God’s Nature: How Can God Be Three Distinct Persons, But Just One Being?

There is something fundamentally wrong with the title of this video. Can you spot it? If not, I’ll get to that at the end. For now, I wanted to mention that I got some very interesting responses to my previous video in this Trinity series. I was going to launch right into an analysis of common Trinitarian proof texts, but I’ve decided to hold that off until the next video. You see, some people took exception to the title of the last video which was, “The Trinity: Given by God or Sourced by Satan?” They didn’t understand that “Given by God” meant “revealed by God.” Someone suggested that a better title would have been: “Is the Trinity a Revelation from God or from Satan?” But isn’t a revelation something true that is hidden and then is uncovered or “revealed”? Satan doesn’t reveal truths, so I don’t think that would have been an appropriate title.

Satan wants to do everything he can to foil the adoption of the children of God because when their number is complete, his time is up. So, anything he can do to block a proper relationship between Jesus’ disciples and their heavenly Father, he will do. And an excellent way to do that is to create a counterfeit relationship.

When I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I thought of Jehovah God as my Father.  The publications of the organization always encouraged us to have a close relationship with God as our heavenly father and we were led to believe that was possible by following Organizational instructions. Despite what the publications taught, I never looked at myself as a friend of God but rather as a son, even though I was led to believe there were two levels of sonship, one heavenly and one earthly.  It was only after I broke free of that cloistered mentality that I could see that the relationship I thought I had with God was a fiction.

The point I’m trying to make is that we can easily be fooled into thinking we have a good relationship with God based on doctrines that we are taught by men. But Jesus came to reveal that it was only through him that we get to God. He is the door through which we enter. He is not God himself. We do not stop at the door, but we go through the door to get to Jehovah God, who is the Father.

I believe the Trinity is just another way—another tactic of Satan—to get people to have a wrong concept of God so as to foil the adoption of the children of God.

I know I will not convince a Trinitarian of this. I’ve lived long enough and spoken to enough of them to know how futile that is. My concern is only for those who are finally waking up to the reality of the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t want them to be seduced by another false doctrine just because it is widely accepted.

Someone commented on the previous video saying about it:

“At the outset the article seems to assume that the transcendent God of the universe can be understood through intelligence (although later it seems to backtrack on that). The Bible doesn’t teach that. In fact, it teaches the opposite. To quote our Lord: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children.”

It’s quite funny that this writer is trying to turn the argument I used against Trinitarian interpretation of Scripture and claim they don’t do that at all. They don’t try to understand “the transcendent God of the universe…through intelligence.” What then? How did they come up with this idea of a triune God? Is it plainly stated in Scripture so that little children will get the point?

One respected Trinitarian teacher is Bishop N. T. Wright of the Church of England. He stated this in an October 1, 2019 video titled “Is Jesus God?  (N. T. Wright Q&A)

“So what we find in the very earliest days of Christian faith is that they were telling the story about God as the story about Jesus. And now telling the story of God as the story of the holy spirit. And yes they borrowed all kinds of language. They picked up language from the Bible, from the uses like the “son of God”, and they maybe picked up other things from the surrounding culture –as well as the idea of the wisdom of God, which God used to make the world and which he then sent into the world to rescue and reshape it. And they fused all these together in a mixture of poetry and prayer and theological reflections so that, though it was four centuries later that doctrines like the trinity were hammered out in terms of Greek philosophical concepts, the idea that there was one God who was now made known in and as Jesus and the spirit was there right from the beginning.”

So, four centuries after men who wrote under the influence of the holy spirit, men who penned the inspired word of God, had died…four centuries after God’s own Son had shared divine revelation with us, four centuries later, wise and intellectual scholars “hammered out the Trinity in terms of Greek philosophical concepts.”

So that means that these would have been the “little children” to whom the Father reveals truth.  These “little children” would also be the ones who supported Roman Emperor Theodosius’s edict following the council of Constantinople of 381 A.D. that made it punishable by law to reject the Trinity, and which eventually led to people who denied it to be executed.

Alright, alright.  I get it.

Now another argument they make is that we cannot understand God, we can’t really understand his nature, so we should just accept the Trinity as fact and not try to explain it. If we try to explain it logically, we are acting like the wise and intellectual ones, rather than the little children who simply trust what their father tells them.

Here’s the problem with that argument.  It is putting the cart before the horse.

Let me illustrate it this way.

There are 1.2 billion Hindus on earth.  This is the third largest religion on earth.  Now, the Hindus also believe in the Trinity, though their version is different from that of Christendom.

There is Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer.

