Some Thoughts About the Trinity Doctrine
"I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God." (John 20:17)
"No one has seen God at any time." (John 1:18 & 1 John 4:12)
Christians are taught that there are no contradictions in the scripture, and yet an allowance is made for the belief of the trinity. Why? Usually the reason given is because we can't fully understand God's infinite nature. I would agree that we can't fully comprehend His infinite attributes such as His omniscience or omnipresence. As finite being, we cannot fully comprehend those things which are infinite, but we can describe them (inadequately, yes) with language that can be comprehended. But does this reasoning carry over to a knowing of His person? Does this mean we cannot know WHO God is and what He is like? Does it mean we can't know His personal characteristics like His love or compassion? If the reader answers "No" to these last questions, then according to Jesus, we cannot possess eternal life, for Jesus says, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Messiah Jesus, whom You have sent" (John 17:3). If the reader agrees that we can know God, then the reader should seriously examine why contradictions in the trinity teaching are allowable, but not for any other teaching in the scripture. This is especially true since this doctrine in particular is held up by the churchmen as the dividing line between essential truth and "heresy".
(On a personal note, this author believed the trinity doctrine for over ten years. Over those ten years, I attended seminary and studied the bible and read many books on theology including many writings on the trinity doctrine.)
The Revealing of God and Contradictions:
Given all the scripture that says that the most important thing that God wants, is that we know Him, and thus love and obey Him, it seems quite odd that there would be confusion (read contradictions) on knowing God. It seems to me that God would have revealed Himself fully (of what we could comprehend) in terms of His person, characteristics, will for men, etc. In fact, Jesus himself says, "I have revealed Your name to the men whom You gave to me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things, whatever You have given me, are from You. For I have given to them the Words which You gave me, and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from You. And they have believed that You sent me."; and, "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master does. But I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." (John 17:6-8; 15:15)
Clearly one of Jesus' main missions on his first coming was to reveal his Father as well as himself as the Messiah. If this be so, how can confusion and contradiction remain regarding knowing who Jesus is and who his Father is? We are not talking about an infinite aspect of God's nature, but rather the issue of who God is. In the above sayings of Jesus, he CLEARLY distinguishes between his Father and himself. God sent his Son (not Himself) as a MAN and thus we are to know Him through human characteristics. In no normal sense, ever, in human language, do we say that a father and a son are the same person or being. We can say they are very similar or that they have the same characteristics or that they are in near perfect agreement or unity, but we NEVER say they are the SAME PERSON.
The most common version of the trinity doctrine states that "God is three separate persons yet is one Person; there is one God, yet this God is manifest in three Persons - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit." Here is Dallas Theological Seminary's definition of the trinity, "We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—and that these three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections, and worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence, and obedience."
Obviously the phrase "that these three [persons] are one God" is contradictory, in terms of reasoning and logic - 1 is 1, not 3. How can God be three Persons and those three persons also be one person? A mild equivocation on this would be, "God is three persons yet one God". Well, does God have the attributes of a person e.g. communicates in a rational language; can reason, knows right from wrong, etc.? If the answer is "yes", then you are right back at a pure contradiction instead of a guised contradiction. If you don't like the term "person", it does not change the basic contradiction, for it remains in statements like, "God is three, and yet these three beings are one being"; or, "God is three, yet He is also one." No matter how you state it, what is being said is that three equals one.
"I am willing to believe that which I cannot see, but I cannot believe that one equals three."
God is either One person or being, or not - this is a very simple and clear proposition. Should people rely on religious theologies or philosophies or psychological theories about the divided nature of God? When Joshua of Nazareth says, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46), why can't we receive the plain meaning, that Jesus of Nazareth has a God? Why must we instead run to strange psycho-philosophical, "dual nature" explanations? Perhaps because we are hanging onto a tradition of men? Perhaps the religious leadership establishment gains something important from maintaining that people must believe that one equals three?Please consider the following three arguments:
1. The trinity doctrine is contradictory, and if we believe it, we accept contradictions in the scripture about who God is. If we can accept contradictions in the scripture about who God is - a seemingly very important matter - then we should be able to accept contradictions about "lesser" doctrine.
