The Trinity is a Biblical concept
In Genesis, 1:1, it says "In the beginning, God (Elohim אֱלֹהִ׳ם) created the heavens and earth"
In Hebrew, the name of God, Elohim is plural, thus it is rendered "Gods." Another common reference is in Genesis 1:26:
26 "Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
Based on the rules of Hebrew grammar, if the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural which is exactly what we see. If God wanted to communicate to humanity that he was strictly one God, Moses would've only written YHWH ׳ה׳ה or the singular form of God: El or Eloah.
In Deuteronomy 6:4, we see the plurality of God:
"4 "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one (Echad אֶחָד)"
Echad is a compound unity. If God wanted to strictly show that he is only one, he would've used the Hebrew Yachid, but since it is plural, that can only mean that Elohim is a plural of persons which isn't necessarily three, but lets consider the candidates for these people.
There is a problem with proposing that Elohim is made of YHWH and his heavenly court. One is that angels are not in the image of God, nor are they equal with God. Some propose that Elohim is a plural of majesty in the sense of him being very great, however no where in the Old Testament does it support this. Dr. Gleason Acher, a scholar wrote:
"This first person plural can hardly be a mere editorial or royal plural that refers to the speaker alone, for no such usage is demonstrable anywhere else in biblical Hebrew. Therefore, we must face the question of who are included in this "us" and "our." It could hardly include the angels in consultation with God, for nowhere is it ever stated that man was created in the image of angels, only of God. Verse 27 then affirms: "and God [Elohim] created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female He created them" (NASB). God--the same God who spoke of Himself in the plural--now states that He created man in His image. In other words, the plural equals the singular. This can only be understood in terms of the Trinitarian nature of God. The one true God subsists in three Persons, Persons who are able to confer with one another and carry their plans into action together--without ceasing to be one God." (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason Archer, p.359, commenting on whether Gen 1:26 is a "plural of majesty")
Rabbi Tzvi Nassi commented:
"Every one who is acquainted with the rudiments of the Hebrew and Chaldee languages, must know that God, in the holy Writings, very often spoke of Himself in the plural. The passages are numerous, in which, instead of a grammatical agreement between the subject and predicate, we meet with a construction, which some modern grammarians, who possess more of the so-called philosophical than of the real knowledge of the Oriental languages, call a pluralis excellentiae. This helps them out of every apparent difficulty. Such a pluralis excellentiae was, however, a thing unknown to Moses and the prophets. Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, David, and all the other kings, throughout TeNaKh (the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa) speak in the singular, and not as modern kings in the plural. They do not say we, but I, command; as in Gen. xli. 41; Dan. iii. 29; Ezra i. 2, etc." (Rabbi Tzvi Nassi, Oxford University professor, The Great Mystery, 1970, p6, )
Scholar Claus Westermann wrote:
"there are no certain examples of plurals of majesty with either verbs or pronouns ... the verb used in Gn 1:26 ("ā"7;āh) is never used with a plural of majesty. There is no linguistic or grammatical basis upon which the "us" can be considered to be a plural of majesty."
(Hasel, "The Meaning of "Let Us" in Gn 1:26," Andrews University Seminary Studies 13 (1975), 63-64)
The only 3 possible and likely candidates are Jesus and the Holy Ghost since the Holy Ghost is part of God and based on the fact that the Messiah is divine. Psalm 110 in the Septuagint reads as follows:
1 "A Psalm of David. The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
2 The Lord shall send out a rod of power for thee out of Sion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
3 With thee is dominion in the day of thy power, in the splendours of thy saints: I have begotten thee from the womb before the morning.
4The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec.
5 The Lord at thy right hand has dashed in pieces kings in the day of his wrath.
6 He shall judge among the nations, he shall fill up the number of corpses, he shall crush the heads of many on the earth.
7 He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall he lift up the head."
Thus we can conclude that the Trinity is a Biblical concept made of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Thanks for making this debate, I accept the debate, I assume the first round is Pro presents his argument, while I refute it, I will God willing do so.
"Elohim"(Gensis 1:1, 1:26):
The word Elohim possesses a plural intensive syntax and is singular in meaning. In Hebrew, the suffix ים (im), mainly indicates a masculine plural. However with Elohim the construction is grammatically singular, (i.e. it governs a singular verb or adjective) when referring to the God of Israel, but grammatically plural elohim (i.e. taking a plural verb or adjective) when used of pagan divinities (Psalms 96:5; 97:7).
