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Sermon No: 30-The Trinity



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SERMON TOPIC: The Trinity

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 20 August 2006

Topic Groups: TRINITY, JESUS, HERESY

Sermon synopsis: What is the trinity and where did the word come from? Do Christians believe in one God or three? What did the early church in the first 3 centuries after Christ believe about this? What prompted the Council of Nicea and who were Arius and Athanasius?
Most importantly, what do the Scriptures say in this regard?
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TRINITY: FACT OR FICTION

Definition

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity teaches the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead. 1 The doctrine states that God is the Triune God, existing as three persons, but one being. 2

Personhood in the Trinity does not match the common Western understanding of ‘person’ as used in the English language—it does not imply an “individual, self-actualized center of free will and conscious activity.” Each person is understood as having the one identical essence or nature, not merely similar natures. Since the beginning of the 3rd century the doctrine of the Trinity has been stated as “the one God exists in three Persons and one substance, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” 2

1 Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, article Trinity 2 Wikipedia - Trinity

Definition

The word ‘Trinity’ itself does not appear in the Bible but was coined by Tertullian (c.155-230) to encapsulate the teaching of Scripture regarding God’s three-in-one nature. The doctrine was formally defined in the 4th century Nicene Creed, where Jesus was declared to be: “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.”

Belief in the Trinity is a mark of all mainstream Christianity including Protestantism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy. As such, the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church describes the Trinity as “the central dogma of Christian theology”. In contrast, heretical Non-Trinitarian positions are held by many cults including the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Watchtower Society), Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), 1 Unitarians 2 and Christadelphians.

1 Mormons view the Godhead as three separate beings who are one in purpose rather than essence. 2 one deity/ one person

Definition

Less common knowledge is that although most Pentecostals are Trinitarian, as early as 1914 there was a split in the Pentecostal movement along doctrinal lines regarding the Trinity.

Contrasted with the orthodox doctrine of three distinct and eternal Persons in one divine essence Oneness Pentecostals teach that there is only one being, revealing himself in different ways.

As a result, Oneness Pentecostals are regarded by orthodox Christians as subscribing to the heresy of Modalism which teaches that God displayed himself in 3 different ‘modes’ throughout the course of history (in the Old Testament as Father, in the Gospels as the Son, and after the Ascension as the Holy Spirit).

God’s ways higher than ours

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways”, declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher then the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Thus any attempt to explain God’s nature must obviously fall short in some area. This is to be expected, and indeed it would be strange if it were not so.

We cannot understand God’s eternal nature (no beginning or end) but we accept it on the basis of revelation in Scripture.

Likewise the doctrine of the Trinity is not something we have manufactured, but an observed fact detailed in Scripture which we are trying to understand better.

God’s ways higher than ours

As C.S. Lewis 1 so aptly stated in “Mere Christianity: The Three – Personal God”:

If Christianity were something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.

Even in the physical realm, many of the laws, which govern our universe, cannot be fully explained by our present theories.

Inability to grasp or understand a concept does not invalidate its reality!

1 Christian apologist & author of “The Chronicles of Narnia”

C.S. Lewis

God’s ways higher than ours

Isaiah tells us that God’s ways are ‘higher’ than ours. You may ask, and rightly so, “How then can we know anything about God if it cannot be deduced by reason and logic?”

Well - that is why we have divine revelation i.e. God has to reveal Himself to us.

But how does God reveal Himself?

Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that He revealed Himself through 2 primary means, namely (1) the prophets and (2) Jesus. Their testimony is recorded in the Bible.

Our argument therefore is based on God’s revelation, and not on the human god of reason and logic.

It is important to realize that the doctrine of the Trinity has not been given to the Church by speculative thought. It is not … in any sense derived from “PURE REASON”. This doctrine has come from the data of HISTORICAL REVELATION. In the process of history God has revealed Himself as one God, subsisting in three Persons. (Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary: Trinity)

The OT - Plurality in the Godhead

In Hebrew grammar, nouns and verbs have 4 different forms:

Male (singular & plural)

Female (singular & plural)

Thus, whereas in English we have one word for the verb ‘want’, in Hebrew there are 4, depending on who wants something, e.g.

The male plural tense is indicated by the suffix ‘im’.

Singular

Plural

Male

Ani rotse (I want)

Anakhnu rotsim (We want)

Female

Ani rotsa (I want)

Anakhnu rotsot (We want)

Eloah (El) & Elohim (Elim)

SINGULAR: Eloah, El – translated ‘God’.

PLURAL: Elohim, Elim – based on context, translated as God, gods, angels.

Although Elohim is a plural, it is consistently used with singular verb forms and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular. In this case it is translated ‘God’.

Consider Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Now look at the Hebrew, which reads right to left:

  • הָאָֽרֶץ

  • וְאֵת

  • הַשָּׁמַיִם

  • אֵת

  • אֱלֹהִים

  • בָּרָא

  • בְּרֵאשִׁית

  • ha-aretz

    v'et

    ha-shamayim

    et

    elohim

    bara

    Breshit

    the earth

    and

    the heavens

    Gods

    created

    In the beginning

    plural

    male singular

    Eloah (El) & Elohim (Elim)

    Every time the word ‘God’ is used in the OT it is almost always ‘Elohim’ (plural) in the Hebrew, but used with a singular verb.

    This was obviously intentional as it is used with a plural verb when referring to heathen ‘gods’.

    If the plural form ‘Elohim’ was the only form available for a reference to God, then the argument might be made that the writers had no other alternative but to use the word ‘Elohim’ for both the one true God and the many false gods. 1

    However, the singular form for ‘Elohim’ (Eloah or El) exists and is used in such passages as Deuteronomy 32:15-17 and Habakkuk 3:3. 1

    This singular form could easily have been used consistently. Yet it is only used 250 times, while the plural form is used 2500 times. 1

    The far greater use of the plural form again turns the argument in favour of plurality in the Godhead. 1

    1 “JEWISHNESS AND THE TRINITY” by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum

    The Shema

    The Shema has always been Israel’s great confession 1 with which the Jewish synagogue starts the daily liturgy morning and evening, and which every Jew is supposed to repeat at least once daily. 2

    The Shema comes from Deuteronomy 6:4:

    KJV: Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD.

    WEB: Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one.

    While on the surface, the English translation may appear anti-Trinitarian, the Hebrew rendering tells a different story.

    The word ‘LORD’ represented in capitals in many English Bibles is a translation of the Hebrew ‘YHWH’. In Hebrew, vowels are seldom written; they are only spoken. YHWH, was considered to be the highest name of God, so much so that the Israelites never pronounced it in speech but substituted it with the word ‘Lord’ (Adonai). This has left us unable to tell what the original rendering was, although it appears that Yahweh is probably the closest. The Latinisation of the Bible led to a rendering of JeHoVaH. This title, or name of God, is never used of other gods.

    1 Ibid 2 http:// www.believersweb.org/ view.cfm?ID=823

    The Shema

    The literal translation is “Hear Israel, Yahweh our gods; Yahweh is one”.

    Despite using the plural ‘gods’ we are told that Yahweh is ‘one’.

    However, when we examine the word ‘echad’ translated ‘one’, we discover an interesting meaning. This word ‘echad’ comes from a Hebrew root ‘achad’ which means “to unify” or “to collect together”, a “united one”. 2

    1 Elohenu comes from ‘Elohim’ (Gods) with ‘enu’ being the plural possessive pronoun-suffix denoting things which belong to us. 2 http:// www.blueletterbible.org/ Comm/ mark_eastman/ messiah/

  • אֶחָֽד

  • יְהוָה

  • אֱלֹהֵינוּ

  • יְהוָה

  • יִשְׂרָאֵל

  • שְׁמַע

  • Echad

    YHWH

    Elohenu1

    YHWH

    Yisrael

    Shema

    is one

    Yahweh

    our Gods

    Yahweh

    Israel

    Hear

    unity

    singular

    The Shema

    It is used in preference to ‘yachid’ when a composite unity is indicated.

    Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one (echad) flesh.

    We see the idea of separate persons viewed as a unified ‘one’. The man and woman become “one flesh”. The word ‘one’ here implies a compound unity.

    It is in this sense that we can understand the “One of God” in Deuteronomy 6:4 1 - He is clearly One God, yet He manifests Himself in more than one distinct personage.

