The Trinity is not a contradiction, but a mystery, thanks.

Once again, this is another “carbon copy” post. So if you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you can skip it. :)

I can’t count the number of people who say the Trinity is a contradiction. “How can there be three persons but one God? Isn’t that contradiction?”

And the question has been so impossible to many that they reject the doctrine entirely and claim that only the Father is God, while Jesus and the Holy Spirit aren’t God. Or, they adopt a quasi-unitarian view that says there’s really one person with three modes of being. Or they, knowingly or not, make the three persons three gods.

I was confused about Mormon belief for a while. So I went one of their websites and read an article about the one “Godhead”. In this article the Holy Trinity was denied *cue the sad music*. The Godhead that Mormons believe in is made up of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each of Whom is an individual god. Obviously that doesn’t squre with biblical monotheism, but that’s beside the point.

Needless to say, there was one comment on the article defending the Trinity *cue pats on the back of whoever made that comment*. In reply to the Trinity comment, a Mormon said, “Thanks, but I’d rather have a doctrine that makes sense and isn’t self-contradicting.”

But, once again, it isn’t contradiction.

What would be contradiction would be the following:

Three persons are one person

One person is three persons

Three natures are one nature

One nature is three natures

The Trinity says none of this

Aristotle tells us quite rightly that it is impossible for a thing to be and not be at the same time and in the same respect. Therefore, some would argue that God can’t be one but three.

But this doesn’t contradict the above. We’re not saying three persons are one person or three natures are one nature. We’re saying that three persons have one nature.

No contradiction here. Because person and nature aren’t “the same respect”.

Furthermore, some people seem to get the idea then when we mention the Trinity we’re introducing some odd math problem, as if trying to say that the number one equals the number three. But that’s not what we’re saying. One is not three; neither is three one, and we’re well aware of this. As I’ve mentioned already: three persons are one in nature. That doesn’t mean three persons are one person or three natures are one nature. That is contradiction.

 

 

Also, if you think of it, the Trinity is necessary for the Christian God to exist, and there are three reasons for this.

First reason is that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). It may have been Chesterton who said this, or it may have been Fr. Robert Barron’s own embellishment. I don’t know. But if God actually IS love itself, there must be a Lover (the Father), a Beloved (the Son), and the Love which They share (the Holy Spirit).

Second reason is God’s omniscience and love. The Father, being God, knows all things. And as Frank Sheed put it, He must know all there is to know about Himself. In this knowledge is no dent or tarnish or stain; ergo, the Father’s eternal self-knowledge is His perfect reflection. And just as the image of oneself is distinct from the person it represents, so the co-eternal Son is distinct from the Father. Again, because the Father is God, He must love infinitely. The Son, being the Father’s reflection, must also love infinitely. And as They are eternally loving one another, the Holy Spirit is eternally proceeding forth from Them.

Third reason is this, given by Fr. Barron: If we say that God is simply one yet not more than one, we are introducing a limitation to Him. Likewise if we say He’s more than one but not one. So He must somehow include properties of both.

And while on the topic of the Trinity, I will close by saying, “May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

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