How can God be simultaneously a Trinity of Persons, and yet one?

jwilliams190800

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This is something that's bugged me for quite a while and I can't seem to get my head around it.
I constantly see things which, to my mind, seem to contradict, sometimes God is referred to as part or the whole of the Holy Trinity, but then in the Creeds, we profess that we believe in one God.
In short, I struggle with the idea of 3-in-1 and 1-in-3 aspect of God
 
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RaymondG

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The more people try to explain it, the more confusing things will become. I say stick to the ideas and terminologies written in the bible, and if you want more wisdom, Ask God who will give it freely.
 
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yeshuaslavejeff

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This is something that's bugged me for quite a while and I can't seem to get my head around it.
I constantly see things which, to my mind, seem to contradict, sometimes God is referred to as part or the whole of the Holy Trinity, but then in the Creeds, we profess that we believe in one God.
In short, I struggle with the idea of 3-in-1 and 1-in-3 aspect of God


Internet search translation that uses "Echad" properly . (TORAH, PROPHETS, PSALMS and NEW TESTAMENT (including JESUS' prayer for Ekklesia to be Echad) ......
It is not worth pursuing most places - they don't care in most places.
 
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The_Believer7

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This is something that's bugged me for quite a while and I can't seem to get my head around it.
I constantly see things which, to my mind, seem to contradict, sometimes God is referred to as part or the whole of the Holy Trinity, but then in the Creeds, we profess that we believe in one God.
In short, I struggle with the idea of 3-in-1 and 1-in-3 aspect of God

How can myself and my wife, simultaneously, be two, ... and yet, one ?

How can my current place of business be 4000+ employees, ... and yet, one ?

How can there be some 7 billion plus individual human beings ... that make up 1 human race ?

I believe that the answer is rooted in relationships ...
 
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Petros2015

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Kind of how I picture things...

trinity.JPG
 
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jwilliams190800

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How can myself and my wife, simultaneously, be two, ... and yet, one ?

How can my current place of business be 4000+ employees, ... and yet, one ?

How can there be some 7 billion plus individual human beings ... that make up 1 human race ?

I believe that the answer is rooted in relationships ...
So why do we often talk about God as one Person, for example Exodus 3:14, we are given that God is called 'I AM WHO I AM', so why is it possible to ignore that and assume that God is three Persons in 1? If God wasn't a singular being, Exodus 3:14 would surely read 'WE ARE WHO WE ARE', no?
 
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Mountainmike

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The starting point has to be

First we can only communicate in our frame of reference relating to things we understand, and we dont understand God! The finite cannot understand the infinite. The limited cannot understand the unlimited.

Or as the catholic catechism says.
40 Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.

We can only then take on trust what we are told.
Examples Jesus says
John 4:19 "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?
John 10:30 - "I and the father are one"
So stating they are one God


And elsewhere referring as separate persons eg
Luke 22:42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
Luke 23:34 "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do"

( I could cite others regard the holy spirit, but the above keeps simplicity)

So the short answer is "because he tells us so" and with our limited knowledge and intelligence are hardly in a position to argue! And no, I doubt if anyone can truly get their "heads round it!"

Fortunately, we are also told Jesus is our mediator, so at least we know who to approach!
( unless of course as catholics we get his mum to nag him enough to help us, but thats a different story! - PS..I put that in for fun, dont let it become the subject of the thread.)


This is something that's bugged me for quite a while and I can't seem to get my head around it.
I constantly see things which, to my mind, seem to contradict, sometimes God is referred to as part or the whole of the Holy Trinity, but then in the Creeds, we profess that we believe in one God.
In short, I struggle with the idea of 3-in-1 and 1-in-3 aspect of God
 
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jwilliams190800

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Internet search translation that uses "Echad" properly . (TORAH, PROPHETS, PSALMS and NEW TESTAMENT (including JESUS' prayer for Ekklesia to be Echad) ......
It is not worth pursuing most places - they don't care in most places.
It may not be something that people often don't care about, but the nature of God, for me, is important and at the moment, this is something that is preventing me from continuing further with my faith. I have prayed about this many times, and I still feel no closer to an answer
 
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jwilliams190800

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The starting point has to be

First we can only communicate in our frame of reference relating to things we understand, and we dont understand God! The finite cannot understand the infinite. The limited cannot understand the unlimited.

Or as the catholic catechism says.
40 Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.

We can only then take on trust what we are told.
Examples Jesus says
John 4:19 "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?
John 10:30 - "I and the father are one"
So stating they are one God


And elsewhere referring as separate persons eg
Luke 22:42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
Luke 23:34 "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do"

( I could cite others regard the holy spirit, but the above keeps simplicity)

So the short answer is "because he tells us so" b ut with our limited knowledge and intelligence are hardly in a position to argue!
It still remains something that is very confusing, I've spoken to a few priests about this, and all I got was that God is one, and 3 at the same time, which is a contradiction.
 
