by Carl D. Franklin [Up]

Part 1 - Statement of the Doctrine
Part 2 - The Family of Baal: The Elohim  of Canaan
Part 3 - Dogmatic Development Three
Part 4 - The Kings of Athens 1556-682 B.C.
Part 5 - Plato’s Successors
Part 6 - Victorinus Circa 281/291-370 A.D.


Statement of the Doctrine

“There are then (as the statement may run) three Persons (Hypostases) or real distinctions in the unity of the divine Nature or Substance, which is Love.  The Persons are co-equal, inasmuch as in each of them the divine Nature is one and undivided, and by each the collective divine attributes are shared.  As a ‘person’ in Trinitarian usage is more than a mere aspect of being, being a real ground of experience and function, each divine Person, while less than a separate individuality, possesses His own hypostatic character or characteristic property (...).  The hypostatic characters of the Persons may be viewed from an internal and an external standpoint, i.e. with reference to the inner constitution of the Godhead or to the Godhead as related to the cosmos or world of manifestation.  Viewed ab intra, the hypostatic character of the Father is ingeneration (...), of the Son filiation, of the Spirit procession; wherefore, ‘the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.’ [Westminster Confession, ii, 3].  Viewed ab extra (for Love functions externally as well as internally, is centrifugal as well as centripetal [Cf. S.A. McDowall, Evolution and the Doctrine of the Trinity, Cambridge, 1918, p. 53 f.], the hypostatic character of the Father is made manifest in creation, whereby a world is provided for beings who should be capable of experiencing fellowship with the divine Love; the hypostatic character of the Son in redemption, whereby the alienating power of sin is overcome; and the hypostatic character of the Spirit in sanctification, whereby human nature is quickened and renewed and shaped to the divine likeness.  Yet, while this is said, as there is no separation in the unity of the Godhead, so the one God is manifested in the threefold work of creation, redemption, and sanctification; moreover, each of the Persons as sharing the divine attributes is active in the threefold work, if with varying stress of function.  Verily the doctrine of the Trinity exit in mysterium”  (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, pp. 459-460).

Joseph W. Tkach Sr. July 27, 1993

“There is one God, and that one God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are distinct, but not separate.... Therefore, God is everything we can conceive of and more!” (Joseph W. Tkach Sr., July 27, 1993, former head of the Worldwide Church of God.) 

A Godhead of Cosmic Distinctions—Not Separate Personalities

“It should ... be emphasized that the Trinitarian statement is never tritheistic, in the sense of affirming three separate self-conscious and self-determining individualities in the Godhead.  When it is affirmed that there are three Persons in one God, the word ‘person’ is used archaically [philosophically] and not in the modern sense of a centre or core of personality.  It was a word employed by Tertullian [Adv. Praxean, 11f.] as on the whole the best word by which to convey the idea of an inner principle of distinction or individuation (...); and it was a good enough word when it bore a vaguer and more flexible meaning than it bears nowadays in Western Europe.  To say that there are three separate personalities in the Godhead would be polytheism [as we shall soon see, to say that there is a personality or more than one personality in the Godhead is not polytheism].  To say that there are three eternal principles of distinction or modes of subsistence in the Godhead is not polytheism—although in the speculative [by speculative he means philosophic] construction of the Trinity it might lead, and has sometimes led, to a theoretical pluralism or polytheism” (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 460).

Joseph W. Tkach Sr. July 27, 1993

“There is one God, and that one God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are distinct, but not separate.... Therefore, God is everything we can conceive of and more!” (Joseph W. Tkach Sr., July 27, 1993.) 

Logos Incarnate: The Basis of Trinitarian Philosophy and Doctrine

“What lends a special character to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is its close association with the distinctive Christian view of divine incarnation.  In other religions [”...we meet with the trinitarian group of Brahma, Siva, and Visnu; and in Egyptian religion with the trinitarian group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, constituting a divine family, like the Father, Mother, and Son in mediaeval Christian pictures” (W. Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 458)] and religious philosophies [”...the Neo-Platonic view of the Supreme or Ultimate Reality, which was suggested by Plato in the Timaeus; e.g., in the philosophy of Plotinus the primary or original Realities (...) [Enn(eads), v.1, cited by C. C. J. Webb, God and Personality (Gifford Lectures), London, 1918, p. 43] are triadically represented as the Good or (in numerical symbol) the One, the Intelligence or the One-Many, and the World-Soul or the One and Many.  The religious Trinity associated, if somewhat loosely, with Comte’s [the father of modern Sociology—modern humanism] philosophy might also be cited here:  the cultus of humanity as the Great Being, of space as the Great Medium, and of the earth as the Great Fetish [Comte’s view of the Chaldean Many].” 

“...we meet with the idea of divine incarnation, but it may be claimed that nowhere is the union of God and man so concrete and definite, and so universal in its import, as in the Christian religion.  As Augustine said, Conf[essions], vii, 9, cf. C.C.J. Webb, Problems in the Relations of God and Man, London, 1911, p. 236], if in the books of the Platonists it was to be found that ‘in the beginning was the Word [logos of philosophy],’ it was not found there that ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ 

“It is the very central truth of Christianity that God was historically manifest in Christ, and that He is still revealed in the world as the indwelling Spirit of the Church or community of Christ’s founding.  This Christian faith in the incarnation of the divine Word (...) in the man Christ Jesus, with whom the believer is united through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, constitutes the distinctive basis of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity” (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 458).

You see, without the incarnation of the Divine Word, there can be no syncretism of pagan historical religions (irrational mysticism) or pagan philosophic religions (rational mysticism) with New Testament “psuedo-christian” religions!   Without the incarnation of Logos there can be no ab extra (or the philosophic Many) in the philosophic formulation of the Trinitarian creeds!

“...Viewed ab extra (for Love functions externally as well as internally, is centrifugal as well as centripetal [Cf. S.A. McDowall, Evolution and the Doctrine of the Trinity, Cambridge, 1918, p. 53 f.], the hypostatic character of the Father is made manifest in creation, whereby a world is provided for beings who should be capable of experiencing fellowship with the divine Love; the hypostatic character of the Son in redemption, whereby the alienating power of sin is overcome; and the hypostatic character of the Spirit in sanctification, whereby human nature is quickened and renewed and shaped to the divine likeness.  Yet, while this is said, as there is no separation in the unity of the Godhead, so the one God is manifested in the threefold work of creation, redemption, and sanctification; moreover, each of the Persons as sharing the divine attributes is active in the threefold work, if with varying stress of function.  Verily the doctrine of the Trinity exit in mysterium”  (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, pp. 459-460).

Trinitarianism Not Found in the Old Testament

“The Old Testament could hardly be expected to furnish the doctrine of the Trinity, if belief in the Trinity is grounded (as stated above) upon belief in the incarnation of God in Christ and upon the experience of spiritual redemption and renewal through Christ.  It is exegesis of a mischievous, if [not a] pious, sort that would discover the doctrine in the plural form, ‘Elohim,’ of the Deity’s name, in the recorded appearance of three angels to Abraham, or even in the ter sanctus of the prophecies of Isaiah.  It may be allowed, however, that the OT ideas of the Word of God and the Wisdom of God are adumbrations of the doctrine, as recognizing the truth of a various self-revealing activity in the one God” (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 458).

Does Old Testament  “Monotheism” Preclude a Plurality of Divine Beings?

The Concept of Unity

“The notion of unity has appeared in Chapter IV, where I discussed some theoretical implications of Aristotle’s theology.  It remains to consider how this notion was actually treated by the early Christian writers and their pagan contemporaries; and this for two reasons; first, because unity was considered to be an important property, or even the distinctive property, of the godhead; and secondly, because discussions of God’s ‘substance’ were increasingly influenced by the claim that one substance was common to the three divine persons.

“Christians of course discovered the notion of unity in the Bible; the Old Testament claims that God is one; the New Testament endorses this claim, but also lays down that there is only one Lord Christ, and refers to the unity of the Christian fellowship in the Holy Spirit.  There is no need to review this biblical material, which is no doubt familiar; in particular, the emergence of monotheism in Israelite and other religions has been thoroughly investigated.  But it is perhaps worth noting that there seem to be in principle two ways in which a monotheistic belief can replace an earlier polytheism.  Polytheism rarely implies a strictly equal society of gods [yet Trinitarianism does—thus philosophic Trinitarianism is pagan polytheistic religious doctrine]; some divinities will normally be greater and more powerful [Christ submits to the Father’s will] than others.  Thus it is possible for one divine being to take the lead so decisively that the others are degraded to the status of attendant spirits, or of mere manifestations or powers of the supreme god.  He then is ‘the one God’ in the sense of the only being who can rightfully claim this dignity” (Stead, Divine Substance, pp. 180-181).

Stoic Monotheism:

Stavrinides’/Kaplan’s Philosophical Approach to Plurality

“Alternatively, a more philosophical approach to polytheism can note the similarities between different deities, and reflect[s] on the drawbacks of a plurality of gods within a single universe; hence comes the suggestion that these may be merely different names or aspects of a single divine reality.  This then is ‘the one God’ [as in the Chaldean Mystery of the One and the Many] in the quite distinct sense of the unitary being who transcends the apparent plurality. 

“It would seem that the first approach to monotheism is much the commoner, and that such was the course taken by the Jews.  

“The second is rarely found in a completely pure form; Stoic theology adopts it in the main [see below for family of elohim Zeus], but is nevertheless still influenced by the old Greek belief that Zeus is the head of the Olympic pantheon [family]” (Stead, Divine Substance, p. 181).

Elohim is A Family of Divine Beings

At the beginning of his very short diatribe, K. J. Stavrinides states:  “When elohim refers to a singular being (the true God or a false god), it takes a singular verb.  When it refers to more than one being [by “being” he does not mean a God with personality; rather, his worldview is closest to the angel worship of the Hellenistic Jews of Christ’s day], as in the heavenly powers (the angels or God and the angels) or in the human powers (the judges), it takes a plural verb.  In neither case does the word elohim refer to a family of beings, whether they are human or divine....”

Stavrinides goes on to say:  “Exodus 18:11 compares the true God with all the false gods (elohim) [of Egypt] and says that none of them is like him.  This is clearly a plural reference, yet not about a family of beings.  It is historically accurate to say that the false gods to which Exodus refers were not members of one family.”

On the contrary, it is quite historically accurate to say that the false gods to which Exodus refers were members of elohim families!  And, as such, they were mere counterfeits of the truly divine Elohim family.  In Exodus 12:12 we read, “For I [the Lord or Jehovah] will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods (elohim) of Egypt I will execute judgment:  I am the Lord [Jehovah]” (Exodus 12:12).

The Family of Atum/Re: The Elohim of Egypt

Notice E. O. James’ comments on the ancient Egyptian cult of Osiris:  “In the Eastern Delta at Busiris (Per/Usire, or Djedu), the capital of the ninth nome, the cult of Osiris, another ancient ruler who was thought to have been a deified human king [he was, and Nimrod was his human name], was established at an early date.  This death and resurrection cultus also seems to have entered the Nile valley from the East and to have had very close affinities with that of Tammuz in Western Asia.  In both [,] the divine hero personified vegetation and water, and stood in a very intimate relationship with the Goddess associated with birth and fertility and with the kingship.  Nevertheless, the relation of Osiris to his sister/spouse Isis was very different from that of Tammuz to Ishtar, as, indeed, it was to the reigning monarch in Egypt who occupied the throne as Horus, the living son of Osiris, as against the Mesopotamian conception of the king as the instrument and servant of the Goddess.  Exactly how and under what circumstances Horus the Elder became identified with the son of Osiris is still a matter of debate.  It is possible that originally Osiris was the chief and leader of the second wave of immigrants from Western Asia who subsequently was deified after he had introduced agriculture among the indigenous people in the northern part of the Delta.  At first they might have regarded him as a brother of their own god Seth and of their goddess Isis of Sebennytes, who eventually became the deified throne—the ‘throne woman’ who gave birth to the prototype of the living king in his Horus capacity” (James, The Cult of the Mother/Goddess, p.55).

Notice E. O. James’ comments on the Heliopolitan Ennead of the earliest Egyptians:  “In the meantime during the Second Predynastic civilization another group of intruders, coming probably from the Eastern Mediterranean, penetrated the Delta and settled at Heliopolis.   As they were worshippers of Re, the Sun/god, this city which they established at the head of the Delta became the centre of their solar theology, destined to exercise a very profound influence on the subsequent course of development of Egyptian civilization.  It was there in the Fifth Dynasty (c. 2580 B.C.) that its priesthood equated the solar line of kings with their god Atum/Re and then associated him with Osiris in the elaboration of their Ennead in which the gods were grouped in pairs derived ultimately from Atum/Re, the head of the solar pantheon.  Atum having emerged from Nun, the waters of Chaos, at the creation and become an aspect of Re, the personification of the sun, appearing in the form of a phoenix on the top of the primordial ‘sandhill’.  This became the centre of the earth, and on it ‘the House of the Obelisk’ was erected as the great solar temple.  Atum/Re then, mated with himself and produced Shu, the god of the atmosphere, and his consort Tefnut, the goddess of moisture, from whom were born Geb, the Earth/god, and Nut, the Sky/goddess, the parents of Osiris and Isis and of Seth and Nephthys.

The Family of Atum/Re(Chart below taken from  E.O. James)

Atum/Re

|

_________________________

|                                                 |

Shu                         =                    Tefnut

|

_________________________________

|                                                                 |

Geb                              =                               Nut

|

____________________________________

|             |                                                  |                   |

    Osiris  =  Isis                                        Seth    =   Nephthys

“When, after the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, Re became the head of this Great Ennead of Heliopolis, he combined in himself all the creative forces in nature and was absolute in his control of his government in the Nile valley.  Therefore, in the Pyramid Age he was equated with Atum, the original Sun/god who created out of himself the rest of the gods standing on the Primeval Hill in the midst of the waters of Chaos (Nun), and so Re was also accredited with begetting the rest of the Heliopolitan Ennead [the nine].  Consequently, he became the self-created Creator, the source of life and increase and the father of the gods as well as the personification of the sun and its manifold aspects”  (James, The Cult of the Mother/Goddess, pp. 55-57).

