[NOTE: some of the following involves rebuttals on the Internet.]
Aurgument : JOHN 1.18
Regarding John 1.18 (Nestle-Aland) --- Theon oudeis eoraken popote monogenes theos ho on eis ton kolpon tou patros ekeinos exegesato --- are there two gods here?
1) The God no one has ever seen (1 Jn 4.12)
2) The only-begotten god who explains (exegete) the Father
The later was seen and felt. (1 Jn 1.1) Just as in Jn 1.1, there are two gods in these verses.
A comparison of versions rendering of monogenes in 1.18 and 3.16 ---
NRJ: only begotten Son(1.18); only begotten Son (3.16)
NAS: the only begotten God (1.18); only begotten Son (3.16)
NRS: God the only Son (1.18); only begotten Son (3.16)
WEY: the Only Son (1.18); only Son (3.16)
BW: Only-begotten Son (1.18); Son, only begotten (3.16)
NEB: Gods only Son (1.18); only begotten (3.16)
AMP: the only begotten God (1.18); only begotten (3.16)
NIV: God the One and Only (1.18[ftn: the Only begotten]); one and only Son (3.16)
PME: the divine and only Son (1.18); Gods only Son (3.16)
NWT: the only-begotten god (1.18); only-begotten Son (3.16)
NJB: the only Son (1.18 [ftn God the only Son]; only Son (3.16)
UBS: (lit) an only one, God (1.18); only Son of God (3.16)
IB: only begotten (1.18); only-begotten (3.16)
MON: God, only begotten (1.18) ---
MOF: the divine One, the only Son (.18) ---
LAM: the firstborn of God (1.18); only begotten Son (3.16)
REBUTTAL to Aurgument, RE: JOHN 1.1
Regarding the phrase "In the beginning the Word was" ---
Most suggest this phrase is drawn from Genesis 1.1 (LXX) [ en arch ] and Proverbs 8.23 (LXX) [ en arch ]. Both make it clear the "beginning" has to do with the material preparation of earth for animal and human species. It is not talking about ultimate "beginnings."
Proverbs 8.22, 23, 25 (RSV) seems to be clear: "The LORD [YHWH] created me [Wisdom = Logos] at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. .... Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth."
Who else was there "with God" in "the beginning"? Job 38.4, 7 tell us: "Where were you [Job] when I founded the earth? .... When the stars were made, all my angels praised me with a loud voice." (LXX Bagster) Is it fair to state: "In the beginning the Angels existed, and the Angels were with The God"?
In response to the following argument presented by a Trinitarian ---
TRINITARIAN: Regards Eternal Life - In Psalm 9:7 We read that The Lord "Reigns Forever" as He has established His Throne for Judgment. In Verse 8 confirms this & it ads that He will do this with Righteousness. I ask my self who is this Lord That Reigns FOREVER & will judge His people?
REBUTTAL: Psalm 9.7 (Interlinear Bible) reads: "Jehovah [ הוהי ] is seated forever; He has established His throne for judgment. And, He will judge the earth in righteousness." That Jehovah [ הוהי ] and the Messiah are two different persons is shown by Psalms 2.1 and 110.1.
This later phrase is echoed in Acts 17.31: "Because [The God] has set a day in which He purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him from the dead." (NWT)
TRINITARIAN: Further it was claimed: "In verse 16 of 1 Timothy [?] writer informs us that he is talking about Jesus & that He gives life everlasting to anyone who believes in Him. In 17 it states that "To the King ETERNAL, IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE, the ONLY GOD, be glory & honor for EVER & EVER, Amen".
REBUTTAL: These verses (1 Tm 1.16, 17) speak of two different persons not the same one: Jesus our example and to the "Only God" King of Eternity. Wisdom (the Word) was created. (Pr 8.22; Col 1.15; Rev 3.14)
TRINITARIAN: It was further stated: In John 5:22-23 we see that Jesus is the ONE that does ALL the judging & that ALL the Honor should be given to Him.
REBUTTAL: John 5.22, 23 states: "For the Father judges no one at all, but he has committed all the judging to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. [It does not say ALL the Honor should be given to Him.] He that does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him." (NWT) John 5.19-38 is Jesus answer to the charge that he was "making himself equal to The God." Jesus simply states: "The Son is unable to do anything from himself." Could God ever say: "God is unable to do anything from Himself"?
TRINITARIAN: It was further asserted: "In John 1:3 we see that Jesus created EVERYTHING which I pointed out in my earlier post. This clearly points out that Jesus was from the beginning or from Eternity."