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The_Believer7

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So why do we often talk about God as one Person, for example Exodus 3:14, we are given that God is called 'I AM WHO I AM', so why is it possible to ignore that and assume that God is three Persons in 1? If God wasn't a singular being, Exodus 3:14 would surely read 'WE ARE WHO WE ARE', no?

I think that the OT stresses God's unity, though you do find some statements of the type you posit early on in the OT ...

"Let US make man in OUR image ... "

In the NT, you get a lot more RELATIONAL language ... (i.e. My Son, My Father, etc.)

John 14

7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

...

15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—

17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.

20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
 
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Mountainmike

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It still remains something that is very confusing, I've spoken to a few priests about this, and all I got was that God is one, and 3 at the same time, which is a contradiction.

Not quite a contradiction.
"God the father" (who we are told cannot look at Sin) is only one of the persons that make up "God" the totality - so are not the same.
But so far beyond our experience , yes it is impossible to understand.
We can only take it on trust.
 
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jwilliams190800

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I think that the OT stresses God's unity, though you do find some statements of the type you posit early on in the OT ...

"Let US make man in OUR image ... "

In the NT, you get a lot more RELATIONAL language ... (i.e. My Son, My Father, etc.)

John 14

7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

...

15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—

17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.

20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
That's really helpful actually, I think it's something that for me never sat quite right, and I'm not sure if it ever will, or even if it's supposed to. Perhaps it's just the change in how people understood God between the OT and the NT that is the root of the confusion
 
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grasping the after wind

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That's really helpful actually, I think it's something that for me never sat quite right, and I'm not sure if it ever will, or even if it's supposed to. Perhaps it's just the change in how people understood God between the OT and the NT that is the root of the confusion

The doctrine of the Trinity is our attempt to explain God's inner relationship to Himself . We are not very good at it but that is not entirely our fault. If you accept that the doctrine is vague and seemingly contradictory by necessity because God cannot be thoroughly explained using the tools we have, then perhaps you will not find it a stumbling block to your faith?
 
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yeshuaslavejeff

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It may not be something that people often don't care about, but the nature of God, for me, is important and at the moment, this is something that is preventing me from continuing further with my faith. I have prayed about this many times, and I still feel no closer to an answer
Good - it takes time, sometimes years, even 40 years ..... (like with Jacob and others).

As you learn , learn in line with HIS WORD, and NOT in line with man's words. Then you will have peace, albeit with much persecution (necessarily, yes).
 
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Albion

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This is something that's bugged me for quite a while and I can't seem to get my head around it.
I constantly see things which, to my mind, seem to contradict, sometimes God is referred to as part or the whole of the Holy Trinity, but then in the Creeds, we profess that we believe in one God.
In short, I struggle with the idea of 3-in-1 and 1-in-3 aspect of God
There is one god. That is not in dispute. But we find in the Bible references to three who are that god. How can this be?

Well, it is a great mystery, but is not the nature of God, the Creator, necessarily somewhat above our intelligence level anyway?

So we have the info and we believe. The Nicene Creed did its best to put the matter into reasonably comprehendible terms, so I recommend it; but in the end we cannot really KNOW God in the fullest sense of that word while in this life.
 
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yeshuaslavejeff

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the root of the confusion
As Jesus says "the root of all evil is the love of money",
and it is so.

Scripture is simple, as YHVH created all things simple.

MEN corrupted everything, coming up with "many devices" (distractions away from truth, away from Jesus, to keep little children OUT of YHVH'S (God's) Kingdom) .
 
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AvgJoe

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This is something that's bugged me for quite a while and I can't seem to get my head around it.
I constantly see things which, to my mind, seem to contradict, sometimes God is referred to as part or the whole of the Holy Trinity, but then in the Creeds, we profess that we believe in one God.
In short, I struggle with the idea of 3-in-1 and 1-in-3 aspect of God

The most difficult thing about the Christian concept of the Trinity is that there is no way to perfectly and completely understand it. The Trinity is a concept that is impossible for any human being to fully understand, let alone explain. God is infinitely greater than we are; therefore, we should not expect to be able to fully understand Him. The Bible teaches that the Father is God, that Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also teaches that there is only one God. Though we can understand some facts about the relationship of the different Persons of the Trinity to one another, ultimately, it is incomprehensible to the human mind. However, this does not mean the Trinity is not true or that it is not based on the teachings of the Bible.

The Trinity is one God existing in three Persons. Understand that this is not in any way suggesting three Gods. Keep in mind when studying this subject that the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture. This is a term that is used to attempt to describe the triune God—three coexistent, co-eternal Persons who are God. Of real importance is that the concept represented by the word “Trinity” does exist in Scripture. The following is what God’s Word says about the Trinity:

1) There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:5).

