”And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among nations, believed on the in the world, received in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)
Instead of “godliness” one translator renders it “religion.” This means that there are aspects of our religion, aspects of God that are mysterious. Not easily understood and could be misinterpreted. Recognition of this mystery should forewarn us that God should not be limited to the boundary of the human mind. God should not be put inside the boundary of mathematics. One of these difficult aspects in Christianity is the persona and nature or essence of Christ.
Among us in the Churches of Christ, we believe that Christ is deity, is divine, is true God. God of very God from eternity past and will always be true God unto eternity in the future. We also believe that Christ is the second person in the Holy Trinity. He is one spirit persona. But he is prophesied as the seed of the woman who will neutralize the works of the Devil and as a branch of David and so He needs to become human. In His humanity, He is a complete human being. Man of very man. One complete human person with a body of human flesh, a spirit and soul.
Into that one human body of flesh, spirit and soul of Jesus Christ dwell the one divine spirit person of Christ. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Him wells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Our orthodox view says “Christ is one person.” Christ is man of very man, one complete person. In addition, Christ is God of very God, one complete person in the Holy Trinity. When the Christ man and the Christ God fused together through the power of the Almighty God the Lord Jesus Christ became one person. Not two persons. Is this not a mystery?
Some Bible students want to explain this mystery by multiplying 1 times 1 equals 1 or (1 x 1= 1). Or by having 1 divided by 1 equals 1 or (1/1 = 1). This is an arbitrary mathematical operation. It is based on ignorance. Mathematics is logic. I would like to come face to face with a Christian professor of mathematics who believes that this mathematical operation is a reasonable explanation of a theological problem. Those who don’t even have a math major in college are not credible people to mouth things they have no knowledge of unless they produce authoritative documents to back up their theories.
To test the theory of some misinformed brethren, we reflect on and test their ideas. One who plants and one who waters are one says the book of
Corinthians. Apollos who planted and Paul who watered are one. See 1 Cor. 3:8. When we multiply the numerical person of Apollos by the numerical person of Paul, do the two persons actually become one person? No. When we multiply the numerical person of the Father by the numerical person of the Son, do the two persons become one person? No. In view of these questions and illustrations, I appeal to my brethren to stop mouthing ignorant explanations about the mystery of our religion.
The rule in mathematics says that the nature of the multiplicand or the dividend should the nature of the result or the quotient. In the Holy Trinity we talk about three persons not three Gods. So when one talks about multiplying 1 person (the Father) times 1 person (the Son), he should remember that the nature of the multiplicand is “person” and if you put “God” as your result, your operation is wrong. Also we should remember that mathematical operations of division and multiplication talks about counting numbers of individual entities. When we see this 9 x 9, the first number is called the “multiplicand” and when this multiplicand is identified with specific items like mango, cow or persons the answer should be the characteristic of the multiplicand.
When some brethren want to display their bluff to explain the mysterious unity of the Trinity they parrot this mathematical formula: “1 x 1 x 1 = 1.” But we should clarify with this question: “Because we are talking about the Holy Trinity, what is the characteristic of that numerical 1, is it person or God?” It could not be 1God x 1God x 1 God = 1 God because would be a tritheistic sentence. What we really talk about is “person.” There are three persons, which is why there are three number ones in the equation. We are talking about persons. So the operation 1person x 1 person x 1person = 1 God is wrong. Do you now see the ignorance of those who mouth the 1 x 1 x 1=1 mathematical sentence? It is simply ignorance. So please stop displaying ignorance.
-Eusebio Tanicala (6.15.10)