POSTED - 4/29/2001
- Michael Bremmer
"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Host, the whole earth is filled of His glory" (Isa. 6.3)
Throughout the history of the Christian church numerous persons and groups have denied the Trinity. We will begin this study by examining these anti-Trinitarian views.
Tritheism teaches that there exists three Gods, not three persons, within the Godhead; that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one only in purpose, not in essence. Although this heresy remained dead for many years, some within the faith movement have again resurrected it. The most notable promoting this heresy is Benny Hinn. Hank Hanegraaff, in his admirable work Christianity in Crises, documents the following:
"Man, I feel revelation knowledge already coming on me here. Lift your hands. Something new is going to happen here today. I felt it just as I walked down here. Holy Spirit, tale over in the name of Jesus...God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person; and He is a triune being Himself separate from the Son and Holy Ghost. Say, what did you say? Hear it, hear it, hear it. See, God the Father is a person. God the Son is a person. God the Holy Spirit is a person. But each one of them is a triune being by Himself. If I can shock you -- and maybe I should -- there's nine of them. Huh, what did you say? Let me explain: God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person with his own personal spirit, and with His own personal soul, and His own personal spirit-body. You say, Huh, I never heard that. Well you think you're in church this church to hear things you've heard for the last fifty years? You can't argue with the word, can you? It's all in the Word." (1)Of course, this heresy is not in the Word of God, and even Hinn later acknowledges his mistake. Curious, since Hinn's mistake was supposedly God given revelation; yet some two years after admitting his error, Hinn is again teaching the same heretical doctrine. Tritheism is also taught in the popular Dake's Annotated Reference Bible. Under the heading of "The Trinity- 18 fallacies " Dake writes:
"1. That there is only one person or being called God . . . 5. That God consist of three persons or three beings in one being." (2)Further down on the same page Dake defines the Trinity:
"What we mean by Divine Trinity is that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead, each with His own personal Spirit body, personal soul, and personal Spirit in the same sense each human being, angel, or any other being has his own body, soul and spirit."However, this is not a definition of the Trinity, but a denial of it. Tritheism must be rejected because the Scriptures say God is one: "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!" (Deut. 6.4).
Monarchianism is any teaching denying that three persons are in the Godhead. Monarchianism generally takes two forms: Dynamic Monarchianism, and Modalistic Monarchianism.
Dynamic Monarchianism denies the deity of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit by making Jesus merely a man, and the Holy Spirit nothing more than a divine influence. In Jesus' case, the power of God came to reside on the man Jesus Christ. His "divinity," therefore, is one of status, not essence. The most infamous form of Dynamic Monarchianism is that of Arianism . Few question that Arianism has it beginnings in the erroneous teachings of Origen. Although Origen called Jesus God, and taught that He was co-eternal with the Father, Origen evidently did not believe that Christ was equal with God. According to Origen, who would eventually be declared a heretic, the Father alone was "ho Theos" whereas Jesus was only "Theos." This difference was not one merely of subsistence and administration, but of essence--Jesus is not of the same essence as the Father, owing His existence to the Father. Origen even went as far as the suggest that one should not address Christ in prayer as "absolute worship" (3) It was not long for someone to take Origen's teachings further by saying that Christ was not God at all, but merely a created being. This is precisely what the heretic Arius did. (4)
Modalistic Monarchianism, also called by some writers Sabellianism, (5) teaches that God is one being who revealed Himself at different times as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, much like an actor who assumes different acting roles throughout his career. In this view, the Trinity is nothing more than a threefold phase and mode of revelation. This ancient heresy is vigorously taught and defended by such groups as the United Pentecostal Church. The Modalistic view must be rejected because it does not represent all the Biblical data on the subject. The gospel narratives leave the honest reader with the impression that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three personal individuals. This subject will be carefully examined later.