As we can easily see, this Egyptian elohim was a family!

“The most popular and important of all the maternal goddesses, however, was Isis, the prototype of motherhood and the embodiment of wifely love and fidelity.  Around her myths and legends have accumulated, together with a mystery cultus which have given her a unique position in the Goddess cult, notwithstanding the fact that she was not herself a Mother/goddess comparable to Inanna/Ishtar, or Nut, or Hathor and Neith.  In addition to being the daughter of Geb and Nut and the sister/spouse of Osiris and the mother of his son Horus, in the Heliopolitan Ennead, she was also the daughter of Neith, according to The Contendings of Horus and Set [Shem] in the Chester Beatty Papyrus, which Plutarch represented her as the daughter of Thoth.   Originally, as we have seen, she was a predynastic goddess of the Twelfth Nome of Lower Egypt, Sebennytos, and in all probability it was there that she was first incorporated in the Osiris tradition which came from Djedu, the capital of the Ninth Nome, Per/Usire, the ‘house of Osiris’.  Since her name means ‘seat’ or ‘throne’ it is very probable that originally she was the deified throne, as we have seen, and since enthronement has long been an essential element in royal installation, ‘the throne which made the king’ readily would become the Great Mother charged with the mysterious power of kingship.

“...she was unquestionably the greatest and most beneficent goddess in Egypt, personifying all that was most vital in the maternal principle, its attributes, functions and duties.  Often she has been represented with her son Horus on her lap, like the Virgin and Child in Christian iconography, and in the Book of the Dead and on a stele from a Nineteenth Dynasty tomb at Saqqara she is shown standing behind Osiris in the Judgment Hall.... All the goddesses, however, were concerned with motherhood as their principal function, giving birth to gods, suckling kings and conferring upon them their divinity and immortality” (James, The Cult of the Mother/Goddess, pp. 61-63). 

Judge for yourself if Stavrinides’ conclusion is warranted:

“Exodus 18:11 compares the true God with all the false gods (elohim) [of Egypt] and says that none of them is like him.  This is clearly a plural reference, yet not about a family of beings.  It is historically accurate to say that the false gods to which Exodus refers were not members of one family.” 

Stavrinides is obviously in error!  History bears evidence that elohim does refer to a family of divine beings.

Part 2

The Family of Baal: The Elohim  of Canaan

Stavrinides goes on to say:  “I Kings 11:5 is perhaps one of the clearest examples of the singular use of elohim in which it cannot possibly be construed to refer to a family of divine beings.  After all, it is plainly obvious that  ‘Ashtoreth the goddess (elohim) of the Sidonians’ was but one deity, not a family of such beings.”

As we shall see, however, although Ashtoreth the goddess (elohim) is used in the singular in I Kings 11:5, she was actually part of an elohim family!  Notice:

“The priests of Baal declared that the great god first appeared when a primal universal force called El, the elemental god, and Athirate, the goddess of the earth, who holds the ocean in her womb, became the parents of the gods.  Baal was their firtborn and was given the sun for his throne.  Soon the priests decreed that Baal and El were one and the same, and that Baal’s consort was Astarte or Ashtoreth.  She was known as Aphrodite to the Greeks, Ishtar to the Babylonians, Nana to the Sumerians, and Venus to her devotees in Rome, but regardless of her name or place, she was the wife of Baal, the virgin queen of heaven who bore fruit although she never conceived (the Virgin Ashtoreth)” (Bach, Strange Sects and Curious Cults, p. 12).

“Among the religious texts found at Ugarit there is a ‘Pantheon [family] of Ugarit’ (found in three texts, two Ugaritic and one Akkadian) in which the chief gods of Ugarit are listed.  The first item in the Akkadian version (lines 1-2) is DINGIR (the determinative for god [elohim]), followed by a-bi ilum; the fragmentory Ugaritic probably reads il ib.  The word il, ilu (m), or el is common to all the Semitic languages; in the broadest sense it can have the general appellative meaning of ‘god,’ but it can also be the proper name of a specific deity.  The word ib or ab means ‘father.’  Here the text   can be read   as a reference to ‘the god of the [or, my] father’ and be reminiscent of the concept of ‘the god of the fathers’ noted in chapter 1 (p.30); or the reading can be, ‘god the father,’ referring to the god El, one of whose titles is Father, or to a god so designated but distinct from El.

 “At any rate, as known throughout the religious texts of Ugarit, El is the first of the major gods and the head of the pantheon.  In the epithets that are applied to him, he is seen as the father of the gods and human beings, and as the creator of heaven and earth.  The totality of the gods constitutes his family, and he presides over the assembly of the gods [E. Theodore Mullen, Jr., The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature].  The title ‘Bull’ is frequently given to him, presumably to signify his power and/or procreative ability, and he is called king, wise, holy, and everlasting or eternal (olam) [Pope, El in the Ugaritic Texts, pp. 27, 35, 42-43]” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 138).

The Family of Zeus: The Elohim of Greece

Zeus’ Children Zeus’ Wife Daughter/Son of
Ares Hera Kronos

Hephaistos

Hera Kronos
Athena Metis Okeanos and Tethys
Aphrodite Dione Nereus
Apollo Leto Tritan Koios
Artemis Leto Tritan Koios
Pollux Leda Thestios
Hermes Maia Atlas
Dionysos Semele Kadmos
Kleio Mnemosyne Ouranos and Gaia
Euterpe
Thaleia
Melpomene
Terpsichore
Erato
Polyhymnia
Ourania
Kalliope
Orpheus Kalliope Zeus

 (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 161)

Equivalences Chart

Egyptian Greek Roman
Isis Hera Juno
Osiris Dionysos Baccus
Horus Apollo Apollo
Hathor Aphrodite Venus
Ptah Hephaistos Vulcan
Herishef Herakles  
Thoth Hermes Mercury
Anubis Kronos  
Seth Typhon  
Amun Zeus Jupiter

“Dionysos (Latin, Bacchus; god of wine, [was] worshiped in the frenzied exercises of the Maenads [”mad women”; Latin, Bacchae])” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 165 & p. 192).

Judge for yourself if Stavrinides’ conclusion is warranted:

“I Kings 11:5 is perhaps one of the clearest examples of the singular use of elohim in which it cannot possibly be construed to refer to a family of divine beings.  After all, it is plainly obvious that ‘Ashtoreth the goddess (elohim) of the Sidonians’ was but one deity, not a family of such beings.”

Stavrinides, history proves your statement false!

Trinitarianism Not Found in the New Testament

“In the New Testament we do not find the doctrine of the Trinity in anything like its developed [philosophic] form, not even in the Pauline and Johannine theology, although ample witness is borne to the religious experience from which the doctrine springs [i.e. the writings of the Catholic Church Fathers for four hundred or so years from the Apostle John to the theology of St. Augustine]...when the early Christians would describe their conception of God, all the three elements—God, Christ, and the Spirit—enter into the description, and the one God is found to be revealed in a threefold way.  This is seen in the baptismal formula, ... [and] is also seen in the familiar words of St. Paul [2 Cor 13:14], ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost.’  This last has been called, and justly so, the great Trinitarian text of the NT, as being one of the few NT passages, and the earliest of them, in which the three elements of the Trinity are set alongside of each other in a single sentence.  If the passage contains no formulated expression of the Trinity, it is yet of great significance as showing that, less than thirty years after the death of Christ, His name and the name of the Holy Spirit could be employed in conjunction with the name of God Himself.  Truly, if the doctrine of the Trinity appeared somewhat late in theology, it must have lived very early in devotion” (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, pp. 458-459).

Does Early New Testament “Monotheism” Preclude a Plurality of Divine Beings?

The Concept of Unity

“When the Christian fathers began to formulate their doctrines, the Greek philosophical tradition could offer them several theoretical discussions of the notion of unity [the One], some of which came to have a certain influence on Christian thought.  But I do not find that such analyses were applied to theology in any clear, consistent, and methodical fashion.  Christian thinking on the unity of God remained largely intuitive [i.e. perceived by the mind immediately without the intervention of reasoning, especially that of Philosophy].  Where certain axioms were accepted (as for instance that God is ‘simple’,) their content was not precisely defined; and where certain important distinctions were clearly grasped (as I think they were by Tertullian and Novatian) they failed to find a permanent foothold in theology.

“One can gain some idea of this loosely formulated concept of divine unity by employing a group of terms first known to me from M.J. Rouet de Journel’s Enchirdion Patristicum.  There is only one God (though no doubt his influence may be conferred upon, and found in, other beings); he is undivided (for if one finds in him distinctions of powers [as opposed to ‘an inner principle of distinction or individuation’] , or persons, these are not thought to infringe his wholeness or ‘simplicity’ [as opposed to no separateness]; and he is not subject to change (at least, not to moral change, nor to change imposed from without, though he may in some sense respond to changing human needs).   It seems that these three great claims were clearly distinguished at least by Novatian who writes (in his de Trinitate, 4-5) that God is ‘always self-same...one, without a rival...simple, without any corporeal structure [of the nature of the physical body; bodily; of the nature of matter; material; tangible; pertaining to material things] ‘ (Hic ergo semper sui est similis...et unus pronuntiatus est, dum parem non habet...est enim simplex, et sine ulla corporea concretione); and Tertullian, according to R. Braun (pp. 67-8), used the two Latin words unitas and unio to distinguish between God’s simplicity and his uniqueness.  Unitas excludes division; unio excludes rivals [i.e. the concept of THE ONE God who has no rival; Deut 6, John 13-18 and Heb 2] “  (Stead, Divine Substance, pp. 181-182).

Formulation of Trinitarian Doctrine (Circa 100-500 A.D.)

If Trinitarian doctrine did not come from either the Old or New Testaments, from whence did it come?  The answer is that it was philosophically derived from the imaginations of men!  The basic structure of this doctrine was formulated over a period of several hundred years beginning shortly after the death of the Apostle John and continuing down into and through the time of St. Augustine.  It was formulated from five great philosophic axioms or constructs that have roots deeply embedded in the soil of Neoplatonic philosophy.  We will also see, however, that some of these Trinitarian roots grew from the seeds of a totally new syncretistic religious philosophy!

Dogmatic Development One:

Association Christ with Logos of Greek Philosophy

(Circa 100-165 A.D.)

“(1) The formal identification of the pre-existent Christ (of the Pauline and Johannine theology) with the Logos of Greek philosophy.

“In the NT the identification is in the practical rather than speculative interest, but in Justin Martyr and the apologists it may be regarded as the first step in the logical process whereby the historical figure of Jesus Christ was caught up into the purely speculative [philosophic] sphere” (Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 459).

Justin Martyr played a key role in the association of Jesus with the Logos of Greek philosophy.  Finding that this philosophic connection was unacceptable by Scriptural standards, he boldly altered the true New Testament text.

Justin Martyr the Corruptor of the Ephesian Text

“Conditions during the second and third centuries [100 through 200 A.D.] were not favorable to the accurate transmission of the New Testament text.  During this early period there were in the Christian Church many unspiritual persons who did not recognize the books of the New Testament as Holy Scripture, or at least did not accord such recognition to all the New Testament books.

“In addition to the variant readings which crept into the New Testament text through careless blunders, there were many others which were purposely introduced by editors and revisers (many of whom were heretics)” (Clark & Ropes, The Beginnings of Christianity, vol. 3, as quoted by Hills in The King James Version Defended, p. 50).

Ephesian Text Corrupted at Rome

“The Western text, [the early official Greek text of Rome] [was] the deliberate creation of one man [Justin Martyr, ca. 100-165 A.D.], as an intentional re-writing [at Rome] of the original New Testament text, ‘made before, and perhaps long before, the year 150, by a Greek-speaking Christian (of Syria or Palestine) who knew something of Hebrew, ...’ “ (Clark & Ropes, The Beginnings of Christianity, vol. 3, as quoted by Hills in The King James Version Defended,  p. 50). 

The Corrupt Greek Western Text

Early Church Fathers of the West who used the Greek text: 

  • Irenaeus           130-200 A.D.
  • Tertullian          150-220 A.D.
  • Cyprian            200-258 A.D.
  • Augustine         354-430 A.D. 

Extant Western texts among Greek manuscripts:

  • D  -- sixth century Greek manuscript containing Gospels and Acts
  • D2 -- sixth century Greek manuscript containing Pauline Epistles
  • The Western text is also extant among the Old Latin manuscripts.
  • The Western text is also extant among the Old Syriac manuscripts.

“This reviser was probably an influential teacher at Rome, a predecessor of the heretic Marcion [c. 140, a Christian from Asia Minor], who also taught at Rome around the middle of the second century and made even more drastic changes in the New Testament text [as Hills illustrates in his work The King James Version Defended, many of these drastic changes concerned the removal of all references of Christ as the Son of God!].  But, unlike Marcion, the Western reviser not only managed to avoid excommunication but even prevailed upon the Roman Church to accept his adulterated text, in which many additions were made to the sacred narrative, especially in the Gospels and Acts.  And when once this text had secured the support of the Roman Church, it was readily received everywhere, in Gaul, in Africa, in Syria and even in Egypt [but not in the province of Asia].  As the Western text began to circulate throughout the length and breadth of the empire, it underwent further changes in form due to the mistaken desires of subsequent editors [early church fathers with philosophic and or mystery religion backgrounds] to include additional material in it.  And so special varieties of the Western text developed in Africa, Syria, and Egypt” (Clark & Ropes, The Beginnings of Christianity, vol. 3, as quoted by Hills in The King James Version Defended, p. 52).

Justin Marytr a Philosopher from Samaria

“This Simon [Magus] mentioned in the Acts was not properly a Jew, but a Samaritan, of the town of Gittae, in the country of Samaria, as the Apostolical Constitutions, VI.7, the Recognitions of Clement, II.6, and Justin Martyr, himself born in the country of Samaria, Apology, I.34 inform us” (footnote in Josephus, p. 594).

