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Discussing the Trinity

Published: 30 June 2018 (GMT+10)

It may surprise some to learn that we have supporters who like our work on biblical creation, but disagree with central Christian doctrines which we hold and strongly defend. Bruce B., Australia, wrote,

For my rejection of the false belief of the Trinity, I need only to rely on history, and just one Bible reference although there are many. That reference is Mark12:29-34. Here Jesus defends the Shema, which every Jew learns when he first learns to speak, and repeats each morning. This was an ideal time for the Lord Jesus to teach the Trinity. But he did not. Why?

With 8 or so texts that tell you Jesus has a God, and it is the Father, Who is omnipotent, (Micah 5:4; Matt 27:5,6; John 20:17; Ephes. 1:3; v. 17; 2 Cor. 11:31; Heb 1:8-9;Ps 45:7; 1 Pet 1:3; Rev 3:12) how can you persist in your spiritual blindness? You are still using the term “God the Son, which is a term you will never find used in the Bible, NOT even once. You will find Son of God. Why do you persist in adding to the Scriptures? (Deut. 4:2)

I have studied this topic on and off for 50 years. I wouldn’t dare to accept your delusion. Why don’t you re-study it? You work for Creation Ministries, which talk a lot about checking things out. The tremendous work you do is marred by this fallacy. It’s TIME TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

stockxpert.comtrinity3

Lita Cosner, CMI-US, responds:

I regard the Trinity as a most beloved doctrine, and so I am happy to explain to you why I believe that God is One Being consisting of Three Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three exist eternally, equal in power, glory, and deity. Before creation, God existed eternally in a state of perfect fellowship and love within Himself. Each of the three Persons acted in creation, in redemption, and will have roles in the coming restoration.

The Father is God. This is undeniable, and we likely agree about this.

The Son is God. John called Jesus the monogenes theos, or “one and only God” (John 1:18). Paul refers to Jesus as “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). In John 12, John cites Isaiah 6 and explained, “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him” (John 12:41). Whose glory did Isaiah see? “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1) and “And I said, Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of Hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5). John identifies Jesus as Yahweh whom Isaiah saw—how much more clearly could John have made his claim for Jesus’ deity?

Jesus Himself accepted worship (John 9:38; 20:28; Luke 24:52; Matthew 2:11; 14:33; 28:9; 17). It is proper for God to accept worship, but even the most exalted creature must refuse worship and give glory to God (Revelation 19:10, 22:8–9), and God severely judged Nebuchadnezzar and Herod for not giving due glory to God (Daniel 4:28–33; Acts 12:20–23). In accepting worship, Jesus does not leave us any middle ground. Either He is God Himself in the flesh and the proper recipient of our worship, or He is not God and is guilty of great blasphemy and was deserving of death for it under the Mosaic law. There is no third option. I could multiply many such proofs of Jesus’ deity from the Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit is God Himself, distinct in personality from the Father and the Son. The Spirit of Yahweh appears often in the Old Testament, equipping God’s people for His service. John records Jesus’ promises to His disciples regarding the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that the Spirit would be “another comforter” like Jesus—which would imply that the comforter is a divine Person, like Jesus is (John 14:16–17). Furthermore, the Spirit will teach and remind them (John 14:26), bear witness (15:26), convict the world (16:8), guide into truth (16:13), and many other things that only persons can do.1

Paul also makes comments about the Spirit that clearly show that He is a divine Person. Paul says, “The Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10–11).2

There are places where the three Persons of the Trinity appear together in the same narrative. At Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit descended like a dove and came to rest on Jesus, while a voice from Heaven (the Father) said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16–17). Also, Jesus commanded the disciples to baptize in the name (singular) of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Paul says “There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone (1 Corinthians 12:4–6). See how the three Persons of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus, and God the Father, are used in this construction?

And finally, consider the doctrine that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). How can God be love, that is, how can He have love as one of His attributes in and of Himself without needing anyone else to love? Because the Father loves the Son and the Spirit, the Son loves the Father and the Spirit, and the Spirit loves the Father and the Son.

How does it work that God is One Being existing in three Persons? It is a mystery that no one can completely understand, but we can apprehend the truth that is revealed in Scripture, even if it is beyond us to plumb its depths.

