Bible Articles on the Topic of Deity of Jesus

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.

Three Creeds

Three of Christianity’s most influential and well-known creeds are compared in the table below.

"Before Abraham Was, I Am"

These words are often misapplied to teach that Jesus existed before Abraham did. However, closer investigation reveals the opposite to be true:

Titles of the Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ has many names and titles, including such titles as the Son of God, the Word of God, the Wisdom of God, the first and the last, and the Divine Name represented in his “I am” utterances. These titles and names encapsulate aspects of his identity.

Preexistence and the Jewish Messiah

Jewish authors and sages had a very specific way of emphasizing the great importance they attached to certain central values in Jewish life and thought: they made statements to the effect that the features in question were preexistent in the sense that they were either actually created in the six days of Genesis or their idea came up before God at that seminal time. Among them they mentioned the Tora, Repentance, the Garden of Eden and Gehenna, God’s Throne of Glory, the Fathers, Israel, the Temple — and the Messiah. Of these various entities to which preexistence was ascribed, the Messiah is mentioned in a much earlier literary source that the others. He first appears as preexistent in the apocryphal First Book of Enoch, which was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic about 150 B.C.E. From that period on, the concept of the Messiah who was created in the six days of Creation, or even prior to them, or who was born at variously stated subsequent dates and was then hidden to await his time, became a standard feature of Jewish Messianic eschatology. In one version it is the name of the Messiah which was created in the Beginning; in another, his spirit or his soul; in a third, he himself was actually born and even his celestial throne was fashioned.

Preexistence: On the Eve of the First Sabbath

6. Ten things were created at twilight of Shabbat eve. These are: the mouth of the earth [that swallowed Korach]; the mouth of [Miriam’s] well; the mouth of [Balaam’s] ass; the rainbow; the manna; [Moses’] staff; the shamir; the writing, the inscription and the tablets [of the Ten Commandments]. Some say also the burial place of Moses and the ram of our father Abraham. And some say also the spirits of destruction as well as the original tongs, for tongs are made with tongs.

Creed of the Council of Constantinople, 381

This creed, drawn up at the Council of Constantinople in 381, is often referred to as the “Nicene Creed” and recited in churches. However the creed drawn up at the Council of Nicaea in 325 is significantly different than this creed.

Creed of the Council of Nicaea

The following, the actual creed drawn up at the Council of Nicea in 325, is significantly different than the creed often referred to as the “Nicene Creed.” What is commonly called the “Nicene Creed” and recited in church is actually the Constantinopolitan Creed from the Council of Constantinople in 381.

47 English Translations: John 1

The opening verses of the Gospel of John have proven to be, unfortunately, a veritable battleground and storm center of theological argument. Translators have often edited John to make him fit much later systems of theology. For instance, John, who was a Jew, had never heard of the term “trinity,” the proposition that God consists of three “persons.” Yet many of the church fathers made an appeal to such a doctrine by pointing to the opening verses of John. They managed there to contradict the witness of Jesus himself and present the reader with a second eternal “person” alongside the Father—giving the appearance of two “gods”. This error was achieved by first putting, incorrectly, a capital letter on the word “word” (translated from the Greek logos), giving it the appearance of “personhood.” Having altered the meaning of the Greek word logos by giving it personhood, the next move was to refer to logos with a masculine pronoun “him,” rather than a neuter “it.”

Let Us

Trinitarians . . . sometimes advance the statement in Genesis 1:26 as proof (in contradiction of the evidence of thousands of singular pronouns denoting the One God) that a plurality of persons in the Godhead was responsible for the creation. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’” This argument is precarious. Modern scholars no longer take the Hebrew phrase, “Let Us” or the word elohim (God) to mean a plurality of God persons as creator. It is most likely that the plural pronoun “us” contains a reference to the One God’s attendant council of angels,¹ who themselves had been created in the image of God and had been witnesses to the creation of the universe (Job 38:7). It is fanciful to imagine that this verse supports the idea that God was speaking to the Son and the Holy Spirit. Where in Scripture does God ever speak to His own Spirit? The text says nothing at all about an eternal Son of God, the second member of a coequal Trinity. Moreover, the “us” of the text gives no indication of two other equal partners in the Godhead. If God is a single person, His use of the word “us” means that He is addressing someone other than Himself, i.e., other than God . ..

Letter of the Synod of Antioch (325)

Amazingly, knowledge of this council had been lost until Edward Schwartz published the Syriac of this letter in 1905. Soon two other Syriac editions of this letter were published from other manuscripts. Most scholars now accept the authenticity of this document and the council it describes.

NET Trinitarian Bias

Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5, NET)

Pre-existence From a First-Century Perspective

All the authors of the Bible (with perhaps the exception being Luke) were Jews, and they thought, lived, and wrote entirely within a Hebraic framework. The Bible and the Talmud both provide many examples of where, when a Jew wished to designate something as predestined, the Jew spoke of it as already “existing” in heaven. Thus “pre-existence” statements in the New Testament really have to do with foreknowledge, foreordination and predestination. One of the most prominent scholars in modern christological studies, Larry Hurtado, states that, “There is today a virtual consensus among scholars that the pre-Christian Jewish tradition provides the most important background for the idea of pre-existence in the NT.” In other words, in order to understand the New Testament references involving pre-existence, it is important to read those texts from a first-century Jewish perspective.

Early Church Fathers: No Room for Trinitarian Teaching

“The object of our worship is the One God” (Tertullian: Apology, xvii).

Thomas Jefferson and the Doctrine of the Trinity

The following are excerpts from Thomas Jefferson’s Deistic refutations of the Trinity.

The Key to Bible Understanding: The Trinity

The Athanasian Creed, which is accepted by the majority of the Churches professing to be Christian, furnishes an authoritative answer. It states:

A Muslim’s Reply to Christianity

Christians and Muslims who learn something of one another’s religion find that a crucial issue is the nature of Jesus. The majority of Christians deify Jesus while Muslims say that he was no more than a prophet of God, a faultless human being. The doctrine of the Trinity avows that three distinct co-equals are God. In particular, Jesus is said to be God the Son, or the Son of God. As the Muslim questions details of this theology, the Christian characteristically forms a common explanation for our differences: He complains that Muslims do not understand the Trinity; that we are actually accusing Christians of Tritheism and other heresies.

Adam Clarke, John Milton, Buswell and the Eternally Begotten Son of God

Various voices have been raised in protest against what later became the Church’s official version of the origins of the Son of God. His beginning was supposed to have been in pre-history. He was presented as an apparent rival to the One God, coequal with Him in every way, even self-existent. Because the language of begetting was biblical it was maintained but emptied of recognizable meaning. Commentator Adam Clarke was one of many who protested about the garbled language attributing a non-biblical Sonship to Jesus:

Adam Pastor: Unitarian Mennonite

In 1546 an unnamed Flemish anti-Trinitarian visited the colony of radical Anabaptists who had taken refuge in Poland. G. H. Williams¹ surmises that this may well have been the unitarian Mennonite, Adam Pastor (b. ca. 1510). Pastor, who on joining the Anabaptists had changed his name from Rudolph Martens, was a former Roman Catholic priest. He had thrown in his lot with the Anabaptists in 1533, probably in Munster. He was ordained as an evangelist and soon distinguished himself by opposing the spiritualism of David Joris. At this stage of his career Pastor worked closely with Menno Simons and Dietrich Philips. In 1547, however, it became apparent that Pastor differed sharply from the Melchiorite Christology of Menno. The Melchiorites believed that even the flesh of Christ was not derived from Mary, but had descended from heaven. For Pastor this belief seemed plainly to threaten the humanity of Christ. Pastor declared himself a unitarian, holding that Christ did not exist as the Son of God before his conception, and that his divinity was derived from the fact that God dwelt in him, not because of an “eternal generation.” A meeting to discuss these differences was held at Emden in 1547, and the following year, at Goch, Simons and Philips officially excommunicated Pastor for his unorthodox Christology.

Case Study of Textual Corruption: John 1:18

Corruptions befell the text of the New Testament even before the time of the early Christians considered in this Report¹, as this section will show. It makes one doubt if it is even possible to know what the original text of the autographs actually was. Fee notes that, “…no [manuscript] or group of [manuscripts] has escaped some degree of corruption”.

Cause for Alarm!

Scholars use a lot of (I think wasted) energy trying  to find out what Jesus said, believing that you have to guess at this, since no one knows if Jesus said things reported of him in our Bibles, or whether the later church put words back in his mouth! You can imagine how devastating this technique is to the comfort and instruction which many of us seek in Scripture and the precious words of Jesus, the Master teacher.

Jesus Designated as the Only-Begotten God: John 1:18

A comparable corruption appears in the prologue of the Fourth Gospel, although here the issues are far more complicated and have generated substantially more debate and indecision. I will not give an exhaustive study of all the issues surrounding the text of John 1:18; these are competently handled in the commentaries and in several recent studies.¹⁵⁷ I will instead develop my reasons for thinking that the majority of manuscripts are right in ending the prologue with the words: “No one has seen God at any time, but the unique Son (ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός ) who is in the bosom of the Father, that one has made him known.” The variant reading of the Alexandrian tradition, which substitutes “God” for “Son,” represents an orthodox corruption of the text: “the unique God [(ό) μονογενὴς θεός ] who is in the bosom of the Father, that one has made him known.”¹⁵⁸

Confusing the Two Lords of Psalms 110:1

This magazine deliberately urges believers to think deeply about the identities of the Son of God, Jesus, and of God, who is the God and Father of Jesus. We encourage a complete rethinking of traditional Christology in the light of the all-important oracle provided by Psalms 110:1. This verse is precious to New Testament writers. It is a star witness, summoned over and over again in the New Testament. New Testament writers of Scripture quote it or allude to it more than any other text of the Hebrew Scriptures, by far. They wanted the voice of Jesus to be heard, since it was Jesus who silenced all objectors by citing the divine oracle of Psalms 110:1. Jesus loved this Psalm because his Father’s amazing immortality plan was revealed in it.

