Is the Trinity Biblical?

 

 

               The belief that God is one substance, yet three persons, is one of the central doctrines of the

                Christian religion. The concept of the Trinity is believed by most professing Christians,

                                   whether Catholic or Protestant.

 

               Where does the Bible show that God is a mysterious Trinity? Where did this doctrine come

                from--what is its history? Who was Jesus Christ? Did He live such a perfect life that God

               decided to call Him His Son at baptism OR was He God who became a man and died for all

                          men? Is the Holy Spirit a PERSON--and can you prove it?

 

 

        Is the Trinity Biblical?

        (Chapter One)

 

        A Gallup Poll taken in 1966 found that 97% of the American public believed in God. Of that number,

        83% believed that God is a Trinity.

 

        Yet for all this belief in the Trinity, it is a doctrine that is not clearly understood by most Christian

        laymen. In fact, most have neither the desire nor the incentive to understand what their church teaches.

        Few laymen are aware of any problems with the doctrine of the Trinity. They simply take it for

        granted—leaving the mysterious doctrinal aspects to theologians.

 

        And if the layman were to investigate further, he would be confronted with discouraging statements

        similar to the following:

 

             "The mind of man cannot fully understand the mystery of the Trinity. He who would try to

             understand the mystery fully will lose his mind. But he who would deny the Trinity will

             lose his soul" (Harold Lindsey and Charles J. Woodbridge, A Handbook of Christian

             Truth, pp. 51-52).

 

        Such a statement means that the concept of the Trinity should be accepted or else. But, merely to

        accept it as doctrine without proving it would be totally contrary to Scripture. God inspired Paul to

        write:

 

             "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (I Thes. 5:21).

 

        Peter further admonished Christians:

 

             ". . . Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of

             the hope that is in you..." (1 Peter 3:15).

 

        Therefore the Christian is duty bound to prove whether or not God is a Trinity.

 

        Clear Explanation Difficult

 

        If you were to confine yourself to reading the articles on the Trinity in popular religious literature for

        laymen, you would conclude that the Trinity is everywhere and clearly taught in the Bible. However, if

        you were to begin to read what the more technical Bible encyclopedias, dictionaries and books say on

        the subject, you would come to an entirely different conclusion. And the more you studied, the more

        you would find that the Trinity is built on a very shaky foundation indeed.

 

        The problems inherent in clearly explaining the Trinity are expressed in nearly every technical article or

        book on the subject.

 

        The New Catholic Encyclopedia begins:

 

             "It is difficult, in the second half of the 20th century, to offer a clear, objective, and

             straightforward account of the revelation, doctrinal evolution, and the theological

             elaboration of the mystery of the Trinity. Trinitarian discussion, Roman Catholic as well

             as other, presents a somewhat unsteady silhouette" (Vol. XIV, p. 295). (Emphasis

             ours throughout article)

 

        But why should the central doctrine of the Christian faith be so difficult to understand? Why

        should such an important doctrine present an unsteady silhouette? Isn't there a clear biblical revelation

        of the doctrine of the Trinity? Didn't Christ and the apostles plainly teach it?

 

        Surely the Bible would be filled with teachings about such an important subject as the Trinity. But,

        unfortunately the word "Trinity" never appears in the Bible.

 

             'The term 'Trinity' is not a Biblical term, and we are not using Biblical language when

             we define what is expressed by it as the doctrine" (The International Standard Bible

             Encyclopedia, article "Trinity," p. 3012).

 

        Not only is the word "Trinity" never found in the Bible, there is no substantive proof such a doctrine is

        even indicated.

 

        In a recent book on the Trinity, Catholic theologian Karl Rahner recognizes that theologians in the past

        have been:

 

             ". . . embarrassed by the simple fact that in reality the Scriptures do not explicitly

             present a doctrine of the 'imminent' Trinity (even John's prologue is no such doctrine)"

             (The Trinity, p. 22). (Author's emphasis.)

 

        Other theologians also recognize the fact that the first chapter of John's Gospel--the prologue-- clearly

        shows the pre-existence and divinity of Christ and does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity. After

        discussing John's prologue, Dr. William Newton Clarke writes:

 

             'There is no Trinity in this; but there is a distinction in the Godhead, a duality in God.

             This distinction or duality is used as basis for the idea of an only-begotten Son, and as

             key to the possibility of an incarnation" (Outline of Christian Theology, p. 167).

 

        The first chapter of John's Gospel clearly shows the pre-existence of Christ. It also illustrates the

        duality of God. And as Dr. Clarke points out, the key to the possibility of the incarnation—the fact that

        God could become man.

 

        The Apostle John makes plain the unmistakable fact that Jesus Christ is God (John 1:1-4). Yet we find

        no Trinity discussed in this chapter.

 

        More Biblical "Proof" for the Trinity?

 

        Probably the most notorious scripture used in times past as "proof" of a Trinity is 1 John 5:7. However,

        many theologians recognize that this scripture was added to the New Testament manuscripts probably

        as late as the eighth century A.D.

 

        Notice what Jamieson, Fausset and Brown wrote in their commentary:

 

             "The only Greek MSS. [manuscripts], in any form which support the words, 'in

             heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And

             there are three that bear witness in earth . . .' are the Montfortianus of Dublin,

             copied evidently from the modern Latin Vulgate; the Rauianus copied from the

             Complutensian Polyglot; a MS. [manuscript] at Naples, with the words added in the

             margin by a recent hand; Ottobonianus, 298, of the fifteenth century, the Greek of

             which is a mere translation of the accompanying Latin. All old versions omit the words."