THE TRINITY DEFINED
The doctrine of the Trinity teaches that there is one God, yet three distinct persons, each person is the same in substance and equal in glory and power. The Westminster Confession of Faith states:
"In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor preceding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally preceding from the Father and the Son." (6)In opposition to the heretical Tritheism, and Monarchianism views, the true doctrine of the Trinity teaches: First, God is one indivisible in essence (Deut. 4.4; Isa. 44.6; Ja. 2.19; 1 Cor. 8.4-6; Eph. 4.3-6). This fact is fundamental to the Trinitarian view. Second, the one indivisible divine essence exists, as a whole and not in part, eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. B. B. Warfield summarized:
"There is one only and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal Persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence." (7)The word substance means essence, independent being. Essence is what a thing is and when used to describe the relationship of the Persons to the Godhead, it means they are the same indivisible, numerical essence. When Trinitarians say God is one, we mean one in essence. The word subsistence denotes the manner of existence that distinguishes one thing from another. Our English word person, although inadequate, best communicates this meaning, if it is clearly emphasized that the word "person" fails to distinguish that in the Godhead there is only one substance, one intelligence, and one will, yet three co-eternal, coequal, distinct beings. (8) Third, the whole undivided essence of God belongs to each of the three persons equally. Few, if any, deny that the Father is God, but many do deny that the whole undivided essence of God belongs to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, that is, they deny the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. As pointed out earlier, this is the heresy Arianism. Groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses are Arian in that they deny both the Deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Yet the Scriptures clearly teach the Deity of both Christ and The Holy Spirit.
PROOF OF THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST
The Scripture presupposes that Jesus Christ is God, therefore, Scripture abounds with numerous implicit expressions of Christ's deity. By implicit I mean that while the subject matter of a particular passage of Scripture may not be Christ's deity, it is nevertheless understood; and if His deity is not understood, then the passage becomes ridiculous and unbelievable. I will cite only a few examples, but the reader is encouraged to search out other examples. (9)
"He who loves who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Mt. 10.37. See also Lk. 14.25-26). If Jesus is a mere man, if he is nothing more than a created being, then these are the words of demented lunatic. They are the words of another Jim Jones or David Koresh. What right does any religious "teacher" have to demand that his followers love him more than their parents or children? This is absurd! Those who would have us believe that Jesus was a good teacher, but not God, are foolish for this "good" teacher demanded that His followers love Him more than their own family. Yet, if this good teacher is more than just a man, if He is God incarnate, as the Scriptures clearly teach, then this passage makes sense, since only God can demand unconditional allegiance.
"Simon, I have something to say to you" (Lk. 7.40). As was Jesus custom, He accepted a dinner invitation from a pharisee, and during this affair a woman who the Scriptures describe as a sinner came to Jesus and with her tears washed Jesus' feet. Simon, the Pharisee who invited Jesus, thought to himself that if Jesus was truly a Prophet, then He would surely have known what sort of woman this was touching Him. Jesus, knowing what Simon was thinking, turns to him and says, "Simon, I have something to say to you." Jesus then tells Simon a parable about a money lender who lent money to two individuals, one 500 denarii the other 50. When both debtors were unable to pay off their loans, the lender forgave both debtors. "Which of them," Jesus asks Simon, "Would love the money lender more?" Simon perceptively answers, "I suppose the one who owed the more." Jesus then applies His parable. Jesus says to Simon, "I entered your house . . ." Jesus sets himself up as the money lender of the parable and Simon and the woman the two debtors. Jesus says to the woman, who represented the debtor owing the 500 denarii, "Your sins are forgiven." The point is, only the one owed the debt can forgive that debt. Only God can forgive sin, since sin is a debt against God. The only way the parable and the following events make sense is if Jesus Christ is truly God and therefore able to forgive sin.
