I dare you to put this on your website!
As I see it, I could write thousands of words to try and prove a Trinitarian wrong. The reason I say this is because the Trinity belief changes depending on which Trinitarian you talk to. There exist hundreds of Trinity-teaching churches, all of which have different interpretations of what the Trinity is or is not. I have heard that Jesus was a Man-God, despite the scriptural reference that no man has ever seen God. I have heard that they (God the Father and Jesus) are the same, but NOT the same..????
In actuality, there is no clear-cut description of the Trinity Doctrine. It itself is written in such a way that you could come up with literally hundreds of combinations to make it work. And believe me, that has been done. Catholics, Mormons, Prodestants, Lutherans and countless other religions have their own interpretations of the Trinity teaching. How can that teaching be right if all these differing opinions exist on its meaning? Is not at least ONE of them absolutely right?
Here are a few points of view that should inspire any honest-hearted, truth-seeking person to carefully examine in an effort to shed light upon this teaching. Please keep in mind that the earliest DOCUMENTED proof of the Trinity teaching dates back to the Nicene Creed, a government-sanctioned document the purpose of which was to unify a splitting house of worship...notedly, the Roman Catholic Church. All other reports are speculation as to the meaning of certain author's beliefs. All pre-Nicene opinions that I am aware of (not saying that I am familiar with them all) are from "fathers" of the Roman Catholic Church. It was the Nicene Creed that for the first time put it into an official, chuch stand.
All scripture quoted is from the New Internation Version of the Holy Scriptures. I invite you to read your own version of the Bible to compare to these quotes.
JESUS IS AN EQUAL PART OF THE GODHEAD
2 Peter 1:17 : "For he received honor and glory from the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." This scripture not only tells where Jesus' glory came from, but also when...and it is critical. Jesus did not possess any glory on his own, it was given by the Father to him when he was 30 years old in front of witnesses at Jesus' baptism. If he was deity in his own right, he would not have needed the Father to give glory to him, nor would he have had to wait until his baptism to receive it. Here, it is stressed in the scriptures that Jesus is God's SON, not God himself. This points to Jesus' subordinate place along the side of his Father. It is therefore reasonable to deduce that they are NOT equal.
John 14:28: "You heard me say 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I." Jesus here points out in no uncertain terms that he and the Father are not equal. In contrast to other scriptures that only insinuate a point, this scripture is direct in nature and states very clearly that the Father is greater than Jesus. They are NOT equal!
Philippians 2:9-11 "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father."
God did the exalting and did so to his OWN glory. This entire passage speaks to God's sole authority to do what He wants, in this case exalting His own Son. Jesus is NOT the exalt-ER, but the exalt-EE. One cannot exalt another unless there is superior position, rank or authority. Jesus is clearly the lesser of the two.
1 Corinthians 15:25-28: (speaking of Jesus) "For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he 'has put everything under his feet'. Now when it says that 'everything' has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God Himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him that put everything under him, so that God may be all in all." Can a logical person even conceive that these two, God the Father and his Son, Jesus are equal from this scripture? This is one of the most direct passages describing their relationship in terms of rank, or position. Any part of the Godhead described by most Trinitarians is equal to the power of the other. This directly rejects that teaching. Here, in these verses, it is crystal clear who has the authority and who has been given authority. They CANNOT be equal.
JESUS IS ALL-KNOWING, AND THEREFORE IS GOD
Matthew 24:36, Jesus speaking: "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." While Jesus was certainly blessed by God with extraordinary powers, the claim that Jesus is all knowing is completely and utterly denied by Jesus' own words here. Jesus does not know the hour in which the actual end will take place. If he were God, he most certainly would know for it is his (God's) master plan. There exists no scripture, let alone Jesus' own words, that says he is all-knowing. Some apostles asked Jesus that, since he knew all things, would he please explain this or that...but to claim that these scriptures say Jesus knows all would be in direct conflict with Jesus' words here. We know it has to be one way or the other, so which is it? For me personally, I will trust in Jesus' words that he does NOT know the hour of the coming of the end and therefore does not know all things.