References and notes

  1. Peterson, Robert A., Salvation Applied by the Spirit, Crossway, 2015, pp. 296–297. Return to text.
  2. Ref. 1, p. 298. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

The Genesis Account
by Jonathan Sarfati
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From Creation to Salvation
by Lita Cosner
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Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
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Reader’s comments

Alistair W.
This would be one of the best examples of why, I and my wife, have supported this ministry for more than twenty years. The answer is gracious, logical and compelling. What Christian wisdom is embedded in theses words. May God continue to Richly Bless your work.
Ron H.
At the creation of man God said Let US (plural) make man in OUR (plural) image (singular). As God is spirit the likeness must be spiritual and not physical. Even in our fallen state we should be able to see something of the image of God in us. We are a triune being (body, soul , spirit). In our English language we refer to all these parts with similar speech patterns eg I'm tied (body speaking), I want to sing (spirit speaking) I'll think about that (soul speaking). If we believe in trillions of unholy triunes why not believe in One holy triune being.
Richard L.
Thankyou for an excellent article. I would like to add one further reference. When Jesus challenged Thomas to believe, following His raising from the dead on the third day, his response was "my Lord and my God" - literally in Greek "the Lord of me and the God of me" (as distinct from "a" God, which Jehovah's Witnesses have a problem with.) What was Jesus' response to Thomas' declaration that He was God? Denial? NO. Acceptance. "because you have seen me you have believed." ref John 20:26-29. Jesus had every opportunity to set the record straight, which He did by accepting Thomas' declaration.
Richard B.
Paul appeared to not believe the Holy Spirit was a person.
In every book or letter he wrote he acknowledges in the first few verses God the Father and Jesus Christ our saviour.
He either is very rude, or does not believe the Holy Spirit to be a person. You can surmise and look for alternative 'indications' to support a different belief which could support either belief, however, if the apostle Paul doesn't know, then who does?
Lita Cosner
You appear not to have read the letters of Paul very closely. Here is a list of the places in Paul's letters where he mentions all three Persons of the Trinity in close proximity:

Romans 1:1-4; 5:1-5; 6:4-6; 8:16-17; 14:17-18; 15:16, 30; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 3:3-6; 13:14; Galatians 4:4-6; Ephesians 2:13–22; 4:4-6, 30-32; 5:18-20; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5; 4:2-7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13–15; Titus 3:4-7

Additionally, there are a few places where Paul simply mentions the Father and the Holy Spirit: Romans 15:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 3:16-17; 14:2

These lists were compiled quickly, so they may not be exhaustive, but they make the point.
David S.
I like C.S. Lewis explanation of the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can make human beings by begetting them just as dogs and cats beget dogs and cats respectively.
The Holy Bible tells us that Christ was begotten of God (John 3:16) and God begets God.
S H.
It is very interesting when people use bold text, prideful or aggressive language, capital letters as it perhaps says something about the heart behind the writer. When listening to what someone says, I also 'listen' to their heart and the language they use and the way they express things. All too often if we don't reflect the nature of Jesus in our words and actions, then what we say (and the way we say it) can be 'wrong', even if it's right. Godly love should be our motivation and where this is the case, it is very evident and helpful. When someone is speaking from a place of frustration or anger it doesn't reflect God or his church well. In terms of the feedback, I'm personally not impressed with what people think, say, who they are or how long they've been studying. I can study for a long time and be very sincere but I can be sincerely wrong. The key is whether what they say is Biblical. In the case of the feedback, it's clearly not. In Mark 12, Jesus is clearly saying there is only one God and that there are no other true 'Gods'. He is not saying God is only one person, God the Father. Reading the Bible in context and as a whole is key. As Lita Cosner says, the Godhead plural (let 'us') is there right from the start of Genesis and the three parts of the Godhead are always in perfect unity throughout the Bible. Yes, there is a form of 'order' with the Father at the head but all three are one - and one in three. This is clear throughout the entire Bible, not only in word and deed but also behind the text (e.g. the servant finding Rebekah, the bride for Isaac - with Abraham the father, Isaac the son and the servant representing the Spirit, all acting in unity).
Grahame G.
How sad to study a topic for 50 years and miss vital evidence for the other side's position. And to even dogmatically claim the other side is blind.

How embarrassing.
Phillip B.
A very thorough and comprehensive defense of the Trinity. There are other verses, but this is one of the best 2 page assessments I've read.
Ken C.
We can either believe what Jesus said when He referred to himself as God -“I Am”, or we can choose not to… As CS Lewis vividly stated, “You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

https://creation.com/early-mosaic-calls-jesus-god
Curtis C.
A very good summary of many clear confirmations of the Trinity! Also I looked up the passages cited by the Anti-Trinitarian and was surprised to see that they actually include a clear pro-Trinity passage from Psalms (repeated in Hebrews); Psalm 45:6-7:

6 "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; 7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions[...]"

