👁 Most recently revised on 5 July 2014 by Pious Eye (David M. Hodges) 👁


Shield Trinity Scutum Fidei (Public-Domain)I just posted the message below to a Gordon Clark discussion group on Yahoo!. Find the original post (minus added links) here. The series of three posts I found confusing may be found here, here, and here.

This whole discussion has me confused. My understanding of the Trinity is that the Triune God is one being (not one “person”) eternally existing as three persons and that the second of these divine persons, the Son or Word, added to his eternal full divine nature (full collection of attributes requisite to Godhood) a full human nature (collection of attributes requisite to manhood), remaining as always a single person, but now a single person possessing two full natures, the divine (which was his eternally) and the human (which he took upon himself in time but retains eternally). Also, by the way, the NaCl analogy troubles me, since it seems at odds with one of the attributes requisite to Godhood: simplicity. As I believe the Westminster standards put it, God does not have parts. None of the persons who is God can be a compound with parts.

God is either one person (A) or other than one person (not-A). These options comprehend the range of possibilities. Since God is three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), as Scripture reveals, God cannot be one person (unless you use “person” to mean two different things, which is hardly a good way to promote clear thinking in matters theological). I don’t recall which church father originated it, but it seems to me wisest to stick with the following traditional formulation of the Trinity: The Father is God; the Son is God; the Holy Spirit is God; The Father is not the Son or the Spirit; The Son is not the Father or the Spirit; The Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son. To this we could add: The Father is one person; the Son is one person; the Holy Spirit is one person; God is three persons.

If you wish to say that God is “above human logic” (as I believed a Vantilian might but assumed a Clarkian would not), you may do so, but if you do you must also accept that what is “above human logic” is impossible for humans to talk or think about (to talk or think about coherently, at any rate). Since I’m not a doctrinaire disciple of either Clark or Van Til, I’m open (at least in principle) to allowing God’s unrevealed essence, about which some theologians and philosophers like to speculate, to be impossible for humans to discuss coherently. But since the function of online discussion groups is to foster coherent discussion, I think we must then limit our discussion of God’s nature to the coherent truths God has revealed in Scripture.

My apologies if I’ve totally missed your points. I can be quite simple-minded at times.

I’m David Hodges, and I approved this message.

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More recently (04/24/2013), a friend emailed me an article on the Trinity. The source was not identified, but the theology seemed sound. I did find one statement bothersome and thought my comments about it appropriate to tack on here:

While true that God is “an infinite being whom our finite minds cannot fully comprehend,” I get uncomfortable with statements like “We believe in the Godhead not because we understand it, but because God has revealed it.” The nature of belief is such that one can only actually believe what one does understand. What we can believe about the Trinity is what we can understand about it from Scripture. Any other truths about the Trinity we cannot “believe” because we don’t know what they are.