REBUTTAL: John 1.3 does not state "Jesus created EVERYTHING." It says: panta di autou egento --- "Everything came to be through [di] (the Word)." Note The Peoples New Testament: "God exhibits his creative power through the Word. ... Through his agency or instrumentality. Christ, the Logos, is represented as Gods medium of creation."
REBUTTAL: REGARDING JOHN 20.28 --- Are there two gods in this phrase?
Thomas declares: "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20.28)
This phrase is not the first occurrence in the Gospel of John. A few verses earlier the Risen Lord told the Magdalene: "I ascend to my Father and your Father; and to my God, and your God." (Jn 2017 KJV) The Risen Christ declares he has a God! If Thomas exclamation is directed to Jesus as his "God" then there are two Gods here. The God of Thomas. And, the God of Jesus. Over 20 times the fact that the glorified Lord has a God is stated in the Bible. (Compare Ep 1.3, 17; Re 3.12)
REBUTTAL: REGARDING JOHN 10.30 ---
Who makes the charge Jesus "makes himself God"? What was the Nazarenes answer? He had clear opportunity to answer Yes.
THE TRINITARIAN STATES: "the small g has deliberately been put in and is not consistent with other translations of God -big G." The Greek is poieis seauton theon --- without the article and thus "a god" is acceptable. Note the United Bible Societies A TRANSLATORS HANDBOOK ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN (page 344): "Purely on the basis of the Greek text, therefore, it is possible to translate a god rather than God." (Note Diaglott Interlinear = "a god")
Note it is the Jews and the Trinitarians who claim Jesus was claiming to be God. And what was Jesus answer? "No."
REBUTTAL: RE: PR 8.22 ---
TRINITARIAN WROTE: "Dr. Ron Rhoes' book: Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses, pg.127-28, is most fitting when answering this passage from Scripture that such modern-day arians draw from to support their theological position that there was a time when Christ was not.
Let me offer up a brief response that Dr. Rhodes gives:
"The Watchtower interpretation of Proverbs 8 not only violates the context of the Book of Proverbs, it also violates the whole of Scripture. I must emphasize that the first 9 chapters of Proverbs deals with wisdom personified. A personification is a rhetorical figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstract concepts are endowed with human qualities or are represented as possessing human form. In Proverbs chapters 1-9, wisdom is figuratively endowed with human qualities."
REBUTTAL: there is a long history of applying Pr 8.22ff to the Logos, not only by Jews but also Christians. If you wish some scans of numerous scholars on this point we can provide them from our own library.
TRINITARIAN: "With that in mind, there is no indication in the text that Proverbs 8 is to be taken any differently than chapters 1-7 and 9. This being so, apologist Robert Bowman notes that "if we take 8:22 to speak literally about Christ, we must also assume that Christ is a woman who cries in the streets (1:20-21), and who lives with someone named 'Prudence '(8:12) in a house with seven pillars (9:1)! Proverbs 1-9 makes no sense if one reads Christ into Proverbs 1-9. If "wisdom" in Proverbs 8 is referring to Christ, and if the "wisdom" in Proverbs 8 is the same "wisdom" as in the first nine chapters of Proverbs (as the context clearly indicates), then who is the 'Prudence ' that Jesus lives with (8:12)? Do you believe that Christ is a woman who cries in the streets(1:20,21)? I must also raise the important issue as to whether or not God has always possessed wisdom."
REBUTTAL: May we assume you make no application of Pr 8.22ff to the Son of God?
TRINITARIAN: By definition, wisdom must be as old as God. Are you willing to concede that there was a time when God had no wisdom? If "wisdom" in Proverbs 8 had a beginning, then doesn't this mean that God did not have wisdom until a certain point when He acquired it? What kind of "God" is that?"
REBUTTAL: Does verse 22 say: "The LORD (YHWH) created me at the beginning of his works"? If sofia [sophia (LXX)] here is purely the abstraction of Gods wisdom then it was "created" and did not exist from eternity.
Note THE FORMATION OF CHRISTIAN DOGMA by Professor Martin Werner: "In the long-recognized scriptural testimony for the Logos-doctrine provided by Prov. viii, 22ff. the exegetes of the second and third centuries had found the creation of the pre-existent Logos-Christ set forth without dispute and equivocation. But now, when the Arians also interpreted the passage in this way, the interpretation was suddenly reckoned as false." (page 158) Many similar scholarly remarks could be provided. We note you omit comment on Co 1.15 and Re 3.14.
