The doctrine of the Trinity, which affirms that God is three Persons (traditionally designated, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) in one substance, has been a touchstone of Christian orthodoxy since the late fourth century. In recent decades it has become the focus of an intense renewal of theological interest.
The technical language of the doctrine of the Trinity is not biblical, and while the NT contains a number of threefold formulae for God (arguably 1 Cor. 6:11 and 12:4-6; Gal. 3:11-14; Heb. 10:29; 1 Pet 1:21 and most crucially Matt. 28:19) and some seemingly deliberate threefold patterning, the question of how God can be both three and one was not for the NT authors a locus of overt theological struggle or extended reflection. If it is not directly 'in' the NT, however, the doctrine did nevertheless arise from a problem bequeathed by the NT to the early Church, namely how to make sense of the fact that Christians find themselves both worshipping Christ as divine and continuing in the fundamental conviction that there is only one God. It should be kept in mind that the concept of Trinity is among the basic features and notions of Christianity. Numerous researches and books have been written on this subject, thus maling it one of the most popular subject amongst the theologists. The doctrine started in the first ear of Church due to the fact that it severely monotheistic Jews however confirmed the divinity of Christ (the Son) and the existence of God in the Church through the Holy Spirit.
Discussion and Analysis
While a variety of second- and third-century theologians wrestled with the issue of how to understand Son and Spirit in relation to the Father (including for example Justin Martyr (d. ca 165), Irenaeus, Tertullian - who introduced terms such as trinitas and persona into Latin theology - and Origen), the long and bitter controversy which led eventually to the establishing of the doctrine of the Trinity was triggered by the preaching of Arius, a priest in Alexandria, in the early fourth century. Arius maintained that the Son, though divine, was not coeternal with the Father, and that he did not fully see or know the Father. Though Arius was excommunicated, the views he espoused found a sympathetic hearing among many bishops. The Council of Nicaea was called by Emperor Constantine I (ca 275-337) in the hope of ending the controversy. Here Arius was condemned, and the Son declared to be 'of the same substance' (homoousios) with the Father. The controversy, however, continued unabated after Nicaea; the Nicene bishops had been pressured by the emperor into accepting homoousios, but there was a good deal of uncertainty and suspicion surrounding the term, not only because it was unbiblical, but also because it seemed to many suggestive of modalism.
Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria, became in the decades which followed a vigorous, theologically able, and highly combative defender of the Council and of ...