If this argument is correct, then the view of inspiration and biblical inerrancy held by most who believe the trinity doctrine is false.
2. God is everywhere at the same time (omnipresent), and we cannot really understand that aspect of Him. Yet, we can know at some level, that He is omnipresent because we have language to express and communicate this truth - if this were not so, you could not comprehend what I just wrote. If we have language to have some understanding about even His characteristics we cannot fully comprehend, should we not also be able to understand His revelation to us in His Son about Himself, and who He is?
If this is true, then His revealing of Himself should not contain contradictions, just like any other "major" doctrine in the scriptures.
3. The trinity doctrine is inherently contradictory e.g. God is Three yet One. If the scripture teaches the trinity doctrine, then the scripture has contradictions about the most basic of things, who God is. Thus, either the trinity doctrine is wrong, or the scripture has contradictions about who God is.
Believing the trinity doctrine causes the person using reason well to either accede that the scripture has contradictions regarding a self-professed "major" doctrine regarding God's Person; or to conclude that the trinity doctrine is error; or both.
A Brief Review Of The Pertinent Scripture:
The trinitarian view is that while they (the Father and the Son) are separate persons, yet they are the same God. This view is irrational and contradictory and there are many hundreds of verses that plainly state that Jesus and his Father are not the same person. These verses, when using one step of deduction, contradict the trinity. In other words, every time Jesus refers to his Father, the normal reading of that would mean that they are separate beings. It is only when one ebbs into weird religious beliefs that one would conclude that a person talking about their Father would include the possibility that they are actually the same person. In addition to these hundreds of scripture verses, there are dozens of verses that without deduction plainly and positively contradict the trinitarian concept of Jesus being the Most High God.
Here are a few:
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit up into the wilderness, to be tempted by the Devil." (Matthew 4:1)
James 1:13, says in part, "for God cannot be tempted by evil". Jesus was tempted by the devil to do evil, so Jesus cannot be God the Most High.
"Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father." (Matthew 20:23)
So Jesus, being God, has not the authority to grant places of honor for his servants? Doesn't it seem fairly obvious that this "Father", that Jesus speaks of is "greater than" Jesus? And if Jesus is the Most High God, how could that be?
"Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will." (Mark 14:36).
It is possible for the One Perfect God's will to be divided?
"My God, My God, why have your forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46)
God the Most High, has a God? The Most High God can forsake Himself?
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father". (Mark 13:32)
Jesus is the Most High God, but does not know something that his Father knows? A trinitarian will cite verses to try and prove that Jesus is omniscient, yet how does the truth in this verse fit into that belief?
"And Jesus answered and said to him, "'It has been said, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God'" (Luke 4:12)
Jesus resisted Satan's temptation by saying that it would be sinful for him to tempt his Father. God can tempt Himself?
"Now it came to pass in those days that He (Jesus) went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12).
The Most High God prays to Himself? The verse does not say, 'Jesus talked with his Father', but rather that he prayed to his "God". So God has a God he prays to?
"And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as my Father bestowed one upon me". (Luke 22:29)
The Most High God bestowed a kingdom upon Himself? Didn't God already have control over all Kingdoms?
"And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, he said, "'Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit'". Having said this, he breathed his last." (Luke 23:46)
God is spirit. The Holy Spirit is God's spirit. Whose spirit was committed into the hands of the Father? If it was Jesus', then there is division even in the spirit of God?
"No one has seen God at any time." (John 1:18 & 1 John 4:12)
What more can be said?
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)
Jesus teaches that, "God is spirit", not that God is flesh, and thus the truth that "No one has seen God at any time" and therefore Jesus of Nazareth is not God.
"If you loved me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father', for my Father is greater than I." (John 14:28)
If Jesus is truly the Most High God, equal with his Father, than how can his Father be "greater" than he, in any respect? This is especially true in this context, as the context speaks nothing about physical things or his physical nature.
