The Trinity Concept Says There are Three Persons in One Being

The first thing that a Trinitarian will try to teach you is that the Trinity is three Persons in one Being.

The Trinity proponent is making a distinction between what constitutes a “person” and what constitutes a “being.”  This is a clever way of trying to state that God can be three and one at the same time.  The problem is that this “solution” is not clever enough.

First, the contrast between “person” and “being” comes across as contrived for the sake of convenience.  Moreover, it is manifestly artificial because no one knows of any multiple-person beings anywhere in creation.   (Oh, there is a demon-possessed person, but that’s obviously not a good analogy for God).

Therefore, we’re left with a concept which cannot be logically comprehended nor can any example of its existence be shown from the Bible or even in the universe.

Contrast this with Christ for whom there are manifold types, shadows, figures, patterns, models, and so on – in the Scripture and even in nature.  In fact, the Bible repeatedly teaches Christ in this way.  If God to reveal Christ, who is the image of God, by means of analogies, why do we pay attention to the Trinity concept which is not taught at all this way?

How can the Trinity represent the way God is (i.e. be the image of God) when the Scriptures say that Christ is the way God is (i.e. the image of God)?  Therefore, the doctrine of Christ is the alternative to the doctrine of the Trinity.

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

Isn’t “Godhead” a Clue That Something Is Wrong with the Trinity Idea?

What is “the Godhead?”  I googled the question and found this answer.  The article goes straight into the topic of the Trinity.

It’s common that if you listen to any discussion of the Trinity long enough, the word “Godhead” will come up.  It’s seldom explained; rather, it’s usually intoned piously as if anyone who has any sense at all will already know what it means.  Most people who hear it in such a context are afraid to say what they’re really thinking, which is, “Huh?”  They’re afraid they’ll appear “out of the loop” with theological heavyweights.

Of course, the term “godhead” on its face defies the meaning given it by Trinitarians.  That is, they say three Persons comprise the Godhead.  But how can three heads be a singular head?  Unless the Trinitarians want to say that a person does not have a head.

Maybe if the Trinitarians said “godheads” instead of “godhead” it would better suit their purposes.  You know, “one God, three heads.”  Oh, well; I don’t think they’re going to change.

The origin of the term “Godhead” actually has nothing to do with “head” as this Wikipedia article on it reports.  The term primarily comes to us through the King James version of the Bible where it shows up in three different verses (Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9) even though it’s the translation of a different Greek word in each case –  a recipe for confusion.

Therefore, the term “godhead” is particularly unfortunate because 1) its meaning is not intuitive, 2) its original meaning was unclear to begin with, and 3) its use has been taken over for Trinitarian discourse where it intimidates more than it enlightens.  Besides all this, doesn’t the term just sound monstrous?

At the very least, the term “godhead” ought to be a clue to us that all is not clear in the concept of a Trinity.  And that we therefore need to dive back into the Scriptures to focus on the truth about Christ that God has surely given us, so that we might love and serve Him with a whole heart.

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

Ten Ways That the Trinity Displaces Christ

In the previous post, Ten Ways That the Trinity Contradicts Christ,  I focused on the way that Trinitarian doctrine speaks against the biblical doctrine of Christ.  Of course, Trinitarians, for the most part, do this inadvertently.  They don’t mean to devalue Jesus Christ, but that is the outcome of their teaching.

Actually, the issue goes even deeper.  If you will read back through the verses I mentioned in the previous post you will see that Trinitarians have displaced Christ from the exalted position that these verses give Him.  Furthermore, they have replaced Christ with the man-made doctrine of Trinity.  [I say “man-made” advisedly because it is beyond dispute that it was defined and promulgated by church councils, not by apostles and prophets who spoke by the Holy Spirit.]

To demonstrate what I mean by “displace,” I am going to reproduce all ten verses but then substitute the word “Trinity” or “Triune God” or “the Holy Trinity” for the word “Christ,” or “Son” and so on.  You will then see that this is, generally speaking, how Trinitarians read these verses, even though they are usually not aware that they are changing the meaning.

The Ten Verses As Trinitarians Would Have Them:
(altered words are italicized; original quotations are from the NASB)

Colossians 1:18  He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that the Trinity Itself will come to have first place in everything.

Ephesians 1:10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in the Triune God, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In the Trinity

Colossians 2:9 For in the Trinity all the fullness of Deity dwells in mystical form,

1 John 5:11-12 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in the Trinity.  He who has the Triune God has the life; he who does not have the Triune God does not have the life.

1 John 2:23 Whoever denies the Trinity does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Trinity has the Father also and the Son…and the Holy Spirit.

2 John 1:9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of the Trinity, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son…and the Holy Spirit.

Jude 1:4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, the Holy Trinity.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to the Triune God.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is the Trinity and to die is gain.

Acts 4:10-11 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health.  “The Trinity is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.

Trinitarians would deny that they read these verses in this way, but listening to Trinitarian teaching you have to acknowledge that they have made “the Trinity” more important than the Christ and that what I’ve portrayed above is the net effect on these verses and the many others that are like them.   Thus Trinitarians have obscured Christ (which is what I called The Biggest Problem with the Trinity).

