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Catholic - council (repost)

For some reason I'm not able to reply to this question from anon, so I thought I'd try reposting it.

I think we all know that the concept of the Trinity was put out there after the church held a Council Nicaea. What I am wondering is first, who is present at councils, and 2nd, what happens? Does God speak to the members of the Council and say "this is what it means..." or is it by how they interpret scriptures, or what?


Asked by eringobrough at 6:33 PM on Sep. 16, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (5)
  • Actually the concept of the Trinity existed long before the Council of Nicea. The basics are in the Bible. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God (cf. John 8:58, 10:38, 14:10; Col. 2:9). It also clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit is God (cf. Acts 5:3–4, 28:25–28; 1 Cor. 2:10–13). Everyone agrees the Father is God. Yet there is only one God (Mark 12:29, 1 Cor. 8:4–6, Jas. 2:19). How can we hold all four truths except to say all three are One God? Jesus tells his apostles to baptize "in the name [notice, singular, not plural] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). This is a proof-text: three distinct Persons united in the one divine name. In 2 Corinthians 13:14, Paul writes, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." We see this same unity of divine Persons in 1 Cor. 12:4–11, Eph. 4:4–6, & 1 Peter 1:2–3.

    Answer by eringobrough at 6:34 PM on Sep. 16, 2009

  • The language of the Trinity was developed by the Church Fathers. Around the year 181, Theophilus of Antioch expressly used the Greek word trias (trinity): "the Trinity: God [the Father], his Word, and his Wisdom" [To Autolycus 2:15]. About 20 years later, Tertullian used the Latin trinitas (the Latin form of trias): "The Unity is distributed in a Trinity. Placed in order, the three are Father, Son, and Spirit" So the word trinitas became common in the 3rd century (Nicea was in the 4th).

    Answer by eringobrough at 6:34 PM on Sep. 16, 2009

  • What happened at Nicea was a guy named Arius began denying the divinity of Christ and so denied the Trinty. Basically Arius was giving his interpretation of Christ’s teachings and the scriptures he’s read and the other Christian bishops at the council basically said – nope Arius got it wrong. Looking at Christ’s teachings and Scripture, God is a Triune God and then then went on to refine the meaning more (aka the Nicene Creed).

    Answer by eringobrough at 6:34 PM on Sep. 16, 2009

  • Councils are made up of bishops (the pope and cardinals are specialized bishops). They don’t create new doctrines or receive new revelations from God – they examine, clarify and refine the existing teachings of Christ. If questions/problems come up the pope calls a council to discuss the issues and things are clarified/refined.

    No matter what someone says, someone else is going to interpret it in a way not intended or someones going to have a question about it. Councils address these concerns/questions. Catholics believe the Holy Spirit guides these councils to the Truth about Christ’s teachings. So they look at scripture and other writings (and pray) to discern the Truth.

    Councils also deal with church disciplines - more human tradition/customs of the church that are not thought revealed by God but ways in which teachings are put into practice - like liturgies and the like.

    Answer by eringobrough at 6:39 PM on Sep. 16, 2009

  • Thanks Erin for clearing that up about the Trinity.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:48 PM on Sep. 16, 2009