 

        The conclusions arrived at in their commentary, written over 100 years ago, are still valid today. More

        conservatively oriented The New Bible Commentary (Revised) agrees, though "quietly" with

        Jamieson, Fausset and Brown.

 

             ". . . The words are clearly a gloss and are rightly excluded by RSV [Revised Standard

             Version] even from its margin" (p. 1269).

 

        The editors of Peake's Commentary on the Bible wax more eloquent in their belief that the words

        are not part of the original text.

 

             "The famous interpolation after 'three witnesses' is not printed even in RSV, and rightly. It

             cites the heavenly testimony of the Father, the logos, and the Holy Spirit, but is never

             used in the early Trinitarian controversies. No respectable Greek MS contains it.

             Appearing first in a late 4th century Latin text, it entered the Vulgate and finally the NT

             [New Testament] of Erasmus" (p. 1038).

 

        Scholars clearly recognize that 1 John 5:7 is not part of the New Testament text. Yet it is still included

        by some fundamentalists as biblical proof for the Trinity doctrine.

 

        Even the majority of the more recent New Testament translations do not contain the above words.

        They are not found in Moffatt, Phillips, the Revised Standard Version, Williams, or The Living Bible

        (a paraphrase).

 

        It is clear, then, that these words are not part of the inspired canon, but rather were added by a

        "recent hand." The two verses in 1 John should read:

 

             "For there are three that bear record, the Spirit, and the water and the blood: and

             these three agree in one."

 

        Three things bear record. But what do they bear record to? A Trinity? We shall see.

 

        Bear Record to What?

 

        The Spirit, the water and the blood bear record of the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is living

        His life over again in us. John clarifies it in verses 11-12:

 

             "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his

             Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not

             life."

 

        But how do these three elements—the Spirit, the water, and the blood—specifically bear witness to

        this basic biblical truth?

 

             "The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Rom.

             8:16). (We will see more about the part the Spirit plays in Chapter Three.)

 

        Water is representative of baptism, which bears witness of the burial of the old self and the beginning

        of a new life (Rom. 6:1-6).

 

        The blood represents Christ's death by crucifixion, which pays the penalty for our sins, reconciling us

        to God (Rom. 5:9, 10).

 

        Now understand why Christ commanded the apostles to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son

        and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). First of all, Jesus did not command the apostles to baptize in the

        name of the Father, the Son and the Spirit as an indication that God is a Trinity. No such relationship is

        indicated in the Bible.

 

        Why, then, were they to baptize using these three names? The answer is clear.

 

        They were to baptize in the name of the Father because it is the goodness of God that brings us to

        repentance (Rom. 2 4), and because the Father is the One "of whom the whole family in heaven

        and earth is named" (Eph. 3:15). In the name of the Son because He is the one who died for our

        sins, and in the name of the Spirit because God sends His Spirit, making us His begotten Sons (Rom.

        8:16).

 

        Many theologians have misunderstood the part that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit play in

        each person's salvation. The doctrine of the Trinity is the result of that misunderstanding.

 

        The Trinity is not a biblical doctrine. It has no basis in biblical fact. Then how did this doctrine

        come to be believed by the Church?

 

        History of the Trinity

 

        The ancient idea of monotheism was shattered by the sudden appearance of Jesus Christ on the earth.

        Here was someone who claimed He was the Son of God. But how could He be? The Jewish people

        believed for centuries that there was only one God. If the claims of "this Jesus" were accepted, then in

        their minds their belief would be no different from that of the polytheistic pagans around them. If He

        were the Son of God, their whole system of monotheism would disintegrate.

 

        When Jesus plainly told certain Jews of His day that He was the Son of God, some were ready to

        stone Him for blasphemy (John 10:33).

 

        To get around the problem of a plurality in the God-head, the Jewish community simply rejected Jesus.

        And to this day, Orthodox Jews will not accept Jesus' Messiahship. However, the more liberal Jews

        will at least admit that He was a great man -- maybe even a prophet.

 

        But the "new" Christian religion was still faced with the problem. How would proponents explain

        that there was only one God, not two?

 

             "The determining impulse to the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity in the church

             was the church's profound conviction of the absolute Deity of Christ, on which as on a

             pivot the whole Christian concept of God from the first origin of Christianity turned"

             (International Standard Biblical Encyclopedia, article "Trinity," p. 3021).

 

        But the Deity of Christ does not mean that a doctrine of the Trinity is necessary, as we shall see in

        Chapter Two.

 

        Roots in Greek Philosophy

 

        Many of the early church fathers were thoroughly educated in Greek philosophy, from which they

        borrowed such non-biblical concepts as dualism and the immortality of the soul. However, most

        theologians, for obvious reasons, are generally careful to point out that they did not borrow the idea of

        the Trinity from the Triads of Greek philosophy or those of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.

 

        But some are not so careful to make such a distinction.

 

             "Although the notion of a Triad or Trinity is characteristic of the Christian religion, it is by

             no means peculiar to it. In Indian religion, e.g., we meet with the Trinitarian group of

             Brahma, Siva, and Visnu; and the Egyptian religion with the Trinitarian group of Osiris,

             Isis, and Horus, constituting a divine family, like the Father, Mother and Son in medieval

             Christian pictures. Nor is it only in historical religions that we find God viewed as a

             Trinity. One recalls in particular the Neo-Platonic view of the Supreme or Ultimate

             Reality, which was suggested by Plato..." (Hasting's Bible Dictionary, Vol. 12, p. 458).

