SUPPLEMENT 4

GREEK PHILOSOPHY, THE TRINITY, AND THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS

Some hold the Trinity to have its source in Pagan Greek philosophy and that Plato was the forerunner and originator of the triune theology. Some hold Plato was a plagiarist who found his ideas in Moses and the Hebrews as the Greeks derived their alphabet from the Hebrew. This later view is one of Eusebius, a Christian bishop of the Fourth Century. In his work Praeparatio Evangelica, Eusebius argues that Plato is merely Moses speaking in Attic [Greek]. (Justin Martyr, c180, makes the same charge.) He presents a convincing case as he draws on the words of Plato and his later disciples and demonstrates these came from Moses and the Hebrews as recorded in the Old Testament.

What truths come from these arguments? Eusebius was not a Trinitarian and was later excommunicated though remaining friends with Constantine. He favored Arius but supported Constantine’s trinitarian creed. In Praeparitio Evangelica he gathers Plato together with Moses seeking what seems evidence for a henotheistic view. One must remember this bishop is debating in a pagan polytheistic world where he is trying to maintain a degree of harmony with the Roman heathen world and at the same time trying to express his henotheistic view.

There is another view, some scholars feel the earliest and most primitive of Christianity, and it is called henotheism: the belief in one God though affirming there are others gods in a qualified sense, including Christ and angels. This is often called angel-christiology. This conviction holds there is only one True God in the absolute sense but there is a second god who is the Son of the former. This unitarian view holds there is no third god or third person. Rather, they hold the Mind of God exerts a an intellectual force or mental pressure through the Son which accomplishes the Divine Will. This "force" is God’s Mind in action which exerts this pressure and is called holy Pneuma (holy spirit) -- wind, breath, spirit -- that is an invisible active force.

The Alexandrian Bishop Eusebius was intellectually strongly in favor of the Arians henotheism, but politically facilitated and officially supported Constantine’s trinitarian creed. The following are portions from Praeparatio Evangelica and it may be left to the reader to determine if two gods are meant and whether this agrees with both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. It at least gives insight into the thinking of one Catholic bishop of the early Fourth Century A. D.

Praepartio Evengelica

Volume 2, page 571 -- "As Moses declared concerning the God of all the world, ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD,’ [De 6.4] Plato again concurring with him teaches there is one God as also one heaven. ... But that (Plato) has a knowledge of one God, even though in accordance with the custom of the Greeks he commonly speaks of them as many. ... (Epistle to Dionysius) ‘So then the serious letter begins with ‘God’ and the less serious with ‘gods’.

Page 572 -- "And the same author expressly acknowledges that (Plato) learned the doctrine of the one ‘God’ [‘gods’] from men of old, as he says in the Laws.

Page 573 -- "In regard to the First Cause of all things let this be our admitted form of agreement. But now consider what is said concerning the Second Cause, whom the Hebrew oracles teach to be the Word of God. ... First then Moses expressly speaks of two divine Lords in the passage where he says, ‘Then the LORD rained from the LORD ... ‘ [Ge 19.24] ... In accordance with him David also, another Prophet as well as king of the Hebrews, says, ‘The LORD said unto my Lord" ... indicating the Most High God by the first LORD and the second to Him by the second title. For to what other is it right to suppose that the right hand of the Unbegotten God is conceded, that to Him alone of whom we are speaking?

Page 574 -- "And Solomon, David’s son and successor, presenting the same thought by a different name, instead of the ‘Word’ called Him Wisdom ... The LORD formed me as the beginning of His ways ... When He was preparing the heaven, I was beside Him.’ [Pr 8.22ff]

Page 575 --- (Philo Iudaeus On the Confusion of Tongues) "For it becomes those who have made companionship with knowledge to desire to behold the true Being, but should they be unable, then at least to behold His image, the most holy Word. ... But even if one be not as yet worthy to be called the son of God, let him strive earnestly to be adorned after the likeness of His first-begotten Word, who is the eldest of the Angels, and as an Archangel, has many names. ... For the Universal Father made Him rise as His eldest Son, whom elsewhere He named ‘First-begotten.’

Page 577 -- "Does it not seem to you that in speaking thus Plato has followed the doctrine of the Hebrews? Or from what other source did it occur to him to name another God who is mightier than the cause of all things, whom also he calls Father of the All-ruler? And whence came his idea of setting the name of Lord on the Father of the Demiurge [Plato = a second deity], though never before him had any one brought this to the ears of the Greeks, nor even set it down in his own mind. ...

"(Plotinus, Concern the Three Primary Hypostases) ‘Who then is He that begat Him? He who is simple, and prior to a plurality of this kind, who is the cause both of His being, and of His plurality. For number came not first: since before the duad is the one; and the duad is second, and produced from the One.’

Page 578 -- "(Plotinus) This is he reason also of Plato’s trinities: for he says that around the King of all are all the primaries, and around the second the secondaries, and around the third, the tertiaries. He also says the Cause has a father, meaning that Mind is the Cause, for with Plato Mind its the Creator.

Page 579 -- "And Numenius highly commending Plato’s doctrines in his treatise Of the Good gives his own interpretation of the Second Cause: ‘The man who is to understand about the First and Second God must previously distinguish the several questions by some orderly arrangement. ... The First God, being in Himself, is simple, because, being united throughout with Himself, He can never be divided. The Second God however and the Third [god] is one. ...

Page 580 -- "’For it is not at all becoming that the First God should be the Creator; also the First God must be regarded as the father of the God who is Creator of the world. ... The First God is free from all kinds of work and reigns as king, but the Creative God governs.

Page 581 -- "Hear what Numenius says concerning the deity of the Second Cause. ... ‘And as again there is a relation between the husbandman and him that planeth, exactly in the same way is the First God related to the Demiurge [Plato = second deity].

Page 583 -- "Also the Word of our Salvation says, ‘The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father doing.’ [Jn 5.19] ... And that Plato is not the first who has made these attempts, but has been anticipated by the Hebrew sages, has been proved by the examples already set forth. ... (Amelius) ... ‘the Barbarian [meaning the Apostle John] maintains that He was with God and was God: through whom absolutely all things were made. ... (He) came down into bodies and appeared as a man ... He was restored to deity, and is a God, such as He was before he came down to dwell in the body.’

Page 584 -- "Whereas next to the doctrine of Father and Son the Hebrew oracles class the Holy Spirit in the third place, and conceive the Holy and Blessed Trinity in such a manner as that the third Power surpasses every created nature, and that it is the first of the intellectual essences constituted through the Son, the third from the First Cause.