“Tertullian denominates him, ‘philosopher and martyr’ (Adversus Valentinianus 5).  In the first chapter of I Apologia, Justin introduces himself as ‘Justin, the son of Priscus and grandson of Bacchius, of the city of Flavia Neapolis in Syria-Palestine [Samaria]’; ch. Eusebius, HE 4,11,8”  (Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday, p. 223).

Justin Martyr who was of Greek culture and extraction, was a professional philosopher born and reared in the region of Samaria. 

Corruption of the True New Testament Text Led to Trinitarian Formulation

“It is barely possible that before the middle of the second century the Western text was brought to Asia Minor from Rome.... The Quartodeciman controversy, a bitter dispute which arose during the last half of the second century between the Churches of Asia Minor and the Church of Rome over the date of Easter, makes this very improbable.  This controversy no doubt induced in the minds of the Christians of Asia Minor a violent prejudice against the Western text, which they knew to have emanated from Rome.  And the fact that the Alexandrian Church had sided with Rome in this controversy would combine with their traditional jealousy of that great Egyptian city to create in them a similar aversion to the Alexandrian text. 

“Thus, throughout the second and third centuries [100 through 200 A.D.] and down into the middle of the fourth century [300s A.D.] , the rank and file of the Christians of Asia Minor, and probably also of Antioch, remained loyal to the true New Testament text [the Ephesian text, now called the Byzantine text], which had become the traditional text of their native region, and resolute in their rejection of the Western and Alexandrian texts. 

“It was in this way, no doubt, that the true text was preserved [by God’s faithful servants of Asia Minor] by the providence of God during these early, troubled years.  Toward the end of the fourth century [300s A.D.] , the true New Testament text emerged from the relative obscurity into which it had been thrust.  The great fourth century conflict with the Arian heresy had brought orthodox [Greek Orthodox] Christians to a theological maturity, which enabled them to perceive the superior doctrinal richness of the true text.  In ever increasing numbers they abandoned the corrupt Western and Alexandrian text types and turned with eagerness to those ancient manuscripts which contained this true text”  (Clark & Ropes, The Beginnings of Christianity, vol. 3, as quoted by Hills in The King James Version Defended, pp. 55-56).

Although the true New Testament text was preserved, the corrupted texts were the prevailing influence in the formulation of early church doctrine.  These corrupted texts were instrumental in shifting early church teaching concerning the true nature of God to the false doctrine of Trinitarianism.  The removal of references to Jesus as the Son of God from the text was soon followed by the association of Jesus with the Logos of Greek philosophy.  Once this philosophic connection was embraced by the early church, it was only a matter of time before the complete philosophy of the Trinity became the basis of Christian theology.

The Logos of Greek Philosophy Placed in the Trinitarian Formulation

“There are then (as the statement may run) three Persons (Hypostases) or real distinctions in the unity of the divine Nature or Substance, which is Love.  The Persons are co-equal, inasmuch as in each of them the divine Nature is one and undivided, and by each the collective divine attributes are shared.  As a ‘person’ in Trinitarian usage is more than a mere aspect of being, being a real ground of experience and function, each divine Person, while less than a separate individuality, possesses His own hypostatic character or characteristic property (...).  The hypostatic characters of the Persons may be viewed from an internal and an external standpoint, i.e. with reference to the inner constitution of the Godhead or to the Godhead as related to the cosmos or world of manifestation.

Viewed ab intra, the hypostatic [i.e. essence or essential] character of the Father is ingeneration (...), of the Son filiation, of the Spirit procession; wherefore, ‘the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.’ [Westminster Confession, ii, 3].  Viewed ab extra (for Love functions externally as well as internally, is centrifugal as well as centripetal [Cf. S.A. McDowall, Evolution and the Doctrine of the Trinity, Cambridge, 1918, p. 53 f.], the hypostatic character of the Father is made manifest in creation, whereby a world is provided for beings who should be capable of experiencing fellowship with the divine Love; the hypostatic character of the Son in redemption, whereby the alienating power of sin is overcome; and the hypostatic character of the Spirit in sanctification, whereby human nature is quickened and renewed and shaped to the divine likeness.  Yet, while this is said, as there is no separation in the unity of the Godhead, so the one God is manifested in the threefold work of creation, redemption, and sanctification; moreover, each of the Persons as sharing the divine attributes is active in the threefold work, if with varying stress of function.  Verily the doctrine of the Trinity exit in mysterium”  (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, pp. 459-460).

Dogmatic Development Two:

Origen and Eternal Generation of the Logos (Circa 185-254 A.D.)

“(2) The doctrine of the eternal generation of the Logos or Son (hitherto regarded primarily as the cosmological principle of revelation [the visible universe] and not therefore co-eternal with God).

“This doctrine, due to Origen [ca. 185-254 A.D., Alexandria, Egypt], which may be expressed in other words as the eternal Fatherhood of God, entered into Athanasian theology.  Formulated in the interests of the divinity of Christ, it conserved also—as against Sabellian views [the Sabellians taught that there were three beings in the godhead but that they were not distinct] -- the distinction between the Father and the Son.  On the other hand, the subordinationism it implied and acknowledged, while countering dyotheistic [we would be classified as dyotheistic] and tritheistic tendencies, lent support to the Arian conception of the Son as a creature, especially after the Origenist theory of eternal creation [which enabled Origen himself to regard the Son as still primarily a cosmological principle] had been abandoned” (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 459).

The Eternal Generation of the Logos in the Trinitarian Formulation

“Viewed ab intra, the hypostatic character of the Father is ingeneration (...), of the Son filiation, of the Spirit procession; wherefore, ‘the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.’ [Westminster Confession, ii, 3].  Viewed ab extra (for Love functions externally as well as internally, is centrifugal as well as centripetal [Cf. S.A. McDowall, Evolution and the Doctrine of the Trinity, Cambridge, 1918, p. 53 f.], the hypostatic character of the Father is made manifest in creation, whereby a world is provided for beings who should be capable of experiencing fellowship with the divine Love; the hypostatic character of the Son in redemption, whereby the alienating power of sin is overcome; and the hypostatic character of the Spirit in sanctification, whereby human nature is quickened and renewed and shaped to the divine likeness.  Yet, while this is said, as there is no separation in the unity of the Godhead, so the one God is manifested in the threefold work of creation, redemption, and sanctification; moreover, each of the Persons as sharing the divine attributes is active in the threefold work, if with varying stress of function.  Verily the doctrine of the Trinity exit in mysterium”  (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, pp. 459-460).

Part 3

Dogmatic Development Three:

Marius Victorinus and Consubstantiality The Co-Equality of Father and Son

(Circa 281/291-370 A.D.)

“(3) The doctrine of the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father.

“This was affirmed against Arianism at Nicaea, where the concept—if not as yet the actual term—homoousios [a philosophically defined term that was borrowed from the Enneads of the pagan philosopher Plotinus] (...) as applied to the eternal Son was amply vindicated.  As Athanasius taught, in jealous regard for the divineness of the Christian incarnation and redemption, there was an absolute likeness between the Father and the Son, and also a co-inherence or mutual immanence (...) of their Persons [Jn 17:21]”  (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 459).

“It is interesting to note that the principal term for substance in the writings of Aristotle is ousia, a word which in earlier Greek writers means “property” in the legal sense of the word, that which is owned.  (This sense is familiar in English in the old-fashioned expression “a man of substance.”)  The word ousia also occurs in philosophical writings before Aristotle as a synonym for the Greek word physis [nature], a term which can mean either the origin of a thing, its natural constitution or structure, the stuff of which things are made, or a natural kind or species.  The Latin word substantia, from which the English term [substance] is derived, is a literal translation of the Greek word hypostasis [usually translated person in the New Testament] (“standing under”).  This term acquired its philosophical connotations in later Greek and occurs principally in controversies among early Christian theologians about the real nature of Christ....” (Substance and Attribute, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, p. 36).

“Thus, what the Greeks call nature [physis or physica, i.e. physics or natural philosophy.  See Catherine Osborne, Rethinking Early Greek Philosophy:  Hippolytus of Rome and the Presocratics, Cornell University Press, 1987, pp. 29, 387] , Victorinus calls substance [substantia], and what the Greeks call hypostasis, Victorinus calls existence.  Apparently a substance has individuality by the character of its action, and so action is self-revelatory.  The term consubstantial is used by Victorinus to safeguard the divine equality.  But even substantia although the common name for Father, Son and Spirit, may be used as a synonym for existentia [existence], for in Victorinus the common names are also the predominant names of each of the Three.  Indeed, he tries to show that each divine Person is the Three, rather than following the more usual way of arguing that all Three are one or even that one God is in three Persons” (Clark, Marius Victorinus: Theological Treatises on the Trinity, p. 42). 

“The use to which Victorinus put the word substantia as referring primarily to the pure “To Be [i.e. pure Act transcending every form, the potentiality of the being—the One]” of God necessitated his use of a new word existentia to refer to esse [i.e. to be, a being actualized—the Many or the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit revealed] that is determined by a form.  Of course, substantia is not understood by him in the Aristotelian sense of what is opposed to accidents and qualities.  Substance for him means a concrete being, and this seems to be one of his Plotinian reminiscences (Enn(eads), 6.1.3; 12.8; ch. adv. Ar. I 30).  This may be the individual substance later used by Boethius to define person.  For Victorinus, however, this substantia was pure esse (cf. Adv. Ar. II 4,23), and therefore designated the commonness of the Three Persons.  It is thus used to designate Esse improperly, but the word Esse is used as the proper name of the Father” (Clark, Marius Victorinus: Theological Treatises on the Trinity, p. 41).

“In view of the above, Victorinus found it necessary to make use of existentia to indicate what stands outside the commonness.  Hence, existentia means “to be” [the Many] with form or determination and is used to distinguish each of the Three:  one substance [the One] and three existences [the Many].  And so when he is speaking strictly of his own Trinitarian doctrine, Victorinus has bypassed hypostasis and persona (used freely by Hilary of Poitiers [bishop of Poitiers ca. 315-367 A.D.]), perhaps to keep his doctrine distinguished from the Plotinian triad and perhaps because the Sabellians conceived God as triprosopos (of three [non-distinct] persons).  It is not quite certain that Victorinus is the first to use subsistentia.  He generally uses “subsistence” to denote the individual indicated by existentia; thus, subsistentia is properly used of the Son because it designates Esse cum forma (“To Be” with Form)”  (Clark, Marius Victorinus: Theological Treatises on the Trinity, pp. 41-42).

The Nicaean Council (325 A.D.)

“At Nicaea (A.D. 325) the Council Fathers had expressed in the language of reason [philosophy] what Scripture said of the Son’s equality [homoousion in Greek Neoplatonic Philosophy and consubstantialitas in Latin Neoplatonic Philosophy and consubstantial in English] with the Father and, his status as true Son really begotten by the Father in the way in which spirits beget.  That the Son is consubstantial [although they had no philosophic construct for the concept] with the Father was declared at the Council of Nicaea.  It does not follow that this statement was clearly understood.  There was no ready-made philosophy to clarify it.  The word homoousion appears in the Enneads of Plotinus [a third century Chaldean Philosopher], but there it refers to the Intelligible Triad [the Many], not to the One.  Victorinus translated the Greek word homoousion [homoousion is a philosophic construct and as such is not found in the New Testament] used at Nicaea into the Latin word consubstantialitas.  The word homoousion was used to express the relations of the Father and the Son within the Godhead in order to exclude the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of the Son.  Arius [ca. 250-336], a Libyan by birth and ordained at Alexandria, championed a subordinationist [hierarchical] teaching which was condemned, first at Alexandria, then at Nicaea.  Arianism held that the Son of God was not eternal but created by the Father from nothing as an instrument for the creation of the world; although a changeable creature, the Son was dignified with the title of Son because of his righteousness.  The Arians divided into three groups:  the Anomoeans (dissimilar) spoke of the Son as unlike the Father; the Homoeans (similar) spoke of the Son as like the Father in all things according to the Scriptures; the semi-Arians or Homoiousians (of similar substance [with the Father]) thought that similarity rather than consubstantiality left more room for distinctions in the Godhead”  (Clark, Marius Victorinus: Theological Treatises on the Trinity, pp. 10-11). 

In a footnote the author adds:  “Three Greek roots underlie the terminology, ancient and modern, concerned with the Son’s relationship with the Father. (1) homo, same; (2) homoi- (or homeo-), similar; (3) ousia, being (as a noun) [in the Greek New Testament ousia is used either as a masculine, feminine or neuter present participle of the verb eimi but not as a noun] or substance.  The first root plus the third yields homoousios-homoousion, signifying identity in substance [with the consequence that the gods are co-eternal and co-equal].  The second root plus the third yields homoiousios-homoiousion or homoeousios-homoeousion, signifying similarity in substance [with the consequence that one God is subordinate to another—in divine hierarchical fashion].  These terms apply either to the Son himself or to a doctrinal position concerning him in relation to the Father.  The theologians and their followers who espouse these terms with their theological implications are called Homoousians, those holding identity in substance [Athanasius of Alexandria and his supporters], or Homoiousians (Homoeousians), those holding similarity in substance [Arius of Alexandria and his supporters].  Furthermore, the ousia element can be left out, yielding Homoeans (Homoians).  Those who hold total dissimilarity in substance are called Anomoians, a word formed by combining a negative prefix with homo”  (Clark, Marius Victorinus: Theological Treatises on the Trinity, p. 10).  

The Syncretistic Nature of the Nicaean and Athanasian Creeds

“The trinitarian doctrine of the Christians was neither an outright adoption of the philosophic triads popular among the Middle and Neoplatonists, nor was it any mere adaptation of triadic thought.  At the moment of the Nicene formulation the acceptance of the Christian dogma of the Trinity meant a rejection of the philosophic triads as they were understood.  Arius did not rise to this rejection.  The statements he offered were reasonable [that is, they conformed completely with recognized and accepted Neoplatonic principles of logic] but were contrary to the mystery revealed in Scripture [actually, contrary to the Chaldean mysteries].  Victorinus found nothing ready at hand within his philosophical milieu that did not require some good, hard, creative interpretation on his part.  When he tried to interpret, he turned to the tradition of Neoplatonism, where many of the best insights in Platonism, Aristotelianism and Stoicism had come together.  In some Neoplatonic source he found a reconciliation of Plotinus and Numenius, and it was Numenius who had influenced the ‘Chaldaean Oracles’ “  (Clark, Marius Victorinus: Theological Treatises on the Trinity, pp. 17-18).

