One of those groups has been those who support the Trinity concept. For the "Trinity concept" to work, they have to have: - God the Father, Christ also is God, and the Holy Spirit a person and a part of God. I feel those who support the "two Gods" (Binitarian) concept have been caught up with part of the tradition required to keep the Trinity concept alive.
Of course the two concepts are quite different. The Trinitarians are most definite that there is only one God - but made up of three "parts". The Binitarians can see that the Holy Spirit is not a person (in all the places the "Holy Spirit" is mentioned in the NT, it should have the neuter pronoun "it" and not the masculine pronoun "he"), but then promote Jesus Christ to be a God in His own right. The problem compounds when the Scriptures used to do this are often the same ones the Trinitarians have "twisted" to show that Christ was a member of the God-head.
A look at the Scriptures used.
It is quite easy to show that "Holy Spirit" or "Holy Ghost" should be translated using a neuter pronoun (see Thayer), but not so easy to show that Jesus did not exist till He was conceived in Mary's womb.
But it is possible.Standing back and taking a good hard look at the Bible as a whole, we can find over 150 verses in the Bible that state, or support the statement, that there is only one God - God the Father, the creator of mankind.
Mr Armstrong (the founder of what was to become the Worldwide Church of God) was able to show that "Holy Spirit" should have neuter pronouns and not masculine pronouns, and thus the Holy Spirit is not a person. That was good, but unfortunately he did not go on to show us that "logos" should also have neuter pronouns. Tyndale called "logos" "it" (1525), as did Wycliffe in 1380, and the Geneva Bible of 1557. "logos" has masculine pronouns in Greek (it has to be masculine or feminine), but for the most part - as I understand it - should have neuter pronouns in English. Those who push the Trinity concept obviously felt it best to keep the original Greek masculine pronouns for "logos" as they also did for "Holy Spirit". Correctly translated, John 1:3 should be "All things were created by it, and apart from it not one thing was created that has been created".
Which brings us back to the "logos" of verse 1 - the "it" of verse three.
While "word" is a possible translation of "logos", a person just learning Greek - who does not have a Trinity barrow to push - would more likely come up with something different. "logos" can include the driving force inside a person. Their wisdom, character (the man is as good as his word), their plans for the future. I like to condense that down to their "grand design" that they have in their mind, but you might be able to come up with something better. Even Strong G3056 (logos) includes "thought" - "reasoning" - "motive".
Anyway, leaving the "Trinity" out of it, and doing an honest translation, John 1:1 should look something like this "In the beginning there was God, who had a plan, purpose, wisdom and power [logos] which by its very nature and origin is divine" (page 221 OG&OL). I might add that Moffatt also shows that "logos" was divine, but not a God.
With this more accurate translation of John 1:1, it can no longer be used to support the conclusion that Christ was the God of the Old Testament or part of the Trinity. But that should not come as any surprise. There are around 118 verses in the Old Testament and 32 in the New Testament - 150 [and still counting] - that state, or support the statement, that there is only one God. To put it another way, if we take the 150 Scriptures that support one God, and add that to the 20 Scriptures that support two Gods, then the "two Gods" supporters are using just 12% of the Scriptures that are relevant to the topic. I feel that this is being very selective.
The Jews of Jesus's day did not have the "benefit" of the New Testament as we do today, and they certainly believed there was only one God as the 118 or so verses in the Old Testament were telling them. In the Scriptures quoted below, emphasis (bold and/or underline) is mine.
Mar 12:29-34 NKJV Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'HEAR, O ISRAEL, THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE.
(30) AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART,
WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.'
This is the first commandment. (31) And the second, like
it, is this: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no
other commandment greater than these." (32) So the scribe
said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He.
(33) And to love Him with all the heart, with all the
understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to
love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt
offerings and sacrifices." (34) Now when Jesus saw that he
answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of
God." But after that no one dared question Him.
Scriptures that state that there is only one God are not hard to find, and that was the understanding in the early Christian church before the Trinity concept came to the fore. To make my point, I will show you some "snippets" of what Jesus and the Apostles taught and believed.
