- The Trinity Proven to be Unbiblical
- Arianism Proven to be Just as Unbiblical
- From Everlasting
- Before Avraham was, I AM
- Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life
- Through a Glass, Darkly: ‘No Mysteries’, According to Who?
- Who or what is the Holy Spirit?
- So how many persons are in the Godhead?
- Father vs. Son?
- Shema Israel: YHVH Elohim Echad
- Adam & Eve
- Morning & Evening
- The Sun of Righteousness
- The “Oneness” of Arianism, Trinitarianism, etc.
God has Promised to Preserve His Word Forever (Ps. 12:6-7; etc.), and tells us that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God“ (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Jn. 1:10; etc.). One of the dangers of making an idol of an idea (or group of ideas), is that if they’re ultimately unbiblical (or otherwise based on a less than totally comprehensive survey of scripture) then we ipso facto (‘by that very fact, as an inevitable result‘) become hostile towards, and will ultimately end up attacking and denying God’s Word. This is why it’s so important to always be open to potentially being wrong, and corrected if necessary; and also why it’s so important to come to our conclusions on any given matter through truly reconciling scripture with scripture, which alone will result in a harmonious conception, that does not require us to generally avoid certain scriptures, decide for ourselves which scriptures “are” and “aren’t” inspired, etc.
Most of my readers will probably be familiar with the concept of the “Hegalian Dialectic”. It’s the idea that is essentially epitomized in the Founding Father’s of America warnings of a two-party political system. As Washington stated, “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty…”.
Now obviously this is very much the situation today in America, where nearly the entire US has been cattle-ranched into identifying as either “a republican” or a “democrat” when these are, of course, not the only two political parties that exist; and especially, when neither party actually represents or uphold what’s supposed to be the basis of our government: i.e. the constitution. Neither have all the answers, both are right/wrong about certain issues, etc. Both parties generally hate each other, and both are in fact controlled by the same jesuit order, the enemies of the America, of Liberty in general, and of Christ; whose goal is to make the pope universal monarch of the world (i.e. case and point, Donald J. Trump: educated at Jesuit Fordham University; Joseph R. Biden: honorary degrees from Jesuit Scranton University and Jesuit St. Joseph’s University of Philadelphia; and both canidates having sent their children to Jesuit Univesities).
So relating these notions to our subject now, the implication is that humans tend toward ideologies (‘systems of ideas’) that represent extremes. And that this type of thinking results in a tyrannical spirit, of hatred towards those we deem “not in our camp”, and to the giving over of ourselves, our resources, and our power of reason, etc. to whoever or whatever it is, that teaches or represents that ideology we identify with, and have made our idol (2 Tim. 4:3). In other words it causes us to make a ‘pope’ of sorts for ourselves, or a ‘king’ like the ancient Israelites (1 Sam. 8:18-20), instead of “[He] whose right it is”, Ezek. 21:27). And men (and demons) will capitalize on this human frailty to drive us into one extreme or another, as this will ultimately serve their ends. As long as the Devil can railroad us into an ideology (i.e. one that’s in contradiction to the Bible; though it be in minutest and subtlest way), he wins, and The Truth and The Cause of Truth ultimately lose.
I think this notion is very relevant to the subject at hand, because generally speaking, it seems everybody ends up going “all in” for either Arianism or Trinitarianism, as if these were the only two possible Biblical interpretations (and obviously the same negative consequences pertaining to political parties, that the founding father’s warned about, would be equally true here as well). Is it possible that neither represent the Biblically relayed conception of the Godhead? Is it possible we’re guilty of having ‘hung our hat’ on that one cardinal point we identify with, that we merely perceived to be true from a handful of scriptures, accepting the whole dogma-package as true, without a critical and honest examination of the conception as a whole against scripture, by the which perhaps we’d realize that none of the wholesale pre-packaged dogmas are ultimately unbiblical? It’s kind of like being stuck in a ‘pepsi vs. coke’ mentality when we should really be drinking something healthy and real, like say, orange juice.
So, in any case, the object of this study will be to try and come to a balanced, Biblically sound understanding of the Godhead (and yes, just to be clear,that is a Biblical term; Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:20; and Col. 2:9). We’ll start by examining the claims of the two most popular concepts, Arianism and Trinitarianism.
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The Trinity Proven to be Unbiblical
Today there are a growing number of God’s people who’ve realized that the doctrine of the trinity, at the very least, shares a commonality with paganism. So to begin, I think it’s important that we define the term “trinity”. As most of my readers will understand, the Papacy is the antichrist, and represents the seat of the modern day Mystery Babylonian pagan religions (Rev. 17:5). And thus, since she epitomizes everything that we generally want avoid, and also seeing as she asserts that the trinity is “the central doctrine of the [catholic] religion”, we shall use her definition of “the trinity”. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the trinity is defined as “in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another.“ So right off the bat we can see why Christians are raising an eyebrow, and many ultimately rejecting this doctrine, as it reeks of polytheism. The Bible says very plainly “The Lord our God is one Lord“ (Deut. 6:4; Mk. 12:29, but more on “The Shema” later!).
So, next we shall proceed to see how Arianism is just as unbiblical as Trinitarianism. We’re not going to waste much time with Unitarianism, other than to mention it, since it denies the deity of Christ altogether (most of my readers, I’m sure, wouldn’t altogether deny the deity of Christ, but if you’re someone who does, or who’s unsure, those scriptures will be covered in the following section on Arianism, and elaborated on throughout the rest of this discourse). Nor will be covering Binitarianism since it, like the trinity, it asserts that there are multiple persons in the Godhead (neither of these positions are very common among Bible Believers anyways).
