Help understanding the Trinity!

If God the Father and the Son have the same thoughts and feelings inside, how can they be said to be father and son? There is no father “feeling” in relation to a son “feeling”. Paintings show a Man with a white beard and a young Man, but aren’t they really exactly the same? So how does the relationship have any meaning? If they share one Will and Reason together, than they have the same exact thoughts always, and yet doesn’t the Father have a thought of generation and the son that of being generated? If they do not share one Will and Reason, than in a sense it could be said there are three Gods, just as the Roman gods shared divinity. The Son is said to proceed from the Reason, and the Holy God from the will, but how do we know that the distinction of reason between will and reason in God has any meaning at all since He is supremely One? Further, is the Personhood of the Son and the Holy Spirit from nothing? Aquinas says that the Holy Ghost is the “principle of love”. So, in regard to St John’s words that “God is Love”, is the Holy Ghost more love than the Father? But than the cause is less than the effect. Finally, is the Son more like the Father or more like the Holy Spirit? What does that mean?

SORRY for the avalanche of confusing, but my mind was swimming with these questions and I just had to get them all out. PLEASE HELP ME OUT WITH THESE. We can do it!

I have difficulty too as i see Jesus praying to the Father on numerous occasions! He wouldnt be praying to himself now would he!!

Read this book.

Maybe it would be helpful to begin with what God is and is not first. My impression is that you’re imposing some human characteristics on God (feelings for example) that can’t be the case if God is to be God.

amazon.com/Monologion-Proslogion-replies-Gaunilo-Classics/dp/0872202976/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426366275&sr=1-2&keywords=anselm+proslogion

Some thoughts on the Trinity

The “Trinity” is already suggested in Genesis.

Genesis 1:26 “Then God said let **us **make man in our image”

[LIST]
*]If one is an OT person only, and God is one, which He is, then one has to ask, who is US and OUR that God is talking to? Who are these other persons?
[/LIST]We as NT people, know Jesus is one of those persons

Jesus[LIST=1]
*]is the “Word” and the Word was with God and the Word was God. John 1:14
*]is the “Word” made man/flesh (incarnated) John 1:14
*]Is God, because He is the great “I am” John 8:58
*]is the son of God and God the son Luke 9:35
[/LIST]Jesus incarnate, tells us about Himself .

[LIST]
*]Jn 5:19 the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
*]Jn 6:37,38 “I have come from heaven not to do my own Will, but the Will of the One who sent Me.”
*]Jn 12:49 For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.
*]Jn 12:50whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say."
*]Jn 14:10 The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
*]Jn 14:31I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
*]Lk22:42 Not my will but yours be done
[/LIST]And Jesus perfect obedience undid the disobedience of Adam.

Jesus incarnate, as fully human, is like us except sin Hebrews 4:15

Aren’t we asked to imitate Christ?

Think about what Peter and John said [2 Peter 1:4](“https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2 Peter+1:4&version=RSVCE”), [1 John 3:1](“https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 John+3:1&version=RSVCE”)

Jesus showed us how.

Due to space I didn’t get into the 3rd person :shrug:

I’ve read that, but I am looking for specific answers to my questions.

By “feeling” I was referring to His enjoyment of Himself

I’m going to start researching this a lot more, but I’d like to know what other people on here know as well

By Three Persons do we merely Three Consciounesses

Whoa Thinkanmull,
There is a ton crunched into this!

There are a ton of forums already on this topic and blogs/articles written by Catholic Answer Apologists that you can search as well. There’s also a ton of well written work online from Catholic Sources - just FYI.

Being a convert, especially from being a 4 year Mormon, I’ve had my own struggles with fully understanding this, but I feel like I’ve got a good handle on it now. I’ll try to put this in as simple and most biblical terms that I can.

It is important to note first and foremost that the Trinity is a mystery. A mystery isn’t something that we can’t know anything about, but it’s something that we can never understand 100%, as it is an institution of God.

Also, remember that all of scripture must be read contextually within the WHOLE biblical context.

First of all, the Father and the Son do have the same Will, however, although the son DOES have a divine will, he also has a human Will. He’s 100% Man and 100% God. If he was only 100% God, he couldn’t have died for our sins. If he was only 100% Man, his crucifixion would have had no impact on our salvation.

The Father, the Son and the Holy spirit all share ONE divine nature, but they are all separate persons. Person = who you are, Being is WHAT you are.

Christ has existed since the beginning, With God the Father. (John 1:1-14)

Christ says that he will not leave us orphans and will be with us through the Holy Spirit. How is he with us through the Holy Spirit if he is not the same as the Holy Spirit? Christ is not the Holy Spirit but they are both God. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of both the Father and The Son. In this sense, the Spirit is Love, because God is Love and the Spirit is the perfect love emanated by Both the Father and the Son, a Familial relationship that has existed since the beginning of all things.

