• Pinprick
    924
    So the trinity is the idea that somehow God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are separate, but one. Different manifestations of the same being. What I don’t understand is in the Bible, Jesus communicates directly with God. Wouldn’t this amount to nothing more than talking to yourself? How could Jesus feel forsaken, as he famously declares on the cross? Wouldn’t he be privy to all the information or knowledge that God has? I get it that expecting Christianity to make sense is asking too much of it, but I don’t think I’ve seen this objection to the idea of the trinity, and I’m wondering if it has been posed before, and if so what the responses were.
  • tim wood
    8.4k
    So the trinity is the ideaPinprick
    You can question an idea, or accept it and see where it takes you. What's your pleasure? If the former, if you're looking for sense, I do not think you will find any at all.

    Or, chapter XXI, "Quicunque Vult," An Essay on Metaphysics (pp. 213 - 227). You can find a pdf online. One of the ideas being that the trinity is a kind of representation of something that may be seen, depending on how it's looked at, as a one or a many.
  • Apollodorus
    3.4k
    So the trinity is the idea that somehow God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are separate, but one.Pinprick

    The terms used were “ousía” and “hypostasis”, where “ousía” meant general essence or substance and “hypostasis” meant particular or individual reality. The example given is “man” as the general genus and “Peter, Paul, John” as individual manifestations of it (John of Damascus, Fount of Knowledge, etc.).

    When they said “three hypostases in one ousía” they meant one general essence or substance existing as three particular realities:

    1. God in Himself

    2. God operating in the world as the Divine Power or Spirit (Holy Ghost).

    3. God manifested as the World Teacher and Savior (Christ).

    https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/0199246122.001.0001/acprof-9780199246120-chapter-5
  • Banno
    18.6k
    The trinity is inconsistent.

    The rational thing to do would be to reject the inconsistent description. However what you will witness instead is escalation of commitment.
  • Bartricks
    5.6k
    I am not a Christian and am unsure exactly what scriptural support there is for the trinity. For I seem to remember hearing somewhere that it is not explicit in the bible.

    But anyway, I take it that a mind is indivisible and thus the mind of God - like any mind - is not divisible. It is thus one, not three. Nevertheless, take a writer of a film, who then decides to cast themselves in one of the roles, and also to direct the film. That person would get three separate credits. And when they play the role, we could talk meaningfully about the character of that person without what we say transferring to the character of the writer/director. And when they 'get into character' they might wonder exactly why some things are happening which made sense when they were in the role of writer/director.

    So, I think there's plenty of scope to make some kind of sense of it without contradiction or metaphysical absurdity. But perhaps what I've just said conflicts with something in the bible, I don't know.
  • Apollodorus
    3.4k
    I take it that a mind is indivisible and thus the mind of God - like any mind - is not divisible. It is thus one, not three.Bartricks

    Correct. It isn't strictly in the Bible, but the early Church Fathers spoke Greek and had received a Greek education, so they used terminology from Greek philosophy when discussing the Trinity.

    Those familiar with the Platonic concept of three “hypostases” or spiritual principles of (1) the One, (2) the Cosmic Intellect/Divine Mind and (3) the World Soul, that were essentially one, would have had no problem understanding the Trinity. In fact, the problem seems to come more from translating Greek “hypostasis” as “person” into Latin and other languages unfamiliar with Platonic concepts.
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k


    The sayings of Jesus, New Testament and the doctrine of the Trinity are three different things. Jesus would have been appalled to find that he was deified. He made a clear distinction between himself, a human being and God. The New Testament is largely the work of Paul and John. The Trinity is a later invention. The idea that Jesus was the same ousia or being or substance as God and the Trinity were made official Christian doctrine at the Council of Nicaea.

    There have been many attempts to provide a rational explanation of the Trinity. All have failed, but this has not dissuaded believers.
  • Gregory
    4.3k
    Christians say Jesus had two separate consciousness, one divine and one human. The human one prayed to unite more with the divine consciousness. His prayer would be different from a Christian's prayer. That's how I understand it
  • Bartricks
    5.6k
    That's incoherent.
  • TheMadFool
    13.9k
    So the trinity is the idea that somehow God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are separate, but onePinprick

    Someone definitely skipped his logic classes.

