Response to “Why the Trinity is an Illogical Farce”

“Why the Trinity is an Illogical Farce: Fallacy of Equivocation”

Or

“How to accuse Trinitarians of Equivocating while doing it Yourself”

Here I am going to respond to selections of Kel’s article.  The selections I have chosen are the ones I regard as embodying Kel’s main arguments; I have left out what I regard as repetitious or off the point.  If I have missed or misunderstood Kel’s arguments, anyone who reads this – including Kel – is welcome to bring that to my attention.

. . .

In this article, Kel accuses Trinitarians of the fallacy of equivocation.  Now, the fallacy of equivocation is committed when an argument is being made in which a key term linking the premises of the argument changes meaning from premise to premise in such a way that the conclusion is not supported by the argument.  This key term must be a common middle term shared by the premises.  Such an argument is called a syllogism.  An example would be:

Premise 1 Communists are red

Premise 2 the Red River is red

Premise 3 Tomatoes are red

Conclusion: Therefore the Red River and tomatoes are both communist.

The key term linking the premises is “red.”  In premise one, red is a metonym for communism because their flag is red and red has a historical association with the radical left.  In premise two, red is a name, and in premise three, red is a color.  The meaning of the term red completely changes from premise to premise.  These definitions of red are contrary to one another, making the conclusion nonsense: this is the fallacy of equivocation.  The argument is not valid.

However, consider this argument:

Premise 1 God is just

Premise 2 God is powerful

Premise 3 God is loving

Conclusion: Therefore God is just, powerful, and loving.

This argument does not commit the fallacy of equivocation because no key term changes its meaning.  The word “God” appears in all three premises, and God is defined differently in each premise, but the definitions are not contrary to one another because they can all be describing the same thing.  The argument does not depend on the exact same definition for the word “God” while the previous argument did depend on “red” having the exact same meaning in each premise.  Each definition adds to our understanding of God.  The argument is valid.

Now lets look at one final argument:

Premise 1 God is the Father

Premise 2 God is the Son

Premise 3 God is the Holy Spirit

Conclusion: Therefore God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

This argument again has several definitions of God.  But it does not commit the fallacy of equivocation any more than the previous argument.  The only two ways I see to attack this argument are 1) to argue that the premises are not supported by the Bible; for instance, maybe the Bible does not say the Son is God or 2) to argue that the definitions of God in the premises are contrary to each other, for example, that if the Father is God the Son cannot be God.

In the debate at hand, I am arguing that the premises are supported by the Bible and that the definitions are not contrary to each other.  However, no fallacy of equivocation can be attributed to this argument.  Having said that, let’s take a look at some of Kel’s arguments in this article.

Argument:

“In Trinitarianism, the one true God is the Triune God, a three person being. Now try to be honest with yourself and ask yourself what Paul the Apostle of Jesus really and truly intended to tell us when he wrote this:

Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6).

Notice that Paul does not identify the one God as a Triune Being. He did not say, “for us there is one God: the Triune God.” He identifies our one God as the Father. While Trinitarians insist that the one God is not one person, Paul does identify the one God as one person: the Father. Nor does Paul identify our one Lord as a Triune Being. Rather he identifies our one Lord as Jesus Christ.”

Response:

In my view, Paul does not identify God as only the Father in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 (see my response to Kel’s article 1 Corinthians 8:6).  Rather, he identifies one God as the Father, which does not exclude other complementary definitions of God, such as the Son and the Spirit.  And Paul does not identify our one Lord as only Jesus Christ, as even Kel seems to acknowledge later in this article when he calls the Father “the Lord” (see the arguments toward the end of this article).

Argument:

“An illusionist does his deceptions by keeping you focused on one thing so that you don’t notice another. In Trinitarianism, what they like to do is keep all the attention on whether or not Jesus and the Holy Spirit are “God.” In doing this, they keep your attention off the real question.”

Response:

The fact that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God is a fundamental component of “the real question.”  What Kel identifies as the real question, while not 100% clear, is (I think) whether in the Trinity doctrine the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit taken together would have to be a fourth personal identity in addition to the first three.  As we shall see, the answer is a resounding “no.”

