When I first tried to read the Bible to find out about the nature of God and His Son, I found that there are many Scriptures that seemed to contradict each other.
For instance, there are over 140 Scriptures that state that God the Father created all things or support that concept (l.onegod.html), yet there are other Scriptures that say that Christ created all things. There are Scriptures that state that during the Old Testament period, there was only one God, yet over ten other verses indicate that Christ existed before His birth as Jesus.
We know that the words from God's mouth are the truth (John 17:17) and cannot be broken (John 10:35), so we are left to find a way to harmonize the Scriptures (not possible if error is involved) or see if we can identify if or where corruption of the original text has taken place. All my study indicates that there has been more corruption of the original writings than many people realize.
This has lead me to come to the conclusion that we don’t, at this time, have a totally accurate translation in any English language Bible. The first translation of the New Testament into English from the Latin Vulgate was accomplished by John Wycliffe in about 1382. William Tyndale did the first translation of the New Testament Greek into English in 1525. He also did some of the Old Testament from Hebrew. Then followed the Coverdale Bible (1535), the Matthew Bible (1537), the Great Bible (1539), the Geneva Bible (1560), and then the Bishops Bible (1568). The 1611 King James Bible was a revision of at least four of the prior Bibles but to be based on the Bishop's Bible, with King James instruction to retain the "ecclesiastical words" of the Bishops Bible as much as possible. When they ran into problems with the original languages, they reverted back to using the Latin Vulgate. The King James Bible was produced for political reasons as much as for religious reasons. See lectures by Daniel B. Wallace in the Net Bible companion CD, or on the bible.org site.
On top of all this, it appears that all of our English Translations have been selectively translated in certain spots to support the doctrinal beliefs of those translating from the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. With the text having to be copied by hand many times - and copies made from copies - and many of the faithful copies being purposefully destroyed, it now seems that over the years some major errors have crept in to what we currently have to work from.
There is no doubt that by the time the Bible was first translated into English, the Trinity concept was well established, and may have influenced the way some “uncertain” passages were translated. The fact that some verses (such as Mat 28:19 and John 1:1-4) were mistranslated by reason of the Trinity concept has been well documented by others. But having said that, we should be very careful about condemning people with a Trinity concept of God. If it works for them, then we should leave them to serve their God the way that has meaning for them until God opens their eyes and mind to accept something else. Our concept of the Nature of God is a very personal thing, and we should respect the concept held by others (Mat 7:12), just as we want our own concept respected.
Each individual will be judged according to the decissions they have made (1 Pet 4:5).
I feel that having the right concept of the nature of God and His Son is important as it helps us to draw closer to Him as we worship. However, as we only “see through a glass darkly” in this physical life, we also need to understand that our concept will not be perfect until after God and Christ’s return. Nor will the concept of the nature of God held by other people be perfect (at this time). So we need to give ourselves and other people some latitude when we start talking about the nature of God. The foremost important thing is to love God “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mat 22:37), and have the faith that our understanding will grow as we do this.
As I read the literature of others, there appears to be in the world today three main concepts of God, along with some variations of these themes.
First there are the Unitarians. As I read their literature, there are a number of different groups under this banner. Their point in common is that they say there is only one God - God the Father - and therefore Jesus Christ could not have been be God before His birth. Some groups teach that Jesus was some sort of “created being”, while other groups teach that Jesus started life when an egg was fertilized in Mary's womb.
Next are the Binitarians. Quoting from Robert Thiel’s paper he has posted on his Web site called “Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning” - “The Father and the Son comprise the “Godhead”. There is one God”. He goes on to say “God is a divine family which began with two, God the Father and the Word”. So he is saying that two beings make up the one God.
Then third are the Trinitarians. They feel that there is one God who is made up of three beings - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
All three concepts claim to be based on Scriptures.
However, all the three broad concepts can not all be right, as they are different.
So we come to the difficult part of trying to sort out the truth from error.
To me, Mat 7:21-23 (... 'I never knew you; depart from Me ...) are three chilling verses. It clearly shows that it is possible for a group of people (a church) to be doing “a Work” and yet still be completely off-side with Christ.