TRINITARIAN: "The point I want to make here, of course, is that God's wisdom is just as eternal as God Himself. There never was a time which God was without wisdom. Indeed, in Proverbs 8:23 in the New American Standard Bible we read,"From everlasting I (wisdom) was established." This is a poetic way of stating the eternal nature of Gods wisdom. It is highly revealing that the same phrase- ' from everlasting '-is used in Psalms 90:2 to, describe the eternality of God Himself."
REBUTTAL: The above has no bearing on the argument.
TRINITARIAN: To sum up, then, Proverbs 8:22,23 is speaking metaphorically of God's eternal wisdom and how it was 'brought forth' (verse 24) to take part in the creation of the universe. Proverbs 8 is not saying that wisdom came into being at a point in time. And it certainly is not saying that Jesus is a created being, since the passage is not dealing with Jesus but with wisdom personified."
REBUTTAL: this is not the view of traditional exegesis nor that of many modern scholars. Suggest reading The Formation of Christian Dogma.
TRINITARIAN: You bode well to follow the rule of historical/grammatical literal method of interpretation. What does that boil down to you may be wonder?
The GOLDEN RULE OF INTERPRETATION is: When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.
REBUTTAL: so when I read Pr 8.22ff and the "plain sense scripture makes .... and take every word as primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning" I read exactly what Pr 8.22 states: "Wisdom (Philo = Logos; Christian tradition = Logos) was created." Do you find something wrong with the feminine regarding the pre-existent Christ?
TRINITARIAN: What then happens when we follow the principals of allegorical method of interpretation laid down by such teachings of Origen, and his later student Arius, whom looked to blend the platonic concept of the Great Monad in with that of the mighty Logos in which the Watchtower fully teaches to this very day (as what is plainly seen, your organization (Nazarene Saints) also so does)?
REBUTTAL: when arguments fail you begin to philosophize rather than use scriptural authority.
TRINITARIAN: It will be noticed at once that its (allegorical method of interpretation) habit is to disregard the common significant of words and give wing to all manner of fanciful speculation. This scheme can yield no interpretation, properly so called. The bases of this teaching is to corrupt the meaning of Scripture, and to drag its reluctant utterance to our own free will, making Scriptural mysteries out of our own imaginations. When the allegorical method is accepted, that we can be absolutely sure of nothing except what is dictated to us by the Church. For this reason, the control of interpretation is the literal method.
REBUTTAL: Does this contradict your own definition of interpretation above?
REGARDING THE "ORIGIN" OF THE SON ---
Besides Pr 8.22, Col 1.15, and Re 3.14, there is another text which confirms the "origin" of the Son.
It is Micah 5.2: םלוע ימימ םדקמ ויחאצומו [Strongs #4162 = "origin" (Brown-Driver-Briggs; Koehler-Baumgartner; Gesenius)] --- JPS: "one whose origin is from of old, from ancient times"; NIV: "one who will rule over Israel, whose origin are from old, from ancient times"; NJB: "a future ruler of Israel whose origins go back to the distant past, to the days of old"; RSV: "whose origin is from old, from ancient days."
It is not possible to think of the King of Eternity having an "origin." Compare the "origin" of Israels ruler with Psalm 90.2. Mark Miller for the Nazarene Saints:
c/o Shawn Mark Miller
TRINITARIAN: The problem I see with the JW position is that they do not Understand that Jesus "emptied" himself (Phil.2:7 NASV). ... Jesus was JHVH/God in the flesh (John 1:1,14). This is the reason (Philippians 2:10,11 NASV) "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
RESPONSE: Would let me know of what Jesus ekenwsen himself?
TRINITARIAN: JWs claim that John 1:1 must be rendered as "a god" because there is no definite article before the term [theos] "God." .... This is evidenced by their false rendering. ... "
RESPONSE: John McKenzie, S.J., Dictionary of the Bible: "Jn 1:1 should rigorously be translated 'THE WORD WAS WITH THE GOD [= the Father], and THE WORD WAS DIVINE BEING.'" (Published with nihil obstat and imprimatur.) (New York, 1965), p. 317.)
The Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol 2, page 81: "Several passages in Jn. contain ascription of divinity. Jn. 1.1 ... The fact that there is no definite article before theos here has been taken to imply that the Word may be understood as being some kind of divine being but not in the fullest sense of the term. Such views have been put forward from Origen. .... R. E, Brown points out that there are instances of nouns with the definite article after the verb. to be in Jn (e. g. 11.25; 14.6), implying that we might expect the article here (Jn 1.1) if Jn. had meant to say the word was God."