So both the "you" and the "your God" are called God. This even identifies the "you" as anointed, the meaning of Messiah/Christ; so the Christ would be God, to whom another (another Person, we would say) would also be God in some sense. (I've researched Unitarian arguments and I know they try to get out of this sort of thing by pointing out that the term translated God can mean other things and Jesus uses it that way of humans once, but this works against their own case because it means we must look to context to see both that the modern God meaning is used of the Father, and that context also defines the Spirit and Son that way as you showed.) The other passages either evidence the Trinity (calling Jesus Lord for example) or don't comment on it. The Shema case is probably the most complicated and many arguments are made back and forth about "one" including plural unity or saying only that the Trinity as a whole is unique compared to pagan (false) gods; it cannot be used as an Anti-Trinitarian prooftext. (And neither Jesus nor the Jew he's talking to seem to be using it against Trinity anyway; the Jew's point was we should be unified, perhaps even because the Trinity as 'God is Love' models this for us.) It must be clarified by the wider context as well.
Peter M.
Matthew 24:36 was the verse that really threw me concerning the Trinity: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." But I have since come to fully accept Trinity as the correct interpretation of what is revealed in Scripture. The ancient Jewish custom was for the son to build an addition onto his father's house for his coming bride. Only when the father said it was ready would the son then go to get his bride and bring her home to his father's house. This was because the son was acting in submission to the father out of love and respect - not out of any inferiority. (see John 14) Jesus in His incarnation was always in submission to God as His Father, but He was and is fully God, and so is the Holy Spirit: three eternal Persons in Unity of Being. This it truly what the Bible teaches. If you take the time to study it, you will find it is true - but I agree that this is not an easy concept to grasp. But this is also OK, because God is truly infinitely beyond our understanding - if we could fully understand Him, then He could not really be our Creator God. Hope this helps!
B T.
Your response to the article on the trinity is wrong! Please show me in The Word the terms god the son or god the holy spirit. How about the admonition of the first commandment, "...no other gods before me". As for the use of Matthew 28:19, better do a little research on that verse. IF that verse is correct, the disciples flagrantly disregarded the instructions given and never once baptized using that formula.

If the very weak response is the best you can do, it may be time to end our relationship.There is one GOD, His (only begotten) Son, and their Spirit. This relationship is clearly taught in The Word. The trinity doctrine is very clearly an invention of the Roman church and I am more than surprised you folks don't see this; unless ...

Hope you'll allow discussion on this important issue as it does clearly concern our relationship with GOD. BT
Lita Cosner
If you agree with us on creation but disagree regarding the Trinity, you have your priorities out of order. I would prefer that you read the comprehensive articles that we've written on the doctrine and change your mind, but we are not going to back down from the doctrine. If you feel you must end your relationship with us because of that, so be it.
Ron S.
Isa 48:12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.
13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. 14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans. 15 I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous. 16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