Argument:

“At John 17:3, Jesus makes a very important statement:

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Father…. You, the only true God…. “

When this verse is pointed out, most Trinitarians respond in this manner:

The passage does not say “only the Father is the true God.” It rather says that the Father is the only true God. The Father is the only true God, the Son is the only true God, and the Holy Spirit is the only true God.

Now think about that carefully for a minute. In Trinitarianism, the one true God is the Triune God. Now let us try out their claim:

The Father is the Triune God, the Son is the Triune God, and the Holy Spirit is the Triune God.

It didn’t work. In Trinitarian doctrine, the Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit or vice versa and the Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son or vice versa. And neither are any of them the Triune God for that would be saying one person is three persons. So why didn’t it work?”

Response:

But it did work.  Consider the fact that there is only one tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest.  The top of Mount Everest is Mount Everest.  The middle of Mount Everest is Mount Everest.  And the base of Mount Everest is Mount Everest.  No one is saying that because this is true, that the top of Mount Everest is also the middle and the base of Mount Everest.

The same thing that is true of the word Everest is true of the word Trinity.  Although the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each the Triune God, none of them is the whole thing all by himself, but each is an aspect of the whole.  This is because in the Trinity doctrine the phrase “Triune God” does not mean three separate things added together, but three aspects of the same thing.  Each of the three aspects can be accurately referred to as “the Triune God” in the sense that each is the real thing and that one aspect of something can stand for the whole of it.

A synechdoche is a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa, such as “a head of cattle” (a part stands for the whole cow) or “the army captured me” (the whole army is made to stand for the part of the army that captured me).  By ignoring the existence of figures of speech like the synechdoche, Kel asserts a contradiction in Trinitarian doctrine that simply isn’t there.

Here I must add that the reality of the Trinity is deeper than just the meaning of the word Trinity.  The figure of speech mentioned above helps us understand but doesn’t plumb the depths of God.  In the real Trinity, each Divine Person is present in all the others, and so all are present in each.  The human mind only barely begins to fathom this.

Here I will reproduce my take on John 17:3 which I presented in response to Kel’s article Major Problems with the Trinity:

John 17:3 clearly affirms that the Father is the one true God, but it does not deny that Jesus is as well. 

Jesus Christ is that aspect of God who reveals and explains the otherwise invisible God.  God the Son was sent by God the Father to become the man Jesus Christ – without ceasing to be God the Son.  He is both God and also the Son whom God the Father has sent.

To help understand this, think of a password to an encrypted computer program.  The password is at once part of the program, and at the same time is the key that unlocks the program and gives you access to it.  Or think of this sentence: “This is how you pass the test, by thoroughly mastering the subject, and by studying hard every night.”  Studying every night is not really a separate thing from mastering the subject; instead, it is the means by which the subject is mastered.

Some large buildings have a map of the building built into the wall. You can know the building by studying the map and by exploring the building.  Is the map separate from the building it describes?  No, it is part of the building, built right into the wall.  And yet we can still say that you can know the building by exploring it and by studying the map.  Jesus is both the sign who points to God and at the same time a manifestation of the God he represents. 

It is as if God waved His arm to get our attention, and then pointed at Himself and said, “This is the only true God.”  The hand and the finger that did the pointing is no less the only true God than the one being pointed at, but it is the hand that got our attention.  The incarnate Son of God, the man Jesus Christ, is that hand and that finger of God.

Argument:

“Notice the statement:

Jesus is the one true God (True in Trinitarianism).

The one true God is the Triune God (True in Trinitarianism).

Jesus is that one true God (False in Trinitarianism).

What just happened there? Why didn’t that work? Later in this article, you will see quite clearly what happened.”

Response:

It did work, because these statements can be examples of a figure of speech in which a part is used to represent the whole or vice versa.  Kel seems to be defining “the one true God” as one of the persons of the Trinity in his first declaration, then as the Triune God and the second and third delcarations.  Once that is realized, “what just happened there” becomes obvious.  When Trinitarians say that Jesus is the one true God and that the Father is the one true God, they don’t mean that God is all Father or all Jesus.  Thus, the statement “Jesus is all three persons in the Trinity” is indeed false in Trinitarianism, but that “works” just fine because Jesus can be the same God as the Father and the Spirit without having to be the same person as the Father and the Spirit.