Page 585 -- "These statements are referred, by those who attempt to explain Plato, to the First God, and to the Second Cause [God], and thirdly to the Soul of the Universe, defining it also as a third God.

Page 587-8 -- "(Numenius) For if God the Creator is the beginning of generation, the good is the beginning of essence. ... For if the Creator who is the author of generation is good, the Creator also of essence will doubtless by absolute good, innate in essence. For the second god, being twofold, is the self-maker of the idea of Himself, and makes the world as its Creator. ... For if the second God is good, not of Himself, but from the First ... " [END QUOTATION]

Little more could illustrate Fourth Century "Christian" theology in the mind of this Catholic bishop. He has begun with the idea that Plato the Greek drew his theology from Moses the Hebrew. By Moses the bishop proves two Lords and two Gods in his own mind. He shows Plato teaches something similar in the First Cause (God number One) and the Demiurge (God number Two).

After this his argument begins to loose strength -- or convicition -- as he cannot completely establish a third God in the Holy Spirit, though he seems to try. What do we have then, based on Eusebius’ understanding of Plato and Moses? Three gods! This idea would contradict a modern Trinitarian’s view of three persons in One God, not Three Gods in One.

The Nazarene Saints affirm their own conviction -- based on their own close study of the Bible and related theology, history and philosophy -- is what is called the henotheistic view. That is, there is One God in the absolute sense of the word who is as Moses describes Him, "God of gods and Lord of lords." (De 10.17) One of these "lords" is Jesus Christ himself. (Ps 110.) And, one of these "gods" is Jesus Christ himself. (Is 9.6) Clearly both Jn 1.1, 18 have two Gods: an invisible God and an only-begotten God. No where is the "spirit of God" called a God as both the Father and the Son are.

Though this may contradict a forced Trinitarian definition of the word monotheism, that is not our concern. Our concern is what the Bible, both the Jewish Hebrew Scriptures and the Jewish Christian Scriptures have to say on the matter. We simply prefer to allow the Bible to define our terms and be the sole source of our vocabulary in a debate on these issues.

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[The following was part of an ongoing debate between a Nazarene Saint unitarian and Internet Trinitarians. -- Feb 98]

ANTE-NICENE FATHERS:

Justin Martyr

Introduction. The following are portions from The First Apology of Justin. These are obtained from the Internet web link: www.ccel.org

Our interest in these is whether Justin was a Trinitarian in his theology or rather closer to a henotheistic (in the qualified sense believing in One True God though acknowledging other gods exist). It should be remember in this apologia Justin is addressing the Roman Senate who were pagan polytheists.

The pages as they come from the down-load are cited for location.

Page 5 -- (Ch V. -Christians Charged with Atheism)

"For not only among the Greeks did reason (Logos) prevail to condemn these things through Socrates, but also among the Barbarians were they condemned by Reason (or the Word, the Logos) Himself, who took shape, and became man, and was called Jesus Christ."

Page 6 -- (Ch VI. -Charge of Atheism Refuted.

"Hence we are called atheists. And we confess that we are atheists, so far as gods of this sort are concerned, but not with respect to the most true God, the Father of righteousness. But both Him, and the Son (who came forth from Him and taught us these things, and the host of the other good angels who follow and are made like to Him), and the prophetic Spirit, we worship and adore."

Comment: God is the Father, the Son came forth from God. The Son is possibly equated with the "good angels." Note who are worshipped and adored: the Father, the Son, the good angles, and the prophetic Spirit. When Justin mentions the Spirit he usually qualifies it as "prophetic Spirit." This may be understood as saying, "inspired prophecy."

Page 8 -- (Ch XII. - Christians Live as Under God’s Eye)

"And that you will not succeed is declared by the Word, than whom, after God who begat Him, we know there is no ruler more kingly and just. ... He is both Son and Apostle of God the Father of all and the Ruler, Jesus Christ."

Comment: The Word was begotten by God and became the Apostle or Sent one of God the Father.

Page 8 -- (Ch XIII. - Christians Serve God Rationally.)

"Our teacher of these things is Jesus Christ, who also was born for this purpose, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judaea, in the times of Tiberius Caesar; and that we reasonably worship Him, having learned that He is the Son of the true God Himself, and hold Him in the second place, and the prophetic Spirit in the third, we will prove. For they proclaim our madness to consist in this, that we give to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all."

Comment: the Son of the True God is in "second place."

Page 12 -- (Ch XXI.)

"And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union ... we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter."

Comment: The Word is "the first-birth of God similar to sons born of Jupiter.

Page 12 -- (Ch XXII. - Analogies to the Sonship of Christ.)

"And if we assert that the Word of God was born of God in a peculiar manner, different from ordinary generation, let his, as said above, be no extraordinary thing to you, who say that Mercury is the angelic word of God."

Comment: the Word of God, born of God, is likened to "the angelic word of God."

Page 13 -- (Ch XXIII. - The Argument)

"We say true things: and (secondly) that Jesus Christ is the only proper Son who has been begotten by God, being His Word and first-begotten, and power; and, becoming man according to His will ... "

Comment: Jesus is Son begotten by God as first-begotten.

Page 18 -- (Ch XXXVIII. - Utterance of the Son)

"And when the Spirit of prophecy speaks from the person of Christ, the utterances are of this sort ... "

Comment: again Justin uses the designation "the spirit of prophecy" which may be understood, not as a person, but as "inspired prophecy."

Page 21 -- (Ch XLV. - Christ’s Session in Heaven Foretold)

"And that God the Father of all would bring Christ to heaven after he had raised him from the dead, and would keep him there ... "

Comment: Clearly God the Father is in control bringing and keeping Christ.

Page 24 -- (Ch LIII.)

"For that reason should we believe of a crucified man that he is the first-born of the unbegotten God."

Comment: The first-born cannot be the unbegotten God.

Page 27 -- (Ch LIX. - Plato’s Obligation to Moses; and, LX. - Plato’s’ Doctrine of the Cross)

"Plato borrowed his statement that God ... he borrowed in like manner from Moses ... Which things Plato reading, and not accurately understanding, and not apprehending that it was the figure of the cross, but taking it to be a placing crosswise, (Plato) said that the power next to the first God was placed crosswise in the universe. And as to his speaking of a third, he did this because he read, as we said above, that which was spoken by Moses, ‘that the spirit of God moved over the waters.’ For (Plato) gives the second place to the Logos which is with God ... "

Comment: Justin asserts Plato borrowed from Moses but did not understand and thus asserts a first, second and third God.

Page 28 -- (Ch LXI. - Christian Baptism)

"For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the holy spirit, they then receive the washing with water."

Comment: Alluding to Mt 28.19, Justin shows only that God is the Father and in no wise insinuates the Son or the holy spirit are also God.