TRINITARIAN: Jn 1:18. "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten god who is in the bosom[position] with the Father is the one that has explained him" (NWT). ... The expression "the only begotten god" is just another perversion of the NWT. The expression "god" is not in the Greek text. The word hios [son] is. That is another attempt to pervert the word of God and strive to introduce a cultish view of Jesus."
RESPONSE: We have before us the Westcott and Hort Greek text as well as the Nestle-Aland Greek text and they both read: Theon oudeis eoraken popote monogenes theos. We can supply a copy of the John Rylands manuscript if you wish so you may correct your edition of John 1.18.
When you say this is a JW "perversion" do you include the following translations?
NAS: the only begotten God; NRS: God the only Son; AMP: the only begotten God; PME: the divine and only Son; MON: God, only begotten; MOF: the divine One, the only Son.
TRINITARIAN: Zechariah 12:10 "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication: AND THEY SHALL LOOK ON ME WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
"The almighty says they looked at and pierced him ie:(ME) they of course did not know who it was they pierced so they shall mourn for (him).
RESPONSE: May I suggest you read verse 8: "and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD [YHWH] before them." Note "God" is paralleled with both David and the angel of the Yahweh. The piercing of the One from the House of David, the Messiah, was like piercing Yahweh because this was His Son.
TRINITARIAN: Revelations:22:12-16 And, behold, I come quickly; and MY reward is with ME, to give EVERY MAN according as his work shall be. (as his work shall be is future tense not past tense) 13 I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16 I JESUS HAVE SENT MINE ANGEL TO TESTIFY UNTO YOU THESE THINGS IN THE CHURCHES. I AM THE ROOT AND THE OFFSPRING OF DAVID, AND THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR."
RESPONSE: This subject of who is speaking here in Revelation has been explained in past postings. Who is really speaking in these verses? See 22.8, 9. The angel of the apocalypse speaks. He speaks for both the Almighty and the Lamb. That there are two different persons spoken for by the angel is the interjection, "I, Jesus, sent my angel ... " The vision in ch 5 makes it seem obvious to us that God Almighty (the Alpha and Omega) is sitting on the Throne and the Lamb approaches Him to receive something the Lamb did not have before: a book (Revelation 1.1). For details read DE TRINITATIS ERRORIBUS.
TRINITARIAN: Genesis 1 In the beginning (here we are please note that the name of God here is ELOHIM The very first time you and I meet God in the Bible, we are introduced to him by the name of Elohim in the Hebrew language in this most foundational passage. It is also the primary word translated "God" throughout the pages of the Old Testament. El means "mighty" or "strong" and is used for any reference to gods including Almighty God in Hebrew. The ending meaning of him is very significant, for it is a plural ending in the Hebrew that indicates more than one."
RESPONSE: Does םיהלא (elohim) mean "gods"? Is this a contradiction to the Trinity doctrine that there is only one God but in three persons? Would you have three gods? Note when the Jews translated elohim into Greek in the Third Century they used ho theos (singular) and not theoi (plural). They did not under elohim to mean a plurality of Gods but the plural of Majesty.
TRINITARIAN: Colossians 1:15-20 Supremacy of Christ 15 He is the image of the invisible God,(that says he is God) The firstborn of every creature: (Remember he is the word of God then he was made flesh the firstborn refers to the resurrection refer to verse 18 [the firstborn from the dead]) 16 For by him were all things created,(would this mean he did not create something) that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible (could this mean Angels, Demons, Satin, ect.) Weather they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: (WOW) all things were created by him, and for him: (the Greek is by him, and for him look it up. the word is not through him). 17 And he is before all things, (so how can he be created)and by him all things consist. (without him would anything consist)."
RESPONSE: Does this not read that the Son is "the firstborn of every creature"? It is true the KJV renders the Greek di as "by: given the impression the Son was alone as creator. However, in verse 20 the KJV renders di as "through" as most modern versions render di as "through" in the previous verses. Thus, the Creator is The God, but He creates "though" the agency of His Son as His instrumentality. (Heb 1.1-3) Note the different in 1 Cor 8.6 = God the Father "of whom all things are" and the Lord Jesus, "through whom are all things."
TRINITARIAN: Genesis1;26 And God said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness: The us and our has to refer to more than one! God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were involved in creation. Your creation."
RESPONSE: Only a Trinitarian could get three out of verse 26. It is just as consistent that the "our" are angels as the Jews have it; or, the Son alone, as we Unitarians have it.