Now, in passing, I think it’s important to point out to my SDA friends who identify as “Arians”, that it’s actually not possible to be anything other than a “trinitarian” if you deem E.G. White’s writings as inspired, since she referred to “the trinity” on several occasions in her writings, for a compilation of these statements, refer to this document (especially Pg. 23). Aditionally she made several statements affirming the eternality of Christ, such as in 1 SM 247.4 and 10LtMs, Lt 119, 1895, Par. 12-13, etc. (making it impossible to be an arian if you believe her writings are inspired). To argue her writings have been altered, or otherwise contain error is ultimately to inadvertently concede that her writings are in fact not inspired, or they’d be preserved, just like God’s Inspired Word, the Holy Bible. (And for the record, her writings have in fact been altered, as documented in this article).
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Arianism Proven to be Just as Unbiblical
Now, an opposite extreme of the trinity doctrine, which states there are “three gods”, would be to deny the deity of Christ altogether. That said, most of my readers who reject trinity doctrine, and that may identify as arians, probably do not altogether deny the deity of Christ (at least not consciously or deliberately). But that is nonetheless the traditional definition of Arianism (named after Arius, the 4th century “church father” of Alexandria). But they ultimately end up doing so in an extremely subtle way, by holding that Christ did not eternally exist, or that he was created. Now, the reason why traditional Arianism, while also holding this tenet of faith, went beyond it, totally denying the divinity of Christ, is because they were sensible enough to realize that it would be logically inconsistent to hold the one view but not the other (as we shall next proceed to demonstrate). But first, a fascinating side note, it turns out the greek word that Arius used as this basis of his conception of the Godhead, “anomoios” meaning “unlike”, is practically identical to the word “anomois” (Strong’s G459) which means “lawless”or “rebellious”!
Ok, so let’s reason through this together here… According to the dictionary, the definition of deity is “the rank or essential nature of…God…DIVINITY“. So to begin we see “God”, “Deity”, and “Divinity” are synonymous terms. They all mean the same thing. And they refer to both to “essential nature” and “rank” (and by definition they must, or these concepts would lose their inherit meaning, for what separates God from man, for instance, but the difference betwixt us and Him in rank/nature?). So, these words are interchangeable, and also therefore, it’s not possible that one could be one, but not the others. For example, one cannot be “divine” and yet not be “god”; or be “god” but not possess “deity”; Posess “deity” but not be “divine”; etc.
That makes sense, right?
Now obviously we know that God (i.e. the “un-caused first cause”, or “the self existing one”) could not have been created. And of course, we also know that God is The Creator (Gen. 1:1); So in other words, since the self-existing God cannot be created, and God is The Creator, it follows that The Creator could not have been created (again, makes sense, right?).
And so, bearing that in mind, since John 1:1, 14, 10 informs us that “…the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…the only begotten of the Father [so obviously referring to Jesus]…He was in the world, and the world was made by him” and so likewise in Colossians 1:16, “For by him were all things created…“, the only possible, sane and reasonable conclusion, is that Jesus is both God and the Creator, and thus, as we’ve already deduced, could not have been created.
Indeed, since the Bible says that God is eternal, and Jesus The Word of God (Jn 1:1, 14; or in other words the very mind of God; making up His very being, even as our thoughts are inseparable from our nature, personality, character, and even our physiology), then Jesus too must be eternal. I mean just think, it’s even true of us mortals that our words have eternal bearing (see Mt. 12:37; 2 Cor. 2:15-17, etc.)
Now we just quoted John, who told us somewhat indirectly that Jesus was God, but lets bring up a couple of the more direct statements found in the Bible, just to firmly establish this point, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever…Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God…the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.“ (Jn. 1:1, 14; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:8; Phil. 2:5-6; Acts 20:28; etc.) Additionally, the Bible tells us over and over again that Jesus was worshiped (Mt. 2:11; Mt. 8:2; Mt. 9:18; Mt. 14:33; Mt. 15:25; Mt. 20:20; Mt. 28:17; etc). And we know that even Jesus Himself said only God is to be worshiped, (Lk. 4:8). Now, it’s come to my attention there are certain deceivers out their asserting that the underlying greek, Strong’s G4352, “proskuneō”, only means to “give homage” or “respect”, and not literally to “worship” (in spite of having been translated “worship” 49 times, and never having been translated as any other word, not even a single time). But this argument too is ultimately built on sand, for if that were true, then the rebukes of Acts 10:25-26, Rev. 19:10, and of Rev. 22:8-9 would not make any sense. And by the way, Jesus also forgave sins (Mt. 9:2; Lk. 7:48), another act the Bible reserves for God (Ps. 130:4). So we see that according to the Bible, Jesus is God. And since God is described in the Bible as being eternal (Deut. 33:27; 1 Tim. 1:17), then once again, ipso facto Jesus had to be eternal, or he wasn’t God.
Now, while I’m no apologist for polytheists who’d turn the “One” True God of Scripture into a multitude; to deny the deity of Christ is perhaps even more dangerous than to be confused into thinking that; since the Bible mentions the Holy Spirit, the Son, and the Father; there must be 3 in the Godhead, somehow. For if Christ was not divine, then was just a man (since we know he wasn’t an angel, Heb. 1:5-6, 8); and if he was just another man, that means he was a sinner like other men; and if he was a sinner, then he could not have taken the punishment we deserved for our sins, onto himself (for he too would have the same eternal death sentence already abiding upon Himself, Rom. 6:23); and there goes the entire Christian concept of salvation, and we are yet in our sins.
Ok so, so far we’ve established the case by approaching certain plain and fundamental assertions of scripture with common sense and logical deduction. But for nonetheless, for those who don’t trust in God given Reason (Is. 1:18), God in His wisdom and mercy has yet provided in His Word several explicitly plain scriptures to infallibly establish that if we truly believe the Bible, we cannot deny the eternality of Christ, and which we shall now proceed to analyze.
