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Curious what Christian theologians or the Bible may have said about this. It seems like Jesus speaks in terms of his father's will as if it is not quite his own, which suggests separate minded-ness.

And what of the Holy Spirit ? Is the Holy Spirit thought to have a mind in the same way Jesus and God the father are thought to (since they are considered "persons" in some sense of the word).

Maybe there are ways it could be a bit of both shared and separate.

There may be no obvious answer on this and it could be just up for speculation, and if so, I'd be interested in learning that fact at least.

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+1 Excellent question. This is of critical importance to understanding whether or not Jesus could have sinned –  Richard Sep 9 '11 at 19:08
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+1 Excellent question. Possible followups - if three separate minds, then how can they be "one"? If one mind, then three separate personalities? Is a personality equivalent to a mind? –  Bob Black Sep 9 '11 at 19:23
    
Duplicate of christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1878/… –  DJClayworth Sep 11 '11 at 2:38
    
You may want to look at my answer: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1878/… and read the links I gave. –  James Black Oct 27 '11 at 0:35
    
Those answering might want to look up Monothelitism, and say something about which denominations see Jesus as having one or two minds. –  Alypius Apr 21 '13 at 3:22

7 Answers 7

I asked a similar question pertaining to will within the Trinity.

Given that the Triune God is one in nature and three in person, and that I consider the mind to be a part of the person, I would conclude that each of the three persons has their own separate mind.

However, because they share the same perfect and infinite nature, their is never any dissent or discord among the persons of God. In a sense, though they are of separate persons each with their own mind, they are of "one mind", in unity of purpose and being.

Also, scripture talks in different places about the "mind of Christ" (e.g. 1 Cor 2:16) and the "mind of the Spirit" (e.g. Rom 8:27), quite distinctly at least implying two distinct minds for those two of the Holy Trinity.

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Cor:2:14-16

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Rom 8:26-27

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While I might be mistaken, this answer sounds a little to close to the heresy of Partialism... –  ericgorr Apr 22 '13 at 11:00
    
@ericgorr: I think you misinterpret my meaning; orthodox Christian doctrine is that God is one in nature (essence), but three in person and this answer does not contradict that. It certainly does not intend to imply that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are 3 different parts of God (that would be to divide his essential nature). –  Lawrence Dol Apr 22 '13 at 18:33

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have three minds.

The Father knows something that the son does not:

Mark 13:32 KJV But of that day and [that] hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Jesus had a will different than the Father. He did not want to die. At Gethsemane and through his tribulation he learned obedience.

Luke 22:42 KJV Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Hebrews 5:8 KJV Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

The love God commands us is defined as putting another ahead of yourself. If the wills of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost were identical, then Love could not have been expressed before creation. This would make God a needy God, rather than self-sufficient.

Jesus recognizes our dual nature of flesh and spirit. When he command us to love others as we love ourselves [1], he is not giving merit to self-love. He is commanding us, in the same way that Paul did, to put off the old man and put on the new[2]. He has told us that we cannot serve two masters [3], therefore we cannot have two loves. We are to replace the self-centeredness of the flesh with the love of the spirit.

[1] Mt 19:19 Honour thy father and [thy] mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Mt 22:39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Mr 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

[2] Ro 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; Col 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

[3] Mt 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Lu 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

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Christ commands us to "love your neighbor as you love yourself." If it is possible for me to love myself, is it not also possible for God (with a single-person/mind/will) to love Himself? This seems to invalidate your definition of love as "putting another ahead of yourself" unless you mean to suggest I can somehow put myself ahead of myself. –  Flimzy Oct 27 '11 at 21:29
    
Changed content to reflect the definition of love more clearly. Self-love isn't love at all, it is the self-centered nature of the flesh which we are commanded to 'put off'. –  Bob Jones Nov 27 '11 at 15:02

There are several heresies that one needs to be careful of when discussing a topic such as this. For example, Modalism which declares that God is not three distinct persons, but that He merely reveals himself in three different forms. Or, Arianism which declares that Christ and the Holy Spirit are creations of the Father and not one in nature with Him. Or Partialism which declares that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not distinct persons of the Godhead, but are different parts of God each composing 1/3 of the divine.

The only accurate answer one can give is what is confessed in The Athanasian Creed.

There is a rather wonderful and hilarious video covering this topic: St. Patrick's Bad Analogies

The Athanasian Creed

Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith.

Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish eternally.

And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.

For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Holy Spirit is another.

But the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit: the Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy Spirit uncreated; the Father infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite; the Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Spirit eternal.

