INFINITY AND THE TRINITY After all of the Scriptures which pertain to the question of whether God is an absolute one or three persons in one are collated and analyzed, the answer to this question often comes down to whether it is comprehensible that God can be three and one at the same time. Thus, the answer to this question, in the minds of many people, pivots on whether the Trinity is a rational concept. Since the concept of the Trinity, three persons working in perfect unison, is not comprehensible, some think that it cannot be true. To them, the Trinity can be nothing more than “Tri-theism,” or polytheism, which the Bible everywhere condemns (e.g., Deut. 6:4; 1 Tim. 2:5). However, great caution must be exercised in taking this approach to interpreting the Bible, for a couple of seemingly opposite, but important, considerations must be balanced. On the one hand, many of God’s truths do not fall within the scope of human understanding. So, if anything which does not conform to our understanding is deemed false for that very reason, then important truths, otherwise plainly asserted in the Bible, would have to be ruled out. Yet, since God does not think like humans do (1 Sam. 16:7; Isa. 55:8,9), it does not follow that whatever is not comprehensible to them must be untrue. “… With God, all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). God’s ways are simply unfathomable to humans (Rom. 11:33). On the other hand, it is also true that humans are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26,27), and that must include the fact that they are able to interact rationally with Him (cf. Isa. 1:18). From the very beginning, God communicated with humans in a way they could understand (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:2,3). This means that God’s communications must ultimately not be self-contradictory. The balancing point between these two seemingly opposing views, then, is that the Bible is internally rational. That is, it agrees with itself. Yet, it does not necessarily agree with what human rationality demands. As applied to the Trinity, this means that, since the concept of the Trinity, or three acting in perfect unison, even to the extent that they are effectively one, must not be rejected just because it might be beyond the pale of human comprehension. From the “let Us” of the creation account (Gen. 1:26), the Bible has plainly portrayed God as a “plural one.” Thus, the only reason the Trinity is any less comprehensible than other instances of a “plural one,” such as two being one in marriage or fifty states being one in the United States, is because experience shows that the “plural one” of marriage and the United States is far less than perfect, so that humans cannot conceive of such oneness as is asserted for the Trinity as even being possible. Yet, experience shows that, just because something is incomprehensible, that does not mean it cannot be true. For example, all agree that infinity is real though it is incomprehensible. All agree that space has no end, even if that is utterly incomprehensible. Therefore, why should the fact that God is one in three persons be rejected because it is incomprehensible, but the fact that God is eternal be accepted even though it is equally incomprehensible? Jesus shows Himself to be perfectly comfortable with these two seemingly conflicting principles (that the Bible is comprehensible but also declares what is incomprehensible) in two statements lying just five verses apart. He asserts that “I and the Father are one” (Jn. 10:30) but also cautions, lest humans revolt against this, that “the Scripture cannot be broken” (vs. 35). That the Bible teaches something may be comprehensible, even if how it can teach it is not.
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“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? (Romans 11:33-35).
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“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? (Romans 11:33-35).
INFINITY AND THE TRINITY After all of the Scriptures which pertain to the question of whether God is an absolute one or three persons in one are collated and analyzed, the answer to this question often comes down to whether it is comprehensible that God can be three and one at the same time. Thus, the answer to this question, in the minds of many people, pivots on whether the Trinity is a rational concept. Since the concept of the Trinity, three persons working in perfect unison, is not comprehensible, some think that it cannot be true. To them, the Trinity can be nothing more than “Tri- theism,” or polytheism, which the Bible everywhere condemns (e.g., Deut. 6:4; 1 Tim. 2:5). However, great caution must be exercised in taking this approach to interpreting the Bible, for a couple of seemingly opposite, but important, considerations must be balanced. On the one hand, many of God’s truths do not fall within the scope of human understanding. So, if anything which does not conform to our understanding is deemed false for that very reason, then important truths, otherwise plainly asserted in the Bible, would have to be ruled out. Yet, since God does not think like humans do (1 Sam. 16:7; Isa. 55:8,9), it does not follow that whatever is not comprehensible to them must be untrue. “… With God, all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). God’s ways are simply unfathomable to humans (Rom. 11:33). On the other hand, it is also true that humans are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26,27), and that must include the fact that they are able to interact rationally with Him (cf. Isa. 1:18). From the very beginning, God communicated with humans in a way they could understand (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:2,3). This means that God’s communications must ultimately not be self- contradictory. The balancing point between these two seemingly opposing views, then, is that the Bible is internally rational. That is, it agrees with itself. Yet, it does not necessarily agree with what human rationality demands. As applied to the Trinity, this means that, since the concept of the Trinity, or three acting in perfect unison, even to the extent that they are effectively one, must not be rejected just because it might be beyond the pale of human comprehension. From the “let Us” of the creation account (Gen. 1:26), the Bible has plainly portrayed God as a “plural one.” Thus, the only reason the Trinity is any less comprehensible than other instances of a “plural one,” such as two being one in marriage or fifty states being one in the United States, is because experience shows that the “plural one” of marriage and the United States is far less than perfect, so that humans cannot conceive of such oneness as is asserted for the Trinity as even being possible. Yet, experience shows that, just because something is incomprehensible, that does not mean it cannot be true. For example, all agree that infinity is real though it is incomprehensible. All agree that space has no end, even if that is utterly incomprehensible. Therefore, why should the fact that God is one in three persons be rejected because it is incomprehensible, but the fact that God is eternal be accepted even though it is equally incomprehensible? Jesus shows Himself to be perfectly comfortable with these two seemingly conflicting principles (that the Bible is comprehensible but also declares what is incomprehensible) in two statements lying just five verses apart. He asserts that “I and the Father are one” (Jn. 10:30) but also cautions, lest humans revolt against this, that “the Scripture cannot be broken” (vs. 35). That the Bible teaches something may be comprehensible, even if how it can teach it is not.
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