Argument:

First Illustration:

“But let us first observe this:

Jesus is the one true God (True in Trinitarianism).

The one true God is the Triune God (True in Trinitarianism).

Jesus is not that one true God (True in Trinitarianism).

Is…….is not……is……..is not…. the foundation of illusionists. We will also decisively prove that the following is necessarily true in Trinitarian doctrine.”

Response:

This is the same illustration as the one responded to above except in the last premise the negative term is moved from within the parenthesis to the statement that comes before it; so the response to the earlier illustration refutes this one as well.

Because a part can stand for the whole, Kel’s “first illustration” is false or at best misleading.  If I put my hand on a branch and say “this is the tree,” I am telling the truth.  If I say, “this branch is not all of the tree,” I am also telling the truth.  Surely Kel would not say I am being deceptive in saying these two things, but somehow he imagines deception when the same kind of thing is said of the Triune God.

Second Illustration:

“Jesus is the one true God (True in Trinitarianism).

The one true God is the Triune God (True in Trinitarianism).

Jesus is not that one true God (True in Trinitarianism).

Jesus is another true God (True in Trinitarianism).”

Response:

Kel’s second illustration is flat out wrong, for he says that Trinitarianism means that Jesus is another true God, an idea that he can only get by building upon the foundation of his earlier mistaken assumption that a part cannot stand for the whole.  Since this earlier idea is wrong, so is the conclusion he builds on it.

Argument:

“The first important thing to realize here is that the doctrine of the Trinity is a teaching that is arrived at by logic and reason. This doctrine is not taught anywhere in the Bible. Trinitarians come to their conclusions by observing statements made in several Bible verses and they reason out that God is three persons in one divine substance. If their reasoning is incorrect, the doctrine is also incorrect.”

Response:

It is true that you must think and reason upon the Scriptures to arrive at the Trinity doctrine, but you must also think and reason upon the Scriptures to arrive at Kel’s Unitarian doctrine.  Neither appears in so many words in the Scriptures.  The question, then, is not which doctrine requires reasoning, but which one is more reasonable.  After all is said and done, the Trinity proves to be a more logical interpretation of Scripture than Kel’s doctrine is.

Argument:

“Some Trinitarians like to claim their doctrine is incomprehensible complete with a quotation of Isaiah 55:3, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.” But so what? God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. We are not talking about God’s thoughts but our own human reasoning process that Trinitarians have used to conclude their doctrine. Since there is no Scripture verses which says anything like, “The one God is three persons,” no Trinitarian can show you their doctrine without appealing to reason. Indeed, their doctrine is the product of reason. It is therefore quite insane to claim their own reasoning cannot be comprehended.”

Response:

This is not what I would call the real Trinitarian argument.  The real Trinitarian argument on this point is that since God is beyond our complete understanding (Isaiah 55:3 and Psalm 145:3 and others), the fact that the Trinity doctrine is also beyond our complete understanding does not disprove the Trinity doctrine.  Put this way, the argument is valid.  Kel’s way of phrasing this argument is such a weak version of it that it is really a straw man argument, made artificially weak so it is easy for him to knock down.  But in doing so he has not refuted the real Trinitarian argument.

Argument:

“Some Trinitarians like to claim they should just “accept the doctrine of the Trinity on faith.” What exactly are we to accept on faith? This doctrine is not taught anywhere in Scripture. What then do these people expect anyone to accept? The only thing then that one could possibly “accept on faith” is that other men have reasoned out this doctrine correctly.”

Response:

Lots of people want us to accept their doctrines on blind faith.  That some Trinitarians would do likewise is therefore to be expected.  I do disagree with Kel’s statement that the Trinity “is not taught anywhere in Scripture.”  It may not be taught “in so many words,” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t taught implicitly.  There is nothing unbiblical about using your own reason to figure out a biblical doctrine.  In John 3, Jesus told Nicodemus that because he was a teacher of Israel, he should have been able to understand the concept of being born again.  In the Old Testament, Nicodemus’ only Scripture, being born again is not taught in so many words.  But Jesus apparently thought that Nicodemus should have been able to reason it out from what was explicitly stated in the Old Testament.