Incarnation Derives From the Hellenistic World

In his great study of pre-existence christology, Born Before All Time?, my Tübingen colleague Karl-Josef Kuschel has been able to show convincingly that the Pauline statements about the sending of the Son of God do not presuppose any pre-existence of Christ as a heavenly being, understood in mythological terms, but must similarly be seen against a Jewish background, namely in the context of the prophetic tradition. As he points out: ‘The metaphor of “sending” (borrowed from the prophetic tradition) expresses the conviction that the person and work of Jesus do not originate within history but are completely the result of God’s initiative.’²² ‘Paul’s confessions are about the origin, derivation and presence of Christ, from God and in God, but not about a temporally isolated “existence” before the creation of the world...”²³

Verses Sometimes Used to Support the Trinity

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].” (John 1:18, KJV)

John and Jewish Preexistence: Christology of the Fourth Gospel

The Gospel of John has been a hotbed of arguments, disputes, and disagreements ever since it was composed some two thousand years ago. Even now, modern preachers and theologians have become accustomed to interpreting the Fourth Gospel to the exclusion of the voices represented in its Synoptic counterparts, often going so far as pitting John’s christology directly against what is taught in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. More to the point, christological treatments of John’s Gospel are regularly detached from the vital and necessary context of the Jewish mindset in which the author lived and breathed. The unfortunate side effect of such interpretations results in expositors preferring their reading of the christological texts in John over and against the other voices in the Bible. The historian Roger Haight states that this observation is not simply a modern phenomenon, noting that, “[a]fter the New Testament period, the understanding of Jesus Christ became governed by the framework and language of the Prologue of John’s Gospel. The Jesus who was the subject matter of christology ceased to be the Jesus of the synoptics.”¹ Is this not, in effect, a canon within the canon?

Matthew 28:19

“Go therefore and make disciples of all, nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Philippians 2:6

“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” (Philippians 2:6)

Sophia in Rabbinic Hermeneutics and the Curious Christian Corollary

Canaanite and Israelite tradition celebrated Sophia as divine being or agent in creation, providence, and salvation well into Second Temple Judaism producing two strands of Sophianology which influenced biblical interpretation in Gnostic, Rabbinic, and Christian thought. Enochian apocalyptic tradition shaped Gnostic and Christian hermeneutics; while the wisdom traditions of Ben Sirach and Philo expressed the type of perspective more plainly evident in Rabbinic thought. By the fourth century CE, Sophia, the preexistent deity or deity agent who gave form to the universe and wisdom to the pious and learned, became the immanent human experience of illumination and wisdom, in that, for Rabbinics, Torah became the preexistent source of redemptive divine wisdom and power, and for Christianity Jesus took that place. Gnosticism persisted in an apocalyptic model with a deified though ambiguous Sophia, uneclipsed by a redemptive agent such as Jesus or Torah.

A Full Triadic Benediction?

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14, RSV)

A Review: When Jesus Became God

“Was Jesus Christ God on earth, or was he something else? Three hundred years after the crucifixion, Christians still had not made up their minds about this.” This was what the Arian controversy was all about.

Comments on the Feast of the Holy Trinity

During the great debate at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D, Emperor Constantine (though he did not wish to go to this meeting) summoned and forced the bishop Arius to attend the council. According to historical accounts, the attendees at this council were split into three factions:

Whose Feet? Speaking (and Standing) Through Official Representatives

“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof...” (Zechariah 14:4, KJV)

Does Colossians 1:15-19 Mean Jesus Preexisted and Created the Universe?

Multiple issues arise in Colossians 1:15-19 that have caused many Bible readers to think Paul therein teaches that Jesus preexisted and created the universe. From this they conclude that only God does that, so Jesus must be God. But Paul does not mean any of that. This text, which is about Jesus, reads as follows in the New American Standard Bible:

A Synopsis: Explaining “Jesus is God” Verses

Most distinguished Trinitarian scholars who have written on the doctrine of the Trinity cite the following texts as the foremost biblical support for these beliefs. We call them “Jesus is God verses” for simplicity sake. Not only is this an easy way to identify the verses, but also expresses what Trinitarians believe these verses teach. Alternative ways to understand these verses accompany them below.

Explanations to Verses Commonly Used to Teach that Jesus Is God

Isn’t it interesting how one statement can be shocking and controversial in one setting and totally mundane in another? For example, if someone came into a room of NASCAR enthusiasts and said, “Racing is so boring to watch—all they do is take left turns over and over,” immediately all activity in the room would screech to a halt so that one could hear a pin drop as each person with blazing eyes fixed their best death stare on the intruder. However, if the same phrase were uttered in a room full of people who didn’t care for car racing, there might be a brief chuckle, but then life would go on. So it is with the phrase, “Jesus is God.” Among my own biblical, unitarian¹ brothers and sisters, this statement is not only understood as false and pejorative, it may even trigger memories of ridicule and exclusion from mainstream Christians. Yet, in any other Christian context, trinitarian or modalist,² the phrase, “Jesus is God,” is utterly mundane and doesn’t even warrant raising an eyebrow. Even so, there are at least two instances in the New Testament in which Jesus is called God.³ So, the question we need to ask is not, “Is Jesus God?” but, “What does the Bible mean when it says, Jesus is God?”⁴ But, before we look at the two places in the New Testament where Jesus is called God, it is necessary to build our understanding of a biblical notion called representational deity, in order to give us the required interpretive tools to understand what the Bible means when humans are called “Gods.”

Recommended Reading: When Jesus Became God

When I picked up Richard Rubenstein’s When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight over Christ’s Divinity in the Last Days of Rome (Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1999), I was stirred wide awake and remained so from start to finish. This is an account of one of the greatest doctrinal battles of early Christianity, and Rubenstein’s lively telling reads like a political thriller. My fascination with this book prompted me to interview the distinguished professor from George Mason University. I wanted to know: how did a secular Jew, a sociologist by training, whose area of expertise centers on Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs, become embroiled in the internecine warfare of Christians in the Fourth Century of the Common Era?

The Trinity Controversy: Alexander, Alexandria, Arius and Nicea

“When modern readers are introduced to the theological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries, they are sometimes shocked by the atmosphere in which they took place. Those debates were not carried on by calm scholars sitting in their manuscript-lined studies. From one perspective, the story is one of misunderstandings, vicious personal attacks, distortions, violence, bribes, mutual excommunication, intervention by emperors, and the deposition and exile of bishops and others who lost in the struggle. From another perspective, the story is one of theological creativity that has shaped Christian beliefs for about fifteen centuries.”

The Catholic Faith

Book 16, the final book of the Theodosian Code, treats religion. The tenor and contents of this book give us a sense of how the imperial court refashioned its own religious authority in the centuries following the legalization of Christianity. Although bishops might attempt to subordinate the imperial house to episcopal authority, the emperors still maintained their role as guardians of religious equilibrium. So emperors convoked Christian councils and legislated on religion.

"The Trinity is Like a 3-in-1 Shampoo”...and Other Stupid Statements

Alternate title: “Trinitarian Heresy 101”

Trinity

The traditional Christian doctrine of the Trinity is commonly expressed as the statement that the one God exists as or in three equally divine “persons”, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Every significant concept in this statement (God, exists, as or in, equally divine, person) has been variously understood. The guiding principle has been the creedal declaration that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of the New Testament are consubstantial (i.e. the same in substance or essence, Greek: homoousios). Because this shared substance or essence is a divine one, this is understood to imply that all three named individuals are divine, and equally so. Yet the three in some sense “are” the one God of the Bible.

Type I, Type II and Type III Trinitarianism

Seven years ago I sat down and drafted a template for debating Trinitarians. As part of this process, I identified three specific Trinitarian methodologies. I refer to them as Type I, Type II and Type III Trinitarianism.

From the Foundation of the World

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

How Jesus Became God

When we meet together each Sunday, at the opening of the service, it is quite common for presiding brothers in their public prayers to give thanks to God for the fact that we are able to meet together in “peace and safety.” That portion of their prayer concerning our being able to meet together in “peace and safety” is something that we can easily take for granted. These prayers remind us that we live in a country where we do not have to worry about being physically attacked by religious adversaries or arrested by our government for simply showing up here each Sunday to worship God according to our consciences. But for many people, for many centuries, in various lands,… for them this wasn’t always the case.

Incarnation Rebuttal: The Word Becoming Flesh?

The following is a transcription of a sermon by Bill Kynes, pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church, in Annandale, Virginia, given on December 20, 2015. The title of his sermon was, “Incarnation: The Word Becoming Flesh.” I was in the audience listening to the pastor’s message and found myself disagreeing with much of what the pastor put forth. I decided to transcribe Pastor Kynes’ words (found in blue type-face) and insert my comments (found in black type-face) along the way.

By Most Careful Personal Examination

It is a little known fact that no major English Bible translation ever uses the words “incarnate” or “incarnation.”¹ When you hear pastors make reference to “the incarnation,” or that “God was incarnate,” they allude to 1 Timothy 3:16, a text which has been translated in several ways (on account of variations in the Greek manuscripts). The King James and NKJ versions translate the verse in the following manner:

The Word Had Created Him, Not He the Word

It must be observed that John never represents Jesus as God but always as the Son of God. The whole purpose of his writing, he declares, is” that ye may believe that Jesus is, the Christ, the Son of God.” So the separation of Father and Son is always observed and the Song of Solomon always appears as subordinate to the Father: it is, for example, the Father Who sent the Son into the world. Again Jesus never proclaims himself as God but deliberately emphasises his dependence upon God in all things. He can do nothing of himself, and he does not speak of himself but as he has been commanded by the Father; when he claims to reveal that Father to men, it is as the Son of God: and, when he affirms his unity with God, it is a unity which can be enjoyed also by those who become his disciples. The only possible exception to this is the language occasionally used by Jesus which suggests some sort of pre-existence.

