Some questions for trinitarians…

Trinitarians have been claiming for centuries that their view of the Godhead represents the true faith of the apostles. Although church history is transparent about the gradual development of the trinity based on concepts from Greek philosophy, they still insist that the 3rd and 4th century church fathers were inspired. But the doctrine of the trinity (“One God exists eternally as three co-equal and consubstantial persons God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost) cannot be found in scripture. The word “trinity” was never used by the apostles, and the first instance of it can be found around 200 BC in the writings of condemned heretic Tertullian. Only in 381 AD do we find the trinity in its final format, and made into dogma by emperor Theodosius I. So in two parts I will examine some claims for the trinity and research the Biblical truth from a one God perspective. This week part 1.

By pastor Lars Oberink.

The questions (along with some explanation from a One God perspective):

1.       Do Trinitarians expect to see the Trinity in heaven ?

What will Trinitarians see in heaven? Who is sitting on the throne or thrones? Will they see a separate God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost? Trinitarians find little support for their view of the Godhead in scripture. The Bible seems to suggest that only a single person is sitting on the throne of God:

Rev 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Rev 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Matt 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory

 It requires some advanced levels of intellectual gymnastics to fit three persons, three “hims” into one throne and one “him”. Would it not be more logical to conclude from the plain reading of the text that God is a single person instead of three “hims” in one “him” ?

 Sometimes Trinitarians point to verses like Rev 5:13, but scholars agree that the slain lamb with seven eyes and seven horns  is a symbolic representation of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Furthermore, the text subsequently focuses worship only on a single person:

Rev 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

Rev 22:4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

2.       Will Jesus be sitting at a literal right hand of God?

Trinitarians often claim this as evidence that the Father and the Son are distinct persons, and God the Son is literally sitting at the right hand of another being called God the Father. However, in Hebrew the expression “right hand of God” is understood to be a poetic representation of God’s glory and power. For instance, the following scripture would hardly inspire a literal reading:

Ps 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.  (is God only at David’s literal right hand?)

Ex 15:6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. (Can Gods left hand not destroy the enemy?)

Mark 14:62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (Does Jesus sit at the right hand of a being called “power”? If “power” is to be taken metaphorically, why not “right hand” as well?)

 From this we infer that “sitting at the right hand of power” is simply an allegorical description of the glory and power of God. Jesus, as the right hand of God, would have all the power in the universe, as He is the Father in flesh and blood. This is the way the Jews understood “right hand of God”  when they accused Jesus of blasphemy:

Matt 26:65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

Joh 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

 The Jews only knew one God, the Father (John 8:41). Certainly they were not accusing Jesus of equating Himself to a separate God the Son (a concept completely  alien to the Jewish faith). They understood correctly that Jesus by using these words identified Himself as God the Father.

3.       Is the Father in the Son or is He outside the Son?

Trinitarian doctrine demands that one believes that it is God the Son (the second person of the trinity) who became incarnate as the Son of God. The Father therefore would dwell outside of Jesus. However, the Bible clearly indicates that the deity inside Jesus Christ is the Father Himself:

Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Joh 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

2Kor 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Kol 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Nowhere scripture seems to suggest that it is only God the Son who was manifested in flesh. Rather the Bible speaks about “God”, “the Father” or “the Godhead” as being inside Jesus. If it is only God the Son dwelling bodily in Jesus, then why doesn’t the Bible make that crystal clear? If however both the God the Father and God the Son are dwelling in Jesus, how can He still be a single divine person, with both divine persons dwelling in Him? The sensible solution would be to conclude that there is no such thing as an eternal “God the Son”, but rather the Father Himself dwells in the flesh of Christ.

4.       Did Jesus ever do His own will, as opposed to doing the will of the Father?

 In Trinitarian theology, the doctrine of dyothelitism has earned the status of orthodoxy ever since the third council of Constantinople in 681 AD. Before that time, various competing views existed, each prevailing at one point through support of different emperors. The Jesus Christ of Christendom has since been a being with a single personality, two different natures (one human and one divine), and two distinct wills (one human and one divine). If the separate human will of Jesus has any real meaning, we should be able to find some evidence for this in scripture. Often the words of Jesus in the Garden of Getsemane are used as proof for a distinct human will:

Mark 14:36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Was Jesus weak here? Did He solicit help from the Father to subdue His fearful human will? Such a view would be at odds with the authority and clarity Jesus expresses about His identity and mission:

Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Joh 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

Joh 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

 So how should we interpret Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane ? The key is to apply the prophesy of Isaiah 53:

Jes 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Jes 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Jes 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 The Father became incarnate for our salvation as the Son of God. In this role He carried our sorrows and our iniquity was laid upon Him (Jesus). To properly understand Jesus’ prayers is to realize that He prayed for us. Jesus was representing all of humanity, and prayed on behalf of Adam. That is why He is called the Mediator. Jesus therefore did never have His own will, but only the will of the Father. The will that was subdued in Gethsemane was that of all of humanity. The rebellious will of Adam was covered by the redeeming work of Christ.

5.       How many Spirits are there in the Godhead?

 The Bible makes it clear that the Father is a Spirit (John 4:23-24), and of course by definition the Holy Spirit is a Spirit. So the question would then be: are there two Spirits in the Godhead?  Yet the Bible says: there is but one Spirit (Efe 4:4). So the argument would be like this:

I.            The Father is a Spirit

II.            The Holy Spirit is a Spirit

III.            There is but one Spirit in the Godhead

IV.            I, II, III -> the Father is the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father. That means its Him. Those that claim that the Holy Spirit is a distinct person, often cite John 14:16, speaking of another Comforter. But in the next two verses we read who in fact this Comforter is: Jesus. He says: I will come to you. The Biblical fact that Jesus is also called Spirit puzzles Trinitarians and further complicates matters in the Godhead. Is God the Son a separate Spirit from God the Father and the Holy Ghost? Let’s look at the following verse:

Rom 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him.

So the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) is equated to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Unless we contend that Jesus had two different spirits operating in Him, let us remember the witness of the Lord Jesus Himself as to who is in Him:

Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Here we clearly see that the Spirit of Jesus Christ is in fact the Father Himself. Next week the second part:

6.       Who exactly raised Jesus from the grave?

7.       What would be the Name of the Father?

8.       Why did the apostles never baptize in the name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost in the Bible if this is the correct formula to be used?

9.       Must a Christian believe in the Trinity in order to be saved?

10.   Why is the doctrine of the trinity absent from the Bible?

Thanks and be blessed!

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