The solution - so that we can avoid this terrible condition - is given in v21. We must be sure that we are doing the will of our Father in heaven. I have been involved with a number of churches where tradition is put in front of truth. These traditions have become so entrenched that any appeal to “truth” is immediately rejected because it might affect the “unity of the group”. I have seen cases of where “keeping the group together” and “doing the work” has become a "god" in its own right, and the will of God has been rejected. Even worse, some “cult” like practices have been allowed to seep in, and the group have become in effect a “closed shop”, with “... the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group (Gal 5:20 NLT - British Text Edition).
For some, the “tradition” of “doing the work” has become a curse.
While there are some traditions we should keep (2 Thes 2:15), we must be careful not to allow them to stop us from seeking out the truth of the Bible. To do a “work” that is acceptable to Christ, we need to be sure that we are doing our Father’s will. To get close to our Father, we must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23,24).
Each of us have to make our own decision about how much we are going to hold on to tradition vs how hard we are going to search for the truth.
We have made the decision to always put truth ahead of tradition.
This decision has certain ramifications. As I understand more of God’s truth from the Scriptures, then I must be willing to change and accept it. This means that life has a certain dynamic to it. Therefore I can only be dogmatic about a few things, because other things may change with time. This “instability” makes for poor leadership in the eyes of most people - but this is how it must be. Christ, as our High Priest, and Head of the Church, is the one we must look to for leadership. Any "leadership" role of men should be only to help people to come to know their true leader - Christ our Lord.
Christ is the Head of the Church. He is the one we should follow. He knows all truth and therefore - like God - has no need to change (Mal 3:6, James 1:17).
We are told in Heb 11:6(NKJV) “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
In order to understand and apply what follows in this article, we need to understand the implications of this verse. In an attempt to help us to understand it, let’s look at it point by point.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him,”
This is what I would call a “firm” verse. You can translate it using different words in places, but the meaning remains essentially the same. Can you see how important “faith” really is? Often the word “faith” can also be translated as “belief” (#4102). If we believe the promises of God, then we have faith in God. Unless God is real to us, and this is demonstrated by our actions, we can not please Him. In my opinion we cannot be built into a Church or do a “Work” without faith and a belief in what God is and what He is doing.
“for he who comes to God must believe that He is”
This fits into the definition of faith as a belief or a conviction. We are being told that God must seem real to us. As we get into the nature of God and His Son, I hope we can show you at least one way of making God real and believable in your eyes. If you have found a better way, then I am pleased for you. The important thing is that we “believe that He is”.
“and that He is a rewarder”
In another article (Faith or Works?) I show that we can do nothing to “get” eternal life. There is no law that we can keep, no mountain we can climb, no depths we can descend to, that will make God give us eternal life. It comes as a gift or it just does not come. However, there are many things we can do to show God we want the reward that He has talked about. The little word “and” in v6 tells us that our belief in our reward should be as strong as our belief in God.
“of those who diligently seek Him.”
We are to search out, investigate or crave understanding about our God. God wants to be real to us. He only seems distant to those who haven’t spent the time necessary in searching the Scriptures that tell us all about who and what God really is. The fact that faith and the Scriptures go together is brought out in Rom 10:17 (NKJV) "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
It has already been mentioned that faith is required for salvation, and that salvation and eternal life come as a free gift from God, or they just doesn’t come. However there are conditions we must meet before God will consider giving us this precious gift, and there are things we can do that will show God that we want His gift. The parables of Mat 13 clearly show us that not all men and women are going to qualify to have a place in the Kingdom, and that our best chance comes when we seek the Kingdom as our primary objective in life. This is also stated in Mat 6:31-33 (NLT)
don’t worry about having enough food or drink or
like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly
Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from
day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary
While Christ made this statement about our physical needs, it follows that God will also look after our more important spiritual needs, if indeed the Kingdom of God is our primary concern.
And this is where the part played by man comes in. We are not born with the knowledge we need to make the right spiritual decisions in life - so each of us have to receive some initial instruction. This is brought out in Rom 10:14 - 15 New King James Version
then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how
shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear
without a preacher? (15)And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Each of us are to be a personal witness (1 Pet 3:15, Mat 5:16) and we are to get involved - where we can - in sending either people or material to others in order to teach them about the Kingdom of God and all that it involves.
So that is why I am writing this article. It is an attempt to help others how to understand the nature of God and His Son Jesus Christ. As I mentioned at the beginning, there are a number of ways the Scriptures can be used to understand the nature of God. This is just another way, and it is up to you to come up with your own understanding of this significant concept.
At the very beginning of the Bible, we are told that God created the universe and the earth.
