Discourse 1072 - Is the Trinity only an activity of God in three persons?




Is the Trinity only an activity of God’s in three persons? / Commentary Louis Gelder 00, 2012-04-20

Jesus Christ in heaven and on earth.

Is the Son to be seen as God in his own right alongside God the Father?/ Commentary Louis Gelder 01, 2012-05-22

The denial of the Trinity, the false Catholic teaching and the true Biblical Trinity   -   Discourse 107 - Part 1

Is belief in the Trinity necessary for salvation?    -   Discourse 82



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Is the Trinity only an activity of God in three persons? / Commentary LG00, 2012-04-20)

(…) it has struck me that in a number of passages on your website you invoke the fact that "Elohim" is a word in the plural, so "Yahweh Elohim" should really be translated as "Yahweh, our Gods". But isn’t this just what the doctrine of the Trinity takes pains NOT to state? The Trinity means that there is ONE God, who just acts as several PERSONS – nonetheless these are not several gods but still only ONE God. So how can you appeal to the fact that Elohim means gods? This means that you are not confirming the Trinity, but giving non-Christians grounds for saying that Christians are polytheists.

Here is an example: "Bereshit bara Elohim".

bara here [the verb] is in the singular, Elohim in the plural. If the plural form Elohim really has theological significance and is not just a grammatical peculiarity, then the above sentence would state, surely, that there are several Gods who act as one person: “The Gods created” (using the singular form of the verb), or rather “He who created the earth was – the Gods” (singular verb, plural noun).

But this is the exact opposite of the doctrine of the Trinity. Trinity means you have ONE God acting as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in other words as several persons. In linguistic terms this would have to mean that the word “God” should be written in the singular, but the verbs in the plural: “God created” (plural form of the verb), or rather “They who created the earth were – God” (plural verb, singular noun), or “They who created the earth were – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.

If you want to see the plural form Elohim as being more than just a grammatical special case, and are claiming that this linguistic plural points to an actual pluralism of God, you are proclaiming the exact opposite of what you actually mean to proclaim. This is because you would then be asserting that Elohim really and literally means “gods” and would be teaching that Christianity involves polytheistic worship.

You cannot base the Christian teaching of one God in three Persons, who nonetheless is just ONE GOD and NOT several, on the fact that Elohim means gods. I think this interpretation is in any case unavoidable. Please just take a look at the following texts: - So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one ox for yourselves and prepare it first for you are many, and call on the name of your god*, but put no fire under it” (1Kings 18,25). - And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid; but what do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a divine being* coming up out of the earth” (1Sam 28,13).

In these texts too the word Elohim is used. This means that the word God even appears in the plural when it refers to a single heathen God like Baal, or to the spirit of a dead man, like Samuel. According to your logic this would mean that the Canaanites saw Baal as a trinity and that Samuel, as a spirit of the dead, is likewise a trinity. Or to put it the other way around, if the word Elohim points to the plurality of God, individual divine beings of the heathen should in consistency be referred to as just El or Eloah (in the singular). The fact that they are nonetheless designated by the plural word Elohim however proves that this word does not have any theological implications about the Trinity.


Louis Gelder. louisg0x@yahoo.com



Thank you for your visit to Immanuel.at and for your comments.

As always with this interpretative crux, I have to acknowledge that you are right to some extent. In the first part of this Discourse (Discourse 107) I have tried to explain these logical connections by taking the aggregate states of water as an example:

The “element” water – in its correct chemical formulation H2O, or dihydro-oxygen – can occur in three aggregate states, depending on the ambient temperature: below 0 degrees Celsius as ice, between 0 and 100 degrees Celsius as water and over 100 degrees Celsius as steam. If we now assume, in the interest of better understanding, that the solid form of dihydro-oxygen, in other words ice, stands for the Son of God, who as a human being had a physical body, the gaseous form of manifestation stands for the Holy Spirit and the originating form, water, for God the Father, this gives us something like a workable tool for the analysis of the problem.

If we now look at the Mr. Gelder’s statement above – “The Trinity means that there is ONE God, who just acts as several PERSONS – nonetheless these are not several gods but still only ONE God” – we could certainly draw the parallel and say, here too, “Dihydro-oxygen means that there is one element which just occurs in different forms of manifestation – nonetheless these are not several elements but just one element”. And that is, in both cases, perfectly correct, so Mr. Gelder would be right.