The Nicaean Creed Violated an Absolute Principle of Neoplatonism

“...in quarrels concerning the nature of the Trinity—which set Arius and his supporters, who believed that the Son was a creation of the Father, against orthodox [Catholic] Christians, such as St. Athanasius [of Alexandria, Egypt] and the Cappadocians [of Asia Minor], who accepted the consubstantiality of the persons—it seems that the question posed is completely alien to philosophy.  Generation and procession, words used by the Christians to designate relations between the Son or Spirit and the Father, by no means retain the precise meaning that they have for Plato and the Platonists.  This meaning, if preserved, would imply a doctrine such as Arianism since one of the absolute principles of Neo-Platonism is that the reality that proceeds is inferior to the reality from which it proceeds.  But belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ contradicts this principle and prescribes a dogma that no longer has the slightest affiliation with philosophical speculation”  (Brehier, The History of Philosophy:  The Hellenistic and Roman Age, pp. 245-246). 

Relating the Three Dogmatic Developments to the Trinitarian Formulation:

(3) The Consubstantiality of the Son

“There are then (as the statement may run) three Persons (Hypostases) or real distinctions in the unity of the divine Nature or Substance, which is Love.  The Persons are co-equal, inasmuch as in each of them the divine Nature is one and undivided, and by each the collective divine attributes are shared.  As a ‘person’ in Trinitarian usage is more than a mere aspect of being, being a real ground of experience and function,  each divine Person, while less than a separate individuality, possesses His own hypostatic character or characteristic property (...).” 

(1) The Philosophic Logos of the Greeks

“The hypostatic characters of the Persons may be viewed from an internal and an external standpoint, i.e. with reference to the inner constitution of the Godhead or to the Godhead as related to the cosmos or world of manifestation. “

(2) The Philosophic Eternal Generation of the Logos 

“Viewed ab intra, the hypostatic character of the Father is ingeneration (...), of the Son; filiation, of the Spirit procession; wherefore, ‘the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.’ [Westminster Confession, ii,3].  Viewed ab extra (for Love functions externally as well as internally, is centrifugal as well as centripetal [Cf. S.A. McDowall, Evolution and the Doctrine of the Trinity, Cambridge, 1918, p. 53 f.], the hypostatic character of the Father is made manifest in creation, whereby a world is provided for beings who should be capable of experiencing fellowship with the divine Love; the hypostatic character of the Son in redemption, whereby the alienating power of sin is overcome; and the hypostatic character of the Spirit in sanctification, whereby human nature is quickened and renewed and shaped to the divine likeness.  Yet, while this is said, as there is no separation in the unity of the Godhead, so the one God is manifested in the threefold work of creation, redemption, and sanctification; moreover, each of the Persons as sharing the divine attributes is active in the threefold work, if with varying stress of function.  Verily the doctrine of the Trinity exit in mysterium”  (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, pp. 459-460).

Dogmatic Development Four:

Basil of Caesarea Cappadocia Gregory of Nyssa Cappadocia Gregory of Nazianzus Cappadocia

(Circa 330-395 A.D.)

“(4) The doctrine of eternal distinctions within the divine Nature, according to the formula of ‘three Hypostases [persons in the philosophic, not the natural or legal sense] in one Ousia or Substance’ (...).

“To the Cappadocian theologians (Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa) we owe the final settlement, for which this formula stands, of the dogmatic terminology.  In distinguishing between hypostasis and ousia, the former denoting a real principle of distinction [but not a being with personality] within the divine Nature and the latter the divine Substance or Nature (ousis) itself, they sought to lift the orthodox doctrine out of the Sabellian modalism which recognized no distinction in reality between the Father and the Son, so impairing the significance of the historical Christ, and at the same time to vindicate it against the opposite error of heathen polytheism (tritheism) [the belief in three indistinguishable Gods in the Godhead], of which it was so often accused.  Moreover, the Cappadocians gave to the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, the definite place and character which He now possesses in Eastern orthodoxy, as being also a Hypostasis in the Godhead, consubstantial with the Father, and proceeding from the Father through the Son” (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 459).

Concerning the error of linking a plurality of Gods in the Godhead with heathen polytheism, remember what we have already studied.  It is not polytheistic to believe in more than one God in the Godhead.  Notice again:

“The notion of unity has appeared in Chapter IV, where I discussed some theoretical implications of Aristotle’s theology.  It remains to consider how this notion was actually treated by the early Christian writers and their pagan contemporaries; and this for two reasons; first, because unity was considered to be an important property, or even the distinctive property, of the godhead; and secondly, because discussions of God’s ‘substance’ were increasingly influenced by the claim that one substance was common to the three divine persons.

“Christians of course discovered the notion of unity in the Bible; the Old Testament claims that God is one; the New Testament endorses this claim, but also lays down that there is only one Lord Christ, and refers to the unity of the Christian fellowship in the Holy Spirit.  There is no need to review this biblical material, which is no doubt familiar; in particular, the emergence of monotheism in Israelite and other religions has been thoroughly investigated.  But it is perhaps worth noting that there seem to be in principle two ways in which a monotheistic belief can replace an earlier polytheism.  Polytheism rarely implies a strictly equal society of gods; some divinities will normally be greater and more powerful than others.  Thus it is possible for one divine being to take the lead so decisively that the others are degraded to the status of attendant spirits, or of mere manifestations or powers of the supreme god.  He then is ‘the one God’ in the sense of the only being who can rightfully claim this dignity” (Stead, Divine Substance, pp. 180-181).

Relating the Four Dogmatic Developments to the Trinitarian Formulation:

(4) The Philosophic Eternal Distinctions of Pater, Logos and Pneuma in the Trinitarian Formulation 

“There are then (as the statement may run) three Persons (Hypostases) or real distinctions in the unity of the divine Nature or Substance [ousia], which is Love.”

(3) The Philosophic Consubstantiality of the Logos in the Trinitarian Formulation      

“The Persons are co-equal, inasmuch as in each of them the divine Nature is one and undivided, and by each the collective divine attributes are shared.  As a ‘person’ in Trinitarian usage is more than a mere aspect of being, being a real ground of experience and function, each divine Person, while less than a separate individuality, possesses His own hypostatic character or characteristic property (...).” 

(1) The Logos of Greek Philosophy in the Trinitarian Formulation 

“The hypostatic characters of the Persons may be viewed from an internal and an external standpoint, i.e. with reference to the inner constitution of the Godhead or to the Godhead as related to the cosmos or world of manifestation. “

(2) The Philosophic Eternal Generation of the Logos in the Trinitarian Formulation 

“Viewed ab intra, the hypostatic character of the Father is ingeneration (...), of the Son filiation, of the Spirit procession; wherefore, ‘the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.’ [Westminster Confession, ii,3].  Viewed ab extra (for Love functions externally as well as internally, is centrifugal as well as centripetal [Cf. S.A. McDowall, Evolution and the Doctrine of the Trinity, Cambridge, 1918, p. 53 f.], the hypostatic character of the Father is made manifest in creation, whereby a world is provided for beings who should be capable of experiencing fellowship with the divine Love; the hypostatic character of the Son in redemption, whereby the alienating power of sin is overcome; and the hypostatic character of the Spirit in sanctification, whereby human nature is quickened and renewed and shaped to the divine likeness.  Yet, while this is said, as there is no separation in the unity of the Godhead, so the one God is manifested in the threefold work of creation, redemption, and sanctification; moreover, each of the Persons as sharing the divine attributes is active in the threefold work, if with varying stress of function.  Verily the doctrine of the Trinity exit in mysterium  (Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, pp. 459-460).

Dogmatic Development Five: St. Augustine of Hippo (Circa 354-430 A.D.)

“(5)  The doctrine of the double procession from the Father and the Son (the filioque clause, added to the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed on canonically indefensible grounds)

“—a doctrine which represents the difference between Western orthodoxy and Eastern (with its view of procession as from the Father alone, the unitary source of deity); which was conceived, in the interests of the divine unity, as counteractive of the subordinationism contained in the Eastern formulas; and which under Augustine’s influence found its way into the Athanasian Creed. Curiously enough, the Athanasian Creed (so called) thus differs theologically from the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed in its original Eastern form on a point on which Athanasius’s own sympathies would have lain with the Eastern symbol.  The Greek (Athanasian) theology found the divine unity, in the Father, the one fountainhead of Son and the Spirit as subordinate to the Father.  The Roman (Augustinian) theology found the divine unity in the divine Nature or Substance, with the result that, as the distinctions between the three Hypostases or Persons became weakened under the doctrine of the co-inherence, so attractive to the non-metaphysical Westerns, there remained no proper foothold—so to speak—for the doctrine of subordination”   (Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 459).

Relating the Five Dogmatic Developments to the Trinitarian Formulation:

(4) The Philosophic Eternal Distinctions of Pater, Logos and Pneuma in the Trinitarian Formulation 

“There are then (as the statement may run) three Persons (Hypostases) or real distinctions in the unity of the divine Nature or Substance [ousia], which is Love.”

(3) The Philosophic Consubstantiality of the Logos in the Trinitarian Formulation 

“The Persons are co-equal, inasmuch as in each of them the divine Nature is one and undivided, and by each the collective divine attributes are shared.  As a ‘person’ in Trinitarian usage is more than a mere aspect of being, being a real ground of experience and function, each divine Person, while less than a separate individuality, possesses His own hypostatic character or characteristic property (...).” 

(1) The Logos of Greek Philosophy in the Trinitarian Formulation 

“The hypostatic characters of the Persons may be viewed from an internal and an external standpoint, i.e. with reference to the inner constitution of the Godhead or to the Godhead as related to the cosmos or world of manifestation.” 

(2) The Philosophic Eternal Generation of the Logos in the Trinitarian Formulation 

“Viewed ab intra, the hypostatic character of the Father is ingeneration (...), of the Son; filiation, of the Spirit procession; wherefore, ‘the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.’ [Westminster Confession, ii, 3].” 

(5) The Philosophic Double Procession in the Trinitarian Formulation 

“Viewed ab intra, the hypostatic character of the Father is ingeneration (...), of the Son; filiation, of the Spirit procession; wherefore, ‘the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.’ [Westminster Confession, ii, 3].”

Viewed ab extra (for Love functions externally as well as internally, is centrifugal as well as centripetal [Cf. S.A. McDowall, Evolution and the Doctrine of the Trinity, Cambridge, 1918, p. 53 f.], the hypostatic character of the Father is made manifest in creation, whereby a world is provided for beings who should be capable of experiencing fellowship with the divine Love; the hypostatic character of the Son in redemption, whereby the alienating power of sin is overcome; and the hypostatic character of the Spirit in sanctification, whereby human nature is quickened and renewed and shaped to the divine likeness.  Yet, while this is said, as there is no separation in the unity of the Godhead, so the one God is manifested in the threefold work of creation, redemption, and sanctification; moreover, each of the Persons as sharing the divine attributes is active in the threefold work, if with varying stress of function.  Verily the doctrine of the Trinity exit in mysterium”  (W. Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, pp. 459-460). 

The Chaldean Mystery of the One and the Many 

“What lends a special character to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is its close association with the distinctive Christian view of divine incarnation.  In other religions [”...we meet with the trinitarian group of Brahma, Siva, and Visnu; and in Egyptian religion with the trinitarian group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, constituting a divine family, like the Father, Mother, and Son in mediaeval Christian pictures” (W. Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 458)] and religious philosophies [”...the Neo-Platonic view of the Supreme or Ultimate Reality, which was suggested by Plato in the Timaeus; e.g., in the philosophy of Plotinus the primary or original Realities (...) [Enn(eads), v.1, cited by C. C. J. Webb, God and Personality(Gifford Lectures), London, 1918, p. 43] are triadically represented as the Good or (in numerical symbol) the One, the Intelligence or the One-Many, and the World-Soul or the One and Many.  The religious Trinity associated, if somewhat loosely, with Comte’s [the father of modern Sociology—modern humanism] philosophy might also be cited here:  the cultus of humanity as the Great Being, of space as the Great Medium, and of the earth as the Great Fetish [Comte’s view of the Chaldean Many].” 

While the philosophical connection of Trinitarianism with ancient Greece is openly acknowledged by both historical and theological authors, the true origin of that philosophy has been grossly overlooked and ignored.  Few have been honest or thorough enough in their research to trace this so-called “Western philosophy” back to its original roots in the ancient Near East.  However, sufficient historical evidence can be found in reference libraries to show that the highly acclaimed philosophers of ancient Greece acquired their ideas of the nature of God and the Universe from the Magi of Persia, who in turn received these teachings from the Chaldeans.  This Chaldean connection is clearly revealed in a study of the life of the famous Greek philosopher Plato.

The Canaanite Ancestry of Plato

In 2189 B.C., Arcadius and Emathius, white sons of Canaan, began to move their peoples into Greece under the leadership of Eber, father of the Hebrews.  Emathius settled his people in the region of Emathia in Macedonia.  He is the father of the Hamathites (Gen 10:18).  According to Trogus, early Macedonia was made up of many different tribes.  Their names were Emathia, Paeonia and Pelasgoi (Trogus, VII,1).   By 1707 B.C., the sons of Emathia had migrated south from Macedonia and had settled in the Argolis of Peloponnese, where they became known as Achaeans.  The Achaeans settled with the Pelasgoi and Ionians in Attica, founding Athens under Cecrops in 1556 B.C.  Herodotus states that the Pelasgoi were also the ancestors of the Aeolians (Herodotus 12, 231).  As the Achaeans, Ionians and Pelasgoi freely mixed or co-habited the same regions, they are undoubtedly peoples of the same ancestor, Emathius.  In the 1100’s the Dorians [Midianites from Spain and Italy] forced the Ionians to migrate into what became Achaia Peloponnese. 

