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Back to:  Anwers to Arguments I    Trinity Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 6

Answers to Arguments
About The Trinity II

 Arguments  Against The Trinity 

1. Jesus as Creator

Argument against: God Created through Jesus.

Scripture Which Refutes this Argument:

Isaiah 44:24 "Thus says Yehovah-your-Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, ĎI, Yehovah, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone.í"

Yehovah also calls himself here our redeemer which Jesus claimed about Himself. Jesus is God.

2. Jesus is Emanuel "God with us" a description of who He is, not a name.

Argument against: Isaiah 7:14 & Matt 1:22: The name Emanuel just another name with God in it like Ezekiel meaning God is Strong, not that Jesus is God.

Answer: The name Emanuel is not a name given to Jesus, he is never addressed as Emanuel, but describes who He is: God with us.

3. Jesus is Mighty-God

Argument against: Isaiah 9:6 Jesus is called "Mighty-God" but not "Almighty God." Thus He is not equal to the Father.

Answer: Yehovah is called "Mighty-God" in Isaiah 10:21 and Jer 32:17. Further, only the Father and Son are ever given this title.

4. God the Son prayed to God the Father.

Argument against: Matthew 14:23 When Jesus prays it does not indicate He is a distinct Person from God. Jesusí divine nature is praying to His human nature.

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Answer: How does a nature talk to a nature? People talk to people. In this case, Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity, is communing with the Father, the first Person of the Trinity. Matthew 26:42 makes this clear: "He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, ĎMy Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.í"

5. Jesus is God the Word.

Argument against: The phrase "the Word was with God" does not mean the Son and the Father are distinct. "Word," lovgo",68 simply means "something said" and refers to God speaking in creation "In the beginning" ó Genesis 1:1, 3.

Answer: The word "with," pro",67 means "to, towards" when used with the accusative as it is here (Thayer, p.541). The word is generally translated "to" or "toward" (NKJV) or "unto" (KJV). So this phrase cannot be referring to "something said" coming from God. Also, in the first phrase of this verse "was" (Gr. en) is imperfect. This verbal form indicates the Word was existing before creation began.63/217 So it cannot refer to "something said" during the creation period.

Logos has a wide variety of meanings in the NT. The exact meaning is determined by context. Given the above, plus the use of the definitive article ("the"), something more than just "something said" is being referred to.

Argument against: John 1:1 The second "God" doesnít have the definite article "the", so it must be translated "a god."

Answer: "God" in John 1:6,12,13 doesnít have the article but it is not translated "a god" in these verses. The grammar is "emphasizing quality, the Word had the same nature as God".63/217

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6. John 5:18 Jesus claimed to be God.

Argument against: Jesus isnít claiming Deity here; the Jews misunderstood Him.

Answer: when John 3:16 states that Jesus is the only Son of God, it means just that, that He is of the essence of God, God Himself. Jesus was a Jew talking to Jews in their language and customs. They understood Him clearly to claim to be of the essence of God, God Himself. "Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He ... said God was His own Father making Himself equal to God."

7. Jesus is Yehovah, hw:hoy“,65 !Egwv Eijmi, "I Am."

Argument against: John 8:58 "I Am" should be rendered, "I have been." And in Exod 3:14 (in the LXX) the text actually reads "I Am the Being" not just "I Am."

Answer: "I have been" (which would be perfect tense) is an impossible rendering of the present tense verb used in John 8:58. Also, in Deut 32:39 and Isa 43:10 God refers to Himself simply as "I Am."

8. Jesus and the Father are of one essence.

Argument against: John 10:30 "I and the Father are one" only indicates they are one in agreement or purpose, not essence as is the case in John 17:20-23.

Answer: See discussion of John 10:22-42 in Section 3 Chapter 3 on the Deity of Jesus.

9. Jesus is Lord and God.

Argument against: John 20:28 Thomasí saying "my Lord and my God" is simply an exclamation.