2) The Trinity consists of three Persons (Genesis 1:1, 26; 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8, 48:16, 61:1; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew plural noun "Elohim" is used. In Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8, the plural pronoun for “us” is used. The word "Elohim" and the pronoun “us” are plural forms, definitely referring in the Hebrew language to more than two. While this is not an explicit argument for the Trinity, it does denote the aspect of plurality in God. The Hebrew word for "God," "Elohim," definitely allows for the Trinity.

In Isaiah 48:16 and 61:1, the Son is speaking while making reference to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Compare Isaiah 61:1 to Luke 4:14-19 to see that it is the Son speaking. Matthew 3:16-17 describes the event of Jesus' baptism. Seen in this passage is God the Holy Spirit descending on God the Son while God the Father proclaims His pleasure in the Son. Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 are examples of three distinct Persons in the Trinity.

3) The members of the Trinity are distinguished one from another in various passages. In the Old Testament, “LORD” is distinguished from “Lord” (Genesis 19:24; Hosea 1:4). The LORD has a Son (Psalm 2:7, 12; Proverbs 30:2-4). The Spirit is distinguished from the “LORD” (Numbers 27:18) and from “God” (Psalm 51:10-12). God the Son is distinguished from God the Father (Psalm 45:6-7; Hebrews 1:8-9). In the New Testament, Jesus speaks to the Father about sending a Helper, the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). This shows that Jesus did not consider Himself to be the Father or the Holy Spirit. Consider also all the other times in the Gospels where Jesus speaks to the Father. Was He speaking to Himself? No. He spoke to another Person in the Trinity—the Father.

4) Each member of the Trinity is God. The Father is God (John 6:27; Romans 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2). The Son is God (John 1:1, 14; Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20). The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16).

5) There is subordination within the Trinity. Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit is subordinate to the Father and the Son, and the Son is subordinate to the Father. This is an internal relationship and does not deny the deity of any Person of the Trinity. This is simply an area which our finite minds cannot understand concerning the infinite God. Concerning the Son see Luke 22:42, John 5:36, John 20:21, and 1 John 4:14. Concerning the Holy Spirit see John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7, and especially John 16:13-14.

6) The individual members of the Trinity have different tasks. The Father is the ultimate source or cause of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11); divine revelation (Revelation 1:1); salvation (John 3:16-17); and Jesus' human works (John 5:17; 14:10). The Father initiates all of these things.

The Son is the agent through whom the Father does the following works: the creation and maintenance of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17); divine revelation (John 1:1, 16:12-15; Matthew 11:27; Revelation 1:1); and salvation (2 Corinthians 5:19; Matthew 1:21; John 4:42). The Father does all these things through the Son, who functions as His agent.

The Holy Spirit is the means by whom the Father does the following works: creation and maintenance of the universe (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; Psalm 104:30); divine revelation (John 16:12-15; Ephesians 3:5; 2 Peter 1:21); salvation (John 3:6; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:2); and Jesus' works (Isaiah 61:1; Acts 10:38). Thus, the Father does all these things by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The following chart will help show how the doctrine of the Trinity is systematically derived from Scripture.
Trinity Chart.jpg


There have been many attempts to develop illustrations of the Trinity. However, none of the popular illustrations are completely accurate. The egg (or apple) fails in that the shell, white, and yolk are parts of the egg, not the egg in themselves, just as the skin, flesh, and seeds of the apple are parts of it, not the apple itself. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not parts of God; each of them is God. The water illustration is somewhat better, but it still fails to adequately describe the Trinity. Liquid, vapor, and ice are forms of water. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not forms of God, each of them is God. So, while these illustrations may give us a picture of the Trinity, the picture is not entirely accurate. An infinite God cannot be fully described by a finite illustration.

The doctrine of the Trinity has been a divisive issue throughout the entire history of the Christian church. While the core aspects of the Trinity are clearly presented in God’s Word, some of the side issues are not as explicitly clear. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God—but there is only one God. That is the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Beyond that, the issues are, to a certain extent, debatable and non-essential. Rather than attempting to fully define the Trinity with our finite human minds, we would be better served by focusing on the fact of God's greatness and His infinitely higher nature. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34).​
 
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The doctrine of the Trinity is our attempt to explain God's inner relationship to Himself . We are not very good at it but that is not entirely our fault.

Yes ... I recognize that the Trinity is an attempt to explain God's nature ... which would be, inherently, problematic.

It would be like my dog trying to understand the nature of my being ...

"Sometimes he's there ... sometimes he's not ... sometimes he has food ... sometimes he doesn't, sometimes he's joined by another person, who may or may not give me food, or let me out, ... or leave me on my own ... "

"It's all soooo confusing ... "

This is why FAITH is necessary ...
 
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