Summary: The problem is that standard Trinitarian doctrine attempts to pin something down logically that is way beyond human logic.
This keeps coming up in discussions. On the one hand, we can reject Arianism, for example, on the basis of the first few verses in John’s Gospel. It’s easy: Whatever Jesus was as a man, He was also the Son of God and was there at Creation. On the other hand, it’s utterly foolish to introduce the issue of time and place in history when there is no such restriction in the Eternal Realm. The real problem here is the assumption that time-space restrictions we experience here in the Fallen Realm also apply to the Eternal Realm (AKA Spirit Realm). This is ludicrous.
Indeed, the whole point of using parabolic language to discuss the Spirit Realm is because we don’t have intellectual capabilities for such things. It is utterly impossible for the human intellect to grasp the subject. We can characterize some of the effects of eternal truth in our world, but that’s about as close as it gets. And we are obliged to acknowledge that and work with it as is.
In terms of Church History, the real problem is the introduction of a large number of second generation disciples and scholars who were bereft of eastern mystical background. They were Hellenistic scholars, not genuine Bible scholars. Let’s not forget that the entirety of Hebrew culture and intellectual background is Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) mysticism. If you aren’t a mystic, you can’t be a genuine follower of Christ. He would flatly reject most of what passes today for “Christian theology.” Most of the Early Church Fathers were way off base, seeking to force a Hellenist logical system into something that is inherently eastern mysticism.
Now with this, we should also slap down the false accusation of Western minds that mysticism lacks clarity and precision. ANE mysticism is deeply learned and there are distinct rules that apply to the heart-led way. Heart-led people may well be all over the place in how they express things, but it’s not that hard to discover the common themes in where their expressions point. It requires an ANE kind of mind to see them, but it wasn’t wide open and lacking all boundaries. It wasn’t just anything you might dream up. People who had spent time working on this stuff might differ in some issues, but you would be quite surprised at just how unanimous they could be on core issues.
The reason so many Western thinkers struggle with this is frankly a deep prejudice, and it smacks of moral failure in many cases. They don’t understand this stuff because they refuse to step outside their own private domain of personal control. They don’t know because they refuse to look into it with a genuine seeking heart. Most of them refuse to let their hearts lead in the first place, and demand that everything be brought before them in a proper Aristotelian framework. Aristotle is roasting in Hell folks, largely because he could have known the truth of God but rejected it.
So if you are willing to study these things, it’s quite justified to reject most of what we associate with the Early Church Fathers. We reject Arianism, sure, but we also reject classical Trinitarian teaching on the same grounds: It seeks to answer the wrong question. It’s a sin to try to pin such things down intellectually. Biblical references to Father, Son and Holy Spirit were never meant to offer handles for intellectual precision.