Is being omnipresent of each person of the Trinity contradictory?

3

1

  1. Each person of the Trinity has all of God's attributes.
  2. Being omnipresent (not being bounded by any location, to be present everywhere) is one of God's attributes.
  3. So, each person of the Trinity has the attribute of being omnipresent.
  4. If one person is not another, then there is something else besides this person.
  5. If there is something else besides this person, then this person is bounded by this something else.
  6. Whatever is bounded cannot be omnipresent. Hence a contradiction.

Josef Klimuk

Posted 2018-10-14T12:06:46.590

Reputation: 263

Question was closed 2018-10-16T08:06:48.980

9"Whatever is bounded cannot be infinite." Is it true ? The sequence of natural numbers : 0,1,2... is bounded from below (all numbers are greater-or-equal to 0) and at the same time is infinite. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA – 2018-10-14T16:39:16.087

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Comments should only be used to suggest improvements of the questions.

– Philip Klöcking – 2018-10-16T08:07:48.767

1You assume certain understandings of the terms that - to my understanding - are not used in the sense that is common in Christian Dogma, e.g. Trinity means that they are no independent entities. Please try to consider basing questions on written text so that the premises are more clear to you and us. – Philip Klöcking – 2018-10-16T08:13:43.910

Answers

3

You take as one of your premises that "whatever is bounded cannot be omnipresent". This is a flawed assumption, therefore your argument is invalid.

This is because omnipresence refers only to space - and there are other ways in which something can be bounded. Take the example of a law - it is spatially restricted to its area of jurisdiction, but it is also bounded in its scope (even within that jurisdiction), and multiple laws exist in a single jurisdiction.

It is your assumption that the persons of the Trinity cannot be simultaneously present in any location which is incompatible with belief in an omnipresent Trinity.

Ben

Posted 2018-10-14T12:06:46.590

Reputation: 146

In not-material area I will agree with you. However, is God present and active as well in material world? – Josef Klimuk – 2018-10-15T14:46:00.603

@JosefKlimuk: And you now assume that God is material. Don't do that. God isn't material enough for that line of thinking to work. – Joshua – 2018-10-15T15:07:47.457

Not, but material world is not godless place as well – Josef Klimuk – 2018-10-15T15:12:46.873

Presence of God in material world is not equal to God being material himself. Is it? – Josef Klimuk – 2018-10-15T15:19:58.013

3

You cannot use words like “each” to describe the “triune god”. The word “each” implies separate parts of a whole, but the divine substance does not have “parts”, and that which it is cannot be seperated. One “attribute” of the divine substance is that it exists as three consubstantial persons, so by it’s own definition, the only “actual infinity” to ever exist is three. This can easily be proven mathematically because 3(∞)= ∞... of course so does 4(∞), 5(∞), ... ∞. But Nicea chose three, so it’s three.

The three is distinct1 in that the father “begets” the son. However, the son is also “eternally-begotten” of the father, which means the father cannot beget without the son, so being beget and being begotten is infinitely equal. Whether the holy spirit “proceeds” from the father, or from both the father and the son, is called the filioque controversy- the main division between Eastern and Western Catholicism.

Is being omnipresent of each person of the Trinity contradictory?

Yes, but apparently you have a choice, and must use that choice to believe in the triune god or very bad things will happen to you forever and ever.


1. I don’t know what the word distinct means. Despite it’s definition, it somehow means something different than “separate” or “differ”.

Cannabijoy

Posted 2018-10-14T12:06:46.590

Reputation: 724

The question was not about divine substance, but about persons of Trinity. – Josef Klimuk – 2018-10-14T14:34:59.720

1@JosefKlimuk How can I describe the trinity without the divine substance? The trinity is the divine substance. – Cannabijoy – 2018-10-14T14:36:01.187

Is substance of God omnipresent? Is every hypostase omnipresent? – Josef Klimuk – 2018-10-14T14:41:41.700

Math proof is not so simple. There are paradoxes with sets. Consider the following. ∞points = ∞points + ∞points Divide both sides by the unit: ∞ = ∞+∞ Divide both side by infinity: 1 = 1+1 1 = 2. – Josef Klimuk – 2018-10-14T14:47:51.750

@JosefKlimuk Yes and yes. “Every” hypostase is omnipresent. But there is no “every” because they are not three of a whole. The three is the whole. The problem is, you’re trying to think logically about material substances, but the divine substance is immaterial. So if a popular theologian declares it has a certain attribute, it has that attribute. You can’t say it’s impossible, because then you’d need to explain how a “rational actual infinity” can exist anyway. – Cannabijoy – 2018-10-14T14:58:08.493

If we are talking about three persons, then it must be at least one attribute by which one differs from another. – Josef Klimuk – 2018-10-14T15:10:21.743

@JosefKlimuk Calling Divine Spirit or God a person is not really correct. Well, former is probably only an energy, latter can't be comprehended at all. Of course, I'm just pointing you towards mainstream positions. The whole question is meaningless if we are not bounded by some kind of position, because then we can choose to believe whatever we want. – rus9384 – 2018-10-14T15:16:19.713