The author did not mention what I consider to be a key passage for the Trinity, It is God speaking from verse 1 and in 12 He says He is the first and the last clearly indicating this is deity speaking. Then we come to 16 where He, God, says I and the Lord GOD and His Spirit has sent me. If the Lord God and His Spirit sent God who is speaking then either they are one or there are three gods, which is against the Sh'ma that the man mentioned in his complaint. Who can send with authority the God who is speaking but one equal to or superior to Him. Since no one is superior then it has to be the composite unity spoken of in the Sh'ma because the word echad translated as one is a composite unity not a one and only one.
'echâd ekh-awd' A numeral from H258; properly united, that is, one; or (as an ordinal) first: - a, alike, alone, altogether, and, any (-thing), apiece, a certain [dai-] ly, each (one), + eleven, every, few, first, + highway, a man, once, one, only, other, some, together. It is also the word
Lita Cosner
My article was less comprehensive and more of a 'broad sweep' of the doctrine than some of the others we've published. But yes, there are many Old Testament texts that hint at the plurality in the Godhead.
Norman P.
I love Colossians 1 (a great NT Creation Chapter, too!) Here we learn that the Church was a mystery,'hid from ages and from generations'; and 'to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is 'Christ in you, the hope of glory'. Jesus had said in Lk 12:50: 'I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! '
Clearly, the resurrected Son is now in heaven, and God's work on earth is through the Holy Spirit. Poor Nicodemus tried to fathom these things, especially the need to be born again of the Spirit. What is so lovely, is the way the Holy Spirit so quietly (though mightily) works through both the Son, the apostles, and the Church to point to the One 'in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible... (the whole of Colossians 1 is so revealing!) As Jesus said, unless we are born again (of the Spirit), we cannot 'see' the Kingdom of God; and I certainly cannot conceive how this most wonderful redemption would work without the blessed TRINITY working as ONE, yet distinctively, in three persons. How privileged we are to 'see' these things, through Christ's atonement!
John K.
I find it a fascinating contradiction that The Watchtower (Jehovah;s Witnesses) teaching denies the Trinity, but admits that if you read the Bible alone you will become a Trinitarian - because that is what the Bible teaches!
W. Wade S.
Well done, and bravo, Ms. Cosner. A few more considerations: the Trinity doctrine is the central distinctive between “true religion” (i.e., the faith in Jesus Christ as God, Lord, Son, and Redeemer; and the acceptance of His unmerited grace and mercy, made possible by His substitutionary, atoning sacrifice, as being the sole prerequisite for salvation) and all “false religions”, including the pseudo-Christian cults, which all rely on “faith AND…” something else — primarily the works and legalistic rule-following of their adherents, in order to gain God’s acceptance and approval, which are necessary to obtain eternal life.
Only Christianity presents the Truth that God entered into His creation at a specific time and place, under the auspices of, and in company with, known and named historical figures. And it is because of this singular, unparalleled fact and reality that He alone was able to conquer death and Satan; resurrect into a spiritual mode of existence that is at a bare minimum hyperdimensional to our own; and that we are destined to share that mode of existence, and to “see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2), by virtue of our faith in Him alone. “He became as we are, so that we could become as He is.”
The Trinity is indeed a “most beloved doctrine” that must be defended against the objections of skeptics and the misguided. And you have you have done so here, admirably.
D A.
CMI, Thank you for allowing me to comment on the complete article regarding the Doctrine of the Trinity. First, and I am not a Hebrews scholar but have been taught, nonetheless, that the word ONE used in Deuteronomy 6 carries the meaning of one family or one army. Also whenever I am confronted by some one who claims that the Saviour never made the claim of Deity I refer them to several passages such ad John 5 and 8 and ask simply what did those who heard Jesus speak understand Him to say? There are, of course, others and those Listed by your writer should be sufficient for someone who is actually interested in gaining the truth. They are consistent, choherent, and more than comprehensive in content! DEA
Erin C.
Bruce B's comment, "I have studied this topic on and off for 50 years", is intended to say something like, "I am so studied on this topic, how could I possibly be mistaken". He follows up with "I wouldn’t dare to accept your delusion." Studying something for 50 years, and remaining with the same point of view, could mean you are stuck in a rut from which you can't escape. On the other hand, once we find the truth, we do not depart from it, even after 50 years. He cites 8 texts to show Jesus had a Father God, but never cites Jesus' statement that he and the Father are one (John 10:30). There have been many fine books written on the Trinity, we hope Bruce B reads one.
Alexander L.
Sadly, even Lita Cosner gets it wrong when he says, “God is One Being consisting of Three Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit”. I physically shudder when I read this or hear it spoken!! It should read, “God is one being consisting of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. I remember reading (I can not remember where), that “the Father is not God without the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Son is not God without the Father and the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not God without the Father and the Son”. Regards, MATT
Lita Cosner
I did not mis-speak. A critical part of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity is that each Person is fully God.
Joseph M.
You keep insisting that "central Christian doctrines" carry greater weight than the pure Holy Text itself, AS IS. Jesus Himself was constantly being confronted by the "political correctness" of that day being forced on society. He was accused of "breaking the Sabbath", but was merely defying the Pharisees' religious doctrines that were turning God's Holy Sabbath of Liberty into an overwhelming burden.

