The orthodox teaching of the Trinity is that there is one God in three persons. These three persons are in love relationship with each other. The circle of love is complete and therefore God is self-sufficient in love. It’s a unity in diversity and this indeed reflects Reality in the universe in which we live. This is where the term university comes from. While we can experience this circle of love the mind doesn’t understand this wonder of God. This should be expected for one of the signs of a true revelation from God is that it transcends the finite and selfish nature of man and His reasoning abilities. It’s a true miracle attesting to the truth of Christianity. The love within the circle is self-giving. Man by nature is selfish and has a hard time understanding true love. The natural tendency of human reason is to reject Divine Revelation because of his finite and limited understanding. But once the duality of man’s thinking is broken opposites come together and he is ushered into the circle of love. The understanding and the paradox come together in a happy relationship called faith. In a happy love affair self-love transcends itself. The selfish person tries to move away from this passionate love for he does not understand it and refuses to dare to love. He is embittered by this love because not only is it unselfish but because it says to love the enemy. Actually, a person who has this passionate desire of faith finds his reason fulfilled as he believes that which surpasses human understanding. Far from disproving Christianity, the paradox of the trinity confirms it’s supernatural accuracy. As Thomas Aquinas says, the fact that humans can come to believe is the greatest of miracles. The natural tendency of man to disbelieve is a confirmation of the truth of the revelation. We should expect a miraculous revelation from God to be surprising, impossible to understand, and difficult to believe.
St. Michael, I have to disagree. I don’t believe in the Trinity. I find it to be an incomprehensible theory. Neither do I think that man is selfish by nature. I see a lot of good hearted, loving, giving people in the world. I also see many who are looking for love in all the wrong places so to speak. I think this may come from not being able to see anything good in themselves and therefore have no self love. Why should we love ourselves? Because God created us in His image and has given us many divine qualities as gifts. I believe that in order to fulfill the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, we must first love God and then come to love ourselves as we see His spirit inside of us.
Nobody has reached perfection in this life. If they have they would literally be God. All have sinned. Motives count too. If we are doing good by loving others and not loving God then we are not loving perfectly. I try to worship God first (love with all my soul heart mind) and then my neighbor as my self. I’m not perfect though and I do mess up. But I’m a lot better than I used to be. As a Christian I am a partaker of God’s Beauty. He gives His own Beauty to me giving me His joy and happiness. I am a partaker of this infinite fountain of joy of which He is Himself. These streams of water waves and raindrops of glory are His Divine light and love. I am swept up in His heavenly Beauty as I participate in His Trinitarian circle of love and joy. The love between the three persons of the Trinity isn’t irrational. It does however transcend human logic because it is experienced and not pieced together or something you try to figure out with logic. We can enter into this circle of love through faith because relationships are based on trust. God isn’t something I try to figure out but experience. You can experience paradoxes from different frames of reference. Here’s an example from Proverbs:
On the one hand it says answer NOT a fool according to his folly. Yet in the next sentence it tells us TO answer a fool according to his folly.It depends on the context and frame of reference you are in. Within the circle of the Trinity there are three persons in a love relationship. Within another frame of reference we see this one circle of love. The one love circle is God who is love. The only way this can be so if is there is more than one person within the Trinity in a self-giving love relationship. For this makes God self-sufficient in love and needing nothing. If God lacked He wouldn’t be God. His love is a flowing stream of water waves and raindrops. God wants to seduce us with the beautiful paradoxical mystery of Himself and bring us into union with the paradox of love. I hope that helps. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
St. Michael, I see what you are saying, but If God needs another in order to exist then He is not self sufficient. If one needs another “person” in order to love then why is a third “person” necessary? Who says that love cannot exist by itself? One can love things other than “persons”. For example, one can love beauty, truth, wisdom, imagination, creativity, etc. etc. If God is all of these things, then I suppose He would be loving the things of which He is.
