Sunday, February 14, 2010

An Argument for the Trinity from Divine Love

In this post I will give an philosophical argument for there being multiple persons in one God. The argument is as follows:

P1: There is one God who is the greatest possible being
P2: Greatest possible being has every moral perfection to the highest possible degree
P3: Love is a moral perfection
P4: Love to the highest possible degree is not solely centered on ones own person but on another person in love (GL)
P5: God either has GL by his very substance or by things outside of his substance
P6: It is false that God has GL outside of his substance
P7: God has GL in his substance entails that the substance has multiple persons
P8: God has GL in his substance
C: Hence, God is multiple persons

Premise 1:

The greatest possible being is such that there can only be one because it is better that God's greatness has no equal rather than there be an competing equal to God. It also seems that the greatest possible being would be a being worthy of worship and hence God is the greatest possible being.

Premise 4:

Love to the highest possible degree is not solely centered on ones own person but on another person in love. This seem plausible because when a person only loves himself this seems like not the best kind of love but rather it seems self-centered. For this reason a love that is not for another person is a imperfect love and not a property that is had by the greatest possible being.

Premise 6:

This love cannot depend on creation (which is something outside of God) because creation happens to exist by an act of God's free will to create. There are some possible worlds where God does not create and in those worlds God would still be loving even if there are no other created beings. In other words: God's love is necessary and essential, but creation is contingent so created persons cannot be the object of God's love because God's loving nature is necessary.


This argument shows that God is one substance, but this one substance has multiple persons so that the greatest possible being can have the greatest possible love which would be one person loving at least one other person. General revelation using reason as it's instrument can demonstrate such a truth as there being a plurality of persons in one substance but special revelation alone can give us the most precious truth that God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Greetings Nathanael Taylor

    On the subject of the Trinity,
    I recommend this video:
    The Human Jesus

    Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you to reconsider "The Trinity"

    Yours In Messiah
    Adam Pastor

  3. Hello Adam,

    The video was not altogether helpful to me because it displayed a lack of understanding about the trinity and it did not deal with the strongest texts in favor of the trinity.

    I hope and pray that you embrace Jesus as God so that you may have salvation.

    John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I AM you will die in your sins."

    Exodus 3:14 14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

    But nonetheless I would be interested in your response to the philosophical argument I made on this post.

    God Bless,


  4. Hi Nathanael,

    First, I agree that God is Triune.

    How would you answer the skeptic that might assert that (P4) does not entail the necessity of three Divine persons but rather only two? The conclusion to which I wholeheartedly agree is that God is multiple persons. Apart from scripture (Acts 5:3-4)is there an argument for a distinctly Trinitarian view of God using your argument?

  5. Hello there,

    I should say that one has to factor in additional historical evidence to support the position that God is three persons. The pattern of reasoning would go something like this: We have sufficient historical evidence to demonstrate that God raised Jesus from the dead therefore: this verifies all of Jesus claims and one of Jesus’ claims was that he would send his Spirit to lead his Apostles in all truth and his Apostles taught that there were three persons in one divine being. Good question. I hope that clears things up.

    God Bless,


  6. A very interesting argument that may be able to stand if one already affirms that rational
    a priori essentials furnished by the Christian worldview.
    An anti-theist (denies CWV) could refute the argument by denying P1, P2, P3 forasmuch as the author delivers unargued stipulations; stipulations which lack necessity w/i the anti-theistic WV.

  7. Hello Tony,

    Very observant of you Tony. This argument was designed to refute Unitarian concepts of God. Atheist would deny premise 1. The argument only flies if one accepts the existence of a God. I do not know any atheist that would deny 2 or 3, but every atheist I know would deny 1. Hence, once you prove 1 using theistic arguments you would then use this argument to put you closer to the Christian worldview rather than Islam or Judaism. Thank you for your thoughts.

    God Bless,


  8. Premise four seems subjective to me. Actually a whole lot of the argument seems subjective. Why is a love between two people greater then the love for one's self? Wouldn't the greatest possible being also possess the greatest possible love for himself? If this is so, then it cannot be that to love yourself is an imperfection. Unless, I suppose, you take the position that God doesn't love himself? If that's the case, then how could God know what it is like to love one's self? If God doesn't know this piece of knowledge, then how can God be said to be the greatest possible being since I (presumably) would have a greater piece of knowledge (in that one area) then God?

    I know I'm rambling a bit, but what about love for humanity or group? Why are those lesser loves?

  9. Hello, these are good questions:

    A love that is only on ones self seems to be selfish and a vice rather than a virtue. This is even what 1 Corinthians 13 suggests. I would say the greatest possible love is a love that is not only on oneself, so if he has the greatest possible love then it will be for another person. God only knows all true propositions or all statements facts, but God does not know what it is like to be imperfect, less perfect, or sinful. It is good to have all factual knowledge, but it does not seem good to have personal knowledge of imperfection. God has love for humanity, but humanity does not necessarily exists so it cannot ground God's perfect and necessary love, only a necessary person could ground such a love. Thank you for your thoughtful remarks.

    God Bless,


  10. I cannot agree with your argument that love within a Greatest Possible Being dictates multiple persons. For the greatest possible being to say "Love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul and body" and "You will have no other Gods before me" tends to place the GPB into a self-centered love aspect. To contend that the GPB is multiple persons, would be reflective of a time prior to Creation. Though when God said "let us make man in our image" it is not sufficient because when God talked to Moses He said "I am"... not "We are". It was not stated until Christ (God's created Son) stated in the Gospel of John "that God so loved the world..." Up until this time God required love and worship from His creations. Hence "Love" does not fulfill the argument of multiple persons within the Greatest Possible Being.

  11. Hello Les,

    I do not think these commands places God as self-centered because these scriptures references are talking about our actions and attitudes towards God rather than God's inter trinitarian actions towards himself. The differences between "I AM" and "let us" are easily explained by simply stating that in the former instance God is making reference to one of his personhoods and in the latter his making a reference to all three persons. I do not see how any of these considerations defeat my argument. Thank you so much for your thoughts.

    God Bless,