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JenniferP's avatar

Is the comparison of an egg to the Trinity a false analogy?

Asked by JenniferP (2103 points ) November 17th, 2012

I have heard the Trinity is like an egg. The three parts of the Trinity are compared to the shell, white and yolk. This seems like a false analogy to me.

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29 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

I gather there is a religious component to this question, but I don’t know anything about religion. What I do know about is analogies. And there isn’t enough information here to tell if this is a falso analogy or not.

To tell if an analogy is good or bad; true or false; you need to know what is meant. If the analogy successfully conveys meaning, it is good. If not, it would be a false analogy. It all depends on what meaning is being conveyed.

Father, son and spirit? Shell, white and yolk? Could be. But I’m having a little trouble imagining scrambled god. And which part is the shell? Because I put eggshells in my compost. Somehow, I’d like to think that if God was in my compost, my grass would grow like kudzu!

Judi's avatar

I don’t think there is a “real” anology. It just comes close. It’s a mystery.

ragingloli's avatar

It is a false analogy, because an egg exists.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Religion is not my strength, but this one doesn’t tie in with me. The Trinity is more than the sum of it’s parts. An egg is just an egg.

Jeruba's avatar

The Trinity is three in one. Remember the Doxology?—“God in three persons, blessed Trinity.” An egg is not three in one. It’s just something with three parts. You might as well say the Trinity was like a wheelbarrow (a tray or bin section, handles, and a wheel) or a flashlight (tube, bulb, and batteries), or maybe a carrot (pulp, skin, and greens). It doesn’t mean anything.

gailcalled's avatar

Check out John Donne’s holy sonnets. to see one man’s struggle with this issue, as eloquent as anyone writing in English.

Number 14 begins;

“Batter my heart, three-personed God.”

ETpro's avatar

As I recall, those who offer this analogy limit it to explaining how it is not possible to separate one of the three parts of the Trinity from the other two and still have a meaningful whole. An egg yolk, shell or white is not a whole egg.

I’m not a trinitarian, so I’m just passing on what I’ve been told by those who are.

Judi's avatar

The better anology that I’ve heard was its more like water, ice and steam.

ETpro's avatar

@Judi Which one is steam?

Judi's avatar

Humm, I’d say Spirit. :-) I’m sure it’s not a perfect anology either.

ETpro's avatar

^^^ Well to be quite fair, I have no idea who’s the white, the yolk and the shell in the egg analogy. It’s hard to find a perfect analogy, because in the real world, three individuals never are one.

JenniferP's avatar

@ET pro- You are right. In real life three people can’t be one. That is just one reason that I don’t agree with the Trinity.

ETpro's avatar

@JenniferP I’m not a trinitarian because it’s a final outgrowth of ancient animism, as are all monotheistic religions. We now know things work by cause and effect. Plants don’t grow because some spirit of plants, secretly lodged in their roots, animates them. They grow thanks to chemical processes that take place within their structure,

LostInParadise's avatar

@JenniferP , If you do not believe in the Trinity, then what is the relationship between God the father and Jesus? Are they both gods? That would mean Christianity is not monotheistic. If you include the Holy Spirit as a type of god, that would give it three gods.

bkcunningham's avatar

@ETpro, I’ve have never heard anyone say that plants grow because of some spirit secretly lodged in their roots or because of a spirit of any sort.

ragingloli's avatar

@LostInParadise
The trinity was invented by the church because they knew that jesus “no one gets to the father but through me” violated the first commandment “you shall have no gods before me”.
So now they constructed this nebulous concept of the “there are three separate gods, but they are somehow all the same thing” trinity that makes no sense whatsoever and that you just have to accept on faith.

JenniferP's avatar

@Lostinparadise -Jesus is God’ son, his firstborn of creation. He is not God almighty. There are tons of scriptures that support this and the ones you think that support the Trinity don’t. There are even interpolations that have been put in (and some Bibles still haven’t removed them) to support the Trinity. The holy spirit isn’t a person but an active force. It is like the electricity God uses to create things.

The Trinity was borrowed from pagan religion.

glacial's avatar

@bkcunningham If I am not mistaken, that was exactly his point. :)

LostInParadise's avatar

@JenniferP , I am a bit confused about your belief. I thought the whole idea of Christianity was that Jesus died for our sins. Are you saying this is still true, but the determination as to who goes to Heaven is made by God? That would be an interesting interpretation and one that I have not heard before.

JenniferP's avatar

Lostinparadise-Yes, Jesus died for our sins. Yes, God his father determines who goes to Heaven and who stays on earth for eternity. See Psalms 37:9–11; 29.

Judi's avatar

@JenniferP are you Mormon?

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham If you had lived in neolithic times, everybody including you would have “known” that plants grow under the control of a spirit residing in them and animating them. It was called animism.

As time went on, the idea evolved to that of a woodland overlord spirit controlling the entire forest, as a human tribal leader or king would control all the human spirits under his domain. Something like the ancient Druids believed. Then came a master spirit, the Sun god, Zeus, Odin, what have you; sitting at the top of the pantheon and controlling all the lesser gods such as Poseidon, Athena, Hermes, et al. Ultimately, in some cultures, the mythological gods of the ocean, the forest, the rocks, etc. gave way to the idea of one deity over all, monotheism.

JenniferP's avatar

Judi-No, I am Jehovah’s Witness.

Judi's avatar

That explains your argument.

LostInParadise's avatar

I found this comparison between JW and other Christian beliefs. Although it is a JW site, they do a good job of giving the standard Christian response to JW claims.

Being an atheist raised Jewish, I stand apart from this particular argument. I was just curious to know more about the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I don’t think it’s a perfect analogy, by any means, but not a “false” one either. It’s just a way to try and wrap your mind around the mystery of the Trinity. Three parts of a whole. An egg is an egg; it’s one thing, yet has three parts. God is God; he’s one thing, yet has three parts. Like I said, it’s not perfect, but I don’t feel that it makes it necessarily false.

JenniferP's avatar

Judi-“That explains your answer.” I don’t quite know what you mean by that. My argument is based on thorough Bible study and study of outside material. Also study of religious history. I do not blindly believe anything because my religion tells me so. I am more well read than most of other religions and have read many versions of the Bible.

Lostinparadise-That is not a Jehovah’s Witness site. We have an official site and that is not it. It is a site that twists the truth. If you want facts about the JWs go straight to the source, not prejudiced sites. Plus we “are” Christian. You use the words “Christian” in comparison to JWs. Any questions you have, you can feel free to email me. Thank you for being impartial.

Judi's avatar

@JenniferP , I come to my conclusions after 50+ years of Bible study as well. We just came to different conclusions. I have zero interest in converting you or arguing with you.

ETpro's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Not to negate what you say. I said much the same. But a hand of Three-card Monte is one thing made up of three things, and it’s definitely not a mystery or divine. In fact it’s classified as a short con. Ah, therein lies a similarity to the trinity.

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