 

        Of course, the fact that someone else had a Trinity does not in itself mean that the Christians borrowed

        it. McClintock and Strong make the connection a little clearer.

 

             "Toward the end of the 16t century, and during the 2nd, many learned men came over

             both from Judaism and paganism to Christianity. These brought with them into the

             Christian schools of theology their Platonic ideas and phraseology" (article "Trinity," Vol.

             10, p. 553).

 

        In his book, A History of Christian Thought, Arthur Cushman McGiffert points out that the main

        argument against those who believed that there was only one God and that Christ was either an

        adopted or a created being was that their idea did not agree with Platonic philosophy. Such teachings

        were

 

             "offensive to theologians particularly to those who felt the influence of the Platonic

             philosophy" (ibid., p.240).

 

        In the latter half of the third century, Paul of Samosata tried to revive the adoptionist idea that Jesus

        was a mere man until the Spirit of God came upon Him at baptism making him the Anointed One, or

        Christ. In his beliefs about the person of Jesus Christ, he:

 

             "rejected the Platonic realism which underlay most of the Christological speculation of the

             day" (ibid., p. 243).

 

        At the end of his chapter on the Trinity, McGiffert concludes:

 

             ". . . It has been the boast of orthodox theologians that in the doctrine of the Trinity both

             religion and philosophy come to highest expression" (Vol. I, p. 247).

 

        The influence of Platonic philosophy on the Trinity doctrine can hardly be denied.

 

        However, Trinitarian ideas go much further back than Plato.

 

             "Though it is usual to speak of the Semitic tribes as monotheistic; yet it is an undoubted

             fact that more or less all over the world the deities are in triads. This rule applies to

             eastern and western hemispheres, to north and south. Further, it is observed that, in some

             mystical way, the triad of three persons is one.... The definition of Athanasius [a

             fourth-century Christian] who lived in Egypt, applied to the trinities of all heathen

             religions" (Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, by James Bonwick, F.R.G.S., p.

             396).

 

        It was Athanasius' formulation for the Trinity which was adopted by the Catholic Church at the

        Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. Athanasius was an Egyptian from Alexandria and his philosophy was

        also deeply rooted in Platonism.

 

             "The Alexandrian catechetical school, which revered Clement of Alexandria and Origen,

             the greatest theologians of the Greek Church, as its heads, applied the allegorical method

             to the explanation of Scripture. Its thought was influenced by Plato: its strong point

             was theological speculation. Athanasius and the three Cappadocians had been included

             among its members . . ." ( Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church, by Hubert

             Jedin, p. 29).

 

        In order to explain the relationship of Christ to God the Father, the church fathers felt that it was

        necessary to use the philosophy of the day. They obviously thought that their religion would be more

        palatable if they made it sound like the pagan philosophy that was extant at the time. These men were

        versed in philosophy, and that philosophy colored their understanding of the Bible.

 

        It was the doctrine of the Trinity -- colored by the philosophy of the time—that was accepted by the

        Church in the early part of the fourth century — over three hundred years after Christ's death.

 

        Even theologians recognize that the Trinity is a creation of the fourth century, not the first!

 

        "'There is recognition on the part of exegetist and Biblical theologians, including a constantly growing

        number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament

        without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition —that when one does

        speak of unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to say, the

        last quadrant of the 4th century. It was only then that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian

        dogma 'one God in three persons' became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought" (New

        Catholic Encyclopedia, article "Trinity," Vol. 14, p. 295).

 

        The Council of Nicaea

 

        It was at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 that two members of the Alexandrian congregation, Arius,

        a priest, who believed that Christ was not a God, but a created being; and Athanasius, a deacon who

        believed that the Father, Son and Spirit are the same being living in a threefold form (or in three

        relationships, as a man may be at the same time a father, a son and a brother), presented their cases.

 

        The Council of Nicaea was not called by the church leaders, as one might suppose. It was called by

        the Emperor Constantine. And he had a far from spiritual reason for wanting to solve the dispute that

        had arisen.

 

             "In 325 the Emperor Constantine called an ecclesiastical council to meet at Nicaea in

             Bithynia. In the hope of securing for his throne the support of the growing body of

             Christians he had shown them considerable favor and it was to his interest to have the

             church vigorous and united. The Arian controversy was threatening its unity and

             menacing its strength. He therefore undertook to put an end to the trouble. It was

             suggested to him, perhaps by the Spanish bishop Hosius who was influential at court, that

             if a synod were to meet representing the whole church both east and west, it might be

             possible to restore harmony. Constantine himself of course neither knew or cared

             anything about the matter in dispute but he was eager to bring the controversy to a close,

             and Hosius' advice appealed to him as sound" (A History of Christian Thought, Vol. I,

             p. 258).

 

        The decision as to which of the two men the church was to follow was a more or less arbitrary one.

        Constantine really didn't care which choice was made—all he wanted was a united church. (Arius was

        banished, but later recalled by Constantine, examined and found to be without heresy.)

 

        The majority of those present at the council were not ready to take either side in the controversy.

