Book: Why Were You Born?

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Millions of mainstream Christians, Catholic and Protestant, believe that God consists of three distinct persons or entities—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—in one being. Put another way, God is one substance, yet three persons. Studies indicate that over 80 percent of those who believe in God hold this Trinitarian view.

It spite of this wide acceptance, the Trinity doctrine is not clearly understood by most Christians. In fact, the teaching remains largely a mystery, and most simply take it for granted that their pastors and church scholars are teaching the truth. The average churchgoer is not aware that even the best of scholars admit that “the mind of man cannot fully understand the mystery of the Trinity.”1

As Christians, our relationship with God depends considerably on understanding His true nature. But how does one logically explain “three persons in one Godhead”? Our only recourse is to look to the Scriptures for the answer; indeed, our beliefs must rest solidly on the teachings of the Bible alone.

It will come as a surprise to most Christians that the word Trinity appears nowhere in the Bible. Where, then, does the teaching come from? Note this intriguing quote from The Oxford Companion to the Bible, under the article “Trinity”: “Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament. Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the [New Testament] canon.”2

Pay special attention to the two phrases “later Christian doctrine” and “later creedal formulations.” History shows that the original first-century church knew nothing of a “triune God.” Rather, the doctrine was formulated by Greek theologians after the first century and was subsequently developed by later “church fathers.” Notice this admission from the New Bible Dictionary: “The term ‘Trinity’ is not itself found in the Bible. It was first used by Tertullian [one of the early Catholic fathers] at the close of the 2nd century, but received wide currency [acceptance] and formal elucidation only in the 4th and 5th centuries.”3

The nature of God was hotly debated by Catholic theologians for centuries. Finally, in an effort to bring some kind of clarity and finality to the subject, church fathers met in 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea to declare an official orthodox position concerning the “divine identity.” However, it wasn’t until 381 AD, at the Council of Constantinople, that the “divinity” of the Holy Spirit was affirmed—making a triune Godhead.

Thus, the doctrine of the Trinity was formalized long after the Bible was completed. Over a period of several centuries, Catholic theologians ultimately sorted out what they believed about the Godhead—and in particular about the Holy Spirit. But as noted above, the Trinity teaching “cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the [New Testament] canon.” The Oxford continues: “While the New Testament writers say a great deal about God, Jesus, and the Spirit of each, no New Testament writer expounds on the relationship among the three in the detail that later Christian writers do.”4

Indeed, no serious scholar today claims that the Trinity teaching can be derived from the Bible. As it turns out, many of the so-called “early church fathers” were thoroughly educated in Babylonian, Egyptian, and Greek philosophy—from which they borrowed such non-biblical concepts as dualism and the immortality of the soul. As these pagan scholars came over to Christianity, they brought with them ideas and expressions that reflect Platonic philosophies. It was this pagan influence that led them to force a triune definition onto the Godhead. The Trinity doctrine has since been a major obstacle to the understanding that God is actually a divine family.

 

Does I John 5:7 Allow for a Trinity?

As noted, the Bible nowhere describes a triune God. But what about I John 5:7—“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (KJV)—does it not reveal a Trinity? As many Bible students eventually come to see, this verse is 4th-century spurious addition to the New Testament. Peake’s Commentary says, “No respectable Greek [manuscript] contains [this passage]. Appearing first in a late 4th-century Latin text, it entered the Vulgate and finally the NT of Erasmus [and eventually the KJV].”5

Numerous Bible commentaries agree, and most modern translations omit the passage.

I John 5:6-8 should read: “This is He Who came by water and blood— Jesus the Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that bear witness on the earth: the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three witness unto the one truth.”

What this spurious passage demonstrates is that Catholic translators of the past were so zealous to find support for their preconceived belief in the Trinity that they quite literally added it. Remember, the Trinity teaching originated after the Apostle John had canonized the complete New Testament in 98-100 AD, This Catholic doctrine was not finalized until centuries later. As we will see, it is not a biblical concept.

 

Biblical Proof Disproving the Trinity Teaching

There are numerous key points that prove that the Trinity doctrine is contrary to clear biblical teaching. For example:

1) The fact that the word “trinity” is not found in the Bible casts serious doubt on the teaching.

