Playing Devils Advocate: An Argument Agaisnt The Holy Trinity In Light of God's Metaphysical Simplicity

For the next 3 to 4 months I will be Arguing as an Atheist that is convinced that religion is just a delusion.

It is said that God is 3 persons in one.

But how can God be one absolutely simple Being - and therefore not a composite - if God is a composition of 3 distinct persons.

How is one meant to understand the Trinity without introducing some kind of composition in God?

Also, if the Logos is one distinct person, how can the Logos (the second person of the trinity) be identical to the absolute simple nature of God and at the same time not be identical to the Father (who is also identical to the nature of God)? Again this would appear to introduce composition in God as identical to “Esse”

There appears to be a contradiction involved in the concept of the Trinity.

I don’t understand it either. Is there any verse in Bible that support the idea of Trinity or this is an interpretation of theologists?

In atheist terms, think of God as an idea so immense, so limitless that it must always remain just out of your reach.

You need a way to grasp this big idea, and one way God helps us relate to Him is through the three persons, each a facet. But that’s to help us draw closer, it doesn’t remove the mystery since only God can understand God.

I have no formal education in philosophy, so I apologize for possibly wasting your time in reading this. I see that one being in three persons does seem contradictory, but I think philosophers complicate the matter needlessly.

If we say God is one being expressing himself to mankind in three different roles, that is heresy. But God is self existing. His persons are not simply expressions to us of his identity, as a man’s person is an expression of his being to other men.

Man relates to society through his persons. But we are limited to an experiential existence while in this world. We simply have no other option than to use our persons while interacting with other persons.

On the other hand, God is one in being, and his persons are not limited to the physical world. The persons of the godhead are metaphysical realities, each complete in themselves, not reliant on being emitted or used by the one being, yet also completely united in one being.

That’s the way I understand the Holy Trinity. Hopefully it helps.

In atheist terms, think of God as an idea so immense, so limitless that it must always remain just out of your reach.
Actually in atheist terms there is no god. It isn’t just too big to understand. The universe is physically large enough to occupy the concept of infinity.

As for the discussion of trinity

John 18:5-6 is one instance where Jesus claims to be separate from God. There are many more instances of this in the NT. Bringing the question of how could he be both The father and the Son how could he have internal turmoil between himself and the father.

Hello Linux,

I don't understand how disproving the trinity will support your argument that religion is a delusion.  The trinity is merely a belief system of some of the Christian faiths.  Many Christians don't believe in it.  Then you have Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists who don't believe in it.

I like the way you describe the idea of God. The idea of being is the one idea from which all other ideas flow. God as a being must be the paramount idea that mankind can possess. And as soon as we define it, we limit it to being confined in our understanding. For God to be God, he must remain undefinable, otherwise he becomes the creation of our imaginations.

The relationship between the Father and the Son is indeed difficult - if not impossible - to understand. But I think that relationship, with its apparent contradictions, is revealed for our benefit. It shows how we can relate to God. It reveals God’s solidarity with mankind. It shows what our proper disposition toward God should be: sometimes doubtful yet submitting to his will.

I hope that makes sense.

why?

get some water in a glass. pour 1/3 into another glass and 1/3 into a third glass. look at that. its all the same water. pour it all back into the original glass. its all the same water. drink it. its all the same water and now it is in you.

the trinity is a mystery. it is not necessary to understand and many have no way to understand. this is simply how i see the trinity.

all water is one water. all flame is one flame. i got this understanding reading elfquest. :slight_smile:

A better question would be what evidence would be required to disprove god. This is ridiculous because time should not be spent disproving imaginary things, better to have scientist spending time curing cancers or pretty much anything else.

Superwimp:
‘I don’t understand how disproving the trinity will support your argument that religion is a delusion. The trinity is merely a belief system of some of the Christian faiths. Many Christians don’t believe in it. Then you have Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists who don’t believe in it.’

This is part of tearing down and making the other person question what they held to be as fact. When doubt can be spawned perhaps they will try to do some research to prove or disprove the other person.

I don’t think they do complicate matters, but rather it is a complicated matter.

If we say God is one being expressing himself to mankind in three different roles, that is heresy.

Okay. I think you mean if God is one person pretending to be 3 persons then that is heresy. The term “Expression” needn’t imply something artificail.

But God is self existing. His persons are not simply expressions to us of his identity, as a man’s person is an expression of his being to other men.

Okay.

Man relates to society through his persons.

Okay.

On the other hand, God is one in being, and his persons are not limited to the physical world. The persons of the godhead are metaphysical realities, each complete in themselves, not reliant on being emitted or used by the one being, yet also completely united in one being.

There is an apparent contradiction in this as it relates to ontological simplicity.

How can God be one absolutely simple Being - and therefore not a composite - if God is 3 distinct persons.

How is one meant to understand the Trinity without introducing some kind of composition in God?

