Is God One What and Three Who’s?
We ask the question “What is God?“ because trinitarian scholars tell us that God is “One What and Three Who’s”. To us, describing the God of Israel as “One What“ seems like a strange and coldly impersonal way to talk about Him. Now we can’t help but wonder about the meaning of “One What“. Does this odd language reveal anything Biblical or true about God? If God is a divine “What” should we speak of divinity as “It” rather than Him? When we say “What is God“ are we asking a question or making a statement? I hope all this is clear, but if not, just watch the classic Abbott and Costello routine called “Who’s on First” and you will see that the logic of the Trinity is comedy of the highest order.
The Holy What of Israel
Trinitarian thinking is like being in a house of mirrors at a carnival sideshow where nothing appears normal. Mirrors and words can both distort reality and make things look other than they really are. Should get rid of the idea that God is The Holy One of Israel and say instead that God is The Holy What of Israel? If God really is a Holy What should we even use the word “what” in normal conversation anymore since it no longer means what it used to mean? Trinitarian theology can sure get confusing. Thank goodness we have theologians, scholars and comedians to help us find our way!
One What and Three Who’s Made Clear
(A dialogue between a scholarly theologian and a new disciple.)
Theologian: Do you have any questions?
Disciple: Just one. Can you tell me about God?
Theologian: Of course. God is one What and three Who’s.
Disciple: One What?
Theologian: Yes! That’s right. God is one What.
Disciple: Hey! Wait a minute! What are you talking about?
Theologian: I’m talking about God. That’s What.
Disciple: What do you mean?
Theologian: That’s right! Now you’ve got It!
Disciple: Got What?
Theologian: Yes! You’ve got the One What that is three Who’s. That’s What!
Disciple: So if I want to know Who God is What is the most important thing?
Theologian: That is exactly right! I couldn’t have said it any better. Now you know What’s What. Just remember God is one What and three Who’s.
Disciple: I don’t think you’re helping me. You’re talking nonsense and I’m getting a headache!
Theologian: Yes, this can sound like nonsense but What doesn’t!
Disciple: You’re crazy! I don’t think you really know anything about God.
Theologian: Well, all these things make sense to me but Who knows?
Copyright 2022 by Bob Shutes