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

Ten Ways That the Trinity Contradicts Christ

I have already identified The Biggest Problem with the Trinity and Six Objections to the Trinity.  Here are ten specific ways that the Trinity contradicts the Bible’s teaching about Jesus Christ:

Colossians 1:18  says that Christ should have first place in everything, but the Trinity idea says He should have second place in the Trinity.

Ephesians 1:10 says that God is summing up all things in Christ, but the Trinity idea says Christ Himself is only part of what gets summed up in the Trinity.

Colossians 2:9 says that “all the fullness of Deity” dwells in Jesus, but the Trinity idea says that only 1/3 of the fullness dwells in Him.

1 John 5:11-12 says that He who has the Son has the life, but the Trinity idea says that only he who has the Trinity has the whole story.

1 John 2:23 says that he who confesses the Son has the Father also, but the Trinity idea says that he who confesses the Son must confess the Father and the Holy Spirit equally.

2 John 1:9 says that we must abide in the teaching of Christ, but the Trinity idea says we must abide in the teaching of Trinity.

Jude 1:4 says that Jesus Christ is our only Master and Lord, but the Trinity idea says that Jesus is part of a triumvirate.

2 Corinthians 11:3 says that our lives are to be simply and purely devoted to Christ, but the Trinity idea that we must be devoted to the Trinity idea – which defies comprehension.

Philippians 1:21 says that Christ is life itself, but the Trinity idea that the Triune God is life itself.

Acts 4:10-11 says that Jesus is the cornerstone, but the Trinity idea says that the Trinity is the cornerstone.

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

Sanctioning Gay Marriage Is a Huge Mistake

New York Approves Same-Sex Marriage in Major Gay Rights Victory

Sanctioning gay marriage is a huge mistake.  I say this with no ill will toward anyone.

God’s moral laws cannot be repealed or amended.  They are what they are.  When we pass societal laws outlawing murder, stealing, and fraud, we are acting consistent with God’s laws and sanctioning what is right.

When we pass laws which support homosexual marriage, however, we are enacting human law that contradicts God’s law.  We are sanctioning what is wrong.  This will  not bring blessing on gay people.

We in society have a duty to each other to stand up for what is right.  Marriage between a man and a woman is right and anything else is a perversion of it.  Not only is it a perversion, it is a slap in the face of God who gave us His laws for our good and protection.

You are doing no favor to gay people to sanction gay marriage.  Instead, you should love them enough to , in essence, say, “I am not going to aid and abet your wrongdoing by saying what you’re doing is right.”

The plight of homosexuals is difficult.  We should not make things worse for them, and encourage others to join them in those difficulties, by calling something a marriage when it clearly is not.

Dialogue with James, aka Annoyed Pinoy (Trinity Versus Christ)

[“Annoyed Pinoy” is James, as he stated on 7/12/11 in this comment below.]

This dialogue began in the comments section of the Triablogue post, Do We Need a Trinity Verse?

The post was about the Trinity.  Its author was Steve Hays, so you’ll see the exchange beginning with my asking Steve a question.  (His blog labeled my comments with “blogforthelordjesus.”)  Then James (Annoyed Pinoy) stepped in and offered an answer (Steve didn’t respond).  James has a blog called Gospel Crumbs.  We don’t know each other in any other context.

(I’ve done only minor editing.)

Mike Gantt:  Steve, you said to me in another comment string about the Trinity, “There’s extensive scholarship that lays out the exegetical case for the Trinity in minute detail.”

Could you recommend to me what you think is the single best resource in this regard?

Annoyed Pinoy:  I’m sure Steve has a much better list that he could give than I could. But below are some classic (but FREELY available) resources that helped me out of an Arianistic view and into a Trinitarian view years and years ago.

The only problem with these classic works is that they sometimes appeal to passages that have textual variants which they either weren’t aware of (in their day and age); or they just didn’t take the time to explicate the possible implications of the variants; or they appeal to passages that involve the scribal tendency of “expansion of piety” where, for example, the original reading might be “Jesus” but later manuscripts have “Lord Jesus Christ”; or didn’t take into consideration or lived before the formulation of Granville Sharp’s Rule; or appeal to verses that could be interpreted contrary to their preferred exegesis without mentioning opposing views (e.g. 1 John 5:20) etc.

So I personally wouldn’t use those passages in a positive defense of the doctrine of the Trinity. [Or if I did, I would give certain qualifications and be more balanced and open about the controversies concerning those passages. For example, a case could be made that 1 John 5:20 (which has no textual variant) teaches that Jesus Christ is the “true God and eternal life”. But it’s not definitive.].  For example passages like:

John 3:13; Acts 2:28; Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 10:9; 15:47; 1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:19; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 1 John 5:7; Rev. 1:11

Resources:

Doctrine of the Trinity: The Biblical Evidence by Richard N. Davies

The Trinity by Edward Henry Bickersteth (direct link to pdf)

The Eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ by J.C. Philpot (This work is not specifically a defense of the Trinity. Rather it’s about the controversy of the “Eternal Sonship of Christ” that was raging in his circles at the time.)

