The apostle Paul told the early Christians, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him" (1 Corinthians 11:3,4). "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:9).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has often been accused of preaching another Jesus than the one mainstream Christianity proclaims and thereby, it is said, teaches a different gospel than the one taught in the Bible. What these critics find particularly offensive is when we refer to Jesus as our Elder Brother and claim that Lucifer and Jesus are brothers. To them this is a blasphemous doctrine because they believe that Jesus is God. Since God has always existed and that He created everything out of nothing, including angels and man, to associate Lucifer and man with Jesus in a family type of relationship is the same as saying that we are just as divine as God is.
To most Christians, God, angels, and men are three entirely different species. To say that man can someday become like God or even become an angel is like saying that an elephant can someday become a human. To the Christian mind, not only is such a thing completely impossible, but it is the height of arrogant conceit to even think that we can approach God-like status. Since Lucifer was cast out of heaven and thrust down to hell for trying to exalt himself above God and trying to be like the most High (Isaiah 14:12-15), it is only logical that Christians would feel that anyone who thinks they too can become like God are following in Satan's footsteps and will surely suffer the same fate that he has.
Furthermore, the Bible states that "God is a spirit" (John 4:24), which Christians interpret to mean that God has no shape or form. That means He has no arms or legs, no hands or feet, no head with eyes, ears and a mouth, nor any other feature that resembles the human body. To them that clearly indicates that God cannot possibly look as we do. To most Christians, the idea of assigning any kind of a description to God is to place limits on a limitless Being. As such, the commonly accepted explanation of God is that He is incomprehensible to the finite mind and is beyond the ability of the human tongue to describe Him. Therefore, when Mormons teach that God is an exalted Man and that we believe our human form is what was made in the image of God, the Christian world accuses us of having "changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man" (Romans 1:23).
The basis for this concept of God rest on the doctrine of the Trinity. One person explains the Trinity this way: "The doctrine of the Trinity teaches there is one God, yet three distinct persons. Each person is the same in substance and equal in glory and power. The true doctrine of the Trinity teaches: First, God is one, indivisible in essence. Second, the one indivisible substance exists as a whole and not in part. There is only one substance, one intelligence, and one will, yet three co-eternal, coequal, distinct beings. The whole undivided essence of God belongs to each of the three persons equally. Trinitarians teaches that there exists three Gods, not three persons, within the Godhead; that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one only in purpose, not in essence" (The Trinity Defined at www.mbrem.com/god/trinity1.htm).
What this means is there is a divine substance that God is made of, and it is that substance that makes God who He is. Furthermore, since only the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are made of this substance, that makes them the only beings who can be divine. Yet even though the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three distinct persons they are not three Gods because they all share or are made of the same one divine substance. Since you cannot divide this substance into three separate parts, you cannot divide the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost into three separate Gods. Therefore each of them individually are fully God in their own right while still being one God. This concept is enshrined in the Athanasian Creed which states in part, "…we worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity; neither confounding the persons; nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father: another of the Son: another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one: the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit...
"So the Father is God: the Son is God: and the Holy Spirit is God. And yet there are not three Gods; but one God…. we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord… And in this Trinity none is before or after another: none is greater or less than another. But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together, and co-equal. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity."
What makes this statement so interesting is that one of the other absolute bedrock beliefs of Christianity is that the Bible is to be our only source of divine knowledge. Yet, nowhere in the Bible does it talk about this divine substance upon which our entire belief of the Trinity is based. So the question becomes, where does this concept of God come from?
Many Christians believe that this doctrine of the Trinity was taught by the apostles and that it has always been a part of the Christian faith from the very beginning. Although they admit there is no one clear, creed-like verse of scripture in the Bible that actually explains the Trinity as it is presently taught, they nevertheless point to various verses in the New Testament that, when taken together as a whole, show that the apostles did teach such a concept of God. However, history doesn't agree with this argument. Therefore, it is important that we understand how this belief in the Trinity came to be thought of as one of the essential doctrines of salvation.
As we look at the writings of the apostles as found in the New Testament we see that the main focus of their preaching was on Jesus Christ, and more particularly, how salvation is obtained through His death and resurrection. Although they talked about the Father and the Holy Ghost, it was almost in an incidental way and they never attempted to fully explain the relationship that exists between these three Beings. In fact, for centuries there was an argument in the church over whether the Holy Ghost was even a Person or if It was merely a force or power of God.
