Friday, 29 October 2010

How can each Divine Person be fully God?

Last time we looked at the claim that the Trinity is a contradictory concept because it is impossible for God to be 'three in one'. Now it's time to look at another question relating to the doctrine's logical coreherence; how is it possible for each divine person, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to be fully God, simulatenously and eternally?

Jimbo: Don't think I'm through with your Trinitarianism yet, Benny. How is it possible for each Divine Person to be fully God?
Benny: Well why exactly do you think it's impossible?
Jimbo: Hah! Remember last time when you used ants to illustrate how the Trinity can be three in one?
Benny: Yeah ...
Jimbo: Well that same illustration will now support MY argument. We both agreed that thousands of ants can be one colony. But we surely can't say that each of those individual ants is a full colony can we? For each individual ant is just that, one ant - a part of the whole. 

Jimbo's response is a good lesson in how analogies have limited use! The ant/colony illustration certainly does break down when trying to explain the full deity of each divine person in the Trinity. Let's bring up the "being" and "person" distinction we talked about last time. There are different sorts of beings, like ants, horses, tigers etc. I am a particular being of the sort known as 'human'. I am also a person, and I am the only person in this particular being. But with God it's different. God is a divine being, and unlike with humans, God has three persons in one being, not just one person in one being. Think of them as three centres of consciousness.  

How does this help us? Well, I can say that I am fully human. I lack no feature that is essential for humanity. And each divine person can say "I am fully divine. I lack no feature that is essential for God-ness." The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not three parts that make up a whole. They are three persons who share a divine existence. There is no part of the divine being that is just the Father's, or just the Son's. Each person has the full divine being. Hence each person is fully God.

Handling the Trinity can be quite tricky at first but it eventually becomes clearer!


Anonymous said...

lololo three centres of consciousness? Tritheism.

Martin said...