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WHAT DO THEY THINK OF CHRIST?

AETHERIUS SOCIETY – UFO group messages from “Master Jesus” in outer space.

AHMADIYYA MOVEMENT – (Islam) Jesus a prophet only.

ALAMO CHRISTIAN FOUNDATION -Correct doctrine on Jesus but cultish in their denunciation of other Christians.

AMORC – (See Rosicrucianism)

ANANDA MARGA YOGA SOCIETY – Founder Maha-Guru is an incarnation of God.

ANTHROPOSOPHICAL SOCIETY – Jesus just man until age 30, and then received “Christ Essence”.

ARICA INSTITUTE INC. – “Christ cannot be God”.

ARMSTRONGISM (WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD)- Since death of H.W.Armstrong in a state of doctrinal changes. Church split with new groups forming. See Philadelphia Church.

ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH – Denies Trinity.

ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH AND ENLIGHTENMENT (EDGAR CAYCE) – A portion of God called Soul reincarnated eventually as Christ.

ASTARA – Speak of “Cosmic Christ”. Deny His eternal nature.

BABA RAM DASS (HANUMAN FOUNDATION) – Disciples encouraged to acknowledge their inner divinity and oneness with universal deity. Hinduistic.

THE BAHA’I FAITH – Christ one of the 9 great manifestations of divinity. Baha’u’allah greater.

BAWA MUHAIYADDEEN FELOWSHIP- Man becomes God.

BHAGWAN SHREE RAJNEESH- (See Rajneesh Meditation Centers.)

BLACK MUSLIM- Jesus was black and only a prophet. Allah incarnate is Wallace Ford.

BRANHAMISM – Jesus created, not eternal.

BROTHER JULIUS – Believes he is incarnation of Jesus.

BUBBA FREE JOHN (DAWN HORSE FELLOWSHIP; FREE PRIMATIVE CHURCH OF DIVINE COMMUNION; FREE COMMUNITY ORDER; LAUGHING MAN INST.) – Claims he is incarnation of God; a guru to be worshipped; equal with Christ.

BUDDHISM – Christ not recognized as Deity. Zen Buddhism also does not affirm the existence of the living God.

CABALA (KABBALAH) – Doctrine of Deity recognizes only two deities-the hidden god; the infinite great divine Nothing; and the dynamic god of religious experience. Mystical.

CENTER FOR SPIRITUAL AWARENESS – (CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL ALLIANCE) – Jesus a man who reached “Christ-consciousness”.

CHILDREN OF GOD (FAMILY OF LOVE) – Began fundamentalist but degenerated into Occult.

CHRISTADELPHIANS – Jesus did not exist before birth to Mary. Not God.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE -Christ is a Divine Idea and his blood doesn’t cleanse us.

CHURCH OF ARMAGEDDON (LOVE FAMILY) – Follow prophet “Love Israel”. Use Yoga & drugs.

CHURCH OF GOD INTERNATIONAL)(Garner Ted Armstrong) follows original teachings of Herbert W Armstrong. Denies Trinity, God is a family.

CHURCH OF BIBLE UNDERSTANDING (FOREVER FAMILY)- Founder Traill is one true access to bible understanding; denies Trinity.

THE CHURCH OF GOD INTERNATIONAL -(See Armstrongism.)

CHURCH OF THE LIVING WORD (THE WALK) – Followers become the Living Word (Christ) to the world.

CHURCH UNIVERSAL AND TRIUMPHANT (SUMMIT INT.; SUMMIT LIGHTHOUSE) – Jesus a man with Christ-consciousness within him.

COONEYITES (TWO BY TWOS) -Jesus inherited Adam’s fallen sin nature and did not finish His earthly mission, but they are doing so.

DAWN BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOC. (FRANK AND ERNEST) – Jesus created; not God. Deny Trinity.

DIANETICS – (See Scientology)

DHYANA-MA-NDIRAM – Jesus one of many reincarnations of God.

DIVINE LIGHT M ISSION OF GURU MAHARAJ JI – Followers believe their Guru is Christ come again.

ECKANKAR (THE ANCIENT ART OF SOUL TRAVEL) – Christ is “god as all men are god”.

EMISSARIES OF DIVINE LIGHT (ONTOLOGISTS) – Do not accept the atoning work of Christ; Mystical.

ESALEN INSTITUTE – “Human Potential” movement; Mystical.

EST (ERHARD SEMINAR TRAININGS) THE FORUM) – Teach that each person is a god himself.

ETERNAL FLAME – Chas. Paul Brown, the leader, claims to be the very body and blood of Christ.

FAMILY OF LOVE – (See Children of God)

THE FARM – Jesus a man indwelt by Christ-consciousness.

FINDHORN FOUNDATION UNIVERSITY OF LIGHT – Separate Jesus and Christ. Appear to be pantheistic and believe in plant spirits.

FOREVER FAMILY – (See Church of Bible Understanding)THE FORUM- (see est)

THE FOUNDATION FAITH OF THE MILLENNIUM- Deny deity of Christ, only a prophet.

FOUNDATION OF HUMAN UNDERSTANDING (ROY MASTERS) – Neglects Christ or mentions him in a negative context.

FRANK & ERNEST – (See Dawn Bible Students Assoc.)

FREE MASONRY – Jesus a man like us.

HARE KRISHNA (ISKON) – Jesus one of their gurus, but Hare Krishna is their God.

HINDUISM – No need of a personal savior; each one attains to becoming “a god” or attaining “cosmic consciousness”.

THE HOLY ORDER OF MANS – Jesus a man indwelt by Christ consciousness.”

“I AM” MOVEMENT – Jesus one of many ascended masters.

IGLESIA NI CRISTO – Jesus a great savior, but not true God.

INNER PEACE MOVEMENT – Jesus a man who reached “Christ-consciousness”. God is impersonal.

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OF CHRIST (THE JAMILIANS) – Christ came again in the form of Jamil Sean Savoy (Born 1959, died 1962). Christ a “universal force” to be experienced but not worshipped.

ISKON – (See Hare Krishna)

ISLAM – Jesus a prophet of Allah who was superceded by Muhammed.

JAINISM – Deny existence of Creator. Non-theistic humanists.

JAMILIANS – See International Community of Christ)

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES THE WATCHTOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY) – Jesus created as Archangel Michael/lesser god; became only a good man, died, ceased to exist, re-created as Michael again in heaven. Not God. Deny Trinity.

KABALARIANS – Speak of “Christ Principle” born within every individual. (See Cabala)

KRISHNAMURTI FOUNDATION OF AMERICA-Disciples worship him as incarnation of God without his approval.

LATTER DAY SAINTS – (See Mormons)

LAYMEN’S HOME MISSIONARY MOVEMENT – Christ is not God.

LIFESPRING – Similar to EST.

LOVE FAMILY- (See Church of Armageddon)

MAHIKARI – Both Jesus and Buddha are regarded as refined spiritual beings able to radiate true light in their day.

MEGIDDO MISSION – Jesus wholly human in his nature.

THE MIND SCIENCES – God is a principle.

MOONIES (THE UNIFICATION CHURCH; THE HOLY SPIRIT ASSOC.; HOLY SPIRIT ASSOC. FOR THE UNIFICATION OF WORLD CHRISTIANITY; THE UNIFIED FAMILY; INTERNATIONAL ONE WORLD CRUSADE; INTERFAITH ENDEAVOR; ETC. ETC.) – Christ failed in His earthly mission leaving Rev. Moon to finish the task. Many believe Moon to be “Lord of the Second Advent.”

MORMONS (THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS) – Jesus was born in heaven as the spirit child of Elohim (Heavenly Father) by one of his wives, and Jesus’ brother was Lucifer, who became Satan. Jesus one of many gods.

MUKTANANDA PARAMAHANSA (SHREE GURUDEV SIDDHA YOGA ASHRAM) – Each person strives for his own “God-realization”.

NEO-GNOSTICISM – Jesus one who possessed a “higher consciousness”. Did not die for man’s sins.

NEW AGE MOVEMENT – Promises to produce “Messiah” out of a coalition of cult/occult groups.

NICHIREN SHOSHU SOKA GAKKAI – True God replaced by Gautama Buddha and Nichiren. Bible replaced.

ONTOLOGISTS – (See Emmissaries of Divine Light) Spirit.

PENITENTES (BROTHER OF OUR FATHER JESUS) – Atonement comes by personal bloodshed rather than Christ’s death and suffering.

PEACE MISSION MOVEMENT- Sometimes states that Jesus is God, but leader George Baker has also claimed to be God and Holy Spirit.