Page 29 -- (Ch LXIII. - How God Appeared to Moses)

"Now the Word of God is His Son, as we have before said. And [the Son] is called Angel and Apostle. ... From the writings of Moses also this will be manifest; for thus it is written in them, ‘And the Angel of God spake to Moses, in a flame of fire out of the bush, and said, "I am that I am."’ ... And if you wish to learn what follows, you can do so form the same writings; for it is impossible to relate the whole here. But so much is written for the sake of proving that Jesus the Christ is the Son of God and His Apostle, being of old the Word, and appearing sometimes in the form of fire, and sometimes in the likeness of angels. ... (he) was indeed the Son of God, who is called both Angel and Apostle. ... For they who affirm that the Son is the Father, are proved neither to have become acquainted with the Father, nor to know that the Father of the universes has a Son, who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old [the Son] appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses, become Man by a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father."

Comment: The Son is an angel. Though Plato erroneously teaches three gods, there are but two: the unbegotten God who is the Father and Creator, and the only-begotten god. This is just as the Beloved John has it in Jn 1.1, 18 -- two gods: the unbegotten and invisible God, who is the Father; and, the Word who is an only-begotten god. Justin is henotheistic in his theology and not trinitarian though he may infer Plato is trinitarian.

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THE SECOND APOLOGY OF JUSTIN

Addressed to the Roman Senate:

Page 4 -- Ch VI. - Names of God and of Christ. Their meaning and Power.

"But to the Father of all, who is unbegotten there is no name given. For by whatever name He be called, He has as His elder the person who gives Him the name. But these words Father, and God, and Creator, and Lord, and Master, are not names, but appellations derived from His good deeds and functions. And His Son, who alone is properly called Son, the Word who also was with Him and was begotten before the works when at first he created and arranged al things by him, is called Christ. ... But ‘Jesus,’ his name as man and Saviour."

Comment: God the Father is unnamed as the oldest whereas the Son bears a name, Jesus.

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A DIALOGUE WITH A TRINITARIAN

[The following was an ongoing dialogue between a Nazarene Saint unitarian and a Trinitarian. -- Feb 1998]

UNITARIAN: Thanks for your link to Wheaton. May I ask you a couple of questions? Could you give me a simple definition of the Trinity as you understand it, say in two or three simple sentences? Then, could you direct me to those "early church fathers" who express this same faith or come closest to it, beginning with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th century? I would then like to examine these men and their writings for myself. Thank you for your help.
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TRINITARIAN: You asked;. Could you give me a simple definition of the Trinity as you understand it, say in two or three simple sentences? Then, could you direct me to those "early church fathers" who express this same faith or come closest to it, beginning with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th century?

1.Creedal/liturgical formulas that 'suggest' or even make explicit plurality within God;
2.Portrayal of multiple agents as "being God" and portrayal of those same agents as "interacting with God";
3.These agents will be appropriately treated as deity (e.g. prayed to, worshipped), whereas attempts to treat OTHER agents so will result in rebuke or censure.

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UNITARIAN:

I swear I am getting to like you the more I know you. I have printed out your post and will study it tonight. You surprise me, however. I asked for "a simple definition of the Trinity" and you give me a spider web spun with gossamer moon-beams -- as abstract as a lemon pie nailed to a wall. But, I accept your three propositions with enthusiasm

Beginning with #1 could we first limit ourselves to the phrase "make explicit plurality within God"? Beginning with the oldest documents, what verse in the Bible would you affirm actually made explicit [clearly stated; distinctly expressed] plurality within God? Provide just the single most "explicit" verse? Then, the first instance of such 'explicit plurality within God' in the anti-Nicene fathers?

I would go onto the items #2 and #3 some time later.

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TRINITARIAN: You asked: "Beginning with #1 could we first limit ourselves to the phrase "make explicit plurality within God"? Beginning with the oldest documents, what verse in the Bible would you affirm actually made explicit [clearly stated; distinctly expressed] plurality within God? Provide just the single most "explicit" verse"

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (KJV)

Hebrew word for God here is actually Elohim....which is plural.

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UNITARIAN: Thank you,

So I may assume Ge 1.1’s Elohim is "the single most explicit verse" indicating a "plurality within God"?

Can you cite scholarly references to support this view? Am I to understand ELOHIM means "gods"? How does ELOHIM indicate "a plurality within God" when the word means "gods"?

Now, regarding anti-Nicene fathers, can you support this view with a reference to the first patristic who supports this view that Elohim means a "plurality within God"?

Now, regarding your second proposition: "portrayal of multiple agents as "being God" and portrayal of those same agents as "interacting with God." I am not sure what your words "portrayal" and "agents" mean. It is difficult for me to understand God being the "agent" of anyone, for if He be the agent, then He is the instrument of another more superior. Obviously, these agents could not be God for they "interact with God." However, despite this, will you provide your best Bible verse indicating this "portrayal of multiple agents as being God" and at the same time "interacting with God"? Also, the first ante-Nicene father who expressed the same?

I must state here that nothing of the Trinity is present in your proposition, for there may be a multitude of agents interacting with God? Do you mean in this proposition: "three agents being God" and "three interacting with God"?

UNITARIAN: I have read the 12 pages you posted. I will treat them later.

Now, regarding your third proposition:

"3. These agents will be appropriately treated as deity (e. g. prayed to, worshipped). whereas attempts to treat OTHER agents so will result in rebuke or censure." You do not propose how many agents are here involved? Three or more?

Do I assume, brother, that all "deity" are prayed to or worshipped according to the languages of the Bible? Are there "deity" who are not prayed to or worshipped? Do I assume that the word "deity" is equal to elohim, theos, or god in Heb, Grk, and Eng? Are there degrees to "deity" or "god" or is there only one absolute so there could never be lesser deity or gods?

Will you define the word "deity" for me? If it is derived from Heb or Grk will you define those words also?

TRINITARIAN: You, Unitarian, asked: "So I may assume Ge 1.1's Elohim is "the single most explicit verse" indicating a "plurality within God"? Am I to understand ELOHIM means "gods"? How does ELOHIM indicate "a plurality within God" when the word means "gods"?

No, this is not "the single most explicit verse indicating a plurality within God". This is the very earliest verse that indicates a plurality within God, for if the authors of Holy Writ believed that there was only one God, ... "

UNITARIAN: Well, I am disappointed. I asked for "the single most explicit verse" indicating a "plurality within God"? You admit you have not given me one but it is "the very earliest verse that indicates a plurality within God." Does the Hebrew Elohim do what you claim? The word means "gods"? However, it is my understand a Trinitarian does not believe in three "gods" but One.

