The Instigator
DoctrinallyCorrect
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
daley
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

The God of the Bible is Not a Trinity

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/10/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,447 times Debate No: 17853
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (3)

 

DoctrinallyCorrect

Pro

The God of the Bible Is Not a Trinity. By the Bible I mean: The 66 books of the Christian Bible; both the Old and the New Testaments.

NOTE: You do not have to use the KJV exclusively.

GOD IS ONE PERSON:

My first argument is that God is one person. If this argument cannot be defeated, then my proposition stands. This is exactly opposite of the Trinitarian assertion that God is one Being (divine nature) in three separate persons.

"Now a go-between (intermediary) has to do with and implies more than one party [there can be no mediator with just one person]. Yet God is [only] one Person." Galatians 3:20a AMP

I use the Amplified Bible because it readily captures the sense of this passage. The reason that the Amplified Bible translates Galatians 3:20 is two-fold, but I will only deal with one in this first argument.

Thayer: ""Heis" means the cardinal numeral ONE. where the word "heis" takes the place of a predicate it means one person" (page 186. A Greek, English Lexicon of the New Testament)

A.T. Robertson: "One, when masculine, sets forth the idea of the cardinal numeral "one;" when referring to people or beings ALWAYS the cardinal numeral is implied" (page 186 volume 5; pages 526 and 527, volume 4; page 299 volume 4, Word Pictures of the Greek New Testament)

A.T. Robertson: "one person" (Robertson's Word Pictures, Retrieved from E-Sword Electronic Version)

Kenneth S. Wuest: "The word 'ONE' is masculine in gender, and therefore is personal, referring to a person." (Wuest's word studies from the Greek N.T. vol. 1 pg 106)

Marvin Vincent: "the masculine εἶς, one person" (Vincent's Word Studies, Retrieved from E-Sword Electronic Version)

When the masculine singular "heis" is used, it always refers to one person. God is one person (heis).

ONLY THE FATHER IS GOD:

There is no Trinity because only the Father is God.

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3 KJV

Joseph Henry Thayer: "Only-NT:3441 1. an adjective, alone (without a companion); So that what is predicated may be declared to apply to some one person alone." (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pg 418)

"But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." 1 Corinthians 8:6 KJV

"One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Ephesians 4:6 KJV

These verses clearly teach the the only God is the Father.

JEWISH MONOTHEISM:

The Jews reject the Trinity. I will have more to say after my opponent responds.
daley

Con

My opponent claims that "God is one" in a way that indicates he is only one person. Paul said, "Now a mediator is not a mediator of one; but God is one." (Gal 3:20) Pro prefers the Amplified Bible's paraphrase: "There can be no mediator with just one person. But God is only one person." But this is not what Paul said or meant. His point is that a mediator doesn't mediate only "one party," but always mediates between two parties, or two sides, in an agreement, whereas God is only one party to the agreement. I would therefore recommend translations like the following: "Now a mediator involves more than one party; but God is one" (Gal. 3:20 NRSV; NIV; NASB and similar). The other "party" to this agreement was Abraham and his offspring (vv. 16-19), which is a "plural" number of persons, so the number of persons in each "party" to the agreement is not indicated by the word "one" (heis). Further, the Greek word for "person" [prosopon] is not even used in Galatians 3:20, so the Amplified Bible was adding to the word of God. (Prov 30:6) The verse says that "God is one," not that "God is one person."

He quotes Thayer who, being a Unitarian, rejected the doctrine of the Trinity; of course he'd agree with Pro.

"A.T. Robertson: "One, when masculine, sets forth the idea of the cardinal numeral "one;" when referring to people or BEINGS always the cardinal numeral is implied" (page 186 volume 5; pages 526 and 527, volume 4; page 299 volume 4, Word Pictures of the Greek New Testament)"

I agree, God is numerically one "being," but nothing in Galatians 3:20 says he is one "person." Being one being doesn't prove God is not tri-personal. If "person" was the only option given by Robertson Pro would have a good point, but the word isn't limited to persons, it includes beings too.