By 100 A.D., which was the beginning of the second century, all of the apostles had died and it was left to the bishops of the church to provide the guidance necessary to keep the believers in the way of truth. In the very beginning of the church these bishops had been personal companions to the apostles, and, as such, were later referred to as the apostolic fathers. These included, such men as Clement, the Bishop of Rome, Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch, Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna, and Polycrates, the Bishop of Ephesus, among others. As we look at their writings we see that they, like the apostles, stressed the importance of Jesus Christ and made only passing mention of His relationship with the Father.
However, as the church grew and spread throughout the Greek speaking world it came under attack as being a dangerous cult religion. It was accused of inciting civil unrest by advocating treasonous ideas as well as being accused of performing detestable acts such as infanticide and incest. And it was because these false and outlandish charges were believed by the general public that there was a considerable amount of resentment toward Christians, with many people feeling that this new religion should be eliminated from society by any means possible.
In an attempt to counter this criticism and to show the true nature of their religious beliefs, beginning about the middle of the second century (130 A.D. - 170 A.D.) a number of Christians began defending their faith by engaging in debates, both orally and in writing. These writings became known as "apologies." And they did this by appealing to Greek philosophy. Since nearly all of the early great philosophers such as Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and Cicero came from this part of the world, schools of philosophy were extremely popular and prosperous. As a result, the Greco-Roman world at that time thrived on the discussion and debate of philosophy. When someone from this culture became converted to Christianity, they kept their love of philosophy and incorporated it into their new found religious life.
Such was the case with the first of these apologists who went by the name of Justin. He was a follower of the Plato school of thought and wrote a number of apologies in which he used his knowledge of Greek philosophy and the debating skills he had developed to demonstrate that the doctrines of Christianity were consistent with what the ancient philosophers taught.
Over time, as the Christian church became more accepted, and because of the very climate of debate which the Greek culture prized so much, questions began to arise that had never been asked before. One such question had to do with the very nature of God. While the Christians claimed to believe in only one God, yet they continually talked about the Father and the Son as both being God. To the Greek mind, this meant there were two Gods. Closely associated with all of this was the Greek idea that God was eternal, immaterial, and incapable of feeling pain. Therefore, if the physical man Jesus was God, then, in their mind, it was not possible for Him to have actually lived in a material world nor suffered and died on the cross.
At this point in time, the problem the church faced was that there was nothing in the writings of the apostles, the apostolic fathers or any of the other previous prominent leaders of the church that could clarify any of these apparent contradictions. Therefore, it became necessary to find an explanation that would satisfactorily answer these philosophical arguments.
By the end of the second century and into the beginning of the third, the nature of Christian writing had begun to change from defending the faith to defining it. There were several ideas put forth to explain the oneness of three Gods. One popular answer was that God appeared in three different modes and that the term Father, Son, or Holy Ghost were merely titles signifying each of these modes. For example, a married man with children who operated a farm could rightly be called a husband, a father, and a farmer, even though these three titles all referred to the same one person. This concept was known as Modalism. Another popular idea was that the spiritual God lived in heaven but then indwelt Himself into the man Jesus either at birth or during his baptism (depending on which version you listened to) and then departed the physical body when Jesus hung on the cross. That is why Jesus the man cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Thus, Jesus was "God" only so far as the one true God was dwelling in him. This is what the Gnostics taught.
Clement, who was the bishop of Alexandria around 200 A.D. taught that God was incomprehensible and therefore could not be fully understood. He further taught that God could only be known through His Word, Jesus Christ, as revealed in the scriptures. However, he taught that the scriptures were to be interpreted not so much literally as figuratively. To him the true spiritual meanings found in the scriptures were hidden and could only be discovered by the spiritually enlightened.
