Re: Year of Destiny?

George Murphy (
Thu, 09 Sep 1999 10:39:51 -0400

Dick Fischer wrote:
> As I have mentioned before, the early Accadians worshipped a triune god, or
> at least a triad, it is hard to know exactly whether their view of the
> Godhead was the same as ours, but at least it was similar. The second in
> the hierarchy was the god Ea, adopted by the Sumerians as "Enki" meaning
> "lord of the earth." Ea was the god of wisdom and the creator of mankind. .........................
& the Hindus & Celts & no doubt many others have had such triads. The
Jehovah's Witnesses are fond of claiming that the doctrine of the Trinity is
Babylonian paganism. In fact, however, there is no connection. Where one might
expect to see any such influence, in the Old Testament, it is completely absent:
One sees the God of the OT in trinitarian terms only in light of the NT. The only thing
the Christian doctrine of the Trinity has in common with these other belief systems is
the number 3.
The Christian understanding of God as Trinity is not a metaphysical speculation
about the threefold character of the divine. It is the way Christians (beginning in the
NT) eventually found they had to speak of God in light of their belief that God is
definitively revealed in the life, death, & resurrection. The doctrine (or really
doctrines, because of course different theologians have tried to express it in different
ways) is a statement about Jesus of Nazareth, the One he trusted in & prayed to as
Father, and their mutual Spirit. When trinitarian thought becomes detached from this
reference - as it for too long was in western theology - then it becomes arid &
pointless philosophizing. E.g., the speculation that the Father or the Spirit could
have become incarnate instead of the Son has nothing at all to do with the content
of Christian trinitarian thought.

George L. Murphy