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The First text we shall examine regards Mic. 5:2. Now we know this is Messianic verse because it’s quoted as such in the new testament (Mt. 2:1-6). And so what does it say of “He that’d come forth out of Bethlehem to be ruler in Israel“ (Mic. 5:2), that His “goings forth have been from everlasting.“ Now since we already proved from scripture that it’s impossible to come to the conclusion that Jesus was created, it should be out of the question that the “goings forth” here could refer to some alleged point at which He was supposedly created or otherwise have come into being. But nonetheless I’m personally aware of some who, with the most jesuitical cunning and craft, would try and maintain that although it’s true He wasn’t “created”, He was “begotten” or “brought forth” from YHVH, “at some point before creation”. Now of course, both the word “begotten” and the phrase “brought forth” do appear in scripture. But as I will now prove, to use them in such a sense is ultimately disingenuous (more as it regards the establishing of aproper interpretation of Mic. 5:2 after this digression).
The phrase “brought forth” appears once, in Pro. 8:24, and if we consult underlying Hebrew, we discover it was actually translated “pain” more times than it was translated any other word. We also discover it has a very broad and fascinating set of meanings, from “greatness” to “to suffer”, “be in sorrow”, “to be grieved”, “to tarry, wait patiently, carefully, longingly, or even anxiously“, “to trust”, “to hope”, “to look”, “to rest”, “to dance”, “twist”, “twirl“, etc. Of course, nearly all of these other possible renderings would correlate to other scriptures, and thus make them potentially valid translations. But for argument’s sake, even though no other time was the underlying hebrew translated in such a way as to indicate a point of origin, lets grant that “brought forth” is fact the correct translation, and that it does indeed refer to some sort of a “point of origin”. Since we already proved it’s impossible that it could be referring to the “creation of The Creator”, wouldn’t it be more logical to apply this phrase to the time at which he’d eventually be brought forth into the world as a man? In other words, in the exact same way the Bible tells us that Jesus was crucified even before the world was (Rev. 13:8)? Especially seeing as context of this verse itself specifically regards the Child to be born of Bethlehem?
Now as far as trying to argue Christ was not “created” but “Begotten” sometime before creation, the underlying Greek of “Begotten” is “monogenés” (Strong’s G3439). It’s a combination of the following two greek words: “monos” (G3441) meaning “Alone”, “Only”, or “merely”, and “ginomai” (G1096) meaning “to transition from one point (realm, condition) to another”, “to come”, “to appear”, etc. Again, one thing it definitely never means is “didn’t exist before” or “existed before creation, just not for all eternity”. In fact, another interesting aside, in Acts 13:33 the Apostle Paul Applies the word “begoten” to Christ’s resurrection rather than to His birth.
So the bottom line is, in either case, both of these sophisms are nearly identical to the type of irrational and faulty arguments traditional protestants make, like for example, when they say the law was done away with because “Jesus fulfilled it” (they essentially render “fulfill” to mean “destroy”, the very thing Jesus said He did not come to do, and in the very context of the statment they’re wresting , Mt. 5:17-19). To use “begotten” or “brought forth” in place of “created” to assert that Christ did not exist eternally is basically nothing more than deception through the use of an euphemism. These words, again, are ultimately synonyms, that although sounding better (and thus more plausible), are ultimately being used to assert the exact same thing, and thus still causes insurmountable contradictions with the rest of the Bible.
So returning to Mic. 5:2, to further prove this “goings forth” does not equal “created”, the first thing to note is, at it’s very onset, such an interpretation would render the verse a contradictory oxymoronic statement, “who was created (…when?…) everlasting“. How can one be “created” (an event which by its very definition occurs once at a singular point in time) when the connected adjective is “everlasting”, which by its very definition includes all of time; past, present, and future? Additionally if one consults the underlying Hebrew, they will also see that, just as it’s rendered in the King James Translation, the phrase “goings forth” is indeed plural (wait, so, He not only came into existence back in everlasting, but multiple times?). The underlying hebrew also reveals that the participle of this “goings forth” (have been”, as it appears in the KJV) actually has no basis in the Hebrew at all (in other words this phrase was supplied by the translators, which is why it appears in italics). And thus it could have just as well have been translated “His goings forth are from everlasting” or “His goings forth will be from everlasting“, i.e. Rev. 1:8.. Since the Bible says Jesus is God, and is presently mediating on our behalf in heaven (i.e. “the God who is”), and since we know it’s Jesus is coming again (Jn. 14:3; Mt. 24:3, i.e. “the God who is to come”); its preposterous to maintain He’s not also “the God who was” i.e. the God who existed eternally, or to altogether maintain that Rev. 1:8 does not refer to Him.
Very simply then, the meaning of Mic. 5:2 must be, that though Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, this would not be his actual beginning of days (as conception would be for an ordinary human being), but this “One to Come” would in actual fact have “originated from” or “come from” everlasting. In other words, all it’s saying, is that He was of Divine Origin, or that He would in fact be, God, manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16)!
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Before Abraham was, I AM
For the next testimony in scripture, we turn to the record of a discourse between Jesus and the Pharisees, regarding Jesus’ age. Jesus told them that “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad“. The Jews, understanding the implications of this plain statement, responded, “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?“ And Jesus, rather than saying, “no, that’s not what I meant, I didn’t mean He literally saw me, obviously I wasn’t around way back then”, responded, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM“ (Jn. 8:56-58). Now, obviously at the very least here Jesus was identifying Himself with the “I AM”, “the existing One”, “YHVH” (Strong’s H3068), that revealed himself from the burning bush to Moses (Ex. 3:14). But the implications of Christ’s statement have to be much more than merely claiming He only came in YHVH’s name, or was only His representative authority; He has to have been literally claiming to be the “I AM” of the Exodus; for not only does the very context of the conversation prove this (He was responding to a question regarding His age), but also because His specific response. Notice He says, “Before Abraham Was…“ . It’s not insignificant that He goes beyond the Bible’s contextual revelation of the name “I AM” (i.e. the book of Exodus; Abraham having existed some 600 years or so before then). And you see, the Jews Christ was dealing with here may have hardened their hearts against their own Messiah; they may have been in all sorts of sin, and compromise with babylonian religious precepts they had amalgamated into their religion; but they at least had enough common sense and reasoning abilities to understand the ramifications of His statement, which is why in the very next verse (v. 59) it states, “Then took they up stones to cast at him“, which was the punishment for blasphemy (Lev. 24:16).