Putting aside the purely academic question concerning "the deity of Christ", the Bible refers to Him as "the firstborn of many brethren". I have a younger brother who is just as human as I am. Why, then, would Christ's younger brothers be any more or less God than He is? Thus either God is an Absolute One or God is a forever-increasing Family as in Isaiah 9. "Trinity" has no place in either view.
Lita Cosner
Where did I put doctrine above Scripture itself? Rather the doctrine of the Trinity is a way of summarizing teachings found spread throughout Scripture. The deity of Christ is not a 'purely academic question'--if Jesus is not God incarnate, He cannot be our Saviour. And we can be called the adopted brethren of Christ because we gain access to God through Him, but that does not entail gaining deity.
Michael B.
Every action/deed of Christ showed Him to be God. John 10:37-38 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” So here are just a few with the Old Testament stating some of what God does and the New Testament stating what Jesus did. Job 9:8 He alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea Matthew 14:24-25 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. Psalm 107:29 He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Mark 4:39-41 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” My favorite, Jesus give eyes to one born with none. Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. John 9:6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. There are so many more but for the sake of limited space I've limited to these. Thank you so much for your faithfulness to the whole Truth of Scripture. Your Brother in Christ, Michael
Andrew S.
Thank you for the explanation of your position, Lita. Although I, too, believe in the Trinity doctrine I always intend to read things with as little bias as possible. That considered, I feel that your tone of voice was appropriate and your arguments were straightforward. Keep up the good work!
Chandrasekaran M.
All the twelve bible references that Bruce B quoted, I read them again. None of these deny that Jesus is God. The very first verse of the Bible Gen 1:1 says “In the beginning God ..” Here the word God is in plural form in Hebrew - אלהים (elohim). When Jesus came in the flesh as the last Adam, Jesus wasn’t an atheist but Jesus relied on God the Father as mentioned in Php 2:7-11. If we deny Jesus we do not have the Father as 1Jn 2:23 says. So as Lita Cosner mentioned, the concept of trinity is there in the Bible right from the first verse of Torah. So we should not only avoid the error of adding to the Bible but also avoid the error of subtracting from the Bible.
Jason M.
Also, I believe it's imortant to mention that "Elohim" is a grammatically plural noun for "gods" or "deity" in Biblical Hebrew. God bless you CMI for such amazing truths in your ministry! You have helped me to solidify my faith and stand firm in the truths of God's Holy Writ!
Ronald W.
Thank you for giving such a great example of how to respond to this type of negative response to Christian Doctrine.
When one considers the Trinity, it is very telling that cults deny both God's Tri-unity and Christ's Diety. In short, you can't have one without the other. These groups also tend to put their organization in the position of being God's "active agent" on Earth thus denying the personality of the Holy Spirit in the process. For those who may read this response, I highly recommend Lita Cosner's article "Knock knock... are you ready?" on pages 44-46 of the current issue of Creation Magazine.
Tommy S.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1

I and the father are one.
John 10:30
King T.
It is quite interesting that the writer missed one significant part of the text he quotes in Hebrews 1:8-9:
"But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom."
Here Paul is quoting from the old testament and there is absolutely no doubt that the Father acknowledges the Son as God!