TRINITARIAN: ... how would they express this idea in the Hebrew language? The only way would be to use singular nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs in reference to God. Thus they would refer to God as "He", "Him", and "His", and describe God as saying "I", "Myself", and "Me". Both you (Unitarian) and I (Trinitarian) would expect to see such words in reference to God and we do, but if we also believe (as I do) that God was multi-personal, the only way this idea could be conveyed in the Hebrew would be too use plural nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verbs. The authors of Holy Writ would also refer to God as "They", "Them", and "Theirs" and describe God as saying "We", "Us", and "Ours".

UNITARIAN: You say "the only way this idea could be conveyed ... " Is this the only way it could be conveyed? This much limits God (Moses). Ge 1.1, 2 could have read: "In the beginning The Three Hypostases of the One God created ... and the Third Person moved above the waters ... and the Second Person made Man in the image of the Three Divine Hypostases." Or, something of that order. It was not difficult to write, surely God could have done it considerably better.

Is the "God" of Genesis 1.1a "a plurality within God"? Did the Jews of the Third Century BC who translated elohim to Greek use a plural such as theoi or did these Jewish scholars understand elohim to be singular? They render elohim by ho theos, which means "The God" -- meaning just One.

On this matter I cite again the reference which accuses the method of trying to find the plural in this as "mischievous" -- (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol 12, page 458) --- "The Old Testament could hardly be expected to furnish the doctrine of the Trinity. ... It is exegesis of a mischievous, if pious sort, that would discover the doctrines in the plural form, ‘Elohim,’ of the Deity’s names, in the recorded appearance of three angels to Abraham."

TRINITARIAN: While we both expect to find singular words applied to God, because we both believe in only One God numerically speaking, I however (as all other Trinitarians) would expect to also find plural words used of God as well. I don't believe that there is ANY Unitarian book that would, in reference to God, use such words as "They", or "Them", but this is standard practice in Trinitarian writing for such exists in Holy Writ indicating the multi-persons of God, as indicated in Gen 1:1.

That it is a true plural is seen from the fact that it has plural verbs and plural adjectives modifying it. For i.e.

Gen 20:13a -- "And it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father's house." It can be translated: "When they (God), caused me to wander from my father's house."

UNITARIAN: I read this verse in the LXX and it has ho theos -- The God, singular. The Jewish Publication Society’s Tanahk makes no attempt to add "they" as you would have it. The Hebrew elohiym is defined by Strongs (S# 430) -- "plur of 433; gods in the ordinary sense; but spec. used (in the plur ... ) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: --- angels."

So, when you assert "it could be translated, ‘When (they) God ... ‘" you err for it must then be, "when they (gods)" or "when those gods ... " something you do not believe.

Please do not brother, my Trinitarian brother, to submit a list of similar plurals as they hold no power with me and others who view them merely as the "plural of majesty" and is not limited to God, but includes judges and angels. The Jews understood this for they regularly translation the plural elohim with the singular ho theos, meaning The God.

TRINITARIAN: You, Unitarian, then asked -- "Can you cite scholarly references to support this view?"

In this I now direct you to the writings of a few of the many scholars that you can read through that explain such in greater detail using the historical/grammatical literal method of interpretation:

Dr.Robert Morey - Trinity Evidence and Issues
Dr.Herbert Leupold - Exposition of Genesis
Franz Delitzsch - Psalms
E.W. Hengstenberg - The Works of Hengstenberg
David Cooper - The Eternal God Revealing Himself

UNITARIAN: I would suspect any number of Trinitarian references may be cited to support this "mischievous" exegesis for they are caught between a rock and a hard-place: asserting a monotheism but being actual closet polytheists. Claiming belief in One God and yet assert the Three Hypostases are each "god" --- the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God -- and yet, despite all human logic, these three gods are not so, but one, now contradicting the plural argument of elohim.

TRINITARIAN: You, Unitarian Brother, then asked, "Now, regarding anti-Nicene fathers, can you support this view with a reference the first patristic who supports this view that Elohim means a "plurality within God"?"

Good question, and one that I will need to look further into using J.B. Lightfoot's 5 Volume edition of the Apostolic Fathers because it contains the Greek and Latin texts. But for now, let me cite some of the letters of the early fathers that reveal a plurality within God:

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE PHILIPPIANS

Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church of God which is at Philippi, which has obtained mercy in faith, and patience, and love unfeigned: Mercy and peace from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, "who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe."(1)

UNITARIAN: I note there are only two in his salutary formula in imitation of Paul.

TRINITARIAN:

CHAP. II.--UNITY OF THE THREE DIVINE PERSONS.

There is then one God and Father, and not two or three; One who is; and there is no other besides Him, the only true [God]. For "the Lord thy God," saith [the Scripture], "is one Lord."(9) And again, "Hath not one God created us? Have we not all one Father?(10) And there is also one Son, God the Word. For "the only-begotten Son," saith [the Scripture], "who is in the bosom of the Father."(11)

UNITARIAN: Ignatius makes it clear in "one God" there are "not two or three" contradicting the notion of "a plurality within God." That the Son, as the celestial Word, is called god does not surprise we henotheists, for we believe him to be the "only-begotten god." (Jn 1.1, 18) We note Ignatius errs in his citation of Jn 1.18b for very old mss show it to be monogenes theos. This makes us wonder at the editing and translation of these copies of copies of the original letter.

TRINITARIAN: (Ignatius) And again, "One Lord Jesus Christ."(12) And in another place, "What is His name, or what His Son's name, that we may know?"(13) And there is also one Paraclete.(14) For "there is also," saith [the Scripture], "one Spirit,"(15) since "we have been called in one hope of our calling."(16) And again, "We have drunk of one Spirit,"(15) with what follows. And it is manifest that all these gifts [possessed by believers] "worketh one and the self-same Spirit."(17) There are not then either three Fathers,(18) or three Sons, or three Paracletes, but one Father, and one Son, and one Paraclete. Wherefore also the Lord, when He sent forth the apostles to make disciples of all nations, commanded them to "baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,"(19) not unto one [person] having three names, nor into three [persons] who became incarnate, but into three possessed of equal honour."

UNITARIANS: We note nothing here gives definition to the idea of a "plurality within God." Indeed, we see two persons equated with God: the Father and the Son, each god, and each a separate person. Nor, does Ignatius actually say the Spirit to be a person, or God. We fail to see how this citation in any way supports or even suggests your first proposition: "plurality within God." We do agree your second proposition may be confirmed that two "agents" are called "God" -- the Father and the Word -- something we also believe. But, we fail to see a third here so-called god.