But when we take a closer look, we find a serious difference between these two examples and the biblical Trinity. If we transform water into ice by cooling it down, or heat it up to make steam, then it is still always one and the same water, after all, which exists in turn in different aggregate states – as Mr. Gelder writes above: “You have ONE God acting as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in other words as several persons”. But this would mean that God “transformed” himself into our Lord Jesus Christ when the latter was on earth, and during this time could not have been in heaven. And this of course is contradicted by the statements we find in the gospels. Not the least the Lord’s Prayer!

But even if we assume that what is meant here is that God is present simultaneously in all three persons, we get problems of interpretation when we look at passages like the prayer of the Lord Jesus in Mt 26,39, for instance:

My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me-

Mt 26,39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." Mt 26,39;


On the assumption that the interpretation of Mr. Gelder is correct, and we see here “ONE God acting as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in other words as several persons” (i.e. acting simultaneously, FH), this would mean that here Jesus Christ, as the Son on earth that is, was praying to himself as the Father in heaven. And if we are at all objective, we will presumably admit that this is somewhat improbable. So this shows that God did not “act” as Jesus Christ – on the contrary, Jesus Christ is very much a person in his own right, here praying to the Father.

But we can find other scriptural statements as well that confirm the independent nature of the Son as a person. In the above comments by Mr. Gelder, which unfortunately – in the style of Jewish commentaries – refer exclusively to the Old Testament, we find the following:

Here is an example: “Bereshit bara Elohim” - bara here [the verb] is in the singular, Elohim in the plural. If the plural form Elohim really has theological significance and is not just a grammatical peculiarity, then the above sentence would state, surely, that there are several Gods who act as one person: “The Gods created” (using the singular form of the verb), or rather “He who created the earth was – the Gods” (singular verb, plural noun).


And here our commentator has really hit the nail on the head. When we look at what the Old Testament tells us about the Creation, we find the following in Isaiah, for instance:

God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth.

Isa 42,5 Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it, Isa 42,5;


As was to be expected, then, it was the God the Father who created the heavens and the earth. But we also find a statement in this connection in the New Testament:

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth.

Col 1,15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 1,16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. 1.17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Col 1,15-17;

His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Hebr 1,1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 1,2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 1,3 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. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 1,4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. Hebr 1, 1- 4;


So it is through Him and for Him that all things were created. And here God the Father is not meant, but rather the Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and the Messiah of the Jews. But not he alone was the Creator – it was God the Father who created all things through him. And the key statement in both biblical passages – “through whom also He made the world” – points us to two further biblical texts. First of all, there is beginning of the Gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Jn 1,1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1,2 He was in the beginning with God. 1,3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 1,4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 1,5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. Jn 1, 1- 5;


Here again we find the statement, “All things came into being through Him (i.e. through the Word, Jesus Christ), and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being”. When God said “Let there be”, it was his Word, Jesus Christ, who carried out the order. This is not only a proof of the pre-existence of Jesus as God (“the Word was God”) with the Father, it is also a specification which tells us in what role the later Son of God existed with God before the entire creation – he was “the Word of God” through whom God created the worlds. The Revelation of John likewise speaks of this “Word of God”:

He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Rev 19,11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 19,12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 19,13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. Rev 19,11-13;


Seeing that on the one hand Jn 1,1 states that everything that came into being was created by God the Father through the “Word”, which later became the Son, and we also find it stated in the same passage that “the Word was God”, it was two Gods who created the world. And so the definition chosen by Mr. Gelder (and actually intended as a counterargument) – “He who created the earth was – the Gods” – is actually in plain agreement with these biblical statements. What we are still lacking, perhaps, is the hierarchic distinction between these divine beings. Whereas the Catholic church incorrectly sees them as being “equally great persons or hypostases (beings) of the Trinity”, the Bible shows us that they have quite different hierarchical status.

As the New Testament repeatedly states, God (YHWH) is the Father. And as the Lord tells us, he - the Father -  is greater than all others, so he is also greater than God the Son.

My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all.

