Is there evidence that Plotinus and the Neoplatonists got their philosophy of their 'trinity' from the Bible or from Christian sources? Or the other way round, was Augustine influenced by Plotinus when he developed the doctrine of the Trinity?

  • Sorry, I'm not clear what you're asking. Can you please rephrase? What is your specific question? – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Oct 7 '13 at 15:27
  • It is not compulsory to believe in the Trinity. There are much more complicated things than the Trinity in the Bible. – Mawia Oct 7 '13 at 15:53
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    "in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" and Trinity isn't an "either or". It's a "both and". – crownjewel82 Oct 7 '13 at 16:54
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    This question seems to imply that God is somehow defined by us and our own imagination. That's heretical view. Non-heretical view is that we have the concept of the Trinity because it is a description of what,who God is not because we made it up. – David Stratton Oct 7 '13 at 17:19
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    @gideonmarx no human has ever fully understood God, but God does want us to understand many things about him - that's why he revealed himself to us. The Trinity isn't a test, it's how God has revealed himself to us. The more we understand about God, the more we can truly know God, and knowing God closely is something we should all aim for! – curiousdannii Oct 11 '13 at 3:55

This answer was suggested when the question was:

Why do we need the Trinity in Christianity when we have 'in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit? What is wrong with that?

Why embrace something so complex (the Trinity concept) that only a few people can understand it?

Merely believing in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit leaves open too many possibilities, most of which were long ago ruled out as heresies. The Trinity is a label for the concept of a God who is a complex unity. If you say you are Trinitarian then you are saying you believe all three persons are divine, that all three are uncreated, that all three are equally eternal, that all three are distinct, that all three are united together, etc. You could still have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit while rejecting the trinity by believing any of the classical heresies. The Trinity may be hard to understand, but the heresies and the problems they lead to are often fairly straightforward.

  • I am very happy to accept your answer as partly answering my question as you left out homoousios. Giving God a substance is in my book highly presumptious. He was before there was substance – gideon marx Oct 7 '13 at 20:09
  • Yes, the incarnation is an important part of the doctrine of the trinity - the second person of the godhead took on human flesh and became Jesus. Before that time he was known as the Word. Our understand of the incarnation was clarified by rejecting heresies such as: Adoptionism, Docetism and Psilanthropism. This Wikipedia page lists many important early heresies. – curiousdannii Oct 8 '13 at 1:09

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