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.
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.
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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