Echad (One)/Trinity/Abraham, Isaac, Jacob
3 Tevet 5762
December 18, 2001
(The following is an email post to an egroup discussing giving up the doctrine of the Trinity)
I did a bit of studying on this myself not too long ago and here's a few things to consider:
1. The word echad/one used in the Shema (Deut 6:4 which seems to be the proof text used when trying to discourage the Trinity) is just like the English use of the word. The word echad/one *can* refer to a plurality so I'm not quite sure why it is brought up. Elsewhere in the OT it is used as a plural like when Adam and Eve become one/echad; Israel is called "goy echad" in some places which translates as "one nation" yet there are many, many individuals in that one nation, etc. If a nation can be one and made up of many people, then I don't see why God can't be?
2. If God is more than one why can't he be 3 for that is what trinity means-- threefold? If this was a pagan concept it would more probably be a mother/father/son grouping (which leans towards Roman Catholicism) which is rampant in history. In the Bible the number 3 usually represents completeness, solidity (to make a cube, the simplest form of a solid figure you need the number 3), etc. In our speech we talk of past, present, future and animal, vegetable, mineral etc. that convey totality. That number and its meaning of being whole is all around us.
3. Within the Jewish community there are those who speak of God as being plural like when they speak of the 10 attributes of God and the most intriguing of all "the mystery of the three" (raza di-telatha), with its: three heads, three spirits, three forms of revelation, three names, and three shades of interpretation, etc. One book I've read even states that the Zohar says "How can these three be one? Are they one only because we call them one? How they are one we can know only by the urging of the Holy Spirit and then even with closed eyes." This is consistent with the Trinity and NT teaching, no? :)
4. In ancient literature the greater the person being spoken of the more names/attributes he had. I think if this concept could be applied to puny men then God can have more names/more attributes attached to his "person" (granted they are more majestic than what we're used to). We speak of someone wearing many different hats for different aspects of their nature and don't think to say "it's the same guy, you know." :)
The concept of the plurality of God is a well established fact both by Biblical and extra-Biblical writings. So the whole matter is who we worship and the church's (NOT Roman Catholic Church necessarily) Trinity is worship of God alone who is manifest to us in three "persons" (to become our solid figure-- something we can grasp).
I hope this helps,
Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Theological Objections, Volume 2 by Michael L. Brown.
Father/Abraham = "father of a multitude" or "chief of multitude"
Son-Jesus/Isaac = both went through sacrificial process; both had mothers that were divinely touched in order to conceive
Holy Spirit/Jacob = both fruitful; both given in answer to prayer
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