De Trinitatis Erroribus

(The Error of the Trinity) - Part 1

Dedicated to Michael Servetus: 1511-53

Supplements added 1/30/98 - Supplement #1 and Supplement #2


Introduction

The title of this work, De Trinitatis erroribus, is taken from the work by Spanish theologian Michael Servetus who was burned to death on the morning of October 27, 1553, in part for writing this book against the doctrine of the Trinity. The Spanish physician’s death was approved by John Calvin. Perhaps the greatest argument against the doctrine of the Trinity was the martydom of the discoverer of the circulatory system. For truth cannot beget the horrors of persecution. (It was Athanasias who slapped Arius!)

Michael Servetus was born in Villanueva de Sijena, Aragon, Spain (c 1511). He studied medicine and law in Paris and later practiced in several French cities. He is renowned for his contribution regarding the discovery of the pulmonary-circulation system. Only 20 years old he published De Trinitatis erroribus (Errors of the Trinity). In his monumental work he wrote he "will not make use of the word Trinity, which is not to be found in Scripture, and only seems to perpetuate philosophical error." He said of the Trinity doctrine "that (it) cannot be understood, that is impossible in the nature of things, and that may even be looked on as blasphemous!"

During his flight from inquisitional Protestant persecutors Servetus discovered a tiny congregation of Anabaptists who described themselves as, "The brethren . . . who have rejected the Trinity." Servetus was to write: "The papistical Trinity ... are the doctrines of demons." One historican summarized the good doctors attitude toward the Trinity: "In place of a doctrine whose very terms (Trinity, hypostasis, person, substance, essence) were not taken from the Bible but invented by philosophers, and whose Christ was little more than a philosophical abstraction, he wished to get men to put their faith in a living God, in a divine Christ who had been a historical reality, and in a Holy Spirit forever working in the hearts of men. ... (the Trinity doctrine) confused his head, and failed to warm his heart or inspire his will."

Will Durant in his monumental historical work, The Story of Civilization, Volume VI, "The Reformation," records is observations on this saint of the reformation: "Miguil Serveto (Micahel Servetus) . . . was in some measure influenced by the literature of the Jews and the Moslems; he read the Koran, made his way through the rabbinical commentaries, and was impressed by the Semitic criticism of Christianity . . as polytheistic. . . . At Toulouse, where he studied law, he saw for the first time a complete Bible, vowed to read it ‘a thousand times,’ and was deeply moved by the visions of the Apocalypse. . . In 1531 and 1532 he published the first and second edition of his basic work: De Trinitatis erroribus. . . . (It had a) wealth of Biblical erudition it was an astonishing performance for a lad of twenty. ... (Jesus) was not equal or co-eternal with the Father. .... Servetus proceeded to take the Semitic view of Trinitarianism. ‘All those who believe in a Trinity in the essence of God are tritheists.’

"On July 17 the Inquisition at Toulouse issued a warrant for his arrest. He thought of going to America.

"We do not know when Servetus discovered the pulmonarycirculation of the blood.

"On April 4 Servetus was arrested. Three days later he escaped by leaping over a garden wall. On June 17 the civil court of Vienne condemned him, if foudn, to be burned by a slow fire.

"(John) Calvin was informed, and ordered his arrest. .... The basi accusations were that Servetus had rejected the Trinity. ... No member (of the Small Council) dissenting passed sentence of death on two counts of heresy---Unitarianism and the rejecft of infant baptism. ... The Counseil voted that Servetus should be burned alive.

"The sentence was carried out the next morning, October 27, 1553. .... He was fastened to a stake by iron chains, and his last book was boundto his side. When the flames reached his face he shrieked with agony. l After half an hour of burning he died." (Pages 479-484)

(For more on Michael Servetus, see www.servetus.org)

443 years later one suspects if the Trinitarians had the same power they possessed in the Sixteenth Century similar torments would be fomented on modern day Unitarians.

