Despite not being described anywhere in the Bible, even in the New Testament, orthodox Christianity teaches the doctrine of the Trinity, God existing as three separate but equal persons.
The doctrine of the Trinity is foundational to the Christian faith. It is crucial for properly understanding what God is like, how he relates to us, and how we should relate to him.
The doctrine of the Trinity means that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Stated differently, God is one in essence and three in person. These definitions express three crucial truths: (1) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, (2) each Person is fully God, (3) there is only one God.
The problem with this is obvious once we recognize that the Bible defines a person as a distinct soul, an autonomous individual. Surely we’ve come to understand that there is no such thing as “Separate but Equal.”
Understandably, given its intrinsic contradiction and illogicality, the concept of the Trinity was one of many issues debated hotly by the early Christian theologians. Where did it come from?
We know that new converts clung to many entrenched pagan concepts. These problems were endemic and addressed in many of the New Testament epistles to the new churches. For example:
“…then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am…”(Galatians 4:8-12)
And Paul was not a Trinitarian. The concept of the Trinity, accepted by most Christians today without question, was not established as orthodox Christian doctrine until centuries after the apostles finished writing the New Testament. This alone should raise questions about the legitimacy of this doctrine.
The first defense of the doctrine of the Trinity was in the early third century by the early church father Tertullian…he noted that the majority of the believers in his day found issue with his doctrine…
Among the Non-Trinitarian beliefs, the Sabellianism taught that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are essentially one and the same, the difference being simply verbal, describing different aspects or roles of a single being. For this view Sabellius was excommunicated for heresy in Rome c. 220.
The doctrine of the Trinity is not found in either the New or the Old Testaments.
Judaism traditionally maintains a tradition of monotheism to the exclusion of the possibility of a Trinity. In Judaism, God is understood to be the absolute one, indivisible, and incomparable being who is the ultimate cause of all existence. The idea of God as a duality or trinity is heretical — it is even considered by some to be polytheistic.
If you consider yourself a Bible believing Christian, dare to explore the possibility that Trinitarianism is heretical?
Monotheism is distinguished from henotheism, a religious system in which the believer worships one god without denying that others may worship different gods with equal validity, and monolatrism, the recognition of the existence of many gods but with the consistent worship of only one deity...
“In the ancient Near East the existence of divine beings was universally accepted without question… The question was not whether there is only one elohim, but whether there is any elohim like Yahweh [translated as LORD in the King James Bible]…”
There is evidence that the Israelites before the Babylonian captivity in the 6th century BCE did not adhere to monotheism. Much of this evidence comes from the Bible itself, which records that many Israelites chose to worship foreign gods and idols rather than Yahweh…described by the Yahwist faction collectively as Baals. The oldest books of the Hebrew Bible reflect this competition, as in the books of Hosea and Nahum, whose authors lament the “apostasy” of the people of Israel and threaten them with the wrath of God if they do not give up their polytheistic cults.
When we examine the history of the development of the doctrine of the trinity we find that the concept of a trinity is not at all unique to Christianity. The driving force behind adding the doctrine of the trinity to Christianity was the corruption of the worship of the one true God.
“Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it. . . . From Egypt came the idea of a divine trinity.” And in the book Egyptian Religion, Siegfried Morenz notes: ‘The trinity was a major preoccupation of Egyptian theologians . . . Three gods are combined and treated as a single being, addressed in the singular. In this way the spiritual force of Egyptian religion shows a direct link with Christian theology.’”
Looking even further back into history, we find Hinduism is headed by a trinity.
As is the Babylonian religion and the even older Sumerian sources. “All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity.”
Naturally. The false saviors could only mimic the reality of the true Promised Savior’s unity with the Creator God through a trio of individuals.
More on this theology in later posts, for now just an introduction to the concept of the unity of God, his Word, and his creation.
“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them…That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:” (John 17:21)
This is so much more, and qualitatively so different from the general conception of “eternal life” being unending existence as ourselves in an immortal body, or as an immortal soul.
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Certain words like Christian and church have been used for two thousand years to denote a Gentile religion, or way of achieving life after death, which is different from, and succeeded and replaced the older Jewish religion. Judaism wasn’t even established until about 1,500 years into biblical history, so what was the religion before Judaism?
This study reveals that there is only one way back to Paradise – salvation from death for all humanity, through a savior promised to the first humans who brought death to all humanity.
“…the judgment of God is according to truth…Who will render to every man according to his deeds…Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God….are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin…But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
- the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
- Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood…
- that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Romans 2:2-3:26)
What does it mean to “believe in Jesus”, or more specifically, “in his name”? Honestly, growing up in a fundamentalist church which put lots of stock in a faith which was defined as no questions asked, I didn’t know. It wasn’t until I broke away and began questioning everything that it made sense.
Name = attributes, functionality, abilities, powers. Like Superman, Spiderman, Ironman, etc. For example, I am both daughter and mother, but not two different people.
Failure to understand the meanings of names contributes to the confusion over the shared identity of the various manifestations of God as well as the shared identity of various cultural manifestation of believers in God’s Promised Savior / Messiah / Christ.
According to Jesus Christ himself, salvation is not found in believing in his Christianized name or even in him as a historic personage, but believing in YHVH, I AM, Creator God.
“Jesus answered them…I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me…[the proof being] Which of you convinceth me of sin?…Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death [soul shall never be separated from God, the source of life]…If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him...Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him:” (John 8:34-59)
Of course, they were basing their rejection of Yeshua / YHVH’s Savior on a staunch monotheism.
“Thus saith God the LORD / YHVH / I am, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein…I am the LORD / YHVH: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another.” (Isaiah 42:5-8)
The fact is that Yeshua never claimed to be another God. He said “I proceeded forth and came from God / the Singularity”. The Word was, and remained monotheistic, united in singular oneness, with God.
“I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him…because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?…If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do…believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” (John 10:30-42)
“In the beginning was the Word / hyperdimensional energy , and the Word was with God, and the Word was God / both distinct from and united with God, as is all creation. The same / a part of the Singularity was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him / the Word both distinct and united with the Singularity and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men…And the Word was made flesh [reprising the first Adam who was made from a combination of energy and mass], and dwelt among us,” (John 1:1-14)