Gen 1:1 (NLT)“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
This is again clearly stated in Deut 4:19 (NLT) “And when you look up into the sky and see the sun, moon, and stars—all the forces of heaven—don’t be seduced by them and worship them. The LORD your God designated these heavenly bodies for all the peoples of the earth.”
The fact that it was God, and God alone that created all things, is stated in Isa 44:24(NLT) The LORD, your Redeemer and Creator, says: “I am the LORD, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. By myself I made the earth and everything in it.
Also the New Testament confirms that God is the creator of all things in a number of places, including Heb 3:4 (NLT) “For every house has a builder, but God is the one who made everything.”
God is light (1 John 1:5, Rev 21:5), and is also invisible to men (Col 1:15). No mortal can look on His face when He is in full glory, and live (Ex 33:20). However, God can take on many forms, and has been known to talk to men (Num 11:17, Gen 3:9,Gen 12:1,7, Ex 3:4-6, Joshua 5:13-15).
From what I have read, men at times have tried to make God mysterious, and dark, and hard to understand. I guess they thought that this gives them, and their followers, some sort of excuse for not knowing God better. In actual fact, when you sweep aside the "errors" of the Bible - those verses contaminated by the efforts of men - we find that God can be very real and very close. He lives by a strict code of practice (love) and therefore is very predictable. If we do well we are rewarded, if we don't do well we are punished. He has a sense of humour, he has an intimate knowledge of our thoughts and motives, and He has inspired his prophets to speak to us in simple terms, often using the sayings of the time. He cries out to us to accept His way of life so that we will avoid hurt and heartache in the future. However, until the Kingdom of God is set up, He allows us to make our own decisions and does not force His way of life on anyone.
I feel that if we can get our minds around the nature of Christ, then our spiritual life will go forward in leaps and bounds. At this point in time, God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, look, act and think very much alike. John 14 and 17 are good chapters to read to see Christ bringing out this point. John 17:21 21 (NKJV) "that they [Christians] all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” They are unified in thought, mind and purpose.
However they are still unique and separate beings. John 14:28 (NKJV) 28 "You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I.”
What we have here is the beginning of a perfect family. In the Kingdom we will have a unity and cohesion that we can only dream of in this physical life, but at the same time each family member will have a unique contribution to make. Can we grasp the scope of what God is offering us? We can be filled with the love of God and have the same mind, goals and purposes, but still retain our unique characteristics that make us what we are (but without the “nasties”). Our Lord spoke of this time in the future when we can be truly be at one with Him and the father during His Prayer in John 17 (esp v20-23).
Let’s look at the Nature of Christ from two different points of view.
Just what was on earth when the man Jesus was born? The answer has eluded many. At first you may not like what I understand to be the answer, but I feel that it is a better answer than what the Unititarians, Binitarians and Trinitians have come up with so far. I can only offer a different answer, your belief is always your responsibility.
Since God himself has stated that He alone made the heavens and the earth, Christ did not exist before His birth. An egg in Mary's womb was fertilized by the Holy Spirit (Mat 1:20), and Jesus's life began. Having two fathers (God as the one who gave life - the perfect spiritual father, and Joseph his step father), Jesus was given all the instructions He needed to understand life and His purpose in life. Unfortunately most children do not get that "good start" in life.
At the physical level, Jesus was very much like the average “Joe” of His day (Isa 53:2). At the end, it took Judas to point Him out to the authorities. We know from the Scriptures that the priests were to have their hair cut but not shaved (Ezk 44:20), and that it is a shame for men to have long hair (1 Cor 11:14), so it is fair to say that Jesus also did not have long hair. If He had let His hair grow long He would have stood out in a crowd, as the custom of His day was for men to have short hair.
at the spiritual level we are told that things were very different
from every man born before or since. This makes sense because God is
Spirit, and therefore He is going to be involved at the spiritual
level. At the end of His life, our Lord confirmed this extra power
within Him when He tells us in John 14:10 (NKJV) “Do
you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The
words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority;
but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
Can you see what Christ is saying? At the spiritual level, God the
Father is fully dwelling in the human man Jesus. Hence Christ can say
- if you have seen me then you have seen the Father, as He did in v7.
Can you now see why Christ was often saying that He came to do the
Father’s will? The man Jesus totally surrendered his own will
to that of His Spiritual Father. This took great character. From then on, Jesus was speaking
the words and doing the works, as though God Himself was doing it.