Today, at the beginning of the 21st Century, that which caused Michael Servetus’ martydom is still controversial. Consider these two contrasts: a) Billy Graham: "The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is fully God, and in no way is inferior to God the father." b) a Pentecostal minister said he would pay one million (US) dollars to any who could find the doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible, calling the Trinity a human philosphy "that is incongruous and incomprehensible." (The Denver Post)

PURPOSE AND OUTLINE OF THIS WORK

-- Galations 2.4, 5: ‘But because of the sneaky pseudo-brothers sent in as spies on our Christine liberty, with the hidden agenda to enslave us --- we refused to submit to these representatives --- not for one hour -- so that the Gospel Truth may remain with you.’ (NCMM)

What is the seriousness of this one Gospel Truth? ‘I am shocked you parted so suddenly from The One who invited you by the grace of the Christ to a different form of the Gospel. ... There are those troublemakers who try to pervert the Gospel of the Christ. But, even if we or some celestial being preached a Gospel different than the one we preached to you: LET SUCH A PERSON BE ANATHEMA! ... Am I trying to convince men or a god? Am I trying to please men? If so, I would not be the slave of the Christ. For I want to make you completely aware that the Gospel I preached is not of human origin. Nor did I first learn it from any human source but only by a personal unveiling from Jesus Christ himself.’ (Ga 1.6-12 NR) We cannot take lightly any Gospel "form" different from the one we find in the Pauline epistles. However, we have not been appointed the judge of those who choose a triune view of the Godhead. We wish only to supply the apologia for our own beliefs and to do this with gentleness and respect and hopefully with a degree of graciousness. (1 Pe 3.15; Co 4.6)

It is our purpose to provide a work for the year 2,000 AD which takes up the banner of Michael Servetus. It is not our purpose to attack persons but ideas. 2 Corinlthians 10.4, 5 is our spiritual agenda: ‘For our military weapons are not fleshly but the dynamic power of The God for dismantiling the intellectual strongholds of the logical thinking of the arrogant who exalt themselves above the knowledge of The God and make these thoughts obedient to the Christ.’ (NR) We believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God and like the Nazarene, we agree: "Your Word is truth." The sixteen century old doctrine of the Trinity is not part of this "truth." The Trinity is not of divine origin, cannot be supported by the Holy Scriptures, has its roots in pagan sources, is absent from the Patristic Fathers, and bears a bloody burden of guilt for the slaughter of Unitarians over centuries.

This does not mean we condemn or judge our modern Trinitarian brethern as persons. We have found Unitarians much more readily to forgive doctrinal disagreement than Trinitarians. Nor do we feel anything we write will change the mind of a staunch Trinitarian. Minutae will be agrued a thousand years and honest men will get no where. We do feel an obligation, however, to put down on pages our own feelings (arguments if you will), not for a determined and entrenched Trinitarian, but for those who ponder the question from a more neutral, searching view.

BOOK I

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT "GOD"

I. What the Bible teaches about God

A. The Jewish view in the Hebrew Scriptures

B. The Christian view in the Greek Scriptures

BOOK II

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT "THE SON OF GOD"

II. What the Bible teaches about the Son of God

A. The Messianic Hebrew Prophecies

B. The Nazarene himself

WHO DID THE NAZARENE BELIEVE GOD TO BE?

When the Nazarene speaks of "Our Heavenly Father" who does he have in mind? Any Jew would have understood this expression "Father" to mean God as John 8.41 shows, ‘We have one Father, God.’ The apostle John understood this as he writes, ‘Jesus knew everything had come from the Father. Jesus knew he had come from God and was to return to The God.’ (Jn 13.3) Jesus himself made it clear that when he spoke of the "Father" he meant God: ‘For (on the Son of Man) the Father, even The God , put His seal.’ (Jn 6.27)

On many occasions Jesus quoted the sacred Jewish texts. For example, note John 6.44, 45: ‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws that one to me. . . In the prophet (Isaiah) it is written, "And they will all be taught of God.’ If you turn to this quoted verse from Isaiah 54.13 it reads according to the Hebrew Bible, ‘And your children will be taught by Yahweh (Yehowah).’ (NJB) Here the sacred Tetragram, or the four letters YHWH (JHVH), appear in the original and some translations faithfully render it so. It seems clear when Jesus speaks of God he means the Father who is the same as "Yahweh" (or, Jehovah ) in the Hebrew Scriptures.

