Saturday, December 09, 2017

Is the Trinity Doctrine Scriptural? See B.B. Warfield's Answer (Quote and Link)

From Warfield:

The term “Trinity” is not a Biblical term, and we are not using Biblical language when we define what is expressed by it as the doctrine that there is one only and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal Persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence. A doctrine so defined can be spoken of as a Biblical doctrine only on the principle that the sense of Scripture is Scripture. And the definition of a Biblical doctrine in such un-Biblical language can be justified only on the principle that it is better to preserve the truth of Scripture than the words of Scripture. The doctrine of the Trinity lies in Scripture in solution; when it is crystallized from its solvent it does not cease to be Scriptural, but only comes into clearer view. Or, to speak without figure, the doctrine of the Trinity is given to us in Scripture, not in formulated definition, but in fragmentary allusions; when we assemble the disjecta membra into their organic unity, we are not passing from Scripture, but entering more thoroughly into the meaning of Scripture. We may state the doctrine in technical terms, supplied by philosophical reflection; but the doctrine stated is a genuinely Scriptural doctrine.



Philip Fletcher said...

Is he saying scripture is solvent? Jesus never said scripture is solvent.

Edgar Foster said...

Philip, Warfield is speaking metaphorically. He is comparing the Trinity doctrine to an object lying in a solution (which is supposed to be Scripture) that is then extracted from the solution and crystallized. It is a way of saying that the Trinity grows out of Scripture, is contained there latently and conceptually, but not explicitly. You know what they say about illustrations that have to be explained. :)