PEOPLES TEMPLE CHRISTIAN CHURCH -Jim Jones considered himself the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and led over 900 followers to their deaths.

PHILADELPHIA CHURCH – Recently formed breakaway group from World Wide Church of God. Carries on with old Armstrongism teachings. Denies Trinity, God is a Family.

PROCESS CHURCH OF THE FINAL JUDGEMENT – Jesus a man.

PSYCHIANA – Jesus a human life acting out the God-power.

RADHA SOAMI SOCIETY – Jesus one of many lords.

RAJNEESH MEDITATION CENTERS (ORANGE PEOPLE) – God is not a person. Existence is without cause.

REORGANIZED CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS – Jesus Christ existed with God in the beginning, sharing in creation.

REV. IKE (FREDERICK EIKERENKOETTER) – Deity is “the presence of God in you”. There are no literal, spiritual realities.

ROSICRUCIANISM (ROSICRUCI ; AMORC) – Reincarnated man is a manifestation of the cosmic Christ.

RUHANI SATSANG – Jesus Christ essentially a man of the East.

SANATANA DHARMA FOUNDATION – Jesus is a man who achieved a divine state through meditation.

SATHYA SAI BABA – Claims to be Christ and has achieved “God-realization”.

SCIENTOLOGY – All are gods including Christ.

SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP – Separates Jesus and Christ. Jesus was indwelt by “Christ-consciousness”.

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM -Believe Jesus is God but also that he is Michael. Christ did not complete atonement at Calvary.

SHREE GURU DEV SIDDHA YOGA ASHRAM – Believes leader is God.

SIKHISM – If a person works his way to salvation he is absorbed into the formless God.

SILVA MIND CONTROL -Seek oneness with pantheistic deity; speak of “Christ awareness”.

SPIRITUAL ADVANCEMENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL FOUNDATION – Their leader, Sai Baba, is Jesus Christ who was returned. Man forgets he is God.

SPIRITUAL FRONTIERS FELLOWSHIP – Jesus the man died but Christ lived. Uses seances.

SPIRITUALISTS – Jesus was a Jewish medium.

SRI CHINMOY CENTERS – God is seen as consciousness and light. Divinity is within.

STILL POINT INSTITUTE – Christ is an evolutive god, a cosmic Christ.

SUBUD (GURDJIEFF; RENAISSANCE FELLOWSHIP OF FRIENDS) – God is a “great life force” flowing through everything and is felt by inner vibrations. Impersonal.

SUFISM – God-consciousness by whirling dancing.

SUFISM REORIENTED INC. – Meher Baba claimed to be Christ incarnate.

SUMMIT LIGHTHOUSE (SUMMI NTERNATIONAL) (See Church Universal and Triumphant)

SWAMI KRIYANANDA – Followers seek God-realization; Hinduistic.

SWAMI RAMI (HIMALAYAN INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF YOGA SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY) Combines Indian religious philosophy with psychological therapeutic techniques.

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA (VEDANTA SOCIETY) – Mystical Hinduism; Ramakrishna worthy of same devotion as Christ.

SWEDENBORGISM – Calls Jesus god but denies the personality of the Holy Spirit.

TAOISM – Worships creator-principle of the Tao (“The Force”) Ignores Christ.

THEOSOPHY – Christ is the reincarnation of the world’s soul.

THE 3 HO FOUNDATION (YOGI BHAJAN; SIKH FOUNDATION) – God is cosmic consciousness. Pantheistic.

T.M. (TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION) – Christ is a prophet. Mankind can meditate into God-awareness without a mediator.

THE UNIFICATION CHURCH – (See Moonies)

UNITY (UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY) – Jesus was a perfect man indwelt by the Christ consciousness present in everybody.

UNITARIANS (UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOC.) – Jesus extraordinarily good man only.

UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH – Denies Trinity.

URANTIA – Jesus a “Creator Son” called “Michael”.

THE WALK – (See Church of the Living Word)

THE WATCHTOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY – (See Jehovah’s Witnesses)

THE WAY INTERNATIONAL – Jesus is not God.

WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD – (See Armstrongism)

YOGA – A series of exercises designed to align your body to absorb the cosmic force.

ANANDA MARGA YOGA – Jesus is considered God, but you, too, will become God.

INTEGRAL YOGA INSTITUTE – God has no name, no form, no place. Evil is also God.

SIVANANDA YOGA VENDENTA CENTERS – God (or Christ) is not a person or spirit, but consciousness.

TANTRIC YOGA – Achieving God realization by sexual means.

ZOROASTRIANISM – Does not recognize personal God.

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Not all religions are Christian.
There is a difference.

The Gospel message of Salvation is clear:

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

No one comes to the Father except through Him.

http://mmoutreach.org/other_cults/articles/what_do_they_think_of_christ.htm

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Is God a Mormon? What the Bible says about God’s nature by Mark Grote

The question of “Is God a Mormon,” just occured to me while I was writing this examination of the nature of God. I was wondering to myself how Mormons could get so far off about the nature of God. Just then, it occured to me that God would have to be a Mormon, and would certainly endorse Mormonism, if Mormons are to be considered correct. But are they?

This much we do know. As much as Mormons say they are set apart as the “true Church” they are actually like every other faith on the planet except Christianity. Some Mormons say they are Christians but miss the central concept of God’s nature, essence and most of all, the deity of Christ. That concept is that Jesus is God. As Mormons yammer on about being set apart, they are very much like everyone else in holding a view that Jesus is not the ultimate authority or the author of all things. So then, who is? How can you be set apart when you hold exactly the same view of Jesus as every other faith–that He is less than God?

Rather than argue with opinions, I thought I would try the novel concept of ‘study’ and see if scripture means anything to Mormons. Examining and drawing out what is in the bible and not trying to read into scripture but literally go to the word of God and see what it says about God.

So with that, to the question at hand…what is the nature of God? Who is He? Are Mormons correct that he is one of many Gods and the literal creator of Jesus or is He part of the trinity, a view that Mormons so adamently attack?

First of all, we have to come to a common understanding about what we mean by the “nature of God.” What I mean in this is quite literal. What is God? Who is God? Where is God? The Bible says that God has always existed (Gen. 1:1) for all eternity to all eternity, from everlasting past to everlasting future, forever and ever, from before time to after time, and who is without beginning and without end, (Psalm 41:13, 90:2, 102:25-27 and Romans 1:22-23). The word Eternal, means ( e = no, tern = time; no time). I have separate thoughts of Jesus as well, but for now will wait to disuss that even if He applies.

I believe it is sufficient to say that the God of classical Christian theism is at least (1) personal and incorporeal (without physical parts), (2) the Creator and Sustainer of everything else that exists, (3) omnipotent (all-powerful), (4) omniscient (all-knowing), (5) omnipresent (everywhere present), (6) immutable (unchanging) and eternal, and (7) necessary and the only God.

Let us now briefly look at each of these attributes.

1. Personal and Incorporeal. According to Christian theism, God is a personal being who has all the attributes that we may expect from a perfect person: self-consciousness, the ability to reason, know, love, communicate, and so forth. This is clearly how God is described in the Scriptures (e.g., Gen. 17:11; Exod. 3:14; Jer. 29:11).

God is also incorporeal. Unlike humans, God is not uniquely associated with one physical entity (i.e., a body). This is why the Bible refers to God as Spirit (John 4:24).

2. The Creator and Sustainer of Everything Else that Exists. In classical theism, all reality is contingent on God — that is, all reality has come into existence and continues to exist because of Him. Unlike a god who forms the universe out of preexistent matter, the God of classical theism created the universe ex nihilo (out of nothing). Consequently, it is on God alone that everything in the universe depends for its existence (see Acts 17:25; Col. 1:16, 17; Rom. 11:36; Heb. 11:3; 2 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 4:11).

3. Omnipotent. God is also said to be omnipotent or all-powerful. This should be understood to mean that God can do anything that is (1) logically possible or impossible (see below), and (2) consistent with being a personal, incorporeal, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, wholly perfect, and necessary Creator.

Concerning the latter, these attributes are not limitations of God’s power, but perfections. They are attributes at their infinitely highest level, which are essential to God’s nature. For example, since God is perfect, He cannot sin; because He is personal, He is incapable of making Himself impersonal; because He is omniscient, He cannot forget. All this is supported by the Bible when its writers assert that God cannot sin (Mark 10:18; Heb. 6:18), cease to exist (Exod. 3:14; Mal. 3:6), or fail to know something (Job 28:24; Ps. 139:17-18; Isa. 46:10a). Since God is a perfect person, it is necessarily the case that He is incapable of acting in a less than perfect way — which would include sinning, ceasing to exist, and being ignorant.

