CHRISTENDOM'S CORNERSTONE DOCTRINE ...
Christendom's cornerstone doctrine -- the Trinity -- and see if it is
Not at all. What comes through very clearly to an impartial reader is
that God alone is the Almighty, the Creator, separate and distinct from
anyone else, and that Jesus, even in his prehuman existence, is also
separate and distinct, a created being, subordinate to God.
L. L. Paine, professor of ecclesiastical history, indicates that
monotheism in its purest form does not allow for a Trinity: "The Old
Testament is strictly monotheistic. God is a single personal being. The
idea that a trinity is to be found there . . . is utterly without
Was there any change from unitarian monotheism after Jesus came to the
earth? Paine answers: "On this point there is no break between the Old
Testament and the New. The monotheistic tradition is continued. Jesus was
a Jew, trained by Jewish parents in the Old Testament scriptures. His
teaching was Jewish to the core; a new gospel indeed, but not a new
theology. . . . And he accepted as his own belief the great text of
Jewish monotheism: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God.'"
Those words are found at Deuteronomy 6:4. The Catholic New Jerusalem
Bible here reads: "Listen, Israel: Yahweh our God is the one, the only
Yahweh." In the grammar of that verse, the word "one" has no plural
modifiers to suggest that it means anything but one individual.
The Christian apostle Paul did not indicate any change in the nature of
God either, even after Jesus came to the earth. He wrote --> "God is only
one."-Galatians 3:20; see also 1 Corinthians 8:4-6.
Thousands of times throughout the Bible, God is spoken of as one person.
When he speaks, it is as one undivided individual. The Bible could not be
any clearer on this. As God states --> "I am Jehovah. That is my name;
and to no one else shall I give my own glory." (Isaiah 42:8) "I am Yahweh
your God . . . You shall have no gods except me."
-Exodus 20:2, 3, Jerusalem Bible.
Why would all the God-inspired Bible writers speak of God as one person
if he were actually three persons? What purpose would that serve, except
to mislead people? Surely, if God were composed of three persons, he
would have had his Bible writers make it abundantly clear so that there
could be no doubt about it. But they did not.
Instead, what the Bible writers did make abundantly clear is that God is
one Person -- a unique, unpartitioned Being who has no equal --> "I am
Jehovah, and there is no one else. With the exception of me there is no
God." (Isaiah 45:5) "You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most
High over all the earth."-Psalm 83:18.
Not a Plural God
Jesus called God "the only true God." (John 17:3) Never did he refer to
God as a deity of plural persons. That is why nowhere in the Bible is
anyone but Jehovah called Almighty.
Otherwise, it voids the meaning of the word "almighty." Neither Jesus nor
the holy spirit is ever called that, for Jehovah alone is supreme. At
Genesis 17:1 he declares: "I am God Almighty." And Exodus 18:11 says:
"Jehovah is greater than all the other gods."
In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word "*eloh-ah*" (god) has two plural forms,
namely, "*elo-him*" (gods) and "*elo-heh*" (gods of). These plural forms
generally refer to Jehovah, in which case they are translated in the
singular as "God." Do these plural forms indicate a Trinity? No, they do
not. In _A_Dictionary_of_the_Bible_, William Smith says: "The fanciful
idea that ["*elo-him*"] referred to the trinity of persons in the Godhead
hardly finds now a supporter among scholars. It is either what
grammarians call _the_plural_of_majesty_, or it denotes the _fullness_ of
divine strength, the _sum_of_the_powers_ displayed by God." [underscore
used to indicate where the text orrigionally had italics]
_The_American_Journal_of_Semitic_Languages_and_Literatures_ says of "*elo-
him*": "It is almost invariably construed with a singular verbal
predicate, and takes a singular adjectival attribute." To illustrate this,
the title "*elo-him*" appears over 30 times in the account of creation,
and every time the verb describing what God said and did is singular.
(Genesis 1:1-2:4) Thus, that publication concludes: "["*Elo-him*"] must
rather be explained as an _intensive_plural_, denoting _greatness_ and
"*EloM-8him*" means, not "persons," but "gods." This would mean that there
were three gods in the Trinity. But nearly all Trinity supporters reject
the view that the Trinity is made up of three separate gods.
At times "*elo-him*" or "*elo-heh*" refers to a single pagan god, as
when the Philistines referred to "Dagon their god ["*elo-heh*"]." (Judges
16:23, 24) Baal is called "a god ["*elo-him*"]." (1 Kings 18:27) In
addition, the term is used for humans. (Psalm 82:1, 6) Moses was told
that he was to serve as "God" ["*elo-him*"] to Aaron and to Pharaoh.
