Application of old pagan concept of trinity

Many who believe in the trinity are surprised to learn that the idea of divine beings existing as trinities or triads long predated Christianity. Yet the evidence is abundantly documented. So let us have a look at some of the evidence.

Marie Sinclair, Countess of Caithness, in her 1876 book Old Truths in a New Light, states,

“It is generally, although erroneously, supposed that the doctrine of the Trinity is of Christian origin. Nearly every nation of antiquity possessed a similar doctrine. [The early Catholic theologian] St. Jerome testifies unequivocally, ‘All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity’.” — (p. 382)

Notice how the following quotes document belief in a divine trinity in many regions and religions of the ancient world.

Sumeria

Ur III Sumerian cuneiform for An or Anu, the earliest attested Sky Father deity. In Sumerian religion, he was also “King of the Gods“, “Lord of the Constellations, Spirits and Demons”, and “Supreme Ruler of the Kingdom of Heaven”, where Anu himself wandered the highest Heavenly Regions.

“The universe was divided into three regions each of which became the domain of a god. Anu‘s share was the sky. The earth was given to Enlil. Ea became the ruler of the waters. Together they constituted the triad of the Great Gods.” — (The Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, 1994, pp. 54, 55)

Babylonia

“The ancient Babylonians recognised the doctrine of a trinity, or three persons in one god— as appears from a composite god with three heads forming part of their mythology, and the use of the equilateral triangle, also, as an emblem of such trinity in unity.” — (Thomas Dennis Rock, The Mystical Woman and the Cities of the Nations, 1867, pp. 22, 23)

India

Purana or “ancient, old” Manuscript

“The Puranas, one of the Hindoo Bibles of more than 3,000 years ago, contain the following passage:

‘O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’

The three gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva [or Shiva], becoming manifest to him, replied,

‘Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only the semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, but he is one.’

Hence the triangle was adopted by all the ancient nations as a symbol of the Deity … Three was considered among all the pagan nations as the chief of the mystical numbers, because, as Aristotle remarks, it contains within itself a beginning, a middle, and an end. Hence we find it designating some of the attributes of almost all the pagan gods.” (Sinclair, pp. 382, 383)

Greece

“In the Fourth Century B.C. Aristotle wrote:

‘All things are three, and thrice is all: and let us use this number in the worship of the gods; for, as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bounded by threes, for the end, the middle and the beginning have this number in everything, and these compose the number of the Trinity’.” — (Arthur Weigall, Paganism in Our Christianity, 1928, pp. 197, 198)

Egypt

“The Hymn to Amun decreed that

Re-Horakhty.svg

Re, also spelled Ra or Pra, in ancient Egyptian religion, god of the sun and one of the creator gods, who rose from the ocean of chaos on the primeval hill, creating himself and then in turn engendering eight other gods.

‘No god came into being before him (Amun)’

and that

‘All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, and there is no second to them. Hidden is his name as Amon, he is Re in face, and his body is Ptah.’

… This is a statement of trinity, the three chief gods of Egypt subsumed into one of them, Amon. Clearly, the concept of organic unity within plurality got an extraordinary boost with this formulation. Theologically, in a crude form it came strikingly close to the later Christian form of plural Trinitarian monotheism.” — (Simson Najovits, Egypt, Trunk of the Tree, Vol. 2, 2004, pp. 83, 84)

Other areas

Many other areas had their own divine trinities.

In Greece they were Zeus, Poseidon and Adonis. The Phoenicians worshipped Ulomus, Ulosuros and Eliun. Rome worshipped Jupiter, Mars and Venus. In Germanic nations they were called Wodan, Thor and Fricco. Regarding the Celts, one source states,

“The ancient heathen deities of the pagan Irish, Criosan, Biosena, and Seeva, or Sheeva, are doubtless the Creeshna [Krishna], Veeshnu [Vishnu], [or the all-inclusive] Brahma, and Seeva [Shiva], of the Hindoos.” — (Thomas Maurice, The History of Hindostan, Vol. 2, 1798, p. 171)

Arthur Edward Pearse Brome Weigall, English Egyptologist, stage designer, journalist and author, at the Temple of Edfu, before 1913

The deception is beautifully seen by the astonishing admission of Arthur Weigall who himself is a Trinitarian. Egyptologist Arthur Weigall summed up the influence of ancient beliefs on the adoption of the trinity doctrine by the Catholic Church in the following excerpt from his book:

“It must not be forgotten that Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon [the Trinity], and nowhere in the New Testament does the word ‘Trinity’ appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord; and the origin of the conception is entirely pagan …
The ancient Egyptians, whose influence on early religious thought was profound, usually arranged their gods or goddesses in trinities: there was the trinity of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, the trinity of Amen, Mut, and Khonsu, the trinity of Khnum, Satis, and Anukis, and so forth …
The early Christians, however, did not at first think of applying the idea to their own faith. They paid their devotions to God the Father and to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and they recognised the mysterious and undefined existence of the Holy Spirit; but there was no thought of these three being an actual Trinity, co-equal and united in One …The application of this old pagan conception of a Trinity to Christian theology was made possible by the recognition of the Holy Spirit as the required third ‘Person,’ co-equal with the other ‘Persons’…The idea of the Spirit being co-equal with God was not generally recognised until the second half of the Fourth Century A.D… . In the year 381 the Council of Constantinople added to the earlier Nicene Creed a description of the Holy Spirit as

‘the Lord, and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified.’

Andrey Davidson, Kingdom of God – Arius’ non-trinitarian Christian  theology

(Arian Church Facebook Group)

Christian Doctrine of the Trinity

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Preceding

Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

Christianity without the Trinity

Next: A Father Who begat a son

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Additional reading

  1. Tri-union gods and Pagan, Christian, Muslim and Jewish views on the Creator God
  2. Looking for answers on the question Is there a God #1 Many gods
  3. A Triple God or simply a rather simple One God
  4. Trinity matter
  5. Trinity – History
  6. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  7. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  8. Altered to fit a Trinity
  9. The Trinity – the truth
  10. Trinitarian philosophy
  11. Does there have to be a Holy Trinity?
  12. Problems correspondents have with the Trinity Doctrine
  13. How do trinitarians equate divine nature
  14. The Great Trinity debate
  15. Newton not believing in the Holy Trinity
  16. Inspired Word
  17. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #1
  18. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #2
  19. Who Is Jesus? God, or unique Man?
  20. Jesus the “God-Man”: Really?
  21. The saviour Jesus his godly side
  22. The saviour Jesus his human side
  23. Omniscient God opposite a not knowing Jesus
  24. Jesus Christ being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion
  25. The Christ, the anointed of God
  26. Challenging claim
  27. Challenging claim 1 Whose word
  28. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  29. Deity manifested in Messiah
  30. Germanic mythological influences up to today’s Christmas celebrations
  31. Problems correspondents have with the Trinity Doctrine

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Further reading

  1. Is God comprised of three persons, or is He just one person?
  2. Questions for those who believe in the Trinity
  3. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  4. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  5. Trinity in the Bible
  6. Shiva, the destroyer yet the preserver
  7. Universe according to Pythagoras – pt. 1 – Tetractys
  8. A Note on ‘Biblical’ Simplicity
  9. 1 John 5:7 And Matthew 28:19 – Fabricated Trinity Verses
  10. What is God’s Glory and Why does it Matter?
  11. Ethno-nationalism and the Christian Trinity
  12. In the Newness of Prepositions
  13. Labyrinth of the Week #2: Trinity Lutheran Church
  14. Oneness Pentecostalism and Their False Doctrine of Modalism
  15. ALiF Quotes: “Plurality of One is Duality and Plurality of Two is Trinity; everything else is their derivatives.”
  16. Embrace the Mystery: Does all of theology “make sense”
  17. The Trinity Dogma and the Worship of Angels
  18. The Lord Jesus Christ and The Divine Trinity
  19. A Glimpse of the Trinity
  20. What is the Trinity?
  21. The Trinity: It’s Not That Hard to Believe.
  22. Easy Way To Know God’s Will
  23. Trinity, logically described
  24. Trinity, Part II
  25. ​Unity of the Blessed Trinity
  26. (Study) Jesus Is God
  27. A Quick Stop at The Shack
  28. Random Submission
  29. Testament 26: His word is our bond
  30. Islam and the Doctrine of the Trinity
  31. Robert Wells Needs Help Responding to Muslims on Blogging Theology
  32. The Hospitality of Abraham: The Liturgical Witness
  33. Hays on Mark’s Jesus: The God Who “Walks By” On the Water
  34. A Dove, 3, 7, and Creation
  35. Irenaeus: Salvation is the work of the Trinity
  36. Do Not Be Anxious to Be Modern In Theology
  37.  Testament 24: how to receive grace and mercy 
  38. Virgin Birth (Symbolism, Mythology, and Mystery)
  39. Is Jesus a lesser God?
  40. No One Knows the Father Except the Son: H.R. Mackintosh on the Radical Exclusivity of Revelation in Christ
  41. Delighting in the Trinity
  42. The Good God
  43. The Curious Christian
  44. Misquoted Verses #1: Judge Not
  45. Let’s Get Lost: Mapping Religion in the 21st Century
  46. The Most Shocking Thing Ever Uttered

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