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In John 5:31, Jesus said the following:

If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his testimony about me is true. ‘You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. ‘I have testimony weightier than that of John. For **the works that the Father has given me to finish – the very works that I am doing – testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. (John 5:31-37)

Jesus spoke for himself as the Son of God, but said "if I testify about myself, my testimony is not true". It means that his word alone would not suffice for the testimony to be established as proof legally in front of human judges. Jesus refers to John the Baptist as a human witness but adds that "he doesn't accept a human testimony" for "I receive not honour from men" (John 5:41 - KJV). Witnesses acceptable to Jesus' standards of perfection were "the works that the Father has given [Christ] to finish", and in connection with those works, "the Father who sent [Christ] has himself testified concerning [Jesus].

He repeated similar words in John 8:17, 18

In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me. (John 8:17-18)

Jesus says "in your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true". He clearly follows that Law as well in John 5:31-37 in regards to the legality of his witness. Who are the two witnesses Jesus mentions in John 8:17,18? Himself and the Father!

According to the Athanasian Creed, the Trinity is “one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;” and that you can’t “confound the persons nor divide the substance.”

Albeit being 3 separate persons, they are consubstantial and “coequal” for “Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit”

The persons are all almighty, “and yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.... they are not three Gods, but one God.”

It goes as far as to say that it is “forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.” The three persons of the Trinity are inseparable and ONE being.

The Doctrine of Circuminsession (perichoresis) says:

The subsistences [divine persons] then we say are perfect, that we may not conceive of the divine nature as compound. For compoundness is the beginning of separation. And again we speak of the three subsistences as being in each other , that we may not introduce a crowd and multitude of Gods. Owing to the three subsistences, there is no compoundness or confusion: while, owing to their having the same essence and dwelling in one another, and being the same in will, and energy, and power, and authority, and movement, so to speak, we recognise the indivisibility and the unity of God. For verily there is one God, and His word and Spirit.

According to the theologian studies on the Lutheran Trinity Doctrine, Reiner Jansen said the following:

The"works of the Trinity cannot be lined up alongside one another in such a way that they stand as three isolated and disparate events. The work of any given person is always seen in relation to the work of the other two persons. And so the work of the Father, Son, and Spirit are not considered in and of themselves, but are seen entirely in the light of the Trinitarian faith" (Jansen, 84)

Dr. Charles P. Arand adds to this:

for there exists an intimate interdependence, one might even say a mutual dependence among their works.

James E. Dolezal states:

“The doctrine of divine simplicity teaches that (1) God is identical with his existence and his essence and (2) that each of his attributes is ontologically identical with his existence and with every other one of his attributes.”

― James E. Dolezal, God without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God's Absoluteness

If the trinitarian dogma is true, that "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit… are one" (1. John 5:7 - KJV) "ontologically identical" in essence and being, then the "witness" they are bearing about each other is legally unacceptable by the Judaic Law that God himself established!

Even if you say that God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are different persons of the God-Head, it would still be legally unacceptable due to the very nature of God's subsistence according to the Trinity dogma: The three persons are one and the same being: GOD.

Legally speaking you cannot separate the witness from the being giving the witness. If the three persons of the Trinity are ONE in essence, nature, power, action, and will, and thus cannot say, act, and will differently from each other, then we cannot get three separate, distinct or independent testimonies from it, but only one. For there is no variation in point of view or dependence, that would warrant it to be accepted as a separate independent witness. Jesus' own words would apply that "if I testify about myself [my identity], my testimony is not true".

It would mean that if any person of the God-Head, testifies about any other person of the God-Head or about the God-Head itself, according to the judicial Law established by God/YHWH himself, this testimony alone would not be acceptable to Jewish judges abiding to that Law.

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    The question is at fault, fundamentally. Trinitarians do not accept that the three Persons of the Godhead are one person. Therefore, the persons are separate witnesses. Introducing the term 'ontological' (never found anywhere in scripture) does not assist this particular question. The term is introduced to try to convey the unity of Deity. That is to say, the unity of the Divine nature. (Not the concept of one person.) That Divine persons share one divine nature does not deny them the ability to act as separate witnesses, as separate individual persons.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 25 at 18:09
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    @JsWitness "The three personas share one and the same identity: Trinity GOD." Do you have a Trinitarian source who teaches this? Again, you need to provide the basis for your question by giving us your sources, not just your own ideas. Because that's not a statement I'd be very happy with, and I'm sure many other Trinitarians would agree!
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 26 at 4:18
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    @JsWitness But which of those authors are actually Trinitarians? And are they using "identity" in the personal sense or the mathematical sense? And are they saying what you're actually saying here? And of course what Philosophers of Religious Studies say is irrelevant - go ask about what they say on Philosophy instead. Searching for collocations of two words isn't evidence that Trinitarians are saying what you're claiming they are. That really just looks like you're searching for quotes after the fact, rather than starting from Trinitarian teachings.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 26 at 5:05
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    @JsWitness There you go again - hiding behind the word 'identity' which you give a meaning all of your own manufacture. This is very poor stuff. There is no substantial argument here at all. No further comment.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 26 at 5:13
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    @Kris As I'm sure you've experienced before, asking questions of a denomination about something they don't believe or teach just isn't fair to anyone. And if you're only looking at the question in its current form then you're seeing it in its much improved state.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 26 at 12:27

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The law regarding witnesses is for men, given to men by God, because the hearts of men are deceitful and wicked: Corroboration is needed in order for human testimony to even begin to be trustworthy. This law is for protection against false accusation and the establishment of iniquity.