Did Jesus Come Down from Heaven?

The institutional church has always claimed that the Bible says Jesus pre-existed as God in heaven and came down to earth to become a man, called “the incarnation.” The Nicene Creed says of Jesus, “For us men and our salvation he came down from heaven.”

Did Jesus Preexist in Heaven?

The institutional church has always proclaimed that Jesus preexisted in heaven. And it has concluded that Jesus’ preexistence indicates that he was and is God. But in modern times, the idea that Jesus preexisted has been seriously challenged. One argument is that if Jesus preexisted as a fully developed personality, that does not allow for human development and therefore compromises his being human.

Great God Jesus: Grammatically Ambiguous

Some traditionalist New Testament (NT) scholars cite 2 Thessalonians 1:12, Titus 2:13, and 2 Peter 1:1 to support their belief that Jesus is God. All three of these passages have a similar syntax (word order), which makes them somewhat ambiguous. Thus, the dispute between traditionalists and non-traditionalists over these three passages concerns only a phrase and its grammar. Yet many traditionalists who cite Titus 2:13 to support their view that Jesus is God deny that 2 Thessalonians 1:12 and 2 Peter 1:1 do too.

Is Jesus God Because He Did Miracles?

One thing that made Jesus famous was that he did miracles. The New Testament (NT) gospels frequently relate that he travelled about in his native land from town to town and village to village healing people. And they provide many detailed reports in which he did so. Multitudes of people, sometimes numbering in the thousands, gathered to hear Jesus utter his pearls of wisdom and perform his mighty feats of healing

The Formulation of Dogma: The Christ of the Creeds

We have examined some of the factors which led to the formulation of dogma in the early centuries of the Christian era and we have seen that the controversies and questions centred pre-eminently on the person of Jesus Christ. To review in any detail the steps by which formal definitions on these questions came to be laid down would require far more space than we have available and might prove tedious. It is proposed, however, to indicate in very broad outline the main periods in the development, so that the dogmas which were formed then and still remain part of the orthodox creed of the Established Church may be seen against their proper background.

The Word Made Flesh

The style of the fourth Gospel has little in common with that of the Synoptics. Luke’s narrative is avowedly historical in purpose (Luke 1:1-4), and the same purpose can clearly be seen in the gospel records of Matthew and Mark.

The Influence of Greek Thought on Christianity

To the Greek philosophers, life was one long process of the satisfying of the intellect. But Greek philosophy had gone stale by the time of the uprise of Christianity. The Christian religion revived Greek philosophy by giving it something new and unique to think about. So that in the second and following centuries we find thousands of “Greek-minded” citizens of the Roman Empire considering Christianity, not with the idea of attaining personal salvation by obeying the revealed will of God, but with the view of satisfying their intellect with respect to the Christian doctrines of the existence and nature of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The dominant desire was for knowledge, not for love or faith. Naturally intellectual discussion waxed hot and involved on the exact relationship of God to Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit; and presently, little by little, there emerged the doctrine of the Trinity, concerning which a high and unbiased authority states that the mould of thought is that of Greek philosophy, and, again, “the Nicene creed is characteristically Greek”. In unvarnished language, the doctrine of the Trinity is a blasphemous mixture of Greek speculation with divine truth.

The Pre-existence of Christ

The doctrine of the Trinity naturally involves the idea of the existence of Christ in heaven before his appearance on earth as the babe of Bethlehem to grow up to be the saviour of men.

One of Many Mysterious Sayings

This is one of many mysterious sayings in the writings of the Apostle John, and it is one over which many young students are apt to stumble. They take it for granted that “the word,” in every case in which it occurs in this chapter, can be substituted by “Christ,” and that here we have support for the doctrine of the Trinity, for if the “word” existed from the beginning and “was God,” and if that “word” is Christ, then Jesus was with the Father in the beginning, and was identical with Him in person.

A Degree of Obscurity Arising from the Ignorance of Contemporary Opinions of the Logos

I come now to a passage which is perhaps the one most readily cited against the Unitarian view of Christ, and which demands the fuller notice. I refer to the Proem or Introduction to St. John’s Gospel.¹⁰⁵ That there is in it a degree of obscurity arising from our want of familiarity with the prevalent opinions of the time, may at once he admitted. To rectify and guard against the influence of these opinions, was in part the Apostle’s object. On the one hand was the Jewish or later Platonism, the leader of which was the celebrated Philo Judaeus, of Alexandria, and a contemporary of our Lord. On the other was Gnosticism, a heresy whose headquarters were at Ephesus; where, by the concurrent testimony of antiquity, the Apostle lived and wrote his Gospel. With the Gnostic opinions which prevailed throughout the regions of Greece and Asia Minor, where the new religion was spreading, the Apostle must, therefore, have been familiar; and Irenaeus—a pupil of Polycarp, who was a personal friend and disciple of St. John, and who flourished early in the second century—declares that the Evangelist wrote expressly to confute them. Between the Neo-Platonic and Gnostic systems there were some coincidences. While the former made the Logos—the Divine Reason or Intellect, in the passage before us translated Word—to be the great instrument in Creation, and gradually extended its significance to comprehend all Divine attributes employed or manifested in the Creation and Government of the world, the latter made it the Chief of the (Œons, supposed immortal spirits holding and exercising different functions or offices, themselves created, but still independent of the Supreme God. To correct these false notions was the purpose of the Apostle; by directing men’s minds to GOD Himself, as the Great and Original Source of all things, the Creator of all beings, Himself independent, they all dependent on Him. In this sense the Logos—“the Word” (the Wisdom, Power, Reason of God—Divine attributes employed in the Creation and Government of the world) “was with God”; inherent, that is, in Him, of course;—“was God,” because belonging to His essential nature. The syntax of the Greek language obliged him to seem at least to personify the

A Doctrinal Modification of a Text of the Gospel

No other text has counted for so much in the dogmatic development of the Church as the text at the end of Matthew, ch. 28 verse 19:

A Fallacious Argument

[W]e sometimes hear it asserted—loosely enough, indeed—that “from Genesis to Revelation, the Bible teaches the Trinity and the Godhead of Christ.” Aside of this language, quite too loose for serious consideration, there are some texts in the Old Testament which in the first place, it is proper to notice.

A Straggler at the End of the Epistle

I pass to another passage in the first Epistle of John:⁸⁴ “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true: and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” In the first place, the Trinitarian mistake upon this passage is perpetuated without just reason, from the introduction most improperly of the word “even” into the text, there being no word in the original answering to it, as is shown by the use of the italic type. In the next place, the chief difficulty arises from the pronoun rendered “This” often made to refer to the nearest antecedent or “Jesus Christ.” But Grotius says: “The pronoun this not unfrequently relates to a remote antecedent, as in Acts 7:19, (where it is rendered ‘the same’;) id. 10:6,” (where it is rendered “he”⁸⁵;) and Vater: “There is no reason why the words this is the true God should not he referred to the same, (Him that is true,) though grammatically they belong to the proximate antecedent Christ.” Both these are Trinitarian authorities; but I cannot omit citing from another of the same class more at length. Lucke, in his comment on the passage,⁸⁶ says: “1. The emphatic tone of the preposition renders it necessary to refer ‘this’ to the prevailing chief subject of the preceding preposition. But this is God, ‘Him that is true,’ and not Christ, who only is mentioned parenthetically, as he through whose mediation the being in Him that is true is effected. 2. Further, as God above is by excellence, and without any word additional, called ‘The True,’ (compare John 17:3,⁸⁷) and Christ never is so styled by St. John; ‘this’ can, according to all rules of logical interpretation, not be referred to Christ, but to God, unless we are determined to charge St. John with an intentional confusion of ideas. 3. The authors of the New Testament never use the same predicate and name for the Father and the Son of God, when they speak of each distinctly. Here it is plain that they are distinctly spoken of. If, then, ‘this’ here ought to be referred to Christ, we should have a confusion of names and predicates, to which there would be no parallel in the New Testament. Finally, 4. St. John indeed calls the Logos of God in Christ, God, in John 1:1; but the historical Christ he never does so designate, but always as Son of God. But let us suppose that St. John intended to designate Christ as the True God, for what reason does he introduce that designation in this particular place? Are we to suppose that without demonstration, without preparation of any kind, nay, even contrary to the nearest context, he introduced such an important, and with him unusual proposition,” (I beg my readers to note the strength of these expressions by a Trinitarian writer,) “in such an equivocal form as a straggler at the end of the epistle—that he did so introduce a proposition, to which nothing resembling it occurs in the whole epistle, and to which no satisfactory clue is to be found in the Gospel which mentions as God only the Logos or Word in Christ—always speaks of the Christ who appeared in the flesh as Son of God—and says of the Father of Jesus Christ, John 17:3, that He is ‘the Only True God’? Never! And the warning against idols, plain and well-grounded as it appears, if ‘this’ is referred to God, how obscure and unconnected, nay, how confused must it appear to the reader when, besides God, Christ also is mentioned as the True God! These are sufficient grounds for declaring, that the only right construction is to refer ‘This is the True God’ to GOD.”

The Great Trinity Debate: Bowman vs. Burke

If you consider yourself a non-Trinitarian believer in Jesus, do I have a challenge for you!” wrote evangelical Trinitarian Rob Bowman Jr. in 2010, on the theological website, www.reclaimingthemind.org.

