To Infinity and Beyond! Can We Understand the Trinity?

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“To Infinity and Beyond!” Can We Understand the Trinity?

By Tal Davis


One of the most troubling aspects of historic Christian theology to many people in other religions, or with no religion, is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.  This is especially true for followers of Islam, Judaism,  Unitarianism,  Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Oneness Pentecostalism.  Theologians from these faiths have argued that the Trinity is either a pagan concept imposed on Christianity or a form of tri-theism and thus a violation of the commandment to worship only the one true God (egs. Allah or Jehovah).

Simply put, the doctrine of the Trinity states two basic propositions.  The first is that Bible teaches there exists only one infinite and eternal  God. Infinite in this context means without limitations of time or space.  Eternal in this context means without beginning or end (human life, like the material universe, had a beginning in time but will be eternal in the future).   In this regard, we are in agreement with the other historic monotheistic faiths. However, the second proposition is that the New Testament teaches that the one God exists in three infinite and eternal Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The three Person of the Godhead are each separate and distinct, and each fully God, but, nonetheless, compose only one infinite and eternal being.

“So,” the non-trinitarian may say. ”How is that possible? It sounds contradictory.  How can one being exist in three separate Persons?”  This obviously is the crux of the matter.  How can one God exist in three Persons?   The problem arises when we try to explain God’s infinite nature in finite terms.  Even well meaning Christians use clever analogies to explain the Trinity.  They may compare the Trinity to the three sides of a triangle, the three states of matter (i.e., solid, liquid, gas), three relational roles of a person (i.e., father, son, husband), or the three dimensions of space.  Every imaginative illustration fails, however, to describe accurately the indescribable Trinity. In fact, they may even lead to heresies like modalism, monarchianism, or Sabellianism.

I would suggest that the answer lies in the terms “infinite” and “eternal”.  That is to say that God, by definition, is limited by nothing, including time or space.  Also, by definition, there can only be one infinity and one eternity and they are without limits (despite Buzz Lightyear’s bold proclamation above, there is no “beyond” infinity).  The fact that each of the three Persons is, in and of Himself, infinite and eternal means that they are all included in that one infinity and eternity.  Remember, in the Christian view, none of the three Persons have ever been anything other than infinite and eternal. They did not become that way.  They have always been that way. The only way anything could ever be infinite or eternal is that it has always been so.  Something finite could never become infinite no matter how much time it takes or how big it grows.

Sometimes skeptics have argued that it just does not add up. 

 1 + 1 + 1 = 3  

no matter how you look at it, they say. You either have three different gods or one God with three divided modes of existence.

However, that objection fails to recognize the infinite (symbolized by ∞ ) nature of the three Persons. 

It is not 1 + 1 + 1, it is 1∞ +  1∞ +  1∞ =  1∞.

Also, even though the Second Person of the Trinity (Jesus) for a time took on the finite nature of man (while also retaining His Divine nature) , it did not diminish the infinite and eternal nature of the Godhead.  

In this way, and only in this way, in my opinion, does the Trinity make sense.

I don’t know if this defense of the Trinity is original. I am eager to receive comments on this idea from our readers.  I am certainly open to correction if this is not a sound proposition.  I’d love to hear from some of you about it.  Thank you.


Posted by: dannie at 5/9/2011 11:59 PM

I like the "1 infinity plus" and have also heard of the 1x1x1=1. I have studied the Trinity for years and see Him in the Bible in many ways. I have made up 3 tracks for about the Trinity for Jews, Jehovah Witnesses and Muslims. I would like to email them but don't know who to send them to. Our greatest proof is to show them they can learn to hear His Voice (John 6:45)for He is the Wonderful Counselor (Holy Spirit=John 14:18). One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 9:6. I made up the following poem:


Jesus how You live in me!
Giving victory in my defeat;
Giving faith in every trial;
And rest, as I labor in heat.

Jesus, You cover this life of self.
Holy Spirit, You purify.
Father, You lift me to full personhood.
Without You Three, I’d die.

Holy Spirit, how You comfort me
Teaching truths that set me free.
In serving, I reign; In losing, I gain;
In sorrow, joy and favor I see.

Jesus, You’re the WAY of Righteousness.
Holy Spirit, Your TRUTH brings Joy.
Father of LIFE, You give me Peace.
Without You Three, I’d cry.

Father, I know You love me so;
For my failures You put out of sight.
And reveal Yourself in my darkest hour;
And sing songs to me in the night.

Jesus, You have become my FAITH.
Holy Spirit, You are my HOPE.
Father, You are LOVE to me.
Without You Three, I’m lost.

Posted by: mdulaney at 5/19/2011 1:27 PM

I liked the math equation 1∞ + 1∞ + 1∞ = 1∞, Tal Davis. I've never seen this explanation before. Thank you. More infinity can not be added to the infinity that already exists. Another way to explain that God is God. God lacks nothing. God is complete.

I heard this explanation of the Trinity once. Take three separate identical candles and place in three separate holders. Place in a straight line equal distances apart. Light all three candles.

The light from the three separate candles is one type of light; not three different types of light. Three lights being brighter than one, but never the less, just one type of light.

When you look at the candles from the front or back, head on, you see three separate candles. When you look at the candles from either end of the row you see the candle closest to you appearing to be just one candle and one light.

We could conclude that the three candles hold three separate positions, but all provide the same property: light.

The Holy Bible records three dispensations of time in history when God communicated with His creatures. God walked and talked with Adam in the cool of the day.

Jesus Christ, The Anointed One, came in the flesh, but Jesus existed before and today sits at The Father's right hand. When Stephen was being stoned to death, Stephen looked up and saw Jesus. Stephen saw Jesus standing...standing at The Father's right hand.

Before Jesus was crucified, he promised His followers that He would not leave them comfortless. He told his followers that He would send The Comforter. The Comforter would testify about Jesus and lead Jesus' followers in to all Truth.

For the Comforter to testify about Jesus, The Comforter had to have known Jesus before Jesus crucifixion. Therefore, the Comforter existed with God just as Jesus existed with God always.

Christianity stands apart from all other world belief systems. Other belief systems place emphasis on works. Do this and do that and you might do enough to be accepted.

Christianity's focus is on the righteousness of Christ, not our righteousness. The Apostle Paul reminds us that our righteousness is as filthy rags.

A proud creature doesn't want to accept this. He wants to spotlight on himself, i.e. Satan.

We're either serving God The Father through His Son [No man comes to the Father except through Christ]; or we're serving self and will be number with Satan and the fallen angels/ demons.

I've taken this discussion beyond the topic of the Trinity, but the Trinity exists in order to communicate to us a message of hope. Don't look backward; look forward.

Jesus said, I go to prepare a place for you that where I am, there you will be also.

What other belief systems promise life with Christ Jesus? What other Person would be worth sharing eternity with other than Christ Jesus- the One Who makes it possible for us to have an eternity!
Posted by: meetkarl at 7/31/2011 5:26 PM