"For the love of Christ constrains us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; And He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf" (2 Cor. 5.14-15). The Scriptures declare that we are to only worship God. If one is to live for Christ, as the apostle Paul instructed, and Jesus is not God, then what does one worship God with? What more can the creature do then to live for the Creator? What higher or more majestic from of worship is there other then what Paul says: "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain"? If Christ is not God, then Paul is an idolater. John Stott has well said: "Nobody can call himself a Christian who does not worship Jesus. To worship Him, if he were not God, is idolatry; to withhold worship from Him, if He is, is apostasy." (10) I can cite many more examples. Nevertheless, these few are sufficient in substantiating that the Scriptures presuppose the doctrine of the deity of Christ, and that without this assumption many passages of Scripture become ridicules and idiotic. But not only do the Scriptures presuppose the deity of Jesus Christ, they also declare it outright:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God" (Jn. 1.1-2). What could be clearer? John describes Jesus as both God and eternal, and existing with God. John here affirms both the deity of Christ and the Trinity. For a Biblical defense of this passage against cults and anti-Trinitarian groups I suggest the reader consults Walter Martin's classic, Kingdom of the Cults. "Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name" (Jn. 20.30-31). The apostle John wrote his gospel with the expressed intention of convincing his readers to believe in Jesus Christ. Part of this belief is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The expression Son of God is used in the NT as a description of Christ's deity. For example, in Jn. 5.17 Jesus says, "My Father is working until now and I Myself am working.' For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath but also was call God His own Father, making Himself equal with God." The Jews understood that to be God's Son was to be equal to God. Notice Jesus does not correct their reasoning, but presents a stunning defense of His claim in verses 19-47. Likewise, in Jn. 10.30-39 there occurs a similar situation where the Jews to whom Jesus speaks with understand His claim to be the Son of God as a direct claim to deity, and, as before, Jesus does not try to correct their reasoning, but again presents a defense of His claim.
"No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He was explained Him" (Jn. 1.18). While this verse is one of the foremost proofs of Christ's deity, it is not without exegetical difficulties. First, some translations read: "Only begotten Son," or "one and only son" as in the King James, the New King James, the Revised Version, New English Bible, and the Living Bible. The difference is due to variations in the manuscripts, some having monogenes huios (only Son) and other manuscripts having monogenes theos (only God). Variances in the manuscripts are common and most are easily solved. The textual evidence for monogenes theos (11) is far greater than for monogenes huios, (12) and Scribes were more likely to change "begotten God" to "begotten Son" rather than visa-versa. The second problem with this verse is the word "begotten." The term "only begotten" has caused much confusion thanks in no small part to the heretical teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses. They use the term in an attempt to prove that Jesus Christ is only a created being. In the Greek, however, the word does not lend it self very easily to such an interpretation. Monogenes in the Greek means, "Unique, one of a kind, one and only," (13) "Unique (in kind) of something that is the example of its category." (14) The writings of an early Church father, Clement of Rome, (95 A. D.) furnishes an excellent example of this usage:
"Let us consider the marvelous sign which is seen in the regions of the east, that is, the parts of Arabia. There is a bird, which is name the Phoenix. This, being the only one of its kind liveth for five hundred years. (15)The phrase "only one of its kind" is the translation of the same Greek word monogenes. When John refers to Jesus as monogenes, he means nothing more than one and only, perhaps even as a title. We are therefore to understand Jn. 1.18 to mean: "The only one, God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."
"Thomas answered Him and said, My Lord and my God' " (Jn. 20.28). Some vainly argue that Thomas became too emotional and blurted out something incorrect. Notice, however, that Jesus does not attempt to correct this supposed slip of the tongue, but says to Thomas, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are those who did not see, and yet believe."
"These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and spoke of Him" (Jn. 12.41). Since the immediate context makes Jesus the antecedent of the pronouns His and Him (vs. 36) one must ask, When did Isaiah see the Glory of Jesus? The answer is in Isaiah 6.1-13, for this is from where the apostle John quotes. Isa. 6.1-13 is a vision of Jehovah on His throne!
"Looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Ti. 2.13). "The Granville Sharpe rule of Greek grammar states that when two nouns are join by kai (and) and the first noun has the article and the second does not, then the two nouns refer to the same thing, Hence, great God and Savior' both refer to Christ Jesus." (16)
"And He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible, and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Col. 1.15-17). Verses 15-17 are part of a larger section that runs to verse 20, and is a magnificent descriptions of our Lord Jesus Christ. This passage may be an example of an early Christian hymn of praise as F. F. Bruce and many others suggest. The word image is the Greek word eikon and Paul uses it not merely to state the revelatory nature of the incarnation, but also to state who Christ is. F. F. Bruce remarks:
"To say that Christ is the image of God is to say that in Him the nature and being of God has been perfectly revealed -- that in Him the invisible has become visible." (17)"First born" does not mean that Jesus was created since the passage states "by Him all things were created" and that He is "before all things," signifying that Jesus Christ is eternal; therefore, He cannot be part of creation. In this context, first born means that Christ is the heir of creation -- creation exists for Him.
"Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped" (Phil. 2.6). The English word "form" is misleading because it gives the impression that Jesus is not of the same essence as God, or that Jesus is somehow a lesser, or subordinate deity. However, the Greek word morphe denotes, "The set of genuine characteristics which constitutes a thing what it is. It denotes the genuine nature of a thing." (18) "The outward appearance cannot be detached from the essence of the thing. The essence of the thing is indicated by its outward form." (19) The NIV, therefore, appropriately translates this verse, "Who being in the very nature God."
"And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power" (Heb. 1.3).
"But of the Son He says, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His Kingdom. Thou Hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Thy God hath anointed Thee . . ." (Heb. 1.8-9a).
"For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2.9). A perfect description of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is God-man. "I and the Father are one. The Jews took up stones again to stone Him" (Jn. 10.30-31). The Word "one" in the Greek is the neuter "hen" meaning one in essence. (20) That this is Jesus intended meaning is clear by the reaction of the Jews. Jesus is not saying He is one with God in purpose for this is hardly blasphemy and deserving death by stoning. Moreover, it cannot be reasonably maintained that the Jews merely misunderstood Jesus, otherwise Jesus surely would have clarified the misunderstanding, yet, rather then clarifying this supposed misunderstanding, Jesus responds by vindicating what He said (10.32). Note also "are" in the Greek is plural, lit., "I and the Father one we are." They are one in essence, yet separate persons.
"And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace'"(Isa. 9.6).
"Jesus said to him, Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, show us the father'?'" (Jn. 14.9) Philip's desire to see the Father triggered Jesus' gentle rebuke. Jesus says in verse 7 that to know Him and to see Him is the same as knowing and seeing the Father. To this Philip says, "Lord show us the Father." Now, what mere man or created being, can say, "Knowing me and seeing me is the same as knowing and seeing God! This verse, perhaps more than any other, makes clear that Jesus was either who He claimed to be, God, or that He was insane. Note also that Jesus does not say He is the Father. Nowhere in Scripture does Jesus say He is the Father.
"Behold, the virgin shall be with Child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which translated means, God with us'" (Mt. 1.23).
"Jesus said to them truly, truly I say, before Abraham was born, I Am.' Therefore the Jews picked up stones to throw at Him" (Jn.8.58-59). The phrase "I Am" is also found in Ex. 3.14, where God instructs Moses to go to the Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses replied to God, "Behold, I am going to the Sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, What is His name?' What shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, I Am who I Am'; and He said, Thus you shall say to the Sons of Israel, I Am has sent you.'" When Jesus uses the same phrase, "I Am" it is nothing less than a clear and concise declaration of His deity. While Arians like the Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to believe that this is what Jesus was claiming, the Jews did and again they try to stone Him for His supposedly blasphemous statement.
"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and His Redeemer, the LORD of Hosts: I am the first and the last and there is no God besides Me (Isa. 44.6). The "Redeemer, the LORD of Host," and "the First and the Last" are OT references to Jesus Christ. Rev. 1.17-18 makes this clear: "And when I saw Him I fell at His feet as a dead man. And He laid His right hand upon me saying, Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. . . (Rev. 1.17-18). For those who content that the "First and the Last" is a title belonging to Jehovah God and not to Christ, I must ask the question, When did Jehovah God die and come alive again? For Isa. 44.6 plainly identifies the First and the Last as Jehovah, and Rev. 1.17-18 plainly says that the First and the Last died and rose again! The answer is obvious: Jesus Christ, who is truly God, the First and the Last, who is truly man, He died and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. Moreover, in Rev. 22.13 the First and the last, who is Christ, is also called the Alpha and Omega. In Rev. 1.8, we have a further description of the Alpha and Omega: "I am the Alpha and Omega,' says the Lord God, Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev. 1.8). Almighty with a capital "G"!