And yet there are not three Eternals, but one Eternal, just as there are not three Uncreated or three Infinites, but one Uncreated and one Infinite.

In the same way, the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, the Holy Spirit almighty; and yet there are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God;

And yet there are not three Gods, but one God.

So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord;

And yet there are not three Lords, but one Lord.

Just as we are compelled by the Christian truth to acknowledge each distinct person as God and Lord, so also are we prohibited by the catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords.

The Father is not made nor created nor begotten by anyone.

The Son is neither made nor created, but begotten of the Father alone.

The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son, neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeding.

Thus, there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.

And in this Trinity none is before after another; none is greater or less than another;

But the whole three persons are coeternal with each other and coequal, so that in all things, as has been stated above, the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity is to be worshiped.

Therefore, whoever desires to be saved must think thus about the Trinity.

But it is also necessary for everlasting salvation that one faithfully believe the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, it is the right faith that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is at the same time both God and man.

He is God, begotten from the substance of the Father before all ages; and He is man, born from the substance of His mother in this age: perfect God and perfect man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh; equal to the Father with respect to His divinity, less than the Father with respect to His humanity.

Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ: one, however, not by the conversion of the divinity into flesh, but by the assumption of the humanity into God; one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.

For as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ,

Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from dead, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

At His coming all people will rise again with their bodies and give an account concerning their own deeds.

And those who have done good will enter into eternal life, and those who have done evil into eternal fire.

This is the catholic faith; whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be saved.

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I don't have all the references, but I'm quite certain that the Scriptures reveal that the Father, Son and Spirit each have mind, will, and emotions. We can "grieve the Spirit", Jesus was "willing" to make people clean, the Father "has compassion", God's "thoughts are higher than our thoughts", the Father has a will (as you mentioned), Jesus exhibited emotion when He wept...

So, each is a Person with mind, will and emotions, yet they are One (John 17).

UPDATE

At one point, the Scriptures do speak of the mind of the Lord, specifically Christ:

For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 NASB

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Jesus said He only did the things He saw His Father do, and that the Holy Spirit would speak of Him, so it would indicate that they have one will, even if separate minds. However it is important to remember: the Trinity is a mystery - but we are given an example within ourselves. We have a body, soul and spirit, and all think with the same mind. Unfortunately in our fallen state, our three parts don't agree (body and spirit war against each other), but if we take this on principle, the idea of the Trinity having one Mind becomes a bit clearer.

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While I can't find any source that would say about "mind" of God (I'm not even sure if Church Fathers ever used the word "nous" as something that God possesess), the notion of will of God is resolved by the theology of the First Ecumenical Councils.

Especially the 6th Ecumenical Council (3rd Constantinople) which was opposing the heresy of monotheletism explained that if there is a difference between Christ's will and Father's will, it is the human will of Christ. The God will of the Trinity is one. But the Word Incarnate having two full natures of God and of man has also two wills.

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Could you expand a bit? This answer really seems to be on the right track since it is talking about both the Trinity and the human/Divine will of Christ, and not speculating based on the Bible but instead talking about major meetings of theologians and views that opposed them. –  Alypius Apr 23 '13 at 7:25

The Persons of the Trinity are not three individuals but three persons; we, because of our personal experiences (every person I've met today is also an individual), tend to consider them synonymous, and may think of there being three separate minds and wills in the Trinity. But the differences between the Persons of the Trinity are only in their relation toward one another; They share one mind and will, yet each Person is self-aware (the Father knows He is the Father, He knows the other two Persons, and He knows of the other two Persons as distinct yet one with Him; and so on).

The Godhead has one rational nature; each Person of the Trinity shares that rational nature in a distinct way.

The following quotations come from Karl Rahner's The Trinity, and anything in bold is my emphasis; italics are present in the original. Note that he ultimately teaches a heretical view of the Trinity due to his claim that creation was a necessary action on God's part and the generation of His Son was in preparation for creation. I'm not using any of that here.

Rahner agrees with Aquinas's definition of person: That which subsists as distinct in a rational nature (Summa Theologica, Q 30, A 4). Whereas we normally think that a person has a mind, by this definition it's the opposite: minds contain persons.

He begins with a high-level discussion of the relation between each Person of the Trinity, summarized here (also see this question):

It follows that we must say that the Father, Son, and Spirit are identical with the one godhead and are "relatively" distinct from one another. These three as distinct are constituted only by there relatedness to one another, so that the axiom which asserts the identity of the essence and the distinction of the three may also be formulated (as Anselm was the first to do and as done by the Council of Florence) as follows: in God everything is one except where there is relative opposition (DS 1330).

