The concept of the Trinity is probably one of the most confusing things in Christianity. It is more than the limited human brain can comprehend. As a Christian, I can tell you that I know that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three, yet one. I cannot tell you, however, how this is possible except to say that God does not exist within our limited understanding. God created man, so it stands to reason that there are things God knows and understands that we don’t.
One argument I see consistently against the Trinity is mathematical. 1+1+1 does not equal 1. This argument has always frustrated me, because it is man trying to use a man-made process to explain God. But I was thinking about it today, and in purely mathematical terms, this statement is correct. 1+1+1 cannot equal 1. This argument is correct. It does not, however, disprove the Trinity. All this means is that you cannot express the existence of God as 1+1+1=1.
How about 13? That’s 1x1x1=1. Three individual numbers, yet when they are correctly applied, they come out to 1. This is “1-cubed”, or “1 to the third power”, or “1 to the power of 3” (which I think is my favorite for this analogy). Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not add anything to God. Instead, they magnify Him.
Now, am I saying this mathematically proves the Trinity? Of course not. I’m just saying, if you’re going to compare God to mathematics, this one fits better than addition.
“God was not bound to provide us a Saviour, nor to open us a door of hope, nor to call us to repent and turn when once we had cast ourselves away by sin. But he has freely done it to magnify his mercy.” ~Richard Baxter, A Call to the Unconverted
3 thoughts on “1+1+1=1?”
While I’m atheist, I do like your idea of trying to apply maths to the concept.
I would think that Boolean algebra would be more suitable, using truth tables. If A and B match, in the first case, a would be equal to 0 (because it’s false), and all else true.
Hence, Father and Son would be false, yet Father, Son, and Spirit would be true.
You could use it in potentially any combination of the three.
Interesting concept. I’m not familiar with that. By no stretch of the imagination am I a mathematician, so I apologize if I’m misunderstanding this, but I don’t think that would fit. If any part of the Trinity were false, then it all would be, because while one, Father, Son, and Spirit are still individual entities. Any combination of the three must be true. I’m sure there’s no truly accurate math equivelant for God and the Trinity. Part of me wants to look up Boolean algebra now, but the part of me that remembers highschool math is screaming NOOOO! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
No worries, 🙂
Pop by the blog sometime, 🙂