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  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.
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    "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. Oct 14, 2018 at 16:39
  • 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
    Oct 16, 2018 at 8:07
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    You 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
    Oct 16, 2018 at 8:13

6 Answers 6

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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.

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  • In not-material area I will agree with you. However, is God present and active as well in material world? Oct 15, 2018 at 14:46
  • @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
    Oct 15, 2018 at 15:07
  • Not, but material world is not godless place as well Oct 15, 2018 at 15:12
  • Presence of God in material world is not equal to God being material himself. Is it? Oct 15, 2018 at 15:19
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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"

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  • 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". Oct 15, 2018 at 8:19
  • @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! Oct 15, 2018 at 9:56
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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"

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    Would you have references to those Christians who reject the soundness of the proof? This would strengthen your answer. Welcome to this SE! Oct 15, 2018 at 0:26
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    @FrankHubeny Thanks for the welcome! :) I added a link. How's that? Oct 15, 2018 at 1:55
  • Thank you! That helps me get more information. Oct 15, 2018 at 1:59
  • 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. Oct 15, 2018 at 8:22
  • @CarlMasens OP originally used infinite the way I defined. OP changed infinite to omnipresent. Oct 15, 2018 at 15:52
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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”.

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  • The question was not about divine substance, but about persons of Trinity. Oct 14, 2018 at 14:34
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    @JosefKlimuk How can I describe the trinity without the divine substance? The trinity is the divine substance.
    – Cannabijoy
    Oct 14, 2018 at 14:36
  • Is substance of God omnipresent? Is every hypostase omnipresent? Oct 14, 2018 at 14:41
  • 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. Oct 14, 2018 at 14:47
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    From 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
    Oct 14, 2018 at 15:18
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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.

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  • This fails to answer the question. Oct 15, 2018 at 8:37
  • @Carl Masens: Read revision 2 of question. Edit has made question off-topic here.
    – Joshua
    Oct 15, 2018 at 14:08
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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.

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  • @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. Oct 15, 2018 at 8:54
  • @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. Oct 17, 2018 at 2:15
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    Unfortunately, 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. Nov 20, 2018 at 1:10
  • @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. Nov 20, 2018 at 1:12
  • Your lack of sources implies that you're also "not aware of any Trinitarian Christians who would" agree with anything you wrote here. Nov 20, 2018 at 1:14

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