The Trinity

September 1 2021 - 25 Elul 5781

If God were one Person, could He still achieve everything that the three Persons do individually? If you intuitively want to answer "yes" then you're sensing that the concept of the Trinity is redundant. If He can, then the Trinity divides between His abilities and assigns them to separate centers of consciousness.

For example, God can run the world, can forgive people, and can inspire them without delegating them respectively to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This divine delegation "weakens" God because it means that He must assume three Persons to cover the full range of activity required of Him. If it is not due to weakness this means that God arbitrarily chose three instead of any other number. This leads to the question; why is three God's natural state, especially when Deuteronomy 6:4 (the Shema) says that "Hashem is our God, Hashem is One."

Speaking of "one," the Shema's formulation is actually quite strange. The first part makes sense - "Hashem is our God," but what does the second part mean - "Hashem is One"? If Hashem is our God, that means that only Hashem is our God and no other deity. But if the part means that only Hashem is our God, what meaning does the second part add?

If I may, we may break this verse down into two different fundamental concepts.

The first part means that no other gods exist, while the second part means that God's nature is completely unified. In other words, "Hashem is our God" refers to quantity, while "Hashem is One" refers to quality. Jews and Christians agree on God's quantity, i.e., that there are no other deities, but we do not agree on God's quality. Jews posit that God's quality is utterly unified and seamless, while Christians hold that His quality is essentially three-fold.

Perhaps the time-honored Shema is in fact a good, clear, and simple source for the long-held Jewish position that God is exclusive both in His existence and in His nature.

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