This question is the result of a personal thought experiment and is for curiosity sake. I do not profess nor believe the following statement.


Those who believe in the Trinitarian Nature of God believe that God is Three persons in co-equal majesty and substance in one God. It is accurate to say that Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God, and the Father is God. But in the conventional Trinitarian belief, it is wrong to say that the Father is the Son, the Son is the Holy Spirit, etc.

However, suppose a heretic accepts the first statement (each person is God), but rejects the second one (that the persons can substitute one another). An inference that could arise is the following:

  1. The Son of God is God
  2. The Father is God
  3. Therefore Jesus (The Son) is the Son of himself.


Is there a word for the Heresy that describes the third step of the syllogism above?

2 Answers 2


I think this is a logical mistake more than a theological mistake, and I don't think this is a named heresy. If anything, it seems like a violation of the communication of properties; something reminiscent of patripassianism.

The Shield of the Trinity (see below) is basically a picture version of the communication of properties, which sets up the background:

  • Th Father is God
  • The Son is God
  • The Holy Spirit is God
  • The Father is not the Son and is not the Holy Spirit

The equality is based on ontology and essence (homoousia), and their inequality is based on their function and their personhood (hypostasis). The former is required of a monotheistic God, and the latter is required of a Triune God.

The relavent logical principles are the law of non-contradiction and law of identity.

  • A = A (identity)
  • A ≠ ~A (non-contradiction, where ~A is read as "not A")

Combining these:

  1. The Father is Father to the Son, and the Son is Son to the Father. The same type of relationship does not exist with the Holy Spirit. Jesus couldn't be said to be the Son of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Since Jesus is not the Father (patripassianism), Jesus is not a Father to any person of the Trinity and therefore not to Himself.
  3. Jesus is the Son of God, but not the Son of Jesus. Communication of properties does not mean that you can replace any person with the Trinity with God or vice versa. That is why the shield of the Trinity exists. Another example would be saying that Mary is the "Holy Spirit-bearer" rather than "Christ-bearer" or "God-bearer."
  4. Jesus being the Son of Himself is incoherent and logically invalid. The only way that this could work is if the law of non-contradiction was violated such that Jesus could be equal to the Father (to be Son of Himself) and not equal to the Father (to not violate the communication of properties), which does not compute.

The topics of the eternal generation of the Son and the procession of the Holy Spirit are related and also discussed in the resources below. They help draw out the ideas of Jesus being the Son and the relations between the persons of the Trinity, etc.


Systematic Theology by Augustus Hopkins Strong

Dogmatic Theology by W.G.T. Shedd

Shield of the Trinity:

Shield of the Trinity

  • 2
    I find that I have a number of problems with this argument but the largest is that the equality used in the communication of properties is definitely not the same equality used in mathematics and logic. Equality in mathematics and logic is transitive which the communication of properties is not. It is thus rather silly to pull in other properties of mathematical equality in making this argument. Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 2:42
  • Valid point. I guess it is better to stick to using "is" rather than an equal sign/equality since, as you said, the communication of properties is not transitive in the same way (though there are some systems of non-transitive logic). I guess the key thing would be that "is" is a non-transitive relation. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are ontologically and essentially equal (homoousia), but they are functionally and personally (relating to their personhood or hypostasis) unequal. Commented Jan 20, 2019 at 2:39

I think this could be considered a type of modalism: the belief that there is only one person of God, who appears in different times or contexts as the father, son, and holy spirit, but does not by nature have true relations between these. In modalism, "father" and "son" are only labels for human benefit, not true descriptions of how God is, and so you could get the nonsensical conclusion that Jesus is his own son.


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