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Tag: The Evolution of God

1 Corinthians 11:3 and 15:28: Is Jesus Subordinate to God, the Father?


Trinitarianism — the belief that God is three in one: Father, Son, Holy Ghost, co-equal — dominates Christianity across the world, even though the belief is not explicitly taught in the Bible. I John 5:7 is the only verse that explicitly mentions the Trinity:

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Most modern Bible scholars think 1 John 5:7 was not part of the original text.

Wikipedia says:

Using the writings of the early Church Fathers, the Greek and Latin manuscripts, and the testimony of the earliest extant manuscripts of the Bible, Newton claims to have demonstrated that the words “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one”, that support the Trinity doctrine, did not appear in the original Greek Scriptures. He then attempts to demonstrate that the purportedly spurious reading crept into the Latin versions, first as a marginal note, and later into the text itself. He noted that “the Æthiopic, Syriac, Greek, Armenian, Georgian and Slavonic versions, still in use in the several Eastern nations, Ethiopia, Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Eastern European Armenia, Georgia, Muscovy, and some others, are strangers to this reading”. He argued that it was first taken into a Greek text in 1515 by Cardinal Ximenes. Finally, Newton considered the sense and context of the verse, concluding that removing the interpolation makes “the sense plain and natural, and the argument full and strong; but if you insert the testimony of ‘the Three in Heaven’ you interrupt and spoil it.” Today most versions of the Bible are from the Critical Text and omit this verse, or retain it as only a marginal reading.

The Trinity is an inferred doctrine; one in which believers connect various Bible verses and come to a new doctrine. The Trinity is found nowhere in the Old Testament. Of course, you can make Bible verses say anything, but the Trinity is not supported by the Biblical text. Pastors and professors know this, so they either lie, manipulate the text to achieve a Trinitarian outcome, or say that God being three in one is a mystery beyond our comprehension.

Several verses suggest that God is not three in one. Let me briefly talk about two of them

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:3:

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

If the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three in one, what are we to make of “the head of Christ is God?” This verse seems to say that Jesus, the Son, is subordinate to God, the Father.

1 Corinthians 15:28 says:

And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

Again, what are we to make of “the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all?” This verse also suggests that Jesus is subordinate to his Father, which is contrary to Trinitarian doctrine.

Of course, Evangelicals will have all sorts of objections to what I have written here, but just remember their Trinitarian presuppositions force them to defend the indefensible. At best, the Bible teaches and doesn’t teach Trinitarianism. 🙂 That’s the nature of the Bible. It can be used to prove almost anything. Not all Christians believe God is triune. Within Evangelicalism, there are followers of Jesus who believe in modalism:

Modalism, also called Sabellianism, is the unorthodox [say Trinitarians] belief that God is one person who has revealed himself in three forms or modes in contrast to the Trinitarian doctrine where God is one being eternally existing in three persons. According to Modalism, during the incarnation, Jesus was simply God acting in one mode or role, and the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was God acting in a different mode. Thus, God does not exist as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the same time. Rather, He is one person and has merely manifested himself in these three modes at various times. Modalism thus denies the basic distinctiveness and coexistence of the three persons of the Trinity.

A discussion for another day is whether Jesus is eternal. Was he always the son of God, or did he become the son of God? Both positions find support in the Bible.

I have come to the conclusion that the Bible presents a number of Gods, especially in the Old Testament. Some Evangelicals might appeal to Genesis 1-3 as “proof” of a Trinitarian God, but I contend that the text can also be used to prove the existence of multiple deities.

Here’s my point, if the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, you would think its author would have been clear about who and what God is. That the text presents to readers multiple deities suggests that the Bible is a fallible text of human origin.

A good read on this subject is The Evolution of God by Robert Wright and God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Quote of the Day: The Evolution of the Abrahamic God

polytheism…before Israelite religion denied the existence of other Gods than Yahweh, it went through a phase of granting their existence but condemning their worship (by Israelites, at least; if the Moabites wanted to worship Chemosh, that was their business). In technical terms, Israelite religion reached monotheism only after a period of “monolatry” — exclusive devotion to one god without denying the existence of others.

This much is accepted by most Biblical scholars, including some who are believing Jews or Christians. But things get more controversial when you suggest that there was a long time when even “monolatry” was too strong a word from mainstream Israelite doctrine — a time when not all non-Yahweh gods were considered evil or alien; a time when Yahweh was ensconced in an Israelite pantheon, working along side other gods.

Yet, if you read the scriptures closely, you’ll soon see hints of such a time. The Bible famously says that God “created man in his own image,” but those aren’t Yahweh’s words. When Yahweh is actually quoted, in the previous verse, he says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26) Then when Adam eats the forbidden fruit, Yahweh says, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” When people start building the Tower of Babel, which will reach to the heavens, and Yahweh opts for preemptive intervention, he says, “Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:7)

Us? Who is us? If you ask this question of some Jewish of Christian clergy, you may get such answers as “angels” or the “heavenly host, God’s army.” In other words, Yahweh  may be accompanied by other supernatural beings, but none of them qualify as gods. The Bible says otherwise. It talks more than once about a “divine council” in which God takes a seat ; and the other seats don’t seem to be occupied by angels Psalm 82 says: “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment.” And God himself, addressing the other council members a few verses later, says, “You are gods.”

The many biblical references to the existence of multiple gods are in a sense amazing. For, though the Bible was composed over many centuries, the earliest parts of it passed through the hands of later editors who decided which books and verses to keep and which to discard — and who seem to have had a bias against polytheism. So those hints of Israelite polytheism that remain in the Bible are probably, as Mark S. Smith suggested in his book The Origins of Biblical Monotheism, “only tip of the iceberg.”

— The Evolution of God by Robert Wright, The Emergence of Abrahamic Monotheism, pages 104-106

Purchase the books mentioned in this quote

The Evolution of God by Robert Wright

The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts by Mark S. Smith

Bruce Gerencser