The Godhead as an Aggregate Class

Most Christians will, at one time or another, find themselves in a situation where they will be forced to defend their belief in the Godhead or Trinity. Their defense will most likely go something like this, “God is one God who exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” I’ve used this approach in the past myself because it’s the defense we’ve all heard from the pulpit thousands of times. However, to most non-Christians especially Jews and Muslims, this explanation is inadequate and sounds too scripted—i.e., just another pat answer.

The universally accepted notion of the Christian Godhead existing as one God in three persons doesn’t adequately represent the special and unique relationship between God as Father and Jesus as Son. In addition, the Trinity doesn’t address the problem of Melchizedek who was the first of a priestly Order that bears His name.

The foundational theory for this writing was initially presented in my “GOD & the Gods” series inaugural blog entry, “One God”. However, in this writing, I propose to refine and expand on the ideas presented in that former blog post by demonstrating that the notion of the Godhead can be expressed as an aggregate class.

I concede that any attempt to explain spiritual or religious beliefs using concepts derived from computer science and object-oriented programming and design is ambitious to say the least. Nevertheless, I believe it works since it makes sense to model the abstract using tools and techniques designed for that purpose namely the Unified Modeling Language (UML) and the Object Modeling Technique (OMT) developed and published by Rumbaugh, et. al.1

This blog post models the Godhead using the following four fundamental object-oriented terms and concepts: class, object, inheritance, and instantiation. In the context of this writing, class is the abstraction whereas object is the actual thing or in this context, the actual person. In computer programming parlance, instantiation means to create an instance of an object, in other words, the creation or realization of the abstraction or class.

This discussion on object-oriented terminology may seem too techy for some readers but these basic concepts are necessary in order to understand the primary focus of this writing which is aggregation. It’s important to remember that for the remainder of this blog post, the terms “object” and “person” are synonymous because the term “object” in this discussion will always refer to persons specifically, not things in general.

The main problem which needs to be addressed before a meaningful model of the Godhead can be developed is how to deal with Melchizedek. In Genesis, Melchizedek appears to Abram and offers him bread and wine and a blessing. Abram responds by offering Melchizedek a “tenth of all” (Gen. 14:20 NASB) or tithe. The parallels that can be drawn between Jesus and Melchizedek because of the offering of bread and wine are unmistakable which led most writers and theologians to classify Melchizedek as a Christophany—the visible and bodily manifestation of Christ before His incarnation.

I believe the writer of Hebrews clearly teaches that Melchizedek, king of Salem, was a person of the Godhead when he wrote, “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.” (Heb. 6:20) I also believe the writer of Hebrews deliberately, under inspiration, made a point to mention Melchizedek’s lack of genealogy so as to draw a distinction between Melchizedek and Jesus whose genealogy was well documented by Matthew and Luke. In addition, the phrase “made like the Son of God” clearly indicates that Melchizedek took on human form as did Jesus but unlike Jesus, he came into being without having been born of a human mother.

The Christophany interpretation fits right in with those who hold to a Trinitarian view of the Godhead because if Melchizedek was a person of Divine origin and not simply a manifestation of Christ then that would upset their entire belief system. This Trinitarian bias is evident in the NASB translator’s Hebrews Chapter 7 heading which is, “Melchizedek’s Priesthood Like Christ’s” which implies Melchizedek’s priesthood proceeded Christ’s earthly ministry when in fact it preceded Christ’s earthly ministry as the writer of Hebrews states: “where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb. 6:20) The reader should be aware that chapter and verse divisions in our Bible translations were not in the original autographs and are therefore not inspired.

Finally, according to the writer of Hebrews, both Melchizedek and Jesus remain priests forever and that Jesus’ genealogy was not of the tribe of Levi but of Judah, a tribe which Moses never spoke concerning priests (Heb. 7:14) therefore Jesus was made a priest forever by prophetic decree:

The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.’ (Ps. 110:4)

The special relationship that exists between the Father and the Son is documented in detail throughout the Gospel of John. The following are just a few examples that illustrate this special relationship:

Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me’ (John 8:42)

‘For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.’ (John 12:49)

‘Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.’ (John 14:10)

The traditional Trinitarian view of the Son as being co-equal with the Father and the Comforter as separate persons of the Godhead neglects to consider the obvious reciprocal relationship that exists between Father and Son.

