Continued from Part 1
PART 2: THE PROBLEM OF THE SON
The Master and the servant
There are many New Testament passages that refute the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. An examination of statements attributed to Jesus by the Gospels, shows that he never said he was God or a part of God. Jesus spoke of his Father in heaven as his God (John 20:17), to whom he attributed superior authority, knowledge, and greatness (Matthew 20:23, Mark 13:32, John 14:28). The Trinity doctrine says “the Father” and “the Son” are coequal in power and substance, but what does the New Testament have to say?
The Gospels’ Jesus did not consider himself equal to God, for it is said there were things that neither he nor the angels knew, but only God knew. Mark’s Jesus says: “But of that day or the hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). Furthermore, when troubled by the prospect of imminent execution, Luke’s Jesus displayed submission to God and prayed for help saying: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42, cf., John 5:30). Are these verses from the Gospels consistent with the trinitarian claim that Jesus is in fact one in substance and power with God? Do they show agreement or equality of consciousness?
It is alleged that God did miracles and wonders through Jesus (Matthew 9:8; Acts 2:22, 10:38). If Jesus were God, the New Testament would simply say that Jesus did the miracles himself without having to make reference to God’s input. The claim that it was God not Jesus who was the actual miracle maker shows that God is greater than Jesus. The claim that Jesus in heaven supposedly prays on behalf of those who follow him (e.g., Hebrews 7:25), yet that God accepts or rejects his petition shows a separation of ideation.
These verses are representative of the Gospels’ teachings concerning Jesus’ relationship with God. But there are other verses as well which illustrate that the Trinity doctrine is not found in the New Testament. In Matthew 12:31-32 (see also Luke 12:10) it is stated: “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the holy spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age nor in that to come.” Matthew’s Jesus is here arguing with “the Pharisees who say he performs miracles with the help of “Beelzebul the ruler of the demons” (Matthew 12:24) and not as he claims by “[the] spirit of God” (Matthew 12:28). He sees this as their blasphemous denial of God’s power, that is, His spirit, as manifested through His agent (Jesus). Jesus is not talking about an actual personage called “the Holy Spirit.” Hence, we may reasonably presume that Jesus, if he is to be equated with the “Son of Man” (John 8:28), is not of equal status with an imagined “Holy Spirit” (supposedly the third member of the triune deity of Christianity). If both the Holy Spirit and Jesus were coequal persons in one deity, then there would be no difference between speaking against Jesus and speaking against the Holy Spirit.
According to Matthew, the mother of the sons of Zebedee requests of Jesus that her sons be given prominent positions to the right and left of him in his kingdom. Jesus then explains to her that such decisions are not made by him, but by the Father. He says: “. . . this is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:20-23). Does this statement illustrate equality within the Trinity?
Matthew’s Jesus declares: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:35-36; see also Mark 13:32). Do the various parts of the Trinity keep secrets from each other? How can the Father and Son be of one essence if the Father knows things of which the Son is ignorant?