The Trinity -- Central Doctrine of the Catholic Faith
The Council of Constantinople
"At the beginning of the year 381 Theodosius issued an edict expelling from all the churches within his dominions, all the bishops and other ecclesiastics who should refuse to subscribe to the creed of Nice." Milman 'History of Christianity,' book iii, chap. ix, p. 391, 392.
Up until this time the main part of the controversy was over the relationship of the Father and His Son. But with this new creed the addition of the Holy Spirit as a third individual was added. It was thus that the actual doctrine of the Trinity was first presented in a creed. "The burning question of the decades succeeding the Council of Nicaea was how to state the relations of the Three Person of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The council had decided, and the papacy had appropriated the decision as its own" Benjamin G. Wilkinson, Truth Triumphant, p. 93.
"The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the church..." Handbook for Today's Catholic, p. 11.
[Note: This fact is fraught with deep and serious implications affecting the Everlasting Gospel, the Atonement, and the Sanctuary Message. Ron B.]
(Continuing above quote):
"The church studied this mystery with great care and, after four centuries of clarification, decided to state the doctrine in this way: in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons,--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit..." (Handbook for Today's Catholic, page 11).
"Our opponents [Protestants] sometimes claim that no belief should be held dogmatically which is not explicitly stated in Scripture (ignoring that it is only on the authority of the Church we recognize certain Gospels and not others as true). But the Protestant churches have themselves accepted such dogmas as the Trinity for which there is no such precise authority in the Gospels..." (Life Magazine, October 30, 1950).
The Catholic Church did not acquire the doctrine of the Trinity from the Bible, but rather adopted it from pagan religions.
"The Platonic trinity, itself merely a rearrangement of older trinities dating back to earlier peoples, appears to be the national philosophic trinity of attributes that gave birth to the three hypostases or divine persons taught by the Christian churches.... This Greek philosopher's [Plato, fourth century B.C.] conception of the divine trinity... can be found in all the ancient [pagan] religions." (Paris, 1865-1870, Nouveau Dictionnaire Universel, edited by M. Lachatre, Vol. 2, page 1467).
Note: Ellen White stated that the Omega of Apostasy would involve the substitution of intellectual philosophy for pillar doctrines such as the Sanctuary and the Atonement. The Trinity doctrine does that very thing. She also stated that the Omega heresy would involve the presence and the personality of Christ. The trinity doctrine does that very thing! There is no question that the Trinity doctrine, as embraced by the SDA church in the early 1930's, is the main thrust element of the Omega of Apostasy, with all other apostasies trailing as symptoms of this greatest of all heresies ever construed by man.
"The eternal Godhead--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost--is involved in the action required to make assurance to the human agent,... confederating the heavenly powers with the human that man may become, through heavenly efficiency, partakers of the divine nature and workers together with Christ." E.G. White, The Upward Look, p. 148.
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit pledged THEMSELVES for our redemption in the very beginning. E.G. White, Councils on Health, 222.
The plural pronoun "THEMSELVES," in the above statement refers
to the Father, the Son, and their Holy Spirit, which was the ONE, ETERNAL
SPIRIT, the innate person of THEMSELVES, the Father and the Son, until that
innate Holy Spirit became the SUCCESSOR of Christ at the Incarnation, as a
regenerating gift to us.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the THREE HOLY DIGNITARIES OF HEAVEN. E.G. White, Manuscript 92, 1901.
Ellen White is speaking of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit AFTER the Incarnation. This does not prove that the Holy Spirit functioned as a separate person SUCCESSOR to Christ before the Incarnation, nor does it prove that the Holy Spirit was indeed a separate third person before the Incarnation. Proof that the Holy Spirit was not a separate third person before the Incarnation is the fact that:
THE HOLY SPIRIT was the ONE, ETERNAL SPIRIT that was COMMON TO BOTH the Father and the Son. When Christ laid off His sharing of that ONE, ETERNAL SPIRIT, at His Incarnation, as a gift for us, and to satisfy the Testator Covenant's specification that the Testator must die, it is then that there became three different personages in heaven:
We all know that we are told by Ellen White that Divinity cannot die. So what about the Testator Covenant which specifies that the death of the Testator is required, and that the Testator was the Divine person of Jesus, the Son? The answer to this paradox is that Christ indeed "died" to His first estate as PURE DIVINITY, when laying off His Royal Robes and Crown at His Incarnation. This was as FOREVER "death" to Christ's first BEING, as experienced before His Incarnation.
How do we know for ABSOLUTE SURETY that prior to the Incarnation the Father and the Son SHARED THE ONE ETERNAL HOLY SPIRIT? Because the Bible says that there is ONLY ONE SPIRIT; THE ONE ETERNAL SPIRIT. If there was ONE ETERNAL SPIRIT plus the Holy Spirit as a separate person, the Father as a separate person, the Son as a separate person, that would add up to four persons of the Godhead:
Hbr 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
1Cr 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
1Cr 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Eph 4:4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the THREE LIVING PERSONS OF THE HEAVENLY TRIO." E.G. White, Bible Training School Articles, 1906.
The heavenly trio became three separate living persons when the innate Holy Spirit, common to both the Father and Christ, became a successor to Christ at His Incarnation. However, the heavenly trio of Father, Son and their shared ONE ETERNAL SPIRIT, were always part of the heavenly trio.
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the THREE POWERS OF HEAVEN," ibid, 1906.
Again, Ellen White is speaking of the heavenly trio after it became such AFTER THE INCARNATION of the Son. It was then that there was three separate persons, It was then that the Holy Spirit common to both the Father and the Son, became Christ's successor after He laid off His Holy Spirit as previously shared with the Father, at His Incarnation.
The same explanation (as above) applies again for the following two similar statements by EGW:
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the THREE DIGNITARIES AND POWERS OF HEAVEN." E.G. White, Manuscript 85, 1901.
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the THREE GREAT PERSONAL DIGNITARIES OF HEAVEN." E.G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 959.
The same facts (as above) apply to the following statements by Ellen White:
"From the beginning, God has been working by His HOLY SPIRIT through human instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose in behalf of the fallen race. This was manifest in the lives of the patriarchs. To the church in the wilderness also, in the time of Moses, God gave His "good Spirit to instruct them." Nehemiah 9:20. And in the days of the apostles He wrought mightily for His church through the agency of the HOLY SPIRIT. The SAME POWER that sustained the patriarchs, that gave Caleb and Joshua faith and courage, and that made the work of the apostolic church effective, has upheld God's faithful children IN EVERY SUCCEEDING AGE. It was through the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT that during the Dark Ages the Waldensian Christians helped to prepare the way for the Reformation. It was the same POWER that made successful the efforts of the noble men and women who pioneered the way for the establishment of modern missions and for the translation of the Bible into the languages and dialects of all nations and peoples." [Acts of the Apostles, p. 53].
It is interesting to note that the Waldensians were known for their disbelief in the Trinity doctrine. The Holy Spirit worked directly through Jesus and the Father from eternity for the benefit of man, but there was no need of a third person successor to Jesus, as far as His Holy Spirit was concerned, until the Incarnation, when humanity cumbered His Divine Nature and made His omnipresence impossible.
“Cumbered with humanity Christ could not be in every place personally, therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them to go to His Father and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit.” E.G. White, (Manuscript Releases Volume 14 (No’s 1081-1135) MR No.1084.