In this thread on where the Trinity came from, I have been focusing on early Christology – the understandings of who Christ was. My reason for that is simple. The issue of the Trinity arose only because Christians said more than one being was God but that there was only one God. The “other” being at the outset, of course, was Christ. After his death his followers called him God. The Trinity doctrine, as I will now start to explain in greater detail, emerged by the problems that then arose: two beings who are God, but only one God.
I will be getting to the Spirit later, but frankly there is not as much to say there.
First I need to keep going on the idea of Jesus being God and God being God. The question that naturally arose among the Christians was how that could be the case: how could *BOTH* of them be God? In what sense?
That’s an issue I dealt with in my book How Jesus Became God. Here I’ll provide some of that discussion, edited a bit for the blog.
By the end of the second century, so far as we can tell, most Christians maintained the two views just mentioned that on the surface may seem – and did seem to others – to be completely contradictory. The first was monotheism: there is only one God. There are not two gods, as per Marcion, or an entire realm of gods as per the Gnostics. There is one God and only one God. But the second view was that Christ is God. It wasn’t merely that Christ was a human who had been adopted to a status of divine power, as in the (now primitive) exaltation Christologies. By this time most Christians agreed that Christ was a pre-existent divine being who was by his very nature, in some sense, God. But if God the Father is God and Christ is God, how is it that there are not two Gods?
One very popular view emerged that explained it. Scholars have called it
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