So the Father is fully God, the Son is fully God, and the Spirit is fully God; we do not have an additive relationship, where Father + Son + Spirit = God; neither do we have a single Person revealing Himself in three different forms, but we have three Persons "relatively" distinct. Each Person sort of comprises the "God essence" in a distinct way.

Rahner then begins to discuss the relations in more detail, preparing to take a closer look at each Person within the Trinity:

Let us first make it clear that in the official doctrine of the [Catholic] Church this term [person] says nothing which has not yet been said with the word "hypostasis." This is already evident from the fact that both words are used as synonyms. Furthermore, it is evident that the element of consciousness, which nowadays and from long ago almost spontaneously connected with the concept,28 does not belong to it in our context, insofar as it expresses the formal moment of this concept as distinguished from the essence of God. Otherwise the "three" would also have to be said of this "element of consciousness." But there exists in God only one power, one will, only one self-presence, a unique activity, a unique beatitude, and so forth.29 Hence self-awareness is not a moment which distinguishes the divine "persons" one from the other, even though each divine "person," as concrete, possesses a self-consciousness. Whatever would mean three "subjectivities" must be carefully kept away from the concept of person in the present context.20


28: This is also often tacitly, but wrongly, presupposed in some "demonstrations" by which biblical theology tries to establish the "personality" of the (immanent) Son and Spirit, when they wish to demonstrate a "personality" of the Son and Spirit which is distinct from that of the Father.

29: Cp. DS 3, 71, 73, 144f, 172, 177, 415, 421, 441, 451, 490, 501, 542, 545f, 572f, 680, 851, 3350. We must, of course, say that Father, Son, and Spirit possess self-consciousness and that each one is aware of the other two "persons." But precisely this self-consciousness (as subjective, not as understood in its objectivity) comes from the divine essence, is common as one to the divine persons, is therefore a moment of the concrete person, so that he may be defined as "a distinct subject in a rational nature." But it is not a constitutive moment of the "person" as such, as distinct from the "essence" (nature), although it must be mentioned if we wish to explain the difference between a "hypostatis" with self-awareness and a subhuman thing-like "hypostatis."

30: Hence within the Trinity there is no reciprocal "Thou." The Son is the Father's self-utterance which should not in its turn be conceived as "uttering," and the Spirit is the "gift" which does not give in its turn. Jn. 17, 21; Gal. 4, 6; Rom. 8, 15 presuppose a creaturely starting point for the "Thou" addressed to the Father.

So each Person shares the Divine will, power, activity, and self-presence, all things that come from a mind. Yet each Person recognizes Himself as distinct from each other Person within the Trinity. Each Person's self-awareness and consciousness is not inherent to that Person (by nature of that Person being that Person) but comes from the shared essence.

Now this is not necessarily true; though this does explain the one-and-threeness without danger of imagining God as three Gods. We can only know of God what He chooses to reveal to us, and He didn't seem to think it necessary for us to fit Him into our little heads.

Nonetheless, the main difficulty regarding the concept of person in the doctrine of the Trinity is rather different, and we have already mentioned it several times before now: when today we speak of person in the plural, we think almost necessarily, because of the modern meaning of the word, of several spiritual centers of activity, of several subjectivities and liberties. But there are not three of these in God -- not only because in God there is only one essence, hence one absolute self-presence, but also because there is only one self-utterance of the Father, the Logos... There is in God a knowledge of these three persons.. a knowledge about the Trinity both as consciousness and as "object" of knowledge (as known). But there are not three consciousnesses; rather the one consciousness subsists in a threefold way. There is only one real consciousness in God, which is shared by the Father, Son, and Spirit, by each in his own proper way.

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I appreciate your effort, but I cannot understand the Rahner quotes at all. –  Chelonian Apr 21 '13 at 5:07
    
This was one of the most difficult books I've ever read. Was there something specific I can try to explain (I'll see if I can improve it overall tomorrow)? –  Ryan Frame Apr 21 '13 at 21:24
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I appreciate your offer, but I rather doubt you or anyone can decode that for anyone in a convincing way (and it's not your fault). There are just far too many terms that are ill-defined to make sense of Rahner's points. E.g., with such words italicized: "But precisely this self-consciousness (as subjective, not as understood in its objectivity) comes from the divine essence, is common as one to the divine persons, is therefore a moment of the concrete person, so that he may be defined as 'a distinct subject in a rational nature.'" I'd argue this is hopelessly abstruse. –  Chelonian Apr 23 '13 at 3:31

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