Also counted among the things that are logically impossible for God to do or create are those imperfect acts mentioned above which a wholly perfect and immutable being cannot do — such as sin, lack omniscience, and/or cease to exist. Since God is a personal, incorporeal, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, wholly perfect, and necessary Creator, it follows that any act inconsistent with these attributes would be necessarily (or logically) impossible for God to perform.

4. Omniscient. God is all-knowing, and His all-knowingness encompasses the past, present, and future. Concerning God’s unfathomable knowledge, the psalmist writes: “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you” (Ps. 139:17,18). Elsewhere he writes, “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit” (147:5). The author of Job writes of God: “For he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens” (Job 28:24). Scripture also teaches that God has total knowledge of the past (Isa. 41:22). Concerning the future, God says: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please,'” (Isa. 46:10). Elsewhere Isaiah quotes God as saying that knowledge (not opinion or highly probable guesses) of the future is essential for deity (Isa. 41:21-24), something that distinguished God from the many false gods of Isaiah’s day.

5. Omnipresent. Logically following from God’s omniscience, incorporeality, omnipotence, and role as creator and sustainer of the universe is His omnipresence. Since Christians believe God is not limited by a temporal body, He knows everything immediately without benefit of sensory organs, and sustains the existence of all that exists, it follows that He is in some sense present everywhere. Certainly it is the Bible’s explicit teaching that God is omnipresent (Psalm 139:3-10, 1 Kings 8:27, Jer. 23:23-24, Acts 17:24-27, Matt 18:20)

6. Immutable and Eternal. When a Christian says that God is immutable and eternal, he or she is saying that God is unchanging (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 6:17; Isa. 46:10b) and has always existed as God throughout all eternity which is consistent with the following scriptural references (Ps. 90:2; Isa. 40:28; 43:12b, 13; 57:15a; Rom. 1:20a; 1 Tim. 1:17). There never was a time when God was not God.

Although God certainly seems to change in response to how His creatures behave — such as in the case of the repenting Ninevites — His nature remains the same. No matter how the Ninevites would have responded to Jonah’s preaching, God’s unchanging righteousness would have remained the same: He is merciful to the repentant and punishes the unrepentant. Hence, a God who is responsive to His creatures is certainly consistent with, and seems to be entailed in, an unchanging nature that is necessarily personal.

7. Necessary and the ONE and Only True God. The Bible teaches that although humans at times worship some beings as if these beings really were gods (1 Cor. 8:4-6), there is only one true and living God by nature (Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:5, 18, 21, 22; Jer. 10:10; Gal. 4:8; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 1 Tim. 2:5; John 17:3; 1 Thess. 1:9). And since the God of the Bible possesses all power (see above), there cannot be any other God, for this would mean that two beings possess all power. That, of course, is patently absurd, since if a being possesses all of everything (in this case, power) there is, by definition, nothing left for anyone else.

Moreover, since everything that exists depends on God, and God is unchanging and eternal, it follows that God cannot not exist. In other words, He is a necessary being, whereas without Him, everything else would not exist.

You may have noticed that I am not citing only single verses in any one of these sections. There is a pattern of several verses thoughout the bible that support my positions and I have provided 56 verses that speak to God’s nature and attributes. This is not a doctrine born out of single verse, nor am I asking you to read a symbolic phrase in the bible and come the same conclusion that I do. I am citing specific verses in specific contexts that say for instance, “God is spirit and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24). Now from where I come from, that’s truth. But it’s only one verse. What if we don’t have it right? Well, the Bible says that all Scripture is God-breathed, and that the Bible IS the Word of God. So, therefore, if we examine other scripture and find the it to be consistent with “God is spirit” we can probably put that one in the column for truth. I cannot understate this point: I went beyond that single verse and found other scriptures to support that verse’s context, that God is omnipresent, consistent with Him being “spirit.” I challenge you to do the same showing that “God is a God of flesh and bones, or God has a body.” I also challenge you to present a pattern where we see this theme woven throughout scripture, for it is my contention that Joseph Smith and Mormon leaders since his time, make doctrines out of a single verse or “read out” of scripture from a single verse what they want to see to support their doctrine. (see baptisms for the dead as one such example). I realize that I am placing a high standard on our process…but honestly speaking, does where we spend our eternity deserve anything less?

Finally my questions to you are this? Where in the Bible or the Book of Mormon does it teach that God was once a mere mortal man and that he was not always a God? Where in the Bible or the Book of Mormon does it teach that God is married. And finally, where in the bible and the Book of Mormon does it say that God has a body of flesh and bones as clearly as John 4:24 says, “God is spirit”? And yet, it is Christians who are supposed to be giving life to doctrines that are not in the bible? I don’t think so.

So far, I have never met a Mormon who can answers these questions without reading into scripture and/or taking it out of context. I also cannot seem to find Mormons presenting a pattern of scripture that supports their positions.

Nevertheless, I welcome the exchange anytime. If a Mormon can prove otherwise, using scripture, I will listen. Until that time, I’m sticking with the bible. All other so called “truths” are fraught with danger.

http://www.lifeafter.org/Is_God_Mormon.asp

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Trinity…equal or hierarchal?

more about “The Trinity Eternity Past to Eternity…“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

1. Given that there is God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is there a hierarchy in the Trinity?

 
The short answer is “yes” and “no.” Consider the biblical evidence.

 
Yes – there is a hierarchy in relationship within the Trinity.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:14-15, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” God is recognized honored as the One with Fatherhood.

Jesus tells us in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. ” Jesus is recognized as being the Son with the appearance of coming after the Father and with unique characteristics: part man and fully God.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 that “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.” Thus the Holy Spirit knows and understands the thoughts and depths of God. And Jesus tells us in John 15:26, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.”

The Father sent the Son whose purpose was to reveal the Father. The Son sent the Spirit whose purpose was to reveal the Son.

NO- no hierarchy exists in nature within the Trinity despite the different functional roles that They play.

Creation. Each personality of the Trinity created the world.

God the Father
Psalm 102:25, “Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.”

Jesus Christ the Son
Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him.”

Holy Spirit
Genesis 1:2, “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” 

Creation of man. Each personality of the Trinity created man.

God the Father
Genesis 2:7, “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

Jesus Christ the Son
Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him.”

Holy Spirit
Job 33:4, “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

The Incarnation. The power of God, ministered through the Holy Spirit, resulted in the birth of Jesus Christ.

Luke 1:35, “The angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”
Matthew 1:18-20, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

The Baptism of Our Lord. When Jesus Christ was baptized, the Spirit descended on Him and God the Father attested to His Son.

Matthew 3:15-16, “But Jesus answering said to him, ‘Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he permitted Him. After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.'”

Death of Christ. Each personality of the Trinity was involved with the death of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 9:14, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

The Resurrection of Christ. Each personality of the Trinity was involved with the resurrection.


God the Father

Acts 3:26, “For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”

1 Thessalonians 1:10, “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.”

Jesus Christ the Son
John 2:19-21, “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body.”

John 10:17, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.”

Holy Spirit
Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

The Provision of Our Redemption. Each personality of the Trinity is brought together in providing for man’s eternal salvation.

God the Father chose us for salvation, Jesus Christ the Son was the offering to God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit set us apart.

Hebrews 9:14, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
1 Peter 1:1-2, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.”

Indwelling Believers. Both Jesus and God the Father dwell within Believers through the person of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.”

John 14:16-17, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.”

The Great Commission. The name of each distinct personality of the Trinity is invoked at baptism; but note that they are declared in one name.

Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'”

http://helpmewithbiblestudy.org/4Trinity/DeityEqualOrHierarchal.aspx

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HOW ANCIENT IS THE TRINITY DOCTRINE?

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by Wesley P. Walters

As different as para-Christian groups or cults are from each other, most have one thing in common: they hate the biblical teaching of the Trinity. They want their God to be simplistic, uncomplicated, and less complex than the world He created. They want a God reduced to terms they can get their finite minds around.

Modern advances in science have shown that the created world is an extremely complex mechanism. Those who work in nuclear physics or molecular biology are continually discovering the complexity of the world God has created.

In fact, some complex, seemingly contradictory data has yet to be fitted into a rational system that explains the relationships. A simple thing like “light” is known to move like “waves” yet strike like “particles.” Atomic physicists are still struggling to put together a theory that can fully explain this apparent contradiction.

Those who work in the complex mathematical equations of quantum mechanics are told by their instructors that “If you think that you really understand quantum mechanics and how it applies to reality, that proves you do not understand it.” One of the basic theorems is that if the speed of a particle is known, then its location can not be known, and the more accurately you know its location, the less accurately you know its speed. This does not seem very logical to the average person, but it works very well in atomic physics, in which scientists get very close to the essence of matter.