TRINITARIAN:

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE TRALLIANS

CHAP. VI.--ABSTAIN FROM THE POISON OF HERETICS.

For they speak of Christ, not that they may preach Christ, but that they may reject Christ; and they speak(16) of the law, not that they may establish the law, but that they may proclaim things contrary to it. For they alienate Christ from the Father, and the law from Christ. They also calumniate His being born of the Virgin; they are ashamed of His cross; they deny His passion; and they do not believe His resurrection. They introduce God as a Being unknown; they suppose Christ to be unbegotten; and as to the Spirit, they do not admit that He exists. Some of them say that the Son is a mere man, and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are but the same person, and that the creation is the work of God, not by Christ, but by some other strange power."

UNITARIAN: We do not quite understand what the above citation is supposed to prove in relation to your propositions: "explicit plurality [3 ?] within God ... multiple [three -- ?] agents as being God ... these (3) agents treated as deity by being prayed to and worshipped."

Do you understand Ignatius an inspired writer and thus without err? Do we have the proof of his letter as without corruption as we do Holy Scripture? Are we sure Ignatius himself is not part of the poison he condemns?

And, yet the piece fails in our judgment to even approach your three fold proposition.

TRINITARIAN: You, Unitarian brother, asked: "However, despite this, will you provide your best Bible verse indicating this "portrayal of multiple agents as being God" and at the same time "interacting with God"? Also, the first ante-Nicene father who expressed the same?

1) Genesis 19:24 -- "Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah
brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven."

UNITARIAN: We assume, brother, this is "the best Bible verse portraying multiple [3 ?] agents as being God. That there are two gods has been affirmed by several ancient fathers by the use of Genesis 19.24. As cited in another post this method is labeled mischievous by at least one scholarly reference.

Genesis 19.24 reads in the original Hebrew: "And Jehovah rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gommorah, from Jehovah out of the heavens." (IB) It is true Justin as well as Eusebius uses this text to show there are two lords in their arguments with pagan Greeks and Romans. Of course, these applications were not inspired or infallible.

If each of these called LORD be also a god, then there are two gods here, which is consistent with the henotheistic view. Interestingly, however, some translators render this verse: "Then Yahweh rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire of his own sending." (NJB; see ftn) This rendering would rule out two lords or gods. It is our feeling that this approaches the real intent of the verse.

However, let us review the whole context beginning with the "apparition at Mamre." (NJB) This divine visitation to Abraham has been cited to prove "a plurality [of three] within God." We affirm at the beginning here that "three" visit Abraham. However, who were these "three"? We quote in part from the New Jerusalem Bible:

"Yahweh appeared to (Abraham) at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. ... (Abraham) bowed to the ground. ‘My lord,’ he said, .... ‘let me have a little water brought ... ‘ ... They replied, ‘Do as you say.’ ... But Yahweh asked Abraham ... " (Ge 18.1-15 NJB)

As indicated above it would be "mischievous" to try and reconstruct "a plurality within God" from these verses. Why can we say this? It is because of the identity of "two" of these "three men. "While the [two] men left there and went to Sodom, Yahweh remained in Abraham’s presence. ... When He had finished talking to Abraham Yahweh went away, and Abraham returned home. ... When the two angels reached Sodom in the evening ... " (Ge 18.22 ftn, 33; 19.1)

Now the account had "three men" -- one being Yahweh’s manifestation, likely in the form of the Angel of Yahweh (Ge 22.11-18) -- and the other "two" were "angels" and not part of "a plurality within God." One is tempted to state it is almost unfair, certainly "mischievous," to make some application that all of this proves "a plurality with God," or the Trinity! Indeed, if a Trinitarian were making such an application in truth, it may even be considered deceitful for surely the context is known to the Trinitarian, but this he hides.

Now, regarding your postings of Justin see our own which proves him to be no believer in "a plurality with God,’ or trinitarian. We reviewed your posting again regarding Justin and we see nothing in it to support the three parts to your proposition. You were unable to post the "first ante-Nicene father who agreed with your proposition."

UNITARIAN: Our Trinitarian brother, could you now give support for item "c" of your proposition: "these [3] agents will be treated as deity (e.g. prayed to, worshipped) .... "?

Would you provide the best Bible verse which demonstrates these 3 agents will be treated as deity"? It is not necessary for our benefit to give some long list. At the moment we are interested in just a concise answer.

Also, as above, will you demonstrate the earliest known ante-Nicene father who also supports this "c" part of your proposition?

TRINITARIAN: "The reason for the position taking is for the very claims that are made by Christ (cf. Matt 18:20 omnipresent, 24:30 omnipotent), His teachings (Luke7:49 forgiveness of sins, Luke 20:44 the unveiling of the nature of Christ,
John 10:33 the charge speaks openly of and in itself), and the view and practices of His disciples (John 20:28 full acceptance of deity and resurrection)."

UNITARIAN: Our brother states his position is because of the "very claims" though he does not here indicate what these claims are suppose to prove. We deduce he means they prove Jesus was deity or god.

He asserts Christ to be "omnipresent" without indicating that this ability is limited only to God. "I am in the midst of them," the Nazarene says of those who gather in his name. (Mt 18.20) Since we know not the nature of spiritual beings as to location and movement, the same may perhaps be said of any angel. Nor, do we know the number of persons involved in this promise. We have no proof our Lord can be in more than one place at a time. We suspect the phrase may be metaphorical. Certainly, the Bible never calls Jesus omnipresent.

Nor, does the Bible call Jesus omnipotent, meaning, "all-powerful." When the Son is called powerful he always derives this power or authority from the Father. (Mt 29.18, 19) We cannot see how Mt 24.40 would prove Jesus claimed to be omnipotent.

TRINITARIAN: The Gospels begin with the statements that the pre-incarnate Christ was God (John 1:1).

UNITARIAN: The only thing John 1.1 proves is the Logos was God in his pre-existence. See statements elsewhere regarding John 1.1. John 1.1 proves there are two Gods: The God of phrase "b" and god of phrase "c" confirming the henotheistic view. This matter is no different than changing the word God to Lord. Yahweh is describes as "Lord of lords." (De 10.17) Two of these "lords" would have been David and Jesus, but Yahweh remaining Absolute Lord. This also may be done with the word king. If the word "God" be thus viewed it clearly has degrees. In Hebrew elohim is rooted in power or strength and this has degrees, ranging from Yahweh’s Absolute Power to those powers of local governments.

TRINITARIAN: It continues the theme by showing that He [Jesus ?] claimed attributes which only God has (see omnipresent, omnipotent).