Jn 10,27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 "I and the Father are one." Jn 10,27-30;


This pre-eminence of the Father is then again confirmed by the Son in Mt 24,36:

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

Mt 24,35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 24,36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Mt 24,35-36;


Besides all the many other statements to this effect in the New Testament, we find here, in the Gospel of Matthew, seven occasions where the Lord is referred to as the “Son of God”. It is actually remarkable that people should see it as perfectly obvious that the son of a human father is himself going to be human, while some people – for whatever reason – try to deny the godhead, that is the divinity, of the Son of God (Ps 2:7-12).

But this divinity – the fact, that is, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is himself God, and so that, based on the above scriptural testimony, the world was created by the Gods of the Trinitarian God – finds repeated confirmation in the New Testament:

Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.

Phil 2,5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 2,6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 2,7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 2,8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil 2, 5- 8;

Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

Jn 20,28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus *said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." Jn 20,26-29;

Who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

Per 1,1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Pet 1, 1;

In His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

1Jn 5,20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 1Jn 5,20;


But our commentator appears not to have read these scriptural passages, seeing that he writes: “The Trinity means that there is ONE God, who just acts as several PERSONS”. This may be the current trinitarian doctrine, but according to scripture Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is also God. And to declare him to be a “PERSON” might be an approach to be expected of Jews who follow the faith of Moses, but a Christian who believes in the Bible really ought to be familiar with the above New Testament statements.

The high priest Caiaphas was probably the first person to deny Jesus’ divinity, when he condemned him to death for his confirmation that he was the Son of God, under the charge of being a blasphemer (Mt 26:59-68).

Now Mr. Gelder writes in his comments above:

If you want to see the plural form Elohim as being more than just a grammatical special case, and are claiming that this linguistic plural points to an actual pluralism of God, you are proclaiming the exact opposite of what you actually mean to proclaim. This is because you would then be asserting that Elohim really literally means “gods” and would be teaching that Christianity involves polytheistic worship.


What I here proclaim and mean to proclaim is the Trinity as it is taught by the Bible – without any regard to human conceptions, whether those of the Catholic tradition or those of the Mosaic faith of the Jews. And as shown above, the Bible speaks of the fact that Jesus Christ was and is God, and that God the Father created the whole world through him. And the Bible also tells us that we should worship both the Father and the Son:

How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?

Lk 11,13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" Lk 11,13;

If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

Jn 14,13 "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14,14 "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. Jn 14,13-14;

He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.

Jn 14,21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." Jn 14,21;

In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf.

Jn 16,26 "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; 16,27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. 16,28 "I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father." Jn 16,26-28;


I guess I can presume that you are a rightly believing Christian who prays the Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer. So you do worship God the Father. But what about our Lord Jesus Christ? Do you not worship him? If you worship him as well, then according to scripture you are worshipping two Gods! If not, the question suggests itself whether you really are a rightly believing Christian or not.

Nor is it just an assertion on my part “that Elohim really and literally means ‘gods’”. There are no two opinions on the matter: Elohim in Hebrew really and literally does mean “gods”!! How else indeed can we interpret on the one hand the statement in Hebr 1,2 that God “made the world” through Jesus Christ, and on the other those in Jn 1,1, “the Word (Jesus Christ) was God”, and in 1Jn 5,20, “This (Jesus Christ) is the true God”, other than by concluding that the Father and the Son are Gods? Or for that matter the statements in the Old Testament, where the birth in Bethlehem of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose origins are from the days of eternity, is foretold:

His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.

Mic 5,2 "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity." Mic 5, 2;


But we also find the Messiah described as God in the Psalms – as God being anointed by his God (God the Father). This would be a case of God anointing himself, if it were a case of “ONE God, who just acts as several PERSONS – nonetheless these are not several gods but still only ONE God”, as Mr. Gelder supposes.

Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of joy above Your fellows.

Ps 45,6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 45,7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. Ps 45, 6- 7;


But these prophecies referring to the Messiah and the Son of God – just like the testimony to the same effect in the biblical term “Elohim” – have never been understood by the guardians of the Old Testament, the Israelites, and they still do not understand it to the present day. It is a similar case with the prophecy in Num 21,9:

If a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

Num 21,7 So the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us." And Moses interceded for the people. 21,8 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live." 21,9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. Num 21, 7- 9;


Even if we choose to assume that the Israelite scribes, in spite of intensive study of the scriptures, had been unable to comprehend this text up to the time of the appearance of the Messiah, the Lord himself then pointed out the significance of it in his own lifetime:

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.

