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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Trinity: One God in Three Persons

Don Stewart :: Why Do Some People Argue There Are Two Trinities?

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Why Do Some People Argue There Are Two Trinities?

The Trinity: One God in Three Persons – Question 28

There are some people who actually say the Bible teaches “two Trinities.” Why do they say something like this? Are there two distinct Trinities?

The Argument for Two Trinities

The argument for two trinities is as follows. God, on the one hand is said to be equal; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same nature or substance. On the other hand, the Father gives commands to the Son, and the Son obeys these commands. Moreover, the Holy Spirit submits to the commands of both the Father and the Son. Thus there are two Trinities. There is one which is equal and another in which the members are unequal.

There is more. Some people use God's actions as a starting point concerning how we view who He is. Consequently, they assume the Father is greater in nature, or character, than the Son, and the Holy Spirit is lesser in character with the Father and the Son. In addition, using God's actions as a starting point for understanding His nature assumes that He has certain needs. He needed to create humanity to meet these things lacking in His character.


We can respond to the idea that there are two Trinities in the following manner:

1. This Confuses Who He Is with What He Does

There are not two Trinities. The biblical position, as well as the historic position of the Christian faith is that each member of the Trinity is equal in essence but subordinate in function. While the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equally God, the Son submits to the Father while the Spirit submits to both the Father and the Son.

We need to distinguish between God's very nature and His activities. It is the difference between who God is versus what He does in the world.

2. God Needs Nothing

Scripture is clear that God needs nothing. Indeed, it was not necessary for Him to create the world, neither was the creation something that was not fulfilling to Him. The Apostle Paul said to a pagan crowd in Athens that God needs nothing:

“The God who made the world and everything in it—He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things.” (Acts 17:24-25 HCSB).

He gives life, everything needs Him. God is independent from the world yet works in it. We cannot identify Him with the world.

3. Priority Must Be Given to His Being Not His Actions

Today, people are making the mistake of giving priority to how God works rather than whom He says that He is. Priority is given to His actions, not His Person. His actions are used to determine who God is. Thus, it is assumed that God's actions are a necessary part of His being. Consequently, people are teaching that He needs the world. This robs God of His independence from the world.

4. This View Rejects the Truths of Divine Revelation

Divine revelation tells us who God is. In fact, it is the only way we can know anything about God. God tells us truths about Himself that we cannot observe for ourselves. We cannot reject this merely because we cannot personally experience it for ourselves.

Thus, we must let the Bible tell us exactly who God is. This is something which it clearly does. When we examine the text of Scripture we discover there are not two contradictory Trinities but rather one consistent portrait of who God is and what He does.

Summary – Question 28
Why Do Some People Argue There Are Two Trinities?

There is the argument that Christians actually believe in two Trinities, not one. In one Trinity, the members are co-equal and co-eternal. In the other Trinity, the Father is greater than the Son and the Father and Son are greater than the Holy Spirit.

Those who argue for two Trinities make a number of mistakes. They confuse what Jesus and the Holy Spirit do with who they are. While the Son is subordinate to the Father and the Spirit is subordinate to the Son this is only in their actions or roles within the Godhead; it has nothing to do with their character of nature.

In addition, it assumes that God has certain needs; but the Bible says He has none. Basically, those who hold this view reject the clear teaching of divine revelation.

Do We Have to Describe the Trinity in Masculine Terms? ← Prior Section
Does It Matter Whether the Holy Spirit Proceeded from the Father Rather than the Son? Next Section →
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