Missionary Claims #5

Claim #5: Christian belief in the trinity of God is compatible with Judaism

The foundation of Christian theology includes belief in the bodily incarnation of G-d, that G-d exists as a Trinity, and that Jesus was a mediator between G-d and man. "Hebrew Christian" missionaries claim that this theology is totally compatible with Judaism.

The Jewish Response

As stated earlier, Judaism maintains that certain beliefs may be permissible for non-Jews, but not for Jews. The Christian theology concerning G-d is one example of a belief that is absolutely forbidden to Jews according to the Hebrew Bible, as the following biblical sources demonstrate:

1) The commandment to believe in G-d's absolute Oneness was given specifically to the children of Israel (the Jewish people), as is stated in the Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear O Israel, The Lord our G-d, the Lord is One." The concept expressed in this verse not only refutes the plurality of gods, but also asserts that G-d is the only true existence. Biblically, G-d is not only infinite, but He transcends time, space and matter. G-d has no beginning and no end, as it says in Isaiah 44:6, "I am the first and I am the last and besides Me there is no other." While Judaism believes that G-d manifests Himself to His creation (humanity) in many ways, (i.e. as a judge or a protector) G-d's essence itself is indivisible and therefore without any possibility of distinction. Something that transcends both time and space cannot be described as consisting of three different aspects. The moment we attribute any such distinctions to G-d's essence, we negate His absolute Oneness and unity.6

The following verses from the Hebrew Bible, when correctly translated, further substantiate this fundamental and crucial Jewish belief in the Oneness of G-d: "See now that I, even I, am He and there is no god with Me" (Deuteronomy 32:39) and "There is nothing else besides G-d" (Deuteronomy 4:35).

2) Jews are also forbidden to envision that G-d has "any likeness of anything." Deuteronomy 4:15-19 and Deuteronomy 5:8-9 are only some of the many biblical references prohibiting Jews from believing that G-d dwells in bodily form, as claimed in the New Testament.7

3) The prohibition against a mediator is found in the Second Commandment, "You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:3) Therefore, the New Testament statement in John 14:6, that "No one comes to the Father, but through Me [Jesus]" is not acceptable to Jews. Even if he or she considers something to be a part of G-d, a Jew is not permitted to use it as a mediator. The Torah teaches that each person is capable of connecting with G-d directly.

These Christian beliefs, which have their roots in ancient paganism, have been the basis for the Jewish rejection of Christianity -- even on pain of death -- for the last 2,000 years. Historically, Jews have always understood that conversion would mean severing their relationship with G-d as described in the Torah.