Clement also believed that Greek philosophy was nearly as inspired as the Bible. In one of his books he wrote that "Philosophy was a schoolmaster to bring Hellenism to Christ [just] as the Law was for the Hebrews." This isn't surprising because the city of Alexandria was the center of Greek philosophy and intellectual learning. It was here that the greatest library in the ancient world was located. It has been reported that it contained over four hundred thousand volumes covering nearly every subject imaginable and all the great scholars came here to learn. And it was here that Clement himself operated his own Christian school of learning. Following the Greek philosophy that man was composed of three elements - the body, the mind, and the soul. Clement reasoned that since man was made in the image of God, then God had to exist as three parts, namely the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
These were some of the most common explanations offered about God but they were not the only ones being presented. However, the church itself had no official doctrine on this subject and so everyone was free to put forth their own explanation of the Godhead. And because it was the Greco-Roman culture to debate all things, the dispute over the Godhead not only continued but intensified.
In an effort to resolve these disagreements, a new breed of Christians began to emerge. They were known as theologians. Theology is the study of God and a theologian is someone who studiously examines what has been written about God and then attempts to provide a well-reasoned, intellectual explanation, especially in those areas that are not clearly defined. Of necessity, this not only requires a scholarly interpretation of official writings but in many cases may also produce some creative assumptions as well.
The first real theologian of the church was a man named Tertullian who converted to Christianity when he was approximately forty years of age. Raised in a wealthy Roman family, he received one of the best educations of his time. By profession he was a lawyer, and drew upon his understanding of the law to explain what he considered to be the true relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And it was in attempting to define this relationship that he became the first person who used the word "trinity." Although he became a prodigious writer in defense of the church, he never became a prominent leader. Even so, his words formed the basis upon which the church built many of its later doctrines.
Tertullian's concept of the Trinity was that the Godhead was made of one substance that was shared by the Son and the Holy Ghost. He also said that there was a time when God existed all by Himself and as such was not a "Father." Then, at some point in time, eons before the earth was ever created, this God "begat" a Son who was made of the same "substance" (Greek word "ousia") meaning that he was the same kind of being or had the same nature as the Father, thereby making Him divine as well. However, since the Son did not always exist, He was therefore "subordinate" to the Father. This is known as the doctrine of subordinationism.
Quoting from 1 Corinthians 15:27-28 Tertullian argued that this shows "that the Father and the Son are two separate Persons" (Adversus Praxeas, chapter 4). He likened this situation to a monarch, which he explained means "a ruler of one." He then argued that if the monarch has a son with whom he shares his power, that doesn't destroy the rule of one but rather preserves it. In the same way the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as three "persons" are united in quality and power but were different from one another in their "degree…form… and manifestation." According to his theology, the Father alone is true God, while the Son, although divine, was not a co-equal partner with the Father, thus showing that the Father was greater than the Son as Jesus declared (John 14:28). He then taught that the Holy Ghost was more subordinate to the Father than was the Son. Thus, the Father holds the first place of authority and glory, while the Son is second, and the Holy Ghost is third in place of importance.
After the death of Bishop Clement, one of his students by the name of Origen was appointed to head the Christian school in Alexandria. He has been described as having one of the most brilliant theological minds of the early church. From the time of his birth he was raised as a Christian and given the best education available. During his lifetime he wrote nearly 6,000 books explaining and expounding on the scriptures. While head of the catechism school, he not only taught religion but philosophy and literature as well. While Origen adhered to the accepted teachings of the church, he spent most of his time seeking to more fully explain through the use of the scriptures those gray areas of Christian doctrine that had not been clearly defined by the church. And the concept of the Godhead was one of them.
Like Clement and Tertullian before him, Origen believed there was a time when the Son did not exist but was later begotten of the Father. However, he reasoned that the Son is still eternal because the Father is eternally begetting Him much as the sun is continually radiating light. Citing Hebrews 1:3 which says that the Son is "the express image of the Father," Origen interpreted this to mean that the Son was begotten from the Father's own "substance." In saying this, he created a new Greek word, "homoousios," meaning "of the same substance" or "consubstantial" which was different in meaning than the word Tertullian used and it was this word that a later generation would employ to define the official doctrine of the Trinity.
During the time he wrote, one of the big debates concerned whether physical matter was evil or not. There was a popular philosophy at that time which taught that all matter was evil. Since the physical body of flesh is made of matter it was considered by some to be despised. Since God is good, that means He cannot be made of matter but rather is an immaterial or spirit being. Like Clement his mentor, this is how Origen viewed God. Therefore, he reasoned that God could not have a "body," for if He did He could not be all virtuous and good. Because of his belief in the inherent corruption of all matter, Origen also did not believe in a literal resurrection of the body. Instead, he taught that when the body dies the spirit within man is set free and only then can it truly achieve its full spiritual potential. This is at odds with Tertullian who believed in the literal resurrection of the physical body.
