Dan Brown in his 2003 book The DaVinci Code claims that the Trinity was a fourth century invention. He wasn’t the first person to suggest this, but his book placed doubt regarding the historical origins of the Christian faith and the role of the Gnostic gospels.
All good errors are based on a partial truth. And Brown was partially right. There was a fourth-century council and there are gnostic gospels. There are many so-called gospels that didn’t make the cut and get into the canon of scripture. But not for the reasons that Brown maintains! I’ll leave aside discussions of the gnostic gospels – but let’s look at the Trinity, as it’s appropriately Trinity Sunday.
Despite writing a work of fiction Brown maintained that his book was based on fact. But what are the facts behind the Trinity? Is it really a fourth-century mash up?
It was in the fourth century that the council of Nicea affirmed the idea of God as Trinity. But they didn’t come up with the idea, they drew together and clarified Trinitarian beliefs. Beliefs that were held from the early days of Christianity.
The idea of a Trinity has always caused problems, the one time president of the United States Thomas Jefferson wrote of the “incomprehensible jargon of Trinitarian arithmetic”!
On one level it does sound ridiculous. How could three be one?
Please review Steve’s great primer/overview of this, our central doctrine, the holy Trinity. What a fine way to move into Trinitytide.