Do Not Rest Any Argument on the Expression “I Am"

[A]s to the declaration of our Lord, recorded in the Gospel of St. John:⁹⁰ “Before Abraham was, I am.” Why, it may he asked in the outset, why, except for a purpose, have our translators departed here from their usual mode of rendering the exact Greek word so often used by our Lord? Here it reads, “I am”—literally, and without supplement; in other places, “I am he”?⁹¹ Why not here as there—“I am he"—the Messiah purposed in the counsels of God long before Abraham had being? This is the interpretation of Grotius, and I believe the true one. Trinitarians are accustomed to insist that our Lord meant to declare that he was the “I AM” of the Old Dispensation, who revealed Himself to Moses by the name or appellation, “I am that I am”; but Dr. J. Pye Smith tells us⁹² that “the words” there “are in the future tense, ‘I will he that which I will be,’ Exodus 3:14; and most probably it was not intended as a name, but as a declaration of a certain fulfilment of all the promises of God.” While Mr. Carlile of the Scotch Kirk says:⁹³ “I do not mean to rest any argument on the expression I am, taken by itself. It occurs repeatedly in this chapter, and is translated I am he.”

God’s Rank Plainly Subordinate to the Supreme

There remain some other passages of the New Testament Scripture to be examined before leaving the topic of the Inferiority and Subordination of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Epistle to the Hebrews⁷⁹ we read, “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever;” and therefore it is alleged that this proves the proper Deity of the Son. One would think it were only necessary to read the context to see that it proves no such thing, but only that the Son is addressed as God in the lower sense in which they were so addressed “to whom the word of God came.” Mark the language. “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever… Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore GOD, even thy GOD, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Whatever rank or office the title God, in the first instance, implied, it was plainly subordinate to that of the Supreme. He to whom it is applied has himself a Superior, nay, a GOD—which could not be said of the Supreme; is rewarded for his fidelity, his love of righteousness—being “therefore anointed,” etc.—(but who could “reward” the Supreme?); has “fellows,” equals—which it were simply absurd to predicate of the Supreme. The passage is a quotation from one of the Messianic Psalms, or those which the Jews believed to be prophetic of their king Messiah;⁸⁰ and nothing is more beyond dispute than that the Jews expected in their Messiah, although a King, a mighty leader, deliverer, conqueror; still, only “a man born of human parents;”⁸¹ with which ideas, assuredly, the entire passage is simply consistent.

History of Trinitarian Doctrines

This supplementary document discusses the history of Trinity theories. Although early Christian theologians speculated in many ways on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, no one clearly and fully asserted the doctrine of the Trinity as explained at the top of the main entry until around the end of the so-called Arian Controversy. (See 3.2 below and section 3.1 of the supplementary document on unitarianism.) Nonetheless, proponents of such theories always claim them to be in some sense founded on, or at least illustrated by, biblical texts.

Judaic and Islamic Objections to the Trinity

With rare exceptions atheists and naturalists don’t bother to criticize trinitarian doctrines, beyond the passing joke or dismissal, rightly seeing issues about monotheism generally, and about the teachings and status of Jesus Christ as more fundamental. Serious critics of trinitarian doctrines are nearly always fellow Abrahamic monotheists. Objections by Christians are discussed in the supplementary document on the history of trinitarian doctrines, section 2.2, and the supplementary document on unitarianism; here we survey Islamic and Judaic objections.

On the Jewish-Christian Doctrine of the Preexistence of the Messiah

The view that the Jews who lived about the beginning of our era, and the early Christians, or both, held that the Messiah was pre-existent with God, has been entertained by many scholars. Pfleiderer,¹ Weiss,² Harnack,³ Weizsacker,⁴ Hausrath,⁵ Schurer,⁶ Sabatier,⁷ Edersheim,⁸ Bruce,9 Dodds,¹⁰ Briggs,¹¹ Cone,¹² Gould,¹³ Stevens,¹⁴ Charles,¹⁵ Goodspeed,¹⁶ and Somerville,¹⁷ may all be quoted in favor of this view, and these are but a few of its advocates.

Did Christ Pre-Exist His Birth?

“In (the) beginning was the Word.” (John 1:1)

Ego Eimi: I Am John, Paul, Jesus and God

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58; see R.V. marg., Greek— was born).

Impossible For Any Man to Take Back Life?

“Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life that [in order that] I may take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:17, 18)

In Him, Not By Him: All Things of the New Creation

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)

Jesus Refusing Divinity: That Which Was Not His By Right Refused

“Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” (Philippians 2:6-11)

Jesus Upholding God’s Word and God’s Power, Not His Own

“Upholding all things by the word of his power.” (Hebrews 1:3)

My Lord and My (Representative of) God

“My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)

One What?

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30)

Thy Throne is the Throne of God

“Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. And, thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shall thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” (Hebrews 1:8, 10-12)

Triune Formula Regarded as Unanswerable in Favor of the Trinitarian Doctrine

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19, A.V.)

Triune Formula Regarded as Unanswerable in Favor of the Trinitarian Doctrine

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19, A.V.)

When Was Jesus Glorified with Honor?

“Now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5)

Reductio ad Absurdum: God Equal to Himself

Again we are referred to the following passage in proof of the proper Deity of our Lord. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”⁹⁶ Assuredly the Trinitarian exposition of this text, is a mere reductio ad absurdum of the Apostle’s argument, since it makes him say that Christ, being God, thought it no robbery to be equal with himself! It would indeed be absurd to say that of any thinking being. St. Paul would hold up to the imitation and admiration of the church at Philippi, our Lord’s example of humility and obedience. “Be the same mind in you,” he says, “which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being as God, inasmuch as he was the brightest manifestation of God, His chosen messenger and Representative, the ‘beloved Son,’ the ‘only-begotten of the Father,’ did not think this glorious similitude a thing eagerly to be clung to or retained; but rather laid it aside, became a servant, assumed the condition of a man; and being in that condition, humbled himself and was obedient even unto death, the death of the cross.” Such I take to be the Apostle’s meaning, according to the idiom of our own language. And the whole life and history of our Lord well warrant what he says. Speaking the words of God—wielding miraculous power by His Gift, and thus doing the works of God—possessed of Divine wisdom and authority by the will of the Father, he did not eagerly grasp at the grandeur of his high office, or hold or use its great powers for personal advantage; but in the condition of an humble and faithful servant, labored on in poverty and contempt for the good of others;—in that of a man, though despised, rejected, reviled, insulted, persecuted, hunted down even to a cruel and ignominious death—yet through all and to the last, obedient and submissive to Him that sent him.

The Great Trinity Debate: Closing Statement

In previous weeks I have shown that my arguments are strongly supported by standard authorities and a broad range of recent Trinitarian scholarship. This week I will be summarising the key elements of the Biblical Unitarian position, identifying key weaknesses in the Trinitarian position, and weighing the evidence against three primary criteria: reason, Scripture and history.

The Great Trinity Debate: On God and Scripture

I would like to begin by thanking Rob Bowman [Jr.] and Michael Patton for giving me the opportunity to present and defend my faith. Before I commence my argument, I’ll take a little time to introduce myself, my beliefs and my approach to Scripture.

The Great Trinity Debate: On Jesus Christ

Jesus of Nazareth is the most important man who has ever lived. Christians are indebted to him for the hope that he offers, the sacrifice he offered on our behalf, and the special relationship with God that is made possible through him.

The Great Trinity Debate: On the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Part 5)

This week I hope Rob will show Biblical evidence for the essential relationship formulae of Trinitarianism:

The Historical Development of the Doctrine of the Trinity

To the ordinary reader it may seem a little strange to commence a review of the history of a Christian doctrine with a survey of the teachings and views of Greek philosophers. But in fact it is impossible to understand the development of the Trinity without this background. It was not mere rhetoric when St. Augustine confessed that he was in the dark about the Trinity until he read the writings of Plato; or when he told some to go and learn the Trinity from the Platonists.²

The Nature of Preexistence in the Gospel of John: A Case Study of John 8:58 and 17:5

The Gospel of John has been a hotbed of arguments, disputes, and disagreements ever since it was composed some two thousand years ago. Modern preachers and theologians continue to lift up the Fourth Gospel over its Synoptic counterparts, often pitting John’s christology against what is taught in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Furthermore, John’s Gospel regularly gets detached from the messianic expectations and job qualifications set forth by a plurality of passages within the Hebrew Bible. In effect, these interpreters are saying that they prefer [their reading of] John over and against the previous forty-two books of the Bible. The distinguished historian Roger Haight notes that this observation is not simply a modern phenomenon, noting that “[a]fter the New Testament period, the understanding of Jesus Christ became governed by the framework and language of the Prologue of John’s Gospel. The Jesus who was the subject matter of christology ceased to be the Jesus of the synoptics.”¹

Trinity History: Alexander, Alexandria, Arius and the Council of Nicea

‎“When modern readers are introduced to the theological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries, they are sometimes shocked by ‎the atmosphere in which they took place. Those debates were not carried on by calm scholars sitting in their manuscript-lined ‎studies. From one perspective, the story is one of misunderstandings, vicious personal attacks, distortions, violence, bribes, ‎mutual excommunication, intervention by emperors, and the deposition and exile of bishops and others who lost in the struggle. ‎From another perspective, the story is one of theological creativity that has shaped Christian beliefs for about fifteen centuries.”‎

Unitarianism Defined: Antiquity and the History of Unitarianism

It is very frequently said, probably by those who are unaccustomed to this sort of investigation believed, that Unitarianism is of very recent origin, a very modem doctrine. But I affirm and hope to show that, on the contrary, it is very ancient; nay, the ancient, original, primitive Christianity—the Christianity of Christ. We claim to be Christians; not out of the Church, but in and of the Church, by virtue of holding the original faith of the Saviour and his Apostles. No Protestant, indeed, of any school or denomination, should be satisfied with believing any thing less of the antiquity of his own faith as attested by the Scriptures. A Romanist consistently may. The resort of Tradition and the Custody of the Church are open to him; and though an alleged doctrine be not patent on the face of Scripture, be not by mortals discoverable there, enough for him that in the wisdom of the Saviour it was deemed fit not to publish it so early, but to leave its keeping and transmission to the Church.

