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Given the triune God, one nature and three persons, do they experience their will in their singular nature or in their separate persons? That is, do they share one will, or does each have a separate will which is in perfect harmony with the others?

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Interesting question, I've never thought about that. Clearly if it was by person there would have to be a requirement that they were never in conflict and always in unity which would basically be the same thing as having one will by nature, but the number of references to one or the other things will is also intriguing. I'm staying tuned! –  Caleb Sep 3 '11 at 12:23

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While I'm not 100% certain I understand your question. If you're asking what I think; Jesus implied that the will of the Father, Son, and Spirit are separate, as He spoke a lot about the Father's will.

John 6:40, NIV

For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

Luke 22:42, NIV

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

John 6:39

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.

So I think Jesus clearly implied that He had the ability to disagree, but He chose to do the will of the Father. I think the clearest statement of this is in John 8:27-29, NIV

27They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”

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So i guess it's not just a case of Jesus being a subclass of Human with the Spirit and Mind variables pointing to the Holy Spirit and Father respectively ;) –  RCIX Sep 3 '11 at 18:34
@RCIX can you clarify your statement, are you stating that a view of the Trinity as God manifest in body, soul, and spirit is being invalidated by my claim? Let me know if I understood your comment and then I can comment on that :) –  2tim424 Sep 3 '11 at 19:53
I mean, generally as humans we refer to having a spirit and mind, but we don't say those have separate intentions/wills/etc. like the bible does of God the Father/Son/Holy Spirit is all. I know it's not quite that simple, but close enough :P –  RCIX Sep 3 '11 at 20:01
@RCIX Ok that's what I thought. I agree it's not generaly thought of that way, but if you look at Romans 7:25 "I thank God -- through Jesus Christ our Lord; so then, I myself indeed with the mind do serve the law of God, and with the flesh, the law of sin." you see that indeed the Body(flesh) does have separate intentions than our own mind. But in God, will is in perfect agreement. –  2tim424 Sep 3 '11 at 20:14
You confused the two wills of Christ (human and divine) with the idea of separate wills in Trinity (which is not supported by christian theology). –  zefciu Apr 22 '13 at 7:22

While the answer from WhatAboutJohn3_17 is fantastic, I thought I would at least add some more resources, to help give more depth.

I think the difficulty is trying to think of the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit as existing separately from God.

This would be related to the question about the person of God, in relation to the Trinity, as explained by St. Thomas Aquinas:


God is a self-subsistant person that embodies all that is perfect, so though we label them separately, they are one.

To see if they have equality and what their likeness is like you can look at


but, basically, they are co-equal in all respects, so the Father is not over the Son.

Then you may want to look at the essence of the three persons:


Though it isn't spelled out in Scripture that God and the Son have the same essence Jesus did state "The Father and I and the Father are one (John 10:30)", for example.

So, the God is a person and has the same essence, and the person and property of God is the same (http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1040.htm), then, though this is a bit long-winded, but since God is a single person then we can see that though the Trinity may be separate, we can't differentiate between the will of each and the Will of God, as our sense of three does not force God to be that way (as explained more below). To see more about the Will of God you can read http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1019.htm.

You may want to read about the plurality of God (http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1030.htm) especially Article 3, where this comment is made:


Multitude, which denotes something real in creatures, is a species of quantity, and cannot be used when speaking of God: unlike transcendental multitude, which adds only indivision to those of which it is predicated. Such a kind of multitude is applicable to God.

So, the idea is that when we talk about three persons, that does not signify anything about God in reality. We have one God, and though, for our sake we express God as three persons, that is still for our simplicity, it does not mean that we have three gods that are one God, so, God will have one will from God, as, just because we think of God as three person doesn't mean that that changes what God is.

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