And this interpretation of Christ’s Words only makes sense, for though the Bible tells us “no man can see [God] and live“ (Ex. 33:20) yet also asserts that “God called unto [moses] out of the midst of the bush…YHVH said…“ (Ex. 3:4, 7). And we find similar such cases again and again, for instance in Joshua 5 when “captain of the host of YHVH“ appears to Joshua, and he “fell on his face to the earth, and did worship“, and this Captain states “Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy“, indicating that it was the same “YHVH” that spoke from the burning bush to Moses (compare to Ex. 3:5). Or in Gen. 18:1 where it says “YHVH” appeared to Abraham. So again, since we know that no man can see YHVH and live, and since Jesus claimed to be YHVH, we know it must have been the same “Son of God” that Daniel saw (Dan. 3:25), who when on earth, was likewise able to be looked upon without dying. Although it’s somewhat incomprehensible, the Biblical implications are plain, the two have to be one in the Same. YHVH = Jesus.
This is actually the only possible conclusion, and is confirmed again and again, for example, with scriptures such as 1 Cor. 10:4 that tell us it was Christ that “accompanied, or “went with” the Israelites in the exodus. Or consider how scripture tells us that we’re created in God’s “image” or Strong’s H6754 “Tselem” meaning “resemblance”, or “…figure”. Since Jn. 4:24 informs us that YHVH is a “spirit” or Strong’s G4151 “pneuma”, or “essence, devoid of all…matter”, “movement of air/wind/breath“, etc. we must ultimately conclude that we’re made in the image of Jesus Christ, who, as we just scripturally confirmed, is indeed YHVH.
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Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life
The final Exhibit we shall examine here is contained in the epistle to the Hebrews. In chapter 7, the apostle is seeking to demonstrate from scripture that their must come a superior priesthood than that of the levitical order. One of the arguments he makes regarding the “Son of God“ (v. 3) is that just as Melchizedek was the “King of righteousness, and…King of peace“ (v. 2), so to he must be, “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life“ (Heb. 7:3). So there we have it. That’s irrefutably plain, and literally corresponds to dictionary definition of eternal, “without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing”. To say He was not eternal would be by implication to say that he had “beginning of days”, which by implication means He was created, since to be “created is defined as “to [be brought] into existence”, and as soon as we declare Him to not have been eternal, we ipso facto declare him to be a finite being, and thus relegate him having come into existence at some point in space and time. Only the eternal is not created, and only the eternal is outside of space and time.
As the old puritans taught (which, again, to my SDA readers, to an extreme extent represent the origins of the original seventh day adventist thought and theology, see The English Connection by Bryan W. Ball, 1981, a Sevnth Day Adventist author, and from whose book I came across the following quotes):
“God Cannot make a creature equal to Himself, nor beget a Son unequal to Himself“-Christ’s External Existence, and the Dignity of His Person, Pg. 31, by Thomas Manton, 1685
“God has many sons by creation and adoption, but only one by eternal and incomprehensible generation… One in essence with the Father, co-existing with Him from eternity…who became true man and did take on our nature with all the essential properties thereof, and all the common infirmities thereof, yet without sin” -An Exposition of the Gospel of Jesus According to John, pgs. 12, 8 by George Hutcheson, 1657
So, in closing this section, although it would be true to say Jesus didn’t exist eternally as “Son of Man” (i.e. “in the likeness of sinful flesh”, Rom. 8:3 ), according to the Bible, He had to of as “Son of God” (And thus it would be equally as erroneous to assert that, for instance in Col. 1:15 when it says Christ was “firstborn of every creature” that it means He was created, when this is common phraseology of the Bible, employed to signify Title, Status, Inheritance, Primacy, etc. (see Num. 3:13; Ex. 13:2; Gen. 43:33; etc.).
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Through a Glass, Darkly: ‘No Mysteries’, According to Who?
So now that we’ve debunked the standard ‘pre-packaged’ positions, before we further delve into seeking to better understand the Godhead according to the Bible, I need to make a little disclaimer here. In spite of some who may claim to have perfect knowledge and understanding on these matters, and who’d rebuke those who’d assert that there is at least an element pertaining to the question of the nature of the Godhead which is inconceivable to mankind, the Inspired Word of God infallibly declares, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…” (1 Tim. 3:16; see also Col. 2:2; Col. 1:27; 1 Tim. 3:9; Eph. 5:32; Eph. 3:3, 9; 1 Cor. 2:7; Rom. 16:25; Mk. 4:11; etc.). The bottom line is just as we cannot fathom ‘what God did before creation, for all of eternity’, ‘where God came from’, how it could be He always ‘was’, ‘how physical matter could be created from nothing’, etc. there are naturally also going to be things that we can’t fathom as it regards the nature of the Godhead. And so, while God is most definitely logical (Is. 1:18); just as he is above the laws of physics (for instance making the sun not set for a whole day, and even to go backwards in it’s course, Josh. 10:12-14; Is. 38:7-8, etc.), He must also be beyond the laws of logic (like for instance, God becoming a man and suffering; which is definitely not logical, 1 Cor. 1:22-23). He’s certainly not confined to Be or act according our understanding. And so invariably there is going to be some what a gulf which separates the Divine from fallen, fallible, and finite, mankind; at least until this corruption puts on incorruption, and this mortal immortality (1 Cor. 15:53). Until then, the honest and diligent will ultimately concede, with the Inspired apostle, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.“ (1 Cor. 3:12; and so to those that mock trinitarians for saying there’s a mysterious element of their dogma that must be embraced by faith; while at the same time essentially asserting that the “creator was creator”, that’s rather ironic, and to be frank, hypocritical). Therefore, dear reader, please bear in mind, that there is invariably going to be a gap in the understanding that I will likely never be able to bridge in this discourse (and as we see, any author who says it’s not at least somewhat a mystery, is implicated by the Word of God to be a liar). This exposition may in fact leave you with more questions than answers. But what I can assure you, is that every assertion I make will ultimately have been arrived at by, and accompanied by scripture.
