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Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that the Father "begot" the son from eternity. I suppose you could formulate my question as, did the Father have any choice in this? As in, could he have chosen not to beget the son, thus remaining a unity of persons rather than "becoming" a Trinity of persons?

Or is the Trinity of persons considered an essential property of God such that it simply couldn't have been any other way?

(I know that in one sense, the Trinity IS an essential property of God, because all of God's properties are essential. So I'm finding it hard to formulate my question accurately, but I hope you get the gist of what I'm asking)

I'm interested in answers from any "Critical scholars" as per Dick Harfield's comment

closed as primarily opinion-based by Lee Woofenden, Dick Harfield, curiousdannii, Dan, KorvinStarmast Jan 24 '17 at 3:46

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    For this question to work here, you'll need to specify a group or denomination of Christians whose answer you are interested in. – Lee Woofenden Jan 24 '17 at 1:13
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    As stated by Lee, you can nominate a particular denomination (eg Catholic or Lutheran) whose view is important to you, or you can ask for a position held by critical scholars. As it stands, the question is too broad for this site. – Dick Harfield Jan 24 '17 at 1:59
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    While I'm sure many people have entertained the question, I don't think this is a particularly fruitful kind of speculation. Whether or not 'choice' is an appropriate category, the difference suggested is so significant that the God in question could not be seen as being in any way the same as the God that is. And even if 'choice' is allowed, the inability for God to act contrary to his nature might negate that choice. So sorry, but I have voted to close as too philosophical. – curiousdannii Jan 24 '17 at 2:10
  • Vote to reopen per the inclusion of Dick's suggestion. – KorvinStarmast Jan 24 '17 at 15:15
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    (I'd like to propose an answer, but question is on hold) I think your main problem is that you fail to handle the difference of nature of God vs human creatures. God doesn't "make decisions" or "decide to change" like us in our human, temporal framework. God is eternal and ever-existing without change. He just IS. So He IS one-and-trine and didn't "decide to be a trinity / have a son" (human thinking). The Son is as eternal and ever-existing as the father. The fact that the Father "begot" the son is not to be interpreted in our human, "father/son" framework but in a "Godly" way. (...) – Offirmo Jan 25 '17 at 4:18