“Now these Ionians, during the time that they dwelt in the Peloponnese and inhabited the land now called Achaea [which was before the arrival of Danaus and Xuthus in the Peloponnese], were called, according to the Greek account, Aegialean Pelasgi, or ‘Pelasgi of the Sea-shore’; but afterwards, from Ion the son of Xuthus, they were called Ionians [western philosophy began with these Ionians in the sixth century B.C.  This beginning corresponds with the arrival of the Persians and the Magi]”  (Herodotus, 231).

Part 4

The Kings of Athens 1556-682 B.C.

 King Years Dates Notes
Cecrops 50 1556-1506 Ancestor of Plato
Cranaus 9 1506-1497  
Amphictyon 10 1497-1487  
Erecthonius 50 1487-1437  
Pandion I 40 1437-1397  
Erechtheus 50 1397-1347  
Cecrops II 40 1347-1307  
Pandion II 25 1307-1282  
Aegaeus 48 1282-1234  
Theseus 30 1234-1204  
*Menestheus 23 1204-1181 First Trojan War
Demophon 33 1181-1148  
Oxyntes 12 1148-1136  
Aphidas 1 1136-1135  
Thymoetes 8 1135-1127  
Melanthus 37 1127-1090  
**Cordrus 21 1090-1069  

* Immediately after the war Menestheus was murdered on the Isle of Melus.

** Codrus, the last Athenian king, perished in a great war in 1069 B.C..  Though she lost her king, Athens triumphed over her foes.  To honor the fallen king, Athenians agreed that no other man in after days should have the honor of that office.  Thereafter Athenian rulers assumed the title of Archon.  Until 753 B.C. the Archons held office throughout their lifetime.  The Perpetual Archons are listed below.

The Kings of Athens 1556-682 B.C. (Continued)

 King

Years

Dates

Notes

Medon, son of Codrus 20 1069-1049  
Acastus 36 1049-1013  
Archippus 19 1013-994  
Thersippus 41 994-953  
Phorabas 31 953-922  
Megacles 30 922-892  
Diognetus 28 892-864  
 Pherecles 19 864-845  
Ariphron 20 845-825  
Thespieus 27 825-798  
Agamestor 20 798-778  
Aeschylus 23 778-755

Olympiads were begun in 776

Alcmaeon 2 755-753  

*In 753 the Perpetual Archons were replaced by Dicennial Archons.  That is, each held the office for 10 years.  The seven Dicennial Archons of Athens were:

King Years Dates
Charops 10 753-743

Aesimides

10

743-733

Clidicus 10 733-723
Hippomenes 10 723-713
Leocrates 10 713-703
Apsander 10 703-693
Eryxias 10 693-683

*Their rule covered a period of 70 years -- 753-683.

King Years Date
Creon 1 Archon for the year 683-682

*In 683 B.C. “The hereditary kingship was abolished and made into an annual office (archon basileus) like the archon and polemarch.  Six thesmothetai were created to determine the customary law.  These, with the archon basileus, the polemarch, and the archon eponymous (civil archon), were known as the nine archons.  They were chosen from the nobles by the Areopagus, a council of nobles which was the greatest power in the state.  The ecclesia (assembly of all the freemen) had either gone out of use or was completely without power” (Langer’s, Encyclopedia of World History, Houghton Mifflin, 1960, p. 51).  (see also Clinton’s Fasti Hellenici, I, 182).

King Years Date
Dropides 1 Archon for the year 644-643
 Solon 1 Archon for the year 594-593

“Plato, son of Ariston and Perictione, was born in 428 or 427 B.C.  His family was, on both sides, one of the most distinguished of Athens.  Ariston is said to have traced his descent through Codrus to the god Poseidon; on the mother’s side, the family, which was related to Solon, goes back to Dropides, archon to the year 644 B.C.  His mother apparently married as her second husband her uncle Pyrilampes, a prominent supporter of Pericles, and Plato was probably chiefly brought up in this house.”  (Jowett, Benjamin, The Dialogues of Plato, Oxford University Press, reprinted by The University of Chicago, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1952, p. v)

The complete framework of Athenian history has been preserved correctly from Castor, the historian of Rhodes, in the Eusebian Chronicles.  Athenian history commences with the founding of the city by Cecrops in 1556 B.C., ancestor of Plato.

The Life and Times of Plato

The Great ‘Magus’ of Greece (427-347 B.C.) 

“Plato was born in Athens.  His family was one of the oldest and most distinguished in the city.  His mother, Perictione, was related to the great Athenian lawmaker Solon.  His father, Ariston, died when Plato was a child.  Perictione married her uncle, Pyrilampes, and Plato was raised in his house.  Pyrilampes had been a close friend and supporter of Pericles, the statesman who brilliantly led Athens in the mid-400’s b.c.  The word Plato was a nickname, meaning broad-shouldered [this was also one of the names of Mithras].  Plato’s real name was Aristocles [Plato is his Chaldean name—he was apparently named after the great Magus Mithras].”

“As a young man, Plato wanted to become a politician.  In 404 b.c., a group of wealthy men, including two of Plato’s relatives—cousin Critias and his uncle Charmides—established themselves as dictators in Athens.  They invited Plato to join them.  But Plato refused because he was disgusted by their cruel and unethical practices.  In 403 b.c., the Athenians deposed the dictators and established a democracy.  Plato reconsidered entering politics but was again repelled when his friend, the philosopher Socrates, was brought to trial and sentenced to death in 399 b.c.  Deeply disillusioned with political life, Plato left Athens and traveled widely for several years throughout the ancient world.”

“In 387 b.c., Plato returned to Athens and founded a school of philosophy and science that became known as the Academy.  The school stood in a grove of trees that, according to legend, was once owned by a Greek hero named Academus.   ...Except for two trips to the city of Syracuse in Sicily in the 360’s b.c., Plato lived in Athens and headed the Academy for the rest of his life.”  (Plato,World Book Encyclopedia)

An Outline of Plato’s Life

Event

Date B.C.

Plato's Age

Born in Athens

427

 

Familial dictatorship of Athens

 404

23

Dictatorship overthrown

403

24

Socrates sentenced to death

399

28

Plato leaves Athens—travels throughout the ancient world for 12 years 399-387 B.C. Studies with the Magi in Egypt, Persia and Babylonia   

399  

28

 Plato returns to Athens

387

40

Plato founds a school in the ‘grove’ of Academus (a demon)

387

40

Writes his famous dialogues

387-347 B.C.

 

Plato dies in Athens

347

80

Alexander the Great conquers the known world

330-323  B.C.

 

 

Plato Admits Philosophers Possessed by Demons 

Plato described the unusual kind of insanity that clutched the minds of Greece’s great poet-historians and philosophers. 

In the Phaedrus Plato characterizes ‘poetic inspiration’ as the ‘state of being possessed by the Muses’—a kind of ‘madness, which, on entering a delicate and virgin soul, arouses and excites it to frenzy in odes and other kinds of poetry ...  But he that is without the Muses’ madness when he knocks at the doors of Poesy, fancying that art alone will make him a competent poet, -- he and his poetry, the poetry of sober sense, will never attain perfection, but will be eclipsed by the poetry of inspired madmen’ (245 A). 

Again, in the Laws Plato wrote that ‘whenever a poet is enthroned on the tripod of the Muse, he is not in his right mind’ (719 C). 

In Ion the Greek theory of ‘inspiration’ is most thoroughly expressed:  ‘It is not by art, but by being inspired and possessed, that all good epic poets produce their beautiful poems... just as the Corybantic revellers are not in their right mind when they are dancing, even so the melic poets are not in their right mind when they are composing their beautiful strains.  On the contrary, when they have fallen under the spell of melody and metre, they are like inspired revellers, and on becoming possessed, -- even as the Maenads are possessed and not in their right senses... the soul of the melic poets acts in like manner, as they themselves admit.... And what they say is true; for the poet...cannot compose until he becomes inspired and out of his senses, with his mind no longer in him; but, so long as he is in possession of his senses, not one of them is capable of composing, or of uttering his oracular sayings’ (533 E-534 D).”

The Magi and the Grove of Academus

What is not commonly taught in the halls of modern academia (academus was the demon of Plato and Aristotle that haunted the Grove of Academus outside Athens, Greece) is the fact that these same Chaldean/Magi were the teachers of the ancient Greek philosophers Pythagoras, Democritus, Parmenides, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle!  “No priesthood of antiquity was more famous than that of the Magi.  They were renowned as followers of Zarathushtra (Zoroaster); as the teachers of some of the greatest Greek thinkers (Pythagoras, Democritus, Plato);...  (Ibid, p. 80)      

Notice further evidence that Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, (the three white canaanites of Greece who have had the greatest impact of all on western culture) learned their trade from the Persian Magi:

“For the Greeks Zoroaster was the archetypal magus or priest, the great Persian sage.  Plato is said to have wanted to travel to the Orient and learn from his ‘pupils’, the magi [as we shall see a little later, Plato did just that!].  There is even a tradition that Socrates had a magus for a teacher.  Many famous Greeks, including Aristotle, knew the Persian teachings, and a number of books apparently circulated throughout the Greek world under the name of Zoroaster.  The Greeks placed Zoroaster in hoary antiquity, dating him six thousand years before Plato [Zoroaster was an actual man of Persia who lived and taught during the early part of the seventh century b.c., just before the final collapse of the Assyrian Empire] , an adaptation and misunderstanding of the Zorastrian scheme of history.  Such awe for the ancient oriental sage must, of course, derive ultimately from the Persian attitude to the prophet, but this is not mythology; for that we have to look at the beliefs surrounding the life of the teacher of the Good Religion” (Hinnells, John R., Persian Mythology, The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, London and New York, 1973, p. 91).

Plato Develops Chaldean Philosophy of  Archetypes

The One and the Many

“NATURE (natura, Gk. phusos) was the principal object of study for most ancient philosophers.  While they did not neglect the study of man and the ways by which he knows nature, they did not, like many modern philosophers, consider the theory of knowledge the principal problem of philosophy.  More interested in the object of knowledge than in its method, they thought of man as a part of nature, not of nature as part of human experience.  Their problem was the problem of being, to know what is the most real aspect of things, what is that which truly is.  The most ancient western philosopher whose works have survived is Plato.  There were others before him, but their writings have been lost.  One of these earlier philosophers, Democritus [taught by the Magi], is said to have founded the fundamentally real nature in the invisible material atoms of which visible things are made, the visible forms being mere transient groups of atoms.  The philosophy of Plato was diametrically opposed to this materialism [materialistic philosophy is the basis of the ‘modern’ idea of evolution].  According to him, the real nature is found in the eternal ideas, which are the archetypes according to which material things are formed.  While it had long been a principle of the ancient Babylonian wisdom that terrestrial things are copies of eternal archetypes existing in heaven, Plato developed this principle in an idealistic sense, maintaining that the eternal archetypes are not the visible constellations but the intelligible ideas [Plato’s Philosophy of Forms], of which even the constellations, the most beautiful things in the visible world, are imperfect copies.  All things, which are apprehended by the senses, come into being and pass away; but those things, which are apprehended by the understanding, are eternal and therefore truly real.    In the long line of philosophers who followed Plato and developed his philosophy the most important were Aristotle and Plotinus [Plotinus was a famous Chaldean Philosopher, born 205 b.c.  He had an incredible influence on early Catholic doctrine].  Aristotle described the organon or system of logic by which nature can be apprehended rationally.  He distinguished the ten categories into which all beings can be grouped—essence, that which a substance is in itself, so as to be able to exist by itself, and the nine kinds of accidents, which are not essential to the substance of which they are predicated.  He taught that any substance has both form and matter, and that therefore an immaterial form is not more substantial than unformed matter.  His doctrine, if not contradicting Plato’s, was marked by a greater interest in the visible world of particular substances existing in time and space.  Plotinus, on the other hand, was interested rather in the pure ideas.  He taught that these exist eternally in the divine mind.  This mind is an emanation from the one true being, which is apprehended only in mystical ecstasy, and from this mind emanates the cosmic soul which animates the world.” (Burch, Early Medieval Philosophy, pp. 1-2) 

“Plato wrote in a literary form called the dialogue.  A dialogue is a conversation between two or more people.  Plato’s dialogues are actually dramas that are primarily concerned with the presentation, criticism, and conflict of philosophical ideas.  The characters in his dialogues discuss philosophical problems and often argue the opposing sides of an issue”  (Jowett, The Dialogues of Plato, p. v).

The dialogues are very similar in construction to the dialogue dramas of Baal.  Hooded Monks of Baal acted out their philosophic dramas in his temples throughout the Near East.  These monks originated the ‘philosophic garb’ used by the early Catholic Church Fathers.  Plato brought this ‘Magian/Chaldean habit’ back with him to Greece. 

The Philosophic Historicity of the One and the Many

Parmenides: Plato’s Dialogue of the Magi 

The primary source 1 of all Western doctrine concerning the mystery of the Trinity, i.e., the One and the Many, is the Parmenides dialogue of Plato.  Written in Plato’s later life, this dialogue openly introduced the Western mind to the secret mysteries of Pythagoras and Plato’s old friend, Parmenides.  As a work, it is pure demonic gibberish:

“The Parmenides presents a great difficulty to the reader.  The best Platonists differ about its meaning.  The ordinary person will be hard put to it to discover any meaning at all.  The argument runs on and on in words that appear to make sense and yet convey nothing to the mind.  Examples are on every page, as, for instance, ‘The one is also younger than itself at the time when, in becoming older, it coincides with the present.  But the present is with the one always throughout its existence.  Therefore, at all times the one both is and is becoming older and younger than itself.’ (Cornford, F.M, The Collected Dialogues of Plato: Introduction to Parmenides, Princeton University Press, 1989, p. 920).”  Cornford is one of THE authorities on Plato and is the translator of Parmenides for this collection of dialogues. 

Continuing with Cornford and his introduction to Parmenides, “The Parmenides seems to disclaim any achievement at all.  Finally, the great man says to his audience, ‘It seems that, whether there is or is not a one, both that one and the others alike are and are not, and appear and do not appear to be.’  ‘Most true,’ says Socrates, and the dialogue ends.  Whether this ‘truth’ is for or against the theory of Ideas is left undecided” (Ibid, p. 920).

