top of page

What is the Origin of the Trinity Doctrine

What is the Origin of the Trinity Doctrine?

It was about a century after Tertullian when Arianism began causing so many disputes that Constantine convened the first ecumenical Council in Church history to settle them. Arius was an elder in the Alexandrian Church in the early fourth century that taught Christ truly is the begotten Son of God and why God is called His Father to state the obvious. A real Father and Son in other words. Opposing the teachings of Arius was Athanasius, a deacon also from Alexandria. His view was an early form of Trinitarianism where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are said to be all the same one god but distinct from each other making it impossible for them to be a real Father and Son. His view was a worsening change to what Tertullian believed with the Holy Spirit not yet claimed to be a literal being. That came later.

Mainstream history says Arius taught Christ was created, but the Church burnt all copies of his book Thalia which contained what Arius believed thus hiding what he really taught. Some historians claim they then altered records and falsely rumoured that he taught Christ was created in order to discredit him. The Catholic Church is known for creating false historical records to their interpretation of events to hide the real truth. Consider the following for instance.

The view of Athanasius was highly influenced by Origen who was a Greek philosopher and theologian who reinterpreted Christian doctrine through the philosophy of Neoplatonism. His work was later condemned as unorthodox. Origen taught the doctrine of Purgatory, transubstantiation, transmigration and reincarnation of the soul, the Holy Spirit was a feminine force, Jesus was only a created being, there would be no physical resurrection, the creation account in Genesis is a fictitious story and is known to have publicly castrated himself based on Matthew 19. Arius on the other hand was a pupil of Lucian of Antioch. Lucian was responsible for the work that gave us what is known as the Textus Receptus which was completed by Erasmus, and is what gave us the trusted New Testament of the KJV Bible. These and other facts reveal that Athanasius was influenced by Greek philosophy and that Arius probably taught Biblical truth despite mainstream history.

Some believe Constantine was the first Christian Roman Emperor, but he was actually a sun worshiper who was baptized on his deathbed. During his reign he had his eldest son and his wife murdered. His belief at best was a blend of paganism and Christianity for political purposes, and so he neither cared nor really understood this dispute, but was just eager to bring the controversy to a close and keep unity in his empire. When the bishops gathered at Nicea on May 20, 325 AD to resolve the crisis, very few shared Athanasius's view of Christ as most held a position midway between Athanasius and Arius. The religious debates lasted two months before the Council rejected the minority view of Arius, but having no alternative, Constantine approved the view of Athanasius, which was also a minority view. And so the Church was left supporting a belief held by only a minority of those attending.

The Encyclopedia Britannica states: “Constantine himself presided, actively guiding the discussions, and personally proposed ... the crucial formula expressing the relation of Christ to God in the creed issued by the council ... Overawed by the emperor, the bishops, with two exceptions only, signed the creed, many of them much against their inclination.” — (1971 edition, Vol. 6, “Constantine,” p. 386)

Horrific religious persecution followed the decision made by Constantine who was essentially a pagan Emperor who imposed an invented creed never preached by Jesus. Constantine exiled those who refused to accept the creed as well as the bishops who signed the creed but refused to join in condemnation of Arius. But several years later Constantine became lenient toward those he condemned and exiled at the council and allowed them to return. In AD 335, they brought accusations against Athanasius and so now Constantine had Athanasius banished! This was not about Biblical truth.

Many of the Bishops who formulated the doctrine of the Trinity were steeped in Greek and Platonic philosophy, which influenced their religious views. In fact the language they used in defining the Trinity is taken directly from Platonic and Greek philosophy. The Platonic term trias, meaning three, was Latinized as trinitas, which gave us the English word Trinity which is neither biblical nor Christian. As Bible scholars John McClintock and James Strong (wrote the famous Strong's Concordance) explain, “Towards the end of the 1st century, and during the 2nd, many learned men came over both from Judaism and paganism to Christianity. These brought with them into the Christian schools of theology their Platonic ideas and phraseology.” — (Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, 1891, Vol. 10, “Trinity,” p. 553)

So the Trinity was not derived from scripture, but was conceived in philosophy. Greek philosophers were greatly influenced by Plato (427-347 BC) who was considered the greatest of all Greek philosophers. Plato was ingrained with Trinitarian thought and knew that all the ancient religions had triad deities, and so he desired to come up with a better definition to define God above all the deities of Greek mythology.

The Council of Nicea did not end the controversy and the bishops went on teaching as they had before, and the Arian crisis continued for another sixty years. Athanasius was exiled no fewer than five times and it was very difficult to make his creed stick. The ongoing disputes were violent and bloody at times as Christians slaughtered one another over their differing views of God. Noted historian Will Durant writes, “Probably more Christians were slaughtered by Christians in these two years (342-3) than by all the persecutions of Christians by pagans in the history of Rome.” — (The Story of Civilization, Vol. 4: The Age of Faith, 1950, p. 8)

Disputes eventually became over the nature of the Holy Spirit. So 44 years after Constantine's death in May 381 AD, Emperor Theodosius, baptized only a year earlier, convened the Council of Constantinople to resolve them. Theodosius favoured the Nicene Creed and so after his arrival in Constantinople he expelled the bishop Demophilus, and surrendered the Churches there to Gregory of Nazianzus who was the leader of a small Nicene community there, and one of three men that became known as “the three Cappadocians.” These three men had an agenda at this council which was for the first time to push the idea of the Holy Spirit as a literal being. Gregory was recently appointed as archbishop of Constantinople, but due to illness, Nectarius, an elderly city senator had to take over the role of archbishop and presided over the council. And so Nectarius was baptized for the job and the Trinitarian view on the Holy Spirit was governed by someone with little or no knowledge of theology! What resulted became known as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed where they now decided that the Holy Spirit was a literal being. Any who disagreed were in accordance with the edicts of the emperor and Church authorities branded heretics and dealt with accordingly.

This final teaching on the nature of God is what became the Trinity as it is generally understood today. It was not decided so much from Scripture but from Greek philosophy, much bloodshed and whoever held the most power.

bottom of page