Unitarianism Defined: The Double Nature of Christ

I find myself unexpectedly, and before entering on the main theme of my present Lecture, obliged¹ to turn aside for a moment, and consider another. It is one on which I had deemed it scarcely necessary to spend breath, namely, the Doctrine, as it is theologically called, of the Double Nature of Christ, or the Hypostatic Union. The argument from Scripture is very limited. Besides two passages already fully commented on,² namely, the Proem of St. John’s Gospel, and a passage in the Epistle to the Philippians, there are but two others on which it has even the shadow of a foundation. Both occur in the Epistle to the Romans. In the first chapter³ St. Paul has these words: “His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God, with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” In the ninth chapter:4 “I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh… Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” The closing part of this second passage, I have already commented upon in another connection.⁵ Now remember, that the allegation of our Trinitarian brethren is, that Christ had two distinct and complete natures, Divine and Human; in the one he was God, in the other, Man. The question before us now, therefore, is, whether these passages sustain the allegation? It is made a question, bear in mind, as to nature; and because St. Paul, in the first, uses both the expressions, “according to the flesh,” and “according to the spirit of holiness,” with reference to our Lord—the one as being “of the seed of David,” the other as being “the Son of God with power”—here is proof, it is said, of his possessing two natures. But turn to the second passage. There you find the Apostle using the same phrase, “according to the flesh,” in regard to himself, in its obvious sense, without the least reference to any peculiarity of nature, which, of course, in his case, will not be pretended; but simply to the matter of descent from the common stock of all Israelites, by virtue of which he shared with them “the promises.” Why not, then, to Jesus, who, by universal consent, was “of the seed of David,” and therefore of “the fathers,” the patriarchs and founders of the nation; “of whom, as concerning” (the phrase in the Greek is the same, according to) “the flesh,” i.e. by natural descent, he “came,” and in correspondence with prophecy, must have come? There is no reasonable pretence for understanding the phrase rendered “according to the flesh,” and which is of frequent and invariable use elsewhere by St. Paul in his Epistles,⁶ with reference to natural descent, in any other sense in either passage. It cannot he interpreted with reference to his human, in contradistinction from his divine nature, except to make out a case, to support this mere hypothesis. Paul declares, that he “had been called to his Apostleship, to preach the Gospel of God, concerning his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, (how carefully he distinguishes them!) who, he says, by natural or lineal descent, was of the house of David; but by the Holy Spirit was demonstrated to be the Son of God, with power, by his Resurrection from the dead.”⁷ Thus I paraphrase the first passage, to show its true meaning.

Unitarianism Defined: The Inferiority and Subordination of the Lord Jesus to the Only True God

My present object, as an expounder and defender of the Unitarian faith is, to show the Inferiority and Subordination of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to the Only True God the Father; in contradistinction to the popular or orthodox belief of his Supreme Deity.

Unitarianism Defined: The Unity of God and the Trinity

If any doctrine can be called fundamental to Revealed Religion, it must be that of the strict, simple, unqualified Unity of God. I take this to be universally admitted, nay, insisted on. There is not a more obvious truth in the Scriptures; none more coincident with their whole tenor and drift, or with their most express and positive declarations. Rightly interpreted, rightly understood, there is not even an intimation or hint of anything else. The language of the Bible upon this point is everywhere plain and explicit. The declaration recorded in the fourth verse of the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, then so solemnly made to the people of Israel through Moses; and afterwards in the coming in of the new and better dispensation, quoted and so emphatically affirmed by our Lord Jesus Christ in the twenty-ninth verse of the twelfth chapter of St. Mark’s Gospel—“Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One Lord”—is clear and indisputable. Unitarians, therefore, not only without hesitation, but in perfect harmony with the unambiguous language of Scripture, and on the express authority of Christ himself, affirm that GOD is ONE; in the strictest meaning of the word, ONE; One Person, One Being, One intelligent, conscious Mind. There are seventeen texts in the New Testament alone, in which He is expressly called the One or Only God. In thirteen hundred passages, the word God occurs; in not one of them is there any necessary implication, but directly the contrary, of a plurality of Persons in the Godhead. In but very few of them has it ever been pretended that such a plurality is even implied.

Must Christians Have a Creed? The Bible Doctrine of God

If the Bible is the Word of God, it follows that Bible teaching concerning God is God’s teaching about Himself. That being so, there seems no reason why any unprejudiced reader of the Scriptures should withhold his assent to any aspect of the Bible doctrine of God. What God reveals about Himself must be true, and if we seek to modify or amend this Bible teaching in any particular, we infer quite definitely that God has given a distorted and therefore false revelation of Himself, and that He cannot therefore be believed in the matter, or else that part of what He has declared is of no consequence, and need not be taken seriously. Each of these alternatives is so evidently untenable that we must dismiss them both. We can only conclude that the sole logical alternative to entire belief is total disbelief. There is no intermediate stage in such a matter.

The Holy Ghost: Must Christians Have a Creed?

“I believe in the Holy Ghost.” This simple affirmation in the Apostles’ Creed commends itself to us because it is not cumbered with abstruse definitions and dubious arguments such as mar the later and much less generally accepted Nicene and Athanasian Creeds.

Must Christians Have a Creed: Who Was Jesus Christ?

Of all the official “creeds” of the principal churches of Christendom, none is so largely Scriptural as is the “Apostles’ Creed” of the Church of England. For whereas the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed seem to be the products of professional theologians, imposed on the members of the Church in order to settle (or stifle) controversy, and appear to bear all the expected signs of prolonged negotiation by successive Church Councils, the Apostles’ Creed, in striking contrast, is eminently suited in form and wording to the ordinary worshipper, and makes a delightfully simple Statement of Faith, which is what a “creed” should be.

Some Wrested Scriptures

Did Jesus exist in heaven as a person before he was born in Bethlehem? The Bible seems to answer plainly, yes; e.g. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made”; “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven”; “What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before?”; “I speak that which I have seen with my Father”; “I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me”; “Before Abraham was, I am”; “The glory which I had with thee before the world was”; “Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world”. The list is formidable, and the meaning is plain. But why are they all in John? With the exception of Hebrews 1 and Colossians 1, easily dealt with separately and easily shown to have no connection with the foregoing, the “pre-existence” of Christ cannot be even traced elsewhere in the Bible. Was John the only inspired writer to have this truth or to believe in it? This consideration should immediately awaken suspicion, for if this doctrine is true it should be one of the salient features of the Divine purpose and revelation. All the other fundamentals of truth can be found scattered throughout the Book. Why this most unexpected exception? Can it be that John has been misunderstood?

Ego Eimi: I Am the One (Not God)

Trinitarians argue that this verse states that Jesus said he was the “I am” (i.e., the Yahweh of the Old Testament), so he must be God. That argument is not correct. Saying “I am” does not make a person God. The man born blind that Jesus healed was not claiming to be God, and he said “I am the man,” and the Greek reads exactly like Jesus’ statement, i.e., “I am.”The fact that the exact same phrase is translated two different ways, one as “I am” and the other as “I am the man,” is one reason it is so hard for the average Christian to get the truth from just reading the Bible as it has been translated into English. Most Bible translators are Trinitarian, and their bias appears in various places in their translation, this being a common one.Paul also used the same phrase of himself when he said that he wished all men were as “I am” (Acts 26:29). Thus, we conclude that saying “I am” did not make Paul, the man born blind or Christ into God. C. K. Barrett writes:

Five Major Problems With The Trinity: Approaching the Matter from the Inside

The doctrine of the Trinity is analyzed and carefully refuted, with five major problems highlighted:

Do the NT Authors Assume that God is the Trinity, or the Father?

Were the authors of the New Testament trinitarians, or were they unitarians? Or are they just confused about whether the one God is the Trinity or the Father? This episode is a talk by Prof. Dale Tuggy given on May 26, 2017 at the University of Augsburg (in the state of Bavaria, Germany) at the conference Trinitarian Theology: Confirmation or Transformation of Classical Theism? In this talk it is argued that fifteen undeniable observations about the New Testament strongly confirm the unitarian hypothesis over its rivals. That is, these observations provide strong evidence that these authors assume that the one God is the Father alone.

Shema Pentecostals (Listen, Ye Pentecostals)!

Pastor J. Dan Gill, speaks to his fellow Pentecostals regarding the Oneness of God. This challenging message questions one of the foundational beliefs of the Oneness Movement and was presented at a former Oneness Church in Texas in 2017.

Athanasian Creed

The Athanasian Creed, or Quicunque Vult (also Quicumque Vult), is a Christian statement of belief focused on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. The Latin name of the creed, Quicunque vult, is taken from the opening words, “Whosoever wishes”. The creed has been used by Christian churches since the sixth century. It is the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity is explicitly stated. It differs from the Nicene-Constantinopolitan and Apostles’ Creeds in the inclusion of anathemas, or condemnations of those who disagree with the creed (like the original Nicene Creed).

Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed (Greek: Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας or τῆς πίστεως, Latin: Symbolum Nicaenum) is a profession of faith widely used in Christian liturgy.

Wrested Scriptures: The Body Provided (Hebrews 10:5)

“Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, . . . a body hast thou prepared me.”

Wrested Scriptures: Creator of Heaven & Earth (Hebrews 1:10-12

“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”

Wrested Scriptures: Heir and Son Made the Worlds (Hebrews 1:2)

“[God] hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”

Wrested Scriptures: God Addressing God (Hebrews 1:8)

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

Wrested Scriptures: Without Beginning (Hebrews 7:3)

“Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.”

Bread Come From God

“For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven.” (John 6:33)

Wrested Scriptures: Bread of God from Heaven

“For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven.” (John 6:33)

Wrested Scriptures: Godhood or Unity? (John 10:30)

“I and my Father are one.”

Wrested Scriptures: Not Literally Seen (John 14:9)

“Jesus saith, . . . he that hath seen me hath seen the Father . . .”

Wrested Scriptures: Pre-existence Alongside (John 17:5)

“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

Wrested Scriptures: Jesus Not the Word (John 1:1-3)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

Wrested Scriptures: Lord and God's Representative (John 20:28)

“My Lord and my God.”