For the next one hundred years and beyond, the teachings of Origen had a tremendous influence on the thinking of the church leaders as well as on the common Christian. However, that didn't mean everyone agreed with his ideas. Epiphanius, the Bishop of Salamis, for one, strongly opposed Origen's views and vigorously did all in his power to fight against it, even to the point of openly criticizing others bishops who agreed with Origen. Therefore, what we see is that, instead of resolving the debate and unifying the church, the theologians only made matters worse.
Nearly a hundred years later, around 318 A.D. a man by the name of Arius took Tertullian's ideas a step further. He reasoned that if the Son was not the one true God but was begotten then He must be made of a different substance. In that case, Jesus could not be God. Arius taught that instead of the Son coming forth from the same substance of the Father, He was created out of nothing, thereby making him an altogether different creature than God, which not only meant that Christ was subordinate to God both in quality as well as in power and therefore was inferior to Him, but that He was not eternal as God is. Whereas Tertullian, Clement, and Origen said that the Son was begotten and not created, Arius made no distinction between these two words. Thus, when he says that the Son was created he also means that the Son was begotten.
Arius further reasoned that if matter is evil and God is good, then God could not possibly have made the physical earth. Therefore, he taught that God made the Son who then in turn created the physical universe, citing John 1:3 as his scriptural proof. As such, the Son acts as a mediator between us and God, as the apostle Paul explained (1 Timothy 2:5).
Because of its logic and the persuasive preaching of Arius, his ideas began to gain greater and wider acceptance within the church. However, Alexander, who was the Bishop of the city of Alexandria, thought this doctrine was heresy. A young priest of his by the name of Athanasius felt even more passionate about this than his Bishop. To say that Christ was not God or equal with God was to them a blasphemous doctrine that had to be stopped at all costs. It didn't take long before the whole church was thrown into a war of words between these two opposing ideas. Everyone had an opinion and everyone began taking sides in the controversy, which grew so large and heated that it literally threatened to split the church in two.
The emperor of Rome at that time was a man named Constantine who had previously declared Christianity to be the official state religion. Seeing the deep, bitter contention that was erupting within his empire, he wrote to both Arius and Athanasius asking them to resolve their dispute peacefully, but neither man would compromise their beliefs nor would they relent in their attacks against one another.
Finally, in 325 A.D. Constantine sent a letter to three hundred bishops inviting them to attend a meeting in the city of Nicene (located in present-day Turkey) to discuss and resolve this question once and for all. To make their decision official, the Emperor himself would preside at the meeting and issue the final proclamation on the matter from the throne.
Immediately, both sides began a campaign to garner enough votes to win the debate. Each side had sympathetic bishops send letters to the emperor accusing the other side of all kinds of misdeeds in an effort to defame their opponents and sway his opinion. Constantine was wise enough to understand what they were attempting to do and on the opening day of the meeting, in front of all the delegates, he heaped the unopened letters in front of him and burned them.
Although Bishop Alexander did not attend the meeting, he sent Athanasius in his place. This young priest, along with several other bishops who supported his position hurried to Nicene hoping to get there before Arius and his supporters and have Constantine start the council meeting early, thereby seeking to have a vote before Arius even arrived. Constantine refused to do this and waited until all parties were present.
When the meeting began, Arius went first to explain his position but Athanasius kept interrupting him with loud accusations of heresy in an effort to silence him and sway the emperor's judgment against him. When Arius later presented a compromised document to the delegates for their consideration, the supporters of Athanasius grabbed the paper and tore it into shreds. But the supporters of Arius were no less restrained in their behavior and did all in their power to confound their opponents. The entire meeting was conducted in an atmosphere of hostile debate. Each side shouted abusive charges against one another as tempers repeatedly exploded, driven by fierce passion and bitter anger against their opponents.
In between sessions, both sides met privately with fence-sitting bishops in an effort to obtain their vote. However, in many cases, the support these hesitant bishops granted was given only in exchange for promises and favors received that would enhance their own personal agenda. Thus, the meeting became more of a political arraignment than a religious conference.