That’s what I’m trying to say. God doesn’t need another. This can only be true because within God there is a self-giving circle of love between three persons. The love between the Father and Son is the Spirit. Yes you can love Beauty but within God there is this circle of love that makes His love perfect and complete. He is perfect love. Perfectly self-giving and self-sufficient. His love (Spirit) spills over and fills the universe. This is the beautiful water flow of the Spirit. The impulse of God is that He overflow with love like a fountain.
If God is a compound of three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then why does not one of the over 3800 Scriptural occurrences of the word “God” clearly refer to a Trinity? Indeed, well over 90% of the occurrences of the word “God” refer to the Father alone.
When The scripture say things like “I am one with the Father” and " He [Christ] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb. 1:3)" We can deduce that “God is the Savior of all - Especially of them that believe” This is clearly referring to Christ as the Savior of all in the New Testament. For in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. You may say that this isn’t the correct translation but we know it is because God is perfect self sufficient and self giving love. This can only be if there is more than one person within God. Love requires one loving an another object that is being loved. Moreover, it is a self-giving love. The self giving love within the circle makes God complete and self-sufficient. He needs nothing and lacks nothing. He is perfect love. His Spirit of love overflows like a fountain filling the universe.
Michael, there is nothing you have written that indicates God as a compound being consisting of three divine Persons.
When Jesus said, “The Father and I are one,” He referred to the fact that He and the Father are in one in thought, in purpose, etc. Also that HE is the exact imprint of the Father’s essence, in other words another divine Individual who is exactly like the Father, but yet a different Individual. Suppose I take a picture of myself out of my left pocket and show it to you. Then I say, “I am going to show you another picture of me,” and I bring out from my right pocket another picture of me made from the same negative. You might exclaim, “But that’s the same picture!” Then I might say, "No, it’s not. And holding up the first, I might say, “Here is one picture,” and then holding up the other, “And here is the other picture. Two pictures!” The Father and the Son are like that. They are two Individuals, but are exactly alike, so that Jesus was able to say, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”
As for John 1:1, this sentence is not affirming that the Logos (the Son of God) was both with God and was God. That is illogical—and I mean truly illogical, not merely unreasonable. It would be analogous to a boy saying to you, “My father is with me today. In fact I AM my father.” The construction of John 1:1 indicates that the first occurrence of the word “God” refers to the Father. For it has the article. The second occurrence of the word “God,” in the same verse, does NOT have the article. If the sentence were in natural order then the New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses would be correct, “And the word was a god.” But the order of the words is, “God was the Word (Logos).” This means that “God” or “Deity” is the kind of thing (the essence) that the Word was. For our modern day it might better be translated,“And the Word was divine” or perhaps more accurately, "The Word was divine Essence."This was a way of saying that the Word, the Son of God, was of the same divine essence as God. That was because God begat his Son as his first act, and then using his Son as his Agent, created the Universe THROUGH Him.
Second-century Christian writers affirmed that the begetting of the Son was the first act of God, and occurred "before all ages."Indeed, even in the fourth century, the original Nicene Creed stated that Christ was “begotten before all ages,” and the early Trinitarians of that period accepted the statement. But later Trinitarians saw the statement as inconsistent with Trinitarianism, and so they changed it to “eternally begotten” (whatever that means).
As for the Holy Spirit, Paul affirms that the Lord [Jesus] IS the Spirit (2 Cor 3:15). As I see it, the Persons of the Father and the Son are not confined to any place, but They can extend their Persons to any place in the Universe, and that is their Spirit. That Spirit is ONE because the Persons of the Father and Son are fully united. The phrase “spirit of God” occurs 12 times in the New Testament, and the phrase “spirit of Jesus” occurs twice, “spirit of Christ” twice, “spirit of Jesus Christ” once, and “spirit of his Son” once.
In one sense there is only one God, that is, the Father. In a prayer to God, Jesus said:
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
In saying this, Jesus distinguished Himself from “the only true God.”
But in the sense of being divine, Jesus may also be said to be “God” but not in the same sense that the Father is the one true God. However, Jesus and his Father are not joined together into one compound God (Binitarianism); they are two distinct divine Individuals, but are of the same divine essence. You and your son are two distinct individuals but are of the same human essence. (However two human beings can never be exactly the same as is the Father and the Son—not even “identical twins).”