Jesus: Mar 10:6 NET. ... beginning of creation he [God, not himself] made them .
Mat 19:17 NET. ... There is only one who is good. ... .
Apostle Paul: 1Co 8:4 NET. ... ," and that "there is no God but one."
Eph 4:6 NET. one God and Father of all ... .
The writer of Hebrews: Heb 3:4 NET. ... , but the builder of all things is God.
James: Jas 2:19 NET. You believe that God is one; well and good. ... .
Since "logos" is an "it", the "He" of John 1:10-13 is God the Father - the one who did in fact create Adam and Eve. There are books around that also show by grammar alone, the "He" of v10 is linked to "God" in v6. The "born" of v13 is better translated as "begotten" - see note 1 in the NET Bible.
The plan of God [to have a son that could pay for the sins of the whole world] took on a fleshly form. As Moffatt puts it "So the logos [grand design of God] became flesh ... ".
These two verses are a little hard to see without doing a bit of extra study. It most certainly does not say that Christ created cows, fish, birds or mankind. The last part of v15 "over all creation" can also be translated "of the whole church". The first two words of v16 - G3754, G1722 - can also be translated as "Because of". The last phase "through Him" or "by Him" can also be translated as "because of Him". As soon as people see "all things ... were created by Him", they assume that it is talking about the Gen 1 creation. In context (v18 is talking about the church) and in a better translation, it is saying that since Jesus's resurrection, Christ - as head of the Church, and first of the first-born - has been working with God creating positions of responsibility and power within the future Church/Kingdom of God.
Let us look at the verses with the other possible translations put into it.
1:15-16 NET. He is the image [looks like His father] of the
invisible God, the firstborn [of the whole church], (16)
[because of him] all things in heaven and on earth [to do with the Church] were created
— all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or
dominions, whether principalities or powers — all things were
created [because of] him.
These verses as they are usually translated, are a good example of what happens when you have a preconceived concept such as the Trinity in mind while making a translation.
"worlds" in Heb 1:2 is a mistranslation, and is better translated the "coming ages". In other words, we have a future - our "age" - because of what Christ has done.
For Gen 1:26 there are plenty of articles on the Internet showing that the use of the plural pronoun was for emphasis (the royal "we") and is only used about four times, while the single pronoun for God is used about 15,000 times. Again, it gets down to what you want to do. You can "force" a few plural pronouns into the picture, or you can let 15,000 single pronouns speak for themselves.
A better translation is "seen with the minds eye" or no one at that time "understood" what God was about. If Jesus was "God", and people were seeing Him, then the statement - as it stands - is not true anyway, and if anything, it proves Jesus was not "God" at that time. Because people did not understand (see) God at that time, part of Jesus's ministry was to explain what God was like.
In the next chapter the same words spoken by Jesus were spoken by the blind man who could see again. There (John 9:9) they are translated as "I am the one". Jesus wasannulled. confirming that He was the one that Abraham was "overjoyed to see the day [Jesus would be born]". Once the correct translation is made, the connection with the "I am" of the Old Testament is broken. The Trinitarians need to make the connection - God's people should not. Perhaps, in a way, this verse is even more significant. If you take the incorrect translation as many people have done, and say that Jesus was fully aware that He spoke the "I AM" words in the Old Testament, then according to Jas 4:17 NET. "So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin.", they make Jesus sin in Mark 12:32 - given above - where the "expert in law" stated that there was only one God. If he (the expert in law) was wrong - as the people of today suggest - then Jesus should have corrected him, not given him a "pat on the back" and condoned his "sin". Of course, Jesus did not sin, just as the expert in law, in this instance, did not sin in his understanding.
The reference to Ps 110:1 is interesting. When you understand it, it is saying that God the Father [LORD] is saying to His Son [Lord], sit at my right hand until I "sort out the mess". This prophecy is further enhanced by Jesus saying in Mat 26:64 NET. Jesus said to him, "You have said it yourself [that he was the Son of God]. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven."