St. Augustine of Hippo-
“For all substance that is not God is creature; and all that is not creature is God. And if the Son is not of the same substance with the Father, then He is a substance that was made: and if He is a substance that was made, then all things were not made by Him; but all things were made by Him, therefore He is of one and the same substance with the Father. And so He is not only God, but also very God. And the same John most expressly affirms this in his epistle: For we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know the true God, and that we may be in His true Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”

There can be only One God -
Isaiah 43:10 “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me”

Isaiah 45:5 “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me…”

1 Cor 8:4 “…we know that an in idol is nothing in the world, and that there is non other God but one”

Eph 4:5-6 “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all…”

John 17:3 “And this life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”

CHRIST IS GOD-
1 John 5 20-21
“We… know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true. And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Children, be on your guard against idols.”

Three Relationships, actually. As you noted in the original post, God has one mind and one will.

Now, since the Incarnation, Jesus has had two minds and two wills (the divine ones he shares with the other Persons, plus his human ones). That’s how he can pray to the Father and speak of his will as distinct from his Father’s.

I perceive Jesus as intimately having two ‘personas’, the human and the divine, I suspect that often when he referred to The Father he was speaking from his humanity which is always secondary to his divinity.

As for the Trinity, I ‘see’ the Father and the Son as divine persons/personas powerfully linked by their divine spirit of love. Love needs an interaction, and divine love needs divine interaction. Part of God’s nature from eternity is that of creation/creating/relating, and from eternity the Father and Son have been one, united in that divine love, that is the Holy Spirit.

“Before Abraham was, I Am.”

Than in what sense is it a relationship (between the Father and the Son)? If the Son has the thought “I was generated” in the common shared Reason, than the Father has it as well. :shrug:

Three Persons in one nature is ambiguous as those words are understood in English. It doesn’t speficy whether its the nature or the personhood that has the Reason-Will. However, in God, its all one things: divine nature. So I guess there are three Conciousnesses, that’s probably the best way to say it.

How is three persons, one nature, ambiguous? Would one substance, or Hypostatic Union, be less ambiguous? Each of these can also be used to describe this.
No, not three “Consciouses”; I believe that a better word for your use here would be three “personages”.
Neither of these would work, as they denote a difference.

You can not have more than one infinite. Logically, theologically or philosophically. To say so, to segregate forms of perfection, would require that there is a difference, making one of the segregated not as perfect as the other. This was even determined over time by the Greek Philosophers.

This section of the CCC seems address your points.

254 The divine persons are really distinct from one another. "God is one but not solitary."86 “Father”, “Son”, “Holy Spirit” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: "He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son."87 They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: "It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds."88 The divine Unity is Triune.

255 The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another: "In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance."89 Indeed "everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship."90 "Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son."91

I had similar difficulties. Here’s the way the problem seemed to resolve itself for me.

As you might recall we say God is all powerful, present everywhere in every time, and all knowledgeable; omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. God is the very essence of Eternity. Recall that eternity has neither beginning or ending, time then is contained within eternity, from the beginning to end of time. All knowledge is contained within Eternity as well

The son of a human person is the expressed image of his father; the child is ‘begotten’ of the father. Jesus Christ is said to be the Son of God, One Divine Person is begotten in Eternity then in the flesh. As God is all knowledge, then the expressed image of all knowledge is Wisdom, not born or begotten rather having existed eternally with an Eternal Knowledge, much the same way when man uses his knowledge it produces wisdom.

Christ did take on the form of humanity as Jesus, in the mysteries of the Incarnation. And, Christ is the expressed image of God in being the Wisdom of God. We see it in the Greek, “Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.”(At the beginning of time the Logos already was; and God had the Logos abiding with him, and the Word was God.) [John 1:1], in the same way a man’s wisdom abides in himself. And continues John in the Greek: “καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο,” (And the Logos became flesh) [John 1:14]. John says that the ‘Logos’ always existed and was God and furthermore the ‘Logos’ became man. Truth exists, the Incarnation happened.

Powerful Eternity (God) is the Wisdom of God, ever present, all powerful. Wisdom exists with God in all eternity. Christ is not ‘made or created’ by God but rather the Same Substance of God, all Eternity. Solomon described Wisdom as follows:

For in her [Wisdom] is the spirit of understanding: holy, one, manifold, subtile, eloquent, active, undefiled, sure, sweet, loving that which is good, quick, which nothing hindereth, beneficent, Gentle, kind, steadfast, assured, secure, having all power, overseeing all things, and containing all spirits, intelligible, pure, subtile. For wisdom is more active than all active things: and reacheth everywhere by reason of her purity. For she is a vapour of the power of God, and a certain pure emanation of the glory of the almighty God: and therefore no defiled thing cometh into her.