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Who or what is the Holy Spirit?
Ok, so, since we’ve proven that according to the Bible: Jesus is God, the Creator, and eternally existed, next lets consider the identity or role of the Holy Spirit (just a note, it’s the same underlying greek whether rendered “holy ghost” or “holy spirit”).
Now, right from the onset, since we know that God is a spirit (Jn. 4:24), and that he’s also Holy (Lev. 19:2) it only makes sense that God is the Holy Spirit, right? But let’s just see if we can confirm that any other way from the Bible. One way in which we could establish it, is through the instance recorded in scripture where Ananias and Sapphira lied about how much they were going to Give to God. Peter equates the Holy Spirit to God by first stating in Acts 5:3 that they lied to the “Holy Ghost”, but then stating in Verse 4 it was “unto God.” For a third witness, we see in Gen. 1:2 during the account of creation, that it was done by the “Spirit of God”. So is this in fact God? or just His spirit? are they one in the same? They have to be one in the same because in Gen.1:1 it says “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. For a final testimony, the Bible declares that God rose Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:24), but then it says he was raised by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 1:4; 8:11; see also 1 Kin. 19:11-12; Zech. 4:6 ).
But, so, since the Bible also says that Jesus rose Himself from the dead (Jn. 1:17-18), and since it says both “Jesus” and “God” created the world (as we’ve already covered), wouldn’t that mean that they too are one in the same? Well since we know that Jesus was evidently conceived by the uniting of the holy spirit with mankind (Mt. 1:18; Lk. 1:35), it would certainly seem that must be the case. But again, just to be sure, let’s see if we can confirm this some other way, so we know we’re not wresting the scriptures. For one thing, Jesus told us he’d be with us “always, even unto the end of the world”, right (Mt. 28:20)? Now we know He’s not physically with us, so could it be that it’s by His Spirit, i.e. the Holy Spirit that He is with us? Let’s see, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit….That Christ may dwell in your hearts… the glory of this mystery...which is Christ in you, the hope of glory“ (1 Jn. 4:13; Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:27). Ok so there it is, Jesus is the Holy spirit (and thus to deny the eternality of Christ would ultimately be to deny the eternality of the Holy spirit, which would then be a denial of God’s eternality…do you see how to deny the eternality of any of these is simulstaneously deny the eternality of others?).
Okay, so let’s review what we’ve established so far:
- God is a Spirit (Jn. 4:24)
- God is Holy (Is. 6:3)
- God is the Holy Spirit (1 Kin. 19:11-12; Zech. 4:6)
- God is the creator (Gen. 1:1)
- The Holy Spirit is the Creator (Gen. 1:2)
- Jesus is the creator (Jn. 1:1, 14, 10; Col. 1:16)
- Jesus is Holy (Heb. 7:26)
- Jesus is the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:18; 1 Jn. 4:13)
- Jesus is God (1 Tim. 3:16; Phil 2:6; Heb. 1:8)
- God is Eternal (Deut. 33:27; 1 Tim. 1:17)
- Jesus is Eternal (Heb. 7:3)
So hopefully as we’ve come full circle, it’s clear that “The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4). There is a perfect oneness in the Godhead, not three God’s; “in [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.“ (Col. 2:9).
But, for better or worse… that’s not the end of the matter… There are still a couple things we need to consider, elaborate on, and even some common objections or seeming perplexities that must be answered, which, that which we’ve established so far, is inevitably going to cause for some.
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So how many persons are in the Godhead?
This is actually kind of a loaded question, as it really depends how one defines a “person”. I don’t mean to sound like a lawyer here; but it’s really true. There is the Bible’s definition of “person”, the common usage meaning of the word, and then the legal definition; all of which mean something entirely different.
Get ready for this, the legal definition of “person” includes not only “corporations” but also “municipalities, public works companies, and voluntary associations (collegia) such as the early Catholic Church“. Ok, so, I’m sure we’ll all agree there are none of any of those in the Godhead!
How about as defined according to the common usage of the term? The No. 1 definition according to the webster’s dictionary is a “human being” followed by, interestingly enough, a “character in a play”. Now obviously the second definition doesn’t apply, but even the first, which I believe most accurately reflects the common usage of the word “person”, isn’t technically accurate. Did God become man? Yes. But does that mean there’s a “human being” in the Godhead? No, rather, according to the Bible, the Godhead was in the human (Jesus, son of Mary, Col. 2:9).
Now as for the Biblical definition, the underlying Hebrew of “person” is Strong’s H5315 “Nephesh”. It’s the same word that’s translated “soul” 475 times, but is also translated words such as “creature” (9 times), “body” (8 times), “man” (3 times), and a whole host of other random words such as “fish”, “beast”, “lust”, “jeapordy”, “dead”, “deadly”, etc. (obviously, none of which are applicable to the Godhead). However, we do find that this word is also translated to words which could correlate to characteristics of God, such as “life” (117 times), and “mind” (15 times). So bearing that in mind, and since it says that adam became a living “soul” or living “Nephesh” (i.e. when God breathed into his lungs made of the dust of earth), in the final analysis, I would argue, that it’s technically not correct to say there are any “persons” in the Godhead, but rather that the Godhead is the Source of “personhood”, and that he imparted certain such characteristics of Himself to man when He made man in His image. So while Heb. 1:3 does tell us that Jesus is “the express image of [the Father’s] person…the brightness of his glory“ , the underlying greek for “Person” is Strong’s G5287 Hupostasis and actually means “substance” (5 times; was only translated person this one instance), “real being”, “the substantial quality, nature, of a person or thing” “essence”. , etc.