"Kenneth S. Wuest: "The word 'ONE' is masculine in gender, and therefore is personal, referring to a person." (Wuest's word studies from the Greek N.T. vol. 1 pg 106)"

Wuest was simply wrong, for "heis" in the masculine gender is applied to non-persons such as "one" of the gates in Revelation 21:21 and "one" loaf in 1 Corinthians 10:17.

In Wuest's Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Vol. 1, we find these comments on Galatians 3:20: "In this verse Paul shows that the promise is superior to the law, for the former was given directly from God to Abraham, whereas the latter was given to Israel by God through a mediator. We will examine the statement, ‘A mediator is not of one.' The word mediator is from mesites, which in turn comes from mesos which means middle, the midst. Thus a mediator is one who intervenes between two, either to make or restore peace and friendship, to form a compact, or to ratify a covenant. The word in the Greek text is preceded by the definite article, making the word generic in character. That is, Paul is not referring here to any particular mediator as Moses, but to the office of a mediator, and to mediators in general looked upon as a class of individuals. However, this generic statement is intended to be applied to Moses, the mediator referred to in verse 19. The word one is masculine in gender, and therefore is personal, referring to a person. That is, a mediator does not act simply in behalf of one person. The very genius of the word implies that the mediator stands "in the midst" of two or more persons, thus acts as a go-between. It is not that the mediator acts in behalf of a plurality of persons that constitute one party [a class action suit], but that there is a plurality of parties between which he acts. Thus the law is a contract between two parties....But the promise of free grace is not in the nature of a contract between two parties. God acts alone and directly when He promises salvation to anyone who will receive it by the out-stretched hand of faith. There are no good works to be done by the sinner in order that he might merit that salvation. Grace is unconditional. There are no strings tied to it. God is One, that is, He acts alone without a mediator in respect to the promise of grace" (pp. 106-107).

So his understanding of "one" was that God acts alone without a mediator, not that he is only one person. Pro, do you accept your source's explanation of Galatians 3:20? Wasn't he a Trinitarian?

"Marvin Vincent: "the masculine εἶς, one person" (Vincent's Word Studies, Retrieved from E-Sword Electronic Version)"

Vincent says:

"Now a mediator is not a mediator of one (ὁ δὲ μεσίτης ἐνὸς οὐκ ἔστιν)

Observe, 1. Δὲ is explanatory, not antithetic. The verse illustrates the conception of mediator. 2. The article, the mediator, has a generic force: the mediator according to the general and proper conception of his function. Comp. the apostle (Co2 12:12); the shepherd, the good (Joh 10:11). 3. Ἑνὸς of one, is to be explained by the following εἷς, so that it is masculine and personal. We are not to supply party or law. The meaning is: the conception of mediator does not belong to an individual considered singly. One is not a mediator of his single self, but he is a mediator between two contracting parties; in this case between God and the people of Israel, as Lev 26:46; thus differing from Christ, who is called the mediator of a new covenant (Heb 8:6; Heb 9:15; Heb 12:24). The new covenant, the gospel, was not a contract. Accordingly Gal 3:20 serves to define the true conception of a mediator, and through this definition to make clearer the difference between the law, which required a mediator, and the promise, which is the simple expression of God's will. The very idea of mediation supposes two parties. The law is of the nature of a contract between God and the Jewish people. The validity of the contract depends on its fulfillment by both parties. Hence it is contingent, not absolute.

But God is one (ὁ δὲ θεὸς εἷς ἀστίν)

God does not need a mediator to make his promise valid. His promise is not of the nature of a contract between two parties. His promise depends on his own individual decree. He dealt with Abraham singly and directly, without a mediator. The dignity of the law is thus inferior to that of the promise." (Vincent's Word Studies, 1886 http://www.sacred-texts.com... )

His point was not that God is only one person as Pro asserts, but rather, that he deals directly without a mediator. Pro, can you please give us a full quote and the link to your source?