As such it does not apply to God, in whom there is no iniquity. Therefore, when God declares

I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God but Me. - Isaiah 45:5

his testimony remains true even though He speaks alone and of Himself. The Law does not apply to God: It is given because of human iniquity.

So, when Jesus says, at John 18:14

Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.

He is separating Himself, in this statement, from the application of this law based upon a knowledge that his audience does not possess. What is that knowledge? Jesus knows where He came from and his accusers do not.

He appeals to His testimony of Himself, the Father's testimony about Him, and the works that God has given Him to do all as a matter of condescension so that some might believe that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. But, according to the law, there is no need for Jesus and the Father to be ontologically distinct because the law does not apply to God nor to sinless humanity. One testimony is sufficient.

That is why Jesus remarks "it is also written in your law" (not our law) and why the remainder of the passage in John 8 finishes the way it does:

It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. - John 8:17-19

If they had accepted the testimony of the Son given by the Father (who needs no corroboration) they would have had no need of further testimony. As it stands, demanding corroborative testimony from the Son is no different from demanding corroborative testimony from the Father.

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. - John 14:10

When Jesus testifies of Himself it is the Father that dwells in Him that is speaking. The whole thing is a matter of disbelieving the Father.

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Because if they are ONE in essence, nature, power, action, and will, and thus cannot say, act, and will differently from each other . . . . . [sic, OP above]

This is incorrect.

That Divine Persons share one divine nature, being three separate individual persons, and that they do so in a perfection of love, means that no one will contradict the will of another. The actions of one will not damage another, nor frustrate the purposes of another. For 'God Love is' (literal, expressing an equivalence).

But that none desires to act in contradiction does not indicate the absence of independent will, nor the absence of independence of action. Not at all.

Therefore the premise that none can act as witness to another is a false premise.

For love determines that if a true witness is called for, then such a witness will be testified, independently and willingly.

To pretend that a loving unity of purpose obviates the ability to independently testify, truthfully and righteously, is false.


Nor is this a legal matter.

... the "witness" they are bearing about each other is legally unacceptable by the Judaic Law that God himself established! [sic, OP above]

The purposes and activities of Deity soar far, far above legal premise and exactitude. God's ultimate purpose is 'to bring many sons to glory' through a redemption which in no way can be required by law, be exacted by law or be provided by law.

The witness that Divine Persons testify of one another is within a divine perfection of absolute love, in glorious and true light, soaring far, far, above anything that law could reach to or accomplish.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.[Romans 3:21 KJV]

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If I may, I will offer another answer from a different angle.

God has perfect integrity. That is to say, God never does or says anything that in any way contradicts or opposes who and what God is. God is always perfectly represented in word and deed.

God is infinite in His attributes and therefore the perfection of His integrity is infinite such that who He is (Father), what He thinks and says (Logos/Son), and His acts/means of acting (Spirit) never lose ontological sameness. God is always infinitely perfectly represented in thought, word, and deed.

God is also eternal and so is always eternally infinitely perfectly represented in thought, word, and deed. We cannot see God (who He is) and so it is by Word and Deed that the Father is revealed. His Word was made flesh to manifest His Deeds, thus revealing Himself. "If you have seen me you have seen the Father". And again, "You neither know me, nor my Father; if you had known me you should have known my Father also". And again, "The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works".

There is both a distinction and an inseparability of the two: I and the Father are one.

God the Father sends forth His word (Logos/Son) and that Word accomplishes that for which it was sent. The Word is distinct from the Father as being sent from Him and yet not other than God as eternally, infinitely, perfectly representing God.

If God may claim personhood (Father) then the Word/Logos, which is not other than God, also may claim personhood (Son). This Word/Logos, this Son, was made flesh and anointed with the Spirit (the deeds and the means) to reveal God the Father.

Jesus offers all three as testimony: What He says of Himself, what the Father says of Him, and the works He does by the Spirit. They are three witnesses; three eternal, infinite, perfect witnesses distinct from one another in eternally, infinitely, perfectly representing one eternal, infinite, and perfect God.

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This is what you stated Js Witness in your conclusion.