And so, also, “personality” being defined according to common usage as “the various aspects of a person’s character”, to say that Jesus was “God in nature” but not in “personality” (as I heard one person do) is silly (especially when, as we’ve established, Jesus was YHVH).
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Father vs. Son?
One of the most common ‘go to’ method’s employed by groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, or others who want to assert that Jesus was in no way divine, is to quote scriptures that indicate a Father/Son relationship, for instance Jesus praying to the Father (Jn. 17:11); asserting He came to glorify the Father (Jn. 17:1, 4) to do the Will of the Father (Jn. 6:38); etc. But as we’ve already proven; there are too many plain scriptural assertions of Christ’s divinity to maintain as much. But rather ironically, this is the same recourse of argument used by folks to attempt to assert the “partial” divinity of Christ (i.e. to try and make the case Jesus couldn’t have eternally existed, which as we already proven, is to ultimately deny His deity, since God is defined as Eternal, etc.). This, again, is where we must reconcile scripture with scripture to come to a balanced and sound conclusion, and not go to the one extreme of denying a Father/Son relationship, and the hierarchical relationship which is certainly elucidated and evident in scripture (1 Cor. 15:23-28); nor the other extreme of using this relationship Jesus had as a man with His Father to assert Jesus couldn’t have ever have eternally existed.
So how may we reconcile this strange paradox? Well, for one, common sense would dictate that the Lord Jesus Christ, becoming the “second adam“ (1 Cor. 15:45-47), born “in the likeness of sinful flesh“ (Rom. 8:3) would result in some sort of such a hierarchy/relationship, or however you want to refer to it. Especially when the scriptures tell us, “it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren…we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.“ (Heb. 2:17; Heb. 4:15), and that He came to serve as an example as how we’re supposed to relate to God and our fellow man (1 Pet. 2:21; 1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Jn. 2:6; etc). Now how could we imitate Him and use Him as a prototype to understand a healthy relationship with our heavenly Father, if such a distinction/relationship did not exist and was not manifest? This is reflected in the fact that Jesus’ favorite title to refer to Himself as, was, the “Son of Man” (78 times compared to “Son of God”, 47 times). The God of Compassion and Mercy wanted to be sure to wholly identify with (and to be able to be related to by) fallen man, who was created in His image; and thus He became fully man (he also had to become fully man to be able to make substituionary atonement). Thus it was that his humanity, his humility, his servanthood, etc. is often emphasized in scripture as it regards His sojourn here on earth. Were that not the case, it would not be a true testimony, for it would rob Christ of His humanity, from the Price He paid, and the suffering He endured, and thus His Greatness (and therefore shall we ever relate to Him, 1 Cor. 15:28).
But again, does this mean Jesus is not God? It cannot, for we have already covered the innumerable scriptural witnesses which make this impossible. Returning to (Heb. 1:3), we read that Jesus is “the express image of [the Father’s] person…the brightness of his glory” (Heb. 1:3). As we already covered, the underlying greek here signifies the actual “essence”, “real being”, “the substantial quality, nature, of a person or thing”, etc. But this passage written to the “Hebrews”; i.e. Jews who knew Torah; signifies even more. It’s literally a reference to the same “glory“, the “shekinah” or “presence of God” that gave the Law at Sinai (Ex. 24:16) and that abode in The Most Holy Place of the Sanctuary (Ex. 40:34; for more on this notion see also Benson, Ellicot, Gilbert, Pg. 338, 367, 370, 409, 413, etc.). And we know this is not mere conjecture, for the Lord Jesus Christ personally affirmed the same (Jn. 17:5).
Think about it; as we’ve by now firmly established, the Bible says Jesus is God; and of course, we typically define God as being “omnipresent“, “omnipotent“, and “omniscient“. But we know that Jesus had to “learn” as a man (Heb. 5:8), that He was weak like we are (Heb. 4:15), and that while He remained on earth His presence was confined to His bodily presence (Jn. 16:7-8). But he was still God (manifest in the likeness of sinful flesh)!
And so thus, when we read statements such as, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.“ (2 Pet. 1:2) we only need bear such things in mind to properly understand it. Such texts, rather than signifying a disunity, rather establish one. For how could Jesus be called “Lord” and how could “knowledge of” impart to us “Grace” or “Peace” if He was just a man? On the contrary, this verse is evidently equating “God” to “Jesus or Lord” by relating them to each other in such a way in the same sentence. The same would be true then of, say, 1 Jn. 5:20 where we read “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life“. Since “Jesus Christ” is the last subject mentioned, then the statement that follows it must be being applied to Him (the same way it’s much more directly done in Titus 2:13; Acts 20:28).
Is. 9:6 states plainly of “[the] child [to be] born…[the] son“ that He would be called “The everlasting Father“, and since names in the Bible represent something literally true of the individual, (for Instance “Esau” because he was “Hairy”, (Gen. 25:25) “Israel” because he “wrestled with God” (Gen. 32:28), etc. and since Is. 9:6 also gives Him the titles “God…Wonderful, Counsellor…The Prince of Peace“ we’d have to throw out scriptures such as 1 Tim. 3:16; Phil. 2:6; Heb 7:2-3, Mt. 21:15; Rom. 11:34; Lk. 1:33; etc. in order to also deny that He’s literally the “God”, “prince of peace”, “wonderful”, our”counsellor”, that the “government shall be upon his shoulder”, etc. should we attempt to argue that he’s not also “the everlasting Father”, or that these titles merely represent the authority of the Father in whose name He came, but weren’t literally true of Himself (which we we already repudiated above in our analysis of Heb. 1:3). We’d also then, if we were going to be consistent, have to cross out Jn. 1:1, 14 and Phil. 3:20 from our Bibles, and likewise maintain, that though His name was “Yeshua” and “Emmanuel” He wasn’t literally our “savior” or “God with us” (Mt. 1:23). For an elaboration on the significance of names in the Bible as it refers to the Messianic title “Everlasting Father”, see also the various Bible commentaries on Is. 9:6.
