The popularization of the idea, though was somewhat linguistic in that when speaking of God and the Holy Spirit, different words were used that could mean "person," "nature," "essence," or "substance," -- words that were part of a longer, and far older tradition, but not adopted by the new Church .
Later, to echo this interpretation, the French Dominican Yves Conger, wrote that the Spirit of God was equal to the Spirit of Wisdom -- intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle
However, we must realize, too, that there was a long and rich tradition within the Ancient Near East. Whether one subscribes to the idea that essential mythos was something common arising out of civilization and being passed forward, or that each individual religion of the Ancient World was divinely inspired by its own set of beings, the concept of the Trinity is neither new, nor linked inexorably to the New Testament. This tradition actually enhances the philosophical construct for the idea of the conception of the Trinity prior to Jesus -- the primacy of the nature of the concept is documented as more than a nomadic tradition, but an actual way of viewing God through the eyes of man.
This is important background in that as modern Christians turn to the words of Paul to explore and examine the way the resurrection is utilized as not just a portal into the nature of God, but the future and appropriateness of God's message to mankind. Of course, we must realize that the source for the issue is Biblical, a series of over sixty books and letters arranged in a more or less chronological order, by over forty authors in three different languages- Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The written material covers over fourteen hundred years and events in Asia, Africa, and Europe. The authors range from poor people to kings, from Hebrew fishermen to Greek doctors. The New Testament books were written before 100 AD but were not put together until 367 AD by Athanasius and the councils of Hippo (393 AD (Poole, 2003). In addition, the Bible has manuscript support from twenty four thousand copies made, compared to, for example, the works of Caesar, which had only ten copies. There is concordance between Biblical histories and secular sources such as various Roman writings by Flavius Josephus and Pliny, Governor of Bithynia. There is also archaeological evidence from many sources such as the tablets unearthed from Edla / Northern Syria, Dead Sea Scrolls, etc. that do not contradict the Biblical accounts (Poole, 2003; McDowell, 1999).
Judaism conceives of God as transcendent, above nature and the world, yet God communicates with people through various media, such as the kabalistic tradition, which holds that God has voluntarily relinquished some control over the world, granting free will on humanity, thus allowing the opportunity to prove its own level of maturity. Because the God of Judaism is formless, invisible, and beyond the capacity of humans to comprehend, it has, since its earliest days, avoided artistic portrayals that might be confused with attempts to depict the deity.
Thus, in order to fully understand the Judaic concept of monotheism, one must first understand the structure of the basic Judaic system. God is linked with Israel through the Torah, which is divine self-disclosure through speech. This relationship is stabilized through Israel's loyalty to the one God. Consequently, along another line of thought, the obedience of Israel through the Torah's commandments (Mitzvot) brings reality to its perfection, with the coming of the Messiah. Though speculative, it would seem that the intersection of these two linear concepts has allowed Jews to continue to practice their religion with general consistency, although cultural factors have at times forced them to make adaptations to their practice.
The monotheism of Christianity is engulfed in a concept known as a trinity. This trinity consists of a new revelation known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christianity is a religion that thrives on paradox, because it believes in the existence of an all-powerful God (similar to Judaism), but a God that reveals himself in three distinctly different forms. Yet even though this God can manifest himself in these different forms, he still remains the same God. Symbols in Christianity also illustrate the idea of paradox. These concepts of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are referred to in Christian scripture in abounding numbers. Christology, defined as the theological term for thinking about Christ, also is a paradoxical element of Christianity. In it is the belief that Christ was both fully divine and fully human at the same time,
One basic idea of the Trinity, then, within the Torah is that of the covenant of God, the Jews, and the Promised homeland of Israel. That there is but one god is revealed many times, but the Judaic Old Testament belief is that God is one-being, split into three essences, but the same God, or one being. In the Old Testament, there are several proofs that there is but one God:
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One Lord." (Deut. 6:4)
In the first of the Ten Commandments, 'Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." (Deut. 5:7).
Many religious scholars do not see a conflict between the interpretation of the Trinity in the Old Testament and the evolution of that interpretation in the New Testament. It seems logical that as the religion of Jesus of Nazareth expanded, the cultural relevancy of the relationship between God and the people of Israel would change, too. That being said, there are several examples, both textual and parabalic, within the Old Testament that point to a clear Trinitarian tradition and belief system.
Now skip to the resurrection. Looking at the actual events alleged to have occurred during the resurrection itself. The details of the crucifixion are well-known and detailed in such Biblical sections as John, "so the soldiers took charge of Jesus, carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the skull, here they crucified him, and with him two others," (19:17-35).
Did Jesus really die during the crucifixion or was he just unconscious and later revived? In this act, Jesus was pierced with a sword (John 19:34). Prior to the crucifixion he had been beaten and whipped in ways that would have led to severe injuries without medical attention (McDowell). The act of the crucifixion itself has been described in great detail by Roman scholars and modern researchers, in a way that emphasizes maximum suffering and minimum chance of survival. A Roman soldier (Mark 15:44, 45) told Pilate that Jesus was dead. Pilate had been surprised at the speed of death, so wanted it verified. A Centurion would have made very sure of this before telling vital information to a king with power over his life and death. Joseph of Arimathea and numerous religious leaders as well as followers confirmed this physical death (Wilkins and Moreland, 1996, pp.145-48).
The tomb was found empty by Mary Magdalene ("They have taken my Lord away" John 20:13), Peter (Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away wondering to himself what had happened" Luke 24:14), and others. Now, the tomb had been sealed with a heavy stone that a very sick man without medical attention couldn't have moved, and guarded by Roman soldiers who were under strict orders to allow no disturbance or theft, under likely pain of death (McDowell, 1990).
There has long been a theory that the disciples of Jesus some how bribed the guards (the high priests were on alert specifically for this- Matthew 7:62-66) and stole the body. However, all but one of the disciples (John) later died violently would they have died for their faith if it was meaningless? Their motives could be later clarified by Paul, who wrote, "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so, is your faith" (I Corinthians 15:14).
The ultimate evidence for the resurrection would be if a revival Jesus appeared in broad daylight in front of witnesses, which the Bible states he did over a period of forty days. In I Corinthians 15:6, Paul notes, while listing the post resurrection appearances, "After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time (in a hill in Galilee), most of whom are still living (at the time Paul is writing this). On the above eyewitness account, some people might explain this away by mass hysteria or hallucinations, a response to this was done by Thomas J. Thorburn who stated, "It is absolutely inconceivable that as many as (say) five hundred persons of average soundness of mind and temperament, in various numbers, at all sorts of times, and in diverse situations, should experience all kinds of sensuous impressions- visual, auditory, tactual - and that all these manifold experiences should rest entirely upon subjective hallucinations. We say that this is incredible, because if such a theory were applied to any other…
Online Sources Used in Document:
Carraway, B. Spiritual Gifts: Their Purpose and Power. WinePress Publishing, 2005.
Chadwell, D. Jesus' Two Great Commissions: Balancing Evangelism and Edification.
Christian Education Video and Publishing.
Clark, N. Interpreting the Resurrection. SCM Books, 1967.
The term "evangelism" is derived from the Greek concept of "euangelizomai" that means to give good news. Evangelism can be described as communicating the Good News that not only the death but also burial as well as resurrection of Jesus Christ defeated sin. Sin alienates us from God, the Supreme Being. The Good News in this case happens to be that we could gain back our relationship with God