The Nazarene makes other quotes where the divine Name appears about half a dozen times. (Mt 4.7, 10; 5.33; 22.37, 44; Mk 12.29; Lk 20.42) Let us look at a few of them. In Mark 12.29 Jesus quotes the well-known Shema of Deuteronomy 6.4, 5: ‘Hear, O Israel, YHWH our God is one (YHWH).’ Generally, this is repeated by the Jews: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one," as the anthem of monotheism. Whether the Nazarene would have uttered the Divine Name (YHWH) (he is not condemned for this by the Jews), or respected the Jewish sensitivity with regard to the Second Commandment, it demonstrates that Jesus viewed Jehovah of the Old Testament as "our God."

Again in his reunion with his home synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus boldly quotes from Isaiah 61.1, ‘The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has anointed me.’ (NJB; compare also Lk 4.16) Whether this little town’s scroll of Isaiah would have had a copy of the Septuagint with the Tetragram or a Hebrew edition, it is likely they both contained YHWH in these two locations. The Nazarene applies this text to himself from his seat by inference. Therefore, it was Jehovah who anointed him and made him Messiah (Anointed; Christ)

DID THE NAZARENE BELIEVE HIMSELF TO BE GOD?

It is appropriate to raise this question here because many have come to believe Jesus taught he was God in the flesh. While respecting their view and recognizing them as our Christian brethren, we would politely suggest another view: Jesus was a complete man, the Son of God.

The Nazarene was well aware of what the Hebrew Scriptures said on the subject of this word, "God," or "gods." For example, he must have known Deuteronomy 10.17 said, ‘Yehowah your God is God of gods and Lord of lords.’ From this he would have known that there were other "gods" over whom Yehowah was The God and other "lords" over whom Yehowah was The Lord. Jesus knew and quoted those texts which applied to him as the Messiah. For example, he would have known the Messiah would say to Yehowah: ‘You are my Father, my God.’ (Ps 89.26) Also, that Messiah would call out at his death, ‘My God, my God!’ (Ps 22.1; Mt 27.46) He himself quoted Psalm 110.1, ‘Yehowah said to my lord,’ and applied the "my lord" to himself by inference as the son of David. (Mt 22.43; Mk 12.36; Lk 20.42) Jesus could not be this "Father," "Yehowah," or "God."

Throughout the Gospels the Nazarene is seen praying to God: at his baptism, in public, at the Last Passover, in the garden of agony and at his execution. (Lk 3.21; Jn 12.27, 28; 17.1-26; Lk 22.40-46; Mt 27.46. Compare He 5.7) Jesus used expressions which showed he considered himself lesser than God: as His servant, the Sent One. Jesus says, ‘The Father is greater than I.’ (Jn 14.28) The Nazarene exhibited limitations unknown to God: hunger, tiredness and lack of knowledge. (Jn 14.6 and Is 40.28; Mt 4.2; 21.18; 24.36; Mk 13.32) Also, he s shown being tempted, something that cannot happen to God. (Mt 4.1 and Js 1.13 KJV)

Further, twice we have the Nazarene’s own answers to the questions of whether he was God or considered himself equal to God. Both, interestingly, in the Gospel of John. In John 5.18-47 there is a discussion between Christ and the Jews in which they desire to kill Jesus because, as John puts it, ‘Jesus called God his own Father, making himself equal to God.’ Jesus has full opportunity to clarify the matter. The answer Jesus gave makes it easy to understand he did not consider himself God or God’s equal: ‘The Son can do nothing from himself.’ May we suggest a paraphrase: "The Son is not the First Cause of anything." It would be impossible to say, "God can do nothing of himself," otherwise the universe would have no beginning for God would be incapable of being the First Cause. Jesus continues in verse 30, ‘I am unable to do anything from myself.’ Such words could never come from God. Jesus Christ is no Originator or Prime Mover.

