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Customer Discussions > Christianity forum

what is with this "godhead" concept ?

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Showing 1-25 of 328 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 9, 2012, 10:31:41 PM PDT
The way our asst pastor tried to tell me about the "godhead" concept made no sense.

It sounds liek a lot of doublebabble to prove that 3 different things are somehow all identiclly equal but still not yet only 1 thing. Or something.

Does anyone have a SIMPLE, CLEAR, SHORT, LOGICAL, explanation for how you handle the distinctions , if any, or the identify , if that is true, of the Father=God, Son=Christ, and the Holy Spirit, whatever that last thing really is.

My copy of the bible says God knows when the Son will return but Christ does not so they cant be the same person. my copy of the bible says clearly that the Son defers to the Father but rules over everything else. So they cant logically be the same.

Yet some how the "godhead", whatever the bleep that means, concept somehow equates all these different things into one identity yet keeps them separate.

ILLOGICAL TO THE MAX. Why is this not just total bullbleep by people.

So if you can explain it as noted above then I am all ears to hear your response.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2012, 11:47:43 PM PDT
Whomper -

Good question. Most folks assume that they know what a "godhead" is, but it's all based upon misinformation.

The fact is, in the KJV, the word, 'Godhead' appears in three different passages, and each has a different Greek word behind it. The two that I remember offhand are Romans 1:20 and Colossians 2:9. The Greek word in Romans is theiotes, and in Colossians, it is theotes (in the Received Text, or theotetos in Westcott and Hort.

In each of these words, we have a stem, modified with a suffix. The stem is either theios (divine) or theos (God). Theios is related to God's attributes - especially his power. The related word, theion can mean `divine' or it is the Greek word for `brimstone,' which, in some places was used as an expression of God's power to destroy his enemies. Its use at Romans 1:20 fits with this demonstration of God's power by looking at his creation, especially the awesome universe, giving evidence of his creative ability.

Theotes, as I stated, includes the word, `theos' - `God', modified by the suffix `otes.' Or `tetos.' To understand the word, we must know the meaning of the suffix. In fact, this suffix is used with a number of other words in the Bible. If I was on my home computer, I would list them all for you, but I'll have to list a few that I can remember: There is palaiotetos - "oldness"; entotetos - "oneness"; neotetos - "newness' or `youth. There are maybe another dozen words in the list, and nearly all use the English suffix, `ness' in the translation.

Bruce Metzger, in his book, "Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek," explains that the suffix `otes' or `tetos' denotes the abstract idea of quality or character. Based on this, I would argue that theotes, used in reference to Christ at Colossians 2:9, refers to "God quality" or "divine quality."

There is simply no basis for interpreting this word as a unity of persons within a multiple god-being.

I suspect that in 1611, when the KJV was first published, `Godhead' probably meant something more like "Godhood."

I can get you a complete list of Bible words that use the otes suffixes if you wish. I hope this information has been helpful.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012, 2:26:17 AM PDT
k says:
To answer your question in a nutshell; no. The concept of the Trinity (this is the preferred technical term) cannot be explained in a short, clear, simple, and consistently logical way. That doesn't mean this doctrine is false, however.

And if you are wise, you'll ignore Michael Davenport. He loves to listen to himself speak (i.e., write) and pretend he knows Greek. Moreover, the doctrine of the Trinity is NOT based on some Greek term(s), as Davenport seems to be suggesting. It is based on the fact that in Scripture, divine properties are given to God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, coupled with the fact that Scripture also teaches that there is only one God. This obvious problem has led theologians to craft a trinitarian doctrine of God. That's really as simple as it gets. Btw, for what it's worth to you, which may be nothing, I hold a masters degree in theology, and studied advanced Koine Greek and Hebrew as both an undergrad and grad student.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012, 5:15:05 AM PDT
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Posted on Apr 10, 2012, 6:24:19 AM PDT
Brian Curtis says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012, 6:31:11 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 10, 2012, 6:32:55 AM PDT
reply to Michael R. Davenport's post:

maybe the early editions did

not in the current electric edition of KJV
nor the other dozen plus bibles i can search

sounds like a false "correction" to fix problems the translators saw but woudl not admit were really problems

here is where it comes from and relates to
Godhead (from Middle English godhede, "godhood," and unrelated to the modern word "head"), may refer to:

* Deity
* Divinity, the quality of being God
* Conceptions of God
* Godhead (polytheism), the totality of gods, in Platonism the Transcendent One.
* Godhead (Judaism), the unknowable aspect of God, which lies beyond His actions or emanations
* Godhead (Christianity), the substantial Essence or Nature of the Christian God
* Godhead, the concept of God in Mormonism
* God in Hinduism
o Svayam Bhagavan (Supreme Personality of Godhead), in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, the divine person from whom all emanates
o Brahman, in Hinduism, the divine source of being, through which all emanates
o Paramatma, in Hinduism, the "oversoul" or supreme spirit

Other uses:

* Godhead (band) - American industrial rock band
* Godhead (album) - album by Scottish dream pop band Lowlife
* Love and Rockets (band) - refers to Godhead in the 1998 song R.I.P. 20C
* Krishna. The Supreme Personality of Godhead - a book by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012, 6:37:59 AM PDT
reply to Soren's post:


but they are so obviously different why do people try to make them somehow the same ?

God is God. There is only one God.
Christ Jesus the nazarene was His Son when He visited here in an earthsuit.
He was resurrected and returned to His Father as the Christ in whatever form you get, or at least He got, when the resurrection occurs.

So how and why do people want to equate these two beings when they are so clearly different? Why do they feel a need to do that ?

The bible clearly proves that they cannot be the same identical person or spirit or whatever they are formwise.

And then why try to force something that God has/uses eg teh Holy Spirit into the godhead concept to be part of that godhead.

What is wrong with just letting these things be Themselves ?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012, 6:40:30 AM PDT
reply to Santiago Manuel Anaya's post:


still does not compute for me

even worse cause now we have FOUR of them to squish together somehow since you added the WORD too.

And now he is is own father son uncle brother cousin yada yada ??
wtf !!!!!!!!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 10:37:57 AM PDT

If you get a copy of Aquinas' Lesser Suma Theologica, he makes a pretty good explanation of how the three persons of the trinity relate to each other around chapter 40, if I recall correctly. It's probably available on line. It was understandable enough that even I could follow. Be advised however, that Iraenaus of Lyon has some comments in his "against Heresies" which would seem to indicate that Aquinas' explanation is imperfect. (try: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1040.htm)

Such is almost to be expected. It should not surprise is that the nature of God is beyond our comprehension, and the concept of the Trinity is, at best, an attempt to explain the infinite to our finite minds. The Trinity is one of the mysteries of the faith that we end up rejecting or taking on faith because it's what the Bible teaches. If you want a straightforward statement of what the Trinity is, you could do worse than simply reading the Athenasian Creed:


In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 10:50:45 AM PDT
reply to Johann Niemand's post:


my problem is that the bible so clearly indicates taht Jesus the Son is not God the Father and is subservient to him that i cant grok why anyone tries to wrap them all up in One Big Total Thing

And the Spirit is clearly something God has and uses but is not God itself.

how can teh bible say one thing so clearly
and people keep trying to twist that to something else
but more importantly is WHY do they do it.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 10:55:03 AM PDT
reply to Johann Niemand's post:

i have done infinite and transfinite in math
also things like wave/particle duality
not a problem grokking such ideas wild as they are

felt like an epiphany when i *saw* radiation leaving a dipole antenna and understood why it had to do that

my mind got stretched, but i actually tiled a T 3.5 space once.

surely people can come up with better ideas now
or are they afraid that the average person cant do arithmetic let alone calculus
so would have real problems with the algebraic/differential topology version of their explanation let alone something like wave equations

seems like they could do a better job of coming up with a model to explain things then this trinity concept which makes no logical sense at all

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 11:02:42 AM PDT
Wow Whomper, that is a whooper of a post coming from a christian.
It is easy for a non-christian to see that the concept of christianity is not only convoluted but false.
As a systems architect, look at it this way, the GODHEAD is the SOURCE.
All things come from the SOURCE, the great power grid in the sky.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 1:45:04 PM PDT
reply to Spiritual Architect's post:

i wont judge who is really Christian or not
but i suspect that worldwide most of them believe soem false things
most wont matter but some could be real bad in the end for those folks

i am just intellectually honest
trying to sort through all that people told me
of which a lot is made up or flat out wrong as it contradicts the bible
or shoudl i say the bible contradicts them