In the New Testament, we read that the Bereans “were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” – Acts 17:11.  The only Scripture available to the Bereans was the Old Testament.  Since many of the things that Paul was teaching were not explicitly stated in the Old Testament, the Bereans had to use the human reasoning process to conclude whether what Paul was saying was true.  Acts 17:11 commends the Bereans for doing this; it does not condemn them.  This tells me that using our own human reasoning process to think on the Scriptures can produce the fruit of true understanding.

Equivocation

Kel’s argument is that the doctrine of the Trinity must employ the fallacy of equivocation in order to make itself appear plausible.  What was interesting to me in reading this article is that in his efforts to prove his point, not only did he fail to find any real equivocation in the Trinity doctrine, but he was guilty of the very fallacy he accused the Trinitarians of committing.  In what follows, I will attempt to prove this.

Argument:

“Trinitarians arrive at an absurd conclusion because they use two different definitions of the word “God” in their argumentation.

Let us look again at their basic argument. But let us also make Premise 2 into a statement which is completely true in Trinitarianism:

Premise 1: The Bible teaches that there is only one God.

Premise 2: The Bible teaches that the one God is the Triune God.

Conclusion: Each of the three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are that one God.

Their argument cannot work this way can it?”

Response:

Sure it can, for reasons previously stated.  Each of the three persons is that one God, not because each of the three persons are all of the three persons (which is illogical), but because each of the persons are aspects of the whole.  To deny that an aspect or a part of a whole can be called by the name of the whole would be to deny a large part of human (and Biblical) language.

Argument:

“Trinitarians use more than one definition of the word “God” in their argumentation and this is why the doctrine turns out to be a farce.

  1. God – a divine nature/essence.
  2. God – a personal being.”

Response:

That particular argument makes no sense.  Trinitarians define God in both these ways, but the Trinity doctrine does not depend on switching the first definition with the second in an argument.  The fallacy of equivocation only occurs when a key term is used to mean one thing in one part the argument and another thing in another part of the argument.  For example, “Jesus is the Word of God. The Bible is the Word of God. Therefore, Jesus is the Bible,” uses the phrase “Word of God” to mean two different things.  Kel fails to prove that any Trinitarian argument depends on switching meanings for the word “God” during the argument.  Kel’s article does not demonstrate that any argument essential to defending the Trinity depends on switching meanings for the word “God” in the argument.

Regarding the two definitions of the word “God” mentioned above, even one human person is both a human nature or essence and a personal being.  Does that mean that the doctrine that human beings exist is a farce?  As long as different definitions of a word don’t contradict each other, they might both be true.  That is not equivocation.  It is just that more than one thing can be true of God at the same time.

Argument:

“But it gets even worse. There are actually five or more definitions of the word “God” in Trinitarian doctrine.

  1. God – a divine nature/essence of three persons
  2. God – a person who is the Father of Jesus
  3. God – another person who is the Father’s son
  4. God – yet another person who is the Holy Spirit
  5. God – and yet another identity who is the Triune Being”

Response:

I accept the first four definitions of God, with the caveat that although they are four definitions, there are only three persons.  As we saw person and essence must both be simultaneously true of any personal being.  This is true whether the being in question is one person or several persons.  The fifth definition I do not accept because the Triune Being is simply the three persons, and therefore not another identity.  And as I said earlier, as long as definitions of a word don’t contradict each other, they might all be true, and a full understanding of the word results from a study of all true definitions of it.

Argument:

“The word “God” in the Scriptures refers to the Creator, the personal identity who created the universe. However, Trinitarians have created other definitions for the word God as we have seen above.”

Response:

The first sentence is an example of Kel’s foundational assumption that God is only one person, not because he explicitly says that, but because Kel is so unaware that a “personal identity” could be more than one person it does not even occur to him that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit could be this personal identity even though they are not the same person.

