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In this video from YouTuber Apologetics Squared (who has a fantastic channel, strongly encourage y'all to check it out), he makes this argument (I've reduced the video into a deductive argument):

Premise 1: God contains all good properties.

Premise 2: Loving another person is a good property.

Premise 3: If there is only one person, he has no one to love.

Conclusion 1: Therefore if God is one person, he does not contain the property of love.

Premise 4: If God does not contain the property of loving others, then he does not have all good properties.

Premise 5: God must have all good properties (by premise 1).

Conclusion 6: Therefore God is not just one person.

The argument is essentially that God needs someone to love in order to contain the property of love, but without another being to love, he cannot love. Therefore there must be multiple beings that contain the same properties of God, but if those persons all contain the same property, then they are all God. So God is multiple persons.

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  • P 3 contains an assumption that if there is no object of love then the attribute of love cannot exist. In other words love unexpressed does not exist. This premise needs substantiation in order to stand. Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 19:35
  • @MikeBorden that’s just axiomatic. How can love exist if it is never expressed?
    – Luke Hill
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 20:45
  • Do Trinitarians hold God is 'multiple beings'? That sounds a lot like polytheism and a misunderstanding of Trinitarianism. Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 21:02
  • @LukeHill Loving 1,000 people is a good property. If there are only 2 other persons in the Trinity, he lacks 998 people to love. Therefore, God is not just 3 people. ? Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 21:11
  • @LukeHill Or consider, is there no such thing as loving oneself? Even seems Biblical. "Love (= agape) your neighbour as yourself". Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 21:24

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I don't believe there is a standard unitarian Christian way to understand or respond to this specific argument. However, I can point out some potential problems with it that I am guessing other unitarian Christians would also point out.

One problem is with terminology. We have God in a general sense in Trinitarian theology, which includes all 3 persons of the Trinity. Then, we have God in a narrower sense of 1 person of the Trinity - in this sense, all 3 persons aren't included in the term 'God'.

So it is probably helpful to be a bit clearer about our meaning in the argument. For example, God in the general sense has no one else to love (if we're not taking creation into account) even if there is a Trinity, but the Father (in the Trinitarian sense) has someone else to love if there is an eternally begotten Son.

So the argument really has to be that having an 'internal' relation of loving persons is a good property, and that property is lacking in the unitarian conception of God, and therefore the unitarian God isn't all-good.

(This is different from the argument in the video, which trades on the distinction between finding oneself funny and finding someone else funny. Trinitarianism would still leave you with a God that has no one else finding Him funny.)

  1. I think the most obvious response would be the following reductio ad absurdem. Would having an infinite number of persons loving each other be a good property? If so, this argument would prove too much - God is therefore not a trinity but an infinite number of persons.

  2. While we're at it, wouldn't having an external relation of love also be a good? So this argument also seems to prove there is someone external to God who is eternally co-existent and whom God (or the persons that make up God) loves. But it seems this is insufficient - it would be even better for there to be an infinite number of external persons God loves, so therefore there must be an infinite number of external persons co-existent with God whom God loves.

  3. A more general response to these sorts of arguments is that highly abstract arguments like the one above (or the responses!) should always be met with skepticism, due to the ease with which human reasoning (including by the best human reasoners there are) can get things wrong. A survey of the history of philosophy will show how top reasoners come to very different conclusions on all sorts of things.

  4. Following on 3., it is better to stick with scripture when trying to understand the nature of God. Jesus' words and example are explicitly designed to help us understand God. If we look at scripture, there is no clear teaching that God is a Trinity. The theology now known as 'Trinitarianism' took hundreds of years to develop, and hundreds more to work out problems that were generated by the Trinitarian theology itself. From the unitarian Christian perspective, it is not clear and evident in scripture, even retrospectively.

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  • This doesn't answer the question at all. The question is only tangentially related to Trinitarianism (and I'd say it could be improved by removing the two trinity tags). The question is about the logic of the argument that God must be more than one, not that God must be exactly 3, or that if 3 they must share the mysterious relationship required by the Trinity doctrine. Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 13:32
  • @RayButterworth Unitarianism takes its name in response to trinitarianism. This sort of argument is used almost exclusively by trinitarians, in response to unitarianism. So the 2 positions in a Christian context are caught up in each other. The first 2 responses are reductio ad absurdems, with the conclusion being that the argument shows too much. Ergo, the argument is flawed. You might think that the reductio simply shows that God is indeed made of an infinite number of persons. If so, though, you are far outside the lines of contemporary debate. Having said that ... Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 16:45
  • @RayButterworth ... the question is open-ended. "How do unitarians understand this argument?" So I'm giving relevant considerations and counter-arguments from a unitarian POV. Not sure why you think this doesn't 'answer the question at all' - perhaps you could say more about that. Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 16:47
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    The answer (which I'm not disagreeing with and certainly wouldn't vote against) presents an argument against the conclusion given in the question, but it doesn't argue against the logic given in the question. I'd like to see an answer that directly deals with the question's logical argument without ever mentioning or implying anything about the Trinity doctrine. In fact it should be possible without any reference to Christianity. There should be an answer to this question that is just as understandable and acceptable to Jews, Muslims, and Hindus as it is to Christians. Perhaps Philosophy.SE? Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 17:07

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