Your interpretations of those scriptures isn’t the interpretation held by the Holy Catholic church. They can be interpreted in another way and as I showed above they should be interpreted another way. For one, God is self-sufficient and perfect love. For there to be love there must be a lover and a beloved. This only makes sense with there being more than one person in the Trinity. It’s a perfect self-giving love within the circle and therefore also held together in unity making the One God self-sufficient and overflowing with perfect love. Moreover, your view doesn’t reflect Reality. What we see in the Reality of the universe is unity in diversity (university). This is exactly what the Trinity reveals - a unity in diversity. It’s hard to hold to because the circle is perfectly self-giving love and a paradox to the human mind. When the duality of the mind is broken we are united to the circle of love. It’s no longer us or them - black or white polarity. It is here that the miracle of loving the enemy takes place. This is truly Universalism. For with opposites united the fires of God’s love will unite saints and sinners. It’s not heaven or hell but heaven and hell. For all will be salted with the purifying and blazing light of God’s fire as they are united and welcomed into the charming circle of the Trinity of Love.
St. Michael, you mentioned that God transcends human logic, yet you say that God cannot exist alone, that He needs another “person” to love in order to complete the circle. This sounds like logic trying to explain why God cannot simply exist as the one and only.
No. I never said that. There is one God in three persons. God doesn’t need another person within the circle. The circle is complete and overflows drawing others in as they drink the water of Life.
I’m still not getting it. To me, God is the Spirit of love, the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of forgiveness, the Spirit of compassion, etc. etc. Basically speaking, He is the Spirit of the heart and mind, all of these things coming from one Spirit. Without any of these things, we have no life as humans. God gave us these gifts so that we can know Him. When we love truth, we are loving God. When we love the beautiful things he has created, we are loving God as the Creator.When we love all the good things inside of our own hearts and minds, we are not only loving the Spirit that God has given us, we are loving ourselves as well.
A lot of what you say is true. My point is that the overflow of that Spirit is the result of the perfect circle within the Trinity. God is self-sufficient and doesn’t need anything. This why there are three persons that make up the circle of the one God. The circle is complete. The Beautiful overflow and current of love is what you are referring to. The duality of the mind separates things into either/or. When this duality is broken it becomes both/and as faith arises. This is when opposites unite. God is both 3 and 1. Moreover, this is when we become forgiving and loving. Remember the Bible says love your enemy. When duality is broken faith arises and we are ushered into the circle of love. Faith brings us into the charmed circle. We love God with our mind through contemplation and meditation on the beautiful and lovely. These bring one into union. Even admiring the self-giving love of Christ in the gospel. When you extremely admire someone greatly (worship) you will become like the one you admire. Charity and acts of service can also bring one into closer union. Faith without works is dead. Once you get out of your head of logic you can live from your heart. Of course we need logic in math and science and some day to day activities. But when it comes to spiritual realities they are better understood through experience. Logic can take you so far.
This is a link to a YouTube video of C.S. Lewis.
It is a 3 hour video, but the intro. gives the best explanation of the Trinity I think I have ever heard or read.
If anyone is up for listening, I believe it is worth it.
I do believe in the Trinity. I believe it is an incredible piece of the character of God. A circle of love, based on love, as only our mighty God could reveal. Though elusive, it is worth getting the glimpses we are able to, from this side of Heaven.
I didn’t listen to all but I wanted to comment on something in the beginning. I started out as a babe in Christ and I think it’s good to study theology and philosophy and go to another level. After doing that I came to find a whole other level of consciousness as well. I’ve come to see like the Catholic mystic Richard Rohr that at the heart of reality lies mystery and paradox. Yes there are spiritual truths but those truths clash and contradict. They can be understood though within their own frame of reference. I experience one spiritual truth and understand it within a certain context and can experience the exact opposite truth as being true in another context or frame. Take an example from Proverbs:
It depends on the reference frame. I understand spiritual truths better now by experiencing them rather than trying to piece them together. In a sense I’ve come full circle and returned to a childlike faith. As Albert Einstein says, " If you can’t explain it to a six year old you don’t understand it yourself". This is the same for me with the Trinity. There is one God in three persons. Each person shows perfect self-giving love to another. They hold each other up and are complete in the circle. When we step outside this frame we see the one perfect circle of love. God is love and complete and self-sufficient in the Trinity. This is because of the perfect circle of perfect self-giving love within the circle. The Spirit of love overflows like a fountain bringing the water of life to all. When we drink the grace and are satisfied God is glorified.
