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This was produced in the 15th century by Andrei Rublev's icon of the Trinity, a highly regarded Russian orthodox artist:

Andrei Rublev's icon of the Trinity

It interprets the three men of Genesis 18 as being physical visitations of the Godhead.

How is this interpretation of Genesis 18 received by the Roman Catholic Church, modern Eastern Orthodox, the CoE, and the Free churches?

Are there any theological texts from the Midrash, early church fathers, or theologians that support Rublev's depicted interpretation of this passage?

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This question is very broad, since you ask for 4 distinct answers. Can you narrow the focus by asking about a single denomination? –  Flimzy Aug 12 '14 at 22:44
Can you explain in more detail what exactly is depicted? Did he think that the three men were the three persons of the trinity? It would be better to ask directly about that rather than talking about the icon. –  curiousdannii Aug 13 '14 at 3:55
The Midrash says that an angel is never sent on more than one mission at a time. One to bring the news of Sodom and Gomorrah, the next the news of Isaac, and the third one had to go and rescue Lot. I am not sure that this would support the Trinity view - just angels about their business. –  gideon marx Aug 13 '14 at 8:57
Something tells me that you're unlikely to find a Midrash that supports the Christian doctrine of the Trinity... –  Steven Doggart Aug 13 '14 at 12:46

2 Answers 2

Catholic Perspective

The Navarre Bible - Pentateuch explanatory note on Gen 18:1-15 has in part:

This new appearance of God to Abraham is somewhat mysterious: the three men stand for God. When Abraham speaks to them, sometimes he addresses them in singular (as if there were only one person there: cf. v.3), and sometimes in the plural (as if they were three: cf. v.4). That is why some Fathers interpreted this appearance as an early announcement of the mystery of the Holy Trinity; others, following Jewish tradition (cf. Heb 13:2) take these personages to be angels. The sacred text says that one of the three men ([the LORD]), apparently stays with Abraham (cf. v. 22), while the other two, who are referred to as angels, go to Sodom (cf. 19:1).

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How is this interpretation of Genesis 18 received by the Roman Catholic Church - the post wrote. I do not see why there should be a -1 downvote against my answer. –  FMS Jan 15 at 18:24

Augustine, for one:

"Do you see that Abraham meets Three but bows down to One? ... Having beheld Three, he understood the mystery of the Trinity, and having bowed down to One, he confessed One God in Three Persons."

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This looks like a good find -- do you have a source for it? –  Nathaniel Aug 4 at 20:58

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