THE DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Scriptures are equally clear regarding the deity of The Holy Spirit. In Acts 5.3-4, Peter tells Ananias that he lied to the Holy Spirit (vs. 3). Then in verse 4 Peter says: You have not lied to men, but to God. In 2 Cor. 3.17 Paul writes: "Now the Lord is the Spirit." If the Lord is God so then is the Holy Spirit. (21) The Holy Spirit is eternal (Heb. 9.14), Almighty (Lk. 1.35), Omnipresent (Ps. 139.7), and All knowing (1 Cor. 2.10-11).
MODALISTIC MONARCHIANISM REFUTED
The deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit has been established beyond the questions of honest inquirers. The Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. But are they merely various manifestations of God, each taking His place on the stage of history much like actor assuming different character roles? Modalistic Monarchianism teaches that there are not three individual persons in the Godhead, but only three different manifestations of one God. Sometimes He appears as God the Father, at other times Jesus Christ, and sometimes as the Holy Spirit. While this view does maintain and rightly defend the unity of God -- that God is one -- it fails to weigh honestly all the Biblical data about God.
In the gospel of John, Jesus prays, "Father, glorify Thy name.' There came therefore a voice out of heaven: I have both glorified it, and will glory it again.' The multitude therefore, who stood by heard it, were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, A angel has spoken to Him'" (Jn. 12.28-29). Clearly, two persons are conversing with one another. Some insist that this is Jesus' human nature speaking with His divine nature. Yet, natures do not speak. Persons speak. The Biblical position on the person of Jesus Christ is that He has both a divine nature and human nature, yet is ONE person. The ordinary reader, as some of those present that day, understand that Jesus spoke with someone in heaven. Was Jesus' divine nature in heaven? Holding to a Modalistic view makes the events that occurred in Jn. 12.29-30, and in many other places as well, nothing less than divine deception.
Another example is at the baptism of Jesus: "And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: " Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased'" (Mk. 1.10-11). Here we see all three Persons on the same "stage" with the Father speaking with the Son out of heaven. Is this some sort of Divine ventriloquism?
In the book of Acts Stephen sees a vision: But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God'" (Acts 7.55-56). Here, again, are two persons.
In the gospel of Matthew we have the familiar baptism formula: "Go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit" (28.20). Note that it does not say "in the names," but, "in the name." One God subsists in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In John 14.1 Jesus says, "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me." In 5.20 of the same Gospel Jesus says, "For the Father loves the Son . . ." Love is an attribute of personhood. When Jesus says that the Father loves the Son, should we assume by this He means His human Divine nature loves His human nature? Furthermore, if the Father is the Son, as the Modalistic view claims, then the the Son in this statement is nonsensical. Like wise, all the passages that speak of "I," "He," and "Thou" all point to either real personal relationships, or deception.
What is eternal life? Our Lord answers: "And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (John 17.3). If Anti-Trinitarians argue that this is another example of Christ's human nature praying to His divine nature, then they will need to explain when Christ's human nature was in heaven sharing the glory of God (John 17.5).
In John 8.38 Jesus says, "I speak the things which I have seen with My Father." In the Old Testament book of Isaiah we see three persons distinct from one another: "Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, from the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit" (48.16). These verses clearly demonstrate an actual, literal, and personal distinctions among the three persons of the Godhead.
Trinitarianism may not thoroughly comprehend the glorious nature of the Godhead, but it does allow for all that the Scriptures teach concerning the Triune God.
OBJECTIONS TO THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY
(A) Perhaps the most recurrent objection to the Trinity is that its illogical. Anti-Trinitarians often put forth the Law of Contradiction to prove that the Trinity is false. The Law of Contradiction states that the same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not belong to the same subject in the same relationship. Anti-Trinitarians confidently say that the Trinity is illogical because God cannot be one and three. However, the fallacy of this reasoning is that knowledgeable Trinitarians do not say God is one and three; We say that God is one in essence, yet three in subsistence, or persons. Now, unless essence and subsistence mean the same thing, which they do not, then the Trinity, accurately defined, does not violate the Law of Contradiction. Essence means what a thing is, subsistence the mode a thing exists. (22)
This does not mean that we completely comprehend the Trinity, or that no mystery is involved. Although Oneness (23) adherents make much of the fact that we admit that the Trinity is a mystery, they readily accept the same tension when it involves the understanding of the Hypostatic Union of Christ, that Christ has a truly divine nature and a truly human nature, yet He is the one person Jesus Christ. We may not fully understand the Trinity, or any revelation of God, but this does not make the doctrine illogical. That the Trinity is a mystery, something which we cannot fully comprehend, is exactly what we should expect when we put our finite minds to the task of understanding the nature of God!