    Jokes aside, there's a sense in which the Holy Trinity can be made sense of mathematically. What if God = Infinity and supposing that Infinity is the set of all numbers, call it A, can be subdivided into 3 distinct sets: 1. Pure imaginary numbers (Z) , 2. Rational numbers (R) and 3. Irrational numbers (I). Each of these three sets are same in that they are infinity but they're separate in the sense mutually exclusive with respect to elements/members that constitute them.

    Thus, we are justified in saying,

    1. Z = R = I [they're all infinity] [The Father = The Son = The Holy Ghost]
    2. Z =/=R [the elements are different] [The Father is not The Son]
    3. Z =/= I [the elements are different] [The Father is not The Holy Ghost]
    4. R =/= I [the elements are different] [The Son is not The Holy Ghost]

    Someone definitely didn't miss his math classes.
  • Gregory
    4.3k


    You guys analyize the Trinity with logic instead of intuition intertwined with logic. The Trinity and incarnation are high philosophical ideas and shouldnt be rejected just because you can't understand them. Few do
  • Bartricks
    5.6k
    So your criticism is that my analysis is too rational. In other words, not bollocksy enough.
  • Apollodorus
    3.4k
    I think there's plenty of scope to make some kind of sense of it without contradiction or metaphysical absurdity.Bartricks

    I think so too. But the facts are as follows:

    1. Jesus and God are one (“I and the Father (God) are one”, John 10:30).

    2. The Holy Spirit (Power of God or “Power of the Most High”, Luke 1:35) and God are one.

    (The Holy Spirit is God’s Power by which he acts in the world and which is inseparable from God.)

    3. Therefore, God, God’s Son, and the Holy Spirit are One.

    However, Jesus was both human and divine, both man and God (“the Word of God become flesh”). He did use some of God’s power to work miracles, etc., but otherwise he acted like a man because, while on earth, he was a man and because that was the only way humans could relate to him and he could accomplish his mission on earth.

    So, there is no contradiction. It's just a matter of formulating it in a way that makes it acceptable to philosophy in general, not just to Christian philosophers.

    Incidentally, when Christians pray to God, they don’t pray to the Trinity, they pray either to God the Father or to God the Son.
  • Gregory
    4.3k


    Christians discover ideas that can be thought of but which are above reason. Those doctrines are amazing and mind expanding.
  • bert1
    1.2k
    Wouldn’t he be privy to all the information or knowledge that God has?Pinprick

    Well, maybe. Who knows. You could come up with something along the lines of, as the logos, the formal aspect of reality, the way things are, Jesus is the the knowledge God has. Or some such. Do you feel fobbed of with ad-(hic haec)hoc rationalisations? Or is this kind of thing good for you?
  • bert1
    1.2k
    For I seem to remember hearing somewhere that it is not explicit in the bible.Bartricks

    The Bible is short on actual metaphysics generally I think. Except maybe John a tiny bit, or Genesis if you want to get very interpretative. Even then it's not clear. You have to dig for it, and have an idea of what you want to find before you go looking.
  • Apollodorus
    3.4k
    Christians discover ideas that can be thought of but which are above reason. Those doctrines are amazing and mind expanding.Gregory

    Agree. I quite enjoy reading the Philokalia and other Christian writings. However, there can be no harm trying to put some religious ideas or concepts in more philosophical language IMO
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    It's just a matter of formulating it in a way that makes it acceptable to philosophy in generalApollodorus

    But you have failed to do this.

    What you call "facts" are just assertions. But those assertions do not provide a logical explanations of the Trinity.

    There are two senses of "one". One, as in being in some way united, is not the same as being one and the same thing or being or ousia. To read this as 'one and the same' is contrary to Jesus' own words.

    The "power of the most high" is not the same as what has that power. God and His power are not the same thing. They are not, despite the claim, homoousios, one being or substance.

    There are, however, philosophers who, based on the limits of human knowledge and understanding, accept that there are things we cannot comprehend and are accepted by faith. If, however, philosophy is to be guided by reason, the Trinity cannot be made acceptable to philosophy,
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k


    In a few quick posts you have gone from claiming you can formulate the Trinity in a way that is acceptable to philosophy in general to throwing a tantrum.

    Disagreeing with you in no way denies you the "right" to believe whatever you want to. Pointing to Christian sects that do not accept Trinitarianism is not an attack on Christianity.