This is self-evident from the fact that the verb “created” בָּרָה (bara) in Genesis 1:1 is in the singular. This linguistic pattern is well known and widely used throughout the Jewish Scriptures. For example, I am certain that many readers are familiar with the Hebrew word חַיִים (chayim), meaning “life.” Notice that this word contains the identical plural suffix “im,” as in Elohim, yet it repeatedly means “life”, in the singular, throughout the Bible. Examples are:
And Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, like these who are the daughters of the land, what good will my life חַיִים (chayim) be to me?” (Genesis 27:46)
You have granted me life חַיִים (chayim) and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit. (Job 10:12)
The fact that the name of God, Elohim, does not in any way imply a plurality in the godhead is well known and widely recognized even among Trinitarian Christians. For example, in the New International Version Study Bible (NIV), which is a Christian commentary that can not be construed as friendly to the Jewish faith, the Christian author writes in his commentary on Genesis 1:1:
God created. The Hebrew noun Elohim is plural but the verb is singular, a normal usage in the OT when reference is to the one true God. This use of the plural expresses intensification rather than number and has been called the plural of majesty, or of potentiality. (New International Version Study Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985, p. 6.)
Finally, it is important that we explore the crucial message which the name Elohim conveys to the Children of Israel. To be sure, two questions must be answered. 1) Why does the OT employ this intensive plural name for the Almighty throughout the OT? 2) Why is this name predominant throughout the creation narrative in the beginning of Genesis?
There is a fundamental principal regarding the many names of the Almighty as they appear in the OT – they are exalted descriptions of the God of Israel. The name Elohim, which is not an exception to this rule, comes from the Hebrew root el, which means “might” or “power.” This common root appears in a variety of words throughout the Jewish Scriptures. For example, we find this word used in the famous opening words to Psalm 29, הָבוּ ליהוה בְּנֵי אֵלִים (havu la'donai b'nai eylim). This chapter is well known because this Psalm is joyously sung in every synagogue as the OT scroll is returned into the ark following a congregational reading. What do these noble words mean?
“Ascribe to the Lord, O sons of the mighty. Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength” (Psalm 29:1)With these passages in mind, we have a deeper understanding of the name Elohim The pagan mind ascribed a separate and distinct god for each of the powers in the world which it observed, and on whom it depended. The nations gazed upon the life-giving and perplexing energy emanating from the sun and the rain, and they worshiped the many gods who they believed controlled these forces. They craved an abundant harvest and boundless fertility, and they venerated each god who they believed governed each of these abodes. The ancients were mystified by the powers which sustained them and awestruck by the forces that terrified them, and venerated each with elaborate rituals and oftentimes gruesome rites in order to “appease the gods.”
The OT conveys a radically different message for mankind. All the life-sustaining forces in the universe, all the power that man can behold, emanate from the One Master of the world, One Creator of the universe – the Lord of Hosts is His name. This grand message is contained in the name of God, Elohim. All the forces of the world emerged from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Therefore, the God of Israel alone – Elohim – is worthy of our worship and devotion.
It is for this reason that the OT employs the word Elohim almost exclusively as the name of God throughout the first two chapters of Genesis. In these opening passages of the Book of Genesis, the Almighty is creating all the powers and forces which stir and sustain the universe.
Therefore, the nation of Israel, to whom God revealed Himself at the foot of Mount Sinai, knew nothing about a plurality of persons in the godhead. No fact could be more firmly established once all of our sacred literature – both canonical and rabbinical – is used as our eternal guide. This matter is indisputable.
Deuteronomy 6:4(Echadאֶחָד ) :
The other main argument from the Hebrew used to teach that God is a "plural" entity is that the Hebrew word echad in the shema of Deuteronomy 6:4 means, not a simple "one", but rather a "compound unity" of one, a "togetherness". Those who teach this will often also teach than there is a different word for a "simple" one, yachid, so that the absence of this word in Deuteronomy 6:4 is, apparently to them, significant.
First, it should be noted that when one learns the Hebrew numbers, it is echad, not yachid, that is the Hebrew for the number "one": echad is one, shenayim is two, shalosh is three, arba is four, etc. Any Hebrew grammar book, whether of Biblical or modern Hebrew, would demonstrate that echad, not yachid, is the everyday Hebrew word for the numeral "one".