Thus, while scientists are continually learning more about how complex and even apparently contradictory the world of created reality is, cults that reject the complexity of the God who made this reality are proliferating. They, along with Moslems and modern Jews, taunt Christians, saying: “How can there be just one God, and yet the Father be God, the Son be God and the Holy Spirit be God? Is He the Son of Himself and the Father of both?”

Even though Christ Himself taught that the name [singular] of God in which we baptize is Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19), all cults falsely assert that the doctrine of the Trinity is a teaching that grew out of fourth century paganism. So unified are the cults in this assertion that they appear to be using the same erroneous Church history book and parroting one another.

The truth is that by the time of Christ, the first century A.D., the Jews themselves, on the basis of the Old Testament, were coming to an understanding of the complexity of Yahweh.

The Teachings of The Targums

When the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity 450 years before the birth of Jesus, they had adopted Aramaic as their native language. Although it is a dialect of ancient Hebrew, Aramaic is about as different from it as modern Italian is from its classical Latin ancestor. Consequently, during the first and early second centuries A.D., Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Old Testament were made.

These translations, called Targums, were The Living Bibles of their day, an interpretive paraphrase of Scripture. They help us see how these first-century Jews understood their Old Testament.

One of the striking things these Targums show is that first century Jews had come to understand the phrase “the Word of God” as referring to a divine entity within God Himself, yet distinguishable at times from God. J.W. Etheridge, in the introduction to his translations of the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, has given us a number of examples of this Jewish understanding of the term, “the Word” (Aramaic: Memra).

In Genesis 18:1, where the Hebrew Bible says Yahweh (Jehovah) appeared to Abraham, the Targum says, “The Word of the Lord appeared to Abraham.” Further on, where the Hebrew reports “Yahweh rained down upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Yahweh out of heaven,” the Targum states that “the Word of the Lord sent down upon them sulphur and fire from the presence of the Lord out of heaven.” (Genesis 19:24)

In Genesis 16, when Hagar sees “the Angel of the Lord,” the Targum says she saw “the Word of the Lord.” After seeing this “Word” (Memra) she says, “Here has been revealed the glory of the Shekineh of the Lord.” Then, according to the Jerusalem Targum, “Hagar returned thanks and prayed in the name of the Word of the Lord, who had appeared to her.” Thus the Word not only is regard- ed as the presence of deity, but is in some manner personally distinguishable from the Lord.

In Genesis 28:20 the Targum of Onkelos paraphrases Jacob’s vow, “If God will be with me… then Yahweh will be my God” with the words, “If the Word of the Lord will be my help… the Word of the Lord shall be my God.” Again, the Angel of Yahweh who spoke to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14) is designated by the Jerusalem Targum as “the Word of the Lord.”

The distinct personality of this Divine Word is seen pointedly in Jonathan’s Targum of Isaiah 63:7-10. There, where the Hebrew text speaks of Yahweh being their Savior, the Targum reads, “the Word (Memra) was their Redeemer.” (vs. 8) When the Israelites continued to disobey, then “His Word (Memra) became their enemy, and fought against them” — an action ascribed to Yahweh in the Hebrew text. Again in Isaiah 45:22 the Targum of Jonathan exhorts, “Look unto My Word and be saved.”

While this personalizing of the Word was being expressed in Palestine in the Targums of Jesus’ day, Philo, an Egyptian Jew and contemporary of Jesus, was expressing similar thoughts in even more distinct words. In his essay “On the Creation,” Philo states that man was not made in the image of some creature, but in the image of God’s own uncreated Word. He wrote: “for the Creator, we know, employed for its making no pattern taken from among created things, but solely, as I have said, His own Word.”

Philo continues: “Man was made a likeness and imitation of the Word, when the Divine Breath was breathed into his face. (“On the Creation,” XLVIII: 139, Loeb Edition I, pp. 110-111)

In his work on Noah, Philo again expresses the teaching that man is made by “the First Cause” (that is, God) in the image of “the Eternal Word:” “Our great Moses likened the fashion of the rea- sonable soul to no created thing, but averred it to be a genuine coinage of that dread Spirit, the Divine and Invisible One, signed and impressed by the seal of God, the stamp of which is the Eternal Word.”

He continues: “…man has been made after the Image of God (Genesis 1:27), not however after the image of anything created… man’s soul having been made after the image of the Archetype, the Word of the First Cause.” (“Noah’s Work as a Planter,” I:18-20, Loeb III, pp. 222-223)

Thus, the eternal Word is in some sense distinguishable from God, and yet at the same time is, like God, uncreated, rational and the bearer of the divine image. This comes very close to the teaching of the New Testament that the Word was distinguishable from God, and yet was God. As John 1:1 expresses it, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It also appears similar to Paul’s teaching that the Son is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15); and the writer of Hebrews statement that the Son “is the exact representation of His being.” (Hebrews 1:3)

Philo, however, goes further. He says that God is the king and shepherd of all creation, but rules and controls it through his eternally existing Word, whom Philo calls God’s “First-born Son.”

His “hallowed flock” of created things God directs by his divine laws, setting over it His true Word and first-born son, who shall take upon Him its government like some viceroy of a great king. (“On Husbandry,” I:51, Loeb III, pp. 134-135)

Philo has God expressing Himself in this manner: “I alone… sustained the Universe to rest firm and sure upon the Mighty Word, who is My viceroy.” (“On Dreams,” I:241, Loeb V, pp. 424- 425)

Therefore this eternal Word, God’s first-born Son, is the upholder of the whole creation, “the everlasting Word of the eternal God is the very sure and staunch prop of the Whole. He it is, who extending Himself from the midst to its utmost bounds… keeps up through all its length Nature’s unvanquished course, combining and compacting all its parts. For the Father who begat Him constituted His Word such a Bond of the Universe as nothing can break.” (“Noah’s Work as a Planter,” I:8-9, Loeb III, pp. 216-217)

This reflects the same thought that Paul expressed about the Son as being the one “in whom all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17) It also reminds also reminds us of Hebrews 1:3, which depicts the Son as “sustaining all things by his powerful Word.”

Philo continues his discussion of the Word by maintaining that to those incapable of seeing the supreme cause, God Himself, He appears to them in the form of His Angel, the Word: “For just as those who are unable to see the sun itself, see the gleam of the parahelion and take it for the sun, and take the halo round the moon for that luminary itself, so some regard the image of God, His Angel, the Word, as His very self.” (“On Dreams,” I:239, Loeb V, pp. 422-423) This sounds very similar to the teaching tha t the Son is “the radiance (or outshining) of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3), the only part of God’s nature that people are allowed to see. This is true because “no one has ever seen God,” but “the only begotten God… He has made Him known.” (John 1:18) Thus, Jesus, the Son, can say, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

Philo further explained that God, being light, is “the archetype of every other light.” As such He is “prior to and high above every archetype.” Thus He holds the position of “a model of a model,” that is, He is the model for His Word, which Word becomes the model for creation. The Word, therefore, contains all the qualities of God. As Philo expressed it, “the model or pattern was the Word which contained all His fullness — light, in fact.” (“On Dreams,” I:75, Loeb V, pp. 336-337) Paul expressed a similar thought when he wrote that in the Son all God’s fullness dwells. (Colossians 1:19; 2:9)

To Philo, therefore, the Word of God is the eternal, uncreated Word containing all the fullness of God and bearing His image. That divine image which the Word bears is the image in which man was created. The Word is further the sustainer, upholder and ruler of the world, carrying on the governing of all things, as God’s viceroy, and containing all God’s fullness.

While the Word is not a created thing and carries on all the functions of God, Philo is clear that there are not two gods — although he does not attempt to explain how this can be. Philo’s teaching is, therefore, very close to the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Philo reached his conclusions without the aid of the New Testament and certainly without deriving his ideas from pagan notions of deity. The Old Testament teaching that the Angel of Yahweh is really the presence of Yahweh Himself seems to have strongly influenced Philo’s ideas.

To relegate the doctrine of the Trinity, therefore, to a fourth- century adaptation of paganism is to ignore the conclusions that several Jewish theologians and teachers had reached four centuries earlier, from God’s revelations given to Israel before the time of the coming of Christ. At the very time that the Word was becoming flesh (John 1:1, 14), Jewish writers were already beginning to see that God’s Word could in some way be distinguished from God the Father Himself, yet have all the fullness of God contained in Him.

http://www.barr-family.com/godsword/trinity.htm

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THE EARLY CHURCH WAS OUTSPOKEN ON THE DEITY OF CHRIST

If One examines carefully the writings of the early church writers their language and theology reflects their understanding of the Trinity. They contended from Scripture not from Greek philosophy or paganism as is charged from anti-Trinitarian opponents. Trinitarianism certainly was not developed in the 4th century but was part of the theology of the early church. Those who oppose it today, are not part of the Church just as they were not part of the Church in the beginning.