‘All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.’ (Matt. 11:27)

The UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagram for the Trinitarian view of the Godhead is presented in Figure 1.

Trinitarian Godhead Model
Figure 1. Trinitarian Godhead Model

As illustrated in Figure 1 above, the three subclasses: Father, Son, and Comforter all inherit attributes from the Godhead superclass. Only four attributes are shown in the Godhead symbol because a detailed discussion of Divine attributes are beyond the scope of this writing.

As the Trinitarian model demonstrates, any instantiation (actualization) of one of the subclasses is not dependent on any of the other subclasses. In other words, God the Father can exist without God the Son existing or without God the Comforter existing. The actual instantiations of the three subclasses are not shown in Figure 1, however the implication is YHVH is instantiated from Father, Jesus is instantiated from Son, and the Holy Spirit is instantiated from Comforter where all three instantiations make up the traditional view of the Trinity.

Note that Melchizedek could not be instantiated from any subclass shown in Figure 1 since a Priest class had not been taken into consideration.

The Trinitarian model, as defended by Christianity—one God in three persons—is easily attacked by Jews and Muslims as being polytheistic since it would appear to allow multiple individual Gods to be instantiated from the Godhead superclass.

The UML diagram for the improved aggregate view of the Godhead is presented in Figure 2.

Aggregate Godhead Model
Figure 2. Aggregate Godhead Model

Figure 2 presents a more biblical representation of the Godhead since a Priest subclass is included along with the expected Father, Son, and Comforter subclasses. The model shows that the Godhead superclass shown in the first level of the model is an aggregate of the subclasses in the second level of the model. Aggregation says that if multiple objects “are tightly bound by a part-whole relationship, it is an aggregation.”2 Another way aggregation can be tested is by applying the phrase, “part of”3 or “a-part-of”4 to a relationship. So, in our model in Figure 2 we can say Son is a-part-of Father, and Father, Priest, and Comforter are collectively a-part-of Godhead.

Rumbaugh, et. al. further defines aggregation as an “and-relationship”5 so that given the model in Figure 2 we can say that Godhead is made up of {Father and Son}, and Priest, and Comforter—a class trinity.

I chose to name the Holy Spirit’s subclass “Comforter” which is the rendering of “paraklêtos” in the King James Version of the Bible. I could have also used “Helper” as rendered from the Greek in the New American Standard Bible and other newer translations. However, I believe “Comforter” adds a compassionate dimension to “Helper.”

In addition, I’ve extended the UML notation by adding instantiation to the model. Instantiation is shown by dotted lines with open arrowheads pointing to each of the four person symbols labeled with each person’s actual name.

As demonstrated in this blog post, the notion of One God who exists in three persons is not as simple and straightforward a concept as many would have you believe. There is a reason the word “Trinity” doesn’t appear in the Bible.

©2013-2024 Gerard Sczepura. All rights reserved.

  1. Rumbaugh, James, M. Blaha, W. Premerlani, F. Eddy, W. Lorensen, Object-Oriented Modeling and Design, (Englewood Cliffs, Prentice Hall, 1991), 16-17. 

  2. Ibid., 58. 

  3. Ibid. 

  4. Ibid., 59. 

  5. Ibid. 

GOD & the Gods: One God

Christianity is unique compared to all other religions of the world. There isn’t any other religion that declares that God took on human form in order to reconcile the world to Himself through Jesus’ substitutionary dead or sacrifice; that is to say, Christianity is what God has done for Man[kind]. This belief is fundamentally rejected by Jews and Muslims based primarily on the claims made by Jesus that he was, in fact, God. They can accept Him as a prophet or messenger but not as the one true Deity. Therefore, Christianity is accused of being polytheistic. As it turns out, the entire foundation of Christian belief is rejected by two of the world’s major religions.