"But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break his legs." (John 19:33)
The Almighty God, God the Most High, the Eternal One, died?
"'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God." (John 20:17)
Jesus is ascending to his "God". How can the Most High God have a God?
"Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all." (1 Cor. 15:28)
Jesus will be made subject to God in the final consummation. How can the Most High God be made subject to Himself?
"But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, 'Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" (Acts 7:55-56)
How is it that the Most High God is either seated or standing next to Himself?
"…having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." (Heb. 1:4)
What does the Most High God need to inherit? Doesn't He already own all things? The Most High God needed to obtain a more excellent name than the angels?
"Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions." (Heb. 1:9)
Again, God the Most High has a God? Would it not be more reasonable to say that there is the Most High God, the Father, and His God-like Son?
"…though He was a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And having been perfected…" (Heb. 5:8-9)
The Most High God needed to learn obedience? To whom? The Most High God needed to be perfected?
"Then he (Jesus, the Lamb OF God) came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him (God the Father) who sat on the throne." (Rev. 5:7)
The Most High God is taking a scroll from the Most High God?
This author has had quite a few people respond to this article who try to defend the trinity doctrine. Their main argument is that I can't see that Jesus is both man and God, and if I would just see this 'truth', then I could see the trinity doctrine. My first response is that I was a trinitarian for 10 years and I had accepted that belief without questioning it, for my masters were the religious leaders who said I needed to believe that in order to be accepted by God.
The philosophy-teachings of the dual nature works quite well in defending the trinity doctrine, for one just switches back and forth between Jesus being man and God, depending upon the scripture passage being looked at. Unfortunately for the trinitarian, Jesus does NOT teach the dual nature concept. Jesus teaches that his Father is spirit and never flesh. Jesus teaches that the most high God, his Father, alone is the most high God. For the above citations of scripture, the trinitarian says that those passages refer to Jesus as man, not as God. But Jesus NEVER taught that his Father was also a man, nor did he teach that he was his Father or that he was the Most High God.
The trinitarian just assumes the dual nature teaching and then fits the scripture into this teaching. Again, the problem with this is that the dual nature teaching/philosophy is not only NOT taught by Jesus, but in fact has no scriptural basis (the trinitarian's supposed standard). Jesus nowhere says that he and his Father are the same person, and in fact, Jesus repeatedly - hundreds of times - distinguishes between himself and his Father as two separate people. As Jesus taught in John 4:24, God is spirit, and he no where qualified this to say that God at some point would also be flesh. John taught that Jesus manifests the Father, NOT THAT JESUS WAS THE FATHER. "God is spirit" is Jesus' teaching regarding the nature of his Father, the Most High God. Only men wanting to justify their pet doctrines and nullify that truth say, 'no, God is not just spirit, he also took on flesh for he has a dual nature'.
To use an illustration in terms of bringing understanding on this issue - in human terms, a father and son who are really close, can be in almost perfect unity in all things. In addition, the father can grant his son all his rights and authority, if he chooses. He can even lend his son his name, so that the son can do everything the father does. While this is an imperfect analogy, does it not lend some light on the relationship of the heavenly Father and His Son?
This author is not a Jehovah's Witness - never has been and never plans to be. While the Jehovah's witnesses have a correct understanding of a One Most High God truth, they are in error in believing that Jesus of Nazareth is the re-incarnated arch angel Michael. According to their own 'sacred scripture', instead of properly exalting Jesus to the place of God the Father's unique and glorious Son, they bring him to a lower place of glory - that of the angels. Thus, they ignore the scripture they say is inspired of God - Heb. 1:4 says of Jesus of Nazareth, "…having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." The rest of Hebrews chapter one makes its case very clear for who the author thinks Jesus is - the only begotten God-like Son of the One true and living God - whose name is above all names (except the Father, of course).
Why do christians reject the hundreds of verses of scripture that refute the trinitarian view, in favor of the less than half a dozen which support it? Why do christian's reject Jesus own confession of who he is?
