Is God's Nature Triune?

On a Facebook group made up of Christians (of various backgrounds) and Jehovah’s Witnesses, the topic was once more the Blessed Trinity. Trying to get one of them to see the proper definition of the Trinity, I encountered a statement that I hadn’t come across before. Some background first.

The Witness commented that “God” was a composite noun for Trinitarians, that is, that when we say “God”, we mean a group of Persons. I objected, saying that each Person was called God in Their own right, and that God wasn’t some odd blob of matter composed of 33% Father, 33% Son and 33% Spirit, but each of Them were 100% God for Themselves.

With this as the backdrop, the Witness replied in the following manner, which I have tried to bring into a syllogistic format.

  1. God is in nature triune.
  2. Therefore, either each Person is also the other Persons, or God has parts.
  3. Therefore, the Trinity is false.

I’m quite honestly tongue-tied, but I feel I have overlooked something. Can you help?

Remember that we can only speak of God’s nature by analogy–and analogy always falls short of the reality. This is why God is mystery–because the reality of God is always beyond our human capacity to understand.

  1. God is in nature triune.
  2. Therefore, either each Person is also the other Persons, or God has parts.
  3. Therefore, the Trinity is false.

Number 2 is where I see an immediate problem. The “classical” position is that the Father is not the Son, nor is either the Holy Spirit, but that each of them is God. Nor does God have “parts”, because God is not divided.

What we do know of God is through revelation: The Father is unoriginate, the Son proceeds from the Father as the “only Begotten”, and the Spirit proceeds (in a different way) from the Father and the Son–others explain it as the mutual love of Father for Son and Son responding with love for the Father, a love so deep it becomes a third person.

It is the eternal relationship of Father and Son that allows us to distinguish them–and shows that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, for how could a Father also be related to himself as Son? And yet, we also insist that they are consubstantial, of the same divine substance. (CCC 238-248)

No. 1. should be that God is one Divine nature.

2 doesn’t follow. I’m confused by that myself.

  1. I agree with what you said - God is not percentage of a whole. Or as another poster said; God is One (nature). Although all three persons are considered as God, they are not God separated from the other persons. They are persons in one God. In relationship with each other.

So when I say Jesus IS God, I am saying this because I know he IS God, but in relation to the other two persons in one nature. Otherwise they would be three individual Gods and we would be ancient Egyptians!

  1. A person cannot be more than one person; no sense, no logic; no reason. A person is a person.

  2. So in other words they say there are three people in one person, in one God?

In other words they have misunderstood and argued themselves out of reason.

In fact, who are they even saying what they are saying? Are they saying Christians believe this or are they saying that they believe in another version of the trinity that they don’t actually believe?

Like one poster: I am confused too.

They don’t believe Jesus is God. So…

May I suggest that once you have tried, walk away, if they did not accept your peace. Pray for them after. To deny Christ’s divinity is not something you want to keep for too long on your shoulders under their roof.

Hum, If I can accept number One because the Persons are eternal, 2 isn’t true because of 1.

Each Person is fullly God, thus where One is are the Two other, so to speak, because presence has nothing to do with space or time.
But, the Nature of God is to be triune (or a Trinity), not is triune; God’s Nature and substance is One.
Otherwise, if the Substance isn’t one, the Trinity would be also false, there would be 3 gods, since it is accepted that the Persons are 3. But because God is Triune, the Nature is One in three Persons. The word itself says this truth.

We have to remember that partialism isn’t a new idea. :stuck_out_tongue:

Marco is getting at something there. I may have to be more precise in my wording.

I do not doubt the Trinity. The Witness wanted to prove It false by their logic.

Perhaps this is more precise: Is it part of the divine nature to be triune? If so, doesn’t that mean that a Person with the divine nature must be triune?

Not sure ‘logic’ is the right word! You can’t prove logic with an illogical alternative!

Is it part of the divine nature to be truine?

No. Three ‘persons’ in one divine nature. Not ‘parts’.

…doesn’t that mean that a Person with the divine nature must be truine?

Each person is each God but only in relationship to the other two persons, not in Himself.

So each person is *in a sense *truine…but only in the one nature. Three persons - truine. In one God.

You can’t ask if each person is truine totally in their own right and even answer “no, because they would each be truine therefore three God’s each with three person’s”, because to ask: ‘can they be truine separately?’ makes no sense. They cannot be separated. You cannot use JW thinking, or lack of (not logic). This is why it is a mystery.

The One nature of God is in the trinity in one God. The one truine God *is in each of the three persons, *but only in relationship to the other two persons. They *cannot be *separated from the one nature.

So three in one, or one in three - all good. But always in relationship. No separation.

No confusion. No JW illogical alternative thinking.

To say otherwise, in humans terms, would be like saying: now I am going to live as a will without a mind or…etc…

God, our Creator exists…In what form? I could not answer “human” nor “spirit” because He is God and greater than a category.

He came to earth in the form of a human, Jesus, whom we refer to as the Son of God in order to establish a value to the Great Sacrifice of the Crucifixion in terms we can understand. A man sacrificing his son…hmmmm…where did we hear that before? Old Testament? This gives deeper meaning and understanding to the sacrifice of Christ’s life: God’s Son. All of us should understand a parent giving a child as an emissary.