The most fundamental objection to Christianity by both Jews and Muslims is the notion of the Trinity. The Trinity, according to Christian belief, is the concept of God consisting of three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit collectively referred to as the Godhead. Hence, Christianity is rejected by both Jews and Muslims as being a polytheistic belief system, that is, a belief in multiple gods.

Nevertheless, it is somewhat ironic that Christianity began as a Jewish belief system; as Jesus Himself said: “’I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” (Matt. 15:24 NASB) Yet the Jews rejected and continue to reject Him as their Messiah as was prophesied: “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ To a nation which did not call on My name.” (Isa. 65:1)

This post will look at these objections and offer explanations from Scripture as well as some alternative and hopefully novel and interesting ways of looking at the concept of God. Future entries in the series will also examine some of the major differences between Christianity and some of the other major polytheistic religions from Greek Mythology to Buddhism. The intent here is not to be exhaustive, but there are some fundamental differences that are common to all other world religions.

Jews believe that there is only one true God. Both Christians and Jews know Him by many names including Yahweh or Jehovah, and the Muslims as Allah. Judaism and Islam are both recognized as being monotheistic religions, that is, their followers believe in only one true God. In the same way, Christians also believe that Christianity is a monotheistic religion in spite of their acceptance of God in three persons. So, are the accusations that Christianity is polytheistic valid? Does the Bible give us any indication that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three separate gods all acting according to their own individual will and desires? In addition to those arguments found in the Scriptures, this post proposes that Christianity is, in fact, monotheistic using concepts borrowed from object-oriented programming.

In Exodus 3:14 when Moses asks God for His name, God answers with the self-referential phrase YHVH, better known as “I AM WHO I AM.” On the surface, God’s answer seems dismissive or matter-of-fact. His answer really says nothing about who He is, yet at the same time it says everything; I am God, what more do I need to say? From God’s point of view, He is and that’s all Moses needed to know. And by this one attribute alone, the God of Israel sets Himself apart from all the other so-called gods—as we shall see in detail later in this series.

However, before attempting to defend Christianity as a monotheistic belief system, a unique and proper name for the God of Israel; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—who is also the God of Christianity needs to be settled upon. I prefer the name Yehovah, a transliteration of the name YHVH from the Tanakh or Jewish scriptures. YHVH, which is known as the Tetragrammaton meaning “the four letters,” is not pronounced by observant Jews; instead, they substitute Adonai when reading the Torah or the name Hashem, “the Name,” at other times.1

I refuse to yield to the temptation of substituting any of the proper names of God with “G-d” which is another common practice among observant Jews. In my way of thinking, substitutions are more offensive than unintentionally but reverentially mispronouncing any of His names as revealed in Scripture. In the same way, I find the substitution “Xmas” for “Christmas,” irreverent and offensive.

In this series, because I’ll be discussing many gods, I’ve decided to use either a qualifier with the name God when referring to the Hebrew / Christian Deity or simply GOD (all uppercase) as necessary to avoid ambiguity. For example, I may use: Yehovah God, God of Israel, Godhead, or GOD. Of course, the name Allah will be used when referring to God as revealed in the Quran.

My first argument, in a series of arguments, will be to compare Yehovah’s attributes with the attributes of some of the major polytheistic gods from around the world. If Christianity were to be seriously classified as polytheistic, then God as represented in the Christian Trinity would, out of necessity, be expected to possess the same or similar attributes as the gods of commonly recognized polytheistic world religions. I propose to show that Yehovah God is unique among the many gods of popular polytheistic world religions that I’ll be discussing in this series “GOD & the Gods.”

Also In this series, I’ll attempt to answer some objections that Jews and Muslims have leveled against the Christian Trinity. I’ll also argue that the objections are really leveled against Jesus and not the notion of the Trinity specifically.

