Question of the Week: Trinity and Soul?

On November 4th, 2018, The Mentionables received this question through Facebook from John Dominique:

If the Trinity is God and God is infinite then how can the Trinity exclude the soul? Doesn’t that mean God is not infinite?

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Here are the answers from the team.

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This answer is from Randy Hroziencik

This looks like a really great question, but I have to be honest and admit that I'm not exactly sure what's being asked.  I think the question is, "Why is God considered to be triune in nature (Father, Son, Spirit) and not four-fold in nature - Father, Son, Spirit, and the soul (or soul-spirit) that resides within each human being?"  If this is the question, this is how I will answer it.  (And I apologize if I've missed the question; if I have, hopefully you'll still find my answer interesting!)

First, we know from God's revealed Word (Scripture) that God is triune in nature.  God is one (Isaiah 44:6; John 5:44; 17:3; Romans 3:29-30; 1 Corinthians 8:4; Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19), yet there are three separate persons called God.  Although the word Trinity is not found in Scripture (Tertullian is generally credited with devising this word), this teaching is clearly surmised through many verses such as 1 Peter 1:1-2 (God the Father), John 1:1-14 (God the Son), and Genesis 1:1-2 (God the Spirit).  The Bible clearly teaches a three-in-oneness within the Godhead in other key places as well (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

Second, God is infinite as well.  "Infinite" means several things, although it primarily means "without limitations."  Among these several things are: God is eternal – He had no beginning and He will have no end (Psalm 90:2; Revelation 1:8).  God is immutable, or eternally the same (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17).  God is Spirit (John 4:24), incorporeal and invisible (Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:15).  God is omnipotent, meaning he can do everything; there is nothing which God cannot do (Jeremiah 32:17).  God is omniscient, or knows everything there is to know (Hebrews 4:13).  God is omnipresent, meaning he is present everywhere at the same time (Jeremiah 23:23-24). 

So, the clear teaching from the scriptures is that God is both triune and infinite.  No dispute there.  However, the soul that resides within human beings is not infinite - it is a created thing.  If the soul were eternally infinite - as is God - then it could not be destroyed, even by God Himself, because it would be equal with God.  However, Matthew 10:28 indicates that both the soul and the body can be destroyed, which makes sense because it is, once again, a created thing.

Regarding the soul, let me share this excerpt from one of my ordination papers.  It may (or may not!) shed a little light on the soul: "Some believe that every human soul or soul-spirit has been created by God and placed within the physical body at some point between conception and birth.  Others believe that the whole human being, both the material and the immaterial components, are procreated naturally through the human parents.  These people are labeled “traducianists,” and they vary regarding the point at which the soul is adjoined to the physical body while in the womb.  Traducianists claim that their belief best explains the transmission of the human sin nature, although in reality this transmission is a mystery which neither camp can thoroughly explain.  Ultimately, God is responsible for the immaterial aspect of the human being (soul or soul-spirit), and this immaterial component of each person is joined to the physical body at the point of conception.  To believe that the soul or soul-spirit is joined to the physical body at any point after conception is a slippery slope that can lead to a defense of abortion."

So, to recap, God is triune and infinite, but the soul (or soul-spirit) is a created thing - not the Creator.