Wrested Scriptures: Pre-existent Son of Man (John 3:3)

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”

Wrested Scriptures: Pre-existence and Deity of Christ

Group a) passages are easily explained once it is shown that the creative work of Christ refers to the making of new men and women, and not to the creation of animals, trees etc. of Genesis 1. Christ is the firstborn of the new creation.

John 1:1 and the Trinity

The first verse of the Gospel of John is almost always used as a starting point to prove the Trinity. However, is there another way to understand John 1:1? Was John, a first century Jew, articulating the completely non-Jewish idea that God became a human being or have we read that into John 1:1? Join Anthony Buzzard as he explains the meaning of John 1:1–14 in its original Hebrew thought context.

Arius vs. Athanasius

In a rare presentation, Richard Rubenstein, author and professor of Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, addresses a conference of One God believers in Atlanta. Rubenstein brings exceptional insights into the great Christian conflicts that surrounded the “Arian” controversy and particularly the council of Nicea in 325 AD. His message important for everyone with an interest in church history, the development of post-biblical Christian orthodoxy and/or conflict resolution.

Ego Eimi: I Am the One (Not God)

Trinitarians argue that John 8:58 states that Jesus said he was the “I am” (i.e., the Yahweh of the Old Testament), so he must be God. That argument is not correct. Saying “I am” does not make a person God. The man born blind that Jesus healed was not claiming to be God, and he said “I am the man,” and the Greek reads exactly like Jesus’ statement, i.e., “I am.”The fact that the exact same phrase is translated two different ways, one as “I am” and the other as “I am the man,” is one reason it is so hard for the average Christian to get the truth from just reading the Bible as it has been translated into English. Most Bible translators are Trinitarian, and their bias appears in various places in their translation, this being a common one.

Filling in the Names

Do the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke discreetly but clearly imply that Jesus is God? This has become a popular reading lately among evangelicals, thanks in large part to the work of Dr. Richard Bauckham.

Shema Pentecostals (Listen, Ye Pentecostals)!

Pastor J. Dan Gill, speaks to his fellow Pentecostals regarding the Oneness of God. This challenging message questions one of the foundational beliefs of the Oneness Movement and was presented at a former Oneness Church in Texas in 2017.

On the Errors of The Trinity

Since its components began to be officially codified at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, the doctrine of the Trinity has been a topic that has caused great confusion and uncertainty for many truth-seeking Christians. This 16-hour seminar, by Don Snedeker, is filled with fascinating quotes from many Christians through the centuries who recognized that the Trinity has no biblical basis, and who stood firm against opposition and persecution for not believing it. Don aptly shows how critical it is for Christians to truly understand who Jesus Christ really is and what is his relationship to God, not only so they can make a rational defense of our faith, but so they can experience a relationship with God similar to that which Jesus had.

Is the Trinity Biblical?

Patrick Navas has been a Bible student for the last fourteen years—ever since one of the Gideons handed him a free pocket New Testament and he was gripped by John 3:16. In his quest to understand Christianity he quickly learned that there were quite a few differences between various groups which all claimed to have the truth. This propelled Patrick into long years of study as he researched the biggest question of all—who is God?

How Jesus Became God

Listen to a brief history of the doctrine of the Trinity, how it became part of the Christian mainstream belief system, and the problems associated with the Trinitarian creeds. This lecture was inspired by the book When Jesus Became God by Richard E. Rubenstein.

Five Reasons I Changed my Mind About the Trinity (Sid Hatch)

Sid Hatch, a former Baptist minister and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary explains his reasons for questioning the Trinity. Ultimately he concluded the Bible does not teach that Jesus is “God the Son” but that he is “the Son of God.” In this presentation, he discusses various key texts including John 1:1 and Philippians 2:1-9 among others.

John 1:1 and the Trinity

The first verse of John’s Gospel reads: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” Typically, Christians understand the “Word” to refer to the Son, and “God” to refer to the Father. However, as John Schoenheit explains, this reading owes more to later trinitarian theology than the native biblical context. Instead of assuming the “Word” is the Son, Schoenheit carefully shows how God’s “Word” is His plan for salvation. In fact this is what became incarnate in Jesus in verse 14.

A Restorationist Discovers the God of Jesus

Kegan Chandler grew up as a bible-believing Christian in Texas. His grandfather, Pat E. Harrell, was a leader within Church of Christ who founded their Restoration Quarterly publication. As a result of his grandparents’ and parents’ passion for God, Chandler grew up in a family steeped in bible study and theological reflection. One day the Mormon’s came knocking and Chandler, the consummate apologist and champion of orthodoxy, licked his lips at the chance to set them straight. However, in the course of that conversation, one of the missionaries asked Chandler, “Well, who do you say that Jesus is?” Strangely enough, this one question caught him off guard. The young man wasn’t asking, “Who do your parents, your pastor, or your seminary say that Jesus is?” but “Who do you say that Jesus is?” The intensely personal nature of this question started Chandler on a quest to firm up his orthodox answer, which eventually led to a complete reconsideration of his beliefs about God, Jesus, and the spirit. Over the course of several years, he came to see the bible from a more Hebrew perspective. After intense bible study and a thorough investigation into church history, he discovered the God of Jesus. Here is his story.

An Analytic Philosopher Unleashes Logic on the Trinity

In this conversation Prof. Dale Tuggy discusses the logical and biblical problems with the Trinity. Dr. Tuggy is an analytic philosopher who works on world religions and the doctrine of the Trinity. He’s a tenured professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Dr. Tuggy also wrote the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on the Trinity, including a very informative supplemental reading called “unitarianism.”

Five Major Problems With The Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity is analyzed and carefully refuted, with five major problems highlighted:

Studying the Trinity, Discovering God Is One (Sean Holbrook)

Sean Holbrook was attending a typical evangelical church when he heard a series of sermons teaching the Trinity. Ironically, these very messages, designed to bolster faith in the doctrine, ended up inspiring Holbrook to question the age old dogma. As a result, he set out to study the topic more and watched James White debates and read his book The Forgotten Trinity. Once again, what was meant to convince Holbrook of the Trinity opened his eyes to more flaws and shaky logic that spurred him on to study the subject even further. After much investigation and careful consideration, he concluded the Bible teaches that the Father of Jesus is the only true God.

Master’s University Professor Finds Son of God, Loses Job (Bill Schlegel)

Bill Schlegel, professor and cofounder of The Master’s University extension program in Israel (IBEX), was studying the phrase “Son of God” and came to understand the term did not correlate with the traditional Trinitarian “God the Son” teaching, but instead meant, as Peter confessed from Psalms 2, that Jesus was God’s heir, the king he has designated to rule the world. Although Schlegel had taught the Bible faithfully in Israel for more than two decades, he knew that this discovery would cost him dearly. In the end he lost his job at the institution he founded as well as any opportunity to preach and lead the church he helped to start. He’s been maligned by many who used to regard him as a brother and blackballed in the evangelical world. Why would Professor Schlegel go through all of this? Why wouldn’t he just sign the statement of faith for another year and carry on in his work? He had discovered a truth so profound and so irrefutable, that he could not hide it under a basket–he had to let it shine, even if it cost him everything. Here is his story.

Pagan Influences on the Development of the Trinity

In this audio interview, Kegan Chandler talks about the history of trinitarian theology and about his book, The God of Jesus in Light of Christian Dogma. If you are at all interested in the history of ideas that influenced what Christians believed about Jesus in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries, this episode is for you. Chandler discusses how Plato’s Greek philosophy influenced Christian theologians as well as how the Gnostics not only anticipated much trinitarian language, but also how they influenced “orthodox” theology. After exposing the pagan influences on the development of the Trinity, Chandler goes on to offer a better way of reading the New Testament: through the lens of second temple Judaism rather than reading Greek metaphysical ideas into scripture.

The Arian Controversy

Alex Hall tells the story of how the Christian church vacillated between Arius and Athanasius during the fourth century. By focusing on the dueling Church councils during that period (A.D. 318–381) Alex paints a picture, which, although disturbing to those of us who would like to think that such matters as the nature and identity of Jesus were always clear, accurately describes how politics heavily influenced the development of Christology during that time. And more importantly, how the victors in this controversy changed much of Church history. As George Orwell, once said in 1984:

Is Belief in the Trinity Necessary for Salvation?

During over three decades of ministry, Tennessee pastor J. Dan Gill has observed a tendency within the Evangelical movement to preach the gospel without telling people about the doctrine of the Trinity. In fact, large Billy Graham crusades fail to inform people about the existence of a Trinity at all. Is this modern tendency good news or bad news? Some, in their zeal to uphold their denomination’s traditions have declared that those who do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, or the dual natures of Christ, are not Christians. Who is right?

A Journey to Monotheism

Nathan Crowder earned bachelor degrees from the University of Florida in Political Science and Zion Bible Institute in Theology and Pastoral Ministry. Throughout his Christian life he has diligently searched to discover biblical truth. This quest began when he discovered that the Bible taught that the destination of the redeemed was the kingdom of God on earth in fulfillment of the promises made by God to Abraham and David. He was surprised to learn while at Bible College that they did not teach this simple truth but instead ascribed to the mythological view that at death righteous souls escape the body to go to heaven. This first discovery prompted more investigation and more skepticism in regard to other teachings commonly accepted in mainstream Christianity.

What Is the Trinity: Thinking About the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit

Do you know what the Trinity is? Could you explain it to someone else or is it just a confusing collection of impenetrable statements hidden under a cloud of fog? In his recent book, What is the Trinity?, Professor Dale Tuggy seeks to clarify everyone’s perceptions of the various Trinity theories so that we can have productive conversation on the subject. He delves deep into the various key concepts like explaining various ways of thinking about persons and essence (ousia) to help you make sense of it all. Whether you believe in the Trinity or not, this interview will help you understand how to have more focused and profitable conversation on this important doctrine.

