The Trinity Is NOT Biblical
I accept, and, as my opponent is supporting the argument that the Trinity is not Biblical, I shall let him make his arguments first.
“The Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity […] So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God.”
These words of the Athanasian Creed describe the central doctrine of Christendom, the trinity. If you are a Catholic or Protestant, you’ve probably been told that this is the most important teaching that you are to believe in. But, does the Bible teach the trinity doctrine? Here is the answer the late Anglican bishop John Robinson gave in his best-selling book Honest to God:
“In practice popular preaching and teaching presents a supranaturalistic view of Christ which cannot be substantiated from the New Testament. It says simply that Jesus was God, in such a way that the terms ‘Christ’ and ‘God’ are interchangeable. But nowhere in Biblical usage is this so. The New Testament says that Jesus was the Word of God, it says that God was in Christ, it says that Jesus is the Son of God; but it does not say that Jesus was God, simply like that.”
John Robinson was a notorious figure in the Anglican Church. But, was he right in saying that the “New Testament” nowhere says that “Jesus was God, simply like that”? Some may answer that question by quoting the verse that commences the book of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, King James Version)
Doesn’t that contradict what the Anglican bishop said? No. As John Robinson knew, many modern translators disagree with the King James Version’s translation of that text. Why? Because in the expression “the Word was God” in the original Greek, the word for “God” does not have the definite article “the.” In the earlier expression “the Word was with God,” the word for “God” is definite, it does have the definite article. This makes it implausible that the two words have the same significance.
For this reason, some translations bring out the qualitative aspect in their translations. For example, some use the expression “the Word was divine.” (An American Translation, Schonfield). Nevertheless, “divine” is not the most appropriate translation here. If that was what John wanted to emphasize, he could have used the Greek word for “divine,” thei′os. The New World Translation, correctly viewing the word “God” as indefinite, as well as bringing out the qualitative aspect indicated by the Greek structure, uses the indefinite article in English: “The Word was a god.” And, really, this is the translation that harmonizes the most with the context of that same book of John. John 1:18 says nobody has seen God, but John 1:14 says Jesus became flesh and people beheld his glory. This is a clear contradiction, but it is not the Bible’s harmony what should be questioned. Rather, it is this non-biblical doctrine introduced in the fourth century by the pagan sun-worshipping emperor Constantine.
Origin of the Trinity Doctrine
(BEGINNING OF QUOTE) When Constantine became sole ruler of the Roman Empire, professed Christians were divided over the relationship between God and Christ. Was Jesus God? Or was he created by God? To settle the matter, Constantine summoned church leaders to Nicaea, not because he sought religious truth, but because he did not want religion to divide his empire.
Constantine asked the bishops, who may have numbered into the hundreds, to come to a unanimous accord, but his request was in vain. He then proposed that the council adopt the ambiguous notion that Jesus was “of one substance” (homoousios) with the Father. This unbiblical Greek philosophical term laid the foundation for the Trinity doctrine as later set forth in the church creeds. Indeed, by the end of the fourth century, the Trinity had essentially taken the form it has today, including the so-called third part of the godhead, the holy spirit. (END OF QUOTE)
What Does the Bible REALLY Teach?
Deuteronomy 6:4 - "Jehovah our God is one Jehovah."
Psalms 83:18 - “You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth."
John 14:28 - “My Father is greater than I [Jesus].”
John 20:17 - “I [Jesus] ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God."
1 Peter 1:3 - “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Colossians 1:15 - "He [Jesus] is the firstborn of all creation"
Revelation 3:14 - “These things saith the Amen [Jesus], [...] the beginning of the creation of God.”
Galatians 3:20 - “God is only one.”
The evidence is indisputable; the dogma of the Trinity is not found in the Bible, nor is it in harmony with what the Bible REALLY teaches. It grossly misrepresents the one and only true God, Jehovah.
Thank you. I eagerly await Con's response.
I merely have to demonstrate one instance in which the Trinity is substatiated in the Bible in order to prove my case. I will not resort to the opening of the Gospel of John, as my opponent suggests I might.
Instead, I point the reader to the record of the Great Commission, in Matthew 28:19:- "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
I agree with my opponent that the precise relationship of each person of the Trinity to the others was not articulated until much later, but the Trinity itself is Biblical.
Matthew 28:19 - "Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit,"
It is true that the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit are all mentioned in this text. But, absolutely nothing is said in that verse about their being one. Jesus was simply commissioning his Jewish followers to teach and baptize people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit. What does that mean?
What does it mean to be baptized “in the name of the Father”?
It means accepting His name, authority, and laws.
Concerning the Father’s name, Psalms 83:18 says: “You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.”
Concerning the Father’s authority, Revelation 4:11 says: “You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.” We need to accept that Jehovah is the Supreme Law-Giver. Isaiah 33:22 says: “Jehovah is our Judge, Jehovah is our Statute-giver, Jehovah is our King.”
What does it mean to be baptized “in the name of the Son”?