Answer: The text specifically reads Thomas, "said to Him." Also in a Jewish society, it would be blasphemy to use the words "Lord" and "God" in such a manner.

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10. The Holy Spirit is a person of the Godhead.

Argument against: Acts 13:1-5 When the Holy Spirit is referred to in personal terms it is only personification.

Answer: Personification is poetic language. It is often used in poetry and personal conversations, but not in historical accounts. See also Acts 1:16; 5:3,32; 8:28; 9:31; 10:19; 11:12; 15:28; 16:6f; 20:23,28; 21:11.

11. Jesus is King of kings, 1Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16.

Argument against: In Dan 2:37 Nebuchadnezzar is called "king of kings." So Jesus and God both being called by this title doesnít mean Jesus is God.

Answer: Nebuchadnezzar claimed to be king of kings, but God made it plain to Him in Daniel 4:28-35 that He and he alone is Most-High, h;aL;[I,64 over all the realm of the earth. By definition there can be only one "King of kings."

12. Jesus is God and Savior.

Argument against: Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1 "God" and "Savior" refer to two different Persons, not just to Jesus.

Answer: In 2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 3:18 "Lord" and "Savior" both refer to Jesus and the grammatical construction is identical except "Lord" is substituted for "God."

13. Jesus is the Alpha & the Omega, the First and Last.

Argument against: Revelation 1:18 The Father is speaking.

Answer: 1:7,11-18 demonstrates clearly that Jesus is speaking. This is why most "red-letter" Bibles have these words in red. Thus, it is Jesus who is calling Himself, "the Alpha and Omega" and "the Almighty" (Rev 21:5-7).

 Arguments Against 
 Jesus' Deity 

1. Matthew 28:18 Jesus had to receive His authority "in heaven and in earth."

Answer: After His resurrection, Jesus had His authority RESTORED to Him which He willingly "emptied Himself" of for the incarnation (Phil 2:7).

2. Luke 22:42 Jesus prays to the Father and submits His will to the Fatherís will. Thus, Jesus is separate from, and inferior to the Father.

Answer: The Trinity doctrine includes the idea of the Father and the Son being separate Persons with separate wills. And it is not a denial of essential equality for one person to submit to another. If it is, then women would be essentially inferior to men (Eph 5:22; but see Gal 3:28).

3. John 1:2 Jesus canít be "with God" and be God.

Answer: Jesus is "with" God as regards His Person; He is equal to God the Father as regards His essence (Heb 1:3). The distinction between "Person" and "essence" must always be remembered when discussing the Trinity. The doctrine teaches that God is "three Persons in one essence."

4. John 1:18 "No man has seen God at any time" but people have seen Jesus.

Answer: People have seen God (Gen 18; Exod 24:9-11; 33:11, 20). It is God the Father no one has seen (John 6:46). The O.T. appearances of God are more specifically appearances of God the Son (cp. John 12:41 with Isa 6:5).

5. John 14:28 Jesus states, "My Father is greater than I."

Answer: Indicates positional, not essential relationship. Or, Jesus is speaking from His human nature. Or, the result of the kenosis69 (Phil 2:8).

6. John 17:3 The Father is "the only true God" so Jesus canít be God.

Answers: The purpose of this statement was to deny polytheism, not to teach about Jesusí essential relationship to the Father. Note Jesusí statement in verse two about receiving "authority over all flesh." This all encompassing authority the Father could not give if He had rival gods.

Further, "The very juxtaposition here of Jesus Christ with the Father is a proof, by implication, of our Lordís Godhead. The knowledge of God and a creature could

not be eternal life, and such an association of the one with the other would be inconceivable"70/1064

7. John 20:17 Jesus calls the Father "My God" so He canít be God Himself.

Answer: in Hebrews 1:8, the Father calls the Son "God", quoted from Psalm 45:6. Jesus also separated His Sonship from everyone elses. He said "My Father." John the Baptist said Jesus is God the Fatherís only son meaning of the essence of God, God Himself.

8. 1 Corinthians 11:3 "the head of Christ is God" - so the Father is superior to Christ.

