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I have noted that some people do not believe in the doctrine of Trinity, namely "three personas, one nature", but my question is not about whether the doctrine is true! It is about how those, that believe the doctrine to be true, are arguing that it is true. Thus this is not a question of opinion.

This question is also not about what "of the same nature, but different personas" actually means. That question was asked by me at What does it mean that Jesus, Father, and Holy Spirit are of the same nature but different personas? However, if you feel that answering, what it means, is required for answering how it is argued for, I am happy for clarification.


In an answer it was said that Jesus never says he is God or 'God the Son' as part of a Trinity (reformatted):

He has a God - the same (creator) God as all humans.

  • John 5:44 -- the one and only God
  • 2 Cor 1:3, Eph 1:3, Col 1:3, 2 Cor 11:31, Rom 15:6, Rom 1:7 -- the God of our Lord Jesus
  • 1 Pet 1:3 Heb 1:8-9 -- God anointed Jesus
  • Rev: 1:1, 1:6, 3:12 -- even ascended, Jesus still has the same God of him and of us

Jesus often refers to his Father and God in an equivalent manner:

  • "You have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world." (John 16:27)
  • I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. (John 20:17)
  • a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. (John 8:40)

This got me thinking: What is the logical argumentation for the doctrine of Trinity?

It does not seem to be directly stated in the bible as a doctrine, although it seems - in a way - kind of obvious to me when reading, e.g. the gospel of John in one go. However, "seems obvious" is hardly a good argument.

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  • You’re only quoting selective NT passages. This is all nested in the OT and the OT speaks a lot about the three persons of the Godhead. The NT assumes it. Besides if this is going to be closed as off topic and closed then it’s irrelevant
    – Autodidact
    Aug 15 '20 at 21:56
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    Does this answer your question? What is the Biblical basis for the doctrine of the Trinity?
    – Nigel J
    Aug 17 '20 at 14:43
  • See also this question: Does Jesus ever claim to be God or the Son of God? Aug 17 '20 at 16:08
  • Cain, Abel, and Seth called their father Adam (man); does this imply that they themselves were not human ?
    – Lucian
    Aug 17 '20 at 16:29
  • Inasmuch as this question is asking for the logical basis for the Trinity, I think it can be kept open.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 17 '20 at 22:19
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This is a very good question. And let me say from the onset that I will not "dazzle" you with examples of the Trinity that deals with water, ice, eggs, four leaf clovers sun rays or anything else in like manner.

The definition of the doctrine of the Trinity is not an "assumption." It is the normative systematic theology of God in Christianity and is based on the fact that the Bible is EXPLICIT in telling us that there is, was and forever will be only ONE God AND the fact that the Bible identifies three (and only three) persons as God.

So, how is this "substantiated?" Now, please bear with me on this because it may appear complicated but it is not when you think about it. Also, the Trinity cannot be understood, argued or refuted by appealing to any single passage in the Bible. It is drawn from the whole Bible.

The Bible identifies God by: (1) His names. (2) His titles. (3) His unique attributes. (4) His unique actions. (5) His worship. If you will examine the Bible thoroughly you should be able to quickly discover that there are three and ONLY three "persons" who are identified as God by the 'COMBINATION" of the literary means I listed above.

These persons are each variously...CALLED by the NAMES of God. (YHWH and its variants) either directly or indirectly, usually both.

RECOGNIZED with the TITLES of God. (Lord, king, savior, redeemer etc.) For example God is identified at Isaiah 44:6, "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel And his Redeemer, the Lord of host; I am the first and I am the last. And there is no God besides Me. At Isaiah 43:11, "I, even I; am the Lord; And there is no SAVIOR besides Me.

Jesus Christ is also described as the "first and the last in the book of Revelation. Jesus Christ is also identified as the "SAVIOR" at Luke 2:11, "for today in the city of David there has been born for you a "SAVIOR, who is Christ the Lord. Are you beginning to see the connection?

As a point of order let me say that when you see the word "God" in the Old Testament you "CANNOT" assume it refers to God the Father all the time. Let me pick another one! His unique actions. That is to say (Creation, origin of God's word, salvation of men etc).

Going back to Isaiah at Isaiah 44:24 the part that says, "I, the Lord am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens BY MYSELF, And spreading out the earth ALL ALONE."

And we have at John 1:3, "ALL things came into being by Him, and apart from Him (apart means without Him) nothing came into being that has come into being." Colossians 1:16 backs this up, "For by Him/Jesus Christ ALL things were CREATED, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities ---all things have been created by Him and for Him." God the Father backs this up at Hebrews 1:10.