Argument:

“Trinitarians want you to spend all your time focusing on whether or not the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are three persons who are the one and only God. They want to take your attention off the fact that their one and only God is the Triune God in their argumentation process. They do not want you to ask where the Triune God fits in their argument. They only want you to see their Triune God is the conclusion to their argument.

It is quite easy to claim three things are one. Three feet are one yard. Three persons are one trio. Three persons are one human nature. All you need to do is put three things into one category. So when Trinitarians claim three persons are one God, and they implicitly mean that these three persons are one divine nature, it is quite easy to persuade people. This is true because six billion humans are one humanity and one flesh. Same thing.

But they wish to stop right there. However, they cannot stop there. There is another WHO, another HE. The one God of Scrpture is a WHO, a personal identity.”

In a related paragraph Kel says,

“There is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In Trinitarian doctrine this is three WHO’s, three “HE’s”. But they also have one more WHO, one more HE, the Triune God, HE,HIM, who refers to HIMSELF as “I” and “ME.”

Response:

This is not true.  If one person of the Trinity speaks for all or they all speak in unison, they would say “I” and “me” without the consequence of that “I” being an additional personal being.

As I see it, the “He” which is the Triune God is the three persons, God the Father using his divine breath (which is the Holy Spirit) to utter his Word (which is the Son).  God could have used the word “they” or “we” (and he sometimes does) but to use those plural words very often would have created the impression of three separate persons, which is not accurate because unlike three human beings, the three persons of the Trinity are one and only one thing.  Unlike God, three human beings are three things, who may share the human nature but also have three separate personal natures.  I believe this is why God usually speaks in, and is spoken of, in the singular form.

Another way to look at this is to use an analogy.  The space above and beneath me is space, the space to my left and my right is space, and the space in the front and the back of me is space, but all of them put together do not make a “fourth space;” instead, they are one and the same space that exists in three dimensions, each of which is accurately called “space.”  Space is sort of a negative image of the God who created it.  As such, it shows us how the three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) could be one without having to conclude that all of them put together must be a fourth identity.

Argument:

“When Trinitarians say, “the Father is the one God, the Son is the one God, the Holy Spirit is the one God,” they implicitly define the word “God” to mean “divine nature/essene.” Hence, they are saying “the Father is the one divine nature/essence, the Son is the one divine nature/essence, and the Holy Spirit is the one divine nature/essence.” That is about as simple as saying, “the three, Adam, Eve, and Abel are one human nature.”

HOWEVER, and this is the critical turning point, Trinitarians ALSO define “the one God” as the Triune Being, the one Triune God. And now it does not work to say, “the Father is the Triune God, the Son is the Triune God, the Holy Spirit is the Triune God.”

Response:

Each one is the Triune God, though each one is not all the persons in the Triune God. Since as we saw earlier you can refer to a whole by mentioning a part of it and vice versa, there is no reason why one couldn’t say that the Father is the Triune God, the Son is the Triune God, the Spirit is the Triune God, and still say all three of them together are the Triune God.  Kel’s argument seems logical until one considers the various figures of speech that may be involved, and when we do that his argument seems far less compelling.

Argument:

“Let us now return to their “logic.”

It is quite easy to make a claim that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one divine nature. It is just as easy as claiming Adam, Eve, and Cain were one sinful flesh. But the God of the Bible is not simply a nature. The God of the Bible is a personal identity who has a divine nature in the same way that Adam is a personal identity that has a human nature.”

Response:

How does he know that?  Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that Adam’s personal identity is an image of God’s personal identity?  Since the three persons of the Trinity have only one nature and not three, they have one personal identity.  This is not true of Adam, Eve, and Abel, who have three personal natures and thus three personal identities.

Argument:

“Now since there is only one God, any claim that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are that one God, IS ALSO a claim that each of these three are that one and only personal identity, the one “I” who created the universe. But in the doctrine of the Trinity, each one of these three persons is not this one “I.” In Trinitarianism that one “I” would be the one Triune God. None of these three are that one Triune God. Rather they are each only one hypostasis of that one Triune God.”