    1 Ibid

    The Shema

    On the contrast, the word ‘yachid’ literally means “only one” or “solitary one”. It is a word which suggests an indivisible one as opposed to the compound unity implied by the word ‘echad’. 1

    If God was an indivisible unity, then ‘yachid’ would have been a far more appropriate word. In fact, Maimonides, a 12th century Hebrew Sage, noted the strength of ‘yachid’ and chose to use that word in place of ‘echad’. In his “Thirteen Articles of Faith” he renders Moses words as, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, The LORD is one (yachid).” However, the Shema does not use ‘yachid’ in reference to God. 2

    ‘Yachid’ is used 12 times in the Scriptures NOT ONCE is it used for Yahweh. 3

    1 Ibid 2 http:// www.messiahnj.org/ af-tri-unity.htm 3 SOURCE: www.letusreason.org/ Onenes13.htm

    Two Yahweh’s?

    Before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, God appeared to Abraham in person with 2 angels. After Abraham has interceded on Sodom’s behalf, we read in Genesis 19:24:

    KJV: Then the LORD rained down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah – from the LORD out of the Heavens.

    World English Bible: Then Yahweh rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Yahweh out of the sky.

    Thus we simultaneously see Yahweh both on earth in physical manifestation (Jesus) and in heaven (the Father).

    OT - The deity of Jesus

    The English word deity is from the Latin deus, meaning ‘god’. There are many scriptures, which directly affirm the deity of Jesus. Let us look at one of the most well known prophecies about the Messiah.

    Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, MIGHTY GOD (El Gibbor), Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

    Jesus is called ‘God’ in no uncertain terms. The Watchtower will claim that Jesus is the “Mighty God” but the Father is the “Almighty God”.

    However in the OT the Hebrew phrase “El Gibbor” was exclusively applied to Yahweh (Deut. 10:17; Ps. 24:8; Jer. 32:18). Thus, if “El Gibbor” (Mighty God) means less than the “Almighty God”, how is it that Jehovah (Yahweh) can be called “El Gibbor” in Isaiah 10:21? 1

    1 SOURCE: “The Deity of Jesus Christ” http:// www.christiandefense.org

    OT - The deity of Jesus

    This next reference to Isaiah 7:14 shows that the one conceived of the virgin would be GOD WITH US.

    Matthew 1:22-23: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet, ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ – which means GOD WITH US.”

    OT - The deity of Jesus

    Isaiah also prophesies about a coming messenger who will prepare the way for Yahweh: The voice of one who calls out, “Prepare the way of Yahweh in the wilderness! Make a level highway in the desert for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3)

    This exact prophecy is used in the gospels about John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus.

    Matt 3:1-3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

    NT - John

    Most cults which propagate anti-Trinitarian teachings claim that the doctrine of the Trinity was introduced in the 4th century A.D. But the 1st century NT writings tell a different story.

    Rom 9:5 (ESV) To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

    In the opening verse of his gospel John, the beloved disciple of Jesus writes about the Word (Logos) who became flesh:

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… John 1:1,14 (KJV)

    In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God… So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us… (John 1:1, 14, NLT)

    NT - John

    This verse has so troubled the Watchtower that they have resorted to re-translating the verse to “the Word was a god” in their New World Translation. However, there is no indefinite article (‘a’) in Greek. Only the definite article (‘the’) is used. The word ‘a’ is inserted by translators to make sense in English.

    When the Greeks wanted to express that there is an indefinite example of something they used “one (thing)” or “some (things).” These forms do not appear in this verse, making “a god” a very unlikely rendering. 1

    1 R. K. McGregor Wright, Ph.D. I. “How to Witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses About The Deity of Christ” http:// www.donie.biz/ HTM/ JAHOVA.HTM

    NT - John

    As can be seen, the direct translation would be: “In beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and God was the Word.”

    The Watchtower try to make a case for their translation of “a god” in John 1:1 from the fact that the first usage of “theos” (“the Word was with the God”) is preceded by a definite article (“tou”) while the second usage (“God was the Word”) has no definite article. They then assert that only the Father is “the God”.

    However Thomas called Jesus “the God” with the definite article. When Jesus appeared to him after His resurrection, we read: Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my GOD!” (John 20:28)

    

    

    

    

    

    en

    Arche

    en

    ho

    logos

    kai

    In

    Beginning

    was

    the

    Word

    and

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    ho

    logos

    en

    pros

    tou

    Theos

    kai

    Theos

    en

    ho

    logos

    the

    Word

    was

    with

    the

    God

    and

    God

    was

    the

    Word

    NT - Thomas

    In the Greek, Thomas said to Jesus, “ho kurios mou, kai ho theos mou” i.e. “the Lord of me, and the God of me.”

    Thomas clearly addresses Jesus as the Lord and “the God”. This verse inescapably affirms that Jesus is “the God” even if this sort of distinction was intended. Note that Jesus did not rebuke Thomas for blasphemy.

    The Watchtower then clutch at straws by saying that Thomas was so stunned by Jesus’ appearance, that he swore. This is ridiculous because it would mean that Thomas, a devout man of God, swore in front of Jesus and used the Lord’s name in vain in violation of Exodus 20:7 without even receiving a reprimand from Jesus. In addition Thomas addressed Jesus directly: “Thomas said to Him” (nominative being used for the vocative).

    Και

    Απεκριθη

    Θωμας

    και

    ειπεν

    Αυτω

    Kai

    apokrinomai

    Thomas

    kai

    epo

    Autos

    And

    Answered

    Thomas

    and

    said to

    Him

    Ο

    κυριος

    Μου

    και

    ο

    Θεος

    Μου

    Ho

    kurios

    Mou

    kai

    ho

    Theos

    mou

    The

    Lord

    of me

    and

    the

    God

    of me

    Not according to Yahweh:

    Isaiah 44:6,8 This is what Yahweh, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Yahweh of Armies, says: "I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God. … You are my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? Indeed, there is not. I don't know any other Rock."

    Isaiah 45: 5,22 I am Yahweh, and there is none else. Besides me, there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not known me;… 22 "Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.

    Are there 2 “Gods”?

    Does John 1:1 teach us of 2 ‘gods’ (a greater and a lesser one) as the Watchtower teach, or 2 facets of the same God. Let’s see how the early Church Fathers addressed this same heresy.

    Hippolytus (from Rome) was the disciple of Irenaeus, the disciple of Polycarp, the disciple of John himself. He wrote in circa A.D. 205: “If, then the Word was with God and was also God, what follows? Would one say that I speak of two Gods? I will not indeed speak of two Gods, but of one. I speak of two Persons, however, and of a third Economy-the grace of the Holy Spirit.”

    Tertullian of Carthage in North Africa (c. A.D. 213) wrote: “Now, if He too is God, for according to John, ‘The Word was God,’ then you have two Beings-One who commands that the thing to be made, and the other who creates. In what sense, however, you ought to understand Him to be another. I have already explained: on the ground of personality, not of substance. And in the way of distinction, not of division. I must everywhere hold only one substance, in three coherent and inseparable [persons]”

    The Church fathers on John 1:1

    Hippolytus

    Tertullian

    What do reputable scholars say about the NWT of John 1:1

    Dr. William Barclay, a leading Greek scholar of the University of Glasgow, Scotland: “The deliberate distortion of truth by this sect is seen in their New Testament translations. John 1:1 is translated: ‘… the Word was a god,’ a translation which is grammatically impossible… It is abundantly clear that a sect which can translate the New Testament like that is intellectually dishonest.”

    Dr. James L. Boyer of Winona Lake, Indiana: “I have never heard of, or read of any Greek Scholar who would have agreed to the interpretation of this verse insisted upon by the Jehovah’s Witnesses … I have never encountered one of them who had any knowledge of the Greek language.”

    Reputable scholars and John 1:1

    Dr. William Barclay

    Dr. F. F. Bruce of the University of Manchester, England: “Much is made by Arian amateur grammarians of the omission of the definite article with ‘God’ in the phrase ‘And the Word was God.’ Such an omission is common with nouns in a predicative construction... ‘a god’ would be totally indefensible.” Barclay and Bruce are generally regarded as Great Britain’s leading Greek scholars. Both have NT translations in print!