Now, I’m going to use the same argument that Trinitarians have used on me.  You cannot understand the Hindu Trinity through intelligence.  You just have to accept that there are things we cannot comprehend but must simply accept what is beyond our understanding. Well, that only works if we can prove that the Hindu gods are real; otherwise, that logic falls flat on its face, wouldn’t you agree?

So why should it be different for the Christendom Trinity? You see, first, you have to prove there is a trinity, and then and only then, can you bring out the it’s-a-mystery-beyond-our-understanding argument.

In my previous video, I made several arguments to show up flaws in the Trinity doctrine. As a result, I got quite a number of comments from avid Trinitarians defending their doctrine. What I found interesting is that almost every one of them completely ignored all my arguments and just threw up their standard proof texts. Why would they ignore the arguments I had made? If those arguments were not valid, if there was no truth in them, if my reasoning was flawed, surely, they would have jumped all over them and exposed me for a liar. Instead, they chose to ignore them all and just revert to the proof texts they had been falling back on and have been falling back on for centuries.

However, I did get one fellow who wrote respectfully, which I always appreciate. He also told me that I didn’t really understand the Trinity doctrine, but he was different. When I asked him to explain it to me, he actually responded. I have asked everyone who has raised this objection in the past to explain their understanding of the Trinity to me, and I have never gotten an explanation that varies in any significant way from the standard definition exposed in the previous video which is commonly referred to as the ontological Trinity. Nevertheless, I was hoping that this time would be different.

Trinitarians explain that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons in one being. To me, the word “person” and the word “being” refer to essentially the same thing. For example, I am a person. I am also a human being.  I don’t really see any significant difference between the two words, so I asked him to explain it to me.

This is what he wrote:

A person, as used in theological models of the trinity, is a center of consciousness that possesses self-awareness and an awareness of having an identity that is distinct from others.

Now let’s look at that for a minute. You and I both have a “center of consciousness that possesses self-awareness”. You might recall the famous definition of life: “I think, therefore I am.” So each person of the Trinity has “an awareness of having an identity that is distinct from others.” Is that not the same definition that each of us would give to the word “person”? Of course, a center of consciousness exists within a body. Whether that body is of flesh and blood, or whether it is a spirit, doesn’t really change this definition of “person.” Paul demonstrates that in his letter to the Corinthians:

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-45 NIV)

This fellow then kindly went on to explain the meaning of “being.”

Being, substance or nature, as used in the context of trinitarian theology, refers to attributes that make God distinct from all other entities. God is omnipotent for example. Created beings are not omnipotent. The Father and Son share the same form of existence, or being. But, they do not share the same person-hood. They are distinct “others”.

The argument I get repeatedly—and make no mistake, the entirety of the Trinity doctrine hinges on our accepting this argument—the argument I get repeatedly is that God’s nature is God.

To illustrate this, I’ve had more than one Trinitarian try to explain the Trinity by using the illustration of human nature.  It goes like this:

Jack is human. Jill is human.  Jack is distinct from Jill, and Jill is distinct from Jack. Each is a distinct person, yet each is human. They share the same nature.

We can agree with that, can’t we?  Makes sense. Now a Trinitarian wants us to engage in a little word play. Jack is a noun. Jill is a noun. Sentences are made up of nouns (things) and verbs (actions).  Jack is not only a noun, but is a name, so we call that a proper noun.  In English, we capitalize proper nouns. In the context of this discussion, there is only one Jack and only one Jill.  “Human” is also a noun, but it is not a proper noun, so we don’t capitalize it unless it starts a sentence.

So far, so good.

Jehovah or Yahweh and Jesus or Yeshua are names and are therefore proper nouns. There is only one Yahweh and only one Yeshua in the context of this discussion.  So we should be able to substitute them for Jack and Jill and the sentence will still be grammatically correct.

Let’s do that.

Yahweh is human. Yeshua is human.  Yahweh is distinct from Yeshua, and Yeshua is distinct from Yahweh. Each is a distinct person, yet each is human. They share the same nature.

While grammatically correct, this sentence is false, because neither Yahweh nor Yeshua is human. What if we substitute God for human? That is what a Trinitarian does to try to make his case.

The problem is that “human” is a noun, but it is not a proper noun. God, on the other hand, is a proper noun which is why we capitalize it.

Here’s what happens when we substitute a proper noun for “human.” We could pick any proper noun, but I’m going to pick Superman, you know the guy in the red cape.

Jack is Superman. Jill is Superman.  Jack is distinct from Jill, and Jill is distinct from Jack. Each is a distinct person, yet each is Superman. They share the same nature.

That makes no sense, does it?  Superman isn’t the nature of a person, Superman is a being, a person, a conscious entity.  Well, in comic books at least, but you get the point.