Here’s a rhetorical question which perhaps may shed some light on this dynamic of the Godhead, do you ever talk to yourself? Does that make you multiple people?
As we’ve already covered, the Bible says of Christ, that in Him “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily“ (Col. 2:9). So, on the one hand, of course, we can understand this verse to mean that the Holy Spirit is the fullness of the Godhead, which “tabernacled” or “dwelt” in the man Jesus Christ (even as He/Holy Spirit does us, who’re the “Temple of the Holy Ghost”). But there must yet be a unique way in which this is true Him, being the Son of God, that’s not also true of us. As we’ve already covered, the Bible tells us that Jesus, as a man, was born of a woman by the Holy Ghost. As it turns out, through the technological advancements in science with which God has blessed mankind (such as the microscope, and the study of the human genome), we now know that in order for an ordinary conception to occur, half of the chromosomes that will make up the DNA of that child must come from the mother, and the other half from the Father. And the only way the child will be male is through a ‘Y’ chromosome, which the father alone possesses to potentially pass down (otherwise it will be a female). Therefore it is evident just from the circumstances surrounding His birth alone, that Jesus must have been more than a mere man, for He had no Father from which to get half of his Chromosomes, let alone the ‘Y’ male gender determinanthe needed. Therefore this must’ve come from His Heavenly Father via the Holy Ghost (the discoveries of the Archaeologist Ron Wyatt actually proved this by the way, see Pg. 21). And so since, as we’ve already established, the Holy Spirit is God, we must conclude that Jesus, as the Son of Man, was equal parts God and man. Now obviously he couldn’t have been “half God” and “half man”, because something/someone is either “God” or their not.
Therefore we must conclude, just as championed in the Westminster Confession of Faith, “when the fullness of time was come, [He took] upon Him man’s nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man. The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure, having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety. Which office He took not unto Himself, but was thereunto called by His Father, who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.”
So to close this section, let us hear the Bible’s conclusion of the matter: “…Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.“ (Phil 2:5-8). For indeed, seeing “Divinity” and “mortality” repressent irreconcilable polar opposites, we must conclude with the Apostle Paul, that indeed, “without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory“ (1 Tim. 3:16); and in such a context understand the relationship of The Son to the Father, which are ultimately and literally “One“ (Jn. 10:30), which we shall now establish to be the true and proper interpretation of this verse.
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Shema Israel: YHVH Elohim Echad
Thus is the underlying Hebrew of our english rendering, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4; known in traditional Judaism “The Shema“). If you’re using a KJV, whenever you see “LORD” so rendered in all capital letters in the old testament, the underlying hebrew is the name of God, (“YHVH”, “Yahweh”, “Jehovah”, etc.). But if it’s rendered “Lord” the underlying Hebrew is “Elohim” (Strong’s H430); which is a plural form of “Eloah” (Strong’s H433) which means “God”). Now, nouns in Hebrew are gendered (kind of like words ending in an ‘o’ vs. an ‘a’ in spanish). And, whenever the suffix “im” is added to a hebrew word it indicates plural masculine, whereas an “ot” suffix would indicate plural feminine. So, according to this passage, Jehovah (singular) is Elohim (a plurality). Seems contradictory does it not? How exactly does that work? What are the precise ramifications of this? To be honest, I don’t fully understand (1 Tim. 3:16)! All I know is that that’s what moses was inspired to write, and the new testament affirms that’s what it means, for when Lord Jesus Christ stated “I and my Father are one“, “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him“ (Jn. 10:30, once again, the punishment for blasphemy, Lev. 24:16). Next we’ll look at a couple other occurances of this word “echad” to see if we gain any more clues into to how this all could make sense.
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Adam & Eve
While the types or “shadows of things to come” (Heb. 10:1) in the old testament often cannot possibly meet an exact correspondence in their fulfillment (as succinctly demonstrated on Pg.586 of Jonathan Gray’s Ark of The Covenant) we know that whatever the Bible plainly states, we can rest assured is incontrovertibly true. Therefore, for example, to point to the creation of Eve from Adam and proclaim, “lo, this must typify that Christ did not eternally exist, but was created from God” is ultimately a specious argument, since we’ve already demonstrated that such a reading creates irreconcilable contradictions with the rest of the Bible. So once again, if we’re to try and make a typology of the Godhead from Eve’s being taken out from Adam’s bosom, the only way to do so and yet be Biblical, would be if we applied it to Jesus in the sense that He, as the Holy Spirit of the Father in heaven, became man.
One thing that can be said for sure regarding that first Marriage, however (and all that were to follow), is that when Scripture declares, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24), when it says that they shall be “one flesh“ it’s the same underlying Hebrew “echad” we covered from Deut. 6:4. How could a man and women, which are clearly distinct individuals be considered one? Well actually, as it turns out, it’s been proven that our physiology literally changes and we literally become one with our spouses, through living together and intimacy. This has been discovered to be true in multiple ways, for instance, the melding of our immune systems through gut bacterias, and also through our bodies cells which manage, not only transfer, but even to continue to living in our partners, and even crossing the blood-brain barrier. And of course we know that a husband and wife also literally and entirely become one flesh through the person(s) of their progeny (the amalgamation of the literal physical substance of each, through the DNA; and of course also in personality traits, habits, etc.). So we find that this is actually literally true (and once again that the Bible is thousands of years ahead of science). And yet of course the husband and wife, while being one, each have their own will, and as will their child(ren).