    Dr. Ernest C. Colwell of the University of Chicago: “A definite predicate nominative has the article when it follows the verb; it does not have the article when it precedes the verb...this statement cannot be regarded as strange in the prologue of the gospel which reaches its climax in the confession of Thomas. ‘My Lord and my God.’ - John 20:28”

    Dr. Charles L. Feinberg of La Mirada, California: “I can assure you that the rendering which the Jehovah’s Witnesses give John 1:1 is not held by any reputable Greek scholar.”

    Reputable scholars and John 1:1

    Dr. J. J. Griesbach (whose Greek text - not the English part - is used in the Emphatic Diaglott): “So numerous and clear are the arguments and testimonies of Scriptures in favor of the true Deity of Christ, that I can hardly imagine how, upon the admission of the Divine authority of Scripture, and with regard to fair rules of interpretation, this doctrine can by any man be called in doubt. Especially the passage, John 1:1-3, is so clear and so superior to all exception, that by no daring efforts of either commentators or critics can it be snatched out of the hands of the defenders of the truth.”

    Dr. Samuel J. Mikolaski of Zurich, Switzerland: “This anarthrous (used without the article) construction does not mean what the indefinite article ‘a’ means in English. It is monstrous to translate the phrase ‘the Word was a god.’”

    Dr. Paul L. Kaufman of Portland, Oregon: “The Jehovah’s Witnesses people evidence an abysmal ignorance of the basic tenets of Greek grammar in their mistranslation of John 1:1.”

    Reputable scholars and John 1:1

    “With regard to John 1:1, there is of course a complication simply because the New World Translation was apparently done by persons who did not take seriously the syntax of the Greek.” (Dr. Eugene A. Nida, head of Translations Department, American Bible Society: Responsible for the Good News Bible - The committee worked under him.)

    British scholar H.H. Rowley stated, “From beginning to end this volume is a shining example of how the Bible should not be translated.”

    Dr. B. F. Westcott (whose Greek text - not the English part - is used in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation): In the 19th century Westcott and his colleague Hort, published an edition of the NT in Greek. This was the result of nearly 30 years ceaseless labour and is believed to be the most significant critical edition ever produced by British scholars. Westcott said: “The predicate (God) stands emphatically first, as in IV.24. It is necessarily without the article...No idea of inferiority of nature is suggested by the form of expression, which simply affirms the true deity of the Word... in the third clause ‘the Word’ is declared to be ‘God’ and so included in the unity of the Godhead.”

    Reputable scholars and John 1:1

    Dr. Walter R. Martin, founder of the Christian Research Institute and author of ‘Kingdom of the Cults’: “The translation… ‘a god’ instead of ‘God’ is erroneous and unsupported by any good Greek scholarship, ancient or contemporary and is a translation rejected by all recognized scholars of the Greek language many of whom are not even Christians, and cannot fairly be said to be biased in favor of the orthodox contention.”

    Dr. Bruce M. Metzger, professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Princeton University, calls the NWT ‘a frightful mistranslation,’ ‘Erroneous’, ‘pernicious’ and ‘reprehensible’. “If the Jehovah’s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists.”

    A non-Christian, non-Trinitarian scholar:

    Dr. J. Johnson of California State University, Long Beach: “No justification whatsoever for translating THEOS EN HO LOGOS as ‘the Word was a god.’ There is no syntactical parallel to Acts 28:6 where there is a statement in indirect discourse; John 1:1 is direct… I am neither a Christian nor a Trinitarian.”

    Reputable scholars and John 1:1

    Mantey: “I have never read any New Testament so badly translated as The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of The Greek Scriptures… it is a distortion of the New Testament. The translators used what J.B. Rotherham had translated in 1893, in modern speech, and changed the readings in scores of passages to state what Jehovah's Witnesses believe and teach. That is a distortion not a translation.” (Julius Mantey, Depth Exploration in The New Testament (N.Y.: Vantage Pres, 1980), pp.136-137)

    “Well, as a backdrop, I was disturbed because they (Watchtower) had misquoted me in support of their translation.” (These words were excerpted from the tape, “Martin and Julius Mantey on The New World Translation”, Mantey is quoted on pages 1158-1159 of the Kingdom interlinear Translation)

    Dr. Julius Mantey, author of A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, calls the NWT “a shocking mistranslation.” “Obsolete and incorrect.” “It is neither scholarly nor reasonable to translate John 1:1 ‘The Word was a god.’”

    … the translators of the NWT are “diabolical deceivers”. (Julius Mantey in discussion with Walter Martin)

    A Greek scholar quoted by the JWs

    In Genesis 2-3 we read that Adam and Eve saw and spoke directly to God. Genesis 18:1 relates that Abraham and Sarah were visited by Yahweh in human form. Jacob exclaims in Genesis 32:30: “It is because I SAW GOD FACE TO FACE, and yet my life was spared.”

    But John writes in his gospel: John 1:18 NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN GOD …

    Does the Bible contradict itself here? NO! John was referring here to the Father. The appearances of Yahweh in the Old Testament were all appearances of the second person of the Godhead, namely Jesus. John goes on to explain this:

    NIV: No one has ever seen God, but God the only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

    NASB: No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

    New International Reader’s Version: No one has ever seen God. But God, the one and only Son, is at the Father's side. He has shown us what God is like.

    Monogenēs

    Some translations read, “the only begotten Son” (e.g. KJV). However, the earliest and best Greek manuscripts along with the quotations of the Church Fathers, support the reading the “only begotten God” (monogenēs theos).

    The term “only begotten” or as the NIV reads, “One and Only” is from the Greek word ‘monogenēs’, monos meaning ‘alone’ or ‘only’ and genos meaning ‘kind’ or ‘type’. In other words ‘monogenēs’ means “one of a kind” or ‘unique’.

    In Hebrews 11:17 Isaac is called Abraham’s “only-begotten” (monogenē) and yet Abraham had another son (Ishmael). Thus, Isaac was the “unique son” through whom his “offspring will be reckoned.” Likewise in John 1:18, Jesus is the “unique God”, who explains or reveals God the Father.

    Monogenēs

    Paul instructs the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:28) to: “Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”

    If God bought us with his OWN blood, surely this indicates that Jesus is God?

    Historically Paul’s letter to the Colossians was a pointed refutation against Gnosticism. Paul was very concerned about the heretical teachings that were creeping into the church. Jesus is the physical expression of the spiritual Father, He was FULLY God.

    Colossians 1:19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell (live) in him (Christ).

    Colossians 2:9 For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of Deity (the state of being God) dwells (lives) in bodily form.

    Paul

    Paul specifically refutes the Gnostic teaching that asserted Jesus was not the supreme eternal God in flesh. The Gnostic Jesus was a “lesser god”, i.e. an emanation from the supreme God. According to Gnosticism, the supreme God was pure spirit. Hence, spirit is good and all matter or the material world was inherently evil, thus God or anything good cannot dwell in flesh. Therefore Jesus only “seemed” to posses a body.

    Bearing that in mind, we can understand why Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, chose this specific wording in this verse. The verse is clear - Jesus is fully God in human flesh. The Greek reads:

    The word theotētos is derived from theos (God). Recognized Greek lexicographer, Joseph Thayer, defines theotētos as: “the state of being God”.

    Οτι

    εν

    αυτω

    κατοικει

    παν

    το

    πληρωμα

    της

    θεοτητος

    σωματικως

    Hoti

    en

    autō

    katoikei

    pas

    ho

    plērōma

    ho

    theotētos

    sōmatikōs

    because

    in

    Him

    dwells

    all

    the

    fullness

    of the

    Deity

    bodily

    Gnosticism

    The Apostle John also deals with this Gnostic error (denying that Jesus came in flesh) in his gospel and epistles.

    John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…

    1 John 4:2-3 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit who doesn’t confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God, and this is the spirit of the Antichrist, of whom you have heard that it comes. Now it is in the world already.

    Gnosticism

    Titus, 2 Peter & Granville Sharp

    Speaking of the second coming of Jesus, Paul writes to Titus:

    Titus 2:13 … looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, (NASB)

    The same phrase “God and Savior” is utilised by the Apostle Peter:

    2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: (NASB)

    Titus, 2 Peter & Granville Sharp

    JWs will forcefully argue that in this verse there are 2 Persons being referred to: Jesus (‘Savior’) and the Father (“the great God”). This is because of the way their Bible (NWT ) translates the verse:

    Titus 2:13 … while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of [the] Savior of us, Christ Jesus. (NWT)

    2 Peter 1:1 … by the righteousness of our God and [the] Savior Jesus Christ. (NWT)

    With no grammatical justification at all, the NWT inserts the article ‘the’ preceding the word ‘Savior’. Contrary to the Greek which does not contain the article before ‘Savior’ which, as we will see, is highly significant to the meaning. The NWT does put brackets around the article ‘the’ admitting that it was not originally in the text.