Jn 3,12 "If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 3,13 "No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 3,14 "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 3,15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. Jn 3,12-15;


But even this proved unavailing. Seeing that the Israelites regard Jesus Christ right up to the present day as an imposter and blasphemer, and will have nothing whatever to do with the New Testament, they are still, right up to the present, reading these Old Testament passages without understanding them, and remain stuck in their false opinion that the term “Elohim” in Deut 6,4 – “Hear, O Israel! The LORD (YHWH) is our God (Elohim), the LORD (YHWH) is one!” – though written in the plural (Gods), is to be understood in the singular (God).

People try to get round this with the help of the argument, which Mr. Gelder also advances as an explanation in his comments above, that the term “Elohim” (gods), though it may be a plural in the Hebrew, is nonetheless to be seen as a “grammatical peculiarity” and is to be understood as a singular (God). How we are then to make sense “grammatically” of Gen 1,26, where God quite clearly speaks of himself in the plural, is something these people have so far unfortunately failed to explain.

Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.

Gen 1,26  Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." Gen 1,26;


But as we can see, in truth Mr. Gelder’s comments are not so much concerned with the Trinity as they are concerned, indirectly, with the divinity of Jesus Christ. He is to be seen as a “PERSON” and not as a God. Because otherwise we would have at least two Gods. And this is something that was always anathema to the Jews. That, in the last resort, was the reason why they had the Son of God murdered:

We stone You, for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.

Jn 10,31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 10,32 Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" 10,33 The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." 10,34 Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? 10,35 "If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 10,36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 10,37 "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 10,38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." Jn 10,31-38;


This grammatical treason of Mosaic Judaism, whereby they deny the plural in “Elohim”, is the reason why in Christendom the divinity of the Son of God has had to be concealed for almost two thousand years behind a false Trinity (monotheism commandment, Origen 185-254). In this way the Jews try to obscure the fact that two thousand years ago they had the Son of God, who was himself God, murdered.

And the Christians of that time – like Christians up to the present time – did not recognize that this was the very reason why God had ended the covenant and abandoned Israel, so that ever since they have been a God-less people. The annihilation of Jerusalem by Titus in the year 70, along with the destruction of the Temple and finally the dispersal of the entire people all over the world, was God’s punishment for this crime.


Israel in the light of the Bible.


Based on the Old Testament

God has completely taken away his compassion from the house of Israel (Hos 1:6). They are no longer his people (Hos 1:9). Only the house of Judah will be saved by the Lord. Not by war, however, but by his Spirit (Hos 1:7). And only in the Millennium, when the Son of God has entered on his thousand years rule on earth (Hos 1:10; 2,18 Eze 34:25; Isa 2:4), will the Lord once more accept Israel as his people (Hos 2:23; Jer 31:27-28).


Based on the New Testament

It is God’s will that we should listen to his Son (Mt 17:5). This same Son of God has told us that anyone who rejects him rejects God as well (1Jn 2:23; Lk 10:16; Jn 5:22-23. 15:23). The people of Israel today deny the Son of God and abuse him as an impostor and blasphemer. As a result of this denial of the Son, Israel has also rejected the Father and so is a God-less people. (Jn 8:24)


The "Friends of Israel" in the Christian congregations are thus selling their birthright as Disciples of Christ for the lentil stew of a vicarious agent of godless impostors. – For Israel there is no spiritual conversion to their God, and no return to their homeland willed by God, unless they convert to Jesus Christ!! (Mt 23:38-39; Gal 5:4) - (See also Discourse 111)



So the biblical Trinity is not the activity of one God in three persons, but the immanence of three divine, spiritual essences – of different identity and in hierarchic relation – in one spirit, which is God. And it is this same integrative property of God, difficult as it is for us human beings to understand, which is conveyed – leaving any kind of human grammar wholly aside – in the formulation “He who created the earth was – the Gods” (Bereshit bara Elohim).