Tertullian the Unitarian

This is a recording of a lecture given by Prof. Dale Tuggy on September 20, 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic, at the conference “Analytical Theology: Faith, Knowledge and the Trinity.”

The Council at Antioch in 341

What happened after the famous council at Nicea in 325? Was there rejoicing and peace, now that the “Arian” controversy had been definitively settled?

The Recycled Creed (342-359)

In this episode Prof. Dale Tuggy reviews the so-called “Fourth Creed” from the council of Antioch—or a group soon after it—which is a actually a letter from eastern bishops assembled there to their western brethren, to explain their views about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Learn why the writers of the creeds from Antioch are called by historians “Eusebians,” and a little about the lives of Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 260-340) and Eusebius of Nicomedia (d. 342).

The Aborted Council at Serdica in 343

The eastern emperor and the western emperor agreed: there needed to be a new ecumenical council to somehow solve the theological disagreements festering from the controversy over Arius in 324-5. The Latin-speaking western bishops were simply not going to accept creeds like the ones from Antioch, even when repeatedly offered.

George R. Noyes’s Explanation of Isaiah 9:6 and John 1:1

Did Isaiah predict that someday God would become a baby? Mainstream Christian scholars have traditionally interpreted the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6 which was to be fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, as a sign that Jesus was God, supporting the doctrine of the Trinity:

Dr. Dustin Smith’s “Socinian” View of Jesus

Dr. Dustin Smith of the Atlanta Bible College, and author of The Son of God: Three Views of the Identity of Jesus, talk with Prof. Dale Tuggy concerning his “Socinian” view of the Son of God. Topics discussed include:

Dr. Robert M. Bowman’s “What about This View?"

In this episode, Prof. Dale Tuggy responds to the interesting article “What about This View? How to Defend an Anti-Trinitarian Theology,” by evangelical apologist Dr. Robert M. Bowman Jr.

Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird Debate on How Jesus Became God

A critical review of a debate/discussion between Dr. Bart Ehrman and Dr. Michael Bird, held at the at the 2016 Greer-Heard Point Counter Point Forum in February 12–13, 2016 at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

10 Mistakes Apologists’ Make About the Trinity

Apologetics is hard, because it’s hard be an expert on more than a few subjects. There’s a strong pressure to just recycle bad arguments and wrongheaded claims propounded by other apologists. “The” doctrine of the Trinity is a popular subject of attack and defense, and the topic is difficult, so here as much as anywhere in apologetics, we find this sort of recycling.

Dr. Dustin Smith on Debating Jesus’ Preexistence

On April 9, 2016, Dr. Dustin Smith debated Mr. David Barron on the topic: “Does The Bible Teach That Jesus Christ Literally Preexisted His Birth?” Mr. Barron argued for the affirmative, continuing what has long been a majority view in Christian tradition, that Jesus physically existed before his birth.Dr. Smith argued for the negative position, that is Smith argued for the minority view that the New Testament does not teach Jesus’ literal pre-human existence before his birth.

Two Perspectives on the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Early Church

Is the doctrine of the Trinity articulated in the New Testament? In what ways did the Early Christian Church understand the metaphysics of the Trinity? What motivated the Early Church to describe the Son and the Holy Spirit as distinct persons of a triadic formula on God?

Pastor J. Dan Gill’s “The One: In Defense of God"

Pastor J. Dan Gill was a third-generation Oneness (aka “Jesus only”) Pentecostal. The Oneness movement has historically rejected the mainstream doctrine of the Trinity. Gill was well-entrenched in that community and well-versed in its theology. But over time, he started to notice a disconnect between the Oneness way of talking about Jesus and what he read in the Bible. As a result, Gill began to investigate the matter.

Apologists on How God Can Die

Can evangelical apologists answer the question “How can God die?” In doing so, they would have to tackle a triad of claims which can’t all be true:

Where Did Jesus Say “I am God, Worship Me”?

Muslims often ask this question, as their apologists and imams teach them to ask it. Of course, it’s a good question to ask!Evangelical apologist Dr. David Wood answers that while Jesus is never reported to explicitly say this, he clearly implies in many places that he is God himself.

Two Interpretations of Philippians 2

Does Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 2 teach that Jesus is God himself, and that at certain point in time about 2,000 years ago, Jesus became a man, letting go of his equality with God, and thereby divesting himself of his glory, or the use of his attributes, to become a human like us, but obedient to the point of death?In this episode we hear this interpretation, as preached by Dr. Timothy J. Keller, author and pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, in his sermon “Imitating the Incarnation.”Afterward, Prof. Dale Tuggy lodges some objections against this interpretation, focusing on the passage’s theology, and on the meaning of two crucial Greek terms.

The Council of Nicea

What happened at the famous council of bishops of Nicea, convened by the emperor Constantine in the year 325? What did this group say about the God the Father, and the Son of God, in opposition to Arius and his supporters? In this episode, we hear their creed, and put it into the historical and theological context of its own time.

Dr. William Hasker on the "Arian" Controversy

Was the Council of Nicea (325) a defense and re-affirmation of core catholic theology? And did the Council of Constantinople (381) merely re-affirm Nicea, and slightly clean up its language and the details of its theology?In this episode, analytic theologian Dr. William Hasker gives his perspective on these fourth century events, reading from his Metaphysics and the Tripersonal God. He contrasts a traditional understanding of these events with a clearer view based on careful historical investigation, such as that in Dr. Lewis Ayres’ Nicea and Its Legacy. And following Ayres, he discusses what “Pro-Nicene” theology is, as exemplified by “the Cappadocian Fathers.”

Dr. Dustin Smith on Preexistence in Ancient Jewish Thought

If a native English speaker says “you have a frog in your throat,” this means that your voice doesn’t sound normal, but is low, broken, “croaky.” It is a mistake to think that he is saying that you literally have a frog in your throat!

Dr. Dustin Smith on the Preexistence of Jesus in the Gospel of John

Does the fourth gospel teach that Jesus existed long before his conception, even before the creation of the cosmos?Most readers think so.But in this episode, Dr. Dustin Smith argues that rightly understood, this gospel neither assumes nor teaches that Jesus “preexisted,” that is, existed before he was a human. He argues that we should read the gospel according to John in light of Jewish assumptions about human beings and the Messiah, taking care to understand the author’s distinctive language and his “misunderstanding motif.”

Thomas Belsham and Other Scholars on John 8:58

“Before Abraham was, I was already, in God’s plan, the Messiah.” Is this what Jesus means in John 8:58?

Before Abraham Was... What?

“Before Abraham, I am.” What did Jesus, or the author of the fourth gospel, mean here? In this episode we hear how some ancient authors interpreted John 8:58, including the famous North African bishop Augustine of Hippo.

Before Abraham Was... What?

“Before Abraham, I am.” What did Jesus, or the author of the fourth gospel, mean here? In this episode we hear how some ancient authors interpreted John 8:58, including the famous North African bishop Augustine of Hippo.

The One God and His Son According to John

When it comes to God and Jesus, does the fourth gospel contradict the first three?

Proverbs 8 and the Early Church Fathers

Do the earliest surviving post-New Testament writings interpret Proverbs chapter 8 as being about the pre-human Jesus? And do they teach the pre-human existence of Jesus at all?

Proverbs 8 and Justin Martyr

What did the famous Justin Martyr teach about Proverbs 8, and why? In this episode, we learn about who Justin was, his spiritual journey, and what works we still have from his hand. Along the way, we ask how others have taken these two statements by Lady Wisdom:

Kermit Zarley on Distinguishing Jesus and God

Mr. Kermit Zarley is a retired professional golfer and Christian author, having written books on Christology and eschatology.

Kermit Zarley on the Deity and Preexistence of Jesus

Prof. Dale Tuggy and Biblical unitarian and author Kermit Zarley discuss a number of themes from the book The Restitution of Jesus Christ, including:

Listener Questions # 1

In this episode Prof. Dale Tuggy answers listeners’ questions. These include:

Review of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

The Trinity is one reason why Muslims reject Christianity. In this episode we hear how Nabeel Qureshi changed his view that the Trinity is a patently ridiculous doctrine. Issues discussed include:

A Triad of Book Reviews: What is the Trinity?

Curious Christians rightly ask: what is the Trinity? This question is especially pressing for Protestants, for they claim to base their theology on scripture, and yet when we look in the Bible, there is no passage which clearly lays out this idea that God is three “Persons” in one “substance.” In this episode, Prof. Dale Tuggy reviews three Protestant treatments from three books, all bearing the same title: What is the Trinity?

Do the NT Authors Assume God is the Trinity, or the Father?

Were the authors of the New Testament trinitarians, or were they unitarians? Or are they just confused about whether the one God is the Trinity or the Father? This episode is a talk by Prof. Dale Tuggy given on May 26, 2017 at the University of Augsburg (in the state of Bavaria, Germany) at the conference Trinitarian Theology: Confirmation or Transformation of Classical Theism? In this talk it is argued that fifteen undeniable observations about the New Testament strongly confirm the unitarian hypothesis over its rivals. That is, these observations provide strong evidence that these authors assume that the one God is the Father alone.

Dr. Carl Mosser on Deification in the Bible

Does the Bible ever speak of redeemed humans as “gods”? Many Jews and Christians have thought so.In this episode Dr. Carl Mosser takes us on a journey through this theme in the Bible, including Psalm 82, the New Testament epistles, and the book of Genesis.

Dr. Carl Mosser on the Meaning of "Theos"

In this episode, Dr. Carl Mosser (Associate Professor at Eastern University, and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame) provides background on the Greek word “theos,” commonly translated as “God.” Dr. Mosser explains how the word had its birth as an adjective, and that our modern-day, Western, monotheistic understanding of this word needs to be adjusted.

Dr. J. R. Daniel Kirk on “A Man Attested by God"

Do the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke discreetly but clearly imply that Jesus is God? This has become a popular reading lately among evangelicals. In this 2-hour long interview, J. R. Daniel Kirk presents a comprehensive defense of the thesis that the Synoptic Gospels present Jesus not as divine God who has descended from the heavens, but as an idealized human figure: a man attested by God.