Response:

This is pretty much a restatement of the previous arguments.  In the Trinity doctrine, there are three “I’s” but they can speak as one, the Father speaking his Word by his Spirit.  As I have pointed out in other articles, in the Bible even multiple human beings can speak or think as one.  For example in Isaiah 49:21, Israel (Zion) says

“Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these-where have they come from?’”

The “I” is singular but represents the one thought in the mind of many people.  This “I” is not another personal identity in addition to all the people of Zion, but simply IS all the people of Zion speaking (in their heart) with one voice.

“The Triune God” is not a personal identity in addition to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but is instead all of them speaking and operating as one, whether in creating the universe or in speaking to people.

Zion is composed of separable people with only similar (not identical) thoughts.  If even Zion can speak and be spoken of as one person, how much more can the same be true of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?  They are more profoundly one than any group of people such as Zion.  They are not separable, nor are they divisible, but instead they are aspects of one and only one God.

In the Trinity doctrine, God is more than a person but we have no word for his kind of being.  Because we have no experience of a three person being, and hence have no word for a three person being, the only words left to God to announce himself to us is “I” or “Me,” since these are the highest terms we know (why God doesn’t usually say “Us” was explained earlier).

Argument:

“In Trinitarianism this problem results in:

Jesus is the one true God (the one divine nature)

Jesus is not the one true God (the one Triune God who created the world)

Now if you are a thinking person, you know by the above two statements that we have a serious deception on our hands.”

Response:

There is no deception here.  If you want to define “the one Triune God” ONLY as all three persons together, then of course neither Jesus nor the Father nor the Spirit is the one Triune God.  But so what?  Neither the Bible nor the Trinity doctrine implies that each of the persons is by himself all of God (without the other two), so there is no need for Trinitarians to defend such a concept.

If I hammer a nail with my hand, there is no logical problem in saying that my hand is me (it has my nature) and yet my hand is not me (my hand is not all of me).  Where is the deception in that?

We don’t even have to assume the persons of the Trinity in order to see that Kel’s argument is full of holes.  God knows everything and is all powerful, and his power is often represented in the Bible as his “strong right arm” (for example in Psalm 118:16).  No one would argue that God’s strong right arm is not God, yet by Kel’s reasoning above, unless God’s strong right arm is not also God’s knowledge and love and indeed all God’s attributes, it cannot be referred to as “God.”

To illustrate this, let’s rephrase Kel’s argument just a bit:

God’s strong right arm is the one true God (by nature).

God’s strong right arm is not the one true God (“one true God” meaning all of God but not one attribute by itself).

If there is no deception or fallacy in those two statements being true, by what reasoning is it held that there is any deception of fallacy in saying that Jesus is the one true God by nature, but Jesus is not all three persons of the Trinity?

Argument:

“Let us now illustrate their fallacy of equivocation clearly:

Premise 1: There is one WHO.

Premise 2: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, are each the one WHO.

Conclusion: The three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one WHO.

FALSE.”

Response:

Not only is that illustration not clear, it is not an example of a Trinitarian fallacy of equivocation but of Kel’s fallacy of equivocation.  This is because the word “who” can mean either one person or one group of people.  Kel’s premise #1 is “There is one WHO.” Does “WHO” mean (A) “There is one person” or (B) “There is one being of several persons?”  Kel does not say.  Premise #1 is acceptable to Trinitarians if (B) is the meaning of “who” but not if (A) is.

No Trinitarian would ever say “There is only one person” who is God, but every Trinitarian would say “there is one personal Being in who is three persons” and who is God.

Kel’s premise #2 is that the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are each the one WHO” – which Trinitarians would agree with if by “the one WHO” we mean “one being of several persons.”

Kel’s conclusion (that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one who) is again acceptable to Trinitarians if “who” means “one being of several persons.”