Again and again in this section, as well as the three chapters which follow in John, the Nazarene simply states: ‘I know nothing save what God the Father has taught me.’ (Jn 5.25, 42, 44; 6.27, 33, 46) Jesus made it clear that when he speaks of the Father he means God. In John 7.16, 17, he says: ‘My teaching is not mine but belongs to the One who sent me. If anyone wants to do His will, he will know whether this teaching of mine is from The God or from myself.’ The Nazarene’s answer to the Jews regarding any equality with God is, simply, "No."

On another occasion, the secularized Jews accused Jesus, ‘We stone you, though being a man, you make yourself God.’ (Jn 10.33) The Nazarene has another opportunity to make the truth clear: "Are you God?" He gives his answer in verses 34-36, ‘Is it not written (in Ps 82.6), (Yehowah) said, "You are gods"? If He called those (Israelite judges) "gods", do you say to me, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, "You blaspheme," because I said, "I am the Son of God?"’ What better way could Jesus choose in answering their false charge of being God, or a god, by effectively saying, "No!"

Did Christ Declare Himself God After His Resurrection? There is a particular incident when following the ascension of Jesus the Nazarene to heaven in which he revealed himself, or made himself visible, to one particular unbeliever, Saul of Tarsus. No where does Paul report he saw God. Rather, he asks, ‘Have I not seen our Lord?’ (1 Co 9.1; 15.8) In the third recounting of his experience on the Damascus road, he recounts the Hebrew words he heard from heaven: ‘I am (ego eimi) Jesus ... I am sending you (Saul) to the nations to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to The God,’ No where does the glorified and enthroned Lord Jesus ever identify himself as "God." Clarifying this matter further, Paul references this experience in his epistle to the Galatians: ‘But when The God ... called me by His grace (He) thought well to reveal His Son ... ‘ (Ga 1.15, 16) Paul makes clear his own understanding of the words of his glorified Lord: The God (ho theos) revealed His own Son to the Jewish rabbi. The apostle seems to draw a clear distinction between -- not the Father and the Son -- the Son who was revealed and The God who revealed him. Paul does not seem to hold any thought that they were one and the same.

 

This agrees with the Risen Christ also for when the spirit-Jesus speaks to the Magdelene in the garden, he says: ‘Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended toward the Father but approach my brothers and tell them I am ascending toward my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.’ (Jn 20.17) Is it clear the Father and God are the same and the Risen Christ is to ascended "toward" (pros) Him? The God of Jesus was the same God of the disciples.

C. The Apostles

PAUL’S VIEW OF GOD, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.

First, we take a note of the occurences of the word "God," "Jesus," and "holy spirit" in the pauline epistles, including Hebrews. The word "God" occurs 682 times. The word "Jesus" occurs 245 times. The phrase "holy spirit" occurs 23 times and not at all in the letters to the Galatians. Philippians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, and Philemon. This usage by Paul may indicate the degree of importance of these three subjects. The three are not equal according to Paul’s use and perspective.