For she is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God’ s majesty, and the image of his goodness. And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself the same, she reneweth all things, and through nations conveyeth herself into holy souls, she maketh the friends of God and prophets. [28] For God loveth none but him that dwelleth with wisdom. For she is more beautiful than the sun, and above all the order of the stars: being compared with the light, she is found before it. [30] For after this cometh night, but no evil can overcome wisdom. [Wisdom 7:22 sqq.]

In Proverbs we find a description of the coming Anointed One who ‘became’ man. Wisdom herself tells us who the man is in Proverbs 8, through whom all things were made:

The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made any thing from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived, neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: The mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth:

He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was present: when with a certain law and compass he enclosed the depths: When he established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters: [29] When he compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when be balanced the foundations of the earth; I was with him forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times [Proverbs 8:22 sqq.]

The Wisdom of God comes forth from God in the likeness of the intellect that generates Wisdom. It is by God that all things through the expressed image of Himself, Jesus Christ. “The figure of His substance” is the expressed image of God the Father, i.e. His Son.

In these days hath spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the figure of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, making purgation of sins, sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high. [Hebrews 1:2-3]

The reflective act of understanding the existence of His eternity awakens the concept of understanding Eternity in the form of wisdom. Thus the likeness of Eternity is the expression begotten as Wisdom. “And the ‘Logos’ [the mental concept of Word, i.e. Wisdom - not the audible or written word] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” [John 1:14].

The Logos takes flesh, the begotten Son of God. One Divine Person with Divine nature and a human nature uniquely and inseparably united. From the Father and the Son comes the Holy Spirit. Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit yet of One Substance, Eternity.

JoeT

Reminds me of this story of St. Augustine:

There is a story that St. Augustine was walking on the beach contemplating the mystery of the Trinity. Then he saw a boy in front of him who had dug a hole in the sand and was going out to the sea again and again and bringing some water to pour into the hole. St. Augustine asked him, “What are you doing?” “I’m going to pour the entire ocean into this hole.” “That is impossible, the whole ocean will not fit in the hole you have made” said St. Augustine. The boy replied, “And you cannot fit the Trinity in your tiny little brain.” The story concludes by saying that the boy vanished because St. Augustine had been talking to an angel.

You can have more than one infinite. All the odd numbers are infinite, and all the odd plus even as well.

There are three Consciousness’s in God, the question is whether Persons means through wills-reasons or whether its the Nature that has the one Will-Reason. So its seems ambiguous. Let me finish reading the other posts though…

If we are saying that the Personhood (whether that means only consciousness or that plus will and reason) of the Son is not made or created, than that would mean its not “from nothing”, because the world was made-created, and that means from nothing. But I am struggling with the simplicity of the Father’s Nature. If the Personhood of the Father and His Nature are distinct, where is the simplicity? Did the Personhood of the Father taught the Son out of His own nature? Or does the Son’s Personhood come from the Father’s Personhood?

Thinkandmull,

I’m no mathematician, but I don’t see how 1 or 3 or 5 are infinites.
Philosophically, Theologically speaking though, there can only be on infinite.

I’m not sure how you are logically deducing three “consciousnesses” of God. God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He is conscious of everything at all times and everywhere.

If we are saying that the Personhood (whether that means only consciousness or that plus will and reason) of the Son is not made or created, than that would mean its not “from nothing”, because the world was made-created, and that means from nothing. But I am struggling with the simplicity of the Father’s Nature. If the Personhood of the Father and His Nature are distinct, where is the simplicity? Did the Personhood of the Father taught the Son out of His own nature? Or does the Son’s Personhood come from the Father’s Personhood?

How do you deduce that because the world was made from nothing, that it must mean that God the Son couldn’t be made from nothing?
God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit are all Eternal. Eternal means without beginning or end, which means outside of time.

The “Personhood of the Father” didn’t teach the Son anything, because they have both always existed. (Of course, Christ hasn’t always existed Eternally with a body though.)

Christ is not just the “Son of God”, but the Logos - the Word. “Son of God” as well as everything else we’ve discussed are just human words used to define something.
We would say that Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit, but Christ is still called the Son of God, not the Son of the Holy Spirit.

Particular, Christ is called the Son of God because he was incarnate, but that does not mean that he did not exist as God the Son prior.

I consciousness is something that is aware of itself.

Again, all the odd numbers are infinite, but that’s not the biggest infinity

All I wanted to know is if the Son’s Personhood came from the Father’s Nature or from nothing

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.