One more, God's worship. We already know God is worshiped in the Bible. Jesus also receives worship. The highest form of worship to Jesus was by Thomas at John 20:28 when he said literally to Jesus Himself, "The Lord of me and the God of me." At Hebrews 1:6 His Father says, "Let all the angels of God worship Him." The Greek word for worship in this text is "proskuneo" which is the same word used for worshiping the Father.

At this point I'm not going go over His unique attributes/characteristics which are easy to figure out on your own, i.e omnipresence, omnipotence, eternality, etc.

Keep in mind that I am saying that each person of the Trinity receives some COMBINATION of the 5 means of identifying and distinguishing God listed above. Remember, theology is not salvation. It is in Christ that we find God fully and sufficiently manifested to us human beings, AS a human being and for His own glory. And it is only through His Holy Spirit that we can know Him and be saved by His grace.

Finally, at Matthew 16:13 Jesus said, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is? At verse 16 Peter replied, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replies to Peter, "Blessed are you Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven."

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    @MrBond. If Jesus is your God, do you believe him when he unambiguously said that his God is the only true God? John 17:3. His God is the Creator and not himself Mark 10:6? That Jesus himself was created, John 3:16, Revelation 3:14. Did Jesus equivocated when he said these? How can Jesus “be like us in every way” and still be “100% man and 100% God”? Hebrews 2:17 If Jesus is God and also “like us in every way,” that means we are all 100% man and 100% God. This makes no sense. Either Jesus is not God and truly like us in all ways (a man), or he is God and so are we. Which makes more sense?
    – Alex Balilo
    Aug 16 '20 at 11:09
  • @MrBond Can you please explain what the doctrine of the trinity is?
    – Alex Balilo
    Aug 16 '20 at 11:24
  • @MrBond. All the "one God" verses are exclusively applied to the Father. The lips of Jesus taught that the Father was the only God (John 5:44, 17:3; Mark 10:18; 12:28-34). This was affirmed by the apostles (1 Timothy 2:5, Romans 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; Galatians 3:20). If you believed these verses you would not affirm the Trinity. Aug 16 '20 at 13:47
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    @Mr.Bond - Excellent answer. Your excellent answer perfectly illustrates why such topic (rather than exegetical) question are off-topic here as, having provided the excellent answer, one would then need to deal with the numerous objection and the result would be a very big book.
    – Dottard
    Aug 17 '20 at 21:36
  • You have really upped your formatting and writing quality here!
    – Kris
    Aug 19 '20 at 1:49
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The body of your question asks, What is the logical argumentation for the doctrine of Trinity?

If it can be assumed that God is infinite and eternal and perfect and if it can be assumed that God has internal integrity then it can be deduced that God has infinite, eternal, perfect integrity.

If God has infinite, eternal, perfect integrity then there is no ontological distinction between who God is, what God says, and what God does because He cannot deny Himself: He is an ontological unity in being, word, and deed and it is His modes of expression that are distinct.

God the Father is who He is:

and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”  - 2 Corinthians 6:18

God the Son is what He says:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - John 1:1

God the Holy Spirit is what He does:

“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. - Zechariah 4:6

Personhood (which is entirely internal) is known only by what persons say and do. Jesus (the Word made flesh) came in the power of the Holy Spirit to show us the Father. He is the Word of God sent out to invariably accomplish everything for which He was sent.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. - Isaiah 55:10-11

In John 14 when Phillip asked Jesus, "“Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” and it is astonishing that Jesus replied, "“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me,** Philip?

He answered ontologically as the Word of God, that is to say, as God.

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The New Testament did have these three: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be very necessary in every believer's life. There is no Christianity without these three. The Christian baptism proves exactly this.

A believer gets baptised into the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit which means marking the believer as someone owned by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). In baptism, we are buried and raised with Christ to a new life (Romans 6:1-5). Thus, it is clear that the Trinity is very necessary in every believer's life.

Matthew 28:19 tells us that there is Trinity who are equal in respect to their relationship to every Christian. They all equally own the baptised Christian which logically means allegiance to them. And if every baptised Christian must be loyal to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, these three must be higher and in status than their subjects (the baptised ones). They also must be worthy of receiving equal devotion since they own everyone who is united to the incarnate Christ.