1 Corinthians 8.5, 6. In these verses Paul has an opportunity to develope his theology and define it. Is it fair to say, if he were of a Trinitarian bent of mind, Paul has a full canvas here to express his triune idea. The verses read: ‘There is no God (theos) but one. Indeed, even though here may be so-called gods (theoi) in heaven or on earth --- as in fact there are many gods and my lords --- 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.’ (RSV)

Right away we see something is missing: the holy spirit. Is it fair to say no modern Trinitarian theologion would have composed the inspired verse missing theThird Person of the Trinity in this manner, for it is too irresistable. Secondly, Paul does not define what he means by the one God when this opportunity is present. Unless, he views God as truly one and not a combination of three. If he had embarked on a theological explanation of the Trinity here with its triune facets of three-gods-yet-one, it would have astounded his readers and contradicted his argument. Thirdly, he makes it clear that all things came into existence "from God." That, God the Father is the direct source or origin of everything. He could have stated that the source of all creation was a Triune Godhead, but he does not. Finally, Paul makes it clear there was an agent to creation by means of whom, or through whom, God made everything, the one Lord, Jesus Christ. This agrees with John’s prologue and the prologue of the Letter to the Hebrews. (Jn 1.1-3, 10; He 1.2, 3) Paul is to state this agency of creation again at Colossians 1.15-18.

The Missing Ghost. We will discuss the two so-called triune formulas in Paul’s writings later. At the moment, we note how often Paul omits the holy spirit when he could have just as easily included it.

For example, Paul uses a fairly consistent salutation as part of the introduction to his letters. The longest of these introductary words is Romans 1.1-7 which is one sentence in Greek. The holy spirit makes no appearance in this long sentence. But, verse 7b has his standard salutation: ‘Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’ He could easily include the holy spirit, but he does not. We find the same in the following locations: 1 Co 1.3; 2 Co 1.2; Ga 1.3; Ep 1.2; Ph 1.2; Co 1.2, 3; 2 Th 1.2; 1 Tm 1.2; 2 Tm 1.2; Ti 1.4; Ph3. Thus, in eleven of Paul’s fourteen epistles, he omits the holy spirit in his salutation. We wonder if Paul were a dyed-in-the-wool Trinitarian would he exclude the Holy Spirit from his formula?

The God of Jesus. There is another factor in a couple of these salutations, however. In a some Paul actually states that Jesus Christ has a god of his own. This occurs in the phrase: ‘Blessed be the God . . . of our Lord Jesus. ... The God of our Lord Jesus.’ (Ep 1.3, 17 RSV) Paul never reverses this formula: "Jesus the God of our Father." Or, "The Holy Ghost the God of the Father." We doubt a modern Trinitarian would have composed this phrase or idea of the apostle Paul for it wold have made one of the triune "gods" as the sole focus of worship of the others.

Jesus himself recognizes, both in his "days in the flesh" as well as the Celestial Christ, that he has a God for he uses the phrase "my God" twice, once at his death and once after his resurrection. (Mt 27.46; Mk 15.34; Ps 22.1; Jn 20.17) There is the possibility that we have two gods in John chapter 20, for if Jesus tells the Magdalene he has not yet ascended to "my God" and at the same time Thomas addresses the Nazarene as "my God," we have two gods.

That Jesus viewed his Father as his God after his resurrection and ascension, the glorified Nazarene shows five times in the Book of Revelation. (Re 3.2, 12)

The idea of more than one God is as old as Moses. For he declares in Deuteronomy 10.17: ‘For [YHWH] The God (ho theos) of you, He is God of gods (theon), and Lord of lords.’ If Jesus viewed viewed as "God" and at the same time states he has his own God, then one of the gods of whom YHWH is God, is Jesus. This is easier to understand if the word "lord" is used for it seems to have a wider undersanding in English. Jesus is clearly "lord" and yet he has his own Lord, thus his Father is Lord of lords, and the Nazarene is one of these lords.

God is one. Does all of this contradict the modern view of monotheism? Yes, if we allow a Trinitarian to arbitraily determine this word’s meaning. On the otherhand, if we have a more realistic view, and as it turns out the historical one, the Jews (and the Christians) believed there was one absolute God, YHWH. Yet, there were other "gods" of varying degrees of strength and power, for in Hebrew that is the meaning of elohim.

