God has laid it on my heart over the past several years to purposefully develop close friendships with Mormons. True to form, He has brought all the right people into my life, sparking many valuable conversations, and I am eternally grateful for all of this. I say all of this for two reasons. First, that you would understand the source of the objections I will discuss today; second, that you may understand the attitude of my heart in writing these things. Many evangelicals have been accused unfairly (and some fairly) of having hatred and animosity toward their audience. I hope you will find that this is not the case here.
For the sake of clarity, the objective of this article is to respond to three common objections given by Mormons to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity; it is not to explain all the intricacies of the doctrine, or to give my arguments in favor of it.
A definition is in order. A fuller explanation may be forthcoming if this article is not a complete disaster, but for now, Wayne Grudem’s summary of the doctrine of the Trinity should suffice. He writes:
“We may define the doctrine of the Trinity as follows: God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.” (Systematic Theology, pg 226)
Objection #1: The Trinity is too confusing
If this sounds confusing to you, be encouraged; you may be normal. This doctrine concerns the fundamental nature of a being who is far greater than anything mankind has ever encountered. It would be either arrogance or ignorance on our part to imagine that we would not have trouble understanding it. Consider this: Would a dog have any chance at solving the mind/body problem? Yet the difference between man and God is far greater and deeper than the difference between a dog and his owner. So we see that the doctrine of the Trinity is appropriately confusing.
Objection #2: The Trinity is contradictory
While a person may be justified in suggesting that the doctrine of the Trinity is confusing, they would not be justified in claiming that it is a contradiction. According to the law of noncontradiction, a statement cannot be both true and false in the same way and at the same time. If the doctrine of the Trinity stated that God is one being and three beings, or that God is one person and three persons, then it would be contradictory. However, God is one being and three persons. Difficult as it is to comprehend, there is no contradiction here.
Objection #3: The word “Trinity” is absent from the Bible
Finally, there are those who argue that the absence of the word “Trinity” from the Bible indicates that the Apostles did not teach the doctrine thereof. The argument seems to go something like this:
1) If the Apostles ever taught the doctrine of the Trinity, they would have used the word “Trinity” at some point in their writings.
2) They did not use the word in their writings.
3) Therefore, they did not teach the doctrine.
While it is true that the word was not formed until long after the Bible was completed, it does not necessarily follow that the Apostles did not teach the doctrine of the Trinity. One can discuss the content of an idea without ever using the word which serves as its title. In regard to Mormonism in particular, it is important to note that the Apostles never used the word “anthropotheism” either.