UNITARIAN: No such claims exist. However, Jesus did admit to characteristics which are inconsistent with The (Absolute) God: ignorance (Mt 24.36); inability to do anything on his own (Jn 5.19); hungry (Mt 4.8); tired (Jn 4.6); fearful (He 5.7).

TRINITARIAN: (Jesus) also claims to be God Himself during His ministry, and in the end of the Gospels we see that He is openly worshipped as God.

UNITARIAN: These assertions are simply without proof. Twice Jesus made it clear he did not claim to be God. (Jn 5.18, 19; 10.30-33) Many times he makes it clear he is someone else beside God. (Jn 7.17; 17.3, 5) You cite a book which lists text proving the deity of Jesus and the holy spirit, but you provide none yourself, as if a long list will carry the argument itself. We find all of these texts to fail to prove the assertions claimed and certainly they fall far short of your original proposition. Where is the spirit prayed to or worshipped? Where is there a single verse proving Jesus called himself deity or God?

After reviewing the original proposition -- which is obscure on whether the Trinity is the subject at all -- that is, "explicit plurality within God, portrayed as multiple agents as being God, and each treated as deity, that is prayed to, or worshipped" -- lacking the affirmation of three -- we feel you have not proven what you asserted.

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UNITARIAN PROPOSITION

UNITARIAN: We begin by declaring that our use of the word "unitarian" is an affirmation of our belief that there is One Absolute God who we will henceforth designate The (Absolute) God.

We begin by declaring that we use the English word "god" as it is defined in dictionaries: 1. any of various beings conceived of as supernatural. ... 3. a person much loved. We use this word "god" with the Hebrew connotations in mind for it is generally understood that El [ Elohim or ha-Elohim ] carries the idea of strength or power. So, it is in this context we use the English word "god" for the Hebrew elohim and the Greek theos.

Another word may define our general comprehension of this word "god" --- henotheism (heis [one] + theos [god]). Websters has it: "belief in one god, without denying the existence of others." We confess the words "monotheism" and "polytheism" may be misunderstood in a Western world which essentially believes in one God. We believe ourselves "monotheistic" if this is understood in the contexts of certain limitations the Bible places on the idea.

Another word may need some clarification: the English "worship." The root of "worship" in English is derived from "worth" or "worthy" and thus honorable and so a magistrate may be addressed as "Your Worship." In Greek one of the words rendered "worship" means to bow or prostrate oneself and kiss the feet or fringe of the garment of someone particularly worthy.

Thus both the words "god" and "worship" have degrees. In the absolute sense as they pertain to The (Absolute) God they are without limitations. When "god" or "worship" is used of lesser persons it becomes limited or qualified. We may illustrate this with several words: a) lord (master) may be absolute, unqualified, unlimited, and thus pertain to The (Absolute) God; "lord" may be used in limited or qualified in contexts of Christ, angels, kings, and husbands. b) "king" may be applied without limitation to The (Absolute) God; and in limited or qualified contexts of Christ and human kings; "savior" is also used in these senses of degrees to The (Absolute) God, Christ, and human judges or kings; "father" may applied without limitation to The (Absolute) God as the life-giver to all; it is limited to Messiah, human fathers, religious teachers; "judge" may apply without qualification to The (Absolute) God; it may be limited to Christ, kings, the Saints. There are other designations and phrases which have these wide-ranging applications, such as first, last, good, and others.

With these definitions in mind we submit the following proposition in three parts:

THE BIBLE IS "HENOTHEISTIC"

A) THERE IS ONE ABSOLUTE GOD WHO IS NOT LIMITED NOR DEPENDENT ON ANYTHING ---

1. ETERNAL BEING WITHOUT BEGINNING -- UNBEGOTTEN

Genesis 21:33 -- "God of eternity."

Psalm 90:2 -- "Even from time indefinite to time indefinite you are God."

Romans 1:20 -- "For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world's creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship."

1 Timothy 1:17 -- "Now to the King of eternity, incorruptible, invisible, [the] only God."

Jude 25 -- " ... to [the] only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might and authority for all past eternity and now and into all eternity. Amen."

Revelation 15:3 -- "King of eternity."

Psalm 93:2 -- "Your throne is firmly established from long ago; You are from time indefinite."

2. ALMIGHTY AND ABSOLUTE IN POWER AND AUTHORITY

The (Absolute) God is greater than all. There are none who may authorize Him. There are none who may send his as a messenger.

Romans 1:20 -- "For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world's creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship."

Genesis 17:1 -- "I am God Almighty."

Exodus 6:2, 3 -- "I am Jehovah. And I used to appear to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as God Almighty."

Revelation 1:8 -- "I am the Al'pha and the O·me'ga," says Jehovah God, "the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty."

3. INFINITE AND ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE

The (Absolute) God cannot be taught anything from anyone, nor may any counsel Him, or reveal to Him anything He does not already know.

1 Corinthians 2:16 -- For "who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, that he may instruct him?" But we do have the mind of Christ.

Ro 11:34 -- For "who has come to know Jehovah's mind, or who has become his counselor?"

Isa 40:13, 14 -- "Who has taken the proportions of the spirit of Jehovah, and who as his man of counsel can make him know anything? With whom did he consult together that one might make him understand, or who teaches him in the path of justice, or teaches him knowledge, or makes him know the very way of real understanding?"

4. THE ORIGIN OR SOURCE OF ALL CREATION

The source of all being and existence find’s its origin in The (Absolute) God.

Genesis 1:1 -- "In [the] beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Ecclesiastes 12:1 -- "Remember, now, your Grand Creator."

Isaiah 40:28 -- "Jehovah, the Creator of the extremities of the earth, is a God to time indefinite."

Isaiah 42:5 -- "This is what the [true] God, Jehovah, has said, the Creator of the heavens and the Grand One stretching them out; the One laying out the earth and its produce, the One giving breath to the people on it, and spirit to those walking in it."

Isaiah 45:18 -- "For this is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He the [true] God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited: "I am Jehovah, and there is no one else."

Romans 1:20 -- "For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world's creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship."

Romans 11:36 -- "Because from him and by him and for him are all things."

1 Corinthians 8:6 -- "There is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are."

Hebrews 3:4 -- "Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is The God."

Isaiah 63:16 -- "For you are our Father; although Abraham himself may not have known us and Israel himself may not recognize us, you, O Jehovah, are our Father."

John 8:41 -- "We have one Father, God."

Hebrews 12:9 -- "The Father of our spiritual life."

James 1:17 -- "The Father of the [celestial] lights."

In Scripture this (Absolute) God bears the designation Yahweh (Jehovah).