-Exodus 4:16; 7:1.
Obviously, using the titles "*elo-him*" and "*elo-heh*" for false gods,
and even humans, did not imply that each was a plurality of gods; neither
does applying "*elo-him*" or "*elo-heh*" to Jehovah mean that he is more
than one person, especially when we consider the testimony of the rest of
the Bible on this subject.
Jesus a Separate Creation
While on earth, Jesus was a human, although a perfect one because it was
God who transferred the life-force of Jesus to the womb of Mary. (Matthew
1:18-25) But that is not how he began. He himself declared that he had
"descended from heaven." (John 3:13) So it was only natural that he would
later say to his followers: "What if you should see the Son of man
[Jesus] ascend to where he was before?"-John 6:62, New Jerusalem Bible.
Thus, Jesus had an existence in heaven before coming to the earth. But
was it as one of the persons in an almighty, eternal triune Godhead? No,
for the Bible plainly states that in his prehuman existence, Jesus was a
created spirit being, just as angels were spirit beings created by God.
Neither the angels nor Jesus had existed before their creation.
Jesus, in his prehuman existence, was "the first-born of all creation."
(Colossians 1:15, NJB) He was "the beginning of God's creation."
(Revelation 3:14, Revised Standard, Catholic edition). "Beginning" [Greek,
"*ar-khe*"] cannot rightly be interpreted to mean that Jesus was the
'beginner' of God's creation. In his Bible writings, John uses various
forms of the Greek word "*ar-khe*" more than 20 times, and these always
have the common meaning of "beginning." Yes, Jesus was created by God as
the beginning of God's invisible creations.
Notice how similar the accounts of Christ's creation are to what is
related by the figurative "Wisdom" in the Bible book of Proverbs: "Yahweh
created me, first-fruits of his fashioning, before the oldest of his
works. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I came to
birth; before he had made the earth, the countryside, and the first
elements of the world." (Proverbs 8:12, 22, 25, 26, NJB) While the term
"Wisdom" is used to personify the one whom God created, most scholars
agree that it is actually a figure of speech for Jesus as a spirit
creature prior to his human existence.
As "Wisdom" in his prehuman existence, Jesus goes on to say that he was
"by his [God's] side, a master craftsman." (Proverbs 8:30, JB) In harmony
with this role as master craftsman, Colossians 1:16 says of Jesus that
"through him God created everything in heaven and on earth."-Today's
John 1:3 also says, "All things came into existence through him."
So it was by means of this master workerthat Almighty God created all
other things. The Bible summarizes the matter this way: "For us there is
one God, the Father, from whom are all things . . . and one Lord, Jesus
Christ, through whom are all things." -1 Corinthians 8:6, Revised
Standard, Catholic edition.
It no doubt was to this master craftsman that God said: "Let us make man
in our image." (Genesis 1:26) Some have claimed that the "us" and "our"
in this expression indicate a Trinity. But if you were to say, 'Let us
make something for ourselves,' no one would normally understand this to
imply that several persons are combined as one inside of you. You simply
mean that two or more individuals will work together on something. So,
too, when God used "us" and "our," he was simply addressing another
individual, his first spirit creation, the master craftsman, the prehuman
Could God Be Tempted?
AT Matt. 4:1, Jesus is spoken of as being "tempted by the Devil." After
showing Jesus "all the kingdoms of the world and their glory," Satan
said: "All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of
worship to me." (Matthew 4:8, 9) Satan was trying to cause Jesus to be
disloyal to God.
But what test of loyalty would that be if Jesus were God? Could God rebel
against himself? No, "Perfect is his activity . . . A God of faithfulness,
. . . righteous and upright is he." (Deuteronomy 32:4) So if Jesus had
been God, he could not have been tempted.-James 1:13.
But angels and humans could rebel against God and did. The temptation of
Jesus would make sense only if he was, not God, but a separate individual
who had his own free will, one who could have been disloyal had he chosen
to be, such as an angel or a human.
Not being God, Jesus could have been disloyal. But he remained faithful,
saying: "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.'"-
How Much Was the Ransom?
One of the main reasons why Jesus came to earth also has a direct bearing
on the Trinity.
The Bible states: "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all."-1
Timothy 2:5, 6.
Jesus, no more and no less than a perfect human, became a ransom that
compensated exactly for what Adam lost -- the right to perfect human life
on earth. So Jesus could rightly be called "the last Adam" by the apostle
Paul, who said in the same context: "Just as in Adam all are dying, so
also in the Christ all will be made alive." -1 Corinthians 15:22, 45
The perfect human life of Jesus was the "corresponding ransom" required
by divine justice-no more, no less. A basic principle even of human
justice is that the price paid should fit the wrong committed.