3From what I understand, the father “begats” the son, but whether the holy spirit “proceeds” from the father, or from both the father and the son, is called the filioque controversy- the main division between Eastern and Western Catholicism. However, the son is also “eternally-begotten” of the father, which means the father cannot begat without the son, so being begat and being begotten is infinitely equal. – Cannabijoy – 2018-10-14T15:18:45.243

Calling members of Trinity "person" is usual in western european christianity. From wiki: "God the Son (Greek: Θεός ὁ υἱός) is the second person of the Trinity in Christian theology. The doctrine of the Trinity identifies Jesus as the embodiment of God the Son, united in essence (consubstantial) but distinct in person with regard to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (the first and third persons of the Trinity)". In Russia and other 'orthodox' churches it is called 'hypostase'. – Josef Klimuk – 2018-10-14T15:20:51.057

@JosefKlimuk: That's not a paradox. That's just faulty arithmetic. The correct way to do it is to leave all the variables in and replace the result with ∞ right before the glass. – Joshua – 2018-10-14T20:59:59.243

@JosefKlimuk It may help to know that when discussing the trinity, we have to use a few different techniques. We describe the “persons” as three seperate entities- tritheism; then we describe the three “roles” that each displays- modalism. Then we say “there is one god”- monotheism. – Cannabijoy – 2018-10-14T21:55:28.880

@JosefKlimuk "If we are talking about three persons, then it must be at least one attribute by which one differs from another." Traditional Christian theology says that they do not differ by any attributes, but are instead distinguished by their relationships with each other. – curiousdannii – 2018-10-15T02:00:36.870

@JosefKlimuk it is also worth noting that ∞+∞ != 2 * ∞. So dividing by ∞ does not make 1 = 2. There are different levels of infinity meaning that ∞ + ∞ often equals ∞. A good example of this is the set of natural numbers which has ∞ elements. If we look at the set of integers it would appear we have double the natural numbers (having the natural numbers, both positive and negative). Actually though the set of integers is the same size as the natural numbers. A good example of an infinity of greater magnitude would be the decimal numbers as a 1 to 1 mapping can't be created between the two – simon_smiley – 2018-10-15T03:17:46.407

"Begat" is past tense. The present tense is "beget." – jpmc26 – 2018-10-15T05:34:45.550

This answer could be improved if it did not use the fallacious pseudomathematics reminiscent of the works of Miles Mathis. – Carl Masens – 2018-10-15T08:20:56.893

@CarlMasens Really? The math is the only part I understand. I agree it’s irrational, but surely there are other problems with this answer. – Cannabijoy – 2018-10-15T08:42:23.267

3

This is a partial answer hopefully getting to another question that deals with the apparent multiplicity in God that the Trinity represents.

Not all religions associated with Christianity need to assert the idea of the Trinity. For example Unitarian Universalists with roots in liberal Christianity do not appear to do so:

Unitarian Universalism (UU) is a liberal religion characterized by a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning". Unitarian Universalists assert no creed, but instead are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth. As such, their congregations include many atheists, agnostics, and theists within their membership. The roots of Unitarian Universalism lie in liberal Christianity, specifically Unitarianism and universalism. Unitarian Universalists state that from these traditions comes a deep regard for intellectual freedom and inclusive love. Congregations and members seek inspiration and derive insight from all major world religions.

What is important in the argument is to identify more precisely who holds these beliefs.

Once one knows who holds these beliefs, one needs to find representatives from those groups, preferably the most respected representatives, and quote their exact views on the Trinity paying attention to their arguments.

Then one can attempt to use those arguments to try to reach a contradiction.

Without getting those quotes and identifying whom one is opposing, one is setting up a straw man. This is how Wikipedia describes a straw man:

A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be "attacking a straw man."

The issue of having multiplicity in unity in general should raise philosophical concerns which are worth exploring even with particular examples such as the three Persons in one God in the concept of the Christian Trinity. One simply needs to be precise about what people are claiming when they speak of these particular multiplicities.


Reference

Wikipedia, "Straw man argument"

Wikipedia, "Unitarian Universalism"

Frank Hubeny

Posted 2018-10-14T12:06:46.590

Reputation: 18 742

This "partial answer" could be improved if it did not attempt to dismiss the question based purely on the fact that it has elements of vagueness. By that logic, all knowledge and information with a trace of vagueness must be discarded using your misapplication of the "straw man argument". – Carl Masens – 2018-10-15T08:19:53.960

@CarlMasens The argument is not vague. It very clearly makes claims and associates them with Christianity. Then it argues against those claims. What I am saying is the argument can be dismissed as a straw man because of that. There is a way, potentially an easy way, around this problem. Cite those Christians, preferably recognized theologians or philosophers, who actually make those claims. Quote them. Then draw conclusions from those arguments. It is a partial answer because I would like to address the real issue not the straw man argument. By the way, welcome to this SE! – Frank Hubeny – 2018-10-15T09:56:35.017

3

Your proof is valid.