Ignatius Bishop of Antioch died about 110 A.D. he was a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote about the lords 2nd coming, “Look for him that is above the times, him who has not times, him who is invisible”. Only God is without time , eternal and invisible. In numerous other places in his letter to Polycarp he states “Jesus is God”, “God incarnate”

“Be deaf, therefore, when any would speak to you apart from (at variance with) JESUS CHRIST [the Son of God], who was descended from the family of David, born of Mary, who truly was born [both of God and of the Virgin … truly took a body; for the Word became flesh and dwelt among us without sin”… Bishop of Antioch died about 110 A.D. he was a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote about the lords 2nd coming, “Look for him that is above the times, him who has not times, him who is invisible”. Only God is without time , eternal and invisible. In numerous other places in his letter to Polycarp he states “Jesus is God”, “God incarnate.”

“Be deaf, therefore, when any would speak to you apart from (at variance with) JESUS CHRIST [the Son of God], who was descended from the family of David, born of Mary, who truly was born [both of God and of the Virgin … truly took a body; for the Word became flesh and dwelt among us without sin.”

Ignatius of Antioch “In Christ Jesus our Lord, by whom and with whom be glory and power to the Father with the Holy Spirit for ever” (n. 7; PG 5.988).

“We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin. For ‘the Word was made flesh.’ Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passible body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts.” ( The ante-nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Vol. 1, p. 52 .)

“For our God Jesus Christ, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost.”( Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:9)

“…God Himself appearing in the form of a man, for the renewal of eternal life.”( Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:13)

“Continue inseparable from Jesus Christ our God.”( Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians 2:4)

“For even our God, Jesus Christ, now that He is in the Father”.( Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans 1:13)

Clement of Rome (Philipians 4:3)”For Christ is with those who are humble, not with those exalt themselves over his flock. The majestic scepter of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, did not come with the pomp of arrogance or pride (though He could have done so), but in humility, just as the Holy Spirit spoke concerning Him.” (1 Clement 16:1-2)

“Brethren, we ought so to think of Jesus Christ as of God : as of the judge of the living and the dead”.(2nd Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 1:1)

Justin Martyr ( 140 A.D.) “the word of wisdom, who is himself God begotten of the Father of all things, and word, and wisdom, and power, and the glory of the begetter, will bear evidence to me”.(Dialogue with Tropho Ch.61)

“God speaks in the creation of man with the very same design, in the following words: ‘Let us make man after our image and likeness’ . . . I shall quote again the words narrated by Moses himself, from which we can indisputably learn that [God] conversed with someone numerically distinct from himself and also a rational being. . . . But this Offspring who was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures, and the Father communed with him” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 62).

“For Christ is King, and Priest, and God and Lord…”(Dialogue With Trypho, 34)

“…He preexisted as the Son of theCreator of things, being God, and that He was born a man by the Virgin.” (Dialogue With Trypho, 48 )

“We will prove that we worship him reasonably; for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God Himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. For this they accuse us of madness, saying that we attribute to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all things; but they are ignorant of the Mystery which lies therein” (First Apology 13:5-6).

Polycarp (70-160). Bishop of Smyrna.A disciple of John the Apostle. “O Lord God almighty…I bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever”

“Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High Priest Himself, the God Jesus Christ, build you up in the faith…”( The Epistle of Polycarp to the Church at Philippi, 12

Iranaeus (120-202) “In order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King…”(Irenaeus Against Heresies, 1.10.1)

180 A.D. “But he Jesus is himself in his own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, Lord, and king eternal, and the incarnate word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles …The Scriptures would not have borne witness to these things concerning Him, if, like everyone else, He were mere man.” (Against Heresies 3:19.1-2)

“For with Him were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, He made all things, to whom also He speaks, saying, ‘Let us make man after our image and likeness'”.( Against Heresies, 4:10)

Iranaeus gave the Church two statements which have continued in its creeds: (1) Filius dei filius hominis factus, “The Son of God [has] become a son of man, (Earl Cairns Christianity Through the Centuries, Zondervan, 1981, pg.110) Jesus Christus vere homo, vere deus, “Jesus Christ, true man and true God.” (Harold Brown Heresies, Zondervan, 1989, pg.84)

Irenaeus gave three forms of the statement of faith in three different contexts in This is showing the variety of ways that the faith could be expressed in his day:)

Third Form: IN ONE GOD ALMIGHTY, from whom are all things; and IN THE SON OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST, our Lord, by whom are all things, and in his dispensations, through which the Son of God became man; the firm -persuasion also IN THE SPIRIT OF GOD, who furnishes us with a knowledge of the truth, and has set forth the dispensations of the Father and the Son, in virtue of which he dwells in every generation of men, according to the will of the Father (IV. xxiii. 7).(God in three persons C.Beisner) this is long before the council of Niacea.

Diogneteus Diogneteus to Mathetes (written 130 A.D.) “as a king sends his Son, who is also king, so sent he him, as God (1) he sent him; as men he sent him; as savior he sent him,…” Chpt.7 says “God” (1) which refers to the person sent.

Theophilus (115-181) Bishop of Antioch (To Autolycus 2:22 ,160 A.D.) “For the divine writing itself teaches us that Adam said that he had heard the voice but what else is this voice but the word of God, who is also his Son.”

Tatian the Syrian (170 AD ) “Our God has no introduction in time. He alone is without beginning, and is Himself the beginning of all things. God is a spirit, not attending upon matter, but the Maker of material spirits and of the appearances which are in matter. He is invisible and untouchable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. This we know by the evidence of what He has created; and we perceive His invisible power by His works”.(Tatian, Address to the Greeks , 4)

“We are not playing the fool, you Greeks, nor do we talk nonsense, when we report that God was born in the form of a man” (Address to the Greeks 21).

Melito of Sardis (177 AD )The activities of Christ after his baptism, and especially his miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the deity hidden in his flesh. Being God and likewise perfect man, he gave positive indications of his two natures: of his deity, by the miracles during the three years following after his baptism… he concealed the signs of his deity, although he was the true God existing before the ages” (Fragment in Anastasius of Sinai’s, The Guide 13).

Athenagoras (160 AD.) Speaks of “one God, the uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, uncontainable, comprehended only by mindand reason, clothed in light and beauty and spirit and powerindescribable, by whom the totality has come to be.”(suppl. 10.1)

…”the Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son, in oneness and power of Spirit, the understanding, and reason of the Father is the Son of God.” (Ante Nicene Fathers vol.2 p.133 a plea for Christians)

“For Christ is the God over all”.(Refutation of All Heresies 10.34)

Athenagoras identifies the Word as the Son of God, says ‘although the word is God’s offspring, he never came into being. Rather, having been with God and in God eternally he issued forth at a point in time.”( A plea for the Christians 12.20) “God the Word came down from heaven…He came forth into the world and…showed Himself to be God”.( Against the Heresy of a Certain Noetus, 17)

speaking of what the church believes, “they hold the Father to be God, and the Son God, and the Holy Spirit, and declare their union and their distinction in order.”(A plea for the Christians.10.3)

“Who, then, would not be astonished to hear those called atheists who admit God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and who teach their unity in power and their distinction in rank?”( Intercession on Behalf of the Saints, 10)

Clement of Alexandria (190 AD) “The Word, then, the Christ, is the cause both of our ancient beginning, for he was in God, and of our well-being. And now this same Word has appeared as man. He alone. is both God and man, and the source of all our good things” (Exhortation to the Greeks 1:7:1).

Tertullian (converted around 193 AD)(215 AD) “The origins of both his substances display him as man and as God: from the one, born, and from the other, not born” (The Flesh of Christ 5:6-7).

“God alone is without sin. The only man without sin is Christ; for Christ is also God.”(The Soul 41.3)

We find that it was the ones who did not understand the trinity that were looked upon as divisive. Tetullians theological writings consisted mostly in response to what the Oneness (modalists) believes. (God is singular in person) When he debated Praxeas of which he wrote. “thus the connection of the Father in the Son the Son in the paraclete, produces three coherent persons, who are yet distinct one from another. These three are one essence, not one person, as it is said, “I and my Father are one,” in respect of unity of substance, not singularity of number.”( Ante-Nicene fathers vol.3,p.621, against Praxeas.) He went on to say “Yet we have never given vent to the phrases ‘two Gods’, or ‘two Lords’: not that it is untrue the Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God, each is God.” (ibid 13)

Tetullian developed his arguments and refined his belief of which the third form of his rule of faith became this. “We believe there is but one God, and no other besides the maker of the world, who produced the universe out of nothing, by his word sent forth first of all, that this word, called his Son, was seen in the name of God in various ways by the patriarchs, was always heard in the prophets, at last sent down, from the spirit and power of God the Father, into the virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and born of her, lived as Jesus Christ…”.

