It is presumptuous of me to have made this account solely so I can ask these questions, but I have in past lurked here. Recently I’ve been going through many doubts of various shades and I hope that some sensible response which God gives me the light to see is sensible may be discerned to the problems of this week.
I am trying to make sense of the Trinity which in the past has never been a stumbling block for me, but now suddenly (after reading an account by a Methodist pastor who converted to Islam) seems to have become one. I know that there are lots of Trinity threads already on this website, but please bare with me. It is not a banned subject and I don’t think all of these questions have been addressed before, not as far as I can find in a quick search, anyway.
For reference, I consider myself a prima Scriptura Protestant, but I emphasize that the Holy Spirit has been very active in the Church over the past 2000 years, and any attempt to interpret Scripture without recourse to the teachers over the ages (but especially the writers f the Primitive Church) is misguided and probably quite dangerous. The Bible is, as they say, the Devil’s favorite book.
Okay. Here are the three main problems that suddenly jump out at me.
- “Is only one member of the Trinity God in his fullness, or do all three members have to be present in order for God to be present?
If only member of the Trinity is God in his fullness, then each member of the Trinity must be infinite individually. Can more than one infinity* exist? If all three are required, then because only God is infinite, then each of the three individually must be finite. But then God himself must be finite: finite + finite + finite = still finite.”
- "The Father is the first in the Trinity in terms of causation–the Son is begot of the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son; the common link in these formulations is the pre-existent necessity of the Father. This does not mean that the Father existed first in time, seeing as God is eternal and not subject to the limitations of causality caused by time. Being God, the Father’s existence is necessary (ie., could not possibly be otherwise, exists by virtue of his own nature). Is the existence of the Son and the Holy Spirit necessary and based upon the Father’s nature or contingent and based upon the Father’s will?
If the existence of the Son and the Holy Spirit is necessary, then why is this so? What is it about the Father’s nature which makes him the cause of the Son and the Holy Spirit? If the existence of the Son and the Holy Spirit is contingent, then does this not create a qualitative difference within the Godhead, with only the Father being a necessarily existent being? A qualitative difference within the Godhead seems very anathema to the catholic faith believed everywhere, always, and by all.”
- “God is eternal and not subject to the limitations of time. This means that Jesus must have reigned on the post-ascension Throne even during his earthly ministry. If Jesus reigns on the Throne, then Jesus who is among us still must have been spiritually present in the world in the fullness of his power during Jesus’ earthly ministry. However, during his earthly ministry, Jesus’ perception was veiled, and he intentionally did not make use of his being all-powerful or his being all-knowing. This requires that Jesus both did and did not have his Godly qualities veiled from him at the time of his earthly ministry, which is a logical contradiction. The only solution seems to be that Jesus on earth and Jesus on the Throne are not the same person, but in fact that there is a fourth member of the Trinity who subsists within the person of Christ.” I understand that this question may be easily answered by a clear definition of the hypostatic union, but because it was Jesus’ divine nature that needed to be veiled while Jesus was in earthly flesh, I somewhat doubt it would resolve the logical contradiction.
If you got this far, thank you for taking the time to read this, and I pray that God can work through this community to help address my difficulties.
Footnote: * I find it spectacularly relevant that as I discovered while typing this, Spelling and Grammar Check on Microsoft Word actually considers the phrase “more than one infinity” a grammar error on the grounds of “number agreement”. I suspect that Spelling and Grammar Check on Microsoft Word is not an established authority in the field of Theology (and as the case may be, Philosophy of Numbers), but I found it slightly funny and relevant all the same.