 

             "A clearly defined standpoint with regard to this problem — the relationship of Christ to

             God—was held only by the attenuated group of Arians and a far from numerous section

             of delegates, who adhered with unshaken conviction to the Alexandrian [Athanasius']

             view. The bulk of the members occupied a position between these two extremes. They

             rejected the formulae of Arius, and declined to accept those of his opponents . . . the

             voting was no criterion of the inward conviction of the council" (Encyclopedia

             Britannica, 11th ed., article "Nicaea, Council of," p. 641).

 

        The council rejected Arius' views, and rightly so, but they had nothing with which to replace it. Thus

        the ideas of Athanasius—also a minority view—prevailed. The rejection of Arianism was not blanket

        acceptance of Athanasius. Yet, the church in all the ensuing centuries has been "stuck," so to speak,

        with the job of upholding— right or wrong—the decision made at Nicaea.

 

        After the council the Trinity became official dogma in the church, but the controversy did not end. In

        the next few years more Christians were killed by other Christians over that doctrine than were killed

        by all the pagan emperors of Rome. Yet, for all the fighting and killing, neither of the two parties had a

        biblical leg to stand on.

 

 

 

                                   Who Was Jesus?

                                     (Chapter Two)

 

        The Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity. But we are still faced with the question: Who was

        Jesus Christ? Was He a man that lived such a perfect life that God decided to call Him His

        Son at baptism? Or was He God who became a man and died for all men?

 

        In the past in most theological circles, a rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity included a rejection of

        the divinity of Christ. But before this booklet becomes classed as an Arian heresy, let me quote from

        Catholic theologian Karl Rahner:

 

             ". . . we must be willing to admit that should the doctrine of the Trinity have to be

             dropped as false, the major part of religious literature could well remain virtually

             unchanged.... the Christian idea of the incarnation would not have to change at all if there

             were no Trinity."

 

             "It is not surprising then, that Christian piety practically remembers from the doctrine of

             the incarnation only that 'God' has become man, without deriving from this truth any clear

             message about the Trinity" (The Trinity, pp. 10-12).

 

        A rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity does not constitute a rejection of the incarnation—the

        divinity of Christ. In fact, what he says indicates that, for all practical purposes, the doctrine is

        meaningless.

 

        Jesus Was the Problem

 

        To this day Christianity is still confused about who and what Jesus Christ really was. There is a

        majority who believe in a mysterious Trinity and a vociferous minority who believe that Christ was a

        created being. Neither has the truth.

 

        But why all the confusion?

 

        Who Jesus was is clearly indicated in the pages of the Bible. It has been there for centuries. While

        Christians were busily excommunicating and killing each other over the question of who Jesus was, the

        answer has been in the pages of the Bible, and that explanation is not in harmony with what is taught

        by most churches today Christ is not the second person in a Trinity, and He was not created by

        God—He is the Creator God!

 

        In the Beginning...

 

        To find out who Jesus was, let's go back to the beginning. Beginnings are mentioned in the Bible in at

        least two separate places—in the first chapter of Genesis and in the first chapter of John's Gospel.

 

        The Apostle John began his Gospel by describing who and what Jesus was before He came to this

        earth as the saviour of mankind.

 

             "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was

             God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and

             without him was not anything made that was made.... And the Word was made

             flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only

             begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (verses 1-3, 14).

 

        If we read no further in the New Testament than this, we would be able to know beyond a shadow of

        a doubt that Jesus Christ was God and that He is the One who created man in Genesis 2:7. Because

        John clearly states that the Word—the One who became Christ—created all things. Had Christians

        clearly understood these verses there would have never been an Arian controversy or a doctrine of the

        Trinity.

 

        But the Apostle John is not the only New Testament writer who wrote about the pre-existence of

        Christ. Notice what Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

 

             "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant. how that all our

             fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and did all eat the

             same spiritual mean; and did all drink of the same spiritual drink; for they drank

             of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (1 Cor.

             10:1-4).

 

        Paul clearly tells us that Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament—the One who spoke to

        Moses and led the Israelites out of Egypt. This clearly shows us that the One who became the Son

        was the God of the Old Testament, not God the Father.

 

        Yet the doctrine of the Trinity hinges on the assumption that God manifested Himself as the Father in

        the Old Testament and Christ in the New Testament.

 

        Duality of God Throughout the Bible

 

        The plurality of God is not merely a "plural of majesty" as some would have us believe.

 

        Six hundred years before Christ, the Prophet Daniel recorded for us a vision.

 

             "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the

             clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days . . ." (Dan. 7:13).

 

        The "Son of man" he described can be none other than the One who later became Jesus Christ. Daniel

        then saw Him given rulership and a Kingdom that will never be destroyed (verse 14). The "Son of

        man" mentioned here could hardly be a mere physical human being!

 

        The Ancient of Days, in this instance, is the divine Being who is called the Father in the New

        Testament.

 

        Jesus Christ referred to the same occurrence as mentioned in this vision in His parable of the nobleman

        (Himself) who went to a far country (heaven) to receive a kingdom, and to return (Luke 19:12).

 

        The duality of the God family was also referred to in Psalm 110 by David.

 

             "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine

             enemies thy footstool" (verse 1).

 

        Two different Lords are mentioned here. One is God the Father and the other is the One who became

        Jesus Christ. Paul quoted this passage to the Jewish Christians —applying it directly to Jesus Christ:

 

             "But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make

             thine enemies thy footstool?" (Heb. 1:13.)