Dr. J. R. Daniel Kirk on the Meaning of the Title “Son of God"

What do the authors of the synoptic Gospels mean by calling Jesus “the Son of God”? Is this a way of saying that Jesus is God? This is an excerpt of a much longer interview between Dr. J. R. Daniel Kirk and Dale Tuggy on the meaning of the title “son of God” as found in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.

Dr. J. R. Daniel Kirk on Bowing Down and Worshipping the Son of God

At several points in these gospels Jesus is worshiped or at least bowed to. Is the reader supposed to infer that Jesus is God himself? This is an excerpt of a much longer interview between Dr. J. R. Daniel Kirk and Dale Tuggy.

Dr. Ravi Zacharias on the Trinity

Dr. Ravi Zacharias is a popular, Indian-born, evangelical apologist, the author of many books and articles, a frequent public speaker, and a veteran of Christian radio. In February 2005, Dr. Zacharias answered a question about the Trinity in relationship to its apparent contradictory nature. In this episode, Prof. Dale Tuggy reviews and critically examines the answer that Zacharias gave, along with a few other of his statements on the Trinity. Some of Zacharias’ statements seem to imply that the Trinity is a self, and others seem to imply that it is a group of three selves.

Flames, Tears and the Athanasian Creed: Peter Abelard and His Trinitarian Troubles

Peter Abelard (1079–April 21, 1142) was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician. A contemporary described Abelard as “more subtle and more learned than ever.” Abelard’s studies led him to reject the Athanasian Creed, yet in 1121, he was summoned to appear before a council, condemned, and forced to recite the Athanasian Creed. His book, in which he expressed his understanding of the Trinity, was consigned to the flames. He was then sentenced to imprisonment. In his despair, he fled to a desert place in the neighbourhood of Troyes.

A Guide for the Perplexed: Three Incomprehensibles

From prolific philosopher-theologian Keith Ward’s God: A Guide for the Perplexed:

James White’s Case for the Trinity Examined

Some would say that Reformed apologist Dr. James White, director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, is the best contemporary debater on behalf of traditional catholic views on the Trinity. Certainly, he’s had time and opportunity to sharpen his arguments, having debated the Trinity and/or the “deity of Christ” with (among others) a Muslim scholar, some biblical unitarians (also here), a Oneness Pentecostal, and a defender of Jehovah’s Witnesses theology.

The Athanasian Creed: The Place to Start

The Athanasian Creed is the statement most Christian philosophers start with when they try to construct a self-consistent and plausible way of interpreting the claim that God is three equally divine “persons.” Of uncertain origin, the creed rose to prominence in the Roman Catholic through the middle ages, and then in other traditions, including Protestantism.

The Second Sirmian Creed (357 AD)

In this episode we first hear about the years between 351 and 357, including some now obscure councils, the interesting case of bishop of Ossius of Cordova, the religious policy of emperor Constantius II, and his struggles with Athanasius. We then hear the creed from the second council at Sirmium, and why it was labelled as “blasphemy” by some Nicenes. Often derided even today as “Arian,” it did not assert or defend any of the distinctive theses of Arius which had been condemned by many councils dating back to 325. But it was strongly in the two-hypostasis (two being) school of thought when it came to God and his Logos.

Ware’s Outline of the Testimony of Scripture Against the Trinity

Henry Ware, Jr. (1794-1843) was a Unitarian minister in Boston from 1807-1830, and then Professor of Pulpit Eloquence and the Pastoral Care at Harvard Divinity School from 1830-1842. He authored not only sermons and works of theology, but also poetry and fiction.

Apostles’ Creed, The

The Apostles’ Creed is the oldest creed, and lies at the basis of most others. Though not, as the long-current legend of its origin affirmed, the direct work of the Apostles, it has its roots in apostolic times, and embodies, with much fidelity, apostolic teaching. It will be seen immediately that it had an important place in the early church, when as yet no creed but itself existed. The oldest usage of the term “Rule of Faith” (regula fidei), now commonly given to the Scriptures, has reference to this creed. It was the creed that could be appealed to as held by the church in all its great branches, and so as forming the test of catholicity. It was as resting on this creed that the church could be called “catholic and apostolic.” Of late the creed has been the subject of great controversy, and violent attempts have been made to thrust out some of its chief articles from the Christian faith. This is a special reason for considering the foundations on which these articles of faith rest.

1st Ecumenical Council of Nikea with the Condemned Arius

Deity of Jesus

Constantine and Bishops holding the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (icon)

Deity of Jesus

Council of Nicaea 325 (1590 fresco)

Deity of Jesus

First Council of Nicea (325) (icon)

Deity of Jesus

Apostles’ Creed

The Apostles’ Creed (Latin: Symbolum Apostolorum or Symbolum Apostolicum), sometimes entitled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief—a creed or “symbol”. It is widely used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical Churches of Western tradition, including the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheranism and Anglicanism. It is also used by Presbyterians, Methodists and Congregationalists.

Athanasius of Alexandria

Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (/ˌæθəˈneɪʃəs/; Greek: Ἀθανάσιος Ἀλεξανδρείας, Athanásios Alexandrías; c. 296–298 – 2 May 373), also called Athanasius the Great, Athanasius the Confessor or, primarily in the Coptic Orthodox Church, Athanasius the Apostolic, was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria (as Athanasius I). His episcopate lasted 45 years (c. 8 June 328 – 2 May 373), of which over 17 were spent in five exiles ordered by four different Roman emperors. Athanasius was a Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century.

Consubstantiality

Consubstantial (Latin: consubstantialis) is an adjective used in Latin Christian christology, coined by Tertullian in Against Hermogenes 44, used to translate the Greek term homoousios. “Consubstantial” describes the relationship among the Divine persons of the Christian Trinity and connotes that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost are “of one substance” in that the Son is “begotten” “before all ages” or “eternally” of the Father’s own being, from which the Spirit also eternally “proceeds.” In Latin languages it is the term for homoousism.

First Council of Nicaea

The First Council of Nicea (/naɪˈsiːə/; Greek: Νίκαια [ˈni:kaɪja]) was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynian city of Nicaea (currently called Iznik, Bursa province, Turkey) by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325. This first ecumenical council was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, although previous councils, including the first Church council, the Council of Jerusalem, had met before to settle matters of dispute. It was presided over by Hosius, bishop of Corduba who was in communion with the See of Rome.

Homoiousian

A homoiousian (from the Greek: ὁμοιούσιος from ὅμοιος, hómoios, “similar” and οὐσία, ousía, “essence, being”) was a member of 4th-century AD theological party which held that God the Son was of a similar, but not identical, substance or essence to God the Father. Proponents of this view included Eustathius of Sebaste and George of Laodicea. Homoiousianism arose in the early period of the Christian religion out of a wing of Arianism. It was an attempt to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable views of the pro-Nicene homoousians, who believed that God the Father and Jesus his son were identical (ὁμός, homós) in substance, with the “neo-Arian” position that God the Father is “incomparable” and therefore the Son of God can not be described in any sense as “equal in substance or attributes” but only “like” (ὅμοιος, hómoios) the Father in some subordinate sense of the term.

Homoousian

Homoousion (/ˌhɒmoʊˈuːsiən/ HOM-oh-OO-see-ən; Greek: ὁμοούσιος, translit. homooúsios, lit. ‘one in being’, from ὁμός, homós, “same” and οὐσία, ousía, “being”) is a Christian theological doctrine pertaining to the Trinitarian understanding of God. The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as being ὁμοούσιος with God the Father, i.e. Jesus is “one in being” with the Father. The term was adopted at the First Council of Nicaea to clarify the nature of the relationship between Christ and God the Father within the Godhead. In Latin, and in Romance languages that lack a present participle of the verb be, the term is rendered consubstantialis or a translation thereof. It is one of the cornerstones of theology in Nicene Christianity.

Homoousion

Homoousion (/ˌhɒmoʊˈuːsiən/ HOM-oh-OO-see-ən; Greek: ὁμοούσιος, translit. homooúsios, lit. ‘one in being’, from ὁμός, homós, “same” and οὐσία, ousía, “being”) is a Christian theological doctrine pertaining to the Trinitarian understanding of God. The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as being ὁμοούσιος with God the Father, i.e. Jesus is “one in being” with the Father. The term was adopted at the First Council of Nicaea to clarify the nature of the relationship between Christ and God the Father within the Godhead. In Latin, and in Romance languages that lack a present participle of the verb be, the term is rendered consubstantialis or a translation thereof. It is one of the cornerstones of theology in Nicene Christianity.

Pre-existence

Pre-existence, preexistence, beforelife, or pre-mortal existence refers to the belief that each individual human soul existed before mortal conception, and at some point before birth enters or is placed into the body. Concepts of pre-existence can encompass either the belief that the soul came into existence at some time prior to conception or the belief that the soul is eternal. Alternative positions are traducianism and creationism, which both hold that the individual human soul does not come into existence until conception. It is to be distinguished from preformation, which is about physical existence and applies to all living things.

Semi-Arianism

Semi-Arianism was a position regarding the relationship between God the Father and the Son of God, adopted by some 4th century Christians. Though the doctrine modified the teachings of Arianism, it still rejected the doctrine that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are of the same substance, or con-substantial, and was therefore considered to be heretical by many contemporary Christians. Semi-Arianism is a name frequently given to the Trinitarian position of the conservative majority of the Eastern Christian Church in the 4th century, to distinguish it from strict Arianism.

Trinity

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (Latin: Trinitas, lit. ‘triad’, from trinus, “threefold”) holds that God is three consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit—as “one God in three Divine Persons”. The three persons are distinct, yet are one “substance, essence or nature” (homoousios). In this context, a “nature” is what one is, whereas a “person” is who one is.