I suspect this non-trinitarian argument tends to arise when people do not want Jesus to be seen to be God, i.e. they either deny his deity or else are under the impression that trinitarian believers confuse the father and the son and address the Son as if he is God the Father.
Ron G.
The trinity is easily understood if you know the laws that govern infinities. One infinite plus one infinite plus one infinite doesn't equal three infinities rather the answer is one infinite. God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are each an infinite being yet according to law of infinite's you can view each as One as a person or the three as One when seeing them as God together. Check out the laws that govern infinities.
M R.
John 8:58 Jesus straight up claims to be God.
Neil C.
The Bible repeats many times that God will forgive us. In considering forgiveness, Jesus used an illustration of a man owing some money. If I owe someone there is three ways the debt can be finalised. I can pay the debt, someone else can pay the debt, or the person I owe it to can bear the cost, ie pay the debt. In all three cases the debt is paid, but only in the last case can it be called forgiveness. If God says He forgives us, then He is implying that He bore the cost, or paid the debt that I owed. In other words God took my penalty, God died for me. God, as Jesus, died on the cross to pay my debt. God cannot say that I am ‘forgiven’ if someone else paid my debt. Either Jesus is God and I am forgiven, or Jesus is not God and I am not forgiven.
Julie-Anne H.
To me there is also evidence of the Trinity from God himself, in the first Chapter of 'Genesis 1:26 - Then God said, " Let US make man in OUR image, in Our Likeness. . ." and again Gen. 3:22 And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of US . . ." and Gen.11:6-7 - 6. The Lord said. . . 7. "Come let US go down and confuse their language. . ". Many times I find in Scripture, God refers to himself as US, to me this indicates more than One person/personality makes up who we know as God. I found the article above to be an encouragement, as recently I have had people present me with the same attitude which caused me to question many things, so your article was a great help in setting me back on a steady path again.
Thank you
Stevan D.
We humans try to analyse God and come to conclusions like chemist analyses water and finds that it is made of oxygen and hydrogen. It is ridiculous.
I believe in the Father, Son and The Holy Spirit but the verse from 1 Corinthians 2;10-11 is highly problematic even counterproductive to me in explaining the personhood of The Holy Spirit. Are the Father and The Spirit in same relationship with each other as a person with the spirit of that person. How am i with my spirit?
Is it 2 persons or one. As fat as I know for me, it is only one. My body, my will, my emotions, only one me. One person. So how can Paul say what he says i DO NOT UNDERSTAND.
Lita Cosner
All analogies break down at some point, and you're taking the analogy a bit too far. It's one of those things that is difficult to really comprehend fully, but we can believe Scripture's teaching and take comfort in the fact that God is much bigger than us.
Adolfo E.
It becomes much easier to understand the Trinity if you understand the role of the three Persons of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in the plan of salvation. The Father chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, the Son became one of us and died in our place, and the Holy Spirit seeks and brings to life those whom the Father chose and for whom the Son died.
Beth H.
My favorite verse to use is Isaiah 9:6--"...and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. And there are even other verses that show clearly that Jesus is God.
Peter H.
Curtis C. and King T. have already referred to this verse, but I'd just like to say that I have had peace about the teaching of the Trinity for many years based on two scriptures: Titus 1:2 - "God ... cannot lie" and Hebrews 1:8 - where God (see verse 1) says to the Son (see verse 8), "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever". I don't know what could be plainer than that - God calls the Son "God".

Interesting that the original questioner (Bruce B.) put this in his list of "proof texts" and seems to have missed its significance. Interesting, too, that those who produced the Jehovah's Witness' 'bible' knew what the verse means and found it 'necessary' to rewrite this portion as, "... with reference to the Son: God is your throne forever and ever".