If Jesus, however, were part of a Godhead, the ransom price would have
been infinitely higher than what God's own Law required. (Exodus 21:23-25;
Leviticus 24:19-21) It was only a perfect human, Adam, who sinned in
Eden, not God. So the ransom, to be truly in line with God's justice, had
to be strictly an equivalent-a perfect human, "the last Adam."
Thus, when God sent Jesus to earth as the ransom, he made Jesus to be
what would satisfy justice, not an incarnation, not a god-man, but a
perfect man, "lower than angels." (Hebrews 2:9; compare Psalm 8:5, 6.)
How could any part of an almighty Godhead --Father, Son, or holy spirit --
ever be lower than angels?
How the "Only-Begotten Son"?
The Bible calls Jesus the "only-begotten Son" of God. (John 1:14; 3:16,
18; 1 John 4:9)
Trinitarians say that since God is eternal, so the Son of God is eternal.
But how can a person be a son and at the same time be as old as his
Trinitarians claim that in the case of Jesus, "only-begotten" is not the
same as the dictionary definition of "begetting," which is "to procreate
as the father." They say that in Jesus' case it means "the sense of
unoriginated relationship," a sort of only son relationship without the
Does that sound logical to you? Can a man father a son without
Furthermore, why does the Bible use the very same Greek word for "only-
begotten" (as Vine admits without any explanation) to describe the
relationship of Isaac to Abraham?
Hebrews 11:17 speaks of Isaac as Abraham's "only-begotten son." There can
be no question that in Isaac's case, he was only-begotten in the normal
sense, not equal in time or position to his father.
The basic Greek word for "only-begotten" used for Jesus and Isaac is "*mo-
no-ge-nes*", from "*mo-nos*", meaning "only," and "*gi-no-mai*", a root
word meaning "to generate," "to become (come into being)," states
Strong's _Exhaustive_Concordance_. Hence,
"*mo-no-ge-nes*" is defined as: "Only born, only begotten, i.e. an only
child."-_A_Greek_and_English_Lexicon_of_the_New_Testament_, by E.
The _Theological_Dictionary_of_the_New_Testament_, edited by Gerhard
Kittel, says: "["*Mo-no-ge-nes*"] means 'of sole descent,' i.e., without
brothers or sisters." This book also states that at John 1:18; 3:16, 18;
and 1 John 4:9, "the relation of Jesus is not just compared to that of an
only child to its father. It is the relation of the only-begotten to the
So Jesus, the only-begotten Son, had a beginning to his life. And
Almighty God can rightly be called his Begetter, or Father, in the same
sense that an earthly father, like Abraham, begets a son. (Hebrews 11:17)
Hence, when the Bible speaks of God as the "Father" of Jesus, it means
what it says-that they are two separate individuals. God is the senior.
Jesus is the junior -- in time, position, power, and knowledge.
When one considers that Jesus was not the only spirit son of God created
in heaven, it becomes evident why the term "only-begotten Son" was used
in his case. Countless other created spirit beings, angels, are also
called "sons of God," in the same sense that Adam was, because their life-
force originated with Jehovah God, the Fountain, or Source, of life. (Job
38:7; Psalm 36:9; Luke 3:38) But these were all created through the "only-
begotten Son," who was the only one directly begotten by God.-Colossians
Was Jesus Considered to Be God?
While Jesus is often called the Son of God in the Bible, nobody in the
first century ever thought of him as being God the Son. Even the demons,
who "believe there is one God," knew from their experience in the spirit
realm that Jesus was not God. So, correctly, they addressed Jesus as the
separate "Son of God." (James 2:19; Matthew 8:29) And when Jesus died,
the pagan Roman soldiers standing by knew enough to say that what they
had heard from his followers must be right, not that Jesus was God, but
that "certainly this was God's Son."-Matthew 27:54.
Hence, the phrase "Son of God" refers to Jesus as a separate created
being, not as part of a Trinity. As the Son of God, he could not be God
himself, for John 1:18 says: "No one has ever seen God."-Revised Standard,
The disciples viewed Jesus as the "one mediator between God and men," not
as God himself. (1 Timothy 2:5) Since by definition a mediator is someone
separate from those who need mediation, it would be a contradiction for
Jesus to be one entity with either of the parties he is trying to
reconcile. That would be a pretending to be something he is not.
The Bible is clear and consistent about the relationship of God to Jesus.
Jehovah God alone is Almighty. He created the prehuman Jesus directly.
Thus, Jesus had a beginning and could never be coequal with God in power.
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