancient Israel: Their society was structured along kinship lines Wright , while the household was regarded as a source of Divine blessing Colijn For the ancient Hebrew family, 'household' included the father, mother and children, as well as the sons' wives and children, the husband's parents, unmarried sisters, and his brothers and their families , apart from the servants and slaves, easily consisting of 50 to people 34 cf.

Colijn Already in the Old Testament Yahweh revealed himself as and was called Father of Israel Jer ; Is , while Israel was his firstborn son Ex to whom he gave birth Dt , and he lived in his Temple - the house of Yahweh Is It was from this household that these people derived their identity Malina ; Meyers According to Dearman , 'The Old Testament presents the family as a metaphor for God's relationship with Israel and a vehicle of grace for human beings'.

The family was still the centre of religious life in the New Testament Colijn and a continuation of the Old Testament metaphor. Introducing the New Testament time, Jesus 35 was born as a baby , having a mother being impregnated by God himself, referred to as the Holy Spirit in Lk and a father , grew up in a family , and, being the eldest son , supported his father in his business. Yahweh's revelation to his followers was depicted with household terms, like Father and Jesus as his Son cf. Jn ; ,18; Rm ; 1 Jn ; , and Father of his followers as his sons or children cf.

Jesus also illustrated his close relation with God in household terms: All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him Mt ; cf. He even called Yahweh Abba, Father in Mark , which was an Aramaic term depicting an intimate family relationship. Even during the Early Church Era, the household was central to the activities of the Christians and still acted as the basic model for the early Christian communities cf. Meeks , as many Christians gathered in house Churches cf.

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Rm ; 1 Cor ; Phm 2. The household, well-known to the Jews from as early as the Old Testament times, therefore served as the perfect metaphor for depicting the relationship in the New Testament era and afterwards in acceptable terms, between God the Father and God the Son, however, not declaring with this that they were two separate Persons.

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The fact that God presented himself in Jesus as the Son of God , to fit in with the household metaphor of the time, could have led to the contemplation of the Early Church and something that is still prevalent that the monotheistic religion only Yahweh of the Jews was extended to three 'separate' Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When an explanation is requested, the words of Origen referred to in the introduction could merely have been used - 'it is a mystery'. The researchers could not find any document of the Church Fathers where the transition from a monotheistic religion to a religion consisting of a unity of three Persons is explained- except, maybe, for Tertullian.

In his Adversus Praxean 31 he argued: Ceterum Iudaicae fidei ista res, sic unum deum credere ut filium adnumerare ei nolis et post filium spiritum.

Now, what difference would there be between us and them? What need would there be of the gospel … if thenceforward the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are not both believed in as three, and as making one only God? God was pleased to renew his covenant with man in such a way as that his unity might be believed in, after a new manner, through the Son and the Spirit, in order that God might now be known openly, in his proper Names and Persons, who in ancient times was not plainly understood, though declared through the Son and the Spirit; nominibus et personis cognosceretur qui et retro per filium et spiritum praedicatus non intellegebatur Evans ; cf.

Schaff c ]. This will be discussed more in the conclusion. Omnipresence is an attribute belonging to God alone, traditionally described as his quality of being present in all places everywhere at all times at any time , with the implication that he is not bound by time or space.

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This relates to all alternate galaxies and dimensions - not just ours. Thomas Aquinas explained the omnipresence of God in his Summa Theologica part 1, question 7 as follows: Considerandum est de eius infinitate … attribuitur enim Deo quod sit ubique et in omnibus rebus, inquantum est incircumscriptibilis et infinitus [We must consider the Divine infinity … for God is everywhere, and in all things, inasmuch as he is boundless and infinite; Harvey ].

Irenaeus 37 in his Adversus Haereses 2. With this statement he came close to the viewpoint of the authors of this article. Athanasius has the view that both God's omnipresence and transcendence are depicted in his incarnation through Christ. While God revealed himself to us through Christ, he did not lose anything of his Divinity. In his Oratio de Incarnatione Verbi 17, he explained:. It is interesting to note that the seven Ecumenical Councils did not directly touch on the topic of God's omnipresence.

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There is also no reference to God's omnipresence in the Three forms of Unity. Although the term omnipresence just like Trinity does not occur in the Bible, there are more than enough verses depicting it: His presence fills heaven and earth Ps ; ; Is ; Jer ; Ac He dwells everywhere and knows my every movement Ps , 5; Is He is always near us; he is there where people pray Is ; Mt ; Ac Nothing can contain him; he contains everything 1 Ki ; Col De Vaux ; Clements In the New Testament, Jesus told the Samaritan woman that this would no longer be the case: God's followers could now worship him 'in the Spirit and in truth' anywhere they want to worship him Jn This made God 'more omnipresent' to his followers, compared to the Old Testament.

The chapter in the Bible that refers most to the omnipresence of God is Psalm at least the first 18 verses. In this Psalm, the poet celebrates God's closeness to him vss. Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me", even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you'. Verses portray God as in fact being the creator of every person, and how his 'eyes' are watching over the growing body inside the womb. According to the sources mentioned above, the fact that God is omnipresent means that he can be everywhere at any time. These sources do not reduce his ability to be everywhere at the same time, but they do not mention once that God can be anybody simultaneously.

This will be discussed in the next section. Conclusion: An alternative understanding of 'God as One'. The authors are convinced that the view of all the Unitarians or Modalists or Sabellianists points in the right direction, but that they distort their point of view with their own dogma, therefore expressing themselves in contrast to the ruling view. Trying to make Jesus a secondary God or referring to masks of God is in fact a denial of the Holy Trinity, making him three separate Persons.

In too many places in the New Testament, we do see that Jesus and even the Holy Spirit are equal to, or one with, God. The question that the reader could ask is: How does one link a unitarian view with the conviction that the Trinity does exist?

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The answer may be found in God's omnipresence, because it is the conviction of the authors that God's 'Trinity' is entrenched in his omnipresence. God's omnipresence refers to him being everywhere at any time, also including that he can be anyone of the three Persons at any time - simultaneously. To simplify it: God can be in two different places at the same time. What makes his omnipresence complete is that he can be two different Persons in these two places at the same time, and for that matter he can be as many Persons as he chooses to be, in as many places as he chooses to be, at the very same moment.

He does not need to be separate Persons to fulfil this task.

Early Church Fathers Second Series Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers Annotated edition

If God is able to be different Persons in different places at the same time, it implies that he can be God the Father to an individual who prays to the Father; God the Son to another person needing a friend; God the Holy Spirit at a worship event and God the Holy Spirit to one needing his comfort - all at the very same time and moment. He can be God the Father who lives in heaven, while God the Son dies on the cross. This is the mind-boggling reality of the God we worship. Instead, therefore, to say that he is three distinct Persons, we postulate that he reveals himself to us as three Persons.

These are not three masks of God, but three ways in which he shows his Oneness and compassion with humankind, three ways in which he constantly appears to his children cf. Figure 2. This is no effort to start a new theology. To imply that 'the Church was wrong all the time' would be a 21st-century heresy.

However, this is an effort to bring the reader to a point where he or she will start to rethink the notion of the concept 'Trinity' within a modern context, and hopefully involve other scholars to also discuss the Trinity in the way they understand it. This will also contribute to the worship of God as One and not 'separating' him as the Churches do today.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests with regard to the writing of this article. Both authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript. Armstrong, G. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, , Arianism , rev. Burton, K. Clements, R. Coleti, N.