Yet, again and again both the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures stress the oneness or unique of The God, identified in the Old Testament as Yahweh, and in the New Testament as the Father.

The anthem of Judaism is the Shema of Deuteronomy 6.4. In Hebrew this is (omitting the vowel points), followed by the Greek LXX: [Heb fonts omitted]

one (is) Yahweh our God Yahweh

YHWH the God our YHWH is one

Originally this read: "Yahweh our God is one Yahweh." It has evolved into: "The Lord our God is one," or, "The Lord God is one Lord." It is true elohim in the Hebrew is in the plural number and is literally "gods." Our Trinitarian brethern, seeking any foothold possible, point to this as proof of the triune Godhead. Thus, they would have it read: "Yahweh our Gods is/are one Yahweh." It is clear from the Jewish Greek translation of the Third Century BC that the Jews did not take this plurality of elohim so seriously, beyond the plural of majesty. They could have easily used theoi (gods) if they wanted to emphasize the plutality of three gods. Of course, nothing here indicates "three" for it could be two or two million if the plural of elohim is forced.

This text in Moses is found in the experience of the Nazarene. Jesus is asked by a wise scribe which commandment is first. Our Lord’s answer is to quote Deuteronomy 6.4. We may assume this was in the Hebrew of the original, though possibly without using YHWH. The disciple Mark, possibly the secretary of Peter, translate this exactly as the Septuagint above has it. No where in Jesus’ reply does he pluralize "God" according to Mark’s translation.

D. The Apostolic Fathers [see notes in the Appendix]

The New Encyclopædia Britannica: "Taken as a whole the writings of the Apostolic Fathers are more valuable historically than any other Christian literature outside the New Testament."

The Didache. This work is attributed to the apostles and it contains this ("Two Ways"chapter 10): "We thank you, Holy Father, for your holy Name which you have made to dwell in our hearts; and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you have made known to us through Jesus your Servant. Glory to you forever! You, Almighty Master, created everything for your Name's sake . . . And to us you have graciously given spiritual food and drink, and life eternal through Jesus your Servant."

The Influence of Greek Ideas on Christianity (Edwin Hatch) says regarding this passage above: "In the original sphere of Christianity there does not appear to have been any great advance upon these simple conceptions. The doctrine upon which stress was laid was, that God is, that He is one, that He is almighty and everlasting, that He made the world, that His mercy is over all His works. There was no taste for metaphysical discussion."

Clement of Rome. (? - c 100 AD) Clement’s language is similar to Paul’s epistles. First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians: "Grace unto you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied. ... The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ has done so from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. ... May God, who seeth all things, and who is the Ruler of all spirits and the Lord of all flesh-who chose our Lord Jesus Christ and us through Him to be a peculiar people-grant to every soul that calleth upon His glorious and holy Name, faith, fear, peace, patience, long-suffering. ... We will beg with earnest prayer and supplication that the Creator of the universe will keep intact the precise number of his elect in the whole world, through his beloved Child Jesus Christ. . . . We realize you [God] alone are 'highest among the highest' . . . You alone are the guardian of spirits and the God of all flesh. ... Let all the nations realize that you are the only God, that Jesus Christ is your Child." No where does Clement go beyond Paul in his theology.

Clement writes regarding an allusion to John 17.3: "To know the eternal God, the giver of what is eternal, and by knowledge and comprehension to possess God, who is first, and highest, and one, and good. . . . He then who would live the true life is enjoined first to know Him 'whom no one knows, except the Son reveal (Him).' (Matt. 11:27) Next is to be learned the greatness of the Saviour after Him." (Who Is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved? VII, VIII)