1 A familiarity with Neoplatonism, the commentaries on the Categories of Aristotle, the commentary tradition concerned with the Sophist, the Parmenides, the Timaeus of Plato, with the Chaldaean Oracles and the works of Marius Victorinus is recommended for a well grounded understanding of the “Mystery of the Trinity.”

Sound familiar?  “There is one God, and that one God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are distinct, but not separate....Therefore, God is everything we can conceive of and more!” (Joseph W. Tkach Sr., July 27, 1993.) 

Here is the Chaldean mystery of the One and the Many, the mystery of the Trinity, as understood and expounded by a modern magus! 

Selected quotes from Parmenides:

“All is one”, page 922

The One:

  • “Cannot be anywhere,” page 932
  • “Is both equal and unequal to itself and others,” page 941
  • “Is neither equal nor unequal to itself or another,” page 934
  • “Comes into existence and ceases to exist”, page 947                           
  • “Is immovable,” page 933
  • “Neither is one, nor is at all,” page 935
  • “In no sense is,” page 935
  • “Is both in itself and in another,” page 938
  • “Is both like and unlike itself and others,” page 940
  • “Is not like or unlike itself or another,” page 933
  • “Becomes older and younger than itself,” page 934                       
  • “Has shape,” page 938
  • “Has no shape,” page 932
  • “Does not occupy time,” page 934
  • “Partakes of time,” page 943
  • “Touches and does not touch itself and the others,” page 941

The Hypotheses of One:

  • “If there is a one ...that ... one has being ...  “If one is both one and many ...it is like the others...
  • “If the one exists ... the others exist...

Other Qualities of One:

  • Does not change

Partakes of existence and nonexistence:

  • Has inequality
  • May participate in many
  • Has motion and is at rest
  • Becomes and does not become unlike
  • Unlike the others and like itself

This description of the One sounds very much like a mystery!   Again, we should defer to Cornford:     “The Parmenides presents a great difficulty to the reader.  The best Platonists differ about its meaning.  The ordinary person will be hard put to it to discover any meaning at all.  The argument runs on and on in words that appear to make sense and yet convey nothing to the mind....”    

This then, is the ancient source of Joseph Tkach’s theology of the Trinity!

Part 5

Plato’s Successors

The Older Academy - Circa 347-325 B.C. 

“Plato’s successors in leading the Academy (par.61) are his nephew Speusippus (until ca. 339 b.c.), Xenocrates of Chalcedon (until ca. 314 b.c.), Polemon of Athens (until ca. 275 b.c.), and Crates of Athens (until ca. 168 b.c.).  Relying upon Plato’s unwritten doctrines, Speusippus develops a mathematical ontology.  Its principles are the One that stands beyond being and the Many that populate the beings [i.e., philosophic Monism]”  (Ricken, Philosophy of the Ancients, p. 119).

Sound familiar?  “There is one God, and that one God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are distinct, but not separate.... Therefore, God is everything we can conceive of and more!” (Joseph W. Tkach Sr., July 27, 1993.) 

“The realms of being are the mathematical numbers, the mathematical shapes, the soul (World-Soul), and the perceivable bodies.  They are created when the One determines and limits the Many.  The One and the Many are to be seen as analogous but different principles on each level.  Speusippus ordered the entire reality according to the “relation of genus and species, applying Plato’s method of collect and division (par. 96f) consistently”  (Ricken, Philosophy of the Ancients, p. 119).

Continuing with Ricken’s summary of the Older Academy:

“Xenocrates exercised great influence on the further development of Platonism and the Stoics.  He was the first one to order philosophy into physics, ethics, and logic.  ...Like Speusippus his ontology is oriented toward Plato’s unwritten doctrines.  The form-numbers, the mathematical, the realm of the stars, the soul, and finally the perceivable bodies underneath the moon follow the principles.  ...Taking off from the Timaeus [Plato’s dialogue on the origins and nature of the universe], Xenocrates distinguishes three cosmological causes:  the Forms as original patterns, the demiurge, and matter.  Via allegories he combines the philosophical worldview with mythical religion” (Ibid, pp. 119-120). 

Middle Platonism Circa 130 B.C. to 200 A.D.

The Pagan Origins of Jewish Monotheism

The Trinity of the One 

“...Antiochus [of Ascalon (ca. 130-68 b.c.] cannot, however be seen as the founder of Middle Platonism because the later Plato’s and the early Academy’s theory of principles is not to be found in his philosophy.  Eudorus of Alexandria [Egypt] (dec. ca. 25 b.c.) does, however, tie in with this theory.  He prepares the way for Plotinus’ monism [monotheism] and the theory of hypostases:

the One is the cause of everything, even matter.

He distinguishes between the first [One]

and

the second One. ...” (Ricken, Philosophy of the Ancients, University of Notre Dame Press, 1991, p. 229).

Sound familiar?  “There is one God, and that one God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are distinct, but not separate.... Therefore, God is everything we can conceive of and more!” (Joseph W. Tkach Sr., July 27, 1993.)

Philo of Alexandria

“The Hellenistic Jew Philo (ca. 25 b.c.—ca. 50 a.d.) also taught in Alexandria.  He connects Jewish monotheism with Platonic theology by means of his allegorical interpretation of the Bible, especially of Genesis.  God is the transcendent One and the cause of all being.  Matter is created.  God orders it by giving it his son, the logos, who penetrates, forms, and holds it together as a mediator of creation in the manner of the Stoic pneuma.  The divine logos is the pattern for human reason.  The forms are God’s thoughts; logos is the Form of Forms.  

“Like Philo, Plutarch of Chaeronea (ca. 45 -- ca. 125 a.d.) [a priest of Apollo], well known due to his biographies and moral works, is not a systematic thinker.  Again, like the former, he emphasized the transcendence of God.  The causes of the world which came to be in time are, tying in with the Timaeus, the demiurge, the Forms, and matter.  Plutarch recognizes a good and an evil World-Soul.  Matter is neutral.  His religious interest is revealed in an extensive demonology and teaching of reincarnation”(Ricken, Philosophy of the Ancients, University of Notre Dame Press, 1991, pp. 229-230).

The Basilidian Trinity of Gnosticism Circa 138 - 161 A.D. 

“Clement of Alexandria (Stomata 7.17) says that Basilides, from whom the Basilidians took their name, arose under Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) and continued under Antoninus Pius (138-161); Irenaeus (Adversus Haereses 1.24.1) and Eusebius (Church History 4.7.3) place him in Alexandria.  ...According to Clement [of Alexandria], the hypothesis advanced by Basilides was that the soul that has sinned in a previous existence is punished by suffering in this life,... Basilides taught that there is an unborn and nameless Father, from whom proceeded by emanation a whole series of principalities and angels, who occupy 365 heavens.... The chief of these angels is thought to be the God of the Jews.  This God desired to make the other nations subject to his own people; hence the other nations resisted him and were at enmity with his nation.  The Father, therefore, sent his first-begotten Nous (... “mind”) --who is called Christ....He did not suffer death....Simon of Cyrene, who bore his cross, was transformed to look like him, and was crucified....Jesus received the form of Simon...Then he ascended, invisibly, to him who sent him” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, pp. 222-223).

“...Basilides [also] taught that there was a time when there was nothing.  Since there was nothing.  God himself was “nonexistent.”  Then the nonexistent God made a nonexistent universe out of what was nonexistent.  He “hypostatized” or caused to subsist a certain single seed that contained in itself the entire mixture of all the seeds of the universe.  In the seed was a threefold sonship, in every respect of the same substance with the nonexistent God.  Of this threefold sonship, one portion was composed of fine particles, one of coarse particles, and one was in need of cleansing.  The fine portion ascended to the nonexistent one, being drawn, as is each being in its own way, by his exceedingly great beauty and loveliness.  The coarse portion was not able to hurry upward, and therefore equipped itself with the Holy Spirit like a wing.  But the Holy Spirit was not of the same substance as the sonship, and so was eventually left behind by this second ascending portion of sonship.  Thereupon the Holy Spirit became a firmament between the hypersosmos and the cosmos, that is, between the supermundane realm and the universe.  The third portion of the sonship, which needed cleansing, remained meanwhile in the great heap of the mixture of the seeds of the universe, where it both conferred and received benefits” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, pp. 223-224).

“At this point there was begotten from the cosmic seed-mixture the Great Archon, the Head of the universe, who is of inexpressible beauty, magnitude, and power.  He rose to the firmament, did not suppose that there was anything beyond, and did not know that the sonship remaining in the seed-mixture was wiser than he; therefore he considered himself the wise architect and proceeded to create every part of the universe.  He begot a son, wiser than himself, and seated him at his right hand.  The Archon may also be called the Demiurge (..., “craftsman, maker, creator”), and the place of his throne is called the Ogdoad (the Eight).  Another Archon then arose out of the seed-mixture.  His place is called the Hebdomad (the Seven).  He also made a son who was wiser than himself.  The whole universe was now finished, as well as the hypercosmic things, but the third sonship that had been left in the seed-mixture still needed to be reinstated above.  So the gospel came into the universe...” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 224).

“Albinus (second century a.d.) and Apuleius of Madura (born ca. 123 a.d.) are attributed, according to several scholars, to a common school founded by Gaius, the teacher of Albinus.  Albinus’ Didaskalikos (Outline of Platonic Philosophy) combines Platonic with Aristotelian and Stoic teachings.  He recognizes two triads:  matter, Forms, and the first God that corresponds to the Timaeus’ demiurge; and the first God [God the Theos or Father], whose ineffability he emphasizes, the Intelligence [the Logos or Son], and the World-Soul [the Pneuma or the Holy Spirit].  Albinus distinguishes a twofold concept of Forms.  The immaterial (Platonic) Forms are God’s thoughts; their copies are (Aristotelian) forms bound to matter.  Clearer than in Albinus, Plotinus’ theory of hypostases is anticipated by Apuleius’ triad (De dogmate Platonis) ‘first God, Intelligence and Forms, Soul.’  Here as in Plotinus the original forms are clearly assigned to the second principle”  (Ricken, Philosophy of the Ancients, p. 230).

The Chaldean Oracles of Julian the Chaldaean

Rome Circa 150-160 A.D. 

“In the time of Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161) [Pope and Bishop of Rome] and Marcus Aurelius (161-180) [Stoic Emperor of Rome] Julian the Chaldaean (from his Mesopotamian homeland) and his son Julian the Theurgist (..., meaning “worker of divine things”) taught in Rome.  Their doctrines are set forth in the so-called Chaldaean Oracles, which are known in many fragments quoted by Proclus (A.D. 410-485) and others, chiefly of the Neoplatonic school, no doubt because of recognized affinities in thought [see Hans Lewy, Chaldaean Oracles and Theurgy: Mysticism, Magic, and Platonism in the Later Roman Empire]. 

In the Chaldaean Oracles there is much about the sun, the planetary spheres, and the like, which probably reflects Persian, Babylonian, and Syrian backgrounds.  There is agreement with Plato in such items as Father (pater) for the name of the Supreme Being (e.g., Plato, Timaeus 28c), the supreme place of intuitive knowledge (see Plato, Republic 508d: “When [the soul] is firmly fixed on the domain where truth and reality shine resplendent it apprehends and knows them”), and the conception of the “leading up” ... of the soul through the heavens (see Republic 515e, 517b, 521b, 521c, where Plato used the same and related terms for the soul’s ascent to the contemplation of pure being).

In connection with the “leading up” of the soul there were evidently also rites of initiation in the Chaldaean mysteries.  In his Commentary on Plato’s Republic Proclus states that his teacher Syrianos said that the rites of sacrifice offered by Achilles at the funeral pyre of Patroclos (in the Iliad 23.192-225) “imitate” ... the “immortalization of the soul” ...performed by the Chaldaean theurgists” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, pp.202-203).

Atticus, the Demiurge and the Evil World-Soul (176 A.D.) 

“Whereas Albinus assumes a fundamental correspondence between Plato and Aristotle, Atticus (around 176 a.d.) is an orthodox Platonist who sharply criticizes Aristotle and all attempts of harmonizing him with Plato.  Aristotle denied the immateriality and the immortality of the soul, probably with his teaching of entelechy (par. 168).  Aristotle’s theology of the unmoved mover does not admit providence and is thus a form of atheism.  In his Timaeus interpretation Atticus assumes an uncreated matter that is held in chaotic motion by the evil World-Soul.  The demiurge gives the Forms to matter and intelligence to the evil World-Soul”  (Ricken, Philosophy of the Ancients, p. 230).

The Trinity of Pythagoras

“Authors and pseudoepigraphs that stem from the Pythagorean tradition reveal similarities with the Middle Platonism.  Moderatus of Gnades (first century a.d.) claims that Plato, Aristotle, and the early Academy stole all of their most important teachings from Pythagoras.  According to him there is a first, a second, and a third One [monotheism]. 

The first One is beyond ousia, or being;

the second [One] is to be equated with the Forms;

the third [One], the Soul, participates in the first and second.”  (Ricken, Philosophy of the Ancients, pp. 230-231).

Sound familiar?  “There is one God, and that one God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are distinct, but not separate.... Therefore, God is everything we can conceive of and more!” (Joseph W. Tkach, Sr., July 27, 1993.)

The Pagan Philosopher Numenius

A Trinitarian Catholic Father 

“Nicomachus of Gerasa (second century a.d.) equates numbers and deities in his Arithmetic Theology.  Numenius’ (second century a.d.) proximity to Plotinus is testified to by Plotinus being accused of plagiarizing his works (Porphyrios, Vita Plot., par.82).  Theology, Numenius claims in his work On the Good, must originate back beyond Plato to Pythagoras and integrate the teachings of the Brahman, the Jews, magicians, and Egyptians (Fr. 1a).  Plato is nothing other than an “attic speaking Moses” (Fr. 8).  Numenius’ first god is only related to itself.  The second and third gods are only two different functions of the next hypostasis [again, philosophic Monotheism—a Monotheistic Trinity].  It contemplates the Forms in the first god, and it combines with matter in order to give the Forms to it, and in doing so loses its unity (Fr. 11)”  (Ricken, Philosophy of the Ancients, p. 231).

