Trouble explaining the Trinity
(03-25-2019, 08:28 PM)Julia Augusta Wrote: I have trouble explaining the Trinity to my non-Christian husband. I'm gently trying to convert him - he's very stubborn and laughs at the concept of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (which I had no trouble explaining). 

However explaining the Trinity to someone who is very dismissive of Catholicism is difficult.

Do you know of any good books that explain the Trinity well?

First, why are you trying to explain the Immaculate Conception? If your husband is not a Christian (or a religious Jew) then the whole concept of Original Sin should be foreign to him. If so, there's little point in saying "see this lady here, she was preserved from Original Sin."

Same goes for the Trinity. Does he accept any divinity? If so, what religion does he profess?

Secondly, both the Immaculate Conception and Trinity are mysteries. This means they exceed the ability of reason to grasp fully. The mind cannot see how they are intrinsically obvious, so trying to prove them or even explain them will always hit a wall which requires Faith (the acceptance of the truth of a proposition based on an authority, and in the case of Supernatural Faith, on God's authority).

In order for someone to accept them, he must accept that God exists (which can be proven by natural reason), it is possible that God reveals certain truths (also proven by natural reason), and that he has revealed this this or than thing (this requires Faith even if arguments for reasonablness can be made). 

If you try to explain something without him accepting revelation, then you're putting the cart before the horse.

The difference between these two mysteries is that one if a "second class" mystery (the Immaculate Conception) and one is a "first class" mystery. No matter what God reveals to us even in heaven we will not fully understand these. We will see that it is, but not get the why. We will never understand the Trinity completely even when seeing God face to face. The Immaculate Conception, however, is a mystery (because a miracle), but once we accept that it happened, we can understand a great deal about it and perhaps even the hows and whys. 

You make a grave error if you expect your husband to just study and then "get" the Trinity, as if it were something that could be proven. You might in doing this turn him away from conversion.

First step is to get him to accept the natural truths, then we can proceed towards supernatural truths. First he must accept that God exists, and there is only one God. It's pointless to go any further if he doesn't understand and accept this, since it is not only foundational, but a truth of natural reason. If he won't use his reason, then trying to convince him of supernatural truth is pointless.

Then if he accepts that there is one God, you can show him how it's not contrary to reason for there to be one Divinity which is shared in common by Three Persons. We have no example of "Person" which is not an "individual substance" so this is difficulty, but then define what is meant by each term theologically.

Yet a better approach is to show the reasonableness of the more basic teachings of the Catholic Faith, the trustworthiness of Scripture, etc. If Jesus existed, performed miracles and the rest and is worthy of belief, then the Trinity is just something one accepts. That's probably better.

Messages In This Thread
Trouble explaining the Trinity - by Julia Augusta - 03-25-2019, 08:28 PM
RE: Trouble explaining the Trinity - by MagisterMusicae - 03-25-2019, 09:17 PM
Trouble explaining the Trinity - by Augustinian - 03-25-2019, 09:56 PM

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