(B) The Word Trinity is not found in the Bible. This is a nonsense argument. The word Trinity is not in the Bible, but the concept clearly is in the Bible. Moreover, John Calvin points out: "If they call it a foreign term, because it cannot be pointed out in Scripture in so many syllables, they certainly impose an unjust law -- a law which would condemn every interpretation of Scripture that is not composed of other words of Scripture. . . . As our own thoughts respecting him are foolish, so our own language respecting Him is absurd. Still, however, some medium must be observed. The unerring standard both of thinking and speaking must be derived from the Scriptures: by it all the thoughts of our minds, and words of our mouths, should be tested. But in regard to those parts of Scripture which, to our capacities, are dark and intricate, what forbids us to explain them in clearer terms -- terms, however, kept in reverent and faithful subordination to Scripture truth, used sparingly and modestly, and not without occasion? Of this we are not without many examples. When it has been proved that the Church was impelled, by the strongest necessity, to use the words Trinity and Person, will not he who still inveighs against novelty terms be deservingly suspected of taking offense at the light of truth, and of having no other ground for his invective, than that of truth is made plain and transparent?" (Inst. Vol. 1 P.111).
These are not all the Scriptures that can be cited, but they are some of the more significant ones not previously mention:
"When the Helper comes, who I will send to you from the Father, that is, the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness to Me" (Jn. 15.26).
"Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our Likeness'" (Gen. 1.26. See also: Gen.3.22; 11.7; Isa. 6.8).
"The Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven" (Gen. 19.24).
"The Lord says to My Lord: Sit at My right hand, until I make a footstool for Thy Feet" (Psa. 110.1. Compare with Heb. 1.3; 1.13; 10.13).
"Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and His Redeemer the Lord of Hosts: I am the first and I am the Last, and there is no God besides Me" (Isa. 44.6).
"Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last . . .Come near to Me, Listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, from the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me and His Spirit" (Isa. 48.12, 16).
"But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God" (Hosea 1.7).
"Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His Son's name? (Prov. 30.4b).
(1) P. 124.
(2) NT 280
(3) Schaff P.553
(4) It should be mention that we should not judge Origen only on his views regarding the relationship between Christ and the Father, for Origen was indeed a profound theologian, prolific writer, and an articulate defender of the Christian faith, especially against the pagan Celus. Unfortunately, some of his views on Christology were made the stepping stones for Arianism.
(5) After the third century Roman teacher Sabellius. Although he did not originate the teaching, he and his followers did popularize it.
(6) Chapter 2, section 3.
(7) Biblical Doctrines, P. 133.
(8) A. A. Hodge, P. 164-67.
(9) These examples are from, The Divine Glory of Christ, by Charles Brown.
(10) The Authentic Jesus, P. 37.
(11) P75, P76 Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus.
(12) Codes Alexandrinus, the Freer Gospels and others.
(13) The Complete Word Study Dictionary, P. 995.
(14) Arndt & Gingrich.
(15) The Apostolic Fathers, P. 24.
(16) The Moody Handbook of Theology, P. 225.
(17) NICNT: The Epistle to the Colossians, P. 57-58).
(18) Erickson, Christian Theology, P. 324.
(19) DNTT, P.705
(20) Word Pictures in the New Testament, 5.186-87.
(21) It is also important to note that Paul acknowledges a distinction between Jesus and the Holy Spirit in 2 Cor. 13.14.
(22) See R. C. Sproul's, The Holy Spirit, P. 50-52.
(23) Oneness believers, such as the United Pentecostal Church, hold to a Modalistic view of the Trinity.
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