    Have you given up on trying to give a rational defense of the Trinity?
  • Apollodorus
    3.4k
    In a few quick posts you have gone from claiming you can formulate the Trinity in a way that is acceptable to philosophy in general to throwing a tantrum.Fooloso4

    Sorry, but I think you are insane. That's why you call yourself a "Fool", isn't it? I never said I can formulate the Trinity, I don't need to. I was suggesting it to @Bartricks because he seems to be good at coming up with some neat formulations. But, obviously, you can't even think let alone read. And you imagine you can interpret the Christians' scriptures for them. Sounds about right, doesn't it?
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    I wrote a comment but I am deleting it because I don't think it fits in well on this particular thread.
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    I never said I can formulate the Trinity, I don't need to.Apollodorus

    You said:

    So, there is no contradiction. It's just a matter of formulating it in a way that makes it acceptable to philosophy in general, not just to Christian philosophers.Apollodorus

    Was I wrong to assume that you were saying that you could do it? Was it someone else who tried to do so in your post? https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/543286
  • Apollodorus
    3.4k


    There is no contradiction to me. So, I don't need to formulate it for myself. But @Bartricks may be able to do so as he himself suggested. My comment was addressed to him. Nothing to do with you. You seem to have some serious mental issues there.
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    So, I don't need to formulate it for myself.Apollodorus

    The issue is whether it can be formulated it in a way that makes it acceptable to philosophy. Since you see no contradiction it follows that it is not possible for you formulate it in such a way.

    My comment was addressed to him. Nothing to do with you.Apollodorus

    This is a public forum. If you don't want anyone to challenge your claims then you are in the wrong place.
  • Apollodorus
    3.4k
    Since you see no contradiction it follows that it is not possible for you formulate it in such a way.Fooloso4

    It doesn't follow at all. No logical or even grammatical connection between one thing and the other.

    This is a public forum. If you don't want anyone to challenge your claims then you are in the wrong place.Fooloso4

    My claim is that Christians have the right to interpret their own religion in whatever way they wish. You may try to challenge that but it will only expose you as a militant and somewhat unhinged anti-Christian, nothing else.
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    Since you see no contradiction it follows that it is not possible for you formulate it in such a way.
    — Fooloso4

    It doesn't follow at all. No logical or even grammatical connection between one thing and the other.
    Apollodorus

    Have you forgotten what is being discussed? You said:

    So, there is no contradiction. It's just a matter of formulating it in a way that makes it acceptable to philosophy in general, not just to Christian philosophers.Apollodorus

    Since you see no contradiction you are not able to address what is contradictory in the claim of the Trinity.

    My claim is that Christians have the right to interpret their own religion in whatever way they wish.Apollodorus

    Yes, you have said so many times. No one is preventing you from interpreting it any way you want. That does not mean that your interpretation cannot be challenged. This is a philosophy forum and differences of interpretation is one of the things we do on this forum. Do you think that your religious beliefs are somehow exempt from examination?

    And once again: to challenge the Trinity is not anti-Christian. The problems with the idea have been discussed by Christians for almost 2,000 years. It is one thing if you are unaware of this. Is is quite another to close your eyes to it.

    I will leave it there.
  • Banno
    18.6k

    Neat analysis.
  • Gregory
    4.3k
    God is the same as his power and his love and his justice and everything about him. He is one thing. That is what monotheism is about. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share an intellect and will. There is ONE God but three relations of consciousness within it. Once that is understood (as far as is possible) you can get to the Incarnation and see how a human nature can be subsumed up into the divine nature and live a consciousness that is and is not the same consciousness as the divine nature. It's in different respects. There is three Gods and one God but not in the same respect. The divine nature is one but the relations of consciousness utilizing the same intellect and will in God to love each other is how Christians understand the Trinity. You can say there are three Gods although this is not perfectly accurate, just as you can say there are three persons in one nature although this is not accurate because there is one intellect and will used by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Even the will and reason of God is one and not distinct from his justice love, mercy, ect. These are high level ideas and should not be dismissed by forum posters who haven't considered them seriously enough
  • Apollodorus
    3.4k
    No one is preventing you from interpreting it any way you want.Fooloso4

    That's exactly what you're trying to do. Every time anyone says anything about Christianity you say stuff like this:

    "
    Jesus would have been appalled to find that he was deified.Fooloso4

    When it is pointed out to you that there is no way you can possibly know that, you become agitated and abusive. Atheist "experts" on Christianity is the last thing Christians need.
  • Banno
    18.6k
    You follow the grand Christian tradition of equating critique with persecution.
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