The original post is: “Why is it necessary that there be Three Persons in the Godhead? Why would two be insufficient, or four excessive?”Those are speculative inquiries. Someone could come up with a reasonable proposal to answer it; but the basic problem is the conjecture. There's simply no way to prove the truth of the proposal one way or another.
We are Trinitarian--and not polytheist, and not unitarian, and not whatever else you can imagine--because this, and nothing else, is what is revealed in the Bible about the nature of God, about the composition of the Godhead. The doctrine of the Trinity is just about the first piece of systematized theology that was ever thoroughly worked out in Christian history. It was a major intellectual undertaking, in answer to false choices being offered, of how the "puzzle" ought to go together.
That's how we got the doctrine of the Trinity: getting the whole Bible, OT & NT, to render up its truly, positively coherent representation (non-pictorial, I might add) of God. It's not that: some one or group thought up a sweet little idea that "something we'll call Trinitarianism will answer to our favorite philosophical curiosity." The Trinity isn't a via-media between monotheism and polytheism. The Triune deity isn't a theory in search of a justification.
The Trinity is the true "picture" of God that emerges when the puzzle of the Biblical data is sorted and laid out and fitted together.
This below could all (or mostly) be redundant, and repetitive of what you wrote.The original post is: “Why is it necessary that there be Three Persons in the Godhead? Why would two be insufficient, or four excessive?”
As I understand your post, I can’t agree with your: “There's simply no way to prove the truth of the proposal one way or another.”
If the OP is merely asking whether we’ve interpreted revelation aright, you’d say yes, we can prove that God has revealed himself as triune.
The OP doesn’t just ask whether God could be four persons. It also asks whether God could be two persons, which is one person less than God has positively revealed. Accordingly, the OP doesn’t concern itself with whether we’ve (a) interpreted revelation incorrectly by inferring three persons in Scripture when Scripture reveals only two, or (b) whether God might have held back revealing a fourth person.
In other words, the proposal doesn’t imply that God might not actually be triune. The proposal as stated, whether intentional or not, merely raises the question of whether the proposition God is triune is a necessary truth. I must insist that that can be proven (but not so easily apart from distinguishing types of truth).
That Bruce is an OPC pastor is a contingent truth. Although it’s true, it could be false (and is false in many possible worlds). That Bruce is male is an essential truth. Whenever Bruce exists, he exists as male. However, if God is triune, then God is necessarily triune. Who God is cannot be otherwise, unlike his works of creation, providence and grace. The necessity of God must be true lest God could be something other than I Am.
I appreciate the post, especially about the potential of our understanding in the world to come.This below could all (or mostly) be redundant, and repetitive of what you wrote.
I'm taking the questions posed as a single inquiry. If answered in a philosophical way, rather than by recourse to divine special revelation, then whatever that proposal is is not worthy of full persuasion. It cannot be proven, but is a mere probability. It rests at most on axioms of thought that may be widely agreed upon, yet about which various schools of thought differ.
On the other hand, I wrote that Scripture being the source of our knowledge of God's being and mind, God IS revealed as the Trinity or Triune God. I don't accept the legitimacy of alternate reconfiguration of that "picture," or its enhancement by other sources of revelation that should give a "sharper image," a better or fuller representation.
So, I think Scripture excludes the possibility of God being four Persons, or his being two. And so, in that sense it was my intent to convey that Scripture (exclusive of philosophical rationale) necessitates the Trinitarian Godhead.
You could be correct about the OP's inquiry, or you could be correct about what the OP asks when the question itself is rigorously interrogated. I think my answer was adequate, given my interpretation of the inquiry.
I also agree with you that God is most necessary, and therefore he is necessary in the kind (i.e. Trinitarian) of Being that he's revealed himself. That revelation is sufficient to tell us enough so that we can know him aright, and turn from false representations.
That revelation has also increased over time, especially OT to NT; and the sufficiency with respect to time has promoted proper discrimination always, whether in old time when the Trinitarian divine nature was out of focus, or in the current age when it is clearly set forth.
In the eschatological age to come, there could be a qualitative improvement of our knowledge of God, which makes the quantum leap in clarity from OT to NT look trivial. The increased sophistication by which we speak of the One God, now inclusive of the Three Persons, could then look even more like the "baby talk" it is (the language of Calvin in describing God's communication to us).
And all of it will be as necessary as the God who reveals himself. But, I no more think we will abandon Three Persons, than we ever abandoned One God.
A classic book on this subject is Richard of St. Victor, On the Trinity, now available in multiple translations. Starting from what is revealed, what he believed and sung every day in the creed, Richard undertakes a logical investigation. Most of the book is quite clear and forceful.
Is it that it is necessary? Or is it just that it is? I don't think this is a question to ask. We just know that is how God is because of what He has revealed.
If God is x, then necessarily, God is x.Is it that it is necessary? Or is it just that it is? I don't think this is a question to ask. We just know that is how God is because of what He has revealed.
Had God revealed Himself as Father and Son, or God and Spirit, then I suppose two would be sufficient. Had God revealed Himself as Father, Son, Spirit, and something else then I suppose four would be sufficient.
Sufficient and insufficient for what? Our salvation? His ontological existence? Our knowledge of God? These terms of sufficient and insufficient mustn’t be batted around this way.Had God revealed Himself as Father and Son, or God and Spirit, then I suppose two would be sufficient. Had God revealed Himself as Father, Son, Spirit, and something else then I suppose four would be sufficient.
But God revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit so anything more or less is insufficient.
Sufficient or insufficient for doctrine. Jesus, not our doctrine, saves.Sufficient and insufficient for what? Our salvation? His ontological existence? Our knowledge of God? These terms of sufficient and insufficient mustn’t be batted around this way.
Folks, it is necessary that God is triune because God is eternally triune.
“Had God revealed Himself as Father, Son, Spirit, and something else then I suppose four would be sufficient.“
Sufficient for what if God is triune? It’s not as though God is contingent upon who he reveals himself as being. Rather, his revelation of himself is constrained by what God is. God revealed himself as one essence for most of redemptive history (with hints of plurality). In these last days God has revealed himself as one God eternally existing in three distinct persons. God also revealed his self existence in terms of paternity, filiation and spiration.
The other responders have done well in their posts. It is a fact that the trinity comes from special revelation. I think, as others have pointed out, it seems you are asking (and if I'm wrong please correct me) for some logical "proof" of the trinity. I agree with everyone here that that's not possible. But as, has pointed out, the concept of a trinity does solve the ancient problem of the one and the many (or the problem of unity and diversity in our experience). So transcendentaly it does solve that problem. But as Bruce pointed out we don't need the trinity to simply solve problems, it's true regardless.