2) The Holy Spirit is nowhere described as if it were a person. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit was “poured out” on Pentecost (Acts 2:18)—and was “poured out” upon Gentiles (Acts 10:45). A person is not “poured out.” Likewise, Acts 2:2 reads: “And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like the rushing of a powerful wind, and filled the whole house….” A person does not sound like a mighty wind, and cannot fill a house. In Acts 2:3, the Holy Spirit appeared as cloven tongues—something a person cannot do.

3) Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18, 20). If the Holy Spirit were a person, that would make the Holy Spirit Christ’s father, INSTEAD OF THE TRUE God the Father!

Clearly, the Holy Spirit is not a person; it is the power God uses to accomplish His work.

4) Jesus said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30; 17:21-22). He never mentioned the Holy Spirit as being one with Him and His Father.

5) Daniel, a loyal servant of God, spoke of only two members of the Godhead: “The Son of man … came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him” (Dan. 7:13). Likewise, King David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), spoke of only two members of the Godhead: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand…’ ” (Psa. 110:1). 

6) In most of his epistles, the apostle Paul gave salutations from God the Father and Christ—but never included the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit were a person and a member of a triune Godhead, Paul would have sent greetings from the Holy Spirit as well. Moreover, in three of Paul’s letters God the Father and Jesus are referred to as persons—but the Holy Spirit is never referred to as such (Col. 1:3; I Thess. 1:1; Hebrews 1:1-2).

7) In John’s vision of the throne of God (Rev. 4-5), he saw only the Father and the Son. He did not see a third person designated as “God, the Holy Spirit.”

But what about the fact that the New Testament often uses the term “he” for the Holy Spirit? The use of the personal pronoun “he” erroneously gives the impression that the Holy Spirit is a person. In such cases, the translators knowingly rendered the neuter Greek terms as the masculine “he”—because it fit with their preconceived idea that the Holy Spirit was one of the three “persons” of the Godhead. In all such passages, the correct translation should be it or that or that one.

Ultimately, Satan the devil is the force behind the Trinity teaching. Satan hates the reality of the Family of God. Satan’s religions—including mainstream Christianity—teach a closed, triangular Trinity; the Bible teaches an open divine family which humans can enter.

 

The Family Nature of God

While God is eternal and composed of spirit, there is something about the fundamental nature of the Godhead that goes unnoticed by most: God is plural in nature—i.e., there is more than one Eternal Being in the Godhead. The first allusion to this fact is found in Genesis one. In creating man, God said, “Let US make man in Our image, after Our likeness…” (Gen. 1:26).

This language concerns family. Indeed, Genesis 5:3 says that Adam “begot a son in his own likeness, after his image.” It was after creating plants and animals to reproduce each “according to its kind” that God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” This shows that man was created according to the God kind. So God is essentially reproducing Himself through humanity!

But who are the Us speaking here? 

Our primary clue is found in the word “God.” The English word God is translated from the Hebrew word Elohim, which is a plural noun. This word reveals essential knowledge concerning the nature of God. Like English plural nouns, Hebrew plural nouns refer to more than one person or thing. As the plural noun “men” inherently means more than one man, Elohim means more than a single God Being. A number of passages in the Old Testament confirm the existence of more than one Divine Being (Gen. 1:26; 11:7; Psa. 110:1; 45:7-8; Dan. 7:13).

In fact, the Scriptures reveal that there are two who are Elohim. In the Old Testament, one Elohim is the God Who is called “the Most High” (Gen. 14:22) and the “Ancient of Days” (Dan. 7:13). In the New Testament He is revealed as “God the Father.” The other Elohim in the Old Testament is the God Who is called the “LORD God” and the “Almighty God”—the God of Israel. This is the God Who later became Jesus, the Christ of the New Testament.

This family nature of the Godhead is key to understanding God’s plan for mankind!

 

Appendix 4 Notes.

1. Harold Lindsell and Charles J. Woodbridge, A Handbook of Christian Truth, p. 51.

The problems in clearly explaining the Trinity are expressed in nearly every technical article or book on the subject. The New Catholic Encyclopedia admits: “It is difficult … in the second half of the 20th century, to offer a clear, objective, and straightforward account of the revelation, doctrinal evolution, and the theological elaboration of the mystery of the Trinity. Trinitarian discussion, Roman Catholic as well as other, presents a somewhat unsteady silhouette” (Vol. XIV, p. 295).

2. The Oxford Companion to the Bible; 1993; “Trinity”

3. New Bible Dictionary; 1996; “Trinity”

4. The Oxford Companion to the Bible; 1993; “Trinity”

5. Peake’s Bible Commentary, p. 1038

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