Who is Jesus: Do the Creeds Tell Us the Truth About Him?
What sense is there in clinging to a doctrine of the trinity which offends Jews and Muslims and which Jesus would not have believed? mark 12:28-34 shows Jesus to be in line with the cardinal tenet of Judaism: God is a single person, the Father of Jesus. psa 110:1 says it clearly. The One God speaks in an oracle about Adoni, positively not Adonai! God does not speak to God! He speaks to the Lord Messiah (Adoni, "my Lord, the king, Messiah"). Adoni refers some195 times to superiors other than God. It is a word describing human beings and occasionally angels.
The old arguments about echad being a compound unity ar fallacious. The word means "one and not two or more. "One flesh" is still one flesh. The idea of plurality is derived not from the word echad but from the idea of two persons being on flesh. But there is nothing in the context of the biblical statements about the "One God" that hints at plurality. In fact, Adonai (or the sacred name) is referred to by singular pronouns and accompanied by singular verbs multiple thousands of times. Singular pronouns tell us that God is one person. Rabbi Paul was not a Trinitarian. He believed in "one God, the Father and one Lord Jesus Messiah (1Co_1:1-4). The Lord Messiah is not the Lord God. In Gal_3:20, Paul said (according to the Amplified Bible) "God is [only] one person. There is no occurrence of the word "God" in the whole Bible that can be proved to mean "God in three persons." That is because the Bible-writers had never heard of the Trinity and did not believe in it.
The old argument about Elohim having a plural ending and thus pointing to a Trinity. . .was apparently not heard of until the 12th Century. It has been constantly rejected by scholars in both RC and Protestant camps. Yet it continues to be promoted by Dave Hunt whom many trust as an expert. Dave Hunt tells the public that non-trinitarians are "pseudo-Christian cultists." He says that "aberrant groups reject the Trinity. He also promotes the myth that the Trinity can be traced back through the early church fathers to the NT. This is not possible since, as many Patristic experts know, the earliest Fathers were unitarians in the sense that they believed the Son was begotten in time, not in eternity. The "Son" of these Fathers was definitely subordinated to the Father. He was not co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.
A dying God?
God only has immortality (1Ti_6:16). How, If Jesus is God, can he have died? An immortal person cannot die! That is a flat contradiction. Does it honor God to speak in such contradictions? -- that Jesus as God (who is immortal) died? How can Jesus, if he is God, not know the time of his second coming (Mar_13:32)? God is omniscient. Jesus did not know everything. Therefore, Jesus cannot be God, unless language has ceased to have any meaning. God cannot be tempted (Jas_1:13), but Jesus was tempted. If he was not fully human, his temptation was a charade. Did Jesus give up being god when he died? Did he give up being God when he did not know when he would return? How can God give up being God? That would mean that Jesus was not when he was on earth.
Trinitarians [and Binitarians] argue that only God could be the savior. But if Jesus, as God, could not die, how can he have saved us? Cannot God appoint a sinless man to be savior (Act_17:31; Act_2:22) "A man approved of God")?
All of these complex questions are solved if Bible-readers observe some simple facts: Thousands upon thousands of times in the Bible (someone has calculated over 11,000 times), God is described by personal pronouns in the singular (I, me, you, he, him). These pronouns in all languages describe single persons, not [two] or three persons. There are thus thousands of verses that tell us that the "only true God" (Joh_17:3; Joh_5:44, "the one alone is God") is one person, not [two] or three.
There is no place in the OT or NT where the word "God" can be proved to mean "God-in-three-persons." The word God therefore, in the Bible never means the Trinitarian [or Binitarian] God. . ."The word "God" in the NT means the Father, except (for certain) in two passages where 'God' refers to Jesus in a secondary sense (Heb_1:8; Joh_20:28). If Jesus is a much entitled to be called God as his Father, why these extraordinary facts? The word "God" can be used of a man who reflects and represents the true God (Psa_82:6; Exo_7:1).
Why did all translations in English before the King James render Joh_1:1-3 : "All things were made by It (not him)? How do you know that Jesus was the eternal Son of God, when no verse of Scripture calls him that? What if the word or wisdom was with God (Joh_1:1) and was fully expressive of God, and this wisdom became embodied in the real human being Jesus (Joh_1:14)? Jesus would then be a human being who is the perfect embodiment and expression of the wisdom and creative activity of God ("the word became flesh, "not" the Son became flesh"). If so, Luke's statement would be exactly right. "Because of the supernatural begetting of Jesus in the womb of Mary, Jesus is entitled to be called the Son of God" (Luk_1:35). . .There is not a hint in Matthew, Mark, Luke Acts, or Peter that Jesus pre-existed his birth. There is also no proof in the OT. God did not speak through a so-called pre-existing Son in OT times (Heb_1:1-2).