Not only is he careful in his explanation but throughout all his writings he defines three persons and one substance who are the one God. .”That this one and only God has a Son, his word, who proceeded from himself, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. him we believe to have been sent by the Father into the virgin, and to have been born of her- being both man and God, the Son of man, and the Son of God, and to have been called the name of Jesus Christ;” (against Praxeas vol.3, p.598)

Novatian (235 AD. )”For Scripture as much announces Christ as also God, as it announces God Himself as man. It has as much described Jesus Christ to be man, as moreover it has also described Christ the Lord to be God. Because it does not set forth Him to be the Son of God only, but also the Son of man; nor does it only say, the Son of man, but it has also been accustomed to speak of Him as the Son of God. So that being of both, He is both, lest if He should be one only, He could not be the other. For as nature itself has prescribed that he must be believed to be a man who is of man, so the same nature prescribes also that He must be believed to be God who is of God . . . Let them, therefore, who read that Jesus Christ the Son of man is man, read also that this same Jesus is called also God and the Son of God” (Treatise on the Trinity 11).

Novatian “The rule of truth demands that, first of all, we believe in GOD THE FATHER and Almighty Lord, that is, the most perfect Maker of all things. . .’ The same rule of truth teaches us to believe, after the Father, also in the SON OF GOD, CHRIST JESUS, our Lord God, but the Son of God…. Moreover, the order of reason and the authority of faith, in due consideration of the words and Scriptures of the Lord ‘, admonishes us, after this, to believe also in the HOLY GHOST, promised of old to the Church, but granted in the appointed and fitting time.

The church did not have non-Trinitarians. The Gnostics, Arians, Oneness and others were considered to be praching heresy and were excluded from the church universal. (This is not my words but the Churches) This did not stop them from going out and starting their own movements and church’s. These were the first cultic movements and many today have aligned themselves with their teachings , some have synthesized several of them together to make something altogether new.

Hippolytus 190 A.D. (Against the heresy of one Noetus “a Oneness promoter” ch.14, ) After quoting part of Jn.1:1 “If then the word was with God and was also God what follows ? Would one say that he speaks of two God’s ? I shall not speak of two Gods but of one; of two persons however and of a third economy, the grace of the Holy Ghost. For the Father is indeed one but there are two persons because there is also the son; and there is the third the Holy Spirit. The Father decrees, the word executes and the son is manifested, through whom the Father is believed on. The economy of the harmony is led back to the one God, for God is one. It is the father who commands and the son who obeys and the Holy Spirit who gives understanding; The Father is above all the son is through all and the holy Spirit who is in all. And we cannot think of one God, but by believing in truth in Father and Son and Holy Spirit”.

“God, subsisting alone, and having nothing contemporaneous with Himself, determined to create the world….Beside Him there was nothing; but He, while existing alone, yet existed in plurality….And thus there appeared another beside Himself. But when I say another, I do not mean that there are two Gods….Thus, then, these too, though they wish it not, fall in with the truth, and admit that one God made all things….For Christ is the God above all…..He who is over all is God; for thus He speaks boldly, ‘All things are delivered unto me of my Father.’ He who is over all, God blessed, has been born; and having been made man, He is (yet) God for ever….And well has he named Christ the Almighty. “(Hippolytus ” The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pp. 227, 153, 225)

In another of his writings “This is the order of the rule of our faith…God the Father, not made, not material, invisible; One God, the creator of all things; this is the first point of our faith. the second point is this; the word of God, Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord who was manifested to the prophets according to the form of their prophesying and according to the method of the fathers dispensation, through whom all things were made.”

Gregory the Wonder-worker (262 AD) “But some treat the Holy Trinity in an awful manner, when they confidently assert that there are not three persons, and introduce (the idea of) a person devoid of subsistence. Wherefore we clear ourselves of Sabellius, who says that the Father and the Son are the same [Person] . . . We forswear this, because we believe that three persons–namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–are declared to possess the one Godhead: for the one divinity showing itself forth according to nature in the Trinity establishes the oneness of the nature” (A Sectional Confession of Faith 8).

“But if they say, ‘How can there be three Persons, and how but one Divinity?’ we shall make this reply: That there are indeed three persons, inasmuch as there is one person of God the Father, and one of the Lord the Son, and one of the Holy Spirit; and yet that there is but one divinity, inasmuch as . . . there is one substance in the Trinity” (A Sectional Confession of Faith, 14)

Dionysius (262 AD )”Neither, then, may we divide into three godheads the wonderful and divine unity . . . Rather, we must believe in God, the Father almighty; and in Christ Jesus, his Son; and in the Holy Spirit; and that the Word is united to the God of the Universe. `For,’ he says, ‘The Father and I are one,’ and `I am in the Father, and the Father in me'” (Letter to Dionysius of Alexandria, 3)

Methodius (305 AD) “For the kingdom of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is one, even as their substance is one and their dominion one. Whence also, with one and the same adoration, we worship the one Deity in three Persons, subsisting without beginning, uncreated, without end, and to which there is no successor…. For nothing of the Trinity will suffer diminution, either in respect of eternity, or of communion, or of sovereignty” (Oration on the Psalms 5).

Arnobius (305 AD) “‘Well, then,’ some raging, angry, and excited man will say, ‘Is that Christ your God?’ ‘God indeed,’ we shall answer, ‘and God of the hidden powers'” (Against the Pagans 1:42).

Athanasius (290 -370) “[The Trinity] is a Trinity not merely in name or in a figurative manner of speaking; rather, it is a Trinity in truth and in actual existence. Just as the Father is he that is, so also his Word is one that is and is God over all. And neither is the Holy Spirit nonexistent but actually exists and has true being.” (Letters to Serapion 1:28).

“United without confusion, distinguished without separation. Indivisible and without degrees.” (Sermon on Lk.10:22)

http://www.letusreason.org/Trin1.htm

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Dr. Pyuwarmer flipped the chart closed, took off his reading glasses, and let out a long sigh. “John, there is a procedure that can save your life. I’d like you to consider it.

John Skeptich rubbed his temples and looked up. “Well, is it an invasive procedure?”

“Well, that’s hard to answer, John. Yes and no.”

“You call that an answer, doc?” John’s frustration was beginning to show. “Either it is or it isn’t.”

“Well, it’s kind of both. I’m sorry, but it’s hard to describe. It’s a very advanced procedure, and I don’t really understand it fully myself. However, I think you should have it done.”

“Do you have any literature that can explain it?”

“Well, yes, but it’s not very clearly spelled out. You kind of have to read between the lines. It’s all in there though.”

John could no longer hide his frustration. He stood up, grabbed his coat, and fixed Dr. Pyuwarmer with a hard look. “Look doctor. You’re asking me to submit to a procedure you don’t understand and can’t explain. With all due respect, I’ll take my chances!” With that, John swept out the door, slamming it so hard that Dr. Pyuwarmer’s medical school diploma fell from the wall.

Putting yourself in John’s shoes, it’s easy to see how hard it would be to put your faith in something that your doctor didn’t even understand. Just as in this analogy, Christians must be prepared to explain our faith with nonbelievers. There are few things more important for Christians to understand than the nature of God. Many of the differences between biblical Christianity and cults occur within the context of variant understandings of the nature of God. If we are to worship God in truth (John 4:24) and share the truth with others, it is vitally important that we have an understanding of what the Bible says about God.