The defence rests.
James K.
The question put here often centres on how we read the Bible in several passages. The text in Mark 12:29 comes from Deut 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” In Hebrew, the pertinent words are LORD (YHWH or Jehovah). Next is GOD (Elohim a plural term—the singular is “El”), and “one” (echad) and LORD (YHWH or Jehovah). After describing Himself repeatedly as God-Elohim in Gen chap 1 (plural), and even more clearly in the plural in Genesis 1:26 (let us make man in our image), we find in chap 2:21, 22 the LORD God (WHYH Elohim) is used twice. Then in chap 2:24 we find the word “one”(echad) is used again. Echad is interesting because it is also used elsewhere, but perhaps Gen 2:24 more so than any other text, settles its meaning quite easily. What is the “one” referring to here? Does it mean that a man and woman become one indivisible being, or does it mean one in goals, plan, purpose, mindset, one aim in life? This wording also describes the Godhead in the creation scene, and later in Deut 6:4 from which Mark 12:29 comes from. Various scholars have described this word, echad, as a unity as one. Obviously this oneness of the Godhead, is far greater than the unity or oneness a husband and wife experience in this sin-sick world. Also obviously, the oneness Adam and Eve were to experience was far greater than that experienced by today’s marriage couples since sin marred the image of God in man.
Transposing the meaning of Deut 6:4 Jehovah our Elohim (plural) is echad (plural) Jehovah, a meaning the Jews have lost for many centuries now, over to the New Testament in Mark 12 we find its true meaning. God is a plural of one; the best term for this is the “Godhead.” One in purpose, in character, in a oneness of understanding we have lost because of sin.
R S.
I understand how some trinitarians feel. They are compelled to follow orthodoxy not realizing the Catholic Church changed the apostles doctrine. The apostles taught One Lord, one faith, one baptism, that being in the name (singular) of Jesus. Every example of baptism given in the New Testament is done in the name of Jesus or Lord Jesus. It was never performed in the titles father, son, and Holy Ghost. Jesus said "when you see me you've seen the father. The Bible says Jesus is the manifestation of god. Jesus is the physical image of the invisible spirit of god given to shed his blood for our redemption. Jesus is the fullness of the godhead bodily (Jn 20:28, Col 2:9). Jesus is God incarnate not the son incarnate. The Bible never says that. There is no scripture for 'eternal son'. The son was begotten miraculously by the spirit of god, the Holy Spirit, and he had a beginning, namely the incarnation. (Luke 1:35, Gal 4:4, Heb 1:5-6) The title son refers to His incarnation and solely on the humanity of Christ and the death of his son. (Rom 5:10)
The real distinction and one most do not understand and won't go against orthodoxy, is a distinction between the eternal spirit of god and the authentic man in whom the spirit of god was fully incarnate. The 'name' of the father, son, and Holy Ghost is Jesus, that's why converts in Acts were baptized in that saving name. The Catholic Church changed the doctrine and took the one mighty god and divided Him into three. One of the greatest deceptions in history of Satan.
The Holy Spirit refers to god in essence and activity, not another person. Because God is a spirit this title is used for works that god does.
The name of Jesus means Jehovah-Savior and is the supreme saving name which god revealed himself. God bless you all.
Lita Cosner
It's interesting how in that long response you have not responded to one of my points teaching the Trinity from Scripture. If Jesus is the same as the Father, how could Jesus pray to the Father? Anti-Trinitarians like to use the Catholic church as a "boogie man", but this is very historically ignorant.
MAJ Richard C.
Lita's response was comprehensive and direct, but also respectful and dignified. At 75, I regret many years in which I defended Biblical doctrine sharply and even disrespectfully, not giving the other person the consideration I expected in return. Having once been a hothead, back when I was merely an intellectual believer rather than one committed wholly, I must say that CMI's experts exhibit positive qualities from young to older, and in all disciplines, making theology and science, and their relationship easily understandable. The only thing I would have added, for those who dislike the idea that the Trinity is a mystery, is to refer them to "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" by Edwin Abbott, in which he describes an encounter between a two-dimensional world and a three-dimensional being. Just as the resident of Flatland can only comprehend the three-dimensional being in part, it's reasonable to suggest that our limitations within three dimensions give us only an imperfect understanding of God in Three Persons. He is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, characteristics beyond our nature -- our dimensions, you might say. Lita's answer shows why you folks have become heroes in my spiritual and intellectual pursuits. Dios le bendiga.
Peter L.
This may seem odd, but I am reluctant to use the word Trinity for fear that some who hear it may actually think it is a Holy name. There is great power, Holiness and sacredness in the names of Jehovah, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit, whereas Trinity is a doctrine, not a name, and if used as a name is completely devoid of power in confronting the spiritual forces of evil. There are many references in the book of Acts, as well as elsewhere, to testify to the power of the name of Jesus Christ, throughout the bible of the holiness of the names of Jehovah and Holy Spirit.... Now, having said that, I want to add to the contributions already made in support of the doctrine. Isaiah 44.6 was quoted by another reader, apparently as a verse which seems to indicate that Jehovah is God alone, and therefore the trinity doctrine is false. This concept is repeated in Rev 1.8, in which Jehovah states that he is the First and Last. But in Rev 2.8, it is unambiguously Jesus Christ talking when he says, " There are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and rose again." Later, in Rev 22.12-13, Jesus refers to himself as the "Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." I can only let these words speak for themselves.
Lita Cosner
I would not use the word Trinity as a divine name, because it was not revealed as such in Scripture. However, I think it is safe to use the word as a term for the Bible's teaching regarding the unity and triunity of God.
Neil G.