GOD IS ONE or GOD IS THREE?
No one would know better whether He is one or three than God Himself. Let us assume the Nature of God is three: three persons in One. We may rightly assume God is capable of communicating this idea to His worshippers if He so chose. Let us assume He wishes to convey this Trinitarian or triune idea to people. How could he go about it? He could be plain, simple, and direct for it is not difficult to say: "I am three" or "I am three in One: the Father, the Son, and the Spirit."
On the other hand God may choose to reveal Himself progressively to His chosen people throughout the Old Testament so that by the end of 39 inspired books the Jews would have an intelligent comprehension of the truth that "God is Three."
The first phrase of the Bible is: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." In Hebrew the word God is elohim which literally means "gods." Now, this could be the first hint to a plurality in Gods Nature. However, it would infer "gods" without indicating the number. That the Jews did not understand this to be so is the way they translated the Hebrew to Greek in the Third Century BC. They did not use theoi which means "gods." Rather they used ho theos which means The God in the masculine singular.
In the Bibles second verse something else is first mentioned: "And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." This word "spirit" is from the Hebrew ruach which means either breath or wind. In Greek this phrase is kai pneuma theou or "the breath of The God." A pneuma or ruach is an invisible force which exerts a pressure like wind. Pneuma or ruach is not a person but is a force. Some translators actually use "wind" instead of the Old English word spirit."
In a later verse (26) Elohim (or ho theos), The God, speaks to someone else: "And The God said: Let us make man according to our image." Is The God talking to Himself as if He were plural? The Jews did not understand that to be so. They thought these others were angels. (Job 38.4-7) There is no way of knowing, reading from verse 1, who this "us" might include. It is only after thousands of years of retrospection that Trinitarians construct a Trinity out of "God" of verse 1, "spirit" of verse 2, and the "Son" (or, the Spirit and the Son) of verse 26. Of course, there remains on one of these identified as "God" in verses 1 and 26. Nothing in these verses proves the spirit is a person or that the Son is meant in verse 26. These are later ideas imposed on the Genesis text.
What conclusions can we draw from just Genesis chapter one? There is the Creator, The God (ho theos vss 1, 26). There is the wind or breath of The God moving across the waters. And, there are others implied by "us" and "our" in verse 26. Does it seem fair to conclude that God is not communicating some mysterious three in His nature? If that had been so the Jews would have grasped the meaning right away.
How might God have inspired the verses if He wanted to communicate the plurality of His nature in three persons? It would not have been difficult, with an infinite vocabulary at hand, to have said: "In the beginning the Three Natures of God created ... and the Third Person was moving over the waters. ... And, the plural nature of God said to Himself: Let us ..... " This would not have been difficult.
On the other hand, if the truth is "God is One," then Genesis 1.1 would mean there was one God, The God. The godly breath or divine wind of The God moved over the waters. Then, in verse 26, The God (ho theos) spoke to an unknown number of others who shared in His making of man. No matter how many are involved in the words "us" and "our" there is only one God, The God, giving the command to some unidentified other(s).
The Name of God.
In Genesis 2.4 the Name of God is introduced for the first time. What does this Name mean? Does it convey the idea of a plurality of three or does it infer only One. There is some disagreement on this. However, when the Jews of the Third Century translated the Hebrew YHWH to Greek they gave the meaning ho On which means according to most scholars: "The One Who Is." Does the meaning of the Name convey plurality or oneness? It seems fair to state that ho On conveys only the idea of One?
Had God wanted to reveal his plural nature in three it would not have been difficult to state in some manner something like ho trias -- The Three. Or, ho theos trias -- The God Three, or The Three-God.
Is God One or Three in the OT?
The Jews never comprehended any threeness in God as the Greek Philosophers or the Egyptian priesthood did. The idea of a triune god, or three gods in one, was right there in the religious cultures of the ancient world. It would not have been a difficult thing to convey this same idea if that is what God wanted to do. Why convey the idea of One when it was in fact Three given all the religions that surrounded Israel who already had trinities?
It is fair to state that nothing in the OT conveys the idea of a Trinity otherwise the Jews would have been the first to comprehend the notion. It is only by looking backward through Trinitarian filters that triune-obsessed Christian scholars begin to conjure up Trinitarian images in Genesis chapters one and eighteen; or, Isaiah 6.3.
