I have spoken to many who believe in the Trinity. I many times try to present the view the Jesus is the second greatest being in the universe and that he was created by his father Jehovah God. I also say that we should have faith in Jesus and his ransom sacrifice. He deserves our love and utmost respect, but that we should only worship Jehovah the God that Jesus prayed to.

I understand why someone wouldn't believe this is true, but I am less sure why someone would get upset about it. I get the feeling people love the trinity. Is there something about the trinity that has an emotional appeal to it?

Sometimes I try to pose a hypothetical and say "Imagine it were true that the trinity is false." Even if they consider it as a hypothetical truth, they prefer the trinity over the alternative. It is this preference that I am interested in. Why the preference? For instance, some have the preference of believing in hellfire because they want there to be punishment for evil. So if they had a choice, in a hypothetical situation, to choose hell over no hell, they choose hell.

p.s. - I don't want to debate the trinity, I just want to understand more the emotion involved.

  • This is a philosophical question, not a question of doctrine. Dec 9 '13 at 13:14
  • Ok, does that mean I need to post it somewhere else? I would like to hear from trinitarians on this matter. Do trinitarians hang out in the philosophy section?
    – user8561
    Dec 9 '13 at 13:17
  • People get emotional about truth. Proverbs 12:22 says "The Lord detests lying lips." If you think someone is lying about God you're likely to get emotional too!
    – curiousdannii
    Dec 9 '13 at 13:18
  • I feel like it is a doctrinal question, because I want to know if there is something intrinsically part of the trinity doctrine that has an emotional appeal.
    – user8561
    Dec 9 '13 at 13:19
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    Please see How we are different than other sites? This type of question is better suited for a discussion forum, not a StackExchange site. It would be acceptable to discuss this in chat. Dec 9 '13 at 13:25

The simplest answer is that denying the Trinity diminishes the person of Jesus. There is an enormous gap between saying that Jesus is the Almighty God and saying that he is one of God's creations. Even if Jesus was God's first and greatest creation, he would still be much less awesome than if he were God himself. So, it is understandable that trinitarians would be offended by someone who degrades Jesus from God to a mere creation. The person of Jesus Christ is, obviously, central to the Christian faith, so to differ in such a large way on such a central belief is, in the mind of many, the height of heresy.

Secondarily, trinitarians often believe that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins was only effective because he was God. People holding to this view would argue that salvation for the world could not be achieved by the death of a mere man, even if he was a sinless man. People holding to this view would therefore be further offended by a unitarian* because, in their mind, the unitarian would be endangering the souls of anyone that he might convince with his heresy.

* In the lower-case, historical sense of the word (i.e. non-trinitarian)


In addition to Steven Doggart's answer (with which I wholeheartedly agree) I suggest that there is considerable emotional appeal in the idea that God himself would voluntarily give up his position, enter this fallen world with all the frailties of a human and sacrificed all for his lost and rebellious creation. As trinitarians we believe in a God who understands our situation through having experienced it for himself, whilst at the same time living in a way that exemplifies both the character of God and the depths of our fall.

In contrast, non-trinitarians appear to depict a God who is far more distant from his creation, a God who is willing to leave the means of our salvation in the hands of a servant, albeit a noble and worthy one.


Trinitarians believe that God himself is a very emotional being - an overwhelmingly joyful being in fact. Eric's answer to Why did God create the Heavens and the Earth? gives some quotes from John Piper's book Desiring God:

In creation, God “went public” with the glory that reverberates joyfully between the Father and the Son. There is something about the fullness of God’s joy that inclines it to overflow. There is an expansive quality to His joy. It wants to share itself. The impulse to create the world was not from weakness, as though God were lacking in some perfection that creation could supply. “It is no argument of the emptiness or deficiency of a fountain, that it is inclined to overflow.”

God loves to behold His glory reflected in His works. So the eternal happiness of the triune God spilled over in the work of creation and redemption. And since this original happiness was God’s delight in His own glory, therefore the happiness that He has in all His works of creation and redemption is nothing other than a delight in His own glory. This is why God has done all things, from creation to consummation, for the preservation and display of His glory. All His works are simply the spillover of His infinite exuberance for His own excellence. (Desiring God, p44)

So we experience and share in God's joy because he is totally overflowing with joy. The reason why he is so joyful is because of he is eternally happy with himself - each person in the Trinity is constantly pleasing the other two.

A non-trinitarian God would be very different, and his character would be very different too. I won't say that there aren't any non-trinitarian explanations for God's joy, but I haven't heard any either.

Many trinitarian Christians would rightly get upset at the idea of a non-trinitarian God because they believe that the only source of their own joy is from God's own overflowing joy.

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    Why was this answer down voted?
    – user8561
    Dec 9 '13 at 13:32
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    Good answer. +1. I'm in a little disagreement with Piper, especially in his comment "God loves to behold His glory reflected in His works." As it is worded, the sentence seems to say God is in love with Himself. Yes, the members of the Trinity love each other, and I say this reverently, there is a sort of mutual admiration society going on within the Godhead. What makes God so joyful, it would appear, is that He gets to share His glory with angels and with the human beings whom He created in His image. God is a concatenation of attributes, including joy, but "God is love" (not "God is joy"). Dec 9 '13 at 16:07