After much debate, a compromise document was put forth by Eusebius, the bishop of Ceasrea, saying that Christ was of the same "essence" as the father. Athanasius agreed with the wording of this document, but when Arius said he could agree with it as well, Athanasius had the proposal withdrawn. Athanasius wasn't interested in compromise. He wanted the council to adopt a statement that Arius could not and would not accept.
Eventually, he found a way to do that by including Origen's inventive word "homoousios," meaning "of the same substance." The new proposed wording stated, "We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (homoousios) with the Father." Arius argued that the word "homoousios" was unscriptural but when Constantine himself agreed to this wording, that had the effect of influencing the votes of undecided bishops.
After this statement was passed by a majority of the council, thus making it the official position of the church, the council, under the urging of Athanasius, passed another statement which read, "The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church ananthematizes (i.e., curses, condemns and damns) those who say that there was a time when the Son of God was not; and that before he was begotten he was not, and that he was made out of nothing, or out of another substance or essence."
When Arius refused to abide by the new doctrine of the church he was branded a heretic, banished to the remote province of Illyricum along with two other bishops, and all of his writings were ordered burned. Constantine also ordered that anyone who kept a copy of his books was subject to being put to death. But this did not completely stop the controversy. In 381 A.D. another council meeting took place in Constantinople where this subject was again the focus of discussion and produced a declaration with more specific language to define what Christians were to believe concerning the Trinity. Around 500 A.D. yet another statement of belief came forth which has come to be known as the Athanasius Creed but whose actual author is unknown.
All of this presents some troubling problems for those who believe in the modern concept of the Trinity.
The first is that there is no evidence that the apostles or the early church fathers ever taught a concept of the Trinity as Christians now believe. Even though today's Christians point to verses of scripture to support their claim, the fact is that had this idea been clearly taught from the beginning there would have been no debate on the matter. The fact that Christians argued over this point for almost four hundred years after the death of Jesus is conclusive evidence that no one in the early church had a clear idea of the relationship that exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Second. The earliest theologians in the church taught that the Son was not eternal because He did not exit as an individual before He was begotten from the Father. They further taught that the Son was therefore not equal in status to the Father. Both of these ideas were later reversed by the same church that once fully accepted this doctrine as truth.
Third. Christians are adamant that the Bible contains all God has told us and all that He intends to tell us. As such, it is their absolute conviction that nothing can be added to what God has caused to be written in the Bible. As we have seen, the very basis for the doctrine of the Trinity is that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are made of the same substance. That is what the whole debate was centered around. While Christians point to various verses in the Bible to show that the early apostles taught a three-in-one concept of God, nowhere do the scriptures indicate how they are related to one another, how the Son was begotten, nor what God is made of. As such, uninspired men added information about the nature of God that is not based on what is in God's word. Therefore, the basis upon which the Trinity is built is unbiblical.
Fourth. Christians are just as adamant that divine inspiration ended with the death of the apostles. If that is true then, by their own teachings, they are forced to admit that the doctrine of the Trinity is uninspired because it could not have been written by divine inspiration. To say that these men were inspired by God in what they finally wrote is to admit that God still inspires man in the writing of His mind and will and that He reveals new information that isn't contained in the Bible.
Fifth. The fact that a pagan Emperor influenced the decision of what Christians are supposed to believe and then enforced that decision by an imperial edict is a further indication of the lack of divine inspiration that produced the Nicene creed as well as the other creeds that followed.
Sixth. Until the council of Nicene the debate about the Trinity was openly allowed and Christians were permitted to have differing ideas about the Trinity and still be considered as members in good standing with the church. However, after the council of Nicene no other idea but one was tolerated and all other ideas were brutally repressed. The claim that what we believe today is correct because it is what the church has taught for centuries is a false argument because it is the only teaching that anyone was allowed to believe since the fifth century. If the doctrine of the Trinity that was conceived in 325 A.D. is wrong, teaching it for a thousand years doesn't make it right.