If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? (John 10:35-36)
If there were a time and context to say plainly who he was, then that situation was it, and he did! The confession could not be any clearer, but just leave it to the religious leaders and 'scholars' so called to explain this plain confession away.
Jesus of Nazareth is properly honored by believing who he says he is, not by making him into something he is not like Rome's doctrine of Mary. If someone comes along and says that Jesus of Nazareth ought to be honored above his Father, are you going to do that? Will that glorify Jesus more?
What is it about the trinity doctrine?
Christianity (Roman, Protestant, non-denominational, whatever...) makes the trinity doctrine its most important litmus test for "orthodoxy". This author does not, for this author can understand how people are confused regarding this doctrine, for this author sincerely believed the trinity doctrine for many years due to having the religious leaders as my masters instead of the Light. However, it is very significant that the trinity doctrine is usually placed at the top of christianity's official statements of "faith" (really doctrinal litmus tests for membership in their religious organizations).
First of all, this belief has no bearing on a practical living out of the faith, and so to set it up as one of the top doctrines of "orthodoxy" perfectly fits into the error of trying to please God primarily with the mind instead of with the heart and will/behavior (see How to Hear From, and Know, God). One can have faith in God and Jesus and follow Jesus while rejecting the trinitarian doctrine. To deny this is irrational and to be in bondage to a tradition of men - it is to not understand what faith is (See Faith versus Doctrine). Secondly, to have a contradictory doctrine as one of the top beliefs defining "orthodoxy" perfectly serves the religious organizations by making the people dependant upon the religious leaders. How so?
1. The rational person using sound reason will reject the proposition that one equals three, whether persons or objects for that matter;
2. Most people are respecter's of men and honor the religious leaders and depend on them to tell them how they can be accepted by God;
3. One must accept the trinity in order to have the religious leaders declare they are accepted by God;
4. One will believe a contradiction in order to be declared accepted by God by the religious leaders who allegedly represent God;
5. To believe a plain contradiction to receive the religious leader's acceptance (and thus they believe God's acceptance) makes a person completely dependant upon the religious leaders for what to believe since reason and rational thought obviously have no place in God's economy since one must believe that 1 equals 3 in order to be accepted by God.
Conclusion: The religious leaders use the trinity doctrine to make people rely upon them for understanding God and how to be accepted by God, and with this comes much power over the people and all the associated benefits of that power.
Sadly, the people are trusting in their religious leaders BEFORE Jesus who says he is the Truth, and Jesus does not say that we must believe contradictions in order to be accepted by his Father. Why do the people do this? Because they don't want to listen to Jesus of Nazareth and his sayings like, "love one another".
It might be interesting to note for some, that perhaps the largest, most powerful ecumenical movement/organization in recent history, the Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. ( http://christianchurchestogether.org/chicago-statement/ ), has this phrase as it's first phrase for it's "vision" statement, "Celebrating a common confession of faith in the Triune God". Their current "statement of faith", re-named their "Theological Affirmation", contains only these beliefs on which all christian religion could be unified:"Christian Churches Together in the USA welcomes churches, Christian communities, and national Christian organizations that:
So, all one need believe to be their brand of christianity (read, to be accepted by their christian god) is the trinity doctrine and a desire to work with other religious people for a "more credible christian witness" (see What is a 'Christian'? & A Story: Sojourning Up The Mountain Along Crystal River). Can the reader see the place of the trinity doctrine in the great lie that is happening before our eyes?
This author does not condemn those who believe the trinitarian belief, and does not look at it as a high priority to convince them otherwise. Does this attitude extend the other way? In other words, will those who hold to the trinitarian belief accept this author as accepted by God when they find out that this author rejects the trinitarian view? If they will not accept this author, but rather condemn him as a heretic or some other nasty label - and this in spite of the fact that this author has hundreds of scripture verses that support his belief - then what does that say about the trinitarian belief and those who hold it so tightly? What is says is they reject the most important commands of Jesus - namely love - and instead substitute a shallow doctrinal litmus test in order to accept - or even be kind to - others.
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