Monday, January 03, 2011

Are the Persons of the Trinity separate and distinct or distinct only?

In a televised debate between Trinitarian Dr. William Lane Craig and Rabbi Tovia Singer, moderated by Trinitarian Lee Strobel, Dr. Craig said that the holy spirit is "separate and distinct" as a person.[1] He is not the only Trinitarian to say this. One Trinitarian author makes the same claim, and even compares the divine persons of the Trinity to other separate and distinct people: angels, demons, and humans. He said: "the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate & distinct from one another as individual beings like these various other intelligent beings are separate and distinct from one another." (emphasis original)[2]

However, more astute Trinitarians disagree, and specify that the members of the Trinity are only distinct from one another and not separate.[3] To illustrate, picture a tricycle. The wheels on this vehicle are distinct from one another, but are still tied in to one another. The wheels are not separate from one another or the tricycle would be unable to move. The same principle is found in a housing complex, where the apartments are all connected by the outside walls. They are certainly distinct from one another, but they are not separate houses.

Thus, Trinitarians who state that the members or persons of the Trinity are "separate and distinct" should realize two things: The wording of that phrase implies tritheism: three gods, and that this wording troubles more astute Trinitarians who say the persons of the Trinity are distinct only. The ones who miss this crucial distinction should also consider their Shield of the Trinity diagram, which depicts each person of the Trinity as an angle of a triangle.[4] Each angle is distinct as they point in different directions, but they are certainly not separate from one another!
This bifurcation in Trinitarianism, the separate and distinct theology versus the distinct only theology, presents a serious problem of credibility. But this is to be expected, as Trinitarianism is a doctrine of the antichrist.

Addendum: Angle or Angel?
Trinitarianism may object to calling Christ an angel, but it inadvertently calls Christ an angle!

[1] Refer to blog entry "Does The Trinity Make Sense? My Comments."

[2] "The Number of Individuals in the Godhead." The Gospel Way.

[3] "The three persons of the Trinity are distinct, yet not divided (distincti non divisi), different yet not separate or independent of each other (discreti non separati)." McGrath, Alister. Christian Theology: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing. Oxford. 2007. Page 250.

Additionally, Trinitarian apologist Matt Slick explains regarding them: "They are not three separate gods and are not three separate beings. They are three distinct persons; yet, they are all the one God." (Italics added) "The Trinity, the Hypostatic Union, and the Communicatio Idiomatum." ( And Trinitarian Kenneth Samples declares that "God is three distinct persons." (See "What a tangled web we weave" [].) For another example, see the video "The Trinity Defined and Refuted (Part 1 of 7)" (1:10-1:27) by Sean Finnegan.

  • Introductory picture of the Trinidad trificela ("three-faced Trinity") from the brochure "Should You Believe in the Trinity?" The iconographic depiction of the Trinidad trificela fell into disuse after being outlawed as heterodox in the wake of the Reformation.
  • Shield of the Trinity diagram from "Biblical Doctrine: The Trinity, Four Essential Affirmations."

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