God is a unique being. One of a kind. God is not his nature, nor his essence, nor his substance. God is who he is, not what he is. Who am I? Eric. What am I, human.  You see the difference?

If not, let’s try something else.  Jesus told the Samaritan woman that “God is spirit” (John 4:24 NIV). So just as Jack is human, God is spirit.

Now according to Paul, Jesus is also spirit.  “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45 NLT)

Does both God and Christ being spirit mean they are both God?  Could we write our sentence to read:

God is spirit. Jesus is spirit. God is distinct from Jesus, and Jesus is distinct from God.  Each is a distinct person, yet each is spirit. They share the same nature.

But what about the angels? Angels are also spirit: “In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.”” (Hebrews 1:7)

But there is a bigger problem with the definition of “being” which trinitarians accept. Let’s look at it again:

Being, substance or nature, as used in the context of trinitarian theology, refers to attributes that make God distinct from all other entities. God is omnipotent for example. Created beings are not omnipotent. The Father and Son share the same form of existence, or being. But, they do not share the same person-hood. They are distinct “others”.

So “being” refers to the attributes that make God distinct from all other entities.  Okay, let’s accept that to see where it takes us.

One of the attributes that the writer states makes God distinct from all other entities is omnipotence. God is all powerful, almighty, which is why he is often distinguish him from other gods as “God Almighty.” Yahweh is God Almighty.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1 NIV)

There are numerous places in Scripture where YHWH or Yahweh is called Almighty. Yeshua, or Jesus, on the other hand is never called Almighty. As the Lamb, he is depicted as separate from God Almighty.

“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Revelation 21:22 NIV)

As a resurrected life-giving spirit, Jesus proclaimed that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18 NIV)

The Almighty gives authority to others. No one gives the Almighty any authority.

I could go on, but the point is that based on the definition given that “being…refers to attributes that make God distinct from other entities,” Jesus or Yeshua cannot be God because Jesus is not omnipotent. For that matter, neither is he all knowing. That’s two attributes of God’s being that Jesus doesn’t share.

Now back to my original question. There is something fundamentally wrong with the title of this video. Could you spot it? I’ll refresh your memory, the title of this video is: “God’s Nature: How Can God Be Three Distinct Persons, But Just One Being?

The problem is with the first two words: “God’s Nature.”

According to Merriam-Webster, nature is defined as:

1 : the physical world and everything in it.
“It is one of the most beautiful creatures found in nature.”

2 : natural scenery or surroundings.
“We took a hike to enjoy nature.”

3 : the basic character of a person or thing.
“Scientists studied the nature of the new substance.”

Everything about the word speaks of the creation, not the creator.  I am human. That is my nature. I depend on the substances from which I am made to live. My body is made up of various elements, such as hydrogen and oxygen that make up the water molecules that comprise 60% of my being. In fact, 99% of my body is made from only four elements, hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen. And who made those elements? God, of course. Before God created the universe, those elements didn’t exist. That is my substance. That is what I depend on for life. So what elements make up God’s body? What is God made of? What is his substance? And who made his substance? Does he depend on his substance for life like I do? If so, then how can he be Almighty?

These questions are mind boggling, because we are being asked to answer things so far out of our realm of reality that we have no framework to understand them.  For us, everything is made of something, so everything is dependent upon the substance from which it is made. How can Almighty God not be made of a substance, but if he is made of a substance, how can he be Almighty God?

We use words like “nature” and “substance” to speak of God’s characteristics, but we must be careful not to go beyond that. Now if we are dealing with characteristics, and not substance when speaking of God’s nature, consider this: You and I were made in the image of God.

“When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.” (Genesis 5:1, 2 ESV)

Thus we are able to show love, exercise justice, act with wisdom, and exert power. You could say that we share with God the third definition of “nature” which is: ”the basic character of a person or thing.”

So in a very, very relative sense, we share God’s nature, but that isn’t the point that Trinitarians depend on when promoting their theory. They want us to believe that Jesus is God in every way.

But wait a minute! Didn’t we just read that “God is spirit” (John 4:24 NIV)? Isn’t that his nature?

Well, if we accept that what Jesus was telling the Samaritan women concerned the nature of God, then Jesus must also be God because he is a “life-giving spirit” according to 1 Corinthians 15:45. But that really creates a problem for Trinitarians because John tells us:

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2 NIV)

If Jesus is God, and we shall be like him, sharing his nature, then we will also be God.  I’m being silly on purpose. I want to highlight that we need to stop thinking in physical and fleshly terms and start seeing things with the mind of God.  How does God share his mind with us? How can a being whose existence and intelligence is infinite possibly explain himself in terms our very finite human minds can relate to? He does so much like a father explains complicated things to a very young child. He uses terms that fall within the knowledge and experience of the child. In that light, consider what Paul tells the Corinthians:

But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit, for The Spirit searches into everything, even the depths of God. And who is the man who knows what is in a man except only the spirit of the man that is in him? So also a man does not know what is in God, only The Spirit of God knows. But we have not received The Spirit of the world, but The Spirit that is from God, that we may know the gift that has been given to us from God. But those things we speak are not in the teaching of the words of the wisdom of men, but in the teaching of The Spirit, and we compare spiritual things to the spiritual.