"When the masculine singular "heis" is used, it always refers to one person."

Galatians 3:8 says we are all one (heis) in Jesus Christ. The church is many people in one body (1 Cor 12:12-20, 27) Galatians 3:8 uses "heis" (masculine singular) for a group of persons, this refutes Pro's whole argument.

The word "only" at John 17:3 doesn't imply that Jesus isn't God because Scripture says Jesus is the true God at 1 John 5:20; it also identifies the Son as God at Hebrews 1:8; John 20:28; 1:1-3, 14. The Father is not only called the Only true God (John 17:3), but also "Only Saviour" (Jude 25) [also see Isa 43:11; 45:21; Hos 13:4]. If "only" at John 17:3 excludes Jesus from being "True God", then Jesus is also excluded from being Savior too. Does Pro therefore deny Jesus as his Savior?

As for 1 Corinthians 8:6, if the Father being the "one God" excludes Jesus from being God, then Jesus being the "one Lord" excludes the Father from being Lord. Pro, is the Father also "Lord"?

"The Jews reject the Trinity."

They also rejected Jesus as their Messiah, along with the entire New Testament canon; truth isn't decided by what the Jew's accept or reject as a nation.

Pro, tell us, how many persons are mentioned at John 1:1, one or two? Is each person "God" according to that verse? If so, how many gods is that? One, or are they both included in the one God? I'd be interested to see your take on John 1:1.
Debate Round No. 1
DoctrinallyCorrect

Pro

DoctrinallyCorrect forfeited this round.
daley

Con

It's unfortunate that my opponent wasn't able to reply in the last round; I hope he'll make up for that in the next. Let me just make a few points that need to be made:

If the term Father was just a title applied to Jesus in his divinity, how is it that Jesus thanked the Father? Listen to these words Jesus said to the Father: "I thank You Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight" (Matthew 11:25-26 – NKJV), "Father, I thank You that You have heard me" (John 11:41 – NKJV). Jesus wasn't thanking himself, was he?

Jesus said to His disciples: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23 – NKJV). Note that Jesus, referring to Himself and to His Father, said "We will come to him and make Our home with him'. It is evident, therefore, that Jesus was not the Father.

After Jesus was raised from the dead, He was seen by His disciples for forty days, and then He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father. As it is written: "He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19 – NKJV), and also: "When He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3 – NKJV). This happened so that it might be fulfilled what David had said: "The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool" (Psalm 110:1 – NKJV). Stephen in a vision saw Jesus at the right hand of God, as he said: "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" (Acts 7:56 – NKJV). Therefore, Jesus is not God the Father because in heaven He is at the right hand of God the Father. And do you know what Jesus is doing there? He "makes intercession for us" (Romans 8:34 – NKJV). Reflect upon this function He is accomplishing at the right hand of God because it confirms that Jesus can't be God the Father, for if Jesus is making intercession for us, that means that He is a mediator between God the Father and us, and since "a mediator does not mediate for one only" (Galatians 3:20 – NKJV), there must be someone to whom He prays on our behalf, and this someone is God the Father. This is why we pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is the Mediator between God the Father and us.

Yet, Jesus is God (John 20:28-29; Heb 1:8), so we have two persons, but each is God, and as we both know the Bible teaches there is only one God. So this isn't modalism, this is Trinitarianism. The persons of God are distinct.

Jesus, on the night He was betrayed and arrested, said to His disciples: "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him" (John 14:15-17 – NIV). Now, while Jesus was on earth He was the Counselor that God had promised through His prophets He would send to His people. However, since Jesus had to go back to the Father who had sent Him and He knew that His disciples would need another Counselor to be with them forever and in every place He said that He would pray to the Father and the Father would send another Counselor or Comforter to them. Therefore, since Jesus called the Holy Spirit "another Counselor", we must conclude that the Holy Spirit is not the same Counselor (Jesus) who was received up into heaven. Therefore Jesus is not the Holy Spirit. That the Holy Spirit is not Jesus Christ in Spirit rather than in flesh is confirmed by the fact that when Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit from the Father He said the following things: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you" (John 16:7-15). I would like you to notice the following expression "He shall glorify me," for it confirms that the Holy Spirit cannot be Jesus in that He glorifies Jesus. Jesus does not glorify himself.