"Legally speaking you cannot separate the witness from the being giving the witness. If the three persons of the Trinity are ONE in essence, nature, power, action, and will, and thus cannot say, act, and will differently from each other, then we cannot get three separate, distinct or independent testimonies from it, but only one. For there is no variation in point of view or dependence, that would warrant it to be accepted as a separate independent witness. Jesus' own words would apply that "if I testify about myself [my identity], my testimony is not true".

It would mean that if any person of the God-Head, testifies about any other person of the God-Head or about the God-Head itself, according to the judicial Law established by God/YHWH himself, this testimony alone would not be acceptable to Jewish judges abiding to that Law."

Your first mistake in your statement is when you said, "Jesus' own words would apply that "if I testify about myself [my identity], my testimony is not true"." No, the "words" of Jesus would not be true, not His identity of who He is.

Now, remember are discussions regarding the "angel of the Lord" in the OT who is identified as the messenger of God. Legally speaking he was a "distinct person" from God and at Genesis 22:15-16 said, "Then the angel of the Lord called out to Abraham a second time from heaven, vs16, "AND SAID, BY MYSELF I HAVE SWORN DECLARES THE LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld you son, your only son.

You also said this: "Even if you say that God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are different persons of the God-Head, it would still be legally unacceptable due to the very nature of God's subsistence according to the Trinity dogma: The three persons are one and the same being: GOD.

First of all the Godhead is not three "different" persons, they are three "distinct" persons who share the same nature. It's no different that human beings having the same nature but yet humans are distinct persons. Your not the person of your father or mother. Moreover, as distinct persons you would be giving a "separate" testimony as a witness.

You also said: "Jesus says "in your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true". He clearly follows that Law as well in John 5:31-37 in regards to the legality of his witness. Who are the two witnesses Jesus mentions in John 8:17,18? Himself and the Father!"

So, how is this any different from what God said at Hebrews 6:13-18 regarding the angel of the Lord being a distinct witness/person from His Father? "For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could not swear by no one greater, He swore BY HIMSELF, vs14, "saying, "I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you.

Let me say in conclusion the problem (as I see it) has to do with the definition of words and their meaning. When we speak of a living, rational being we are usually speaking of all that a particular concrete existence is, person + nature, not person in distinction of nature. For example, Gods nature distinguishes Him from all that is not God. Human nature distinguishes humans from all that is not human. Ask yourself this question? Why did Jesus Christ on numerous occasions identify Himself as (1) The Son of God, and (2) The Son of Man?

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  • Britannica Dictionary says “Distinct means "different in a way that you can see, hear, smell, feel, etc." or "noticeably different." Different means "not of the same kind" or "partly or totally unlike." Your response resorts to Tritheism to force a reconciliation. Tritheists think that the common nature of the Trinity is an abstraction; so that, while the three persons are consubstantial, they are distinct in their properties. This view was condemned as tritheism at the Third Council of Constantinople in 680–81. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritheism
    – Js Witness
    Commented Apr 27 at 18:18
  • Distinct means "different in a way that you can see, hear, smell, feel, etc." or "noticeably different." Different means "not of the same kind" or "partly or totally unlike." Also consider the following: Distinct and Different are nuances of the same notion of difference. Distinct refers to a sharper difference, something that is very noticeable, which stands out. Distinction serves to delineate the order of existence among members of the Trinity. Each have the same nature and are distinct persons with the same kind of nature, which is "Deity" or "God." This is "NOT" tritheism.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Apr 27 at 19:03
  • From the definition of Britannica Dictionary "Distinct" means "less" difference than "Different". I think your right, "distinct" is better, but it denotes more similarity in the persons than "different" does. "Order of existence"? Does that mean one is higher than the other, or existed before the other? "Members" denotes that the Trinity is a "group". A group of persons "with the same kind of nature". Which would be three Gods (just as we are two Humans). This is Tritheism. Three persons but one personality, would that be correct?
    – Js Witness
    Commented Apr 27 at 19:30
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    No, the order of existence serves to delineate the persons of the Godhead. The Father is commonly said to be the first person of the Godhead, followed by the Son and then the Holy Spirit. It does not mean one is higher in nature since all three persons share the same nature. We as human beings share the same nature, we all are distinct persons. Your a distinct person from your father and mother. Jesus is the Son of His Father which means He is the same nature as His Father. His mother who bore Jesus is human, therefore Jesus had two natures, human and deity. Hence, Son of God and Son of man
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Apr 27 at 20:46
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    You said: "I don't deny that Jesus has the same divine nature than his Father, just as we both share the same human nature." You also said, " I’m Father, Son, and Husband - all three “persons” Now think for a second about what your saying? This is classic "Modalism." Your comparing an ontological being to roles which is an invalid comparison. If a person never gets married then he is not considered a husband, which is a role. Your nature is always with you and it never changes. Even today, certain groups are saying, "I know my baby was born a boy, but I say it's a girl. How sick is that?
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Apr 27 at 21:42

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