[Note:. . .And six pages of verses and commentary from Revelation edited]
Thank you for your response and I will enjoy putting this on our web site. I can tell you are zealous in what you believe and I sense a strong disdain towards those who differ from you. I am sorry that with my heavy schedule I cannot address all your points but let me address just a few. Your response is typical of JW's who have misunderstood the doctrine of the Trinity and have used Bible verses out of context.
Let's take a look at a few.
The doctrine of the Trinity teaches that there is one God who has revealed Himself in three distinct persons all are equal in nature. They are distinct in person. The Father is not the Son. The Son is not the Holy Spirit. One God revealed in three distinct persons. JW's mislead people when they say the trinity teaches Jesus and the Father are one in the same person. They are distinct in person, but equal in nature.
In regard to the passage from John 6:46 states, "No man has seen God..." you interpret this to mean no man has ever seen God at all. Let's take a look at some passages and see if this is the case. Isaiah 6 states, "In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on the throne, high and exalted...." Isaiah appears to have seen the Lord. In Exodus 3, Moses speaks with God at the burning bush. Deuteronomy 34:10 states, "Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face." There are other passages where men have seen and spoken with God. So what John 6:46 is saying is, no one has seen God in His full glory. That no one could withstand. However, God has revealed Himself in veiled form, which we could see and withstand. Jesus is God the Son veiled in flesh. Philippians 2 if you read the entire passage states, that Jesus emptied himself or made himself nothing. He temporarily clothed himself in flesh and revealed himself to us. Later in Revelation 1, we see Jesus in glory.
The allegation that the Trinity was not taught until the Nicene council is incorrect. The Watchtower printed this in their magazine 'Should You Believe in the Trinity." There they quote pre-Nicene fathers as rejecting the Trinity. One interesting note, the Watchtower does not footnote any of it's references. They use endless dots .... why are there no footnotes or references pointing to the exact location of these quotes. Typical Watchtower deception. In my article on the Probe web site called "Why You should Believe in the Trinity," I quote several pre Nicene church fathers and give the exact reference. Here are a few the Watchtower misquoted.
Justin Martyr (165 A.D.): "...the Father of the universe has a Son; who being the logos and First-begotten is also God" (First Apology 63:15).
Irenaeus (200 A.D.) : (referencing Jesus) "...in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, . . ." (Against Heresies I, x, 1).
Clement of Alexandria (215 A.D.): "Both as God and as man, the Lord renders us every kind of help and service. As God He forgives sin, as man He educates us to avoid sin completely" (Christ the Educator, chapter 3.1). In addition, "Our educator, O children, resembles His Father, God, whose son He is. He is without sin, without blame, without passion of soul, God immaculate in form of man accomplishing His Father's will" (Christ the Educator Chapter 2:4).
Tertullian (230 A.D.): "...the only God has also a Son, his Word who has proceeded from himself, by whom all things were made and without whom nothing has been made: that this was sent by the Father into the virgin and was born of her both man and God. Son of Man, Son of God, ..." (Against Praxeas, 2).
Hippolytus (235 A.D.): "And the blessed John in the testimony of his gospel, gives us an account of this economy and acknowledges this word as God, when he says, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.' If then the Word was with God and was also God, what follows? Would one say that he speaks of two Gods? I shall not indeed speak of two Gods, but of one; of two persons however, and of a third economy, the grace of the Holy Ghost" (Against the Heresy of One Noetus. 14).
Origen (250 A.D.): (with regard to John 1:1) "...the arrangement of the sentences might be thought to indicate an order; we have first, 'in the beginning was the Word,' then 'And the Word was with God,' and thirdly, 'and the Word was God,' so that it might be seen that the Word being with God makes Him God" (Commentary on John, Book 2, Chapter 1).
Not only in these instances, but also throughout their writings the ante-Nicene fathers strongly defend the deity of Christ.
I would challenge you to ask the leaders at your kingdom hall, Why doesn't the watchtower magazine, on Page 7 footnote their references? Also, where exactly are these quotes located in the writings of the church fathers? If you know a little about church history, you will know that the early church suffered persecution under the Roman Empire. It was not until Emperor Constantine converted that they could have a church council. At Nicea then, they simply articulated what they already believed and taught.