Neoplatonism Circa 200 - 600 A.D.

Ammonius Saccas

175-250 A.D.

Founder of Neoplatonism

“The founder of Neoplatonism is considered to be Ammonius Saccas (c. A.D. 175-250), who was a teacher of philosophy at Alexandria [Egypt].  ...Along with Plotinus a Neoplatonist named Origen and the Christian writer Origen (Eusebius, Church History 6.19.6) were also hearers of Ammonius Saccas.  Their teacher required of them that they should not disclose his revelations, and Ammonius Saccas left no writings of his own, so little is directly known of him and his doctrines.  It is evident, however, that he was of great influence upon Plotinus, who became the first major writer of Neoplatonic doctrine”  (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 179).

Origen

Neoplatonism And the Chaldean Numenius 

“In Egypt, Origen (c.  A.D. 185-254), who became the head of the Christian catechetical school at Alexandria, was, according to Porphyry (quoted by Eusebius, Church History 6.19-1-14), at one time a hearer of Ammonius Saccas, and was continually studying Plato and busying himself with the writings of Numenius (a Syrian philosopher [and early Catholic Church Father] who also influenced Plotinus) [Numenius was a Chaldean by birth] and other Greek philosophers.  While Origen (to be distinguished from a contemporary Neoplatonist of the same name) was not officially a Neoplatonist [officially he was a Stoic philosopher], he entertained many similar views—due to the influence of which Greek Christianity was always more Neoplatonic than Latin Christianity” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 180).

“Neoplatonism is the dominating philosophy of the late ancient period.  From the last decades of the third century a.d. Plato and Aristotle are handed down and commented on by Neoplatonists.  Until the beginning of the nineteenth century Plato was interpreted for the most part Neoplatonically.  Beginning with apologetics in the second century up to the recovery of Aristotle since the middle of the twelfth century Christian philosophy and theology are influence by Middle and Neoplatonism.  Neoplatonism is connected with Stoicism by its religious interest.  Especially the Stoic concept of logos is integrated into the Platonic system.  Plotinus’ philosophy, especially the teaching of the three hypostases—namely, the One, the Intelligence, and the Soul [this is the basic Monotheism of Joseph Tkach]-- had the way prepared for it by Middle Platonism beginning in the first century b.c., which ties in with the later Plato’s and the early Academy’s theory of principles as well as with the Timaeus’ creation myth.  Neoplatonism, and along with it ancient philosophy, ends in the West with the closing of the Academy in Athens by Emperor Justinian I in the year 529 [a.d.] and in the East with the Arabian conquest of Alexandria in the year 642 [a.d.]” (Ibid, page 227).

Sound familiar?  “There is one God, and that one God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are distinct, but not separate....Therefore, God is everything we can conceive of and more!” (Joseph W. Tkach Sr., July 27, 1993.)

Plotinus The Chaldean 205-270 A.D.

Interpreter of Plato

“.... Plotinus was born in 205 b.c. A.D.; place of birth and nation are unknown.  When twenty-eight years old he turned to philosophy and found a teacher in Ammonius Saccas, who impressed him so much that he stayed with him eleven years.  We know about Ammonius only that he maintained the immateriality of the soul and the fundamental correspondence between Plato and Aristotle.  In 243 Plotinus joined Emperor Gordian III’s Persian expedition in order to become acquainted with Persian and Indian philosophies.  This information has caused a discussion about whether oriental influences can be found in Plotinus’ philosophy.  This is to be denied; Plotinus stands in the Greek tradition.  In the beginning of 244 Gordian was murdered in Mesopotamia.  Plotinus then went to Rome, and there he began to give lectures at the age of forty.  ...To precisely this demonic man [reports Porphyry of Plotinus’ religiousness], when he rose to the first transcendent God on the path that Plato described in the Symposium, appeared the God who has no shape or form and is enthroned above the Intelligence and the whole intelligible world [...] it was namely his goal and target to be close to and one with the God that is above all; during the time that I was with him he attained this goal four times due to his ineffable power” (chap.23)” (Ricken, Philosophy of The Ancients,  pp. 232-233).

“.... Plotinus unified the elements of Middle Platonic philosophy into an organic unity due to his own personal experience.  He utilizes the language of the Platonic-Aristotelian metaphysics in order to portray his own mystical experience with these means.  It follows from the combination of metaphysics and mysticism that Plotinus’ philosophy combines two perspectives with each other.  On the one hand he stands in the tradition of Greek cosmology.  Like the pre-Socratics and Aristotle, he inquires into the first causes in the universe.  The path to God for him is an ascent in the series of causes.  The other perspective consists in this ascent simultaneously being the path to oneself, into the heart of one’s soul.  The three hypostases—Soul, Intelligence, and the One—are found not only in the cosmos but also in individual human beings.  One can certainly find intimations for this perspective in Plato and Aristotle, but it is only expressly developed by Plotinus for the first time, who thus prepares the way for idealism.  For Plotinus cosmology and metaphysical psychology are only two different ways of looking at one and the same reality” (Ricken, Philosophy of The Ancients, p. 234).

“.... The soul is “what something is”: it is what a human being is, its human beingness, its form.  As such it is primary being in a first sense when compared with matter and the composite substance.  At the same time the form of visible substances that the soul perceives is the cause of beauty”  (Ricken, Philosophy of The Ancients, p. 235).

“.... The Intelligence is not form but is rather the producer of all forms.  Plotinus compares the soul with the matter and the Intelligence with the artist.  The soul possesses, as we saw, the undivided forms.  It can only know because it is capable of grasping the individual, distinct forms.  The intelligence is the original unity in which the forms are not yet distinct from each other.  Differentiation only begins when it imprints them on the soul, as the artist does to matter” (Ricken, Philosophy of The Ancients,  p. 237).

“The Intelligence does not create the cosmos in the same manner as an artist or craftsman does a product.  The latter deliberate and decide to produce something.  The Intelligence, however, creates the cosmos as necessarily as the sun does light or an object produces its reflection or shadow.  From this it follows that the cosmos is eternal like the Intelligence” (Ricken, Philosophy of The Ancients,  p. 238).

“Not only being beautiful but also being the One is a transcendental predicate of being according to Plotinus.  “All being,” work VI, 9 The Good (The One) begins, which we shall follow initially, “is a being through the One. ...The Intelligence is being in the proper sense; it is the entirety of being.  Being is conceived of from the perspective of predication.  It can be said what being is, and this assertion reveals a plurality in any case.  Therefore the One cannot be a being.  It is eidosless and is in this sense nothingness.  ...The One is neither a something nor a being.  It does not fall under the categories of quantity or quality.  It is neither moving nor at rest, neither in space nor in time. When we say that it is the cause of everything, we are not saying what it is in itself; we are merely uttering an assertion about our relation to the One. 

“But how do we have access to it nonetheless?  It is the last point of retreat to which all life acts return and in which they come together such as “everything depends on it, looking up to which everything lives and thinks; for it is the cause of life, thought, and being” (I, 6, $33).  “For all things aspire to it, they drive toward it, forced by their natures, as if they intuited that they could not be without it.  ...The rising forth of the Intelligence from the One corresponds to that of light from the sun.  Like the sun’s light, the Intelligence is the expression of the perfection of the One.  Light is necessarily there as long as the sun exists.  Thus the Intelligence and the Soul are eternal and necessary like the One.  But just as the light cannot be without the sun, the Intelligence and the Soul cannot be without the One.  The Intelligence has the faculty of love in addition to that of thinking.  Thinking can only grasp what is in the Intelligence.  Only love is capable of touching the Good that lies beyond the Intelligence (VI, 7, $273).  This encounter cannot be achieved due to one’s own power alone; human beings can only prepare themselves and wait until it appears (V, 5, $53).  Then the Soul becomes one with the One “by having the midpoints touch.”  The union is no viewing “but rather another mode of sight: moving out of oneself, making oneself simple and sacrificing”(VI, 9, $71-76) “ (Ricken, Philosophy of The Ancients, pp. 239-242).

Porphyry The Chaldean 232-305 A.D. 

“Porphyry (A.D. 232-305), born in Syria and disciple of Plotinus in Rome, was the editor and biographer of Plotinus, and the author of a polemic Against the Christians (condemned to be burned by the emperor Theodosius II in A.D. 435) and of other works, including an introduction (Isagoge) to and commentary on Aristotle’s Categories.  Due to the influence of this last work Aristotle became the accepted logician of Neoplatonism, as Plato was the accepted theologian.  Augustine cites another work by Porphyry under the title Philosophy from Oracles (perhaps the same work as On the Return of the Soul).  Augustine feels that Porphyry improves upon both Plato and Plotinus in that Porphyry holds that human souls return only into human bodies (not those of animals) and that at last “the purified soul returns to the Father, that it may never more be entangled in the polluting contact with evil” (City of God 10:30; 12.20).

“In Auxiliaries to the Perception of Intelligibles, Porphyry writes about soul and body in a way reminiscent of the words of the Orphic hymn to Death about “the vivid folds by which the soul, attracting body holds” (p. l74): ‘ That which nature binds, nature also dissolves; and that which the soul binds, the soul likewise dissolves.  Nature, indeed, bound the body to the soul, but the soul binds herself to the body. Nature therefore liberates the body from the soul; but the soul liberates herself from the body.  Hence there is a twofold death:  the one, indeed, universally known in which the body is liberated from the soul; but the other peculiar to philosophers, in which the soul is liberated from the body; nor does the one always attend the other ‘ “ (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 179).

Iamblichus The Chaldean 250-325 A.D.     

“Iamblichus (c. A.D. 250-325) was born at one of the towns named Chalcis in Syria, studied under Porphyry, and afterward returned to Syria to establish his own school (at either Apamea or Daphne, both near Antioch).  He was the author of commentaries on Aristotle and Plato, and of many other books, some extant, some known only in fragments or from references.  Of his work it has been said that “he began the attempt to build upon a Neoplatonic basis a complete and coherent theology encompassing all the rites, myths and divinities of later syncretistic paganism” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, Baker Book House, 1989, p. 181).

Iamblichus and Pythagoras Worshippers of the Sun 

“... in his Life of Pythagoras Iamblichus says that Pythagoras ‘divinely healed and purified the soul, resuscitated and saved its divine part, and conducted to the intelligible its divine eye, which, as Plato says [Republic 527d-e], is better worth saving than ten thousand corporeal eyes; for by looking through this alone, when it is strengthened and clarified by appropriate aids, the truth pertaining to all beings is perceived’ “ (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 181).

“The school of Neoplatonism founded by Iamblichus in Syria was later moved to Pergamum [headquarters for the Chaldean Mysteries], and one of its leaders, Maximus of Smyrna, was the chosen master of the emperor Julian (A.D. 361-363; see p. 210), who was converted from Christianity to Neoplatonism and thus, from the Christian point of view, called the “apostate.”  Probably also to be identified with the Pergamene school was Sallust, whose On the Gods and the World may have been prepared for Julian.  In this world Sallust distinguishes four kinds of myth in which symbolic thought is embodied (theological, psychological, natural, and mixed), and makes it plain that it is only to speak after common custom if “we call the orb of the sun and its rays the Sun itself.”  After the death of Julian, and with the restoration of Christianity as the state religion, the Pergamene school came to an end” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, pp. 183-184).

Part 6

Victorinus Circa 281/291-370 A.D.

The Bridge Between Greek and Latin Neoplatonism

A Trinitarian Syncretist

“In Rome, Victorinus (d.c. A.D. 370), an African by birth and a teacher of rhetoric, translated some of the works of the earlier Neoplatonists into Latin, then at last moved from Neoplatonism into Christianity (Jerome, Illustrious Men 101).  Augustine (A.D. 354-430) read the translations of Victorinus and was deeply influenced by Neoplatonism as he likewise moved on (baptized in 387) into the Christian faith (Confessions 8.2).  He later declared that of all other philosophers “none come nearer to us than the Platonists” (City of God 8.5).  Likewise the Roman Christian theologian Boethius (c.A.D. 470-525), who wrote commentaries on works of Porphyry and translated Porphyry’s Isagoge, reflects Neoplatonism in his own major work On the Consolation of Philosophy.  Together Augustine and Boethius were mainly responsible for the introduction of Neoplatonic ideas into Latin Christianity.  Nevertheless Roman Neoplatonism as a school was at end by the latter part of the sixth century”  (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 184).

To Be  (the One) or to be (the Many)

That is the Mystery of the Trinity

“The name of Marius Victorinus is not a familiar one in the history of ideas or of education.  He was, nevertheless, an outstanding educator of the late Roman Empire and an important link in intellectual history with the periods that would follow.  He formed a new philosophical language, which was of great help to logicians [philosophers skilled in logic, i.e.; the science of formal reasoning, using principles of valid inference.  Paul refers to such reasoning as the use of clever words] and the metaphysicians [philosophers skilled in first principles, i.e.; ontology, the science or theory of being, cosmology, the science or theory of universal order, and epistemology, the science or theory of knowledge] of the Middle Ages.  Indeed, it has been said that he should have a place among those whom E. K. Rand has called the Founders of the Middle Ages.  Long passages from Victorinus were copied by Alcuin in his De fide and a citation from Victorinus appears in Hincmar, while, earlier, Boethius borrowed heavily from Victorinus.  Not only is he important in the history of Latin and Greek Neoplatonism by reason of his translation of the “Platonic books” significantly mentioned by Augustine [Confessions 7.9.13] -- books now believed to be treatises of Plotinus and Porphyry—but Victorinus also made use of traditional themes from the entire philosophical and religious tradition in new ways.  Philosopher and theologian, he affirmed the Neoplatonic distinction between, on the one hand, “To Be,” pure Act transcending every form, and, on the other, being, a subject receiving a determined form of “to be [the author comments in a footnote that “...Victorinus deserves special consideration for his pioneering exploitation of the substantive infinitive [to be as a direct derivative of To Be], a syntactical device especially important for the expression of philosophical and theological ideas.”]”  In asserting the direct derivation of the “to be” of beings [the Many, or the Father, Son and Holy Spirit] from the first “To Be [the One],” he transmitted through Boethius one of the great insights of medieval metaphysics [the great Chaldean Mystery of the One and the Many now packaged for the Latin mind!].  The importance Victorinus gave to existence and his effort to understand existence put him in touch with the Twentieth Century [by this she means Existentialism—a philosophic teaching that existence precedes essence.  By essence philosophers mean the purpose or function of a thing; function(s) which uniquely define(s) it; that without which it would not be what it is.  In existentialism, essence is self-defined.  Applied to the One—it means that the One has no preestablished nature but rather defines itself through its own freely chosen actions, thus when the One’s potentiality is actualized then and only then does it become the Many, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—i.e.; the Mystery of the Trinity]” (Clark, Marius Victorinus: Theological Treatises On The Trinity, pp. 3-4).