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Morning & Evening
Another fascinating instance of the use of “echad” comes from the account of creation. When “God divided the light from the darkness” it says “And the evening and the morning were the [“Echad”] day“ (Gen. 1:4-5). Now of course, we don’t normally think of days in terms of a plurality. But that that doesn’t change the fact the Bible defines a singular day as consisting of two distinctives, an evening and a morning.
So I guess we can only conclude that, while their is only one God, God indeed has a plurality of “manifestations”, “attributes”, “aspects”; or perhaps we could even refer to it as “personas”, in the same way that a day consists of an evening and morning according to the Bible. Another thing for sure is, It cannot be considered merely incidental that Jesus said “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Mt. 28:19), and John “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [i.e. Jesus, Jn. 1:14], and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1 Jn. 5:7; i.e. in light of 2 Cor. 13:1). Again, if we deny the authority and inspiration of such verses we by implication call God a liar, Ps. 12:6-7; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Jn. 1:10).
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The Sun of Righteousness
Let us also ask ourselves, did not Jesus use His creation to teach man about God through parables? Is it possible that the sun, the brightest object in the heavens, literally the “light of men” would not also point to Him, who the Bible indeed calls the “Sun of Righteousness“ (Mal. 4:2)? Is God not sovereign? Is it possibly just a coincidence that when one squints their eyes and looks at the sun that it appears to the eyes in the shape of the cross? And is it also just a coincidence that the sun has 3 notable phases, sunrise, high noon, and sunset (while in actuality being one circuitous or “eternal” course)? That the perfect harmony of a chord in music consits of 3 notes, etc? Does that make it pagan, or did God create it that way? Is it also just a coincidence for example that we find the serpent, the flood, the madonna & child, atonement through the shedding of blood, etc. in every single religion in the world? Just because these things were perverted, and men worshipped the creation more then the creator (Rom. 1:25) does that mean there was no serpent, no flood, no virgin born child, atonement through His blood, or that the notions are altogether pagan? Of course, for we know from the Bible that all of these things are matters of fact by decree of the Only Wise God (Jud. 1:25). We also know that all of these things must have been relayed to Adam after the fall, as evidenced by Gen. 3:15 (and thus also to his progeny, from whence came all of mankind). Thus we see that though these symbols have been perverted in their meaning overtime by those who know not God, and been surrounded with pagan superstition and veneration, they nonetheless have their basis in fact. And that even God’s creation bears witness of His complex and incomprehensible “echadness”. Evidently these things all point to the One God who “manifests” (for lack of a better term) in three chief ways.
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The “Oneness” of Arianism, Trinitarianism, etc.
The Trinity Doctrine, Arianism, etc. are actually in essence the same. How so you ask? In as much as they both ultimately deity of Christ (arianism either outrightly or by implication in denying Christ’s eternality, and the Trinity by stating “the Son is not the Holy Ghost, and neither is He the Father”, etc.). And this doctrine (the rejection of the deity of Christ) they share with the Muslims, the Othordox Jews, the Buddhists, and not just these, but nay every single other false religion and cult of the world. And I’m not sure about you, but that’s certainly not a camp I’d want to be in (see 2 Peter 2:1). Those who deny the deity of Christ will ultimately die in their sins unless they repent and believe the Gospel ((Lk. 13:3; Acts 16:30-31), and those who so teach others, will ultimately be in even more trouble (Jam. 3:1; Mt. 5:19, Mt. 18:6; etc.).
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Well like I said, I don’t claim to have all the answers. But hopefully this exposition at the at least was in some way informative, and established firmly the fundamentals of our faith that the Bible definitely teaches.
But in conclusion, I just want to remind you dear reader, as it concerns our understanding of the precise nature of the Godhead; while it’s certainly extremely important to have as clear and Biblical a conception of the Godhead as possible (otherwise I would not have taken the time to write this), one thing is for sure, at the end of the day we are saved by grace through faith in the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). We are not saved by our knowledge of the Godhead. We essentially make ourselves Gnostics (which comes from the greek word Gnosis, meaning “to have knowledge”) if we think it’s our knowledge of anything that save us, or that with which God is most conerned regarding us, but rather Love (1 Cor. 13), bearing fruit (Jn. 15:8), “the weightier matters of the law” (Mt. 23:23) and even prophecy (2 Pet. 1:19) and establishing His law (Is. 8:16, 20; 1 Jn. 2:4; Rom. 3:31; etc.).
And consider this, while it’s exceeding doubtful that the thief on the cross thoroughly and perfectly understood the nature of the Godhead (especially having not the New Testament Scriptures), neither the little children “of whom is the kingdom of God” (Mt. 19:14), nor the Publican who smote his breast because of his conception of the exceeding sinfulness of sin and thus went home justified, it’s most likely that that pharisee that “thanked God he was so religious that he was “not as other men”, probably in all likelihood did think that he had a pretty good understanding of the Godhead (Lk. 18:9-14).
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This exposition is dedicated to David Barron of the ministry Third Angel’s Message, to whom I had initially conceded, when he maintained that Jesus was “created sometime before creation”, and who thus inadvertently inspired me to write it, after the Holy Spirit had impressed on my heart that He was ultimately me wrong, by recalling certain scriptures to my mind.
This exposition is also especially dedicated to Sister Genobia, who not only took interest in my ministry; but also greatly encouraged me to be “always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58), when I most needed it, and for having taken the time to send me many scriptures and quotes from Ellen White as it related to the subject.
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Bonus, a random verse I couldn’t find aplace for: “Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.”-Heb. 7:16, the underlying greek of “endless” signifies “permanent” and I’m personally not aware of anything truly permanent other than God.