God is said to be "the triune god". He exists as "the Father" (who is God), "the Son" (who is God), and "the Holy Spirit" (who is God).

Since Jesus is "the son of God", then the Father is independently referred to as God. Otherwise, Jesus would be the son of the triune god, and he would begat himself.

Because of Communicatio idiomatum, Jesus is also referred to as God. So it is said "God died for our sins" or "God suffered".

So we have the Father who is referred to as "God", the Son who is refered to as "God", and there is also the Holy Spirit guy, who is likewise referred to as "God".

Is it correct to refer to God as "god, god, and god"?

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    "So we have "God", who is the Father, and "God", who is the Son." No, this is not right either.You never want to make any statement which says we have two "god"s. We have one "God" who is the father and is the son (and the spirit of course). – curiousdannii Oct 17 '16 at 7:21
  • @curiousdannii I edited the question. I don't understand the difference, but is this better? Are you saying God is not the Father? Who is "God the Son" the son of? – Cannabijoy Oct 17 '16 at 7:40
  • That depends on whether you have a Western or Eastern background. Does my answer explain enough? – curiousdannii Oct 17 '16 at 7:59
  • In combination with a previous question, it worries me that you could be trying to make a point rather than asking a question. Just in case this is so: having an agenda is fine, as long as your questions are real :) – Dick Harfield Oct 17 '16 at 20:36
  • @DickHarfield I wasn't sure about this, but it came up when I asked a separate question, and it was suggested that I make this a new question. I want to make sure that when I ask questions and say "god, god, and god" I'm not stating anything false. I still have a lot more questions, and every time I receive an answer, I get more questions. If you see anything wrong in any of my questions, please point it out and I'll edit them if necessary. Thank you. – Cannabijoy Oct 17 '16 at 21:29

Language uses words with particular senses to talk about the world. It's a system of symbols which point to things in the world. One thing in the world, one referent, might have many different words (with many different senses) which can be used to refer to it. For example, one person could be referred to with the words "Mrs Smith", "Ruth", "mother", "grandma", "boss" etc. Though all of those words refer to the same person, they do not have the same senses and are not interchangeable.

Here's another example: at a meeting of world leaders the President of the United States, the President of Russia, and the President of Mongolia all had lunch together. In the context of each country's own media, it is common and appropriate to call each by simple title of "the President". But it would be very confusing to transform that statement into "at a meeting of world leaders the President, the President, and the President all had lunch together." And that's not just because they're all the same word; it would be wrong for US media to write "the President and the Chancellor of Germany had lunch together" if they were referring to the Russian president.

More is going on here than just confusing language however. The unqualified word "God" in Western Christianity (Catholicism and Protestanism) usually refers primarily to the Godhead, the singular essence of God, the one divine being in existence. My understanding is that this is one of the differences between Western and Eastern Christianity: instead of using "God" to refer to the godhead, Eastern Christianity usually uses it to refer to God the Father specifically.

When we say "Jesus the Son of God" we are referring to the second person of the trinity in particular. When we say "Jesus is God" we mean something different, that he is divine. But this does not mean that Jesus is the Godhead or the divine essence.

So if someone said "God, god, and god" Western Christians will only hear the first sense, that they are referring to the godhead three times, which means three divine beings, three divine essences, which is tritheism. Eastern Christians might instead understand it as referring to God the Father three times. But in neither case will it be understood as referring to the three persons of the Trinity.

  • I understand that "Jesus the Son of God" means "Jesus" refers to "the second person of the trinity". But who does "God" refer to? Do you mean Jesus is "the son of the Godhead"? It's okay if nobody understands what I'm talking about when I say "god, god, and god". I just want to know if it's incorrect to call the Father "God", to call the Son "God", and to call the Holy Spirit "God". If not, then what is technically wrong with "god, god, and god"? – Cannabijoy Oct 17 '16 at 10:10
  • @anonymouswho What is correct to say in isolation has a different meaning in combination with the others. – curiousdannii Oct 17 '16 at 10:36
  • Are you saying that Ruth cannot always be called "mother", even though she is definitely a mother? Would this mean the Father cannot always be called God, even though He is God? – Cannabijoy Oct 17 '16 at 23:09
  • @anonymouswho If you're contrasting or listing the persons of the trinity then it is not right to call them a bare unqualified "god". – curiousdannii Oct 17 '16 at 23:11
  • Your anology of Ruth is actually modalism. You are describing one "person" with three different "functions". Your anology of the President is tritheism. You're describing three distinct persons that are also three distinct Presidents. For this anology to work, we would need three distinct persons acting as a single President. – Cannabijoy Oct 22 '16 at 21:57

Is it correct to refer to God as "god, god, and god"?

That could be open to misinterpretation because there are not three separate gods in the Trinity but three Persons in one God.

Each Person of the Trinity is God (i.e., has the Divine Essence), which is God's existence. "God" refers to the Divine Essence; "Father," "Son," and "Holy Ghost" refer to the Persons.

On the unity of the Trinity, the Catechism of the Council of Trent says:

In the one Substance of the Divinity the Father is the First Person, who with His Only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, is one God and one Lord, not in the singularity of one Person, but in the trinity of one Substance.* These Three Persons, since it would be impiety to assert that they are unlike or unequal in anything, are understood to be distinct only in their respective properties. For the Father is unbegotten, the Son begotten of the Father, and the Holy Ghost proceeds from both. Thus we acknowledge the Essence and the Substance of the Three Persons to be the same in such wise that we believe that in confessing the true and eternal God we are piously and religiously to adore distinction in the Persons, unity in the Essence, and equality in the Trinity.

Hence, when we say that the Father is the First Person, we are not to be understood to mean that in the Trinity there is anything first or last, greater or less. Let none of the faithful be guilty of such impiety, for the Christian religion proclaims the same eternity, the same majesty of glory in the Three Persons. But since the Father is the Beginning without a beginning, we truly and unhesitatingly affirm that He is the First Person, and as He is distinct from the Others by His peculiar relation of paternity, so of Him alone is it true that He begot the Son from eternity. For when in the Creed we pronounce together the words God and Father, it means that He was always both God and Father.**

*See Preface for the Mass of the Holy Trinity:
…Dómine sancte, Pater omnípotens, ætérne Deus: Qui cum unigénito Fílio tuo et Spíritu Sancto unus es Deus, unus es Dóminus: non in unius singularitáte persónæ, sed in uníus Trinitáte substántiæ.
[…O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance.]
**On the equality of the Persons of the Trinity see Summa Theol. 1a. xlii.

  • Thank you for the answer. I understand it could be "open for misinterpretation", but is it correct? Is the Father- God, the Son- God, and the Holy Spirit- God? Or god, god, and god? – Cannabijoy Oct 17 '16 at 23:08
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    @anonymouswho The Divine Essence of the Father is God; the Divine Essence of the Son is God; the Divine Essence of the Holy Spirit is God. – Geremia Oct 17 '16 at 23:22

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