163. THE DIVINE TRINITY
I have discussed God the Creator, and at the same time the creation, and then the Lord the Redeemer, and at the same time the process of redemption; and now finally the Holy Spirit, and at the same time how God works. So having discussed God the Three-in-one, I must now also discuss the Divine Trinity, a subject familiar to Christian people, yet actually one they know nothing about. For this is the only way of acquiring a correct idea of God; and a correct idea of God is to the congregation like the sanctuary and altar in a church, or like a crown on the head and a sceptre in the hand of a king, as he sits upon his throne. From this hangs the whole body of theology, like a chain from its anchor-point. If you are prepared to believe me, the idea everyone has of God determines his place in the heavens. It is like the touchstone used to test gold and silver, that is to say, it tests the nature of the good and truth a person has. For he cannot have any good which leads to salvation except from God, nor any truth which does not get its quality from the good deep within it. But to reveal the nature of the Divine Trinity so that it can be seen by both eyes, the discussion must be split up into propositions, as follows.
(i) There is a Divine Trinity consisting of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (ii) Those three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are the three essentials of a single God, which make one as soul, body and activity do with a person. (iii) This Trinity did not exist before the creation of the world, but it was provided and made after the creation of the world, when God became incarnate, and then it was in the Lord God, the Redeemer and Saviour, Jesus Christ. (iv) A Trinity of Divine persons from eternity, or existing before the creation of the world, implies thinking about a Trinity of Gods; and this thought cannot be banished by a verbal confession of belief in one God. (v) The Trinity of persons was unknown to the Apostolic church, but was the invention of the Council of Nicaea, leading to its introduction into the Roman Catholic church, and thus to the churches which split from it. (vi) The Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicaea and by Athanasius caused a faith to arise which has perverted the whole Christian church. (vii) This is the source of the abomination of desolation and the affliction such as never has been nor shall be, both of which the Lord predicted in Daniel, the Gospels and Revelation. (viii) Further, unless a new heaven and a new church are founded by the Lord, no flesh can be saved. (ix) From a Trinity of persons, each of which individually is God, as asserted by the Athanasian Creed, many absurd ideas of various kinds have arisen about God, which are mere fancies and abortions.
These propositions will now be explained one by one.