Ignatius. Many will point to this early church father as calling Jesus "god" ("God the Word") in his letters and this is true. In view of the above discussion on the Hebrew and Greek understanding of elohim and theos (gods/god) it should be clear they had a different view of the subject than modern Trinitarian scholars who are looking back through a revisionist history which would correspond to their triune view. In the Roman world a "god" may be an exalted person or a human elevated to this higher level. Actually, surrounded by multi-god worshipping Greeks and Romans it is almost a natural thing to address Jesus as "god." John does this, as we have seen above, in his Prologue. (Jn 1.1, 18) Paul may have done it though scholars disagree on Romans 9.5 and Titus 2.13 which are discussed later. However, on this matter of Ignatius, it s good to consider how he makes a clear distinction between the "one God" and the Son He revealed, even as Paul does. (Ga 1.15, 16)

Ignatius writes of Almighty God "the only true God, the unbegotten and unapproachable, the Lord of all, the Father and Begetter of the only-begotten Son," indicating a clear difference between The God and His Son. He writes of "God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. ... There is one God, the Almighty, who has manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son."

Ignatius writes to the Magnesians (chp. 8 & 13): "There is one God who manifested himself through Jesus Christ his Son, who is his Word which proceeded from silence and in every respect pleased him [God] who sent him. … Jesus Christ was subject to the Father." Regarding the Spirit he says in his letter to the Ephesians (chp. 9): "The Holy Spirit does not speak His own things, but those of Christ, … even as the Lord also announced to us the things that He received from the Father. For, says He [the Son], 'the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father's, who sent Me.' "

So, though it is true, Ignatius calls the Son "God the Word" by using the word "God" for the Son he does not necessarily mean equality with Almighty God. The Bible also calls the Messiah-Son "mighty God" at Isaiah 9:6 and in the Greek of the LXX this may be "a mighty God" for in the next chapter Yahweh is described as "the Mighty God."

The Ante-Nicene Fathers, (Volume I, Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson): "It is now the universal opinion of critics, that the first eight of these professedly Ignatian letters are spurious. They bear in themselves indubitable proofs of being the production of a later age . . . and they are now by common consent set aside as forgeries. ... Of the seven Epistles which are acknowledged by Eusebius . . . , we possess two Greek recensions, a shorter and a longer. . . . Although the shorter form . . . had been generally accepted in preference to the longer, there was still a pretty prevalent opinion among scholars, that even it could not be regarded as absolutely free from interpolations, or as of undoubted authenticity."

Polycarp. (c69-155 AD) He writes: "May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Son of God, . . . build you up in faith and truth. ... Peace from God Almighty, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour." His salutation echoes Paul’s manner.

Hermas. In his Shepherd, or Pastor: "Nor when man wishes the spirit to speak does the Holy Spirit speak, but it speaks only when God wishes it to speak. . . . God planted the vineyard, that is to say, He created the people, and gave them to His Son; and the Son appointed His angels over them to keep them. ... The Son of God is older than all his creation."

J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines: "In a number of passages we read of an angel who is superior to the six angels forming God's inner council, and who is regularly described as 'most venerable', 'holy', and 'glorious'. This angel is given the name of Michael, and the conclusion is difficult to escape that Hermas saw in him the Son of God and equated him with the archangel Michael. ... There is evidence also . . . of attempts to interpret Christ as a sort of supreme angel . . . Of a doctrine of the Trinity in the strict sense there is of course no sign."

Papias. (c 140) [[Papias is also said to have known the apostle John. Likely he wrote early in the second century, but only fragments of his writings exist today. In them he says nothing about a Trinity doctrine.]]

Irenaeus, Elder at Lyons. (? c170-200) Irenaeus writes: "(There is) one God, the Father Almighty, who made the heaven, and the earth, and the seas, and all that is in them, and in one Christ Jesus, the son of God, who was made flesh for our salvation. ... Christ must be a man, like us, if he would redeem us from corruption and make us perfect. As sin and death came into the world by a man, so they could be blotted out legitimately and to our advantage only by a man; though, of course, not by one who should be a mere descendant of Adam, and thus himself stand in need of redemption, but by a second Adam, supernaturally begotten, a new progenitor of our race."

On to Part 2