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Church Society Trust

 The Principles of Theology - Article 1

by W.H.Griffith Thomas


Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead, there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
De Fide in Sacrosanctam Trinitatem.
Unus est vivus et verus Deus, æternus, incorporeus, impartibilis, impassibilis; immensæ potentiæ, sapientiæ, ac bonitatis; Creator et Conservator omnium, tum visibilium, tum invisibilium. Et in unitate hujus divinæ naturæ, tres sunt Personæ, ejusdem essentiæ, potentiæ, ac æternitatis; Pater, Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.

Important Equivalents
Without body = incorporeus
Without parts = impartibilis
Without passions = impassibilis
Infinite = immensæ
Of this Godhead = hujus divinæ naturæ
Of one substance = ejusdem essentiæ

It was essential to put this subject in the forefront to show the fundamental beliefs of the Reformers as against Rome, and also as against extremists on the Protestant side, some of whom had gone so far as to deny the doctrine of the Trinity.

The Article, which dates from 1553, is drawn mainly from the First Article of the Confession of Augsburg, 1530, and the Thirteenth Article of the Concordat of 1538. It can also be illustrated by the Reformatio Legum, where the same language is seen.[1] The main truths of the Article are two: (1) the Unity of the Godhead; (2) the Trinity in the Godhead, the former being the necessary foundation and presupposition of the latter. But in the course of the statement there are several aspects of truth connected with the Deity which call for attention.

>> 1. The Existence Of God


[1]  “De Deo. Ecclesiæ mango consensu apud nos docent decretum Nicenæ Synod, de unitate essentiæ, et de tribus personis, verum et sine ulla dubitatione credendum esse. Videlicet, quod sit una essentia divina, quæ appellatur et est Deus æternus, incorporeusi impartibilis, immensa potentia, sapientia, bonitate, Creator et Conservator omnium rerum visibilium et invisibilium, et tamen tres sint personæ ejusdem essentiæ potentiæ, et coæternæ, Pater, Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus; et nomine personæ utuntur ea significatione qui usi sunt in hac causa scriptores ecclesiastici, ut significet non partem aut qualitatem in alio, sed quod proprie subsistit” (Gibson, The Thirty-nine Articles, p. 90).


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The Principles of Theology

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>> 39 Articles Issues pages

>> Griffith-Thomas biography

Article 1

>> Introduction to Article 1

>> 1 - Existence of God

>> 2 - Nature of God

>> 3 - Attributes of God

>> 4 - Manifestation of God in Nature

>> 5 - Revelation of God in Christ

>> The History of the Doctrine

>> Issues page on Article 1

Content of The Principles

>> Index

>> Preface by J I Packer

>> Introduction

>> 1 - Trinity

>> 2 - Christ

>> 3 - Descent into Hell

>> 4 - Resurrection

>> 5 - Holy Spirit

>> 6 - Holy Scripture

>> 7 - The Old Testament

>> 8 - The Three Creeds

>> 9 - Of Original or Birth Sin

>> 10 - Of Free Will

>> 11 - Of the Justifcation of Man




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