The Instigator
NobleMinded
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
omelet
Con (against)
Winning
33 Points

The Trinity is a true doctrine of the Bible

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/6/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,103 times Debate No: 9974
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (6)

 

NobleMinded

Pro

The Bible says that there is only one true God who is God by Nature, the only God who deserves our worship and prayer. Jesus taught that His Father is God. However, on the other hand, the Scriptures repeatedly say (both explicitly and implicitly) that Jesus Christ is God by Nature (John 1:1; John 1:18; John 20:28; Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:6; 2 Peter 1:1; Titus 2:13; John 10:30) as well as describing the Holy Spirit as having all of the same qualities and attributes as The Father and The Son.

I look forward to having a serious debate about the Trinity doctrine, based on the Holy Scriptures.
omelet

Con

===
Definitions
===
D1: Trinity
The trinity is a doctrine that was set up in the Athanasian Creed. It is contained in lines 5-26 thereof, which you will find below. I've edited them to contain only the relevant text.

D2: True
True in this context means "correct," just as it would if we were referring to a "true statement" or "true words."
It is modifying "doctrine" - for a doctrine to be true, it must be correct. If my opponent wished to only argue that the trinity is a doctrine of the bible, he should have either used "truly" to modify "is" or left the word out completely. As written, the resolution makes two claims - the Trinity is a doctrine of the bible, and that doctrine, the Trinity, is true.

===
Athanasian Creed (taken from http://www.ccel.org...)
===
A5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
A6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
A7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
[...]
A11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
A12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
[...]
A14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
A15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
A16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
A17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
A18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.
[...]
A21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
A22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
A23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
A24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
A25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
A26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.

===
Bible Verses
===
So far, all the Bible verses used were first cited by my opponent. Since I'm actually giving you definitions and the verses, I don't feel I have the space to add more of my own this round, but I may next round. All verses obtained from http://www.biblegateway.com...

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

John 1:18
God no one hath ever seen; the only begotten Son, who is on the bosom of the Father -- he did declare.
or
No one has ever seen God. But the one and only Son is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. (New Living)

John 20:28
And Thomas answered and said to him, `My Lord and my God;'

Colossians 2:9
for in [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, (American Standard Version)

Phillipians 2:6
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. (New Living Translation)

2 Peter 1:1
Simeon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who did obtain a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ:

Titus 2:13
waiting for the blessed hope and manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,

John 10:30
I and the Father are one.

===
Contentions
===
C1: The Trinity is not explicitly stated in the Bible.
One would expect a teaching so important to be stated explicitly as so many things are in the Bible. Yet it isn't. In fact, it is so unclear on the issue that there was great debate on the issue, until finally the Catholic church adopted it as standard doctrine and took action against all the heretical dissenters.

Take a look at the verses my opponent uses to claim that the Trinity is biblical (I've saved you the trouble of looking them up - see them above). First, note that NONE of them even mentions the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is impossible for my opponent to have fulfilled his burden of proof. At most, if I were to accept every one of his verses as meaning exactly what he wants me to think they mean, he would have only shown us a Biune God, not a Triune one.

My opponent's only claim of evidence thus far is that these verses say that Jesus Christ is God by nature. Therefore, I'm just going to rebut them in that sense - I will not assume my opponent is trying to make any other argument with these verses until he makes such an argument.

John 1:1 - The only way this statement would not be contradictory is if the first God and the second God were two different Gods. Based on the Trinity, we would expect this to say "[...] and the Word was with the Father, and the Word was God."

John 1:18 - This verse states that no one has seen God, and that people know about God because the Son, Jesus, has declared God. However, if Jesus is God, then people would have seen God. Some translations also say in this verse again that Jesus is God, rather than just being the Son, but this is based on mistranslation (in Young's Literal Translation, it's "the only begotten Son."

John 20:28 - This does not show that Jesus is God, or that Jesus is Lord, or that if Jesus is God that's the same God that the Father is. It merely shows that a guy named Thomas calls Jesus Lord and God.

Colossians 2:9 - If we take a look at the context (http://www.biblegateway.com...), we find that it's a warning against getting philosophy and morals from just any sources - that to make sure you get good teachings, you should go through Christ. Further, even if verse 9 is meant literally, it does not specify that the Godhead in question is the same Godhead that the Father is part of.

Phillipians 2:6 - Again, this is contradictory unless the two instances of God refer to different Gods. Equality with oneself is something that you can't get rid of by definition. Further, the doctrine of the Trinity requires that the members are coequal (See A26). This passage goes on to explain that Jesus lowered himself below God by becoming a man, and that God repayed the favor by exalting Jesus. (http://www.biblegateway.com...). If Jesus _IS_ God, that makes no sense, and it should say Father instead of God.

