By Eusebio Tanicala
(Note: This is the second of a series that seeks to increase our knowledge about the Holy Trinity which in turn should give us better understanding what Tritheism and Unitarianism teach. Please don’t teach weak arguments to our young preachers. These young preachers could become discouraged when confronted by those who spot the fallacies in the youngsters’ arguments that they are initially taught to employ. Weak arguments make apologists of the other side heap contempt on their opponents; weak or wrong arguments actually promote others to continue on with their errors. This is series #2).
Trinitarians are monotheistic. Trinitarians believe that there are three distinct persons in the one true God. But many don’t know the explanation how it is possible that there are three distinct persons in the one Godhead.
Systematic dogmatic theology has this axiom: “God is indivisible.” But here come some Trinitarian Bible teachers who brandish their ignorant, bluff formula: “1 divided by 1 divided 1 equals one God.” This statement is not an accepted mathematical or theological formula. It reveals mathematical ignorance. It reveals theological self-contradiction.
Why self-contradictory? It is self-contradictory because it is a settled dogma in systematic theology that “God is indivisible.” Why say that God is indivisible, why say that God should not be thought of in separate parts and then in the next step you offer the mathematical formula of division to explain the triune Godhead? Dogmatic theology warns us not to say “The Father is one God, the Son is one God, the Holy Spirit is one God.” This is a wrong statement. It is tritheistic.
Why is it mathematical ignorance? It is so because the rule in math says that the description of the dividend must be the description of the result. A Trinitarian believes that the three 1’s are the three persons. So the submitted formula should read this way, “1 person divided by 1 person divided 1 person equals 1 person.” But why should anyone divide the number of one person by the number of the other persons? It’s foolishness. Why do these Bible teachers put ‘God” as the description of the result? They don’t follow the rule of mathematics.
We should also recognize the fact that no author or speaker in the whole Bible ever taught that applying the mathematical operation of multiplication or division explains the oneness/unity of the Godhead. None of the church fathers who understood the Greek text of the first century ever employed multiplication or division to explain the trinity of the Godhead. No theologian of note in the past one thousand years ever employed multiplication or division to explain the trinity. No mathematician in our Christian universities and colleges ever came out with multiplication or division to compute the number of the Godhead.
I suspect that some Pinoys who didn‘t have a single subject in systematic dogmatic theology, some Pinoys who didn’t know the New Testament Greek text, some Pinoys who didn’t have a college degree in mathematics invented this horrific formula.
On the basis of the preceding facts, I appeal to our aging preachers and Bible college teachers who use weak arguments to stop passing on to young preachers their lightweight and unvalidated theological opinions.
I continue on writing about this “mathematical bluff” because about the middle of this current year, I heard two Bible college students practicing their arguments about the Trinity. One said, “You teach that the Father is God, and the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, di mo ba alam na 1 plus 1 plus 1 is equal to three? So you have three Gods.” The second student retorted, “Di mo ba alam ang division na 1 divided by 1 divided 1 is equal to 1?” I told these students that such kind of argumentation or presumption they were making was wrong and foolish. I’ve promised them that after they shall have finished their first year subjects, I shall give them my explanation.
(Note: A third article further develops this study on the cardinal numeral one. -ET) ###