I was teaching a group of young adults, at a mission organisation, about God’s character and nature. We were discussing the Trinity. At the end a young man, who had come to faith in Christ out of an Eastern tradition, told me that he wasn’t convinced that God was triune. He told me that he thought it much more likely that, God being inifite, God would have more persons than just the three. I pointed out that the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself and that points to a triune God. Has anyone else come across this before? What would you respond to this young man?
I would say, it would be just like God to be able to express Himself to His human creation in a gazillion persons, each one unique and all fully God, not just divine by nature, so that the human experience of God in eternity has a new nuance every day. But even so, Christians will ever clamor to celebrate their Savior. I do not think any believer will ever cease to worship Jesus with every fiber of their being upon the merest mention of Jesus in eternity. And when He walks in the room, the whole place will be filled with thunderous cheering for our Savior! We only really need the three persons of the Trinity. That’s the way God made us to understand Him! The Father has all authority over life. The Son is the Savior (woooo hoooo!). And the Holy Spirit is God’s personal presence everywhere and especially with His people.
Thanks Mark. The young man was pushing me to say that theoretically it is possible for God to be many persons and not just the three - but it seemed he was hoping for a doorway to open that would allow him to say that gods of other religions could be misunderstood persons of the Godhead. I like what you said about the fact that God’s redeeming work was accomplished in the Trinity and so the Trinity is abundantly sufficient.
@Keith_Moore, I grew up in a Hindu family and I have encountered a variation of this question from my Hindu family members. They often ask, Why do you limit God to just three persons and not many as in Hinduism? As many Hindus are willing to accept Jesus as a form of God, they dont understand why we Christians are not able to do the same with the Hindu gods. Many Hindus believe that God incarnates differently according to time, place and circumstance.
We can believe anything but that doesn’t change reality of things. It’s only important to believe that which corresponds to reality.
I think what may be important to point out is that the Christian concept of Trinity is quite different from the Hindu concept that all gods are manifestation of the same God even if they were to be just three gods. There is the concept of Trimurti in Hinduism which can be confused with Trinity. In Trimurti, the three gods have different functions- Creation, maintenance and destruction unlike in Trinity where all persons of the Trinity are equally active in the acts of God. Ex. Creation, Salvation, Baptism of Jesus.
In the Christian understanding, God is one in essence though three in persons. One question to ask is, in what way are the different forms of gods one in essence? What do we do when we see contradictions in the teachings of the different gods?
The three persons of the Trinitarian Christian God are co-equal and eternally co-existant. The different forms of gods in polytheism on the other hand incarnated at different times in history. If all of the gods with different wills existed eternally, how do we define God, the cause of all causes?
The three persons of the Trinitarian God all operate in harmony towards one purpose. The different incarnations according to what we know from writings seem to have different purposes. So how do we know they are all representatives of the same God? Though theoretically its possible to say all are forms of the same God, how can we support our views? Is the belief based on tradition or truth?
These are just a few questions that I thought could be discussed along with biblical support. As both you and Mark have pointed out, theoretically anything is possible, we can know nothing about specific nature of God unless revealed in Scripture. Actually, even many Hindu philosophers would support the importance of Scripture in knowing specific truths about God. So it’s not about us limiting God but how He chose to reveal Himself in Scripture. If the conversation moves along, hopefully you will have the opportunity to present reasons for trusting the Bible and the revelation of God in the Bible as a triune God.
Hope that’s helpful. God bless your ministry and conversations.
@Lakshmismehta, This has been really helpful, thank you. The point about the Trinity working in harmony for one purpose was especially helpful.
This question is at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian. Being a big fan of Ravi and the team, I often go to them to find answers such as this. Here is a video by Ravi Zacharias that may help .
In my view, God can certainly present Himself in infinite ways, but there are only 3 parts to the Trinity of God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Abdu Murray also talks on this quite often. But, I was not able to find a short video on it. But, listen to Abdu, and you will find his take on the Trinity.