Also, if the Logos is one distinct person, how can the Logos (the second person of the trinity) be identical to the absolute simple nature of God and at the same time not be identical to the Father (who is also identical to the nature of God)? Again this would appear to introduce composition in God as identical to “Esse”

If mark’s nature is identical to the nature of one circle and Chris’s nature is identical to that same exact circle, then surely Mark and Chris is the same person. How does one introduce a community of persons as identical to the one and simple nature of God without making them identical with each other (especially since there is no principle of differentiation in God due to his absolute simplicity)?

There appears to be a contradiction involved in the concept of the Trinity.

That’s the way I understand the Holy Trinity. Hopefully it helps.

That’s fine but it doesn’t really deal with the problem that I have raised. It more or less ignores it.

I never said that it would. I said that I am an atheist that is convinced that religion is a delusion. This includes Christianity, and so since I am on a Christian Forum, I am attacking the concept of a trinity. While there are Christians that don’t believe in a Trinity that is in general an unusual strain of Christianity. Of course my argument is directed at those who support the trinity.

Yes, I agree it ignores the problem raised, because I don’t see a problem. I think maybe my understanding of what personhood is and yours are different. I don’t see personhood as having anything to do with the nature of being. Rather personhood is an expression of being, and not an attribute of being. I am a being, and in the absence of interaction with other beings, my person is useless. For a man, a person is like a mask. It’s just an article that can be cast aside except when dealing with other people.

But thank you for your reply. As I said in the beginning I have no education in philosophy. I probably just don’t have the proper tools to express my thoughts adequately. I’ll just read yours and the other poster’s thoughts from here on out, and try to learn from all of you.

You will not receive a satisfactory answer from anyone on this subject. How could one being be three and not be polytheism. How could you claim otherwise it devolves to semantics but in essence still three different gods. God the almighty, his Son Jesus and finally the Spirit.
Critically look at the spread of Christianity and into what area and time what was happening. How to convert people from polytheism to a monotheistic God. Say its really three different heads to the same God but they are different.

But then that would seem to imply that we should be fideists at least in light of the Trinity doctrine. The trinity has not been revealed to those who take it to be true by mere faith alone. And that is fine, but when it comes to convincing others it does not reflect the dignity of reason to simply say believe it. I don’t think anyone has to believe that which cannot be understood in rational terms, and I don’t believe in a God that would punish somebody for rejecting what they don’t rationally understand to be true.

No its not all the same water… The glasses are quantifiably distinct and so is the molecules that constitutes the water in each glass. There is clearly composition involved. There is no quantity in God.

the trinity is a mystery. it is not necessary to understand and many have no way to understand. this is simply how I see the trinity.
:slight_smile:

So your argument is that it is not necessary to have a logical understanding of the trinity in a philosophical debate about the trinity?

I agree with you. I was merely confessing that I do not completely understand the relationship between the persons of the Trinity as it is revealed in Scripture. They interact with each other in ways different from the ways created persons relate with each other. Perhaps with more thinking about it, I might come to understand it better.

from post 1…

It is said that God is 3 persons in one.

But how can God be one absolutely simple Being - and therefore not a composite - if God is a composition of 3 distinct persons.

How is one meant to understand the Trinity without introducing some kind of composition in God?

Also, if the Logos is one distinct person, how can the Logos (the second person of the trinity) be identical to the absolute simple nature of God and at the same time not be identical to the Father (who is also identical to the nature of God)? Again this would appear to introduce composition in God as identical to “Esse”

There appears to be a contradiction involved in the concept of the Trinity.

:banghead: :banghead:
How many times have I talked about this on these forums? I did again just two days ago on another thread.

There is only one divine substance and only one God. All three Persons fully have the divine substance.
As Aquinas pointed out 700 years ago ( although some people still haven’t got the message :mad: ) the three Persons are distinguished from each other only by relationship, not substance.

To the Father is attributed the power to know. Since his knowledge is infinite, and only God can be infinite, the Son is the Word of God.
The Father and Son have an infinite love for each other. Since only God can be infinite, the Holy Spirit is the love of God.
God’s mode of existence is completely different from ours. We are beings who do actions, but these actions are not necessarily what we do or what we are. God is his actions. He is “pure act”, as Aquinas says.

There is no composition in God. He is Supremely One in all respects. But the three Persons reflect how he acts, and his infinity and mode of existence require that these acts be persons. Otherwise, there would be no God. A finite God couldn’t create anything.

All this is nothing new. It’s been around for centuries. But certain people who want to not believe in God for selfish reasons ignore it,
and as demonstrated in the first post,
are careful not to let people become aware of it. :mad:

I agree that there does appear to be a contradiction. It implies that there is quantity and composition in God, and that does not mix well with divine simplicity. At least there is a real difficulty in reconciling the God Head of Catholicism with the metaphysical notion of God as the unmoved mover.

To encourage people to better understand and think rationally about their faith is the reason I made this thread. It is not to attack you. I am playing devils advocate. I am not really an atheist and I do believe in the trinity…

Linux again…

To encourage people to better understand and think rationally about their faith is the reason I made this thread.

But you don’t point out the points I made about the Trinity just a short time ago,
points you could not be unaware of,
since I’ve discussed them many times on this forum.

Bad, Linux, bad. :mad:

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