 

        Was the Son also God? Verse 8 answers,

 

             "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever...."

 

        Where can he no doubt that God the Father and Jesus the Son are mentioned as two separate beings

        in the Old Testament.

 

        Who Was Melchizedek?

 

        Now notice Hebrews 5:6-7:

 

             "So also Christ glorified not himself to be made high priest; but he [glorified him]

             that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he saith also

             in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."

 

        So Christ holds the office of Melchizedek. Who was Melchizedek? He was one of the Persons

        composing God.

 

        In Genesis 14:18 he is called the king of Salem and the priest of the Most High God. Notice why he

        could not have been merely a human being.

 

        The Apostle Paul described Him further in Hebrews 7:2-3:

 

             "To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King

             of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of peace;

             without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days,

             nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually."

 

        Paul could not have been describing a human being, or even an angel in these verses, for he is

        describing a Being that eternally existed, as only God has eternally existed.

 

        Melchizedek was a priest of the Most High God. Who is the Most High God? Why of course, the

        Father! Jesus Christ said: "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). And also Melchizedek still

        lives (and if you will read Hebrews 7:8 carefully, you will see that Paul repeats this supremely

        important fact) and is still that High Priest. But Christ also is High Priest (see Heb. 7:26; 8:1). There

        cannot be two High Priests both holding the same office, so Melchizedek and Jesus Christ must be

        one and the same.

 

        So we see that even in the first book of the Bible the plurality of God is shown, although clear

        understanding of this truth could not be known until Jesus came to reveal it in the New Testament.

        Jesus said,

 

             ". . . No man knows who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the

             Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him" (Luke 10:22).

 

        Jesus Came to Reveal the Father

 

        A clear distinction is made in the New Testament between Christ and the Father. The God that Moses

        saw and heard was not God the Father, again proving that Christ was the God of the Old Testament.

 

             "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom

             of the Father, he hath declared him" (John 1:18).

 

        Christ came to earth to, among other things, reveal the Father and to show a family relationship that

        exists in the Godhead. But more about that later.

 

        Unless Jesus had revealed the Father to us, there is no way for us to know Him.

 

             "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but

             the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to

             whomsoever the Son will reveal him" (Matt. 11:27).

 

        The Meaning of the Word YHVH

 

        In the Hebrew of the original inspired text, there are two different names that are commonly used to

        refer to God. The word first used for "God" in Genesis is Elohim.

 

        The second word—which we will explain here—is YHVH (commonly though erroneously,

        pronounced "Jehovah"). This word YHVH is generally translated "LORD" (in capital letters) in the

        King James Version of the Bible. The first place it is used is in Genesis 2:7. It was the LORD

        God—YHVH—who formed man out of the dust of the ground. It was the LORD God that dealt

        directly with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. And as we saw in John, chapter 1, it was the

        Word—Jesus Christ— who created all things.

 

        Therefore, it was the LORD God of the Old Testament who became the Jesus Christ of the New.

        This fact is illustrated interestingly enough by the grammatical derivation of the word YHVH.

 

        The word YHVH is explained by Rabbinic sources as encompassing three Hebrew words: HYH

        meaning was, HVH meaning is (literally "the present tense"—the word "is" is not used in Hebrew) and

        YHYH meaning will continue to be.

 

        Putting them all together, YHVH actually means the "Was-Is-Will Continue to Be" Being. Even

        Hebrew linguistic scholars agree that YHVH must be derived from some form of the verb "to be"

        (was, is, will be).

 

        By His very name, then, God quite literally encompasses all aspects of time—past, present and future.

        This is in complete accord with Malachi 3:6:

 

             "For I am YHVH, I change not";

 

        Hebrews 13:8:

 

             "Jesus Christ the same yesterday [was], and today [is], and forever [will continue

             to be]";

 

        and Revelation 1:8 :

 

             "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is,

             and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."

 

        Here we can see that even etymologically, Jesus Christ and YHVH can be equated. Yet this is only a

        small part of the picture because the clear statements of both the Old and New Testaments give

        overwhelming proof that the God of the Old Testament is the One who became Jesus Christ.

 

        People Stumbled at Christ

 

        In Isaiah chapter eight, verses 13 and 14, we find a very interesting prophecy concerning the Lord of

        Hosts.

 

             "Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your

             dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock

             of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants

             of Jerusalem."

 

        Most editions of the King James Version of the Bible note that these verses refer to the one who later

        became Jesus Christ. But even more accurate proof is found in the New Testament.

 

        In his first epistle, the Apostle Peter writes:

 

             "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief

             corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be

             confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them

             which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made

             the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, even to

             them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were

             appointed" (1 Pet. 2:6-8).

 

        The very same prophecy is alluded to in Luke 2:34. There can be no denying the fact that Jesus Christ

        was the God of the Old Testament, the Stone over which many people stumbled.

 

        The religious leaders of the time simply could not understand how Jesus could have been God. Yet the

        Old Testament which they had copied for centuries is filled with prophecies about Him. Truly they

        were blinded, and most remain so to this day, as the Apostle Paul explained in the ninth through the

        eleventh chapters of his epistle to the Romans.

 

        While Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament, was on earth as a human being, there was only one

        God-Being—the Father—left in heaven. And we find that Jesus prayed to His Father in heaven:

 

             "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had

             with thee before the world was" (John 17:5).