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 9:11:10 PM PDT
Whomper -

Probably the most thorough study on the Greek words, theotes and theiotes, was written by a Professor Nash, and published in the 1899 Journal of Biblical Literature. He examines how these words were used in both Christian and non-Christian literature. They appeared fairly late: in the first century B.C., if I remember correctly, and never came into common usage. Eventually, theiotes fell into disuse altogether, and theotes was used only rarely.

The important question to ask would be, were these words applied to God exclusively or were they used for others who were not God? Based on the information in Nash's article, the evidence does not support popular usage of the word, 'Godhead' as it is perceived today.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 10:00:03 PM PDT
reply to Michael R. Davenport's post:


it seems made up by men to help them get by a problem or paradox
that i dont think is really there but they seem to think is

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 10:39:58 PM PDT
Whomper -

I think that if we were to do a survey, and ask people what the word, 'Godhead' means, most would say that it is the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit into a single unit, which is the Godhead. But ask them where they get their definition, and they will have no answer; they just assume.

Interestingly, at Colossians 2:9, it says that "In him [Christ] dwelleth all fullness of the Godhead bodily. If the standard definition is correct, wouldn't that imply that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit actually live inside of Christ's body? That makes no sense to me. But it does make sense to say that, in Christ there dwells all fullness of divine qualities, or "Godness."

This would not prove that Jesus was God, necessarily, nor would it render that conclusion impossible. And, of course, it is the whole body of Scripture that determines correct doctrine.

And it sounds to me that you already understand this.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, 7:19:02 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012, 12:04:12 PM PDT
Keith says:
In historical theology and contemporary theological discourse about God, the language of Godhead is related to the doctrine of the Trinity. Godhead describes the essence and attributes that define who or what God is and that distinguish God from that which God has created.

Traditional Trinitarian dogma says that three distinct, eternal persons coexist: the Father, the Son (incarnated as Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. However, although these three are distinct persons, they all equally share a single essence (deity, divinity, Godhead) that constitutes each of them as God. The confusion stems from language: we use the word 'God' to refer to a person; but in this theological formulation, 'God' does not refer to a person but to an essence. Then, by extension, that which has or is characterized by this essence can be called 'God.'

According to historical theology, the Godhead has two aspects of its life: the immanent Trinity and the economic Trinity. The immanent Trinity is the life, communion, fellowship, community, and interaction of the Trinity within itself in time eternal. This aspect of the Trinity is called a mystery because it is not accessible through either reason or revelation. The economic Trinity is the life of the Trinity as it relates to its creation: the cosmos, and human beings in particular. The economic Trinity is focused on God as a God of covenant who saves his people and redeems his cosmos and re-constitutes his people and his world as a holy temple for his glory. In the economic Trinity, the Father sends the Son, who gives his life as a sacrifice for the salvation of the world. Then the Holy Spirit is given to believers to recreate them in the image of God and to enable them to have communion with God.

Logically and philosophically speaking, the Trinity is coherent and sound. But the question is whether it is biblical, and that is where I part company with traditional orthodoxy. I think the doctrine of the Trinity is derived more from philosophical categories and speculation than from the biblical text. And when Trinitarian scholars do go to Scripture to substantiate the dogma, they frequently misapply the text beyond its original intention (e.g. John 10:30, I and the Father are one).

Of course, not all would agree with my assessment. But that is the way I see it.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012, 8:28:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012, 8:31:16 AM PDT
reply to Michael R. Davenport's post:

well it never defines godhead which did not come up when i did a search of all my copies of the bible. go figure.
i had to look up the exact cite for it to display

i think it seems to say that Jesus had the power of the Holy Spirit in Him and could call on the Father in emergencies, but apparently God did not always respond based on what Jesus said on the cross about being abandoned/forgotten

it is dangerous to take one verse, even one passage, and read too much into it without others that agree and elaborate on the same topic

Jesus is not God as the bible clearly states as He is under the Father's control and answers to God, although Jesus has power over everything else under Him eg earth, mankind, etc.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012, 8:30:33 AM PDT
reply to Keith's post:

i would agree

it seems very much made by man to explain a non problem

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012, 11:37:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012, 12:13:28 PM PDT
Hello Soren,

Another intelligent post by you. I always enjoy reading you.