The (Absolute) God is Perfect Mind. This "mind" or "spirit" He may project to accomplish His Will and Purpose directly or indirectly by means of spirit or human agents. This Force of Mind is called holy spirit in the Bible and is likened to His Breath or a Wind which exerts pressure on the object of His Will. This invisible force is personified on occasion and often indistinguishable from The (Absolute) God Who is its Source. The (Absolute) God made use this Mental Pressure through angelic or human agents.

B) There is another God (limited; and dependent) designated as the Word (Logos) or Wisdom who was in his pre-existence:

1. THE FIRST CREATED SON OF THE (ABSOLUTE) GOD IS A SECOND GOD

Proverbs 8:22, 27, 30 --- "Jehovah himself produced me [created me -- LXX] as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. ... When he prepared the heavens I was there. ... Then I came to be beside him as a master worker."

Micah 5:2 -- "From you [Bethlehem] there will come out to me [Yahweh] the one who is to become ruler in Israel, whose origin is from early times, from the days of time indefinite [NJB: the distant past; JPS: from ancient times]."

John 1:1-3 --- "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with [The] God, and the Word was a god [divine -- GDSP, MOF]. This one [god] was in [the] beginning with [The] God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence."

John 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."

John 17:5 -- "So now you, Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was."

Colossians 1:15-18 -- "[The Son] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, ... All things have been created [by The God] through him and for him. Also, he is before all things and by means of him all things were made to exist, and he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first in all things."

Hebrews 1:1-3 -- "[The} God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. [The Son] is the reflection of [The God’s] glory and the exact representation of [The God’s] very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power."

Revelation 3:14 -- "The beginning of the creation by God."

2. THIS GOD IS SPOKESMAN OR THE WORD WHO SPEAKS FOR THE (ABSOLUTE) GOD

As the Spokesman, Mouthpiece [Ex 4.16], or Exegete [Jn 1.18] of The (Absolute) God learns everything from his Father. He never speaks of his own originality but only as he hears His Father speak.

John 5:19 -- "The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he beholds the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son also does in like manner."

John 5:30 -- "I cannot do a single thing of my own initiative; just as I hear, I judge; and the judgment that I render is righteous, because I seek, not my own will, but the will of [The God] that sent me."

John 7:16-18 -- "What I teach is not mine, but belongs to him that sent me. If anyone desires to do His will, he will know concerning the teaching whether it is from [The] God or I speak of my own originality. He that speaks of his own originality is seeking his own glory."

Revelation 1:1 -- "A revelation by Jesus Christ, which [The] God gave him."

3. THIS GOD IS THE AGENT OR MASTER WORKER OF CREATION THROUGH WHOM THE (ABSOLUTE) GOD CREATED

Proverbs 8:22, 27, 30 --- "Jehovah himself produced me [created me -- LXX] as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. ... When he prepared the heavens I was there. ... Then I came to be beside him as a master worker. [JPS: a confidant; NJB: master craftsman]"

John 1:1-3 --- "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with [The] God, and the Word was a god [divine -- GDSP, MOF]. This one [god] was in [the] beginning with [The] God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence."

John 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."

John 17:5 -- "So now you, Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was."

Colossians 1:15-18 -- "[The Son] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, ... All things have been created [by The God] through him and for him. Also, he is before all things and by means of him all things were made to exist, and he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first in all things."

Hebrews 1:1-3 -- "[The} God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. [The Son] is the reflection of [The God’s] glory and the exact representation of [The God’s] very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power."

Revelation 3:14 -- "The beginning of the creation by God."

 

4. THIS GOD WAS THE ANGEL OF YAHWEH, ANGEL OF GREAT COUNSEL, OR MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

[See notes elsewhere quoting ante-Nicene fathers who believed Christ to be a high angelic being.]

In the Hebrew Scriptures, particularly Moses, the Angel of Yahweh speaks for The (Absolute) God, often in the first person. Jewish and Christian theologians believe this high angelic being to be the Word of God or the Son of God.

Though one may consult a concordance or computer word search using "angel of the LORD" or "angel of Jehovah" here are few examples.

Genesis 16:10, 11 -- "Then Jehovah's angel said to her: "I shall greatly multiply your seed, so that it will not be numbered for multitude." ... Further Jehovah's angel added to her: "Here you are pregnant, and you shall give birth to a son and must call his name Ish'ma·el;

Genesis 22:11-17 -- "But Jehovah's angel began calling to him out of the heavens and saying: "Abraham, Abraham!" to which he answered: "Here I am!" And he went on to say: "Do not put out your hand against the boy and do not do anything at all to him, for now I do know that you are God-fearing in that you have not withheld your son, your only one, from me." ... And Jehovah's angel proceeded to call to Abraham the second time out of the heavens and to say: "'By myself I do swear,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'that by reason of the fact that you have done this thing and you have not withheld your son, your only one, I shall surely bless you and I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore; and your seed will take possession of the gate of his enemies.

Exodus 3:2-6 -- "Then Jehovah's angel appeared to him in a flame of fire in the midst of a thornbush. As he kept looking, why, here the thornbush was burning with the fire and yet the thornbush was not consumed. At this Moses said: "Let me just turn aside that I may inspect this great phenomenon, as to why the thornbush is not burnt up." When Jehovah saw that he turned aside to inspect, God at once called to him out of the midst of the thornbush and said: "Moses! Moses!" to which he said: "Here I am." Then he said: "Do not come near here. Draw your sandals from off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground." And he went on to say: "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob."

Compare Numbers 22.22-35.

"And what was a trial to you in my flesh, you did not treat with contempt or spit at in disgust; but you received me like an angel of God, like Christ Jesus." (Ga 4.14) Note Paul parallels his treatment like an angel or Christ. He does not say, "you received me like God Himself, like Christ."

"And his name is called the ANGEL OF GREAT COUNCIL." (Isa 9.6 LXX Bagster) This text is quoted by apostolic fathers (ante-Nicene fathers). It is the rendering from the Jewish Greek Septuagint. It was used to prove Christ was an angel.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 -- "The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice." Paul does not have Jesus descending in God’s own voice, but in that of an "archangel" confirming Jesus was like an angelic being.

 

This "god" -- the Son [Jn 1.1 18] -- willingly emptied himself of his status [Ph 2.6, 7], became less than god [Ps 8.5; He 2.9] when he became a human-being [Ph 2.7; Jn 1.14], a full anthropoid [Ro 5.14; 1 Co 15.22; He 2.14]. During the days of his flesh [He 5.7] the Son was less than god [Ps 8.5] and lower than the angels [He 1.4; 2.9]. He was limited in strength [Jn 4.6; Mt 4.2; 21.18; 25.37; Mk 11.12; Lk 4.2] and knowledge [Mt 24.36; Mk 13.32; Re 1.1]. Though accused of making a god out of himself, he denied this [Jn 5.18, 19; 10.34, 35]. During his human existence he was called Prophet, King, Son of Man, Teacher, Man, Messiah, Lamb of God, Servant, Son of God, Lord.