    Titus, 2 Peter & Granville Sharp

    Starting with Titus 2:13, let us read the verse in the Greek:

    του

    μεγαλου

    θεου

    και

    σωτηρος

    ημων

    ιησου

    χριστου

    ho

    megas

    theos

    kai

    soter

    hemon

    Iesous

    Christos

    of the

    great

    God

    and

    Savior

    of us

    Jesus

    Christ

    If the definite article (‘the’) appeared before ‘Savior’ in the Greek text, then, and only then can we justify the ‘2 Persons’ argument asserted by the JWs. But there is not.

    Specifically though, these verses fall under an important Greek rule: Granville Sharp #1 . Also known as the TSKS rule (i.e. ‘The’-’Substantive’-’Kai’-’Substantive’).

    Sharp’s rule states that when 2 singular personal nouns (such as God and Savior) of the same case (as we have here) are connected by ‘and’ (the Greek word is ‘kai’), and the modifying article ‘the’ (the Greek word is ‘ho’) appears only before the first noun, not before the second, both nouns must refer to the same person. In this passage, ‘God’ and ‘Savior’ are connected by ‘and’.

    Titus, 2 Peter & Granville Sharp

    Also, ‘the’ appears only before ‘God’. Therefore, ‘God’ and ‘Savior’ must refer to the same person—Jesus.

    Thus, honest and unbiased scholarship requires that the words in these verses must be translated “our God and Savior, Jesus Christ”.

    Even the context of the passage shows that Paul had one person - not two - in mind, for he speaks of “the glorious appearing” of that person. The Bible talks of only one such appearing - that of Jesus. And how could it be possible for the invisible God to appear other than as the visible Christ, who is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15)?

    If JWs insist that these verses don’t refer to only Jesus, read to them, from their Bible (NWT) 2 Peter 1:11; 2:20, 3:18: … the entrance to the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:11; NWT).

    Granville Sharp

    Titus, 2 Peter & Granville Sharp

    No one says that these verses are speaking of 2 Persons. And yet the Greek construction is exactly the same at Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. Notice, 2 Peter 1:1 compared to verse 11:

    VERSE 1

    VERSE 11

    JWs who lack certified Greek scholarship will admit that “Lord and Savior” in verses 1:11, 2:20 and 3:18 are in reference to Jesus only. But these verses are the same Granville Sharp TSKS constructions as 2 Peter 1:1 and Titus 2:13!

    Του

    θεου

    ημων

    και

    σωτηρος

    ιησου

    χριστου

    Ho

    theos

    hemon

    kai

    soter

    Iesous

    Christos

    of the

    God

    of us

    and

    Savior

    Jesus

    Christ

    του

    κυριου

    Ημων

    και

    σωτηρος

    Ιησου

    χριστου

    Ho

    kurios

    Hemon

    kai

    soter

    Iesous

    Christos

    of the

    Lord

    of us

    and

    Savior

    Jesus

    Christ

    Titus, 2 Peter & Granville Sharp

    Kenneth Wuest in his “Expanded Translation” brings out the Sharp constructions in a number of other instances. For example,

    2 Thessalonians 1:12 reads, “in accordance with the grace of our God, even the Lord Jesus Christ”.

    1 Timothy 5:21: “I solemnly charge you in the presence of our God, even Jesus Christ…”

    2 Timothy 4:1: “I solemnly charge you as one who is living in the presence of our God, even Christ Jesus…”

    Author of Hebrews

    The writer of Hebrews says much about the deity of Jesus. Jesus is described as follows in Hebrews 1:3:

    The Son is the radiance of God’s glory, and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (NIV)

    His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance… (WEB)

    Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person (Geneva Study Bible)

    Hence, Jesus is “the precise reproduction in every respect” of the “essence, actual being, reality” of God. How can Jesus be an exact expression of the real being of the Father without Himself possessing true Deity?

    χαρακτηρ

    υποστασεως

    charakter

    hupostasis

    exact copy

    Essence

    express image

    Person

    exact representation

    Substance

    Being

    Father addresses Jesus as ‘God’

    Heb 1:5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father” … 8 But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever…

    Προς

    δε

    τον

    υιον

    ο

    Θρονος

    σου

    ο

    θεος

    Pros

    de

    ho

    Huios

    ho

    thronos

    sou

    ho

    theos

    Regarding

    but

    the

    Son

    [He says]

    the

    throne

    of you

    the

    God

    In Greek, “But regarding the Son [He says], “The throne of you, the God…” One again Jesus is called ‘the God’ in Greek, which again destroys the argument used by the Watchtower in their rendering of John 1:1.

    Father addresses Jesus as “God”

    It troubles some people that Jesus refers to the Father as “my God”. However, Hebrews shows us that both the Father and the Son address each other as God.

    Hebrews 1:8-9 But about the Son he (the Father) says, “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.

    In the above passage Jesus is called ‘God’ by the Father and the Father refers to himself as ‘Your God’. All members of the Godhead thus refer to each other as God.

    Jesus is superior to the angels

    The JWs teach that Jesus is the archangel Michael and the Mormons believe that he is Satan’s brother. This is curious, as Hebrews 1 has as its central theme the superiority of Jesus over the angels.

    He has a greater name i.e. Son of God (vs 4-5)

    Angels are commanded to worship Him (vs 6)

    The Father addresses Him as God (vs 8-9)

    He is the Creator (vs 10-12)

    He is immutable (vs 12 & Heb 13:8)

    He is eternal (vs 12)

    He is seated at God’s right hand and is the ruler of the coming age (vs 13)

    Testimony of Jesus

    One with the Father

    Jesus himself claimed equality and ‘one-ness’ with the Father.

    John 14:8-10 Philip said, “Lord show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “DON’T YOU KNOW ME, PHILIP EVEN AFTER I HAVE BEEN AMONG YOU SUCH A LONG TIME? ANYONE WHO HAS SEEN ME HAS SEEN THE FATHER, How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? DON’T YOU BELIEVE THAT I AM IN THE FATHER, AND THAT THE FATHER IS IN ME?”

    Yahweh speaks to Adonai

    When the Jewish religious leaders kept on testing Jesus with questions, he finally responded with a question they couldn’t answer.

    Matthew 22:41-46 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied. He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

    They were unable to answer as they didn’t realise that the Christ (Messiah) or “Son of David” would be one of the members of the Godhead. Jesus quoted from Psalm 110:1 where Yahweh (translated ‘LORD’ in the OT) is addressing Adonai (translated ‘Lord’ in the OT to differentiate it from the upper-case ‘LORD’ used for Yahweh).

    Yahweh says to my Lord (Adonai) , “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet.” (WEB)

    Daniel’s “Son of Man”

    The gospel writers refer to Jesus as both the “Son of Man” (showing his humanity” and the “Son of God” (showing his deity). Daniel had a Messianic vision of a “son of man” in the presence of God who is given authority.

    Daniel 6:13-14 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

    Daniel’s “Son of Man”

    Jesus referred directly to this prophecy at his trial. The high priest understood this to be a blasphemous claim.

    Matthew 26:63-66 … The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered.

    The Absolute “Egō Eimi” Claims

    JOHN 8:58-59 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. (NAS)

    Jesus said “… before Abraham was born, I AM” [egō eimi]. What did he mean and why did the Jews try to stone him?

    This doesn’t seem to make grammatical sense, or does it? By saying, ‘I AM’ he was showing that He is not bound by time (i.e. one of God’s unique attributes of being eternal). All time is present to Him. He could have said, “Before Abraham was born, I was” but Jesus’ choice of these words was no accident.

    The Absolute “Egō Eimi” Claims

    Let’s examine what God said when Moses asked what His name was.

    Exodus 3:13-14 Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you;’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” and he said, “You shall tell the children of Israel this: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

    The Absolute “Egō Eimi” Claims

    Thus ‘I AM’ is the name, or rather the title that God chose to be known by.

    Furthermore the Hebrew for Yahweh sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for ‘I AM’ 1 and God seems to associate the two in the rest of the passage in Exodus. In applying this title to Himself, Jesus was claiming equality with God. This explains the Jews attempt to stone Him; they thought He was being blasphemous.