Seventh. The scriptures tell us that the fruits of the Spirit are love, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, and meekness (Galatians 5:22,23). The way of the world is hatred, wrath, strife, division, and contention (Galatians 5:20). The manner in which this doctrine was decided upon clearly did not display the fruits of the Spirit. All of the apostles constantly reminded the saints that they should love one another but the spirit of brotherly love was clearly absent in the debate that produced the official doctrine defining the Trinity. This is further evidence of the lack of divine intervention and direction in the decision of this council. The doctrine of the Trinity that was officially adopted by the church was the result of the deeply held, heart-felt opinions of uninspired men.
Eighth. There are those who claim that even so, God's governing hand was still over the entire process, and they point to instances in the Bible to show how God used the weakness of man, including those who were pagans, to accomplish His own purposes. While that may be true, the problem modern-day Christians face is that no evidence exists to support such a claim when it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity. To believe that God was the author of this creed has to be taken entirely on unsubstantiated faith.
Ninth. Those who say that God inspired men in writing the correct belief about the Trinity have to also accept that these same men were similarly inspired with the other things they wrote in relationship to the same creed. Yet, the very document that defines the Trinity also establishes the Catholic Church as the only true church of Christ. It is therefore inconsistent, and even a little hypocritical to say that the Nicene Creed expresses the true doctrine of Christianity while claiming that the Catholic Church is not the true church of God.
While it is true that not everything the Catholic Church teaches is false, Protestant Christianity rejects the authority of the Catholic Church. Since it was the Catholic bishops who defined what Christians are to believe, it becomes self serving to say that God inspired the priesthood authority of the Catholic Church about the Trinity but did not inspire them on such doctrines as faith through works, infant baptism, purgatory, indulgences, penance, and other uniquely Catholic beliefs. It becomes equally unreasonable to say that the authority of the Catholic Church had strayed from the true teachings of Christ by the time of Martin Luther while claiming that they had not strayed from the truth in the days of Constantine even though they taught the same doctrines during all that time.
Tenth. The LDS church teaches that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate individuals and that each of them are God, yet all belong to the same, one Godhead. Even so, the claim is made that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not Christians and therefore are not saved because we don't believe in the same kind of Trinity that today's Christian community preaches. Since we are not considered saved because we believe in a different Jesus than that which is found in the Nicene Creed, then, by the same standard of reasoning, we would have to say that all believers in Christ for almost the first three hundred years after the death of Jesus, including the great theologian fathers and early church leaders were not saved either because they likewise didn't believe in the same Jesus as today's Christians teach. However, all the historical evidence shows that in the earliest church prior to the council of Nicene salvation was not dependant upon a correct understanding of the Trinity as many Christians today want us to believe.
Although none of this proves that the LDS concept of God is correct, it does indicate that the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity is not as biblical as many think it is. While all Christians agree there is only one God comprised of three persons, they differ on how to resolve this seeming contradiction. For a faith that places so much importance on basing their teachings on and the completeness of the Bible, what history clearly demonstrates is that our present concept of the Trinity is not based on divine revelation. Instead, it is nothing more than the fanciful imaginations of men. And that's because nowhere in the scriptures does it give us a clear understanding of the true relationship that exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
If that is so, then what about the Holy Ghost? The Athanasian Creed specifically states that He too is composed of the same substance as the Father and the Son, otherwise He could not be part of the Trinity. Furthermore, the Creed specifically states that the Holy Ghost is a "Person," in the same way that the Father and Son are each a Person. But, if the Son is God because He was not created but begotten of the Father, and the Holy Ghost was not created either, then why isn't the Holy Ghost a Son of God as well? However, if we say The Holy Ghost was begotten of God, then it cannot be said that Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father.
The way the Athanasian Creed seeks to get around this problem is by stating that the Holy Ghost was "neither made nor created nor begotten, but [is] proceeding" from the Father and the Son. But what does that mean? How does He proceed from the Father and Son? When someone is "begotten" that means they have come forth (i.e., proceeded) from its parent, made of the same substance and in the same form and likeness as the parent. Then how does the Holy Ghost "proceed" from the Father and Son, composed of the same substance as the Father and is just as much a Person as is the Son, possessing all the attributes of Godhood and yet not be begotten of the Father as was the Son?
As far as I know, the Christian faith has no answer to this dilemma which they themselves have created with their unscriptural concept of the Trinity. On the other hand, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declares that Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God because He was the only Person ever born in the flesh who had a mortal mother and whose Father was God. (For a closer look at this subject read "Begotten of God" )