2 Peter 1:1, Titus 2:13 - These verses simply say that Jesus is God and Savior, not that he is the same God as the Father. In other words, A15 may be supported by these, but not A16.

John 10:30 - Probably the strongest piece of evidence my opponent has, this verse could mean a multitude of things. Jesus says he and the Father are one - does he mean it literally, as in they're the same being? Does he mean it as in they share the same goals? Does he mean that they're very similar? There are so many ways to interpret this.

To fulfill his burden, my opponent must show that the premises of the Trinity doctrine are all supported by the Bible.
Specifically, I'd like evidence in favor of A6, A11, A12, A14, A16, A18, A25, and A26.

==
C2: The Trinity contradicts the Bible
"Being," when we remove the physical connotations of it, would most strongly refer to consciousness. To be the "same" being, each Trinity member would have to share the same consciousness. However, they don't. Jesus prayed to the Father. Jesus indicated that his will is different than the will of the Father. They are clearly separate at least in the sense of consciousness and mind - in what specific way are they the same, and how is this sufficient to call them the same God, the same Lord, etc?

==
C3: The Trinity is untrue.
The Christian God probably doesn't exist. Jesus probably doesn't exist. The Holy Spirit probably doesn't exist. Since each of these beings must exist for the Trinity to be true, the Trinity is probably false.

Good luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
NobleMinded

Pro

NobleMinded forfeited this round.
omelet

Con

My opponent has forfeited the previous round. Pull my previous arguments over to this round. Allow me to give a quick refresher.

1. Parts of the Trinity doctrine are not stated in the Bible, or at least my opponent has failed to show that they are - and thus, the doctrine cannot be considered one of the Bible. My opponent has not referenced any verses that even mention the Holy Spirit, one of the three members of hypothetical Trinity. The verses he cites at most show that, according to the Bible, Jesus is in some way one with the father - whether that is in the same way the Trinity doctrine requires is unclear. But the Trinity doctrine requires far more to be true, and my opponent has not shown the other parts to be true.

2. The Trinity doctrine contradicts some parts of the Bible. If not one consciousness, one could hardly consider Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit to be one. However, it is made clear in the Bible that Jesus and the Father do not have the same consciousness or the same will. They also don't have the same purpose, the same form, or really anything else that would be even close to sufficient for calling them the same being.

3. Due to "true" being used to modify "doctrine" rather than an adverb being used to modify "is," the resolution makes two claims - that the Trinity is a doctrine of the Bible and that the Trinity doctrine is also true. My opponent has only even attempted to show one of these things. He has not made any sort of argument that the Trinity doctrine is true.
Debate Round No. 2
NobleMinded

Pro

NobleMinded forfeited this round.
omelet

Con

See my previous round. My opponent forfeited once again, so I have nothing else to add.
Debate Round No. 3
NobleMinded

Pro

First let me apologize for the delay and also for forfeiting the last rounds. Some things came up that prevented me from being able to spend the time to make a proper response. Now I am able to, so I will be making my case for the Trinity here.

To begin, I will say that my intention with this debate is to demonstrate that the Trinity is a doctrine that is truly taught in the Bible. I was not trying to demonstrate that the Triune God actually exists. That would take a separate debate to properly demonstrate and argue that. My opponent is correct in that I should have worded my debate differently.

Now my response to my opponent's argument:

The Trinity doctrine was NOT "set up" at the time of the Athanasian Creed. It was taught in the churches well before the time of the Athanasian Creed. Tertullian, among many other Pre-Nicene Church Fathers, was a devout Trinitarian Christian. (If you would like, I can provide Church Father quotations, or you can search on Google or Wikipedia).

So, for this debate, we are not bound by the definition of the Trinity found in the Athanasian Creed or any other creed. I define the Trinity as it is taught in most churches today:

1:) There is only One "Being" who is God in Nature. This "Being" is the only Being in existence that is eternal, self-existing, all-powerful, all-knowing, and unchanging in Nature. This "Being" is the only Being which can read human hearts and minds (thoughts and emotions). This is the only "Being" that existed before our physical Universe and is the "Being" that created the physical Universe. This is the only Being who should be worshiped and prayed to.

2:) Within this one "Being" (or Essence, Nature, Godhood) there exist three distinct "Persons" (or "centers of consciousness", "minds"). One of these "Persons" is referred to as The Father, another as The Son, and the third as The Holy Spirit.

3:) Each "Person" is equal to the others in terms of Essence (or Nature, Godhood), attributes, qualities, and abilities. Anything that defines The Father as being God is found fully in The Son and The Holy Spirit.

4:) Within the "Being" (or Essence, Godhood), among the three "Persons" there are distinct roles or positions. Each "Person" has a unique role or function. The Father serves no one and is sent by no one. Whereas The Son serves The Father and is sent by Him, and The Holy Spirit is sent by both The Father and The Son.