Jesus Christ in heaven and on earth


JESUS CHRIST
in heaven and on earth


o  He is the firstborn (begotten, not created) of all creation (Ps 2:7; Col 1:15; Hebr 1:6)

o  He was in the beginning, from the days of eternity with God (Mic 5:1; Jn 1:1-2)

o  He is the Word of God (Jn 1:1,14; Rev 19:13)

o  Through Him God has created the world (Col 1:16; Hebr 1:1-2)

o  He is the true God and eternal live (Ps 45:6-7; Jn 20:28; Phil 2:6; Jn 1:1; 10:33; 1Jn 5:20,11)

o  He renounced the form of God (Spirit) for a short time and was made in the likeness of men (Phil 2:7)

o  bur also as a man He was connected with the Father by the Spirit (Jn 14:11; 17:11)

o  He is the Son of God (Ps 2:7; Mt 16:16; Mk 5:7; Lk 1:35; 22:70)

o  He is one with the Father and the Father is in Him and He in the Father (Jn 10:37-38; 17:20-21)

o  He does not speak on His own, it is the Father in Him who does His works (Jn 14:10)

o  He has an own identity, the Father sent Him, He will judge the world (Jn 5:37-38,22)

o  After He raised from the dead He returned to the Father (Jn 16:28; 17:4-5)




Conclusion

On close examination of the definition of the Trinity by Louis Gelder – “Trinity means you have ONE God acting as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in other words as several persons” – we can recognize an evident contradiction. A “person” must be capable of acting, otherwise it is not a person. But based on this definition, God is the one who acts. The other two “persons”, then, do not act. But if they do not act themselves, then they are beings without any capability of action and decision in their own right. Is this plausible? Doesn’t our Lord Jesus Christ himself say, for example, “Yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Lk 22,42)?

From this we can see not only that the Son of God has a will of his own and is capable of making decisions in his own right, but also what the relationship of trust between Father and Son is like: the Son has his own, completely independent will, but has voluntarily subordinated it to the will of the Father.

Then Mr. Gelder suggests that the plural “Elohim” (gods) in the statement found in Deut 6,4 – “Hear, O Israel! The LORD (YHWH) is our God (Elohim), the LORD (YHWH) is one!” – is a grammatical peculiarity or grammatical special case. So is the formulation in Gen 1,26, in which God speaks of himself in the plural – “Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” – also a “grammatical special case”?

We find the same plural in Psalm 2,3, where the kings of the earth revolt against God and his Son and exclaim, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!”. Is that another grammatical special case?

«Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!»

Ps 2,1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2,2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 2,3 "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!" 2,4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. 2,5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, 2,6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain." 2,7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 2,8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 2,9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’" Ps 2, 1- 9;


Here again the Son speaks of the Father when he says: “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You”. If God were “acting as Son” here, he would be speaking to himself, and who then would have begotten God? A “non-acting” marionette?

And when finally Mr. Gelder writes:

“Father and Son both created the world, but in this they are one and the same God. They are not two Gods.”

and so disputes the divine nature of the Son as a God in his own right, acting independently of God the Father, he is contradicting, in the first place, the New Testament statements shown in the table above. And secondly, we also find it indicated in the Old Testament that the Son is to be seen as God in his own right, alongside God the Father. In Ps 45,6-7 it is written: “Your throne, O God (Son), is forever and ever (…); Therefore God (Son), Your God (Father), has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows.”

Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows.

Ps 45,6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 45,7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. Ps 45, 6- 7;


In a quite similar context the Lord confronted the Pharisees, when they opined that Christ was the Son of David:

If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?

Mt 22,41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: 22,42 "What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?" They said to Him, "The son of David." 22,43 He *said to them, "Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, 22,44 ‘The LORD said to my Lord, "sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies beneath your feet? (Pd 110,1) 22,45 "If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?" 22,46 No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question. Mt 22,41-46;


And just in the same way as the Lord puts this question to the Pharisees – “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?" – so we must ask Mr. Gelder the question, If the psalmist, in Ps 45,7-8, explicitly calls the Son of God a God, why should he then not be a God?



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Is the Son to be seen as God in his own right, alongside God the Father? / Commentary LG01, 2012-05-22

First of all I would like to say that I am not a Catholic. I do not serve the church of Rome. And secondly, the doctrine of one God in three persons is not exclusively Catholic.

Thirdly:
"And just in the same way as the Lord puts this question to the Pharisees – “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?" – so we must ask Mr. Gelder the question, If the psalmist, in Ps 45,7-8, explicitly calls the Son of God a God, why should he then not be a God?"