 

        The Jews and the Arians found it hard to believe that God could become man. Yet, the New

        Testament explains that it did indeed happen. One of the members of the Godhead became a man that

        we might have the opportunity to become God.

 

        The Apostle Paul explained this concept in his epistle to the Philippians. The Amplified Bible makes

        the passage a little clearer. In chapter 2:5-8, he encourages the Philippians:

 

             "Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in

             Christ Jesus. Let him be your example in humility. . . Who, although being

             essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the

             attributes which make God God, did not think this equality with God was a thing to

             be eagerly grasped or retained; but stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful

             dignity] so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like

             men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form He

             abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the

             extreme of death, and even the death of [the] cross!"

 

        Jesus Christ was God. But He voluntarily gave up His position as God, became a physical human

        being and came to this earth to die for us that we might be saved.

 

        The true impact and importance of the oft-repeated scripture:

 

             "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever

             believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16)

 

        becomes abundantly clear.

 

 

 

                            Is the Holy Spirit a Person?

                                       (Chapter 3)

 

        We have seen that Jesus Christ is, was and always will be God. However, you can search the Bible

        from Genesis to Revelation and you will find no such Bible teaching with regard to the Holy Spirit. The

        Bible does not teach that the Holy Spirit is a third member of the God family or of a Trinity.

 

        This is not a prejudiced anti-trinitarian opinion. It is a fact that is recognized even by Trinitarian

        theologians!

 

        Discussing the evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible, Dr. W. N. Clarke, writes:

 

             "The New Testament begins the work, but does not finish it; for it contains no similar

             teaching [like John 1:1-18 concerning the divinity of Christ] with regard to the Holy

             Spirit. The unique nature and mission of Christ are traced to a ground in the being of

             God; but similar ground for the divineness of the Spirit is nowhere shown. Thought in

             the New Testament is never directed to that end. Thus the Scriptures take the first

             step toward a doctrine of essential Trinity, or three-ness in the being of one God, but

             they do not take that second step by which alone the doctrine could be completed"

             (An Outline of Christian Theology, p. 168). (Author's emphasis.)

 

        Theologians have to recognize that there is no biblical proof for the divinity or personality of the Spirit.

        And that in order to arrive at a doctrine of the Trinity, they have to go outside of the Bible.

 

        Karl Barth, one of the most noted theologians of the 20th century, admits that the church has gone

        beyond the Bible to arrive at its doctrine of the Trinity.

 

             "The Bible lacks the express declaration that the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are of

             equal essence and therefore in an equal sense God Himself. And the other express

             declaration is also lacking that God is God thus and only thus, i.e., as the Father, the Son

             and the Holy Spirit. These two express declarations which go beyond the witness of the

             Bible are the twofold content of the church doctrine of the Trinity" (Doctrine of the

             Word of God, p. 437).

 

        Since, as theologians recognize, the Bible is not the source of the Trinity doctrine, how can they square

        it with the Bible teaching that inspired Scripture should be the source of doctrine? (2 Tim. 3:16).

 

        The answer is, they can't. They must freely admit the painful facts.

 

        The Spirit of God in the Bible

 

        The personality of Jesus Christ is thoroughly provable from the Bible, but there is no such proof for a

        personality of the Holy Spirit.

 

             "The OT [Old Testament] clearly does not envisage God's spirit as a person, neither in

             the strictly philosophical sense, nor in the Semitic sense. God's spirit is simply God's

             Power. If it is sometimes represented as being distinct from God, it is because the breath

             of Yahweh acts exteriorly (Isa. 48:16; 63:11; 32:15)." so say the authors of the New

             Catholic Encyclopedia.

 

        But let them continue:

 

             "Very rarely do the OT writers attribute to God's spirit emotions or intellectual activity

             (Isa. 63:10; Wis. 1:3-7). When such expressions are used, they are mere figures of

             speech that are explained by the fact that the ruah was regarded also as the seat of

             intellectual acts and feeling (Gen. 41:8). Neither is there found in the OT or in rabbinical

             literature the notion that God's spirit is an intermediary being between God and the

             world. This activity is proper to the angels, although to them is ascribed some of the

             activity that elsewhere is ascribed to the spirit of God" (New Catholic Encyclopedia,

             Vol. XIII, pg. 574).

 

        In the Old Testament, God's Spirit is pictured as His power. The power by which the One who

        became Jesus Christ, as Executive for the Father, created the entirety of the universe. these

        theologians also recognize that when the Spirit is spoken of as a person or in a personal way, the Bible

        writer is merely personifying the Spirit, as he would wisdom or any other attribute.

 

        Now what about the New 'Testament? They Say: "Although the NT [New Testament] concepts of the

        Spirit of God are largely a continuation of those of the OT, in the NT there is a gradual revelation that

        the Spirit of God is a person."

 

        But this would seem true only if you are armed with a preconceived notion that God is a

        Trinity. We will see there are only a few scriptures that can even remotely be construed as presenting

        the Spirit as a person, and in each case only as the result of a grammatical misunderstanding.

 

        But again let's let the New Catholic Encyclopedia continue.

 

             "The majority of NT texts reveal God's spirit as something, not someone; this is

             especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God."

 

        Though theologians would like for the Bible to say that the Spirit is a person, they must admit that the

        majority of the scriptures connected with it show that it is not someone, but something. Even the

        personification of the Spirit is no proof of its personality.