Perhaps the single most misunderstood doctrine regarding the nature of God is the doctrine of the Trinity. Believers and nonbelievers alike have a difficult time comprehending God’s triune nature, and those that do understand have a difficult time explaining it. As critics of the Trinity are quick to point out, the word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, and no single verse provides a summary of the Trinitarian doctrine. In an email we received, LDS apologist D.L. Barksdale said, “The homoousion Trinitarian dogma is heretical to anyone who cherishes the Bible. It is an unbiblical doctrine…”

Complicating the issue are various misconceptions about the Trinity within Christianity as well as from without. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons disregard the Trinity, believing that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct gods, with the Father being a greater God than the other two. Jehovah’s Witnesses especially emphasize the subordination of the Godhead, believing Jesus to be Michael the Archangel – a created being, and a lesser “god” than Jehovah. Mormon doctrine is polytheistic (worship of multiple gods), though some Mormons will stress that their belief is henotheistic (belief in multiple gods, but worship of only one). Mohammad’s misunderstanding of the Trinity was apparently affected by the hyperdulia veneration of Mary seen in the Eastern and Roman Catholic churches, as the Qur’an accuses Christians of believing the Trinity to be composed of God the Father, Jesus, and Mary. Indeed, the doctrine of the Trinity can pose a stumbling block for some people. A Jehovah’s Witness sent us an email that included the following (the English is poor, but you’ll see the point): “And when I can not find in any Bible that I read that there is a 3 headed god that will resurrect anyone on this earth, both now or ever. If this 3 headed god is your belief? I have never read about such a god in any Christian Bible that I have ever read!” As I told this man, we agree that the Bible does not teach of a three-headed god. That sounds more akin to the hydra of Greek mythology. Yet this illustrates the extent of the misunderstandings. Even Christian churches have been victimized by erroneous doctrines such as modalism, particularly Oneness theology.

We may never fully understand the nature of God until we get into heaven. God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and eternal. Our finite created minds are unable to fully grasp these characteristics of God. However, it is possible to have a basic understanding of the triune nature of God, and to be able to defend this doctrine with the Word of God. In this article, we’ll assess the Scriptural evidence and put the pieces together until they form a full picture. A triune God will be the only possible verdict based on an objective analysis of the Scriptural evidence.

The doctrine of the Trinity can be summed up as follows: Within the one Being that is God, there exist eternally three coequal and coeternal Persons, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.[1] In order to prove this doctrine we must prove the following:

There is only one God

The Father is God

Jesus is God

The Holy Spirit is God

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons.

Each point above is very important, and we will clearly illustrate each. Heresy arises when these distinctions are blurred. For instance, modalism (also known as Oneness theology) would agree with items one through four, but item five is where modalism fails. However, as James White said in regards to the doctrine of the Trinity, “For some reason many feel that there is a hierarchy of ‘error’ when it comes to the Trinity…. We are to worship God in spirit and in truth, and two-thirds of the truth is not a valid substitute, no matter which one-third of His truth we choose to reject.”[2]

There is a treasure trove of Scriptures to support each of the points we’ll be studying. To keep this article at a reasonable length, where there are several relevant verses, I’ll limit the full verse quotation to two verses (in NIV, unless stated otherwise), and give the Scripture references for the rest.

1. There is only one God:

Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are known as the big three monotheistic religions. You won’t find many arguments among Muslims, Jews, and Christians that there is more than one God, except perhaps among some aberrant sects. Nevertheless, let us establish this Scripturally before we move on to areas where disagreements will arise.

A. There is only one God:

“You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.” – Deuteronomy 4:35

“This is what the LORD says- Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.” – Isaiah 44:6

Other Old Testament Verses: Deut. 4:39; 32:39; 2 Sam. 22:32; Isa. 37:20; 43:10; 44:6-8; 45:5, 14, 21-22; 46:9.

“How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?” – John 5:44

“…since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” Romans 3:30

Other New Testament Verses: Rom. 16:27; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6, 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5; James 2:19; Jude 25.

B. There is only one true God:

“But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.” – Jeremiah 10:10

“We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true–even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” – 1 John 5:20.

Other verses: 2 Chron. 15:3; John 17:3; 1 Thess. 1:9.

C. All other so-called “gods” are false gods.

“For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.” – Psalm 96:5

“So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one.” – 1 Corinthians 8:4

Other verses: Deut. 32:21; 1 Sam. 12:21; Isa. 37:19; 41:23-24, 29; Jer. 2:11; 5:7; 16:20; 1 Cor. 10:19-20.

The verses above are clear evidence that there is only one God. This is known as monotheism. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are known as the three great monotheistic religions. However, Islam and Judaism will fall off as we continue our support of the Trinity.

2. There is a plurality to God.

The Hebrew word for God is el in its singular form. The most common form used for God is elohim, which is plural in form. How can there be plural form used for only one God? Some suggest that the answer is found in the three persons of the Trinity. Others contend that the plural construct denotes a fullness of deity as opposed to plurality. I submit that both interpretations are correct. I’m getting ahead of myself now though. Rather than look at all the verses that use the plural elohim, let’s look at other verses that point to a plurality within the one God.

“Let us make man in our image” – Genesis 1:26, emphasis added.

“God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us…’” – Genesis 3:22, emphasis added.

Some would say that God could be speaking to the angels in these verses, but that’s simply not correct. God was speaking to co-creator(s) in these verses (“Let us make man…”). Who could be a co-creator? Not the angels. The answer is found later in this article.

3. The Father is God.

This isn’t really an item that is in question. While God the Father is only known as the Father in the New Testament, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and pseudo-Christian cults understand that the Father in the New Testament is the Yahweh of the Old Testament, though some disagree with the characterization of “Father”. However, it is important to establish that the Father of the New Testament is the true God referred to in the Old Testament, known often as Yahweh, or “Jehovah”.[3]

A. The Father is God.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,” – 2 Corinthians 1:3

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” – Ephesians 1:3

Other verses: John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; 1 Peter 1:3; (Note: Some verses seem to indicate that Jesus is not God at first glance. These will be explained later).

B. The God of the Old Testament is known as Yahweh/Jehovah (“The LORD”).

“You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other…. Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” – Deuteronomy 4:35, 39.[4]

“Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” – Psalm 100:3

Other verses: Gen. 9:26; 24; Exo. 3:14-18; 4:5; 2 Sam. 7:22, 25.

From the verses above, it is clear that Yahweh/Jehovah in the Old Testament is the one God. It is also clear that the Father in the New Testament is that one God. Now, let’s look at whether Jesus Christ is God. Remember, there is only one God. There is also a mysterious plurality to this one God. We have established that the Father is Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. We now explore the plurality in the one true God.

4. Jesus is God.

There is a great deal of Scriptural evidence that Jesus Christ is God. The evidence is comprised not only of specific statements, but also in prophecy fulfillment and his attributes. Let’s first look at some of explicit Scriptural evidence. In this section, we won’t limit ourselves to only giving the text of two verses.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” – John 1:1

“Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” – John 20:28

I want to pause just a moment to discuss the verses above. The Greek word for God is theos. In John 1:1, we read that the Word (Jesus) was with theos and was indeed theos. Jesus was (and is) God! This is a very powerful statement! The word theos is used not only in John 1:1, but also in verse 18 and in John 20:28. Theos is used in the New Testament in reference to Jehovah/Yahweh God. Theos is also used in reference to Jesus. We’re beginning to see the plurality found within the one God.

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” – Revelation 4:11 (the words of the 24 elders to Jesus).

“…Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” – Acts 20:28

Once again, in the verses above Jesus is referred to as theos. In Acts 20:28, we know that Jesus shed His blood for the church, and as one person of the triune God, this action is the action of God. Now let’s look at some common compound references to Jesus:

“…the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” – Titus 2:13

“…To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours” – 2 Peter 1:1

In the passages above, both “God” and “Savior” are used in reference to Jesus Christ. There is no division of the clause. Scholar Robert Reymond writes, “The two nouns [‘God’ and ‘Savior’] both stand under the regimen of the single definitive article preceding ‘God,’ indicating…that they are to be construed corporately, not separately, or that they have a single referent.”[5] In other words, attempts to divide this clause into a reference to God and a separate reference to Jesus as Savior flies against the Greek grammatical construct. These verses provide additional powerful and clear evidence that Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh God. Let’s now turn our attention to more verses that reveal Jesus to be Jehovah/Yahweh.

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…. for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” – Romans 10:9,13. Note: Paul reveals Jesus to be the same “Lord” referred to in Joel 2:32, which he quotes. In Joel 2:32, “LORD” is Jehovah/Yahweh.

“…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 God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10-11. Note: “Lord” = Jehovah/Yahweh.

“…now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” – 1 Peter 2:3. This verse is taken almost identically from Psalms 34:8, where “Lord” is Jehovah/Yahweh. From the verses that follow verse 3, it is clear this is a reference to Jesus.

Another way we know that Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh comes from the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy. Zechariah 12:10 says, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” This verse is part of an oracle given by Jehovah/Yahweh. This passage starts off in verse 1, “This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares…” Jehovah/Yahweh prophesies that He will be pierced. It is widely accepted among scholarly circles that this was fulfilled in the crucifixion and spearing of Jesus Christ. This is confirmed in Revelation 1:7 wherein we read concerning Jesus, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.” This is important enough to go over again. In Zechariah 12:10, Jehovah/Yahweh prophesies that He (Jehovah/Yahweh) will be pierced, and people will mourn for Him. Jesus Christ is pierced through his hands and feet at his crucifixion, and pierced through the side with a spear while on the cross. Revelation 1:7 confirms this fulfillment of prophecy. Conclusion? Jesus Christ is Jehovah/Yahweh!