Before this series attempts to examine and compare the attributes of GOD with the attributes of the gods of polytheistic religions, the attributes of Yehovah God must first be identified. The first attribute considered is His origin or genesis, if you will. The Scriptures say that He is eternal, without beginning and without end. Finite man cannot fathom the concept of an infinite being—the mind just collapses in on itself. Without a doubt, this is the hardest concept for humankind to comprehend but nevertheless, this is exactly what the Scriptures teach as illustrated in the following verses:

The eternal God is a dwelling place… (Deut. 33:27)

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting… (1 Chron. 16:36)

…Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Ps. 90:2)
Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting. (Ps. 93:2)

From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. (Prov. 8:23)

As illustrated in the Scripture verses listed above, it can be seen that God is infinite as inferred by the word “everlasting” which is a translation of the word olam (Hebrew NASB Number: 5769). The word olam has also been translated into other English words such as: “eternal,” “continual,” and “perpetual.” Psalm 90:2 clearly says that God is not only eternal but that He is eternally God—a subtle point which will be examined later in this series “GOD & the Gods.” In addition, God not only existed before all Creation as stated in Psalm 90:2, Proverbs 8:23, and Isaiah 40:28, but He is the author of all Creation.

The second attribute considered is God’s power or authority. Yehovah God is sovereign over all creation. He exercises His authority over nations, kings, nature, life and death, and the angelic world which includes demons. His position of power and authority is unchallenged and absolute in both the spirit world and in the natural physical world. Consider the following verses:

While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease. (Gen. 8:22)

For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth. (Exod. 9:14-16)

Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. (Deut. 10:14)

The LORD commanded the angel, and he put his sword back in its sheath. (1 Chron. 21:27)

Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD before the new court, and he said, ’O LORD, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You.’ (2 Chron. 20:5-6)

And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Rev. 20:10)

In Genesis 1:28, God commands Adam and Eve to multiply, subdue the earth and rule over all living things. Man was given the authority to use the earth and its resources in order for Man to survive and prosper. Then in Genesis 2:15, God balances authority with responsibility when He commands Adam to be a good steward of the garden where he was placed. I am convinced the earth’s resources will last as long as they are intended to last. Contrary to popular opinion, Man wasn’t created for the earth, but the earth was created for Man, even though Man was created later.

Later on, in Genesis 8:21, God, speaking to Himself after bringing the flood upon the earth, promised that He would never again destroy every living thing as He had done with the flood. The interesting statement is in the next verse where God promises that as long as the earth exists, hot and cold, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease. God establishes and preserves the natural order of things, not politicians or so-called environmental activists. If there are, in fact, any variations in the earth’s temperature, God is allowing it to happen. God knows how to keep the earth in balance—after all, He created it.

I believe the third and final attribute that separates God from all the other gods is the one attribute that causes most other religions to stumble and that is the notion of one God existing in multiple persons. (Notice I didn’t say Trinity, but that’s a topic for another time.)

So, how can the concept of One God in three persons be reconciled? Is the Trinity polytheistic? The answer being proposed is to consider God as an instantiation of a One GOD superclass or base class. The Trinity consists of objects instantiated from three subclasses such as Father, Son, Comforter. The three persons that are identified as composing the Trinity are: YHVH, Jesus, and The Spirit respectively. If the Trinity is in fact a composition of all three instantiations of the three subclasses, then you could say that One GOD has a Father; One GOD has a Son; and One GOD has a Comforter. All three persons would have to exist in order for God to exist as One GOD.

I think there is a biblical basis for this theory since God established the notion of classes or kind in creation.

God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. (Gen. 1:25)

Unlike creation, God was self-instantiated.

As it stands, I’ll leave this theory of God, as derived from object-oriented programming, here for now. I plan to elaborate on this in a future post.

I’ll close this writing with one final thought. Isn’t the belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing, eternally existent Deity just as hard to believe as the concept of one God composed of three entities? Just the idea of a being without a beginning or end is enough to make your head explode. Probably the best analogy for this can be found in the Star Trek episode “The Changeling” where the character Captain Kirk confounds the probe Nomad with his accusation that it is imperfect.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Greek-Hebrew dictionary references are from The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

©2013-2024 Gerard Sczepura. All rights reserved.

  1. “The Hebrew Name for God – YHVH,” John J. Parsons, accessed October 08, 2017,