"the right hand of the power" is an expression used for God the Father (see note 10 NET Bible). Christ comes back to the earth with God, not as God. When you get this [the fact that God the Father's feet touch the Mount of Olives first] right, it is easy to see that the New Jerusalem comes down at the beginning of the Millennium, and many other "events" fall into place.
1 Cor 10:1-4
This can be translated as Christ following Israel in time - not distance. Much of what Israel did - daily sacrifices, washings, Passover, and so on, all pointed to the future when Jesus would be born.
Talking about Israel "drinking" in the many symbols of the coming Christ, people sometimes make the statement that a "God" is needed to "constitute a payment" for the sins of humanity. As Jesus was a man, what he was able to go through in obedience to the Father has a lot more value than a "God" (who can not sin) just "going through the motions". As I understand it, God the Father is the one who determines what sacrifice is suitable for the sins of all mankind.
In the margin of the NKJV it says that the words "through Jesus Christ" are not found in some manuscripts. If these words are left out, then it supports the "one God" concept. In other words, this verse is doubtful and should not be used to prove anything - for or against.
"form" just refers to His "outward appearance". Notice the way the NET Bible puts it
"who though he existed in the form [outward appearance] of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped,"
This directly contrasts Eve who did want to know all that God knew (Gen 3:5,6).
I feel that it is fairly easy to prove that many verses in the Bible have been "got at" - either accidentally or deliberately - by men (possibly with some "inspiration" from Satan), or were never meant to represent "truth" in the first place. Let me give you two simple examples of where verses in our English Bibles can not be truth.
As Luke 1:2 indicates, Luke was writing down what was being told to him some 30 years after the events. As best we know, Luke was not an eye witness to Jesus's ministry, as he was to some of Paul's ministry. Therefore he took what he was told at face value, and accurately wrote it down. The problem was that the "truth" had become jumbled in the telling and retelling of the story, and in many cases was no longer "truth". A couple of examples.
Matthew - an eye witness - records,
Mat 5:3 NET. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
Luke accurately records what he has been told as,
Luk 6:20 NET. Then he looked up at his disciples and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God belongs to you.
Being "poor in spirit" has a vastly different meaning than just being "poor".
Mat 5:6 NET. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied."
Luk 6:21 NET. "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. ..."
Wanting righteousness is very different from wanting physical food. So Luke 6:20 and 21 are just recording history, and did not contain "truth" from day one. There are many more examples of where the Book of Luke is "out of step" with the eye witness accounts.
To be able to sort out the truth from the error, we need a new Biblical understanding - a new way of searching for what the original authors were trying to tell us. We need to go a lot deeper in "proving" or "disproving" what we teach as doctrine. It might sound bad to say that a small portion of the Bible has been corrupted, but the positive aspect is that we still have much to work with.
The only way I know of to sort out the truth from the error, is look for themes running throughout the Bible. Or to put it another way, if we look at ALL the Bible has to say on a given topic, then the verses that don't fit the overall position are the ones most likely to have been corrupted by man. In my previous example, there are around 20 verses that can be used to show that Jesus "pre-existed", and 150 verses that say He did not "pre-exist", because there is only one God. It is obvious to me that the around 20 verses are coming out of the small portion that has been corrupted or badly translated, and should not be used for formulating doctrine.
Let me mention some Scriptures out of the seemingly uncorrupted portion of the Bible - part of a Bible theme - that go against what the Binitarian or Trinitain supporters state.
Deu 32:39 NET. "See now that I, indeed I, am he!" says the LORD,
"and there is no other god besides me.
I kill and give life,
I smash and I heal,
and none can resist my power.
Psa 18:31 NET. Indeed, who is God besides the LORD?
Who is a protector besides our God?
Isa 37:20 NET. Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power, so all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the LORD."
Isa 42:8 NET. I am the LORD! That is my name!
I will not share my glory with anyone else,
or the praise due me with idols.
Isa 44:6 NET. This is what the LORD, Israel's king, says,
their protector, the LORD who commands armies:
"I am the first and I am the last,
there is no God but me.
Isa 45:5 NET. I am the LORD, I have no peer,
there is no God but me.
I arm you for battle, even though you do not recognize me.
