If God Is Three, Why Am I Not?

March 31, 2021 - Nisan 18, 5781

What Does It Mean to Be Made in God's Image?

If God is Triune, and we are made in the image of God, why are we not triune? Why are we not one being made up of three distinct elements?

Many Christians will immediately respond by pointing out that human beings are made up of three distinct elements: body, spirit, and soul, or body, emotions, and intellect. Judaism agrees that a human being is composed of three distinct elements; nefesh, ruach, and neshama.

However, if we use Dr. William Lane Craig's description of the Persons of the Trinity as "three centers of self-consciousness," are we able to say that every human being is also made up of three distinct centers of self-consciousness?

When you think about the experience of your own existence, do you relate to yourself as one center of consciousness, or three? What would life be like if you were composed of three simultaneously and perpetually activated centers of consciousness? Would you be able to function normally?

What may be alarming to realize for Trinitarians is that your sense of being is intricately synchronized with one center of consciousness, that is, simply speaking, "you." In fact, Christianity is careful to define the Trinity as "one Being with three Persons," (with Person meaning "center of consciousness"), but if we are made in the image of God, and we are one being with one center of consciousness, it seems sensible that God is also one Being with one center of consciousness.

Now it is true that you may identify three distinct and natural elements of your being, but you do not experience them as three separate centers of consciousness. It's true that your body, emotions, and intellect filter information to you in three different ways, but they filter that information to one center of consciousness, to "you."

In other words, it is as if you are surrounded by a screen with three different openings, and stimulus from the environment reaches you from each of those openings. You are not in fact identical to those openings, but interact with them.

In fact, if you were to experience within yourself three centers of consciousness you may be described as suffering from split personality disorder, which is "a mental disorder where a person has two or more distinct personalities." It's disturbing to think that you cannot assume a likeness to a Triune God without becoming mentally ill.

To Be Like God, Think Like God

During Pesach we say the Hallel prayer every morning (Psalms 115:3-9):

But our God is in heaven; whatever He wishes, He does.
Their idols are silver and gold, the handiwork of man.
They have a mouth but they do not speak; they have eyes but they do not see.
They have ears but they do not hear; they have a nose but they do not smell.
Their hands-but they do not feel; their feet-but they do not walk; they do not murmur with their throat.
Like them shall be those who make them, all who trust in them.

וֵֽאלֹקינוּ בַשָּׁמָ֑יִם כֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁר־חָפֵ֣ץ עָשָֽׂה:
עֲצַבֵּיהֶם כֶּ֣סֶף וְזָהָ֑ב מַֽ֜עֲשֵׂ֗ה יְדֵ֣י אָדָֽם:
פֶּ֣ה לָ֖הֶם וְלֹ֣א יְדַבֵּ֑רוּ עֵינַ֥יִם לָ֜הֶ֗ם וְלֹ֣א יִרְאֽוּ:
אָזְנַ֣יִם לָ֖הֶם וְלֹ֣א יִשְׁמָ֑עוּ אַ֥ף לָ֜הֶ֗ם וְלֹ֣א יְרִיחֽוּן:
יְדֵיהֶ֚ם | וְלֹ֬א יְמִישׁ֗וּן רַ֖גְלֵיהֶם וְלֹ֣א יְהַלֵּ֑כוּ לֹֽא־יֶ֜הְגּ֗וּ בִּגְרוֹנָֽם:
כְּמוֹהֶם יִֽהְי֣וּ עֹשֵׂיהֶ֑ם כֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁר־בֹּטֵ֣חַ בָּהֶֽם:

Pesach Kasher Ve'Sameach!

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