I did not say that the Lord Jesus is not God, only that the Lord Jesus is not a second God alongside the Father. The doctrine of the Trinity states that Father, Son and Holy Spirit constitute the one and only God.

Counter-question: how can you assert “that the Son is to be seen as God in his own right, alongside God the Father”, when God himself says, after all, “You shall not make other gods besides Me” (Ex 20,23). “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).

If you say that Jesus Christ is a second God, then you are violating the first commandment.

Before I now put a last question to you, I would just like to make sure that I have actually understood your statements correctly.
Trinity means that there are three Gods. Christians worship three Gods. The Father is a God. The Son is another God. And the Holy Spirit is yet another God. So you are asserting that biblical Christianity is polytheistic.
Have I got that right? Please could you let me have a quick feedback.

Louis Gelder. louisg0x@yahoo.com



You should leave the “persons” out of it here. When you claim that it is God the Father who acts in these three persons, according to your definition the other two “persons” are incapable of action or decision and so are not “persons” as traditionally understood. Surely that is not what you want? And then you write:

“I did not say that the Lord Jesus is not God, only that the Lord Jesus is not a second God alongside the Father.”


If you do not think that the Lord Jesus is not God, it follows logically that you must think that the Lord Jesus is a God. And if the Father is also a God, then based on the rules of mathematics there are in fact two Gods, who however are integrated in the one God.

As for your further statement:

“The doctrine of the Trinity states that Father, Son and Holy Spirit constitute the one and only God.”


– I have no problem at all about that. But Son and Holy Spirit are not two marionettes incapable of action or decision, but rather two further divine beings with their own identity and their own capacity for action.

You then ask: “How can you assert ‘that the Son is to be seen as God in his own right, alongside God the Father’?” Well, you have just said yourself in the above comments, “I did not say that the Lord Jesus is not God”. So, you must see the Son as being God as well. And now you ask me how I can assert that the Lord Jesus is a God. Just what is your real view, is Jesus God or is he not?

But I can tell you on what I base my statement that the Son is a God in his own right: I refer to Psalm 45,6-7, where the psalmist, speaking in the Holy Spirit, twice calls the Son a God and mentions the Father separately as his (the Son’s) God. So here we find the mention of two Gods – God the Father and God the Son.

Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows.

Ps 45,6 Your throne, O God (Son), is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 45,7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God (Son/Father?), Your God (Father), has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. Ps 45, 6- 7;


If you now claim that the Son of God is not a God in his own right, you would be accusing the Holy Spirit of lying. Thus I have demonstrated to you on the basis of the Bible, explicitly and repeatedly, that the Son of God is described in the Bible as God in his own right. Would you kindly demonstrate to me – equally on the basis of the Bible and equally explicitly – that the Son of God is not God in his own right?

Then you quote Isa 44,6: “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.”

The Lord Jesus too says of himself in Rev 22,13: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end”, because he is in the Father and the Father is in him. That is the biblical Trinity: the integrative capacity of God the Father combines the two other divine essences in itself. But this does not mean that God the Son is a marionette incapable of acting.

With your next argument – “If you say that Jesus Christ is a second God, then you are violating the first commandment” – we come round again to the start of our discussion. The first commandment is mentioned by our Lord in Mk 12,29-30. There he says:

Mk 12,29 Jesus answered, "The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God is one LORD; 12,30 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  Mk 12,29-30;


In this statement he is referring to Deut 6,4-5, where it is written:

5Mo 6,4 "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God/Gods (Elohim), the LORD is one! 6,5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deut 6,4-5;


And that, now, is the very same passage which gives us the plural term Elohim, in the phrase “our God / our Gods” – which you, unlike myself, see as being a “grammatical special case”. In my view this passage, just like Ps 45,7-9 above, testifies to several Gods. And if you say that Jesus Christ is not a second God, then you are denying the Holy Spirit, who in Ps 45,7-9 describes both the Father and the Son as two Gods in their own right.

Finally you say:

“Before I now put a last question to you, I would just like to make sure that I have actually understood your statements correctly. Trinity means that there are three Gods. Christians worship three Gods.


No. Christians worship one God, in whom three divine essences – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – are integrated. The difference between our points of view is quite simply this, that you want to see the Trinity as the domination of one God in two “persons” who are themselves incapable of acting – so better called marionettes – whereas I, based on the biblical statements referred to above, see in the Trinity three divine essences or Gods, having a different hierarchic position admittedly, but each with their own identity and own capability of action, these being united in the Father through the latter’s property of integration.