    1 http:// yeshuaislord.com/ tag/ hebrew/ page/ 2

    The Absolute “Egō Eimi” Claims

    In addition Jesus applied the divine title ‘I AM’ (egō eimi) in the absolute (i.e. appearing at the end of the clause) to Himself on 7 occasions. Only in John 8:58 is it correctly translated as ‘I am’. In other cases the same phrase is rendered as “I am [he]” or “It is I”. Egō eimi was a frequent title used of Yahweh alone (e.g. Deut. 32:39; Is. 43:10; 41:4; cf. LXX).

    θαρσειτε

    εγω

    ειμι

    μη

    φοβεισθε

    tharseo

    ego

    eimi

    me

    phobeo

    be of good cheer

    I

    am

    be not

    afraid

    MARK 6:50 For they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I [egō eimi], do not be afraid.”

    The Greek reads: “Be of good cheer, I AM, be not afraid”)

    The Absolute “Egō Eimi” Claims

    JOHN 8:24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM He [egō eimi], you will die in your sins”

    (‘He’ is not in the Greek).

    In fact, in Isaiah 43:10, Yahweh asserts the same: “You are My witness, declares the LORD, And My servants whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I AM He [ egō eimi; cf, LXX] . Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me” (43:10).

    In the Septuagint (LXX), ‘He’ is not there. Thus: “declares the LORD … that you may … believe … that I AM.”

    The full force of Jesus’ assertion is striking. He did not say, “If you do not believe that “I am He” or “I am the one I claimed to be” as most translations read (i.e. there is no supplied predicate). Jesus clearly asserts here that salvation rests on believing that He is the eternal God.

    εαν γαρ

    μη

    πιστευσητε

    οτι

    εγω

    ειμι

    Αποθανεισθε

    Εν

    ταις

    αμαρτιαις

    υμων

    Ean gar

    me

    pisteuo

    hoti

    ego

    eimi

    apothnesko

    en

    ho

    hamartia

    humon

    for if

    not

    believe

    that

    I

    am

    you will die

    in

    the

    sins

    of you

    The Absolute “Egō Eimi” Claims

    JOHN 8:28 So Jesus said, “when you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM He [egō eimi]...”

    As with John 8:24, ‘He’ is supplied by the translators and hence not in the Greek text. Jesus speaks of his death (and resurrection) leading to the realisation of his deity.

    οταν

    υψωσητε

    του

    υιον

    του

    ανθρωπου

    τοτε

    γνωσεσθε

    οτι

    εγω

    Ειμι

    hotan

    hupsoo

    ho

    huios

    ho

    anthropos

    tote

    ginosko

    hoti

    ego

    eimi

    when

    (you) lift up

    the

    son

    (of) the

    man

    then

    you will know

    that

    I

    am

    The Absolute “Egō Eimi” Claims

    JOHN 13:18-19 “I don’t speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen. But that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.’ From now on, I tell you before it happens, that when it happens, you may believe that I am he.” [egō eimi]

    Again ‘He’ is not in the Greek. Jesus speaks of his foreknowledge leading to the realisation of his deity.

    ινα

    πιστευσητε

    οταν

    γενηται

    οτι

    εγω

    ειμι

    hina

    pisteuo

    hotan

    ginomai

    hoti

    ego

    eimi

    that

    you should be believing

    when

    it happens

    that

    I

    Am

    The Absolute “Egō Eimi” Claims

    JOHN 18:5-6, 8 They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I AM He [egō eimi]” So when they He said to them, “I AM He, [egō eimi]” they drew back and fell on the to the ground… Jesus answered, “I told you that I AM He [egō eimi]…”

    In verses 5, 6 and 8 ‘He’ is not in the Greek.

    It’s interesting to note that when Jesus said ‘I am’ that they fell to the ground.

    λεγει

    αυτοις

    εγω

    ειμι

    lego

    autos

    ego

    eimi

    He said

    to them

    I

    am

    TRINITY: FACT OR FICTION (Part 2)

    Bible: induction

    What are the characteristics that make God, GOD? In other words, what properties does He possess that no one else can claim to possess? If we can then show from the Bible that Jesus has all of these characteristics, we have proved by induction that He is God.

    God’s unique characteristics

    Omnipotence

    Omnipresence

    Omniscience

    Immutability

    Eternal

    Creator

    Holy and Sinless

    Rightly worshipped

    Omnipotence – all powerful

    Omnipotence is the attribute of God, which describes His ability to do whatever He wills.

    God is all-powerful which is why he is called the “Almighty”. There is nothing that He cannot do but his power is limited by His nature i.e. He cannot (or rather will not) do anything contrary to His nature as God, such as sinning. God is not controlled by His power, but has complete control over it; otherwise He would not be a free being. To a certain extent, He has voluntarily limited Himself by the free will of His rational creatures.

    Rev 19:6 … Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

    Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

    Job 42:1-2 Then Job answered Yahweh, "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be restrained.

    Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord Yahweh! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm; there is nothing too hard for you.

    Omnipresence – everywhere present

    Omnipresence is the attribute of God, by virtue of which He fills the universe in all its parts, and is present everywhere at once.

    Jeremiah 23:23-24 Am I a God at hand, says Yahweh, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places so that I shall not see him? says Yahweh. Don’t I fill heaven and earth? says Yahweh.

    Psalm 139:7-12 Where could I go from your Spirit? Or where could I flee from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, you are there! If I take the wings of the dawn, and settle in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there your hand will lead me, and your right hand will hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me; the light around me will be night;” even the darkness doesn't hide from you, but the night shines as the day. The darkness is like light to you.

    Omniscience – All knowing

    Omniscience is the attribute by which God, perfectly and eternally knows all things, which can be known, past, present and future.

    Psalm 147:5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.

    Psalm 139:2-4 You know my sitting down and my rising up. You perceive my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but, behold, Yahweh, you know it altogether.

    Immutability

    Immutability is the perfection of God by which He is devoid of all change in essence, attributes, consciousness, will and promises. No change is possible in God, because all change must be to better or worse, and God is absolute perfection.

    Malachi 3:6 “For I, Yahweh, don’t change…”

    James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow.

    Hebrews 6:17-18 In this way God, being determined to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed with an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie…

    Eternal

    The Biblical concept of eternity and the eternal refers to the endless past, the unending future, or to God’s present experience of all time. God has no beginning as man can understand beginning and no ending either, but God exists now and knows both the beginning and the end as we perceive them. In the Scriptures, God is thus called “everlasting” and “eternal”.

    Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your dwelling place. Underneath are the everlasting arms.

    Genesis 21:33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and called there on the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God.

    Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were made, before you had given birth to the earth and the world, before time was, and for ever, you are God.

    1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

    Creator

    Isaiah 45:18 For thus says Yahweh who created the heavens, the God who formed the earth and made it, who established it and didn’t create it a waste, who formed it to be inhabited…

    Holy & Sinless

    Habakkuk 1:13 Before your holy eyes sin may not be seen, and you are unable to put up with wrong…

    Exodus 15:11 “Who among the gods is like you, o LORD? Who is like you – majestic in holiness…”

    Rightly worshipped

    When Satan tempted Jesus to worship him, Jesus responded:

    Matthew 4:10: “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’.”

    Yahweh makes it clear that only He deserves worship:

    Isaiah 42:8 "I am Yahweh. That is my name. I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to engraved images.

    Omnipotence

    Jesus’ characteristics

    We can now proceed to show that every one of these characteristics deemed peculiar to God are found in Jesus.

    Omnipotence

    Matthew 28:18 And Jesus coming up spoke to them, saying, All power has been given me in heaven and upon earth.

    ALL POWER is bestowed in Jesus, an attribute peculiar to God.

    Phil: 3:20-21: "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself."

    Eph. 1:21-22: "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet..."

    Omnipresence

    Matthew 28:20 “And surely I (Jesus) am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    Romans 8:34 Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God …

    If Jesus has promised to be with His disciples ALWAYS and yet is at the right hand of the Father in heaven, the only possible explanation is that He is omnipresent.

    Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”

    Omniscience

    John 21:17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; You know that I love you.”

    Here Peter plainly acknowledges Jesus’ omniscience, stating that He knew “ALL THINGS”.