Hi Lita, grace be with you, your answer illustrates Bruce's point well, replicating the paucity of relevant scripture we usually see in such defenses. You waste much space establishing that the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all God, but this is not in dispute, and establishing that these nominations indicate God is personal. Again, not in dispute. Like self-congratulating atheists, trinitarians get a false impression that something has been proved. You pick scripture like John 14:16-17 ignoring v.18 "I will not leave you fatherless, I will come to you" uniting Father, Spirit and the man in front of them in one singular personal pronoun. Or the stunning John 14:9 when Philip asks to see the Father and Jesus pretty much says "you're looking at him". You then resort to bizarre philosophy arguing if God is love he needs internal distinctions to be able to practice that, pretty much invoking Colossians 2:8-9. In any book on trinity the 1st chapter goes at length to acknowledge the mountain of OT and NT scripture establishing that God is one, starting with the Shema which Jesus says is the most important command (Mark 12:29). Then, like an evolutionist looking at a polystrate fossil, they say ignore that, we now show God is three! You finish with the usual limp coup; don't worry if you don't understand, it's all a mystery! Like evolution, the false belief of trinity limits understanding and adherents exhibit ignorance as they struggle to defend it so poorly. According to Jesus, Deut 6:4 is the 1st command, but trinitarians like to start at Deut 6:5, demonstrating disobedience to authority. In disobedience to Deut 6:9 they write "THREE" everywhere as "Holy Trinity Church", when they should be writing "ONE". Seekers are confused. You can do better.
Lita Cosner
I spent almost no time establishing the deity and Personhood of the Father, because no one disputes this. However, there are those who dispute the deity of the Son and the Personhood of the Spirit, as anyone who regularly dialogues with cultists would know, so I do not regard that space as wasted. If Jesus is the same as the Father, how could He pray to Him? If Jesus is the same as the Spirit, how could He say that He would go away and send Him?
Tracy M.
The two passages I have relied on regarding this subject in past are Heb 1:1-3 and Phil 2:5-11. Phil 2:6,7 says Jesus did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped even though he was in His very nature God. In John 14:9 Jesus says if you have seen me you have seen the Father. Perhaps the term God the Son was avoided in the N.T. because it may have taken away from the idea that Jesus was a servant and did not consider equality as something to be grasped. Glad to hear CMI is also interested in having good theology.
Harry B.
One further remark I have heard about this line of teaching is that because the word trinity is not mentioned in scripture either, it is not either true or a biblically sound tenet. I must respectfully disagree with that; though the word trinity does indeed not appear in scripture the doctrine of the trinity is prevalent throughout the Bible, several examples being cited in the article. If I am mistaken in this, somebody please do correct me. (A wise man from CMI did this when I made a mistake in a previous comment about another matter, and I thank him for his correction.)
Malcolm H.
I was disappointed to see that you only selected a portion of the writings of Bruce B & responding with your beloved emmotional perspective inset of sound exegesis which your organisation is renowned for.
As I see the question there are two versions of the gospel. 1. God became man to redeem man from sin, or 2. God sent his Son to redeem man from sin. Jesus prayed to his Father “Now this eternal life that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” John 17:3. Furthermore John 3:16 is one of the most quoted scriptures. The choice is simple. Nevertheless I am left with question “how can the doctrine of the trinity, which is not expressly taught in the scriptures, become a test of faith & fellowship.? “ I respectfully suggest you investigate the writings of Patrick Navas.
Lita Cosner
Please indicate where my response was driven by emotion rather than sound exegesis. What you called two versions of the Gospel is really the Gospel seen from different angles, like a precious stone that looks different depending on from which direction you look at it. It looks like this fellow you cite has been roundly refuted by sound theologians.
Don W.
God’s interaction with His chosen people, the Hebrew nation, is well-documented in the Scriptures, thousands of years of revelation and involvement with Abraham, Moses, David and all the scribes and prophets who faithfully recorded the thoughts, actions and intentions of God with His people, also the birth and work of His own beloved son who would bring salvation to all peoples, Jew and Gentile; Jesus Christ, ALSO a Jew who kept the Law perfectly. Abraham had such a close relationship with God that he was called “the friend of God” (2Chr 20:7; Jas 2:23). Moses interacted with God more than maybe any other man, spoke with Him “face to face as a man speaks to his friend”, was shown God’s glory, heard God’s own declaration of His character. (Exod 33, 34) Such was the closeness of David to his God that God himself called him “a man after my own heart” (1Sa 13:14 ; Acts 13:22). Yet all these faithful people were somehow wrong? Everybody knows the powerful monotheistic belief of the Jewish people: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deut 6:4; Mk 12:29). Abraham’s other son, Ishmael, without doubt taught the same things concerning the mighty God, was patriarch of many Islamic peoples and nations whose monotheistic belief is also well known, as is their opposition to Trinitarian Christianity. As readily admitted by theologians, the Trinity doctrine is not found in the Bible but came about 300 years after Christ following much political and religious debate, and reluctantly agreed upon by a few so as not to conflict with the whims of pagan Emperor Constantine. It was unknown to first century believers; it is the work of men and is not from the Bible. Search “Pagan Origins of the Trinity Doctrine”.
Lita Cosner
Moses, Abraham, and David were emphatically not wrong about the nature of God; they fully believed what He revealed to them. Good spiritual descendants of these patriarchs will follow their example and embrace the full revelation of Trinitarian monotheism.

Ishmael has no identifiable theological connection to Islam, which began in the seventh century AD. The biological connection may or may not bear out; I do not know enough about that area to say either way. But Islam's god is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, nor is he the God of the Bible.

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