After the Son of God died and was buried he was raised from death and became an immortal life-giving spirit enthroned in heaven as King appointed by The (Absolute) God. He will become Judge on Judgment Day. As Messianic King he is called Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor (or, Angel of Great Counsel - LXX), Prince of Peace, Mighty God. Though now exalted above the angels, the Son is Word and Servant of his own god [Ep 1.3, 17; Re 3.12], The (Absolute) God, his own Father.

C) The word "god" (and, "lord") may be used of angelic creatures.

Angels are called gods.

Psalm 8:5 -- "Thou madest [the Son of Man] a little less than angels [ ftn: Heb., me·´elo·him' ; JPS: less than divine; NJB: little less than a god]." (LXX) (Compare Heb 2.6-9)

Psalm 82:1 -- "God is stationing himself in the assembly of the Divine One [ftn: Heb., ´El ; LXX: the assembly of gods (theon, theous)]; In the middle of the gods [ Heb., ´elo·him' ; JPS: divine beings; NJB: surrounded by the gods] he judges."

Psalm 97:7 -- "Bow down to him, all you gods [ftn: Heb., ´elo·him' ; JNB: divine beings; NJB: all you gods; LXX: all ye his angels]." (Compare Heb 1.6)

D) The word "god" (and, "lord") may be used of human kings, judges or priests.

 

Regarding priests being called "gods" compare Acts 23.5 with Ex 22.26 (LXX): "Thou shalt not revile the gods [ftn: MSam(Heb.), ´Elo·him' ; Gr., the·ous', "gods"; Lat., di'is, "gods."], nor speak ill of the ruler of thy people."

Kings (and husbands) are called "god" ---

Psalm 45:1-11 -- "I am saying: ‘My works are concerning a king.’ [6 Your throne, O God ], is to time indefinite, even forever. That is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of exultation more than your partners. ... And the king will long for [his wife’s] prettiness, for he is your lord, so bow down to him [KJV: worship]. (Compare this with Heb 1.8, 9)

Human judges are called "gods" ---

Psalm 82:6 -- "I myself have said, 'You are gods [ Heb., ´elo·him'; Gr., the·oi'; Syr., da´·la·hin; Lat., di'i; T, "like angels." ], and all of you are sons of the Most High." (Compare Jesus’ own quote of this verse at John 10.34.) The verse proves "sons of God" may be called "gods."

SUMMARY OF UNITARIAN PROPOSITION:

We have affirmed a proposition in several parts. We have affirmed there are several unique attributes of The (Absolute) God:

The (Absolute) God is Infinite without beginning or origin and we have seen the Word (or, Son; Jesus Christ) is not without beginning as he has an origin and was created.

The (Absolute) God has absolute and unlimited power while the Son does not.

The (Absolute) God has unlimited knowledge while the Son is limited.

The (Absolute) God is the source of creation while the Son is only the agent or instrument by which creation occurred.

Thus, in our view, the Bible has a henotheistic theology which is monotheistic when The (Absolute) God (Being) is understood in an unlimited and unqualified sense.

 

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REGARDING DE 6.4 --- ECHAD

The key lays in the Aramaic NT. The word 'one' is CHAD, the Aramaic
equivalent of the Hebrew 'ECHAD (Strongs H:0259), the same word used in the
Sh'ma (Deu. 6:4) - Sh'ma Y'srael YHWH Eluhenu YHWH 'echad.

To understand this we must look at Who is YHWH and study His appearances in
scriptures, look at the word Elohim and its uses, and finally study the usage of 'echad in the Torah and throughout Tenach.

Beyond that, it is to each their own and searching the scriptures- for they are what testify to Yahushua HaMashiach. May each be convinced in their own minds by the truth of scriptures.

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REGARDING JOHN 10.30 ---

It is not uncommon for Jn.10:30 to be used in support of trinitarianism. However, personally I cannot draw that conclusion from the verse.

Jn.10:30 "I and the Father are one."

The term translated as one is Strongs #1520 and is either heis or hen in Greek. Zodiates states, "...the masculine heis must be distinguished from the neuter hen". Hen is expressed in Jn.10:30. Vines Expository defines one #1520 as, "(a) one in contrast to many .... (b) metaphorically, union and concord, e.g. Jn.10:30...." So according to Vines, the meaning of one or hen in Jn.10:30 is metaphorical union. Rather than indicating a oneness of being, Yahshua is saying that His Father & He are both united in will & purpose.

John uses this term one or hen in a similar manner in 17:11: Jn.17:11 "...Holy Father, keep them in Thy Name, which you hast given Me, that they may be *one* ( #1520 hen), <even as We (are)>."

In Jn.17:11 Yahshua attributes the oneness of the saints as being the same oneness that He and His Father enjoy. Of course all the saints are different individuals, but should have a unity of will or purpose among themselves (as YHWH and Yahshua are <different> individuals, but are unified in purpose). Jn.17:22 further expresses this same concept:

Jn.17:22 "And the glory which you (Father) have given Me (Son) I have given to them; that they may be one (Strongs #1520 hen), just as We are one (#1520 hen)."

To interpret John's usage of one or hen consistently, I am persuaded that he is referring to the Father & Yahshua & the saints as all different beings who are to have a likemindedness. This is not the trinity concept.

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JESUS AN ANGEL?

"And what was a trial to you in my flesh, you did not treat with contempt or spit at in disgust; but you received me like an angel of God, like Christ Jesus." (Ga 4.14)

"And his name is called the ANGEL OF GREAT COUNSEL." (Isa 9.6 LXX Bagster)

1 Thessalonians 4:16 -- "The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice."

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REGARDING THE ANTE-NICENE FATHERS AS "HENOTHEISTIC" ---

Justin, Ignatius and Mathetes declare Jesus "Angel."

Ignatius quotes Is 9.6 LXX and designates Messiah as "Angel of great counsel."

[This is what unitarians have been saying all along.]

Justin declares this "angel" --- "another God" (Justin "Diaglogue" 56, 4, 11)

Or, "god in second place" (Justin "Apology" i, 13)

Origen calls the Son "second god" ("Celsus" v, 39)

Hippolytus calls the Son "second God after the Father" ("Commentary in Daniel" iv, II, 4)

Origen calls the Son of God, "the oldest of all created beings" (Commentary i, 111-115, in John)

[Source THE FORMATION OF CHRISTIAN DOGMA, Professor Martin Werner]


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