The early church tried to understand why they have a Trinitarian formula in baptism if there is only one God. Jesus Christ didn't say, "baptise all nations in the name of the Father only" but rather, Jesus himself said, "baptise all nations in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). They also had prayers including these three (2 Corinthians 13:14). Since these three were very very important for every believer, every believer seek explanation to their worship practises. What was the exact relationship of these three whose name we got baptised into? What are they? The answer they got from the Bible and their bishops/ teachers was that the three were one, specifically, one God.

"God" in the "one God" points to the singular nature of deity. Thus, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, being of the same nature (consubstantial) are all collectively the one God.

The gospel of John introduced that Jesus (the Son) was God (John 1:1, 10:33, 20:28) and that the Holy Spirit was a divine person (John 14:16, 16:14). If they are "God" and the Father is the "only true God" (John 17:3), there would be three true Gods if we count their divine nature (three "Gods") but we should not count their divine nature to be numerically three because in reality there is only one divine nature (which means numerically only one "God") and thus, logically speaking, the three persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, exists as the one God. If we would count them collectively, we should count what is countable and that is their persons (which means they are numerically three "persons", not three Gods). However, we can absolutely describe them as "divine" persons (which means they are each God by nature) and all together they should be regarded as one God (due to their one nature). The same logic was used by the 4th century church fathers regarding the word "humans" (the fathers see this as inaccurate since human nature is not many but one. One should call a person with a human nature, well, a human person and not simply human because whilst human nature can be individuated (to John, Peter, and Paul), these does not mean that each has a different human nature. They all have the same human nature, that of one and only from Adam.

The other sense of θεος (God, god) is position of authority, not related to nature. (e.g. "You are gods", Psalm 82:6). The meaning of "god" in this case is "ruler", "judge" , similar to κυριος (master).

Jesus was not only God but also human. Jesus was the incarnate God (the Word [Jesus] "was God" and he "became flesh", John 1:1, 1:14). And Jesus was another divine person from the Father who is also a divine person. Hence, they are both ontologically θεος (God by nature). However, the incarnate God (Jesus) had his own Father as his God in the sense of position of authority. (the God of Jesus Christ, Eph. 1:17). The Father is positionally higher than Jesus because naturally Jesus is relationally subordinate to the Father (because Jesus is the Son of the Father). So now you would understand why in some cases the Father is equivalent to "God" (John 17:3, 1 Cor 8:6) and in other cases, he is not (John 1:1c, 1:18b, 10:35, 20:28). It is because θεος has more than one meaning and context alone determines its exact meaning in a biblical text.

Conclusion

Hence, the concept of consubstantiality was the logical explanation of the Christian church on how to understand the Trinity as one God.

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  • Just because you write with big letters doesn't make it truth. "Matthew 28:19 tells us that there is Trinity who are equal in respect to their relationship to every Christian." It absolutely does not! You are simply parroting another gospel about a hybrid God/man who wasn't/was made like us in every way, who couldn't die/did die, who made everything/inherited everything, who IS God/had a God. One set of truths is biblical, the other is plainly not. That's why God or Jesus or any apostle or prophet didn't reveal, teach or express a trinity. Go figure.
    – steveowen
    Oct 27 '20 at 11:06
  • Matthew 28:19 was written over 300 years after the earliest manuscripts and sufficient evidence to say it is a Roman fabrication. New Testament knows only one baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:43; 19:5; Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 1:13-15). The most important verse in the Bible - "...The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord." (Mark 12:29). Oct 27 '20 at 12:48
  • @user47952, that's why the NT used the word εγενετο to explain the relationship of θεος and σαρχ (John 1:1,1:14). That is not a hybrid (half god/half man) but only "the fullness of deity dwelling bodily" (Col 2:9). Deity -the state of being God, all of what God is. (θεοτης - deity, the divine nature).
    – Radz Brown
    Oct 29 '20 at 15:17
  • @another theory, God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit -- they were all found in every book of the New Testament, all of them equally related to Christian life. Each is very necessary in the believer throughout life. It was not just Matthew 28:19 that had the Trinity. Also Matthew 28:19 was deemed authentic by NT scholars and critical edition of the NT. Even Unitarian scholars accept Matthew 28:19 as legit. The only earliest extant MSS we have is dated in 120 C.E. so your very own argument about manuacripts is null and void considering we dont even have the autographa.
    – Radz Brown
    Oct 29 '20 at 15:21
  • @RadzMatthewC.Brown I made some recent comments about the Holy Spirit see hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/52595/33268 the HS is not consistent in the bible based on Trinity, opens more questions then answers. Oct 29 '20 at 21:02

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