Here's an analogy:

Assume the observable universe is infinite.

Define infinite to mean contains everything.

If something is outside the observable universe, the universe does not contain everything; it is not infinite.

Some Christians don't define infinite that way (God is creator, not creation1). They would reject the soundness of your proof. Specifically they would reject 6: bounded as you defined it implying not infinite. God is infinite in knowledge. God is infinite in power. But God is not everything. For example Satan is not God. For God is good. And Satan is not.

Also some Christians view the Trinity as a mystery. They would dismiss any attempt to understand the Trinity beyond what they believe is explained in the Bible.


1. "Christian teachings of the immanence and involvement of God and his love for humanity exclude the belief that God is of the same substance as the created universe" -- Wikipedia, "God in Christianity"

Jesus is Lord

Posted 2018-10-14T12:06:46.590

Reputation: 149

1Would you have references to those Christians who reject the soundness of the proof? This would strengthen your answer. Welcome to this SE! – Frank Hubeny – 2018-10-15T00:26:59.470

1@FrankHubeny Thanks for the welcome! :) I added a link. How's that? – Jesus is Lord – 2018-10-15T01:55:30.170

Thank you! That helps me get more information. – Frank Hubeny – 2018-10-15T01:59:11.680

This answer could be improved if it was indicated how the analogy was related to the reasoning in the question. Noone in the scientific and mathematical domain defines infinite to mean "contains everything", and those with an inkling of pure mathematical knowledge knows full well that there is not one unanimous notion of infinity. – Carl Masens – 2018-10-15T08:22:45.350

@CarlMasens OP originally used infinite the way I defined. OP changed infinite to omnipresent. – Jesus is Lord – 2018-10-15T15:52:17.880

@CarlMasens I agree that's not the usual definition of infinity; I was using OP's definition – Jesus is Lord – 2018-10-15T16:19:14.307

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"Has infinite extent" is not equivalent to "no part of something is not part of it."

Trivial example: there are points in a 3d surface that are not part of an infinite plane.

Better example: We define the region Z to be everything in 3d space outside of the unit sphere. There are points (in fact an infinite number of them but I digress) inside the unit sphere that are not part of region Z. Z has infinite continuous volume. I don't remember the exact notation for levels of infinity but it doesn't matter here. ∞ - ∞ is not well defined.

Continuing the projection. Let us select the outside of an infinitely long cylinder, and and divide into three sectors at 120 degrees each. We now have three regions with the same cardinality as the 3 space that don't overlap and together do not exclude all other infinities from existing.

Joshua

Posted 2018-10-14T12:06:46.590

Reputation: 508

This fails to answer the question. – Carl Masens – 2018-10-15T08:37:32.813

@Carl Masens: Read revision 2 of question. Edit has made question off-topic here. – Joshua – 2018-10-15T14:08:22.367

0

God's attributes are not contextless: God isn't infinitely everything. God is not infinitely sinful, or infinitely ignorant, or infinitely cruel. He is infinitely wise, and infinitely powerful, and even infinitely good, although we may find it difficult to see his infinite goodness when he allows and even works through bad things, though that is a limitation we have, not something that prohibits God from being truly infinitely good.

There is neither an infinite number of persons in the godhead, nor does each person infinitely exist to the exclusion of the other persons of the godhead. Neither of those are contexts where the infiniteness of God applies.

curiousdannii

Posted 2018-10-14T12:06:46.590

Reputation: 1 487

@Carl Do you know any Christian perspective which does teach that God is infinitely sinful, ignorant, cruel, that there are infinite persons in the godhead, or that each person infinitely exists to the exclusion of others? I'm not aware of any Trinitarian Christians who would disagree with anything I wrote here. – curiousdannii – 2018-10-15T08:54:36.697

@CarlMasens You're making the claim that anything in my answer is not the common understanding of Christianity, so the burden of proof lies with you. I don't have to put forward an argument to say that "Christians believe their God is not infinitely sinful" is overwhelmingly true. I don't have to put forward an argument to say that "Trinitarians believe there are not an infinite number of persons in the godhead" - that's inherent in the name! To demand proof for that is trolling. If you want to dispute something specific, do so, so I can address it. – curiousdannii – 2018-10-17T02:15:43.377

1Unfortunately, your answer seems to rely on a specific interpretation of God which is not necessarily shared by all of the Christian theological scholarship. This answer could be improved if there were sources in the received theological literature backing up the reasoning provided here. – Carl Masens – 2018-11-20T01:10:04.090

@CarlMasens Who? Which Christian perspective teaches that God is infinitely sinful, ignorant, cruel or that there are an infinite number of persons in the godhead? As I already wrote, I'm not aware of any Trinitarian Christians who would disagree with anything I wrote here. Please provide a specific counter example. – curiousdannii – 2018-11-20T01:12:14.307

Your lack of sources implies that you're also "not aware of any Trinitarian Christians who would" agree with anything you wrote here. – Carl Masens – 2018-11-20T01:14:09.417