But Jesus said the "Father and I are one.’ So He is not just the son in human form; He is the Father AND the Son. God can do this. It does not change God or the Gift of God in human form.

We crucified God and we crucified the Son of God- same person

And when Jesus ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit, a connection between Earth and Heaven. Not just an angel spirit, but THE Spirit from God. The “telephone wire”

Three in one persons because these planes exist: earth, spiritual, and the divine infinity that encompasses all, and we need to be able to conceive of God in them. Some divine ideas are too big to contemplate or understand so He sent us Jesus and the Holy Spirit, in forms we do understand.

It seems so simple, I don’t understand why people get so confused or contentious, unless, of course, they don’t believe in God.

Hi. A nice write-up about God :slight_smile: I think people can get confused and even contentious about God while believing in Him, because they care, but maybe what you are saying is that in Jesus and the Holy Spirit we have examples of loving kindness, so why get confused or heated in the first place when their example is so simple; we don’t need anything else?

It is true of course that even Jesus became angry - with the money changers, and idolaters, and blasphemers against the Holy Spirit - so some anger is righteous, and although we are called to love our enemies, we are not called to love their beliefs; however, maybe anger is best left to God? And *all *we are called to do is love?

If I have misunderstood you please say because we are all in this ark together!

I would recommend the chapter on the trinity from Frank Sheed’s book, “Theology for Beginners”. Absolutely the best treatment on the subject I have ever come across. He really has a way of making this complex concept make sense, at least to the degree that it can to our limited intellect.

Not at all; that is exactly what I meant. The story is so beautiful and addresses God’s love in so many ways that it seems simple, good, logical.

This is the exact reason Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in the Trinity–because they create their own incorrect definition of it which then becomes easy for them to refute.

In apologetics this is called “the Straw Man” argument. It is a logical fallacy that unsuspecting persons fall for since it is debate’s equivalent of a clever optical illusion.

The above is a perfect example: the JW has been allowed to propose their own definition of the Trinity which neither reflects the genuine article or stands up to anyone’s logic. The same JW then knocks this “straw man” version of the Trinity over with the simplest of movements leaving all those who have gathered to watch this “illusion” genuinely amazed.

Onlookers gasp among themselves at the demonstration: “Do you see? He has brought the Trinity tumbling down!” But in reality the JW has only pushed over a weightless straw man of his making. If he had taken down a strong man, that would have been something. But anyone can knock over a man made of straw!

The above definition does not represent the Trinity. If you get involved in the argument using this poor definition as the basis for discussion you will lose because it’s just wrong. Anyone can knock a false concept over.

Unless they are going to discuss the Trinity on its own official terms, don’t get involved. “Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14) Better to discuss the Trinity with those who will hear, not those who are challenging it because they merely want to argue.

You will not be able to get further than stand your ground with the JW, so don’t attempt to go further. You are dealing with a cult mentality that reasons in the following manner:

[LIST]
*]Anything that sounds reasonable or true that comes from an outside source must be rejected since all outside sources are machinations of the Devil.
*]Failure to reject outside sources are acts of heresy.
*]Listening too closely to the arguments of others may incite one to thinking independently, and entertaining the points of others for too long a time can cause doubts to creep up.
*]Allowing room for doubt in the truth as taught by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is an act of unfaithfulness that can make one a subject for excommunication.
*]Those who are excommunicated will be shunned by family and the community and be slaughtered at the hands of Jehovah at the outbreak of Armageddon.
[/LIST]

So while you should defend the truth when necessary, don’t make the mistake in believing the JW is open to dialogue. To them dialogue is spiritual death, and they are here to teach you, not listen to you. To truly listen to you is to truly listen to Satan (as they see it), and they don’t want to do that.

And believe me, when a JW has genuine doubts and wants genuine answers they aren’t going to post it publicly for other JWs to see and therefore charge them before others with apostasy, as such an act would be considered in their eyes.

God’s NATURE is ONE. God is one being. One essence. Oneness is of the essence of God. There can be only one divine Nature.

God’s Person is Triune. Person is not nature, and Persons are not parts. Each divine person wholly possesses the one divine nature. I concur with the recommendation above to study Frank Sheed’s discussion of this in his book “Theology for Beginners.”

The divine nature has no parts either. But I say it is ok to understand that this one nature is to be triune, but because of relations. The One God with one nature and one will is 3 Persons because he knows Himself perfectly from all eternity (thus the Son) and loves Himself from all eternity, because God being love he has to love so he loves love…see? (thus the Holy Spirit).

And this is ONE. Each Person posesses the fullness of God, the fullness of what I described. The Father is what the Son is and what the Holy Spirit is in Essence, which is always the same and just One, but He is not the Son who is not the Holy Spirit, because the relations are by definition not identification as we understand it (“I am you”). However, Jesus can say I AM the same as the Father said I AM, because they are equally YHWH, Whose Spirit was with HIm before creation too :slight_smile: See, in Genesis we see the Spirit being with God, and in the Gospel the Son being with God and being God. It is both being with and being the Being.

:rolleyes: I tried again

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.