“God is Love”
~1 John 4:8
On a Christian Theology, God is one being, and simultaneously three persons without contradiction since persons are not identical to beings, nor is one being necessarily at most one person. The most advantageous insight which this vision of God has introduced has been a way for God to actually be Love. Love is by definition, it seems, shared between a subject and its object, and the more perfectly if its object reciprocates. God cannot have as the sole object of his love the world or else the world would not reciprocate perfectly, and it would mean God only ‘became’ Love at the moment of Creation, since before that time the object ‘the created world’ did not exist. Rather, God in three persons is Love precisely because he is the ontological foundation of Love in a strong sense – thus Catholic philosophers will say that God cannot ever fall in love with anyone or anything for the same reason the ocean is the only thing which can’t get wet. God the Father loves the Son, and pours all of himself out for the Son, identifying himself with the Son (which is what subjects do with the objects of their love – notice how in a romantic relationship both people ‘take on’ a new identity by identifying with each other – also consider how Golum identifies with the Ring, etc all of this is evident from experience). The Son, then, gives himself to the Father, reciprocates all of his love, and thus from the Father and be-cause of the Son, the Holy Spirit becomes an object of that affection as well, since the love itself is loved. Finally, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each giving each other completely to the other two, identifying themselves with each other completely. This model of God suggests that God’s reason for creation was precisely to extend this love, so that another participation in this very mystery of love might be possible. Creation, then, as Simone Weil has said, is itself an act of Kenosis (Kenosis is a Greek word used in the New Testament to describe Christ pouring himself-out on the cross, Philippians 2:7).
Consider, then, the alternative; suppose that God is not a trinity, and is nothing relevantly similar to a Trinity. If this were the case, then God could be one single ‘person’. However, if God were one person, then he could not be love essentially, since the object of his Love would not exist. In some sense, perhaps somebody could say that he is the object of his own love, and this makes some sense since God is the Summum Bonum, but this isn’t what we mean here by ‘Love’ since Love is always shared, and consists in a relation. However, on the unitarian model, this reflection entails that God is selfish, and it would also imply that either man is ultimately supposed to be selfish in imitation of him, or else that man is supposed to be subservient and humble, and God alone has the right to be selfish in the true noble sense. However, the problem seems to be that if God is selfish and all sufficient, one might wonder how God could ever create anything. What sufficient reason would exist to explain why God did what he did, i.e., create? Surely, nothing God does is superfluous, since that suggestion itself undermines his perfection. On the Trinitarian view, God created not because he lacked anything, but because he decided to share the Love he shared within himself with another object of Love. In short, God created out of Love. However, on the unitarian view, it isn’t even coherent to say ‘God is Love’ since there is no object of his love which reciprocates.
I submit that on the Unitarian model there is no sufficient reason why God created the world. It cannot be for want of anything, it cannot be superfluous (without purpose or cause), and it cannot be from a desire to share himself as love. Therefore, a unitarian God who creates the world, is, it seems, impossible.
Does this prove the Trinity? I don’t think it does. There are numerous theologies on which God never creates the world at all; Process theology, Open Theism, Spinoza’s pantheism, etc – these are all options which, it seems, are logically possible. For instance, on Process Theology, the world is simply God’s body, and therefore it itself exists incontingently, and some views of open theism are similar, not to mention Spinoza’s pantheism is also significantly similar. Therefore, the argument’s success here doesn’t prove that God is a Trinity, but rather that if God created the world, then he must be either a Trinity, or something relevantly similar to a Trinity. For somebody to avoid the conclusion of the argument, they must posit that there is some reason for God to have created the world, or else they must say that the cause of God’s creation is superfluous in the sense defined above.