For a selfish man does not receive spiritual things, for they are madness to him, and he is not able to know, for they are known by The Spirit. But a spiritual man judges everything and he is not judged by any man. For who has known the mind of THE LORD JEHOVAH that he may teach him? But we do have the mind of The Messiah. (1 Corinthians 2:10-16 Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

Paul is quoting form Isaiah 40:13 where the divine name, YHWH, does appear. Who hath directed the Spirit of Jehovah, or being his counsellor hath taught him? (Isaiah 40:13 ASV)

From this we first learn that to understand the things of the mind of God which is beyond us, we must get to know the mind of Christ which we can know. Again, if Christ is God, then that makes no sense.

Now look how spirit is used in these few verses. We have:

  • The Spirit searches into everything, even the depths of God.
  • The spirit of the man.
  • The Spirit of God.
  • The Spirit that is from God.
  • The Spirit of the world.
  • Spiritual things to the spiritual.

In our culture, we have come to view “spirit” as an incorporeal being. People believe that when they die, their consciousness continues alive, but without a body. They believe the spirit of God is actually God, a distinct person. But then what is the spirit of the world?  And if the spirit of the world isn’t a living being, what is their basis for declaring that the spirit of a man is a living being?

We are likely being confused by cultural bias. What was Jesus actually saying in Greek when he told the Samaritan woman that “God is spirit”? Was he referring to God’s makeup, nature, or substance?  The word translated “spirit” in Greek is pneuma, which means “wind or breath.” How would a Greek of ancient times define something he couldn’t see nor fully understand, but which could still affect him?  He couldn’t see the wind, but he could feel it and see it move things. He couldn’t see his own breath, but he could use it to blow out candles or stoke a fire.  So the Greeks used pneuma (breath or wind) to refer to things unseen which could still affect humans.  What about God? What was God to them?  God was pneuma. What are angels? Angels are pneuma. What is the life force that can depart the body, leaving it an inert husk: pneuma.

Additionally, our desires and impulses cannot be seen, yet they move us and motivate us.  So essentially, the word for breath or wind in Greek, pneuma, became a catchall for anything that cannot be seen, but which moves, affects, or influences us.

We call angels, spirits, but we do not know what they are made of, what substance comprises their spiritual bodies. What we do know is that they exist in time and have temporal limitations which is how one of them got held up for three weeks by another spirit or pneuma on his way to Daniel. (Daniel 10:13) When Jesus blew on his disciples and said, “Receive holy spirit,” what he actually said was, “Receive holy breath.” PNEUMA. When Jesus died, he “yielded up his spirit,” he literally, “yielded up his breath.”

Almighty God, creator of all things, source of all power, cannot be subject to anything.  But Jesus is not God. He has a nature, because he is a created being. The firstborn of all creation and the only begotten God. We don’t know what Jesus is. We don’t know what it means to be a life-giving pneuma. But what we do know is that whatever he is, we will also be, as children of God, because we will be like him.  Again, we read:

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2 NIV)

Jesus has a nature, a substance, and essence.  Just as we all have those things as physical creatures and we’ll all have a different nature, substance, or essence as spirit beings making up the children of God in the first resurrection, but Yahweh, Jehovah, the Father, Almighty God is unique and beyond definition.

I know that Trinitarians will hold up a number of verses in an attempt to contradict what I’ve laid out before you in this video. In my former faith, I was misled by proof texts for many decades, so I’m quite alert to their misuse.  I’ve learned to recognize them for what they are. The idea is to take a verse that can be made to support one’s agenda, but which can also have a different meaning—in other words, an ambiguous text. Then you promote your meaning and hope the listener doesn’t see the alternate meaning.  How do you know which meaning is the right one when a text is ambiguous? You can’t, if you restrict yourself to considering only that text. You have to go outside to verses which are not ambiguous to resolve the ambiguity.

In the next video, God willing, we will examine the proof texts of John 10:30; 12:41 and Isaiah 6:1-3; 44:24.

Until then, I would like to thank you for your time. And to all those helping out to support this channel and keep us broadcasting, a very heartfelt thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

Meleti Vivlon

Articles by Meleti Vivlon.
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