An Unpublished Essay On the Trinity by Jonathan Edwards

Athanasius’ works especially his Defence Against the Arians. (Apologia Contra Arianos)

Brief Declaration and Vindication of The Doctrine of the Trinity by John Owen

Mike Gantt:  Thanks for the recommendations.

I find Arianism as distasteful as Trinitarianism. However, I am taking a look at the first book on your list (Davies). Unfortunately, like other Trinitarian teachings I have read it tends to pontificate and obfuscate more than it elucidates.

Here’s one of Davies’ sentences for you: “The prayerful study of the Bible, from the day of Pentecost down, has convinced men that Almighty God exists as a Trinity of co-equal persons in the unity of the Godhead.” This reminds me of the old line, “‘Shut up!’ he explained.”

Nevertheless, I’ll poke around some more and see if I can find something a tad more enlightening in his work.

In the meantime, I’ll simply say that the reason most Trinitarians don’t see how their doctrine obscures the doctrine of Christ is that they think their foil is Arianism or some derivative. In other words, for them Trinitarianism is, among other things, a way of proclaiming the deity of Christ. Therefore, they don’t recognize how making Him “the second person of the Godhead” actually diminishes the place given Him by the New Testament…and by the Old Testament, for that matter.

Annoyed Pinoy:  From a historical trinitarian point of view, there are various heresies beside Arianism that touch on the doctrine of God and/or the doctrine of Christ.

For example, Gnosticism, Docetism, Apollinarianism, Nestorianism, Dynamic Monarchianism, Sabellianism/Modalism, Adoptionism, Eutycheanism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, Binitarianism, Pneumatomachianism/Macedonianism et cetera, etc.

The question is what does the Bible teach.  From my (admittedly) limited studies and by standing on the shoulders of other scholars and theologians I’ve concluded that Trinitarianism does best to explain all the data the Bible provides about the nature and attributes of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

When I first let go of Arianism by becoming convinced of the full deity of Christ, I was briefly a Modalist.  I don’t know what your position is, but from the little you’ve said, I’m guessing you might be a Modalist too. Whatever the case, I encouraged you to continue studying the various options as well as church history. I’m convinced that if you do, you’ll eventually come to Trinitarian conclusions too.

Experience can never prove the truth of a theological position. Scripture is the final authority. Nevertheless, I do find it interesting and confirmatory that of those movements and groups that God seems to have used (and blessed the efforts of) since coming of the Messiah, that they have often been Trinitarian groups.

Mike Gantt:  I agree with you that Scripture is the final authority.  For that reason, it seems more practical to go to it for the correct teaching rather than to survey all the various competing theories.  I compare this with sticking with a difficult math book to learn the solution to a problem rather rummaging through a catalog of all the answers that have been proposed.

That’s not to say that the right answer can’t possibly be in that catalog.  It might very well be.  Nor am I saying that I myself haven’t looked through any of those explanations of God that compete with the Trinity.  It’s just that when I have, I have found nothing that fully resonates with Scripture.  And that is the problem with the Trinity for me – that as I came to understand the Scriptures more and more, the idea of the Trinity seemed less and less in synch with it.

You wrote that Trinitarianism was the best of all the explanations you have found of the biblical data.  I have no reason to doubt that this has been your experience.  But this does not mean that the trinity concept is the truth.  To trust that it is the truth, one must come to a conviction that it squares with Scripture.  I have not been able to do that.  You only seem to say that it comes closer to squaring than any competing theory you have heard, but, as I’ve said, that doesn’t make it square.

If you would like to continue the dialogue, please respond.  There is a question or two I’d like to ask you, if a continuing conversation would permit.

In any case, thanks for the good-will suggestions and comments you’ve made to me.

Did Isaiah prophesy the Lord or a Trinity?

Trinitarians call Jesus the Lord, and indeed He is.

Isaiah prophesied (Isaiah 2:11, 17) that there would come a day when ” Lord alone will be exalted.”  If the Lord alone will be exalted, how can Trinitarians say Jesus is only the second Person of a trinity?

(No one can serve a Trinity, except with lip service.  Repent, and serve Jesus Christ our Lord!”)

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

There Are Seekers of Christ Today Who Know that Church Is Not the Answer

For proof that there are seekers of Christ today who know that church is not the answer, see this post, The Church of Many Buildings, from the Till He Comes blog by Jeremy Myers.  Be sure also to see the comment by Karl dated June 23.

People know there is something not right about church today, and they are searching for the way to the truth.  It is Christ Himself.

Just changing the form of church won’t work (House Churches Are Not a Solution).  Seek our Lord Jesus Christ!  (Repent, and follow Jesus Christ our Lord!)

How Can Trinitarians Be Called Christians?

If a Christian is one who exalts Christ, and a Trinitarian is one who exalts the Trinity (of which Christ does not even constitute a majority presence; in fact, He is even designated “the second – not the first – Person of the Trinity”), how then can a Trinitarian be called a Christian?

In truth, the doctrine of Trinity obscures the doctrine of Christ.

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