Yet the Holy Spirit is God. (Acts 5:3-4) So we have now three persons, each is God, yet there is only one God; Trinity proved. I won't make this any longer to give my opponent space to made reply to my previous post as well.
Debate Round No. 2
DoctrinallyCorrect

Pro

DoctrinallyCorrect forfeited this round.
daley

Con

Hmmm...just what I thought; he'd forfeit. Oh well
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by daley 5 years ago
daley
Maybe we can have another debate in the future when you have enough time
Posted by DoctrinallyCorrect 5 years ago
DoctrinallyCorrect
Daley, I am sorry. I picked a bad time to start a debate. I will come back and post some more comments about the source soon. Again I am very sorry. You obviously should win the debate.
Posted by daley 5 years ago
daley
I really wanted to see what Pro had to say about his sources. I hope he'll tell us in the future.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
@Doctrinally"Correct"

"@ Reformed Arsenal: I don't; I just deny that He is a separate person from the Father. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father, and is therefore not a separate person. Your spirit is not a separate person from yourself, and neither is the Father's."

The Bible also calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Christ... are you comfortable conflating the Son and the Father completely as well? What makes this not a Modalistic understanding?
Posted by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
@admpjr

"4. How can you possibly claim to be Calvinist and not advocate the murder of DoctrinallyCorrect for his beliefs? jk... you don't need to advocate what Calvin would do to espouse his Biblical beliefs. I've been busy this last week but I'm about to read that paper."

This reflects an incredibly poor historical understanding of the case of Michael Servetus. My guess is that you've been reading Unitarian work on the instance, and it is extremely biased. In reality, Calvin not only advocated for the most humane execution possible, but personally went to Servetus multiple times in an attempt to get him to see reason. He also has very little to do with the decision to put him to death, as it was mostly the council of Geneva (many of whom didn't like Calvin very much either) who made that call (in consultation with many other Swiss city councils.
Posted by daley 5 years ago
daley
I hope he'll be back again after the symposium.
Posted by adampjr 5 years ago
adampjr
1. I hope that by posting this comment, I will be e-mailed when arguments happen so I can better follow this version of the debate.

2. Good luck to both you. Daley seems like a great guy although easy to bicker with. I am inclined to agree with doctrinally correct, but this will be interesting now that I'm not an involved party.

3. There are actually alot of Oneness Pentacostals and others that, while not part of the Oneness Pentacostal denomination, are non-Trinitarian but emphasize the "Gifts of the Spirit" more than I'm used to.

4. How can you possibly claim to be Calvinist and not advocate the murder of DoctrinallyCorrect for his beliefs? jk... you don't need to advocate what Calvin would do to espouse his Biblical beliefs. I've been busy this last week but I'm about to read that paper.
Posted by DoctrinallyCorrect 5 years ago
DoctrinallyCorrect
Daley, thank you for responding. I am presenting a Paper on the incarnation at a symposium this weekend. So I will be pushing the time. Please be patient with me.
Posted by DoctrinallyCorrect 5 years ago
DoctrinallyCorrect
@ Reformed Arsenal: I don't; I just deny that He is a separate person from the Father. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father, and is therefore not a separate person. Your spirit is not a separate person from yourself, and neither is the Father's.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
How can you possibly claim to be Pentecostal when you deny the divinity of the Holy Spirit?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
DoctrinallyCorrectdaleyTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF. "Hear, o israel, the lord our god is one"
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
DoctrinallyCorrectdaleyTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by adampjr 5 years ago
adampjr
DoctrinallyCorrectdaleyTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con, I don't think he forfeited because you scared him off with your arguments. His comment regarding his symposium explain it perfectly fine. Nevertheless, he did forfeit, here are your points.