5:) Finally, the second "Person" of the "Being" (Godhood), The Son, became flesh (a human being known as Jesus). He did not cease to be God in Nature. However, when He became a Man, He voluntarily "emptied Himself" of some of His divine prerogatives and His full glory was temporarily hidden as He took the role of a human slave of God the Father. Since The Son had two natures at the same time, the Nature of God and the Nature of Man, that is the reason why He got hungry, thirsty, tired, and that is how He was able to die on the Cross -- because He was fully 100% human in addition to being God in Nature.
_____________________________________________

That is how I define the Trinity Doctrine for this debate, because that is how most churches today teach that doctrine, and it is also how Tertullian and the early Pre-Nicene Church Fathers explained it.

I will respond to your contentions later. First, I would like to build a better case to demonstrate that the Trinity (as defined above) is taught in the Bible.

A): The Son shares The Father's Nature (Essence, Godhood)

* According to several Greek scholars, John 1:1 should be rendered "The Word had the same nature as God." At John 20:28, the apostle Thomas declared that Jesus was "The God of me" (in Greek) and then in John 20:29, Jesus blesses anyone who believes what Thomas believes without having to see Him. Then at John 20:31, it says that the Gospel of John was written to prove that Jesus was the Son of God. At John 5:18, it says that "Son of God" means "Equal to God." John 5:23 says that all people should honor [worship] Jesus equally with The Father.

* Colossians 2:9 says that "All of the whole fullness of the Deity [or Nature of God] dwells in Him [Jesus] bodily." According to Thayer's Greek Bible Lexicon, the Greek word for "Deity" means "The State of Being God." Many modern Translations render it as "The Nature of God."

* Philippians 2:6 says that Jesus exists in the "Very Nature of God" and that He is "equal to God" (Today's New International Version, New International Version, New Living Translation, among other Translations)

* Hebrews 1:3 (in the Greek) shows that Jesus actually beams forth from within The Father's Being or Essence and is the Exact Expression of His Very Being.

* At John 14:14, Jesus tells His followers to pray to Him and He will answer their prayers. Something only God can do according to the rest of the Scriptures.

* At Hebrews 1:6, God the Father commands all of His angels to worship Jesus. All of the Scriptures teach that only the One True God should be worshiped.

B:) The Holy Spirit is shown to be God:

* In Acts 5:3-4, the Holy Spirit is equated with God.

* 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 says that the Holy Spirit is The Lord. (examine the context closely)

* At John 14:16-17, Jesus promises that "ANOTHER HELPER" is coming to His disciples to teach them. This Helper is the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for "Another" means "Another of the Same Kind." Then, in John 16:12-15, Jesus teaches explicitly that this Spirit is a Person who hears and teaches and has His own will.

* Matthew 28:19 teaches that all Three "Persons" share the SAME NAME ("name" is singular) and that all believers should be baptized in the one Name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

* 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 shows that The Spirit is equal to The Father and The Son, and that The Spirit has a will and a mind of His own.

I will post more in the next round.
omelet

Con

Now that we're all here, let's continue this.

My opponent admits that the resolution does not accurately portray his intent with this debate, that I am correct that he should have worded the debate differently. I will leave judging this point to the voters, and I will not bring it up again except as a reminder in the final round.

I accept that the Athanasian creed is not the only way to define Trinity, even though it was pretty much where the church officially adopts a Trinity doctrine. However, I don't merely accept my opponent's definition. There are several problems with it. For instance, what is even meant by different persons having the same "essence," and how do we go about determining this? What attributes must Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit have to qualify as having the "essence" of God, and why should these similarities be enough to call each person the same being?

My opponent brings up John 5:18, among other verses. This verse is alleged to show us that "Son of God" means "Equal to God."

First I will point out that being equals in that sense does not mean being equivalent to the same thing. Many people are equal to me in regards to athletic ability, but that doesn't mean we're the same entity.
Second, I would like to point out that this verse contradicts the Trinity doctrine. According to the Trinity doctrine, Jesus is the son of THE FATHER, not the son of God. Jesus and the Father are both elements of God. To say that Jesus is the Son of God indicates that Jesus is not part of that same God.

My opponent brings up Colossians 2:9 again, but I have already explained this verse by looking at the context.

My opponent makes a lot of claims without substantiating them. "All the scriptures teach X" or "According to the rest of the scriptures" without telling us what those scriptures are. He also asserts that one of his verses means something "in the Greek," but I doubt he, I, nor the majority of readers have the ability to read the Greek version. While it's almost acceptable that he fails to give us at least links to the verses he quotes, it's simply unthinkable that he would reference a source none of us can even check on if we make the effort to (not that we should have to go out of our way to hunt down the sources in the first place).

=
My opponent finally tries to argue that the Holy Spirit is God.