 

             "When a quasi-personal activity is ascribed to God's spirit, e.g., speaking, hindering,

             desiring, dwelling (Acts 8 29; 16:7; Rom. 8:9), one is not justified in concluding

             immediately that in these passages God's spirit is regarded as a Person; the same

             expressions are used in regard to rhetorically personified things or abstract ideas (see

             Rom. 6:6; 7:17). Thus the context of the phrase 'blasphemy against the spirit' (Mt. 12:31;

             cf. Mt. 12:28; Lk. 11:20) shows that reference is being made to the power of God"

             (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XIH, p. 575).

 

        After such admissions, it is almost inconceivable that any theologian could still teach that the Spirit is a

        person —yet some do.

 

        A Lesson in Greek Grammar

 

        The one place that most theologians feel describes the Spirit as a person is resolved by a lesson in the

        Greek language. In the Greek language, like the Romance languages (Italian, Spanish, French, and

        others), every noun has what is called gender; that is, it is either masculine, feminine or neuter. The

        gender of a word has nothing to do with whether it is really masculine or feminine—it is

        more of a grammatical tool.

 

        The verses most Trinitarian theologians will fall back on for their proof that the Spirit is a person are in

        the 14th, 15th and 16th chapters of John's Gospel. Here Jesus is recorded as referring to the Spirit as

        "the Comforter." The pronoun "he" is used in connection with the word "comforter"—parakletos—

        however, the reason for the use of the personal pronoun "he" is for grammatical, not theological, or

        spiritual reasons.

 

        All pronouns in Greek must agree in gender with the word they refer to, therefore the pronoun "he" is

        used when referring to the Greek word parakletos. Only John refers to the Spirit as the parakletos—

        "Comforter." The other New Testament writers use the word pneuma which means "breath" or

        "spirit." This is the Greek equivalent of ruah, the Hebrew word for "spirit" used in the Old Testament.

        Pneuma is a grammatically neuter word and is always represented by the pronoun "it."

 

        However, the translators of the King James Version, being swayed by the doctrine of the Trinity, have

        generally mistranslated the pronouns referring to pneuma as masculine. One instance where they did

        not mistranslate is found in Romans 8:16.

 

             "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."

 

        John's use of the parakletos is no proof the Spirit is a person. For if the simple gender of a noun were

        the basis for the personality of the Spirit, then the Spirit changed gender from the Old to the New

        Testament, the Hebrew word for "spirit" in the Old Testament being in the feminine gender in a

        majority of cases and in a masculine sense less often.

 

        The fact that the word "spirit" is feminine in the Hebrew did lead some to believe that the Spirit was a

        feminine being of the Godhead. They believed in a Trinity of the Father, the Mother and the Son.

        Interestingly enough, their belief was condemned by the Trinitarians who used the same kind of ploy to

        prove that the Spirit was a masculine being!

 

        The Holy Spirit — God's Begettal Power

 

        What is the Spirit? As we saw earlier, theologians admit that the Spirit of God is the power of God.

        They would have no reason to believe otherwise unless they had a preconceived idea of a Trinity.

 

        The Spirit, or Holy Spirit, as it is called in the New Testament, was the power by which Jesus Christ

        was begotten.

 

             "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was

             espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the

             Holy Ghost [Spirit]" (Matt. 1:18).

 

        When Joseph was about to put Mary away because she was pregnant,

 

             "the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of

             David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her

             is of the Holy Ghost [Spirit]" (Matt. 1:20).

 

        Jesus was begotten in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. He was literally born with

        God's Spirit in His mind. He became the Son of God and died for us that we might have the same

        opportunity to become God.

 

        The Apostle Paul plainly taught this vital scriptural truth that we just read in Romans 8:16.

 

             "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."

 

        Paul did not mean this in some sentimental sort of way, as he goes on to show in the next verse.

 

             "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ...."

 

        Paul goes on to point out that Jesus Christ is the heir of all things in Hebrews 1:2. We then have the

        opportunity, if we have God's Spirit in our minds, to inherit all things with Jesus Christ.

 

        The Spirit of God unites with our minds, and we are as begotten (or conceived} again—this time

        spiritually— not as we originally were, physically. We become a new person.

 

             "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his

             abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of

             Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Pet. 1:3).

 

        And verse 23 says,

 

             "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of

             God, which liveth and abideth forever."

 

        The Holy Spirit impregnates us with God's nature. That spiritual begettal imbues us with the nature and

        mind of God. Throughout our Christian lives we continue to grow and develop in the understanding

        and mind of God until we are finally born into the God family and made immortal at the return of Jesus

        Christ to this earth (1 Cor. 15:49-52).

 

        How can we obtain this Spirit? The answer was given by the Apostle Peter on the day of

        Pentecost mentioned in Acts chapter two. When Peter was asked at the end of his sermon what to do,

        he answered-

 

             "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the

             remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [Spirit]" (Acts

             2:38).

 

        Here again we can see why the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are mentioned in the "baptismal

        formula" in Matthew 28:19. God the Father is the One who brings us to repentance; Jesus

        Christ—God the Son—is the one who died that we can have our past sins forgiven; and the Holy

        Spirit is the power by which God the Father begets us.

 

        How plain the truth of the Bible is. The Holy Spirit is the power of God. It is not a person. It is the

        power by which we are begotten that we might become sons of God.

