From Scripture

Saint John the Theologian writes, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” (John 15:26)
We can see that this relationship shows the mystical inner relations of the Persons in God and the life of God within Himself.
Saint Matthew says,
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
(Matt 28:19)
Saint Paul tells us,
“The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God , and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.” (II Cor. 13:14)
Again, from the words of Saint John the Theologian,
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one.” (1John 5:7)


The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity

It has been a part of Church Doctrine since Apostolic times. Saint Polycarp (70 - 155) writes, "O Lord God almighty...I bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever" The Trinitarian doctrine was formalized in the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 325. At this council there were 318 bishops and over 1500 attendees. At the time there was an innovator named Arius from Alexandria who had a different idea about the nature of God. He believed that the Son was only a creature. This meant that there was a time when Christ did not exist. The Church Fathers came together to defend the Apostolic truth. The Apostolic Tradition was upheld and the Creed which we recite to this day was formulated. In their defense of the Tradition they used the example of martyrs who stood witness to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They also used the writings of the Apostolic Fathers and other ancient Christian writers. They quoted expressions that were used in the Divine services including the small doxology and others. They also pointed out that the Trinitarian expression was used in baptism from the first days of the Church. The defense was overwhelming with evidence of the true path.


Making the Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

The right hand is used. The thumb, index, and middle finger are brought to a point. They are then placed on the forehead, then moved down to the sternum, and then from the right shoulder to the other.
As one moves through the Sign, one recites, at the forehead, "In the name of the Father"; at the stomach, "and of the Son"; across the shoulders, "and of the Holy Spirit”; and in the end, "Amen." There are several interpretations, according to Church Fathers: the forehead symbolizes the Heaven; the stomach, the Earth; the shoulders, the place and sign of power. Also, the hand to the forehead may be seen as a prayer to the Father for wisdom; the hand to the stomach as a prayer to the Son who become incarnate; and the hand to the shoulders as a prayer to the Holy Spirit.
The thumb, index and middle finger brought to a point symbolize the Trinity, three persons sharing a single essence. The remaining two fingers are kept pressed close together and to the palm, representing the human and divine natures united in Jesus Christ.

What Does the Bible Tell Us About God?

Here are some references to what is said about God in the Bible:
When Moses stood at the burning bush and asked by what name should he call Him, God replied, I AM WHO I AM (Ex. 3:14) (Jehovah in Hebrew)

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev 1:8)

God is Spirit - the words to the Samaritan woman (John 4:24)

The Lord is that Spirit (II Cor 3:17)

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5)

God is love (I John 4:8, 16)

Our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29)

The Fathers of the Orthodox Church use the expression, “He who is above all being” to describe God. Since we cannot know His essence we can only speak of some attributes of God. Saint Gregory the Theologian writes, “God is a sea of being, immeasurable and limitless.” Saint Basil the Great says, “God is the fullness of all qualities and perfections in their highest and infinite form.” Saint Ireanaeus of Lyons tells us, God “is simple and incomplex; He is entirely feeling, entirely spirit, entirely thought, entirely mind, entirely source of all good things.”

Attributes of God
We can only speak of the attributes of God, but not of His essence. Here are some of the attributes of God we know from what has been revealed to us. You need to loosen your rational mind and allow these attributes to resonate with your own essence. Meditate on them and allow your mind to embrace what is not totally rational. Knowing God is more like getting to know a new friend than learning a new subject. Remember that whatever you think God is, that He is not. God is not definable. The following are attributes, qualities or characteristics, but not definitions of God. They cannot limit God in any way.

God as Spirit
God is Spirit (John 4:24)
The Lord is a Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty
(IICor 3:17)

God as Eternal
Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,
     And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
    They will perish, but You will endure;
     Yes, they will all grow old like a garment;
     Like a cloak You will change them,
     And they will be changed.
    But You are the same,
     And Your years will have no end. (Ps. 102:25-27)

God as All Good
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. (Ps 103:8)
God is love (1John 4:16)

God as All-Knowing
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Heb 4:13)
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. (Ps 139:16)
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! (Rom 11:33)

God as All-Righteous
Means both holiness and justice.
Holiness is the presence of higher spiritual values, joined to purity from sin. Angels constantly testify to the holiness of God by ceaselessly crying out Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory! (Is 6:3)
He shall judge the world in righteousness (Ps 9:8)
The Lord will render to each one according to his deeds, For there is no partiality with God. (Rom 2:6, 11)

God as Almighty - All-Powerful
For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. (Ps 33:9)
He is the Pantocrator, the almighty or the one who rules over all.
He is the one Who only does wondrous things! (Ps 72:18)

God as Omnipresent - Present everywhere at the same time
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
         Or where can I flee from Your presence?
  If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
         If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
         And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
  Even there Your hand shall lead me,
         And Your right hand shall hold me. (Ps 139:7-10)
God is not subject to limits of space, but He fills everything. He is present in every place.
“The Divinity penetrates everything without being mingled with anything, but nothing can penetrate Him.” (St. John Damascene)
“That God is present everywhere we know, but how, we do not understand, because we can understand only a sensuous presence, and it is not given to us to understand fully the Nature of God.” (Saint John Chrysostom)

God as Unchangeable
In the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

God as Self-Sufficing to Himself and All-Blessed
Self-sufficing signifies the fullness of possession, complete blessedness, the fullness of all good things.
In God is the sufficiency of all good things. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! Exclaims Apostle Paul, or of Him and through Him and to Him are all things. (Romans 11:33, 26)
God has no need for anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. (Acts 17:25)
He is all blessed - according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God (1 Tim 1:11); which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords. (1Tim 6:15)

God as Unity
There is no God but one. (1Cor 8:4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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