Permit me an alternative viewpoint. The word, "Godhead" was used rather extensively by religious writers. The word "Trinity" or "triad" was coined by Gregory of Nyssa to defend against the neoplatonists who ridiculed the wording of the Nicene Creed as being unintelligible.

One view of Godhead is that the Three beings constitute ONE God.

Another is that representing a history which is inaccessible to man, God Almighty has seniority over Christ, but that nevertheless, Christ is coequal and coexistent with the Father. The passage in the NT where Christ says "The Father is greater than I am" is often cited to bolster this view.

A third view is that Christ is the God of this world, and also a Father, speaks entirely consistent with the Father, and hence, he is the only God with whom we have to deal with. This could be worded better, but basically, it views Christ as the God of the Old Testament.

So we have three beings in one Godhead. Thus, "godhead" becomes a device in the English language to describe a VERY unified relationship between God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost so as to justify our referring to them as one God. The idea of "being" means one thing to mankind, but as to divine beings, whose power and influence and control extend throughout the universe creates a conceptual problem for the limits of the mortal mind. Even CERN is hinting that all matter, ie the Higg's boson, is nothing more than a certain type of energy "crowding" other types of energy. Thus, the whole business of the universe may at a fine level consist of energy or power. Matter and energy being thus interchangeable, one cannot say for certain what divine matter might consist of. Speculations should not be made into dogma.

If God had deemed this difficult concept to be essential to our salvation, or even comprehensible to our minds, He would have been more explicit. When appearing to mankind, he appears in bodily form, indeed, a body which to us appears manlike. Is this so we can relate to Him, or is it because he truly chooses to have a body for reasons known to him. Where HIS identity comes from, we are not clear.

None of this has stopped the religious philosophers from vociferously and vigorously arguing that they actually know this unknowable thing. Men who do not know who they are really, do not hesitate to proceed to tell us who God is. The "nature" of God is beyond our grasp. However, we can certainly review the way in which he presents himself when speaking to man, and most would agree that the very specific references in Genesis that man is in the image of God, male and female, etc. indicate that he leads us to view him as a being, and ourselves as his spirit children. He created us all, so it is natural to ponder what He himself is like. However, we do not know.

In speaking of the return of Christ AFTER the ascension, Paul says:

"Beloved, it doth not appear what He shall be, but we know this, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see Him as he is."

If it "doth not appear" to the apostle Paul, I must content myself to a limited awareness of what will be the resurrected Christ in his full glory, which must surely be masked as to man to avoid destroying us by his full majesty and power.

In the OT are interesting hints at a Divine Council. Job is asked if he was there in the circle (when the foundations of earth were laid). The Divine Council is a topic for scholars and a wide variety of opinions on it are found in the religious writings of today. The important point is that it rests on the idea more than one being was involved. John calls Christ the "logos", which in the Greek idea, meant the creator. The Greeks conceived of a "Prime Mover" who emanated a "Logos" who could touch matter (thought to be contaminated) to do the creation. This idea from the Alexandrian school was more or less deferred to in the drafting of the Word Formula of the Nicene Creed. As Athanasius admitted, it is NOT biblical. So we could ask whether Christianity really needed the Alexandrian word formulas and whether they are surplussage to the scriptures themselves. Just how greek Nicaea was is shown by the fact that "homoousious" is a term adopted from Aristotle. The problem is that "essence" in Greek does not have a "one to one" correspondence to the word essence in English. Most scholars agree the Latin fathers who signed onto the Nicene Creed probably did not understand what the word "homoousious" really meant. Some still prefer to hide behind the Greek, so they don't have to explain it. So we have the "Hypostatic Union of God" but "hypostasis" means a "precipitant", and "hypostasis" is used elsewhere in the NT to mean something entirely different.