See v10 above. It can happen to us too. Mat 10:20 NET. For it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
At Christ’s death, God the Father did not die, just as Christ does not die at our death. In Acts 2:24,32 and Eph 1:20 we are told that it was indeed God the Father who raised Jesus.
For all intents and purposes, the people of Jesus’s day were dealing with God the Father, during the last three and a half of Christ’s life. How well do we share the mind of Christ today? If we have Christ fully living in us, then we should be able to do the same - or possibly greater - works than Christ did (John 14:12). Since we are not doing that at this point in time, I can only conclude that we have a lot more spiritual growth to make. I feel that coming to see the true nature of God and His Son might be a good starting point. We all need to suppress our human nature more, and strive to do God’s will, just as Christ did.
There is no doubt in my mind that today Christ is part of the God family, and as such shares the characteristics of God. It just doesn’t make sense to be the Son of God and have it any other way. This does not make Christ a part of some sort of Binary or Trinity God. Christ makes this very clear in John 14:28 (NKJV) where He says “... My Father is greater than I”. There are a number of Scriptures where God the Father and Jesus Christ act independently, but still have the same oneness of mind. No, Christ is - as the Scriptures so often tell us - a Son of God. He is the first of many firstfruits to be added to the God family. Each member of the God family (Rev 21:7 "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.) will be separate and unique, but all having the mind of God and always expressing love. Paul talks about Christ being firstfruits in 1 Cor 15:20(NKJV)
20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.
Christ is the first of the first fruits. He sits at the Father's right hand in heaven, and is a god (little "G").
This is exciting, as it shows us that there is an opening for us to also be part of the first-fruits. If I understand it correctly, Rev 14:1-5 shows us that there will be 144,000 humans that will be converted to spirit and make up the initial first-fruits in the Kingdom of God. Can you see why the Kingdom of God should be our primary concern (Mat 6:33 NLT)? To put it another way, we are in a final exam to see if we qualify to be a part of the 144,000 first-fruits. Only those who truly want it (Mat 13:44-46) will be offered this special position. The others will have to wait a further 1000 years, and by then all the top positions will be taken. The choice is ours.
There are in the world today, many millions of Bibles. Many organizations are wholly or partly involved in the printing and distribution of Bibles. This is good. As I said before, almost any translation of the Bible is better than no Bible at all.
Yet we need more.
We need to be able to translate the original text with the mind of God and the help of the Holy Spirit.
Once we have enough of the Holy Spirit, we can then look at what the original text of the bible is trying to tell us. This requires us to apply the First Rule for understanding the Bible. Mat 4:4 NET. But he answered, "It is written, 'Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.' " What God says in the Bible is far more important than what any man says.
To try and put it in my own words, the Bible has been written in a foreign tongue, copied many, many times with the chance of error creeping in, and on top of all that, all the information on a given topic is scattered through out all the Book. This brings us to the Second Rule for understanding the Bible. We have to look for themes, or all the Bible has to say on a topic, rather than specific verses.
Understanding all the truth of the Bible is not for the faint hearted. However, if you can read and have access to a number of books via paper or computer, and you do really want to search for the truth, then with perseverance, and the help of those who have gone before (such as Strong, the NET Bible translators,e-sword programmers, and so on), then I believe the Holy Spirit will lead you to the truth.
To me, the truth about the nature of God is beautiful.
God took His mind and character and fused it with a willing human, and brought about the first new member of the God Family. But we should not forget the important part. This first sinless human was so committed to God’s will, that He was willing to lay down His life as a sacrifice for all mankind. A sacrifice that is acceptable in God’s sight. A sacrifice that covers our sins, and allows us to have the same loving, close relationship with our Father that Jesus was able to enjoy.
If you can understand what I have tried to explain here, then you will be wanting to move into the next phase of preparing to be a son of God. Just as Christ used the Spirit and Power of God to produce a sinless life, we need to use the Spirit and Power of Christ to produce fruits, and to prepare for a great role in the Kingdom of God.
We also need to be sensitive to the leadership of Christ (as the Head of the Church) and asking Him how we can warn at lest some people of the tribulations that are coming to this wayward and sinful world.
While this information is made freely available (Mat 10:8b) , and can be printed out, it is done with the understanding that there will only be fair and honest use of the material, and that it will be copied in full with no alterations.