    Why then did Jesus say only the Father knew the day of his second coming? Of course the answer is that the incarnation created a special circumstance, wherein God became flesh and allowed Himself to the limitations of a man. In the same way that as a man Jesus got tired, thirsty and hungry and was clearly not omnipresent, so too his knowledge was limited while on earth. This is clear from the Scripture:

    Philippians 2:7 (Jesus) … emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men

    Anti-Trinitarians will typically take Scriptures that apply to Jesus humanity and incarnation and then try using them to prove that Jesus wasn’t God. There were however self-imposed temporary limitations that Jesus accepted in his incarnation.

    Immutability

    Jesus too has the property of deity of never changing, though everyone and everything else does.

    Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

    Hebrews 1:8,11-12 But of the Son he says... “They all will grow old like a garment does. As a mantle, you will roll them up, and they will be changed; but you are the same...”

    Eternal pre-existence

    Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

    The above prophecy concerning Jesus shows that He is EVERLASTING or ETERNAL.

    Hebrews 1:8,11-12 But of the Son he says... “They will perish, but you continue. They all will grow old like a garment does. ... Your years will not fail.”

    John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word…

    Colossians 1:17 … He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

    John 8:57-59 “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born I AM!”…

    Eternal pre-existence

    Turning to Isaiah 44:6 we read:

    This is what Yahweh, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Yahweh of Armies, says: “I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.”

    When Jesus appeared to John on the island of Patmos, His words to him were:

    Revelation 1:18 “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last.”

    Jesus makes the same statement as Yahweh in the Old Testament. It is impossible for there to be two “FIRSTS”. Either one must be FIRST and the other SECOND if they are two separate beings. But Jesus and Yahweh both state, “I AM THE FIRST.”

    Creator

    Yahweh created alone:

    Isaiah 44:24 …"I am Yahweh, who makes all things; who ALONE stretches out the heavens; who spreads out the earth BY MYSELF”

    But Jesus created alone:

    John 1:1-4 In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t make.

    Col 1:15-16: “For by him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”

    All members of the godhead were involved in creation. The Father wills, Jesus effected His will:

    1 Cor 8:6: “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”

    Holy and Sinless

    2 Cor 5:21 God made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us …

    1 Peter 2: 21-22 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.’

    Hebrews 7:26 For such a high priest was fitting for us: holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens

    The above verses show that Jesus was sinless.

    Peter spoke of Him as being “A LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH OR DEFECT” (1 Peter 1:19).

    He alone could make the challenge to his enemies, “CAN ANY OF YOU PROVE ME GUILTY OF SIN?” (John 8:46).

    Rightly worshipped

    When Peter went to the house of Cornelius he refused to accept worship:

    Acts 10: 25-26: “As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

    In Revelation 22:8-9: John related how the mighty angel refused worship:

    … I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

    We see from the above 3 passages that only God is rightfully entitled to receive worship. But Jesus accepted worship on numerous occasions during his ministry! When Jesus healed the blind man:

    Then the man said (to Jesus), “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. (John 9:38)

    Rightly worshipped

    Jesus is entitled to receive worship because HE IS GOD! Some more examples of Jesus accepting worship are:

    From the wise men - Mat 2:11

    From the leper - Mat 8:2

    From the ruler - Mat 9:18

    From His disciples in the boat - Mat 14:33

    From the Canaanite woman - Mat 15:25

    From the disciples following His ascension - Luke 24:52

    Thomas - John 20:28

    All creation worships both Father and Lamb: Rev 5:11-14

    Rightly worshipped

    After Jesus’ resurrection the woman and the disciples worshipped him:

    Matthew 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and took hold of his feet, and worshipped him.

    Matthew 28:16-17 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him…

    Furthermore in Hebrews 1:6 we read that the Father commands the angels to worship Jesus:

    And again, when God brings his first born into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

    Jesus: in very nature GOD

    We have selected 8 characteristics unique and peculiar to God alone. We have gone on to show that Jesus has all 8 characteristics; thus by induction we have proven that Jesus is God. You can make a god out of anything, but it will not be God by nature i.e. possess the characteristics of God. Heathen gods fall into this category of those you are worshiped as gods while not being God by nature.

    Galatians 4: 8: “Formerly when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.”

    Jesus, however, does not fall into this category as He is God by nature.

    Philippians 2:5-6: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…”

    Concerning the term “nature” (morphē) or as the NASB and KJV translates, “form”, theologian, Charles Ryrie notes that the word nature (morphē) in the Greek connotes: “that which is intrinsic and essential to the thing”. Thus here it means that our Lord in His pre-incarnate state possessed essential deity.

    Jesus: in very nature GOD

    Rev. Benjamin B. Warfield (former Professor of Theology at Princeton) commented on the word morphē, as used in Philippians 2:6:

    Paul does not simply say, ‘He was God’. He says, ‘He was in the form of God’, employing a turn of speech which throws emphasis upon Our Lord's possession of the specific quality of God. 'Form' is a term which expresses the sum of those characterizing qualities which make a thing the precise thing that it is… And 'the form of God' is the sum of the characteristics which make the being we call 'God,' specifically God, rather than some other being-an angel, say, or a man. When Our Lord is said to be in 'the form of God’, therefore, He is declared, in the most express manner possible, to be all that God is, to possess the whole fullness of attributes which make God God.

    To deny that Jesus was truly the morphē (nature) of God is to deny that Jesus was truly the morphē of man (same word used in verse 7: “taking the very ‘nature’ (morphē) of a servant”.

    Bible: Implied

    The Bible does not have an isolated verse here and there that teaches the Trinity. There are many passages where indirectly the Trinity was implied because the authors were Trinitarian, inspired by a Trinitarian God.

    1 John 4:16 God is love …

    Before going on, notice the practical importance of this. All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that “God is love”. But they seem not to notice that the words “God is love” have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love. 1

    1 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    Bible: Implied

    All the persons of the Godhead are mentioned as being the one who raised Jesus from the dead:

    The Father

    Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle – sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.

    The Son

    John 2:19,21 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days”… But the temple he had spoken of was His body.

    The Holy Spirit

    Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you…

    Bible: Implied

    There are many verses where the 3 persons of the Godhead are mentioned together, indicating their close association with each other. Following are 2 selected ones:

    1 Peter 1:1-2 To God’s elect … who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling of his blood.

    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.”

    Ignatius, the head of the church at Antioch in the 2nd century writes: There are not then either three Fathers, or three Sons, or three Paracletes, but one Father, and one Son, and one Paraclete. Wherefore also the Lord, when He sent forth the apostles to make disciples of all nations, commanded them to “baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” not unto one [person] having three names, nor into three [persons] who became incarnate, but into three possessed of equal honour." (Letter to the Philadelphians 2).

    Bible: Implied

    Consider also the following passages:

    Genesis 1:26 God (Elohim) said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …”

    Genesis 3:22 Yahweh God (Elohim) said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us…”

    TOWER OF BABEL: Genesis 11:7 “Come, let us go down, and there confound their language.”

    Isaiah 6:8 I heard the Lord's (Adonai) voice, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

    Who is God talking to here? Here again we see possible evidence of the multiple personalities in the Godhead.

    Bible: Implied

    Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember also thy Creators in the days of thy youth, While that the evil days come not, Nor the years have arrived, that thou sayest, ‘I have no pleasure in them.’

    The word “Creators” is a plural form of the word “bara” which means to create out of nothing.

    The notion of plural Creator is also seen in Isaiah 54:5, where the prophet states:

    For thy Maker is thy husband, Jehovah of Hosts is His name, And thy Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, ‘God of all the earth,’ He is called.

    In this verse the word “Maker” is the plural form of the word “asa” which means to form or make.

    These verses present a remarkable paradox. The Bible clearly teaches that there is but one God and one Creator. Yet this one God is a plurality of more than one personage, each of which has the attributes of God and performs the works of God.

    Bible: Implied

    Finally, we see a hint of the Trinity in a number of provocative verses which declare the holiness of God. In Isaiah 6:3 we read:

    And one cried to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!'

    In Revelation 4:8 John is given a view of the four living creatures around the throne of God:

    And they do not rest day or night, saying: 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!'

    Why "Holy, holy, holy?" This is just another hint of the plurality of God and the three in one seen throughout the Scripture.

    The deity of the Holy Spirit

    The deity of the Holy Spirit has also been attacked by anti-Trinitarian cults. He has been demoted to an impersonal and mindless force. The Bible teaches both His personality and His deity.

    Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

    HOW CAN A FORCE BE GRIEVED?

    John 14:16-18 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the SPIRIT of truth. The world cannot accept HIM, because it neither sees HIM nor Knows HIM. But you know HIM, for HE lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I WILL COME TO YOU.”

    A force does not have gender; only a personality does. Here Jesus repeatedly refers to the Spirit as “HE” and “HIM”.

    Furthermore, after He has promised the Holy Spirit He says, “I WILL COME TO YOU”. Romans 8:34 tells us that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us. Therefore His “coming to us” is through the medium of the third person in the Godhead.

    The deity of the Holy Spirit

    Jesus continues to refer to the Holy Spirit as a person in this passage:

    John 15:26 “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 16:13-14 “But when HE, the Spirit of Truth, comes, HE will guide you into all truth. HE will not speak on HIS own; HE will speak only what HE hears, and HE will tell you what is yet to come. HE will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”

    We see also that the Spirit brings glory to Jesus, whereas Jesus repeatedly stated that the Son sought to bring glory to the Father (John 14:13). Thus none of the members of the Godhead seek their own glory; they seek to bring glory to the other persons in the Godhead.

    The deity of the Holy Spirit

    Proving the personality of the Holy Spirit

    Acts 13:2 “While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit SAID, ‘Set apart for ME Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

    The words “ME” and “I” indicate gender and “SAID” indicates the capacity for speech, only possible if personality is present. This passage also shows that the Holy Spirit has a will, something that is peculiar to a personality.

    The deity of the Holy Spirit

    6 things are contained within the realm of personality and these are found in the Holy Spirit:

    Will (1 Cor 12:11)

    Intelligence (Romans 8:27)

    Knowledge (1 Cor 2:10-12)

    Bestowment of power (Acts 1:8)

    Capacity for love (Romans 15:30)

    Capacity for speech (Acts 8:29, 13:2)

    The deity of the Holy Spirit

    Note also that personality is implied when He is called a witness in Acts 5:32 and in other Scriptures.

    Thus the Bible plainly teaches that the Holy Spirit is not a mindless “force”, but a personality and the 3rd person of the Godhead.

    Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, SHE WAS FOUND TO BE WITH CHILD THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT.

    If Mary conceived through the Holy Spirit, why was Jesus called “the Son of God”? Simply because the Holy Spirit is God!

    Acts 5:3-4 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit … You have not lied to men but to God.”

    So Peter uses the “Holy Spirit” and “God” interchangeably.

    The deity of the Holy Spirit

    In the next 3 scriptures we find the “Holy Spirit” and “God” used interchangeably.

    2 Corinthians 6:16 “For WE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD.

    1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves ARE GOD’S TEMPLE…

    1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you know that your body is a TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT…

    In Revelation 2-3 all the 7 Churches are addressed by Jesus, but He ends each address with: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

    Jesus here implies oneness with the Spirit.

    We can safely conclude that not only is the Holy Spirit a person; He is also God.

    2nd CENTURY Church Fathers

    Anti-Trinitarians will claim that the deity of Jesus was a late development in the Church originating in the 4th century. Any serious examination of the writings of the Pre-Nicean church Fathers should dispel this myth.

    Polycarp from Smyrna (disciple of John):

    “… may He grant unto you a lot and portion among His saints, and to us with you, and to all that are under heaven, who shall believe on our Lord and God Jesus Christ and on His Father that raised him from the dead.” (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 12:2)

    Polycarp

    2nd CENTURY Church Fathers

    Ignatius, head of the church at Antioch, was a contemporary of Polycarp, Clement, and Barnabas, and was martyred in the Colosseum. He wrote seven letters to the Churches while en route to his execution in Rome around the year A.D. 110. Here is an excerpt from his Epistle to the Trallians you might find interesting, where he is describing some of the heretics:

    "For they speak of Christ, not that they may preach Christ, but that they may reject Christ; and they speak of the law, not that they may establish the law, but that they may proclaim things contrary to it. For they alienate Christ from the Father, and the law from Christ. They also calumniate His being born of the Virgin; they are ashamed of His cross; they deny His passion; and they do not believe His resurrection. They introduce God as a Being unknown; they suppose Christ to be unbegotten; and as to the Spirit, they do not admit that He exists. Some of them say that the Son is a mere man, and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are but the same person, and that the creation is the work of God, not by Christ, but by some other strange power."

    2nd CENTURY Church Fathers

    Ignatius is giving a quick summary of some of the heresies about Christ. In the section above, he gives 3 separate heresies.

    Those who say Jesus was just a man.

    Those who say the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are the same person (like Noetus, Praxeas, Saballus).

    The Gnostics (like Marcion, Valentinus, Ptolemaus) who claimed that the creator God (Yahweh) of the OT was not the same God as the ‘Father’ in the NT.

    Ignatius

    2nd CENTURY Church Fathers

    140 A.D. Aristides: “[Christians] are they who, above every people of the Earth, have found the truth, for they acknowledge God, the creator and maker of all things, in the only-begotten Son and in the Holy Spirit” (Apology 16)

    150 A.D. Justin Martyr: “The Father of the universe has a Son, who also being the first begotten Word of God, is even God.” (First Apology, ch 63)

    C. 165-175 A.D. Tatian the Syrian: “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)

    2nd CENTURY Church Fathers

    C. 177 A.D. Melito of Sardes: “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; of His humanity, in the thirty years which came before His Baptism, during which, by reason of His condition according to the flesh, he concealed the signs of His Deity, although He was the true God existing before the ages.” (Fragment in Anastasius of Sinai)

    2nd CENTURY Church Fathers

    C. 180 A.D. Irenaeus of Lyons: “Nevertheless, what cannot be said of anyone else who ever lived, that He is Himself in His own right God and Lord and Eternal King and Only-begotten and Incarnate Word, proclaimed as such by all the Prophets and by the Apostles and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth. 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)

    Irenaeus (c.115-202 AD)

    3rd CENTURY Church Fathers

    200 A.D. Tertullian: “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)

    200 A.D. Hippolytus: “For Christ is the God above all…”

    Hippolytus

    3rd CENTURY Church Fathers

    225 A.D. Origen: “The holy Apostles, in preaching the faith of Christ, treated with the utmost clarity of certain matters which they believed to be of absolute necessity to all believers...The specific points which are clearly handed down through the Apostolic preaching [are] these: First, that there is one God who created and arranged all things… Secondly, that Jesus Christ himself was born of the Father before all creatures...Although He was God, He took flesh, and having been made man, He remained what He was, God” (De Principis)

    3rd CENTURY Church Fathers

    250 A.D. Ignatius of Antioch: “For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived in the womb by Mary according to a dispensation…” (Ephesians 18:2)

    235 A.D. Novatian: “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.”

    253 A.D. Cyprian of Carthage: "One who denies that Christ is God cannot become his temple [of the Holy Spirit]…“ (Letters 73:12)

    4th CENTURY Church Fathers

    262 A.D. Gregory the Wonderworker: “We therefore acknowledge one true God, the one First Cause, and one Son, very God of very God, possessing of nature the Father’s divinity,- that is to say, being the same in substance with the Father.”

    305 A.D. Arnobius: “‘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)

    307 A.D. Lactantius: “When we speak of God the Father and God the Son, we do not speak of them as different, nor do we separate them, because the Father cannot exist without the Son, nor can the Son be separated from the Father.”

    4th CENTURY: Council of Nicea

    When Constantine defeated Emperor Licinius in 323 AD he ended the persecutions against the Christian church. Shortly afterwards Christians faced a trouble from within: the Arian controversy began and threatened to divide the church. The problem began in Alexandria, it started as a debate between the bishop Alexander and the presbyter (pastor, or priest) Arius. Arius proposed that if the Father begat the Son, the latter must have had a beginning, that there was a time when he was not, and that his substance was from nothing like the rest of creation. Thus we see that the present day anti-Trinitarian doctrines of the Unitarians and Watchtower are merely a revival of the old heresy of Arius.

    The controversy greatly agitated Emperor Constantine, and he sent a letter to Arius and Alexander in an attempt to persuade them to lay aside their differences. His efforts failed and in order to regain unity among Christians, Constantine called the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325.

    4th CENTURY: Council of Nicea

    There were some 300 bishops gathered at the Council of Nicea from all around the world. It should be remembered that many of those present had, because of the recent persecutions, suffered and had faced threat of death for their faith. These were not wishy-washy men. It might also be remarked, that they were extremely sensitive to details of doctrine.