And when one looks in the Tanakh itself at the frequency and usage of the two words - echad and yachid - it is very quickly and easily seen that echad, not yachid, is in fact the standard Hebrew word for a simple one. Echad is used over 900 times in the Hebrew Bible, making it the most frequently used adjective in the Tanakh. Here are some examples of its usage where the word "one" is translated from echad: "one place" (Gen. 1:9); "one man" (Gen. 42:13); "one law" (Ex. 12:49); "one side" (Ex. 25:12); "one ewe lamb" (Lev. 14:10); "one of his brethren" (Lev. 25:48); "one rod" (Num. 17:3); "one soul" (Num. 31:28); "one of these cities" (Deut. 4:42); "one way" (Deut. 28:7); "one ephah" (1 Sam. 1:24); "one went out into the field" (11 Kings 4:39); "one shepherd" (Ezek. 37:24); "one basket" (Jer. 24:2); "one [thing]" (Ps. 27:4); "Two are better than one" (Ecc. 4:9); "one day or two" (Ezra 10:13).
Sometimes it is simply part of a number, like "eleven" (echad + 'asar, one plus ten), in , for example Genesis 32:22. Sometimes it is as well translated by an indefinite article (a[n]): "a new cart" (1 Sam. 6:7); "a juniper tree" (1 Kings 19:4,5); "a book" (Jer. 51:60).
Perhaps most importantly, echad clearly has the meaning of single, alone, ONLY one, or JUST one, the ideal of a limit of one (Num. 10:4; Josh. 17:14; Esth. 4:11; Isa. 51:2). In Deuteronomy 17:6, for example, it really isn't precise English to translate echad merely as "one". For if the "one" witness referred to is the second of the third witness, then that one witness is enough to convict the hypothetical person of murder. The meaning is that a person must not be put to death of the evidence of only one witness (which is the way the NRSV translates it). Echad means "one" and ONLY one.
In conclusion, neither the word Elohim nor the word echad supports the notion of a plurality in God. The plural form Elohim when used of God does not have to mean a plural entity. In Hebrew, plural forms can be singular in meaning. this is sometimes referred to as a plural of majesty or plural of rank. The very term elohim is used of single, foreign gods and of the Messiah. But YHWH is, in fact, always referred to by grammatically singular forms and used with verbs in the singular (even when the plural form Elohim is the subject). Finally, the Greek Old Testament, sometimes quoted in the New Testament, always translates the term for God - whether the Hebrew word is singular or plural - in the singular Greek form.
Echad, rather being any support for a plural God, teaches us the opposite. It means "one" and "only one". God is one.
Echad refers to a compound unity. Throughout Scripture, we see that this is true.
Genesis 1:9 "Then God said, "Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one (Echad) place, so dry ground may appear." And that is what happened."
There is a plurality of a noun in this verse into a compound unity.
Gen. 2:21 "21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man"s ribs.."
Man has more than one rib, thus this is a plural number.
Genesis 2:24 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one (echad) flesh."
A man and a woman shall still remain 2 individuals, however shall be unified in 1 single relationship.
Gen. 4:19 "And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one (Echad)..."
Wives is plural, however the text is focusing on one of the pair.
Judges 20:11 "So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one [echad] man."
Men of Israel are plural in number, but formed a compound unity.
The verses which have the word "Yachid" mean only one.
" And he said, Take now thy son (Yachid), thine only.."
" And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child (Yachid); beside her he had neither son nor daughter."
Notice that the word Yachid is never used to describe God's absolute oneness. Even in the ordinal sense, the word Echad is one of many numbers in an order. God is clearly a Trinity.
I believe I refuted his argument, but he doesn't rebute my refutation instead restate his arguments using few verses while I used alot to introduce my point that Elohim and Echad define one God and no Trinity.
I refuted Genesis 1:26 in my previous post, my adversary does not rebute my refutation, instead restates his previous argument(my adversary drops the argument of Elohim, and focuses on Echad).
But I will rebute his second argument, again:
Genesis 2:21,24 Genesis 4:19, Judges 20:11(and others):
על־כן יעזב־איש את־אביו ואת־אמו ודבק באשתו והיו לבשר אחד
Trinitarians often enjoy exploiting this verse to further there assumption of a “uni-plurality” in their “Godhead”. However, cheap tactics and arguments from English grammar are not sufficient. So let’s get to demolishing this assumption:
Genesis 29:14, Judges 9:2 2 Samuel 19:12 all use basar (בשר) to mean one’s kindred or flesh and bone. The Trinitarian assumption is that if man and woman are echad in marriage, therefore three beings can all be echad, yet still maintain independently the attributes of each being “fully God” without being three gods.