Does the term "eternally begotten" make sense? How can someone who has had no beginning be begotten? He can't. The term becomes, therefore, an oxymoron, a contradiction of terms. That which is eternal has no beginning or ending! There are no verses in the OT or NT which speak of Jesus being begotten by the Father in eternity, including Pro_8:22-31, which speaks of wisdom personified, not the Son. All references to the begetting of Jesus are either to his conception and birth (luk 1:35; matt 1:20; Acts 13:33 or to his resurrection (v. 34), his appointment to kingship (Psalm 2). Without an "eternal begetting" of the Son there is no Trinitarian (or binitarian) doctrine.
Adam Clarke says, "The doctrine of the eternal sonship of Christ is, in my opinion, antiscriptural and highly dangerous. I have not been able to find any express declaration of it in the Scriptures.
J. O. Buswell, former dean of the Graduate School, Covenant College, St. Louis, Mo., and writing as a Trinitarian said, "The notion that the Son was begotten by the Father in eternity past, not as an event, but as an inexplicable relationship, has been accepted and carried along in the Christian theology since the fourth century. . .we have examined all the instances in which 'begotten' or 'born' or related words are applied to Christ, and we can say with confidence that the bible has nothing whatsoever to say about 'begetting' as an eternal relationship between the Father and the Son."
Writers of the standard encyclopedias tell us this fact about church history: "Trinitarianism as a theological movement began much earlier in history; indeed, it antedated Trinitarianism by many decades. Christianity derived from Judaism, and Judaism was strictly unitarian. The road which led from Jerusalem to the Council of Nicea was scarcely a straight one. Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, to the contrary, a deviation from this teaching (EA).
Tertullian. . .was clearly not a Trinitarian. He wrote: "God has not always been the Father. For he could not have been a Father previous to the Son. There was a time when the Son did not exist" (Against Hermogenes).
Michael Schamus in Dogma, vol.3, God and His Christ, p. 216, explains, "The Christian writers of the second and third centuries considered the Logos as the eternal reason of the Father [not the eternal Son], but as having at first no distinct existence from eternity; he [Son of God] received this only when the Father generated him from within His own being and sent him to create the world and rule over the world. The act of generation then was not considered as an eternal and necessary life-act, but as one which had a beginning in time, which mean that the Son was not equal to the Father, but subordinate to Him. Even Origen, who in the third century initiated the concept of "eternal generation" of the Son was not an orthodox Trinitarian. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Origen, p. 1009, declares, "Origen's philosophical suppositions ensure that for him the Son can be divine only in a lesser sense than the Father; the Son is theos (god), but only the Father is autotheos (absolute God, God in Himself).
The Creed of Israel, of Jesus, and of True Christianity
It seems incredible that Jesus, who recited the great creed of Israel (Mar_12:28-34) and was a Jew, could possibly have believed in a Trinity. . .Jesus confirms and perpetuates the creed of Israel which described God as one person, the Father. He then defined himself as the Lord Messiah of psa 110:1 to whom he One Lord god spoke in an oracle about the future. . .This "my Lord" of David is translated from a Hebrew form of the word "lord" (Adoni) which is used 195 times to describe a man as distinct from God. God is Adonai (long vowel) and the Messiah is Adoni short vowel, "my Lord, the Messiah, the King").
No Jew could have expected his Messiah to be God in the Trinitarian sense. Moses predicted the arrival of the Messiah by saying that God would not speak to the people directly, but through a person like him, who would be raised up in Israel (Deu_18:15-18; Acts 13:33). To say that the Messiah is God Himself contradicts this prophecy, which announces that this person is not God but a human prophet! Peter and Stephen teach that it was fulfilled in the human Messiah (Act_3:22; Act_7:37), who perfectly reflects the will and the words of his Father and who is the "visible image" of god, but not God Himself.
Clearly, the One god is the Father and in close association is the one Lord Messiah (Mat_16:16). [see also 1Jn_2:22].
Finally, as to the pre-existence of Christ, Paul Tillich remarks on Joh_8:58 (Before Abraham was I am [he]): "This means that the universal logos, the principle of divine manifestation, is present in Jesus" (A History of Christian Thought, p.409). This does not mean that the Son of god pre-existed but that God's plan did. As Harnack remarked, "The miraculous genesis of Christ (Mat_1:18; Mat_1:20; Luk_1:35) in the virgin of the HS and the real pre-existence and the pre-existence are of course, mutually exclusive (History of Dogma). Luke and Matthew denied the Trinity when they described the coming-into-existence of the Son of God by miracle.