When we look at the world around us, we see that there is only one of everything. By this I mean that no two things are exactly alike. I believe this to be true of God as well. We can be as one by being in agreement with one another, serving the same purpose, or following the same Spirit that is inside of us. So to me, Jesus was either the one and only God in the flesh, or he was not God. In this Trinitarian theory, God obviously lacks something if He is not complete without the other two ''persons". If we divide God up into separate and distinct Spirits, then why stop at three?
I agree that when we look at the world around us what we see is one. But we also see a diversity - races, genders, types, classes etc., etc. Everything has being. But there’s different types and kinds of being. So, It’s a unity in diversity. Which is what we see in the Trinity. In the Bible 3 signifies unity, completion and perfection.
I believe the following verses. Isaiah 45:5 “I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.” Isaiah 45:18 “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited; I am the Lord and there is no other.” These verses, as well as hundreds of others in the Bible, state that there is only one God. When speaking of God, He is mentioned as singular, not plural. For me, this does not change.
I agree that there is one God but there is more than one person within God. Check this out:
Notice the more than one person. The Lord rains down FROM the Lord of heaven
Notice one person is talking within God saying “I overthrew some of you as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah”. Clearly there is more than one person here
Here is another where God is speaking in one person talking saying “I am stirring up the Medes”… and then He goes on to say: “it will be like when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah”.
Clearly more than one person as God is saying this. God is also mentioned in plural:
"Let US make man in OUR image. In OUR likeness. Male and female. The image is an image based on both male and female stressing the relationship between the two. Jesus declares:
Just to sum up. God is self-sufficient and perfect love. For there to be love there must be a lover and a beloved. This only makes sense with there being more than one person in the Trinity. It’s a perfect self-giving love within the circle and therefore also held together in unity making the One God self-sufficient and overflowing with perfect love. Moreover, this reflects Reality. What we see in the Reality of the universe is unity in diversity (university). This is exactly what the Trinity reveals - a unity in diversity. It’s hard to hold to because the circle is perfectly self-giving love and a paradox to the human mind. When the duality of the mind is broken we are united to the circle of love. It’s no longer us or them - black or white polarity. It is here that the miracle of loving the enemy takes place. This is truly Universalism. For with opposites united the fires of God’s love will unite saints and sinners. It’s not heaven or hell but heaven and hell. For all will be salted with the purifying and blazing light of God’s fire as they are united and welcomed into the charming circle of the Trinity of Love. It is the impulse of God to overflow like a fountain. This fountain is His blood (love) that we drink and become one with. That is, we fall in love with agape love as it become our number one lover. What we love the most is what we worship. The idea is to fall in love with the Trinity who is love (agape). We see this in the Holy Eucharist. Drinking the blood of Christ is drinking the wine of His love. Hence, falling in love with love as we come into union with Christ. He becomes the number one icon that is worshipped and loved more than anything. When He’s at the center all planets orbit in their proper balance. It’s a crazy love. An obsession. It’s like how people worship their icon football players at a football game. They dance, sing, paint their bodies, wear the names of their favorite players. And even have their teams materials hanging on their wall. We are united to Christ and the Holy Trinity. When we extremely admire and fall in love with self-giving love the more we reflect Him. Christ was for showing love and compassion for the mentally ill, children, poor, outcast, alcoholics. Even the woman caught in adultery was shown compassion. Christ said let him who has no sin cast the first stone. Become drunk on the wine of love. In drinking His water and blood we come into union. Christ is love. So, even eating His flesh is an act of being in love with love.