It means recognizing the name and authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.
His name, Jesus, means “Jehovah Is Salvation.” Of this Son, John 3:16 says: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” Because Jesus died faithful, God resurrected him from the dead and gave him new authority. According to the apostle Paul, God “exalted [Jesus] to a superior position” in the universe, second only to Jehovah.
What does it mean to be baptized “in the name of the holy spirit”?
It means acknowledging the function and activity of the holy spirit.
But, what is the holy spirit? It is Jehovah’s active force, with which he accomplishes his purposes. Concerning the holy spirit, 2 Peter 1:21 says: “Prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” So we recognize the role of the holy spirit when we study the Bible. We also acknowledge the holy spirit by asking Jehovah to help us produce “the fruitage of the spirit,” which according to Galatians 5:22,23 is: “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.”
Does the Book of Matthew Teach the Trinity?
In Matthew 4:10 we see that, after his baptism, when Jesus was tempted by the Devil he said: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’”
What do we learn from this incident? Firstly, Satan was trying to persuade Jesus to worship someone other than Jehovah, an attempt that would have been ridiculous if Jesus were part of the same God. Secondly, Jesus made it clear that there is just one God who must be worshipped when he said “him alone,” not “us,” which he would have said if he were part of a Trinity.
Con once again fails to prove his case. The evidence is indisputable. Con acknowledges, “the precise relationship of each person of the Trinity to the others was not articulated until much later”. The trinity is not found in the Bible, nor is it in harmony with what the Bible REALLY teaches. It grossly misrepresents the one and only true God, Jehovah.
Thank you. I eagerly await Con's response, once again.
If one is to demonstrate that the Trinity is Biblical, it seems that there are two distinct things to be shown:
1) The three Persons of the Trinity must be established in the text, and
2) These three Persons must be one in the same.
In Round 2, I succeeded in showing the first, e.g. Mat 28:19. I will now proceed to show the second.
Deuteronomy 6:4, alongside much of the Tanakh, proclaims that "the Lord our God, the Lord is one." However, much of the New Testament describes three aspects of God: God, the Father; the Holy Spirit of God; and the Saviour. For example, 2 Cor 13:14: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." The only logical reconciliation of these facts is if the Three Persons referenced throughout the New Testament were acting in unison with one will, the will of God. Thus, in spite of three manifestations, there is but One God. This is the central mystery of Christianity, and it is Biblical.
According to Con, to demonstrate that the Trinity is Biblical, two things must be shown:
1) The three Persons of the Trinity must be established in the text, and
2) These three Persons must be one in the same.
The Father, the Son, and the holy spirit were all mentioned in Matthew 28:19. But, absolutely nothing is said in that verse about their being one. In fact, Jesus' answer to Satan in that same book of Matthew demonstrates he is not part of a Trinity.
2 Corinthians 13:14 - "The undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the sharing in the holy spirit be with all of YOU."
Verses like this only prove that there are the three subjects named (the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit), but it does not prove, by itself, that all the three belong necessarily to the divine nature, and possess equal divine honor. Con has not succeeded in showing a single verse that both mentions the three persons of the trinity and shows that the persons must be three in one, with equal divine honor.
Judaism, the quintessential monotheism, contains within its holy books mention of the ruach ha-kodesh, the holy spirit. It does not refer to some other divine entity, the actions of the spirit are co-terminous with those of God. It is the divine presence and influence of God, nothing more. You might call this Binitarianism.
Once the Son arrives on the scene, he begins saying things like "Very truly I tell you," the Jews, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58), which imply that he is also in some sense equivalent to God. In fact, the very God that spoke to Moses from the Burning Bush. Why? Because "I am" is one translation of the tetragrammaton, YHWH. I don't believe for one moment that Mark, Matthew, or Luke believed that Jesus was God. However, John did. And the Gospel of John is part of the Bible.
Now, if you're looking for the words "trinity" or "homoousias" in the Bible, then you're going to be a long time looking. This does not mean that the concept is extra-Biblical.
IF God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all God, and God is One, then God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are One.
Con admited, "if you're looking for the words "trinity" or "homoousias" in the Bible, then you're going to be a long time looking." If in this last round he can not give a single verse that mentions the three persons of the trinity and shows that the persons must be three in one with equal divine honor, then the trinity is, in fact, extra-Biblical.
The New Testament is replete with references to God, his beloved son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. 2 Cor 13:14 and Mat 28:19 are explicit examples. The tripartite nature of God is obvious when you consider the following:
1) Christians believe absolutely in One God, a doctrine derived from the Bible.
2) Christians (and many Jews) believe that the Holy Spirit is an emination of God, a doctrine derived from the Bible.
3) Christians believe that Jesus is a manifestation of God in human form, a doctrine derived from the Bible.
Therefore, God is One, but the Holy Spirit is God, and Jesus is God. But God is One. I don't pretend to understand this, but it is the doctrine of the Trinity, and it is a doctrine derived explicitly from the Bible.
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