Acts 5:3-4 (Young's Literal)
Peter said, `Ananias, wherefore did the Adversary fill thy heart, for thee to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back of the price of the place? While it remained, did it not remain thine? and having been sold, in thy authority was it not? why [is] it that thou didst put in thy heart this thing? thou didst not lie to men, but to God;

My opponent alleges that this equates God and the Holy Spirit. It does no such thing. It simply equates lying to the holy spirit with lying to God. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is a conduit through which God can be contacted? Perhaps God simply has access to anything you tell the Holy Spirit. This verse does not necessitate that the Holy Spirit is God.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (YLT)
And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty; and we all, with unvailed face, the glory of the Lord beholding in a mirror, to the same image are being transformed, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

This may not even mention the Holy Spirit. However, even if it is referring to the holy spirit, saying that it is Lord does not mean that there are no other lords. And another interesting possibility has come to my mind - perhaps the Holy spirit isn't a person in its own right at all - perhaps it is simply the spirit of Jesus or of the Father.

John 16:12-15
I have yet many things to say to you, but ye are not able to bear [them] now; and when He may come -- the Spirit of truth -- He will guide you to all the truth, for He will not speak from Himself, but as many things as He will hear He will speak, and the coming things He will tell you; He will glorify me, because of mine He will take, and will tell to you. All things, as many as the Father hath, are mine; because of this I said, That of mine He will take, and will tell to you;

This verse does not indicate, as my opponent suggests, that the Holy spirit is a separate person with its own consciousness and will.

Matthew 28:19 (YLT)
having gone, then, disciple all the nations, (baptizing them -- to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,

My opponent mistakenly believes that this verse indicates that each of the three entities share the same name. First, if that was true, baptisms would be made "in the name of God" and that would be it, instead of actually using each of the three names. Second, even if they share the same name, that does not mean they are the same being. Third, an understanding of Greek syntax would be helpful here. In many languages, "in the names of the father, of the son, and of the holy spirit" would use singular due to the fact that each of the individual phrases demands a singular.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (NIV)
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

My opponent suggests that the above verse "shows that The Spirit is equal to The Father and The Son, and that The Spirit has a will and a mind of His own." This is incorrect. The Father and the Son are not mentioned in this passage, the Spirit is not necessarily the Holy Spirit (perhaps it is the spirit of the Father - who being nonphysical, would just be a spirit). It's obvious that there are multiple spirits here at work, since "distinguishing between spirits" is one of the gifts some people get.

With that, I will allow my opponent to make his closing statements. I wish him well in that endeavor.
Debate Round No. 4
NobleMinded

Pro

NobleMinded forfeited this round.
omelet

Con

My opponent did not post a closing round. This constitutes the acceptance of my counterpoints to the points he posted in round 4.

Having forfeited three of five rounds, and having not addressed the points I made in R4, my opponent was clearly not dedicated to actually partake in the debate he created.

Even if you, the readers and voters, do not agree with the points I made, my opponent failed to address them. Even if you have reasons why my R4 points were wrong, my opponent did not. It is he I am debating, and he who must make arguments against my own. . . and he who failed to do so.

Thanks for reading, thanks for voting, and thanks to my opponent for the debate.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
Default to Con due to multiple forfeits.
Posted by omelet 7 years ago
omelet
RFD's
===
CONDUCT: CON (PRO forfeited three rounds)
SPELLING/GRAMMAR: TIE (Neither debater had major spelling/grammar problems)
CONVINCING ARGUMENTS: CON (PRO failed to address many of CON's points)
RELIABLE SOURCES: CON (While PRO made reference to some historical info, he never provided sources to back up his claims. CON provided a couple sources and they were reliable.)
Posted by omelet 7 years ago
omelet
Sorry I wasn't able to expound on my second and third contentions more in the first round, I ran out of room due to providing the definitions and bible verses.
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
I am tempted, but I would focus on the term "true" and would attack scripture by making reference to other, just as viable, scripture. Sematics are not fun, WJ will do well with this one so I will pass. He will give a solid debate so I recommend the change in challenge period. You will not be disappointed.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
Voting Period: The voting period will last indefinitely.
Fix and I will accept.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by boredinclass 6 years ago
boredinclass
NobleMindedomeletTied
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Reasons for voting decision: forfeit
Vote Placed by BangBang-Coconut 6 years ago
BangBang-Coconut
NobleMindedomeletTied
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Reasons for voting decision: this kills me to vote Con, but a forfeit is a forfeit.
Vote Placed by Alexby1 7 years ago
Alexby1
NobleMindedomeletTied
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Vote Placed by Koopin 7 years ago
Koopin
NobleMindedomeletTied
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Vote Placed by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
NobleMindedomeletTied
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Vote Placed by omelet 7 years ago
omelet
NobleMindedomeletTied
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