Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How early Christians developed the doctrine of the Trinity

Trinity-SymbolAnd that is how Theology started. People already knew about God in a vague way. Then came a man who claimed to be God; and yet He was not the sort of man you could dismiss as a lunatic. He made them believe Him. They met Him again after they had seen Him killed. And then, after they had been formed into a little society or community, they found God somehow inside them as well: directing them, making them able to do things they could not do before. And when they worked it all out they found they had arrived at the Christian definition of the three-personal God.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 163.


  1. Hi Ken - If you're curious about this topic, you'll probably enjoy A History of God by Karen Armstrong (which includes a remarkable chapter on the Trinity):

    The view of most historians, theologians and scholars paints a different picture than your summary has (for reasons other than its brevity). Many of the reasons for arriving at the definition of a three-personal god had to do with political pressure and revisionist tinkering with earlier scripture, which raises some interesting questions about why we believe the things we do.

  2. Hi Brian:

    It's great that you found and visited the Mere C.S. Lewis blog. I hope you'll enjoy reading more of Lewis. I know I've greatly benefited from it.

    You mentioned 'my summary' of the teaching about the Trinity. In fact, it is not "my summary," but the words of Lewis. In the blog proper, I do not present my ideas; I only present excerpts from Lewis's writings.

    Now, I do happen to believe in the three-personal God for reasons including what Lewis wrote and beyond. And in my spirituality, I have encountered God as Father, Son and Spirit, just as Lewis describes in a reading a couple of days after this one.

    Anyhow, thanks for stopping by. I did have a look at the book you recommended. I want to continue studying the documents of the early Christian church and see what they really do tell us about the first couple centuries.

    Thanks again,

  3. Good Information here.  Thanks a lot