Your further statement – “So you are asserting that biblical Christianity is polytheistic” – misses the point completely. Biblical Christianity is not “polytheistic”. “poly” comes from the Greek, and means “many”. “theos” is also Greek, and means “God”. So “polytheistic” means “having many gods”, and you will only find many Gods in Hinduism, where they have millions of gods, not in Christianity.

Biblical Christianity worships three divine essences in the one God: God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit. But if you interpret the Trinity in such a way that the Father is the one and only God who acts in the other two persons, and so (in consistency) these other two persons do not have any capability of action themselves, you are declaring the Son and the Holy Spirit to be marionettes and God the puppet master.

This is just the point where we can see the fundamental difference between the manifestation of God and that of Satan. It is the same “technology” in both cases, the same spiritual capability, but applied in a completely different way. The divine manifestation by the Holy Spirit leaves people entirely free to examine the inspiration and on that basis to accept or decline it. Satanic possession by demons, on the other hand, eliminates human free will completely, making a person into an object bereft of will, a mere puppet. And exactly that, too, is the sin against the Holy Spirit – to see him as demonic, and to designate the spirit of demons as the Holy Spirit.

(See also Discourse 64: „What is the sin against the Holy Spirit?”)


Please reflect also that in that case the Son and the Holy would be idols, like those described by the psalmist in Ps 115,5-6 as beings incapable of acting:

They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see; They have ears, but they cannot hear;

Ps 115,5 They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see; 115,6 They have ears, but they cannot hear; They have noses, but they cannot smell; Ps 115, 5- 6;


In that case you would be quite right to say that Jesus Christ is not a God, but then you shouldn’t be worshipping him either.



The Biblical Trinity

There is just the one and only God in his three authorities: God the Father as the legislative authority, comparable with the legislature in human society; the Holy Spirit as the authority of execution, similar to the political executive arm; and the Son of God as the judicial authority, like the court of justice. God has given human beings the law and the commandments (Ex 24:12), the Holy Spirit registers the extent to which people observe them, but only intervenes when human actions might otherwise contravene God’s plan (2Thess 2:7), and the Son of God will judge every single human being (Jn 5:22) at the Last Judgment.

In this age of quantum entanglement – with its “spooky action at a distance”, as Einstein termed it – the independent spiritual personality of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and their simultaneous presence (Jn 14:10-11) in the spirit of the one God (Jn 4:24), can only be a problem for people living today if they are completely uninformed. In addition, the Bible gives us numerous examples of manifestations of spirit in the spirit of human beings (Mk 1:23-25; 5:6-8; Lk 3:24; but also Jn 14:23; 17:26!).

The attempt to explain relations of this nature on the basis of the ancient wisdom of the Fathers of the Church (Council of Nicea etc.) was already erroneous in view of their assertion that the earth is the center of the universe (The Creation.) and might be regarded today as comparable to the attempt to explain quantum mechanics by the laws of classical physics.

The actual reason why the Unitarians reject the Trinity (There is no salvation apart from the Trinity / C H. Spurgeon), is, first of all, the fact that they refuse to accept the divinity of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ as God (Ps 45:7-8; Jn 20:28; Phil 2:5-6; 2Pet 1:1; 1Jn 5:20) and even his pre-existence (Gen 1:26; 11:7) not to mention his post-existence with God (Jn 14:23; 17:26!), would call in question their entire false structure of faith with its "human Jesus" as a "faith fighter", "pal" or "model of suffering" and reduce it to absurdity.

But on the other hand the doctrine of the three in one – the Trinity – was interpreted for centuries by the Catholic church according to the whim and "feelings" of the old Church Fathers (Council of Nicea etc.) and not in accordance with the Bible’s statements. As a result it was easy for the representatives of "faith in the one God" – the Unitarians – to question this in the light of the Bible.

But unfortunately the opportunity was missed of studying the Bible in depth and determining what it actually says about the essence of God, his Son and the Holy Spirit – instead, people just made use of superficial arguments to rebut this equally incorrect Trinitarian dogma of the Catholic church.



The denial of the Trinity, the false Catholic teaching and the true Biblical Trinity    Part 1, Discourse 107