FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: Help! I’m trying to understand Logos and the Trinity
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2
A couple of days ago, after my meditations, something (the Holy Spirit?) is urging me to delve deeper into the meaning of Logos (the Word) which is in the first chapter of John - in the beginning was the Word (Logos). Logos means Reason. But what does that mean? How does everything flow from Reason? How is God = Reason? How does understanding Logos make one lead a virtuous life, I.e. make choices that comply with God’s commandments? 

The second thing that’s been bugging me is the Trinity. I have read a treatise on the Trinity and watched a video and I still don’t understand it. 

How can you lead a truly deep spiritual life as a Christian if you don’t understand Logos and the Trinity? 

I’m very depressed right now. If you know of books, treatises, podcasts and videos, list them in your response. I need help. And yes, I have been praying to the Holy Spirit even though I do not understand what he/it is.
(01-10-2020, 08:58 AM)Julia Augusta Wrote: [ -> ]How can you lead a truly deep spiritual life as a Christian if you don’t understand Logos and the Trinity? 

Easy, I don't know how Our Lord healed the sick and calmed the storm etc, but He did. I don't know how He becomes truly present body, blood, soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist, but He does, I don't know how unleavened bread could turn into cardiac muscle tissue from someone suffering severely moments before death, but in the Eucharistic miracles of Sokolka, Poland and Buenos Aires, Argentina it did.

St. Augustine and the Trinity Wrote:The great Doctor of the Church St. Augustine of Hippo spent over 30 years working on his treatise De Trinitate [about the Holy Trinity], endeavouring to conceive an intelligible explanation for the mystery of the Trinity.

Augustine was walking by the seashore one day contemplating and trying to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity when he saw a small boy running back and forth from the water to a spot on the seashore. The boy was using a sea shell to carry the water from the ocean and place it into a small hole in the sand.

The Bishop of Hippo approached him and asked, “My boy, what are doing?”

“I am trying to bring all the sea into this hole,” the boy replied with a sweet smile.

“But that is impossible, my dear child, the hole cannot contain all that water” said Augustine.

The boy paused in his work, stood up, looked into the eyes of the Saint, and replied, “It is no more impossible than what you are trying to do – comprehend the immensity of the mystery of the Holy Trinity with your small intelligence.”

The Saint was absorbed by such a keen response from that child, and turned his eyes from him for a short while. When he glanced down to ask him something else, the boy had vanished.

Some say that it was an Angel sent by God to teach Augustine a lesson on pride in learning. Others affirm it was the Christ Child Himself who appeared to the Saint to remind him of the limits of human understanding before the great mysteries of our Faith.

God Bless You
Julia Augusta Wrote:How does everything flow from Reason? How is God = Reason? 

My humble thoughts: Reason = rules/logic = order. God created everything, i.e. flowed from Him, according to rules He ordained, leading to creation as we see it today. Simple example is water's properties: it boils at 212 degrees and freezes at 32 (or however y'all say it in the non-English speaking world :P ). It will always do this, by design of the Creator.

Quote:The second thing that’s been bugging me is the Trinity. I have read a treatise on the Trinity and watched a video and I still don’t understand it. 

The 3 ways God has revealed Himself to us. Similar (perhaps) to how my mother, wife, and kids view me; I'm the same person, yet husband to one, son to another, and dad to the others.

Quote:How can you lead a truly deep spiritual life as a Christian if you don’t understand Logos and the Trinity? 

Faith. Prayers for acceptance. We know that God created things, but we don't know how.
There is not a single person on earth or in heaven who "understands" the Trinity, and if anyone claims to they are mistaken. It is one of the ultimate mysteries of the Church. So don't beat yourself up if you don't understand it. You don't have to be a theologian to obtain union with God. Rather, you simply need to grow to love Him. St. Therese was no theologian, yet she obtained a profound union with God and therefore came to an understanding of Him beyond any exertion of the intellect.
(01-10-2020, 10:10 AM)Augustinian Wrote: [ -> ]There is not a single person on earth or in heaven who "understands" the Trinity, and if anyone claims to they are mistaken. It is one of the ultimate mysteries of the Church. So don't beat yourself up if you don't understand it. You don't have to be a theologian to obtain union with God. Rather, you simply need to grow to love Him. St. Therese was no theologian, yet she obtained a profound union with God and therefore came to an understanding of Him beyond any exertion of the intellect.

In case you don't know, there are like a million catholic theologians who, since the first century, have lengthy writings about the Trinity. To "understand" doesn't mean here to fully comprehend how it is a thing, but to reconcile what makes it up, namely that a single God is three persons. Yes, it is ultimately a mistery, which means it will go against what we are used to and will be counter-intuitive. This means that people will tend to think "this is just some absurd invention where people overcomplicated things as time went by". This is what must be fought.