Another question, recently emphasized by Mark Smith, a famous Jewish scholar, is that the word for God in Genesis 1:1 is "elohim" which in all the ancient semitic languages was PLURAL. The extensive study of the Ugaritic language (thought by some to be the prototypic semitic/canaanitish language) Elohim meant both "the Gods" and "the divine council. In Ugaritic, the Godhead was composed of "El", his son B'El, and the third member is rendered in feminine. Oddly, references to the Holy Ghost were sometimes rendered in feminine (some scholars say this is the equivalent of neuter and is simply "non masculine") and of course the Gnostics, who were totally in to the idea of Sophia, played up this third member of the Godhead to which were grafted the Hermetic mysteries. When Ireneus was writing against heresies, he makes clear it is the Egyptian Hermetic idea of the Ogdoad that has crept into Christianity. Feminine deities are often linked to lascivious worship, and Ireneus shows that this was true of the Gnostics who focused on Sophia, as well.

This idea that the Nature of God is above our pay grade causes a lot of objection, but perhaps man is just destined to not be able fully understand the situtation, and may not need to as long as we remember that the Godhead is God, the one we worship. We can redebate the Nicene issues, but there is no getting around the fact that both Old and New Testaments have plenty of instances where the idea that more than one being is in the Godhead. However, what we do not know, is how the Godhead functions so as to express a perfect unity of the beings which comprise it. The scriptures do not seem to be troubled over it, so perhaps we should focus on simpler things, such as the Ten Commandments. Theology generates endless debates, but simple things, like the commandments are probably more what mortals should be worried about at this point. Perhaps, despite all the claims, we are all in the same boat as Paul, ie "It doth not yet appear what He shall be, but we know this, that when He shall appear, we will be like him, for we shall see Him as he is".

In short then, Godhead is the word used prior to the time when Gregory of Nyssa adopted "Trinity" to try and clarify. Whether he succeeded is hard to answer since people don't really follow Gregory's own explanation of his term. He said "God and Christ are of the same essence in the same sense that all men are of the same essence because they are all men." Theologians today are not satisfied with that and seem convinced they will get this difficult idea worded out just perfectly in the English language. I say, "Good luck to them".

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012, 7:32:52 PM PDT
reply to William Dampier's post:

thanks for that very useful post

now who were these others mentioned as 'our' :
"Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness
Gen 1:26

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2012, 12:35:11 AM PDT

You make some very good points and ask some very good questions. The Trinity concept of the Godhead is very confusing because it is full of contradictions and does not describe the true nature of God. It is a man made doctrine which undermines the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is an illusion of words that keeps man from seeing the true nature of God.

If the Trinity god is a spirit "without body, parts, and passions" and it is one god who is made up of three persons, the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost; how can this be so because Jesus Christ has a physical, resurrected body of flesh and bones and He will never, ever die again and become a spirit. Jesus Christ will forever have a physical body of flesh and bones.

The only way the Trinity god can be one god, who is made up of three persons, and still be a spirit is for Jesus Christ to die a second time and become a spirit. That, my friend, will never happen. Therefore, the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that the Trinity doctrine is false.

I trust the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ as it is taught in the Bible over the man made philosophy of the Trinity.


In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2012, 11:50:04 AM PDT
reply to Harold Swanson's post:

that makes more sense than other things people tell me

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2012, 3:59:00 PM PDT
Tammy says:
I agree!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2012, 7:28:24 AM PDT
Vicki says:
Dear Whomper,

You said :"Jesus is not God as the bible clearly states as He is under the Father's control and answers to God, although Jesus has power over everything else under Him eg earth, mankind, etc."

I disagree with you. The Bible clearly states that Jesus is not GOD THE FATHER, but it doesn't say that Jesus is not God.

I agree with a previous poster- the Athanasian Creed formulates the incarnation of Jesus (although explaining it is an altogether different matter) quite well:
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man...perfect God, and perfect man...who although he be God and man, yet he is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh: but by taking of the manhood into God".
(I especially like that last part-but by taking of the manhood into God).
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Discussion in:  Christianity forum
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Initial post:  Apr 9, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 2, 2012

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