 

 

 

                                    God Is a Family

                                 (CHAPTER FOUR)

 

        Early theologians were driven by the need to explain the appearance of Jesus Christ. Some found their

        explanation by fabricating the Trinity doctrine. But since God is not a Trinity and since Jesus Christ is

        God, what is the relationship in the Godhead? Is God one, or are there two separate Gods and is

        Christianity, therefore, polytheistic?

 

        In Chapter Two we found that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament,

        and that He became flesh and came to this earth to die for mankind. He is called the Son of God and

        He calls God His Father. By now the relationship should be coming clear—God is a family.

 

        We found in Chapter Three that we also can become begotten sons of God by the impregnation of

        God's Spirit —again a family relationship.

 

        When we understand that God is a family—that God is reproducing after His kind —we are no longer

        confronted with the problems inherent in the Trinity doctrine, nor are we faced with the problem of

        worshipping many gods.

 

        There is only one God family, yet there are presently two members, and in the future there will be

        many more. Jesus was called "the firstborn of many brethren" (Rom. 8:29)

 

        Look at yourself. Whether married or single, you are part of a family. You have parents and maybe

        even children or grandchildren of your own. Yet, you are still one family.

 

        It was God who created man and put him on the earth. He created marriage and the family relationship

        as a type of His divine family.

 

        God's Name is Plural

 

        The Hebrew word for "God" used in Genesis 1:1 and 26 isElohim. Elohim is plural in form. Though

        this word taken by itself does not prove that there are two beings in the Godhead, it does allow for the

        plurality that is clearly indicated in other parts of the Bible.

 

        By what we can understand from the rest of the Bible, this word Elohim can act like our English

        words "family," "group," "church," or "crowd." These words are often regarded as singular and take a

        singular verb form, but they all contain more than one member.

 

        The Apostle Paul exemplifies this for us in 1 Corinthians 12:20. Speaking about the Church he says:

 

             "But now are they many members, yet but one body."

 

        God is a family. There presently are two members in that God family, God the Father — the Head of

        the family, the Lawgiver—and Jesus Christ the Son—the Spokesman, the Creator. But the word

        Elohim is not just dual. There is a dual number in Hebrew, but this would have to be Elohaim. The

        God family, however, is destined to be truly plural—to have many members. And this is what the

        word Elohim describes and allows for.

 

        Belief in a Trinity clouds the real purpose that God has in store for mankind. If we are taught that God

        is a closed Trinity of three persons, we lose sight of the fact that God's real purpose is to create many

        more members of the God family.

 

        Look at the creation account in Genesis 1: God created fish after the fish kind, birds after the bird

        kind, and animals after the animal kind. But in verse 26 God made man—not after any of the animal

        kinds, but after the God kind—in God's image and God's likeness.

 

             "And God [Hebrew, Elohim] said, Let us make man in our image, after our

             likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of

             the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing

             that creepeth upon the earth."

 

        God created man in His own image. Man is greater than the rest of the creation, because God gave

        him mind power. He has dominion over all the creatures. Man is not an animal. He was created in

        the image of God—after the God kind.

 

        Taught in the New Testament

 

        The Apostle John understood God's plans for man-kind. Notice what he wrote in 1 John 3:1:

 

             "Behold, what manner of love the Father [here is the family relationship—not a

             closed trinity] hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:

             therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are

             we [already] the [begotten] sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall

             be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall

             see him as he is."

 

        Jesus Christ, the One who was the God of the Old Testament, the Creator God, became flesh, died

        and was resurrected as a part of God's plan to make man God. Jesus Christ is not to be the only son

        of God. He is the only born Son now, but as John wrote, "when he shall appear, we shall be like

        him." We are begotten sons now, and will be born sons of God at the resurrection.

 

        It is clearly God's plan to bring many sons into His family.

 

             "For it became him [God the Father], for whom are all things, and by whom are all

             things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation

             [Jesus Christ] perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10).

 

        The pages of the Bible are filled with this—God's great purpose for man. And yet the majority of this

        world's Christians are blinded to this central biblical truth. Why? Because Satan has deceived the

        whole world (Rev. 12-9). God is not a closed Trinity, He is a family—a family in which you can

        become a member.

 

        Why the Deception?

 

        Why has Satan palmed off the doctrine of the Trinity on the world? Because he doesn't want you to

        rule in his place! Satan was originally created to carry out God's rule on earth. But, he refused to serve

        the Creator and even fomented a rebellion to dislodge God from His position as Ruler over the whole

        universe (Ezek. 28: l9; Isa. 14:12-14). A third of the angels united with Lucifer in that rebellion and

        were cast back down to this earth with him (Rev. 12:3-4)—having forever disqualified themselves and

        Satan from ruling in the government of God. However, Satan and his demonic cohorts remain in office

        until Christ actually returns.

 

        Yet being disqualified, they do not want anyone else ever to take their place. For that reason, during

        nearly 6000 years of man, they have tried to hide from all the world the breathtaking truth of God. If

        they can make you believe in the Trinity, you will be deceived into thinking that the Godhead consists

        of only three persons. You would then never in your wildest dreams ever imagine that you were

        created to be born into the God family—to actually have a part in ruling this earth!

 

        Satan wants you to think that God is a limited Trinity—not a growing family or Kingdom into which

        we may, through the grace of God, enter.

 

        There you have it. That is the truth about the Trinity. God's family isn't closed to mankind as Satan

        would have you believe.

 

        It's wide open to you, your family and all mankind. You can be made in the exact likeness of God

        at Christ's return!

 
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