Sound familiar?  “There is one God, and that one God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are distinct, but not separate....Therefore, God is everything we can conceive of and more!” (Joseph W. Tkach Sr., July 27, 1993.)

Victorinus Priest of Isis and Osiris

“Born and married in Africa, Victorinus later moved to Italy.  ...He is first heard of around 350 [25 years after the Council of Nicaea I], in Rome, where his statue in the Forum of Trajan is a tribute to his eloquence and to the gratitude of the senators he taught.  He was steeped in Neoplatonism and was initiated into the mysteries of Osiris.  His exaggerated spiritual philosophy made him hostile to the body and therefore to the “Word made flesh,” ...In reading the Christian Scriptures, however, Victorinus discovered a deep harmony with his own philosophical ideas on the first principles [ontology, the science or theory of be(ing), cosmology, the science or theory of universal order, and epistemology, the science or theory of knowledge].  Apparently this reading of Scripture opened the mind and heart of Victorinus to receive the gift of faith in Christ as the Divine Son of God.  The year 356 has been declared the most likely date for this conversion, ... Victorinus’s Letter to Candidus was written around 359.  Victorinus lived under three Emperors:  Constantine, Constantius and Julian, disciple of the Neoplatonic philosopher, Iamblichus” (Clark, Marius Victorinus: Theological Treatises On The Trinity, p. 4).

“To understand Victorinus we must be aware of the traditions from which he emerged.  He stood at the crossroads of three different paths:  The traditions of classical Rome—Cicero, Virgil; the new trends in philosophic thought—Plotinus, Porphyry; the new positions of Christianity, with the crisis in conscience these brought for the Roman citizen.  The foundation of Constantinople, the new Christian Rome, reduced the rank of ancient Rome; in 357 the Senate of Constantinople became the equal of the Roman Senate.  Because these three paths meet in Victorinus, he became the leader of the spiritual movement of Platonic Christianity which gained its full strength between 380 and 415.  The whole Fourth Century was a century of conflict between pagan [Mystic or irrational] and [Platonic or rational] Christian culture: the renaissance of pagan culture, the birth of [Platonic] Christian culture.  In the pagan renaissance there was a joining of forces with the magical element in eastern Neoplatonism”  (Clark, Marius Victorinus: Theological Treatises On The Trinity, p. 4).

Proclus The Chaldean410-485 A.D.

“Proclus (A.D. 410-485) was the most important figure in the later Neoplatonism that began with Iamblichus.  Proclus was a Greek born in Constantinople (Byzantium), studied in Alexandria and with Plutarch and Syrianos in Athens, and became the head for the rest of his life of the Platonic academy at Athens (as the heir to this position and to distinguish him from others of the same name he is known as Proclus Diadochus, the “successor”).  Proclus wrote commentaries and an exegetical work (Platonic Theology) on Plato, essays (On Providence and Fate, and others), hymns (of which only a few survive), and major systematic texts (Elements of Physics; Elements of Theology)” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 182).

Marinus The Chaldean

Proclus’ Convert from Samaritan Judaism

“The pupil and immediate successor of Proclus in the academy at Athens was Marinus, who came from Neapolis (Shechem) [the ancient home of Simon Magus] in Palestine, and was a convert to Neoplatonism from Samaritan Judaism” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 182).

Proclus’ Great Admiration for Timaeus of Plato and Chaldean Oracles

“Marinus wrote a biography of Proclus, in which we are told that Proclus once said that if he could, out of all ancient books, he would leave current only the Timaeus of Plato and the Chaldean Oracles” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 182).

Proclus Worshipper of the Sun

“We are also given a description of the religious life of Proclus who, in addition to his heavy schedule of lecturing and writing, worshiped the sun three times a day, observed all the Egyptian holy days, and spent part of the night in prayer and praise” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 183).

Proclus’ Hymn to the Sun

“... In a Hymn to the Sun Proclus salutes the sun and prays:  Image of nature’s all-producing god, And the soul’s leader to the realms of light—Hear! and refine me from the stains of guilt; The supplication of my tears receive ... The punishments incurred by sin remit ... By thy pure law, dread evil’s constant foe, Direct my steps, and pour thy sacred light In rich abundance on my clouded soul” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 183).

Proclus’ Great Influence upon Christian Thought

“The Neoplatonism enunciated at the height of the movement by Proclus in Athens was influential in the system of Christian thought set forth in a series of writings composed in the late fifth century and circulated under the name of Dionysios the Areopagite (Acts 17:34).  In these the unknown author, often considered the father of Christian mysticism, outlines the Celestial Hierarchy [the One] and the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy [the Many—both represent the ancient Chaldean worldview of heaven and earth.  This is the fountainhead of all subsequent Catholic Church doctrine of the hierarchy, see Human Rights in the Middle Ages by Ulhmann], treats the Divine Names [the sacred names of actual demons in high places] that contain the mystery of the divine being [the One], and in Mystical Theology describes the ascent of the soul [of the Many] to the vision of God [the Beatific Vision] (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 183).

“In spite of this positive relationship with some Christian thought, in A.D. 529 the academy at Athens was shut down by a decree of Justinian I, and Athenian Neoplatonism came to an end.  Some of its leaders, however, established themselves thereafter in Byzantium (Constantinople), where later Psellus (A.D. 1018-1079) was notable for his continuation of the ideas of Proclus”  (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, p. 183).

The Demise of the Alexandrian School 642 A.D.

“... in A.D. 415 and under Cyril archbishop of Alexandria (d. A.D. 444) Hypatia, the head of the Neoplatonic school at Alexandria and a lady of high attainment in literature and philosophy, was dragged from her carriage by a mob of fanatical Christians and murdered at the church called Caesareum (Socrates, Church History 7.15).  Finally, with the capture of the city by the Arabs in A.D. 642 the school was shut down. 

“The long line of thought from Orpheus to Pythagoras to Plato and on to Plato’s followers would, however, not end,...” (Finegan, Myth & Mystery, pp. 184-185).

The Philosophic (Chaldean) One

Notice the Philosophic Eternal Distinctions of Pater, Logos and Pneuma

in the Trinitarian Formulation 

“There are then (as the statement may run) three Persons (Hypostases) or real distinctions in the unity of the divine Nature or Substance [ousia], which is Love.

Notice the Philosophic Consubstantiality of the Logos in the Trinitarian Formulation

The Persons are co-equal, inasmuch as in each of them the divine Nature is one and undivided, and by each the collective divine attributes are shared.  As a ‘person’ in Trinitarian usage is more than a mere aspect of being, being a real ground of experience and function, each divine Person, while less than a separate individuality, possesses His own hypostatic character or characteristic property (...). 

Notice the Philosophic Logos of the Greeks in the Trinitarian Formulation 

The hypostatic characters of the Persons may be viewed from an internal and an external standpoint, i.e. with reference to the inner constitution of the Godhead or to the Godhead as related to the cosmos or world of manifestation.

Notice the Philosophic Eternal Generation of the Logos in the Trinitarian Formulation 

Viewed ab intra, the hypostatic character of the Father is ingeneration (...), of the Son; filiation, of the Spirit procession; wherefore, ‘the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.’ [Westminster Confession, ii,3]. 

Notice the Philosophic Double Procession from the Father and the Son in the Trinitarian Formulation

Viewed ab intra, the hypostatic character of the Father is ingeneration (...), of the Son; filiation, of the Spirit procession; wherefore, ‘the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.’ [Westminster Confession, ii, 3].

The Philosophic (Chaldean) Many

Viewed ab extra (for Love functions externally as well as internally, is centrifugal as well as centripetal [Cf. S.A. McDowall, Evolution and the Doctrine of the Trinity, Cambridge, 1918, p. 53 f.], the hypostatic character of the Father is made manifest in creation, whereby a world is provided for beings who should be capable of experiencing fellowship with the divine Love; the hypostatic character of the Son in redemption, whereby the alienating power of sin is overcome; and the hypostatic character of the Spirit in sanctification, whereby human nature is quickened and renewed and shaped to the divine likeness.  Yet, while this is said, as there is no separation in the unity of the Godhead, so the one God is manifested in the threefold work of creation, redemption, and sanctification; moreover, each of the Persons as sharing the divine attributes is active in the threefold work, if with varying stress of function.  Verily the doctrine of the Trinity exit in mysterium”  (Fulton, Trinity, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, pp. 459-460).


A P P E N D I X

Origin and History of the Magi

The year 2094 B.C. was critical in the developing history of the Middle East.  100 years (2194-2094 B.C.) after Shem began the re-conquest of the Middle East at Erech by routing the forces of Nimrod; the “reincarnated” Nimrod launched an expeditionary force against Erech.  That same year Horus opened a second front by leading an expedition into the territory of Shem and Japheth who had colonized the Danube Valley, the part of Europe we know today as Yugoslavia, Hungry, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Austria and Germany.

Horus led the first Assyrian and Elamite migrations into Europe in the year of 2094.  The Assyrians were his kinsmen, the Elamites were his slaves.  This expeditionary force swept up the Mesopotamian Valley, into Asia Minor and up the Danube into Europe.  At some point Horus turned west toward what is today France and Belgium and settled in the uncolonized areas of Western Europe.  Horus ruled in Western Europe until 2048 at which time he was forced to return to Mesopotamia due to the activities of his duplicitous mother Semiramis.  Horus or Zames relinquished personal dominion over Western Europe to his son Magus and returned to Assyrian Mesopotamia.  Following is a short listing of the dynasty Horus founded in Western Europe as preserved by Aylett Sammes in his work:  Britannia Antiqua Illustrata: or, the Antiquities of Ancient Britain.  London, 1676. 

King  

Years of Reign

Commentary

Horus

2094-2048

Son of Asshur and Semiramis. Called Samothes, Zeus, Jupiter. Is the Gilgamesh of Erech.

Magus

2048-1997

Son of Horus. Father of the Magi who migrated into Persia from Europe soon after the collapse of the Celtic Empire of Western Europe, circa 1076 B.C.

Thus, the rulers of early France and Belgium were Assyrians of the line of Asshur, Semiramis and Horus.  The Celts were Assyrian and not Aramean Goths. The main settlements of Chaldean Hebrews was centered around the Danube in the region of Yugoslavia, Hungary and Romania. 

The Magi show up in Near Eastern history in the 900’s B.C. as the sixth tribe of the Medes.  “The Old Persian word magu, rendered in Greek by magos, is of uncertain etymology.  It may originally have meant “member of the tribe,” as in the Avestan compound magu-tbish (“hostile to a member of the tribe”).  This meaning would have been further restricted, among the Medes, to “member of the priestly tribe” and perhaps to “priest” (Benveniste, 1938; Boyce, 1982).  The term is probably of Median origin, given that Herodotus mentions the “Magoi” as one of the six tribes of the Medes.”  (Eliade, Magi, The Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol. 9, p. 79.)

In 612 B.C., the Medes and their Chaldean confederates toppled the Assyrian Empire forever.  The new Median Empire stretched from an area running just below the Black Sea in Asia Minor to the Indus Valley of India, while the confederate Babylonian Empire straddled the ancient Fertile Crescent!  With this conquest came the ancient Magi of the Medes.  The Roman Geographer Strabo attests to the numeric strength and influence of these Chaldean and Magian priests of the Kingdom of Pontus well down into the period of the Roman Empire and its long rule over Asia Minor. 

Rulers of Middle Eastern Empires at the time of Plato

Nation

King

Years

Dates

Persia

Artaxerxes II Mnemon

 

404-358

Egypt

Yewepet Mendes XXIX

21

399-378

Egypt

Myrtaios Ammonodotos, Amyrteos or Amonortais Sais XXVII

22

421-399

Egypt

Smendes Tanis XXI

26

417-391

Egypt

Psusennes I Tanis XXI

46

391-345

Judah

John (Jonathan) the murderous High Priest

 

 

 

The White Canaanites of Arcadius

Arcadius, one of the white sons of Canaan, was migrating toward the Grecian peninsula.  These sons of Arcadius were the original Greeks!  Arcadius is the father of the Arkites (Gen 10:17).  The Arcadians migrated toward Greece beginning in 2189 B.C. arriving in Arcadia Peloponnese by 2063 B.C., founding Sicyon, the oldest city-state in Greece.

King list of Aegialea (Sicyon)

     Aegialeus                    52     2063-2011    Eber-father of Hebrews

      Europs                         45     2011-1966

      Telchin                        20     1966-1946

      Apis                            25     1946-1921

      Thelxion                      52     1921-1869

      Aegydrus                     34     1869-1835    Argos founded in 1858

                                                                         Line of Agamemnon

Tiras, son of Japheth.  His white descendants settled Thrace.

Javan Father of the “Hellenistic” Greeks

Javan, son of Japheth.  His white descendants settled in Greece in 2189 B.C.  “but from Javan, Ionia, and all the Grecians are derived.  ...Of the three sons of Javan also, the son of Japhet, Elisa gave name to the Eliseans, who were his subjects; they are now the Aeolians” (Josephus Bk I, Ch V, p.40).  They lived in a large part of east-central Greece before 1150 B.C.  “Toward the end of the 1100’s, other Greeks called Dorians [Midianites] invaded Aeolian territory, and many Aeolians moved to the western coast of Asia Minor, the nearby islands of Lesbos and Tenedos.  The coastal district was known as Aeolis”  (Aeolians, World Book Encyclopedia).

© Carl D. Franklin

September 16, 1993

June 5, 1996

 

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