The Ultimate Question If Jesus Was Truly God

Continued from Part 34

Is the Trinity Doctrine a New Testament teaching?

Paul, speaking of Jesus says, “for in him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).  Whether Paul is teaching a form of dualism or that this supposed supernatural power that has indwelled Jesus has become God’s unique representative to mankind is a dispute for Christian commentators to ponder.  

Suffice it for us to ask, if God was in the incarnate Jesus and was one with Jesus ontologically why is it that God knew things of which Jesus had no knowledge (Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32, Acts 1:7)?  Why is it that John’s Jesus says, “I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).  The author/authors of the Gospel of John recognized that Jesus was not part of the essence of God.  John’s Jesus says, “Now this is eternal life:  that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).  Yes, this Gospel’s author taught that God the Father was the one and only God, and unlike the later trinitarians he taught that Jesus was a separate entity sent by God.  John’s Jesus believes himself to be so exact in his obedience to God’s every desire that he claims “the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (John 10:38).  But, at no time does he claim to be one in essence with God.  Although he presents himself to be at one with God in will and purpose, John’s Jesus never claims a unity of person or equality in substance with the Almighty.  In the final analysis, were Jesus truly God Himself, there would be no need for him to be “sent” by anyone or anything.

And last but not least, consider this.  According to New Testament theology, Jesus came into the world expressly to offer himself as a willing sacrifice to atone for mankind’s sins.  Yet, he hesitates and prays for a reversal of the fate preordained for him.  The Gospel narrative portrays Jesus’ state of mind just a few hours prior to his crucifixion:  “And going a little way forward, he fell upon his face praying and saying:  ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.  Yet, not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39; see also Mark 14:35-36, Luke 22:41-44).  It is related that Jesus, supposedly one-third of the triune deity, needed an angel to strengthen him:  “Then an angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43).  With his alleged divine pre-knowledge of why he had to die and of the rewards that would be his for obeying God (Philippians 2:9-11), or himself, what reassurance did he need from a mere angel?  Did he have to be reminded of his role and its rewards?  Why the feelings of despair and failure?  Jesus was in a state of agony (Luke 22:44) in which he tearfully cried out, not for the sins of the world, but to be saved from death (Hebrews 5:7).  Jesus’ alleged exclamation:  “Yet, not as I will but as you will,” shows that had it been his choice, he would not have undergone execution.  Although he seems to have submitted to God’s will, in his final moments of life Jesus is said to have expressed feelings of frustration and abandonment (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34; cf. Luke 23:46, John 19:30) using the psalmists words:  “My God my God, why have you forsaken me?”  (Psalms 22:2).  In that last critical moment, Jesus who some say was a supernatural power and others part of a triune deity expressed that he did not wish to die and become a willing sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

As we have seen, the New Testament does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity.  However, even if it did, this doctrine would still be false since it does not conform to the teachings of the Jewish Scriptures.  God is an absolute one who is neither a duality, a trinity, a quaternity, nor any other composite being.  The transformation of Jesus into part of a triune deity is a chimera, an unfortunate distortion of Jewish biblical text, the New Testament, and the Philonic Logos used in conjunction with pagan motifs.  Because of misinterpretation, Christians have been misled into worshiping Jesus as the divine God the Son.  Joined with this is the notion of the “Holy Spirit” as part of a coeternal, coequal deity.  These concepts, in truth, have no place in a discussion of the ontological being of God.

Attempts to explain the doctrine of a triune deity can only be made by the use of extra-biblical terminology.  But, this can only mask, not resolve, the many contradictions of Scripture and logic inherent in the Trinity doctrine.  Every verse quoted by those attempting to “prove” the existence of a triune deity or that Jesus is God Almighty, can be understood within the context of the original language sources of the New Testament.  The absolute indivisible oneness of God stands on a solid foundation.

Tritheism or trinitarianism?

 Trinitarians may insist that there is only one God and indeed the vast majority of those who hold to this doctrine truly believe there is one God, but do they worship one God?  The point of contention is their further claim that there is one Godhead existing in three persons.  The problem is that this is not the God described in the Jewish Scriptures nor the New Testament from which they assume this trinitarian teaching is to be found.  The relationship they propose between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is not one of a Godhead existing in three persons, but one of tritheism, three independent gods of unequal status.  It should be noted that neither trinitarianism nor tritheism is in concert with the New Testament’s teaching on the relationship of God, Jesus, and the holy spirit.

Theoretically, trinitarians profess to believe there is one indivisible God, not three gods.  But, they say:

The Father is God.

The Son is God.

The Holy Spirit is God.

The Father is not the Son.

The Father is not the Holy Spirit.

The Son is not the Holy Spirit.

In applying this statement of faith to the actual teachings of the New Testament the result is tritheism.

How is that possible?  The New Testament teaches that there is only one Being who is God and that the pre-incarnate Jesus was his first creation.  The Gospels’ Jesus in his alleged incarnate form is not part of the Godhead and Jesus always physically separates himself from God in describing their relationship.  Moreover, the so-called post-resurrection Jesus is always portrayed in the New Testament as a physically separate entity from God.  That is, not as one of three persons existing as an indivisible God.  The Father and Son are always distinguished with the Father superior to the Son in position and knowledge.  In the New Testament, Jesus is never referred to as God the Son, but only as the son of God.  As for the role of the so-called Holy Spirit it simply has none as a separate coequal and eternal entity.

© Gerald Sigal