Answer: The verse also says, "the head of woman is man." If this verse is teaching the Father is essentially superior to Christ, then men are superior to women (but see Gen 1:26f). "Headship" in this verse refers to positional distinctions, not essential relationships.

9. 1 Corinthians 15:28 The Son is subject to, and thus inferior to, the Father.

Answer: In Luke 2:51, Jesus is said to have been "subject" to His earthly parents, but in no way can Jesus be said to have been inferior to Joseph and Mary. In the same way, being subject to His heavenly Father does not mean Jesus is inferior to the Father. Positional, not essential relationships are being discussed in these verses (see also Eph 6:1-3; Col 3:20).

10. Revelation 3:14 "the beginning of the creation of God" means Jesus is the first created thing.

Answer: "beginning" is used three other times in the Revelation and each time it is used in a title referring to God and Him being the "Source" or "Ruler" of the creation (1:8; 21:6; 22:13), not that God had a beginning. This also contradicts the Bibleís teaching that God is from all eternity and that there was no god before or after Him. It also contradicts Isaiah 7:14, 9:6 and Micah 5:2 which state plainly that Jesus is from all eternity, the Father of eternity having no beginning, no end.

 Arguments Against 
 the Holy Spirit Being a Person 

1. Matthew 3:11 Water is impersonal, so the Holy Spirit must be also. And the Spirit is used to baptize. Thus the Spirit cannot be a Person.

Answer: Water is just a symbol. And to be "baptized by the Spirit" means to be led and empowered by Him (Acts 1:8, Rom 8:14). We are also baptized into Christ Jesus, Rom 6:3, does that mean Jesus is not a person also?

2. Romans 8:16 "He" is literally "it" in the Greek (autou). So the Spirit is impersonal.

Answer: The neuter "it" is used because "Spirit" in Greek is neuter (pneuma). And in Greek a pronoun must agree with its antecedent in gender and number. So it is just a matter of Greek grammar not theology. Also often a masculine pronoun is used when refering to the Holy Spirit like in John 14:16; 15:26; 16:8,13f. The "He" in Greek is ejkei'no",71 meaning literally "that One."

3. Acts 2:17 The Spirit is "poured out" which a person cannot be.

Answer: David, speaking prophetically of the Messiah, said, "I am poured out ..." (Ps 22:14). And Paul, on two occasions, said he was "being poured out" (Phil 2:17; 2Tim 4:6). So a person can be "poured out."

4. Acts 2:32 A person cannot "fill" a person let alone control a person at the same time.

Answer: To be "filled with the Holy Spirit" means to allow Jesus to be Lord of your life which means you are under the control of His Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is God which also means that He is transcendent, everywhere all at once, Psalm 139:7, He can control as many "as He wills," 1 Cor 12:11.

5. Acts 10:38 The Spirit is used to "anoint" people so He cannot be a Person.

Answer: The Greek word for "To anoint" crivw72 means to appoint someone and set him aside for the service of God. And God regularly uses a person to anoint another person, 1 Sam 16:3,13. So why canít the first Person of the Trinity, the Father, use the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, to "anoint" the second Person of the Trinity: the Son?

 Arguments Against 
 God Being Three in One 

1. Deuteronomy 6:4 God is one not three.

Answer: First, in Deuteronomy 6:4 the word "God" is Elohim, !yhiloa>,73 the singular plural form of the Hebrew term for "God," verses El, lae,74 the single form of the word "God" in Hebrew. Elohim is the term for "God" used in Genesis 1:1. Right from the start and in Deut 6:4 God makes plain to us that He is a singular plural unity of three persons: the Trinity. This is reinforced by the fact that in Genesis one Elohim is followed by the singular form of the verb ar;B; meaning to create. A plural noun is always followed by a verb form indicating a plural subject. However, Moses, while using a singular plural for "God" used the singular verb form to let us know that God is a plural one. Moses used the same term for God in Deuteronomy 6:4 when he states "Hear, O Israel! Yehovah our-Elohim, Yehovah is one!" Second the Doctrine of the Trinity has never taught that the Trinity is Gods but one God. The Trinity is one God made of three persons which means that they are all of the same essence of the one God. Third, the term "one", dj;a,,75 is often used as a composite unity in Scripture: Gen 2:24, Exod 24:3; 26:11; Num 13:23; Judg 6:16; Rom 12:4.