2 Peter 1:17, states, "For he received honor and glory from God the Father...." Take a look 17:5 where Jesus prays, "And now Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." Now take a look at Isaiah 42:8. God says, "I am the Lord, that is my name. I will not give my glory to another..." God will not give his glory to another. Yet Jesus shared in God's glory before the world began. He shares God's glory because He is in nature God.
Let's look at John 14:28 where Jesus says the Father is greater than I. Greater refers to position not to nature. For example, you would agree with the statement, "George Bush is greater than you or I." As the chief executive officer of our country, that is indeed true. But is George Bush a superior being to you or I? No. Greater refers to position, not nature. In the Trinity, there is an economy, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are equal in nature, greater refers to position. In Hebrews 1:4 it states, "So he (Jesus) became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs." Here Jesus is not an angel because He is superior in nature to them. Or as the New World Translation states, "So he has become better than the angels," Jesus is better, meaning superior in nature to the angels. If Jesus was an inferior being to the Father, He would have said, "the Father is better or superior than I."
Let's take a look at the verse you quoted in Philippians 2. You begin at verse nine, but you need to look at the verse in its context. Begin at verse 1. Paul is exhorting the Philippians to exemplify humility as Christ did. How did Christ demonstrate humility? Verse 6 states, "Who (Christ) being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped." The Greek word there is "morphe" which means essential attributes. In other words, Jesus essential attributes was the nature of God. He humbled himself unto death and was exalted by God at the resurrection and sits at the Father's right hand. Another interesting note, verse 11 states, "and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord..." In Isaiah 45:18 God states, "I am the Lord and there is no other." Yet here when every tongue confesses Jesus is Lord, it brings glory to the Father. We can't have two Lords and if God states, He is the only Lord and Jesus has that title as well, what must we conclude?
In regard to the Revelation passages, it would be helpful to outline the book of Revelation. State the theme and how it plays out through the book. The Watchtower has interpreted it incorrectly in many areas. In Chapter 1:7 Jesus is coming to the earth. In verse 8 it states, "I am the alpha and the Omega, says Jehovah God, the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty." God the Father is never referred to as coming soon. the one who is coming is Jesus. Verse 8 refers to the one coming soon in verse 7 who is Jesus. Jesus is called God in verse 8. The whole theme of chapter one is the Son of God. Even if you want to say verse 8 refers to Jehovah and not Jesus, look at 22:12-16. Who is the alpha and Omega there? Jesus. Jehovah is the Alpha and Omega in chapter one. You cannot have two Alphas and Two Omegas. You can only have one. It is Jehovah in chapter 1, Jesus in chapter 22. So we conclude Jesus is God the Son. In 1:17-18 it states, "I am the First and the Last. I am the living one; I was dead and behold I am alive forever and ever." The First and the Last here is Jesus who died and rose again.
In Isaiah 44:6, Jehovah says, "I am the First and the Last; apart from me there is no God." You cannot have two firsts and two lasts. You can only have one. Once again, Jesus is God the Son for He shares the same title. Just a study of Chapter one of Revelation reveals the deity of Christ. I would study Revelation without the Watchtower articles to see what it says for itself. It is the Watchtower interpretations that led to the numerous false prophecies of Jesus second coming in 1914, 1918, 1925, and 1975. Their record of false prophecies alone should have one question the credibility of this organization.
Sorry I do not have time for a detailed study of the rest of your passages. Perhaps at a later time. Thanks for your reply.
About the Author
Patrick Zukeran served on the staff of Probe Ministries for 22 years, having received graduate degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M) and Southern Evangelical Seminary (D.Min). He presently serves on the faculty of the Bible Institute of Hawaii (www.biblehawaii.org) and is the Director of the Pacific Apologetics Center (www.pacificapologetics.org) based in Hawaii. He serves on the faculty of several Christian colleges around the world. He has a national and international speaking and teaching ministry, and also hosts a national and international radio show “Evidence and Answers” (www.evidenceandanswers.org). Pat has authored several books including The Apologetics of Jesus, co-authored with Norman Geisler, Unless I See, and served as editor of God, Eternity, and Spirituality. Pat can be reached at email@example.com.
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