Illustrating this forced interpretation -- looking for three when there is only One -- is the Trinitarian twist to Deu 6.4 where the Shema declares the LORD to be One. Because the Hebrew echadh may mean one or first of others, it is argued that this verse becomes the "most explicit declaration of the Trinity in the whole Bible"! Even if one were to accept the quaint Trinitarian notion that the Hebrew word for "one" in some way conveys "one of more" it is only by retrospective Trinitarian filters this can mean three rather than an unknown number.
God is One -- not three -- in the NT.
When we come to the New Testament we could ask this same question: How would God go about revealing He was a plural of Three and not just one person alone? This is not difficult to write: "Our God is three." Nothing even remotely like this occurs.
Jesus the Nazarene has plenty of opportunity to use the number three in some connection with God. Note John 8.16-18: "The father who sent me is with me. Also, in your own Law it is written: The witness of two persons is true. (Deu 19.15) I am one that bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness abut me." Can anyone deny that abundant opportunity is present here to use the "three" of Deu 19.15 in revealing the three-fold nature of God. Jesus would have had no difficulty in saying: "As you law states: The witness of three persons is true. I am one who bears witness of myself, and the Father bears witness of me, and the Holy Spirit also bears witnesses." Jesus could have actually used the same phrases in the fake text, 1 John 5.7 had he been a Trinitarian.
Paul is not ignorant of the number three for he uses it at 2 Co 12.2 (tritou), 14 (triton); 13.1 (triton, trion), the later in the context of quoting Deu 19.15 and a plurality of persons. Paul also quotes Deu 19.15 but he adds "three" showing Jesus could have done the same.
It seems strange indeed that if Jesus were part of a Trinitarian deity -- he would surely know this -- and miss his opportunity in John 8.17, 18. It is probably fair to state that a real Trinitarian would not have included only two in this case but would have conjured up a 1 John 5.7.
Jesus has another opportunity when he quotes the Shema of Deu 6.4 in Mark 12.29: "Jesus answered, The first is "Hear, O Israel, the Lord is one."" Understand what Jesus meant, the Jewish scribe says: "You are right, Teacher, you have truly said that he is one, and besides him there is no other." To which Jesus says the man is "not far from the Kingdom of God." (Mk 12.29-34 RSV) Jesus could have easily given the Trinitarian explanation of the Hebrew echadh or the Greek heis as indicating three persons. Rather, the Nazarene praises the scribe for his conclusion: "(God) is One, and besides Him there is no other." Something which could not be said if God were Three.
This opportunity to involve three in a formula occurs also at Matthew 11.27: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." (RSV) Why would the Son omit the Third Person of the Holy Trinity? For surely -- if the Trinity be true -- the Spirit would know the Father and the Son also. It would have been easy to say: No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and the Holy Spirit knows both the Son and the Father as He is known by them."
Paul also makes it plain that "God is One" ignoring any opportunity to explain the Mystery of the Trinity. Twice in the contexts of others -- with the opportunity do form some triune plurality -- Paul stress "God is One." First in Galatians 3.20: "Now there is no mediator where only one person is concerned, but The God is only one [ho de theos heis estin]." Paul does this again at 1 Timothy 2.5: "For there is one God [heis gar theos]; there is also one mediator between God and humankind." Just as there is only "one mediator" and not some plural mediator, there is only one God.
In the very context of the plurality of "gods" Paul speaks of only one God: "There is no God except one. ... Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." (1 Cor 8.4, 6 RSV) Something pops right off the page: the missing Holy Spirit. With full opportunity and a mastery of language, Paul misses the chance to declare: "To us God is three: the Father, the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit." It is a simply sentence. Why would God Himself miss this opportunity to inspire Paul to declare a triune Godhead?
Finally, some will immediately want to jump to Ephesians 4.4-6 and what will be declared to be a triune formula. Read it clearly and fairly: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all." (RSV) Only "one" is declared to be God in these verses. Rather than being a triune formula it encompasses seven "ones." It is the "one God" only who is "above all" -- which would include the Christian "body" and the "one Spirit" and the "one Lord."
Had Paul been a Trinitarian and had a Trinitarian God inspired him would he have written Ephesians 4.4-6 in this manner? For he omits the spirit and Jesus from his declaration of "one God" and includes only the Father who is "above all" including the spirit and Jesus.
Conclusion. The above is presented as a statement of the Biblical truth that "God is One" and not three. It is presented to demonstrate that if "God is Three" the Bible seems to go in another direction. It is assumed God can communicate the simple truth that He is Three and if this is His intent he falls far short of it in the many declarations that "God is One."
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