For the OP, regarding the Logos, your reason and intellect are just made in image of Christ.
Regarding the Trinity, I HIGLY recommend you read Summa Contra Gentiles, book 4, chapters 3 to 11. That and other parts should geatly help you.
Link to the summa: https://legiochristi.com/static/lit/summ...les-LC.pdf
(01-10-2020, 08:58 AM)Julia Augusta Wrote: [ -> ]Logos means Reason.

Well, one English equivalent of the Greek word λόγος could mean "reason". The original Greek term meant everything from "opinion" to "discourse" to "proportion" to "ground". It is much like the related word ratio in Latin. It can mean "reason" but can also mean "plan" or "nature" or "essence" or a whole variety of things. My dictionary of St Thomas' Latin provides nearly two pages of contextual meanings for ratio.

The problem with your approach is failing to understand that λόγος is not just a single term, it is a philosophical concept. The Stoics, for instance spoke of λόγος σπερματικός (logos spermatikos) which was the Principle by which the Universe was Created/Generated.

It is a rich and deep concept that expert theologians could spend a lifetime studying and contemplating and never exhaust themselves. Hence why in heaven seeing and contemplating such mysteries will keep us happy for eternity.

(01-10-2020, 08:58 AM)Julia Augusta Wrote: [ -> ]The second thing that’s been bugging me is the Trinity. I have read a treatise on the Trinity and watched a video and I still don’t understand it. 

There's the story of St Augustine, of course, but also just simple common sense should show you how inadequate this is. If God were that simple to understand in human terms, then He wouldn't be God. If we could comprehend Him completely that would mean we would need to be greater than Him, because to understand completely means we have a kind of dictatoral control over the thing we know.

We would never trust anyone who claimed to understand God, if he said, "I spent 15 minutes watching a video and read a book, and now I understand God completely".

There are mysteries of our Faith than cannot be proven by reason and even when revealed we cannot grasp everything about them. That is one of the things that makes God worthy of our contemplation, seeing as He is much greater than what any one of us spending eternity thinking about it could grasp.

(01-10-2020, 08:58 AM)Julia Augusta Wrote: [ -> ]How can you lead a truly deep spiritual life as a Christian if you don’t understand Logos and the Trinity? 

Same way that millions of Christians have for the last 2000 years.

Sirach 3:22 : "Seek not the things that are too high for thee, and search not into things above thy ability: but the things that God hath commanded thee, think on them always, and in many of his works be not curious."
Go back to the early centuries of the Church when these issues were hammered out in the fires of controversy and debate.  St. Cyril of Alexadria,Basil the Great , Gregory Nazianzus,Maximus the Confessor, John of Damascus and the actual documents from the early Ecumenical Councils are essential  for understanding concepts related to Christology and the Trinity. I repeat, they are essential. These things were vigorously discussed and set out for us centuries ago by the Fathers.
(01-10-2020, 12:09 PM)Daniel-AH Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-10-2020, 10:10 AM)Augustinian Wrote: [ -> ]There is not a single person on earth or in heaven who "understands" the Trinity, and if anyone claims to they are mistaken. It is one of the ultimate mysteries of the Church. So don't beat yourself up if you don't understand it. You don't have to be a theologian to obtain union with God. Rather, you simply need to grow to love Him. St. Therese was no theologian, yet she obtained a profound union with God and therefore came to an understanding of Him beyond any exertion of the intellect.

In case you don't know, there are like a million catholic theologians who, since the first century, have lengthy writings about the Trinity. To "understand" doesn't mean here to fully comprehend how it is a thing, but to reconcile what makes it up, namely that a single God is three persons. Yes, it is ultimately a mistery, which means it will go against what we are used to and will be counter-intuitive. This means that people will tend to think "this is just some absurd invention where people overcomplicated things as time went by". This is what must be fought.

I am well aware, but that is not what I meant by my statement. I know that there are many theologians who have tried to tackle the mystery of the Trinity, my point is that none of them have actually come to an understanding of the Trinity by the light of reason. Yes, there have been many conceptions of just how the Trinity operates, such as St. Augustine's idea of spiration through love, but none of these are an actual understanding/comprehension of the Trinity. It is something that must be taken by faith, not reason.

Therefore, it makes no sense to beat oneself up if they do not understand the Trinity. Having faith that God is a Trinity, because revelation says so, does not necessitate an understanding or comprehension of how the one God can be three Persons.

A quote from a book I'm currently reading on the philosophy of St. Bonaventure:
Quote:certain truths about Him [God] are known to us by reason—such as His existence and some of His attributes—and we hold these by knowledge and therefore not by faith: other truths—such as that God is One in Three—remain beyond the reach of our reason, and these we hold by faith which will never become demonstration.
Try reading Chapters 3-9 of this book:

http://www.katapi.org.uk/TandS/Contents.html
My understanding is the Logos is the Word who is Jesus.
John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God. 
John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us

As someone else said, do not think that an finite human being will ever understand (wrap their brain around) and infinite Being (God). It is like an ant trying to understand a human being. This will never happen in a billion years.
Pages: 1 2