PAGAN ORIGIN OF THE DOCTRINE OF TRINITY by John Claudius Pitrat 1857
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The Roman Catholic writers themselves confess that the Pagans believed in Trinity; also the most of the self-called Protestant Orthodox historians and authors. The neutral authors are unanimous on this point. The following facts and proofs we shall impartially extract from those three classes of writers:
The Egyptians believed in Trinity; the Greek inscription of the great Obelisk of the major circus, at Rome, reads thus: Megas Theos, the great god, Theogentos, the begotten of god; and Pamphegges, the all-bright, (Apollo, the Spirit.) Heraclide, of Pont, and Porphyre relate a famous oracle of Serapis: Prota Theos, metepeita logos, kai pneuma soun autois. Sumphuta de tria panta, kai eis en eonta. [Translation:] All is God in the beginning; then the word and the spirit; three Gods coengendered together and united in one.
The Chaldeans had a sort of Trinity in their Metris, Oromasis, and Araminis, or Mithra, Oromase and Aramine. The Chinese had also, and still have, a mysterious Trinity. The first god generates the second one, and both generate the third one. The Chinese say that the great term, or great unity, contains three, one is three, and three are one. In India Trinity was immemorially known. The Father Jesuit Calmet writes: "What I have seen mostly surprising is a text extracted from Lamaastambam, one of the books of the Indians It begins thus: The Lord, the good, the great God, in his mouth is the word. (The term which they use personifies the word.) Then it speaks of the Holy Spirit in these words: Ventus seu spiritus perfectus; [translation] breath or perfect spirit,—and it ends by the creation, ascribing it to God alone."
The Jesuit Calmet says, writing about the Thibetans: "I learned the following about their religion. They call God Konciosa, and they seem to have some idea of the adorable Trinity; for they call God sometimes Konsikosick, God-one, and at other times Kocioksum, God-three. They use a kind of bead on which they pronounce these words: om, ha, hum. When they are asked the explanation, they answer that om signifies the intelligence, or arm, namely power; that ha is the word; that hum is the heart or love, and that these three words signify God."
The Father Bouchet, a Roman Catholic missionary in India, wrote the following to the bishop of Avranches: "I commence by the confused idea which the Indians preserve about the adorable Trinity. My Lord, I have spoken to you of the three principal deities of the Indians, Bruma, Wishnou, and Routren. The greater portion of the people say, it is true, that they are three different gods, and really separate. But several Nianigneuls, or spiritual men, assure that these three gods, apparently distinct, compose in reality but one god: that this god is called Bruma, when he creates and exercises his all-power; that he is called Wishnou, when he preserves the created beings, and does them good; and that, finally, he takes the name of Routren, when he destroys the cities, chastises the wicked, and makes men feel his just anger."
English missionaries have found at Otaiti some traces of the Trinity among the religious dogmas of the natives.
Plato refers to this doctrine in several passages of his works. "Not only," says Dacier in his translation, "it is believed that he knew about the Word, eternal Son of God; but also that he knew about the Holy Spirit, for he thus writes to the young Denis:
"'I must declare to Archedemus what is much more precious and more divine, and which you so eagerly desire to know; for you sent him to me for this express purpose. According to what he told me, you think that I have not sufficiently explained to you my opinion about the first Principle, therefore I shall write it to you, enigmatically, however, in order that, if my epistle is intercepted at sea or on land, he who will read it will be unable to understand it. All things are around their king; they exist through him, and he is the only cause of good things, second for the second things, and third for the third things.'
"In the Epinomis," continues Dacier, "Plato establishes as Principle, the first good, the Word, or intelligence and the soul. The first good is God; . . . . the Word, or intelligence, is the son of this first good, who begets him similar to himself; and the soul, which is the term between the Father and the Son, is the Holy Spirit."
Plato had borrowed this doctrine about Trinity from Timee of Locre, who held it from the Italian philosophical school. Marsile Ficin, in one of his remarks on Plato, shows from the testimonies of Jamblic, Porphyre, Plato and Maxim of Tyr, that the Pythagoricians knew also the excellence of the Ternary; Pythagoras himself indicated it in this symbol: Protima to Schema, kai Bema, kai Triobolon. The Jesuit Kirker, dissenting about the unity and trinity of the first Principle, traces vestiges of the doctrine of Trinity up to Pythagoras, and to the Egyptians.
St. Augustine himself, though the staunchest defender of the dogma of Trinity, confessed that, among all the nations of the world, a Trinity, nearly similar to the one he believed in, had been held. He added that the Pythagoricians, the Platonicians, and that a great number of Atlantes, Lybian, Egyptian, Persian, Chaldean, Scythian, Gallenses, and Hibernian philosophers, held several dogmas about the unity of the God, Light, and Good, in common with the Church of Rome.
Macrobe gives us a summary of ancient or Platonician theology, which contains a true Trinity, of which that of the Papists and of the self-called Protestant Orthodox is but a copy. According to this summary, the world has been formed by the universal soul: this soul is the same as their spiritus, or spirit. They also call the Holy Spirit Creator: "Veni Creator spiritus," etc., [translation,] Come Spirit Creator, etc., (Catholic hymn.) Macrobe adds, that from this spirit or soul the intelligence, which he calls men's proceeds. Is this not the Father, the Son, or wisdom, and the Spirit that creates and vivifies all? Even is not the expression to proceed common to the ancient and to the Papist and Protestant Orthodox Churches in the filiation of the first three beings?
Macrobe goes farther. He recals the three Principles to a primitive unit, who is the sovereign God. After resting his theory on this Trinity he adds: "You see how this unit, or original monade of the first cause, is preserved entire and indivisible up to the soul, or spirit, which animates the world." This testimony of Macrobe has so much more bearing, that he wrote in the beginning of the fifth century; that he was the first Chamberlain of the emperor Theodose, and was the most learned antiquarian of that age.
Another most important fact we shall record. It is beyond any doubt that before the coming of Jesus Christ the Jews did not hold the dogma of Trinity, nor do they now. Their Rabbins, and all the Roman Catholic theologians, agree on this point.
During the first three centuries of the Christian era the dogma of Trinity was not generally believed. The Simonians, the Nicholaites, the Valentinians, the Basilidians, the Carpocratians, the Ophites, the Sethians, all the Gnostics, and many other Christian sects rejected it. It was only in the fourth century, that Arius and the above sects were condemned in the council of Nice, because they denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. This council was assembled by the order of the emperor Constantine I., who was urged to it by the Bishop of Rome, (or Pope,) whose Church held the dogma of Trinity. As a matter of course the bishops of the council had to decide according to the will of those two leaders; for Constantine threatened them with deposition and exile: in fact he banished Arius, and deposed seventeen bishops, who did not subscribe to the decision of the council.
The doctrine that Jesus Christ was not God himself was so generally spread, and so deeply rooted in the minds, that several successors of Constantine I. embraced Arianism; and it was only after centuries that Arianism, which was spread nearly all over the East, was crushed by the papal and the imperial power.
Now let us draw our conclusions. Since the Jews had no knowledge of the dogma of Trinity, the Church of Rome could not borrow it from them; since the generality of the Christian sects during the first three centuries did not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Church of Rome did not find the dogma of Trinity in the Gospel; (besides, the Catholic theologians never pretended that the Scriptures teach it—they simply pretended, and still pretend, that it was a tradition.) Since the dogma of Trinity was believed by many Pagan sects, then the Roman Church borrowed it from them.
In turns, the self-called Orthodox Protestant Churches borrowed this doctrine from the Church of Rome, in the sixteenth century.
Therefore the doctrine of Trinity is of Pagan origin.
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