Mal 2:10 NET. Do we not all have one father? Did not one God create us? Why do we betray one another, in this way making light of the covenant of our ancestors?
1Ti 2:5 NET. For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human,
Joh 14:12 NET. I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father.
If, as people say, Jesus was "God", or a part of "God" - then how come just ordinary human beings that come after Him will do "greater deeds"? Surely a "God" would do the greatest deeds? Maybe the phase "because I am going to the Father" might be the clue we need. Once the man, Jesus, was resurrected and installed in heaven, He was able to further help the men who would come after Him, and together "perform greater deeds".
Joh 5:44-46 NET. How can you believe, if you accept praise from one another and don't seek the praise that comes from the only God? (45) "Do not suppose that I will accuse you before the Father. The one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. (46) If you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me.
Moses wrote about a "prophet" being raised up out of the community - not a "God".
Deu 18:15 NET. The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you — from your fellow Israelites; you must listen to him.
Joh 17:3 NET. Now this is eternal life — that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
Act 4:24 NET. When they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind and said, "Master of all, you who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them,
This reads like they believed that God made everything - not Christ.
Act 14:15 NET. "Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.
They (the Apostles of the day) are still insisting that God made everything.
Act 17:24-26 NET. The God who made the world and everything in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands, (25) nor is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone. (26) From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live,
Still the same story - God made the first man.
Act 17:31 NET. because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead."
What God the Father raised from the dead was a "man" - a special man because he was God's son - but nevertheless a "man".
1Co 8:4 NET. With regard then to eating food sacrificed to idols, we know that "an idol in this world is nothing," and that "there is no God but one."
Paul believed that there was only one God.
Eph 4:6 NET. one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
1Ti 1:17 NET. Now to the eternal king, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen.
Paul is consistent - there is just one God.
Heb 3:4 NET. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
Rev 7:10 NLT And they were shouting with a mighty shout, "Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!"
God the Father has the senior position.
If you are prepared to believe the whole Bible - minus the errors - it is very clear that the early church believed as did the Jews, that there was only one God. The fact that some people say that the two Gods form the "one" God family, and thus there is only "One God", is not supported by the rest of what they teach. Once you say that the Father "is a God" and Christ "is a God" then you are promoting the "two Gods" concept as I see it. At the very least it is doing away with the fact that Jesus started His life being born a human.
In the past, some of the Churches have promoted the statistics of what they are doing as a badge of pride, and equated numerical growth and/or income with righteousness. So my warning is to never confuse Church activity with "doing the will of God". Let me try and explain why we need to be careful.
We all need to take a good hard look at Mat 7:21-23 NLT "Not everyone who calls out to Me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of My Father in heaven will enter. (22) On judgment day many will say to Me, 'Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.' (23) But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God's laws.'"
We can also see from the above three verses, that while God the Father may allow men and organizations to use power from the spirit world to perform miracles, and He answers some of their prayers (a good father tries to encourage his children), this does not mean that every thing going on is pleasing to Christ. To put it another way, miracles are not "proof" of a person's spiritual purity, but they can be used to get someone's attention - and this includes for good (Mat 11:5) and bad (Rev 13:13) reasons.
We can be running very hard on the treadmill of life (doing "The Work", running a church) but if it is not achieving the will of our Father, then it all counts for nothing. I think that ignoring large numbers of verses in the Bible on a particular topic, because they do not support what men have told us to believe, can not be equated to "doing the will of the Father".
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.' "
We should note that Christ is not telling us to live by every word of our current English Bibles. However, the words, as spoken by God, recorded and preserved accurately in our Bibles, are the ones to give us life. We can see this in a correct translation of 2 Tim 3:16,
2Ti 3:16 NET. "Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,"
"Every scripture [that] is [spoken] by God [is] useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,"
The direct quote from the
NET Bible implies that every verse is directly inspired by God. This -
most definitely - is not true. A better translation shows us that
it is the words spoken by God [if they have been correctly recorded and
preserved] that should be used for "training in righteousness". Of
course, many men over the course of history, have had God speak to them
- either directly or through visions - and those words too are useful
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