    Some argue that Constantine forced the orthodox view on those at the Council of Nicea, that out of fear the Christians succumbed to his wishes. That is not true. If anything, it was Constantine who was swayed by them. Historical records tell us that, upon seeing the scars and wounds of the believers who had been tortured for their faith in Christ, Constantine went around kissing those scars. These Christians, many of whom had lost eyes and limbs for their faith, would not have yielded to pressure from Constantine.

    Athanasius (296-373 AD)

    4th CENTURY: Council of Nicea

    Athanasius asked Arius rhetorically, “... how many fathers [in other words, the writings of the early Christians] can you cite for your phrases?” The great majority at the Council held the belief that the doctrine expressed by the Nicene Creed was ancient and Apostolic.

    After 3 months of painstaking deliberation the deity of Christ was affirmed by that council. Arius and his 2 remaining supporters were expelled as heretics. The Council of Nicea, a gathering similar to the one described in Acts 15:4-22, condemned the beliefs of Arius and wrote the first version of the now famous creed proclaiming:

    “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (homousion) with the Father…

    Council of Nicea – the role of Constantine

    Constantine did play an important role at the Council but it is nowhere suggested that he was permitted to vote with the bishops nor that he used any form of force to obtain an outcome.

    The Church was willing to accept the help of an emperor, to listen to what he had to say, but not to accept the rule of an emperor in matters of faith. It must be remembered that the Creed of Nicea expressed what the great majority of bishops at the council found to be traditional, Biblical, and orthodox of the Christian faith, a faith in which they believed so firmly that they were willing to die for it.

    Despite his expulsion, Arius still swayed much of the church off and on for many years after the Council of Nicea. During that period, Athanasius, leader of the orthodox view and later bishop from Alexandria, was exiled 5 times by Arian leaders. The decision about the word “homoousios” in the creed was rejected by many because it was not to be found in scripture. Many bishops in the East rejected the council's decision to add the word to the creed while those in the West remained loyal to the council.

    Council of Nicea – the role of Constantine

    For those familiar with the ignorant claims in “The Da Vinci Code” (i.e. that Constantine was the engineer of the belief in Christ’s deity), it should be remembered that Constantine later changed his mind and supported the Arian party. Years after the Council of Nicea, Arius discovered a new way to interpret the word "homoousius" that agreed with his doctrines. He then asked to be readmitted to communion, but the Church refused. Arius then appealed to the Emperor. Emperor Constantine's favorite sister, Constantia, on her deathbed, implored Constantine to support Arius and he did so. A date was set for the forcing of the Church to readmit Arius, but while he was waiting for Constantine to arrive, Arius stopped to relieve himself and his bowels burst and he died (336 AD). Constantine himself died in 337 AD.

    Constantine

    Council of Constantinople

    Constantius, Constantine’s son in 351 A.D. sided with Arianism and the early church was showing signs of being split. Later the 2 emperors: Gratian in the West and Theodosius in the East; decided to put an end to the theological quarrels once and for all. In 380 A.D. they called the Council of Constantinople to counter the Arians. It ended in AD 381, when again the orthodox position of the Deity of Christ was upheld.

    C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity: The Three-Personal God

    If you have three dimensions, you can then build what we call a solid body: say a cube – a thing like a dice or a lump of sugar. A cube is made up of six squares. Do you see the point? A world of one dimension would be a straight line. In a two-dimensional world, you still get straight lines, but many lines make one figure. In a three-dimensional world, you still get figures but many figures make one solid body. In other words, as you advance to more real and more complicated levels, you do not leave behind you the things you found on the simpler levels: you still have them, but combined in new ways – in ways you could not imagine if you knew only the simpler levels.

    C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity: The Three-Personal God

    Now the Christian account of God involves just the same principle. The human level is a simple and rather empty level. On the human level one person is one being, and any two persons are two separate persons – just as, in two dimensions (say on a flat sheet of paper) one square is one figure, and any two squares are two separate figures. On the Divine level you still find personalities; but up there you find them combined in new ways, which we, who do not live on that level, cannot imagine. In God’s dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube. Of course we cannot fully conceive a being like that: just as, if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space we could never properly imagine a cube.

    The testimony of creation

    Finally we come to the testimony of creation. The mark of the Creator is imprinted on His creation. As Paul states in his letter to the Romans:

    Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

    The creation has a distinct tri-une imprint on it. The whole universe consists of 3 basic “components”:

    MATTER

    SPACE

    TIME

    The testimony of creation

    Each of these “components” are also tri-unities.

    MATTER exists in 3 STATES:

    SOLID, LIQUID AND GAS.

    SPACE has 3 DIMENSIONS:

    LENGTH, BREADTH AND HEIGHT.

    TIME has 3 TENSES:

    PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.

    Threefold nature of man

    The testimony of creation

    This is by no means coincidental. The tri-une pattern of the Creator is seen in the masterpiece of His creation: the human being, Humans, created in the image of God, are tri-une beings consisting of BODY, SOUL and SPIRIT. The functions of the 3 “parts” of man are:

    BODY: makes us WORLD CONSCIOUS

    SOUL: makes us SELF CONSCIOUS

    SPIRIT: makes us GOD CONSCIOUS

    The body, through it’s 5 SENSES, makes us conscious of the world, our surroundings, and other people. The soul, which is the seat of the PERSONALITY, WILL, EMOTIONS and INTELLIGENCE makes us conscious of ourselves and provides a “link” between our body and spirit. The spirit permits communication with and consciousness of God, once a person has experienced “REBIRTH”, which as we shall see shortly refers to the spirit of man. The soul uses the body to communicate with other people, and it uses the spirit to communicate with God. All decisions are made by the soul, which is the seat of INTELLIGENCE and REASON. These decisions are influenced by our spirit and our body. This gives clarity to the statement Jesus made to Peter, James and John in the Garden of Gethsemane:

    The testimony of creation

    Matthew 26:40-41 Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?’ He asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. THE SPIRIT IS WILLING, BUT THE BODY IS WEAK.”

    This illustrates the multiple and conflicting parts within each man. The disciples’ BODIES wanted sleep, their SPIRITS wanted prayer or “communication with God”. Their SOULS mediated between the 2 and chose to sleep, even though their SPIRITS WERE WILLING (to pray). This inner conflict within a man is illustrated very aptly by Paul in Romans 7.

    Romans 7:15-23 I do not understand what I do. Or what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do … I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature (OR MY FLESH). For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out … So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For IN MY INNER BEING I DELIGHT IN GOD’S LAW, but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

    3 tabernacles

    The testimony of creation

    An aspect of “the image of God” in man is reflected in our tri-unity. Consider the following parallel.

    MAN

    GOD

    BODY

    THE SON (Jesus)

    SOUL

    THE FATHER

    SPIRIT

    THE HOLY SPIRIT

    Just as our bodies are our physical, external parts by which we are known and recognized, so Jesus is the fleshly visible representation of the Father.

    John 1:18 No-one has seen God, but God the only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

    Colossians 2:9 For in Christ, all the FULLNESS OF THE DEITY LIVES IN BODILY FORM.

    Remember in creating, the Father wills and Jesus effected His will.

    Hebrews 1:2: “In these last days God has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.”

    This is similar to how our Soul wills, but the Body effects the will.

    The testimony of creation

    Just as no-one can see our soul, so the Father has never been seen although numerous instances in the Old Testament relate incidents when people saw God.

    John 6:46 No-one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only He has seen the Father.

    The spirit within a man seems to correlate to the Holy Spirit, who is the spiritual force in the Godhead, empowering and allowing for the operation of spiritual gifts.

    Satan himself, in his impersonation of the Holy trinity, establishes an unholy trinity:

    GOD

    SATAN

    THE SON, CHRIST (God in flesh)

    THE ANTICHRIST (Satan’s representative in flesh)

    Impersonates Jesus resurrection (Revelation 13:3)

    THE FATHER

    SATAN

    Seeks to usurp the Father's Throne (Isaiah 14: 13-14)

    THE HOLY SPIRIT

    THE FALSE PROPHET

    Impersonates the miracles of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit brings glory to the SON (John 16: 13-14) so the false prophet seeks to bring glory to the Antichrist. (Revelation 13:11-12)

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    Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)

    Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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