The problem with this line of reasoning is that man and woman, though echad in purpose, are still two separate beings. A husband is not his wife and vice-versa. Husband and wife are neither “co-equal” nor “co-eternal”. They are one family. A man and woman come together to make a child, which is their flesh and bone.
Rabbi Singer says the following about the improper use of "echad."
"Although this ‘proof’ is as flawed as the doctrine it seeks to support, for those who lack an elementary knowledge of the Hebrew language, this argument can be rather puzzling. The word echad in the Hebrew language functions in precisely the same manner as the word ‘one’ does in the English language. In the English language it can be said, ‘these four chairs and the table constitute one dinette set,’ or alternatively, ‘There is one penny in my hand.’ Using these two examples, it is easy to see how the English word ‘one’ can mean either many things in one, as in the case of the dinette set, or one alone, as in the case of the penny. Although the Hebrew word echad functions in the exact same manner, evangelical Christians will never offer biblical examples where the word echad means one alone. Thus, by only presenting scriptural verses such as Genesis 1:5 and Numbers 23:13, it creates the illusion to the novice that the word echad is somehow synonymous with a compound-unity. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth."
The argument that my adversary used above about the word "Echadאֶחָד" has been debunked by me and others, I will state another refutation, with the typical verses that Trinitanians use to prove their "Three in one" concept:
Genesis 2:24: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one (echad) flesh.
The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) states: "Adam and Eve are described as "one flesh"(Genesis 2:24), which includes more than sexual unity" but when we use 1 Corinthians 6:16 as a cross reference, it appears that it means exactly sexual unity causing them to be "one flesh." What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
Exodus 24:3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one (echad) voice .
One what? One person's reply? No! One voice. Does "one voice" being heard mean that of "all the people" there was only one individual speaking? Of course not! It is simply understood to be the voice of many people speaking in unison so that you heard one sound. In this text using the word echad, does "one" really mean "one" in the context that it is meant to be used?
Numbers 13:23 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one (echad) cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff.
Again, you must ask yourself the question: One what? One grape? No. One cluster of grapes. Is one cluster of grapes the same as one grape? Absolutely not! In addition to that, the word here is grapes (plural). If echad was used in reference to the word grapes, the phrase would be nonsensical. In the phrase, "one cluster," does one sufficiently describe what the numeral "one" is supposed to describe? Without a doubt!Genesis 2:21 And LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one (echad) of his ribs.
How many ribs? Maybe God took a single rack of ribs (As you would receive a rack of barbecue ribs in a restaraunt).
Genesis 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one (echad)of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
How many mountains did Abraham go to?
Exodus 25:19 And make one (echad) cherub on the one (different word) end and the other cherub on the other end.
How many cherubs on one side?
Leviticus 16:5 And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for sin offering, and one (echad) ram for a burnt offering.
How many rams? Maybe God meant a "whole herd"? He said one; Trinitarian claim that one is supposed to mean a group.
Numbers 10:4 And if they blow but with one (echad) trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.
Were they supposed to blow with an orchestra of trumpets in unison?
Of the 943 times (by my count) echad is translated "one," it is translated to indicate a single character 901 times. In the remaining instances when it is involved in describing a group effort, it still means one.
In reference to the Shema, the claim that the linking of the word Elohim and echad in the same statement indicate plurality of God is totally unfounded. So much bias has been infused into that statement that the accuracy of it is negligible. It becomes a Trinitarian doctrinal statement instead of a Biblical description of God. Deuteronomy 6:4 is speaking of ONE WHAT? ONE GOD! This is made clear by the scribe's reply to Jesus' statement that the Shema was the most important commandment in Mark 12:32, "Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he." If elohim or echad are referring to more than one of anything, they are referring to more than one GOD, which would make Trinitarians polytheists, or at least tritheists. Remember, for elohim to indicate any plurality, it would indicate a plurality of gods; not one God in three but three gods. If the Bible could be quoted as saying one gods, Trinitarians may have a legitimate argument, but that very statement would be contradictory. It would have to declare "one Trinity."
Truth_seeker forfeited this round.
My opponent has forfeited the debate, I hope that you vote for me, because I refuted every argument he posed, and explained it perfectly, I await his rebuttal.
Truth_seeker forfeited this round.
Truth_seeker forfeited this round.
My opponent has forfeited, I urge you vote for me!
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