Another evidence that Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh comes from His role as Savior. Isaiah 43:11 says, “I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.” Yet Jesus is referred to many times in the New Testament as our Savior (Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 13:23; Eph. 5:23; Phi. 3:20; 1 Tim. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:10; Tit 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; 2 Pet. 1:1,11; 2:20; 3:2,18; 1 John 4:14).

Jesus caused no small uproar among the Jews of the day because He accepted praise and worship – blasphemous if He were not God! As we have seen, only God is the savior of men. Matthew 21:1-11 describes Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He came riding in on a donkey, in fulfillment of an Old Testament messianic prophecy (Zec. 9:9). As Jesus rode in, we find the crowds that surrounded him shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” Webster’s 1913 dictionary defined Hosanna as “A Hebrew exclamation of praise to the Lord.” The word is derived from a Hebrew word that meant “Save us,” in a prayer directed to God. This shows that the crowd viewed Jesus as God and Savior. It is important to note that Jesus did not rebuke the crowd for this praise. In verse 15, we find that the chief priests and Pharisees were outraged and indignant at this (because, as we said, this would be blasphemy for a mere man). Children had followed Jesus in to the temple are and were still shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” In verse 16, they asked Jesus if He could hear what the children were saying. No doubt they were shocked that he would not have straightened out the blasphemy of these little urchins. But Jesus did not rebuke the children. Instead, He answered, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” Additionally, in John 9:35-39 we read the following exchange:

35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36″Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
37Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
38Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. [emphasis added]
39Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

Jesus accepted worship. This is not adoration of a mere prophet, but praise and worship due only to God. Jesus was either God or He was crazy, and there is ample evidence against the latter and in support of the former. Further evidence comes from the fact that Jesus has many of the attributes of God:

Creator (John 1:3, 1 Cor. 8:6; Col 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2; Rev. 3:14)

Unchanging (Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8)

Eternal (John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:2)

Omniscient (John 16:30)

Omnipresent (Matt. 18:20; 28:20; John 3:13; Eph. 1:23; 4:10; Col. 3:11)

It is clear from the Scriptural evidence above that Jesus is God. He is the LORD (Jehovah/Yahweh) of the Old Testament, and therefore is the one true elohim or theos. He shares this role as God with the Father. As we are about to see, He also shares this role with the Holy Spirit.

5. The Holy Spirit is God

Less Scripture is dedicated to the Holy Spirit, but there is enough to conclude that He too is God. In Acts 5:3-4, we see the Holy Spirit being equated with God:

“Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.’” [emphasis added]

Paul clearly and explicitly equated the Holy Spirit with God:

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Additional evidence of the deity of the Holy Spirit comes from the shared attributes of the deity. The Holy Spirit is:

Eternal (Heb. 9:14)

Omniscient (1 Cor. 2:10-11)

Omnipresent (Psa. 139:7)

Savior (Rom. 8:1-27)

In addition to the attributes above, we find the Holy Spirit was involved in creation (Gen. 1:2; Psa. 104:30), the incarnation (Matt. 1:18,20; Luke 1:35), and the resurrection (Rom. 1:4; 8:11). This is ample evidence to show that the Holy Spirit is God. We have now proven Scripturally that there is only one God. We have also proven that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can each lay claim to being God. However, one can believe in all this, and still subscribe to the erroneous belief of modalism.

Modalists believe that there is only one God, but believe God to be comprised of one Person who simply manifests Himself at different times through Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. In other words, modalists believe that God is one in substance as well as essence – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not distinct persons. As we shall see, modalism fails because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are indeed three distinct persons.

6. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons.

A. Jesus is not the Father: First, let’s turn our attention to 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”. The grammatical construction of this verse is very revealing with regards to Trinitarian doctrine. First, each person of the Trinity is identified individually with use of the definite article preceding each (the Father…the Son…the Holy Spirit). The use of the definite article for each person of the Trinity identifies each as unique and distinct from the others. Yet at the same time, this verse groups each into a singular entity by use of the singular form “the name of”. What is this name? The singular name of God is Yahweh/Jehovah, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit share that name. Other verses identify the Father and the Son as two separate persons (John 3:17, 35; 5:22-23, 31-32; 8:16-18; 11:41-42; 12:28; 14:31; 17:1-26; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 15:24-28; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; 4:4; Eph. 1:2; 6:23; Phil. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1-2; 1 Tim. 1:1-2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Tit. 1:4; Phm. 3; James 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:2; 1 John 4:10; 2 John 3).

B. Jesus is not the Holy Spirit: The first evidence of this is discussed in detail in the preceding paragraph – Matthew 28:19 identifies the Son and the Holy Spirit as separate persons, using definite articles preceding each. Next, Jesus tells us that He would send the Holy Spirit (“When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” – John 15:26). This verse is revealing in that each person of the Trinity is mentioned as separate individual persons. Key elements in this verse include 1) Jesus will send the Holy Spirit, 2) from the Father, 3) the Holy Spirit will go out from the Father, 4) and will testify about Jesus. Another verse that identifies Jesus and the Holy Spirit separately is John 16:7, “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” Here we have two important elements: 1) Jesus will go away, and 2) send the Holy Spirit. Since Jesus arose and ascended in his physical human body, the Spirit He sends is not Jesus Himself. Another important verse is John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (emphasis added). Once again, the elements are here to show that Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are separate. Jesus said He would ask the Father. If Jesus were simply a manifestation of the Father, then He would be asking Himself, which sounds neurotic rather than orthodox. The verse also refers to the Holy Spirit as “another Counselor” separate from Jesus.

C. The Father is not the Holy Spirit: Once again, the first bit of evidence is given in Matthew 28:19 as discussed before. John 14:16, and 15:26 also remain as evidence that the Father and Holy Spirit are distinct persons. As we delved into each verse in the preceding paragraph, we won’t do so again. We also find Paul describing in Romans 8:26-27 that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with the Father. If the Holy Spirit were the same person as the Father, he would not need to intercede with himself.

Now let’s address another Scripture that makes it clear that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three different persons. Luke 3:21-22 covers the baptism of Jesus Christ, “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” Each person is described separately here. First, note that Jesus was praying. If Oneness theology were correct, Jesus would be praying to Himself. Once again, that smacks of neurosis. Instead, Jesus was praying to the Father. As He did, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in a physical manifestation like a dove. The voice of the Father was then heard from Heaven, speaking to the Son. This highlights that each person of the Trinity is unique and separate.

7. Conclusion:

It is clear from a reading of the Bible that there is only one God, known in the Old Testament as Yahweh/Jehovah. It is clear that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each God (Yahweh). It is also clear, in contrast to Oneness theology (Unitarian modalism), that each person is separate and distinct from the other. One God in three persons – the Biblical Trinity.

Ontology is important in understanding the Trinity. Ontology is the study of “being.” As James White said, “It is vitally important that we recognize the difference between the words Being and Person…. Being is what makes something what it is. Person is what makes someone who he or she is…. when speaking of the Trinity, we speak of one what (the Being of God) and three whos (the three divine Persons). Most cultic rejections of the Trinity focus on blurring the distinction.”[6]

Are you still having a difficult time comprehending the triune nature of God? That’s understandable. The laws to which we are bound define our comprehension. God’s nature transcends these laws. If we could fully comprehend God’s nature, he would cease to be Almighty God. He would be lesser than He truly is. I am a devotee of analogies. One analogy I like to use with regards to the Trinity is my computer. My computer consists of input devices (mouse and keyboard), output devices (monitor, printer, speakers), and the central processing unit. These different components form my one computer. This analogy fails to capture the full complexity of the substance of God, but it can help someone to grasp the basic relationship.

It is true, as so many Mormons, Muslims, and Jehovah’s Witness are inclined to point out, that there is no concise, clear teaching of the Trinity in the New Testament or Old Testament. However, by such reasoning, there is also no clear teaching regarding smoking or illicit drug use. Yet by examining Scripture in its greater context, it is clear that our body is the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19) and Paul urges us to purify ourselves from things which contaminate the body (2 Cor. 7:1). Similarly, by examining the sum of Scripture in immediate and greater context, it is clear that God is triune. He is one God, eternally existent in three divine persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We must be able to defend this biblical doctrine if we are to effectively contend for the truth of the gospel.

 

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