My point is that Kel’s “illustration” describes the Trinity doctrine ONLY if in all three parts of the argument (premise 1, premise 2, and the conclusion) are using the word “who” to mean one being of several persons.  But if that is the case, there is no equivocation in the argument and Kel could not correctly say the argument is “FALSE.” But if in premise 1 “who” means “only one person,” and in premise 2 and the conclusion “who” means more than one person, then the argument is NOT a Trinitarian argument at all.  That means that in calling it a Trinitarian argument and calling it false, Kel is himself equivocating on the meaning of the word “who.”

Argument:

“Premise 1: There is one WHO.

Premise 2: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, are each the one DIVINE NATURE.

Conclusion: The three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one DIVINE NATURE.

Fallacy of Equivocation – using a word with two different definitions in the same argument does not result in a logical conclusion.”

Response:

This formulation might be equivocation if it was used as an argument, even if the “one WHO” is defined as three persons.  However, that argument is not necessary to defend the Trinity doctrine, so I don’t regard it as a “Trinitarian” argument at all.

Argument:

“Let us try one more time:

Premise 1: There is one DIVINE NATURE.

Premise 2: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, are each the one DIVINE NATURE.

Conclusion: The three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one DIVINE NATURE.

Presuming Premise 2 is correct, and presuming the Holy Spirit is a separate third person (both of which this site denies), this argument is TRUE.”

Response:

This is the first of this group of three arguments in which Kel actually lays out something akin to the Trinitarian position without equivocating.  But now even he has to say “this argument is TRUE” as long as premise 2 is correct.  In other words, no equivocation on the part of Trinitarians.

Argument:

“Now here is the most important question of all. When the Bible says that there is one God, is it referring to a WHO or a WHAT (divine nature). It is referring to a WHO, a personal IDENTITY. The one God is a LORD, a personal identity, a personal authority, a personal identity to be loved. The one God is not simply a “divine nature” that is possessed by three persons. Divine natures do not created universes, beget sons, Lord over creation, or anything of the like. Personal identity does such a thing. The one God is a Lord of the chosen people of God, a personal authority figure to be served.”

Response:

I would hold that God is both “a who” and “a what” and that these two are simply different aspects of the same God, much like an object’s form and substance are both aspects of the object.  Form and substance can be distinguished but not separated, as both must exist in order for the object to exist.  However, I disagree with Kel’s implied assumption that a “who” can only be one person, and I don’t think that anything in this article shows that Kel is even aware that it is possible for a “who” to be more than one person.

Argument:

“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that He is one, and there is no other but He; and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

Jesus and the Jewish scribe understood that the words “the Lord our God the Lord is one” to mean the Lord is one “HE” not one nature.”

Response:

Since Jesus knew the Scripture better than anyone, and was surely aware of places like Isaiah 49:21 where on “I” represents multiple persons, Kel cannot logically conclude from Jesus’ conversation with the scribe that when Jesus referred to the Lord as one “He” he meant the Lord is only one person.  If Jesus believed that only the Father is God, he would never have made himself equal with God (John 5:12) or accepted the worship of God (John 20:28, Revelation 5:13).

In his next illustration, Kel simply repeats one of his supposedly Trinitarian arguments mentioned earlier – the one where he falsely accuses Trinitarians of equivocating while he is doing it himself and apparently not realizing it.

Argument:

Kel says, “ . . .their own doctrine results in there being the one Triune God and Jesus is another God because the word “God” in the second statement is another definition for the word “God”, another God.”

Response:

As I tried to explain in my response to Kel’s article on 1 Corinthians 8:6, words often have more than one definition, and so another definition for the word “God” can be expanding our understanding of one God rather than meaning another God is being defined.  Kel’s sentence above clearly proves that he does not see this.

Argument:

“Indeed, it also means, in the very same way, that the Father is another God. Different definitions of God (i.e. defining different identities) means you have different Gods on your hands, different YAHWEHs, different Lords.”

Response:

Additional definitions of one identity is not the same thing as defining different identities.  Again, Kel seems blind to the possibility that something can have more than one attribute, which would mean the word describing the thing must have more than one definition.

The rest of Kel’s article simply restates and repeats what we have covered here and elsewhere, so I will end this response here.

The conclusion to all this is that the only equivocation revealed in Kel’s article is his own, and he seems to be completely unaware of it.