2. Isaiah 9:6 The Messiah is called "Everlasting Father" (KJV). Thus the Son and the Father are not distinct Persons.

Answer: The literal translation should be "Father of Eternity" since the word "Father" is before the word "Eternity" in the Hebrew text. Note that the next phrase "Prince of Peace" has the same construction. Isaiah 9:6 indicates that Jesus is from all eternity, an attribute which only God holds according to Isaiah 43:10-11, and that He is the creator and sustainer of time, John 1:3.

3. Isaiah 43:10 There is no God besides Yehovah, so there cannot be three Gods.

Answer: The Doctrine of the Trinity states there is only one God, not three, but that in that one God are three persons.

4. John 14:9: Seeing Jesus is the same as seeing the Father since they are the same Person.

Answer: The Trinity is three persons in One God. This means they are all of the same essence. Hebrews 1:3 states that Jesus is the exact image and essence of the Father, therefore to see Jesus is to see the Father because they are of the same essence. This is also the meaning of John 3:16 when it states that Jesus is Godís only Son. God has many sons and daughters, us, by adoption (Eph 1:5, John 1:12), but only one Son who is of His essence, thus God Himself: Jesus Christ.

5. Galatians 1:8 The teaching of the Trinity is "another gospel" since Paul never preached about the Trinity.

Answer: The context of Galatians 1:8 is referring to the means and method of our salvation, which is by faith alone in Jesusí death and shed blood on the cross verses attempting salvation through works, not the nature or attributes of God. This statement in Galatians has nothing to do with the nature of God.

6. Hebrews 1:2 God is expressed in only one Person, Jesus.

Answer: Verse 1 says God spoke "by the prophets." Verse 2 then says God now has spoken "by His Son." The Greek word "by" is the same in each phrase and indicates instrumentality.76 So, just as the Father spoke through the prophets but is not the same Person as the prophets; He speaks through His Son but is not the same Person as the Son.

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7. Hebrews 1:3 Jesus is "the exact-image" of the Person of God. So God is only one Person, Jesus.

Answer: "exact-image" is the Greek word charakter carakthvr77 which in the case of Jesus in Hebrews 1:3 is referring to His essence, uJpovstasi",78 and character. Hebrews 1:3 tells us plainly that Jesus is of the same essence as that of His Father and has the same moral character as His Father so that he is the exact image of His Father, but not His Father but a totally separate person from His Father.

8. 1 John 5:7 The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit are "one" not three Persons.

Answer: "one" (Gr. e{n) cannot be referring to one Person as the word is neuter, not masculine. As such, it refers to one in essence as well as one in agreement (see v.8).

9. 1 John 5:20 states that Jesus is "the true God" not just the Son of God.

Answer: The doctrine of the Trinity states that Jesus is the true God! More specifically, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the three Persons in the one Godhead: three Persons, one true God.

*In Review

Mormons argue against the Trinity by teaching there is more than one God. They believe the Father, Son, and Spirit are three distinct Gods.

Jehovahís Witnesses argue against the Trinity by denying Jesusí Deity and the Spiritís personality. They teach Jesus is a created being ("a god") and the Spirit is just "Godís active force."

United Pentecostals and other "Jesus only" groups argue against the Trinity by denying Godís "threeness." They say Father, Son, and Spirit are simply three different modes in which Jesus operates.

The Bible, however, teaches us clearly that God is Three individual Personalities with separate wills, intellects and emotions; but of Once Essence and therefore only One God.

 

Trinity Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 6

Next:  Ancient Jewish Writings About the Trinity
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