What is understood by the expression, “the triune God?” (E.S.M.)
<ANSWER>–Some have thought this to be a scriptural expression, but it is not to be found in the Bible. It is believed to have originated in the heathen mythologies of the Hindoos in ancient India. Webster defines the term “triune” as three in one–“an epithet used to express the unity of a trinity of persons in the Godhead.” We know of but one passage in the Bible that actually teaches the doctrine of a “triune God.” But this passage is now conceded to be spurious by all Bible scholars. The words found in `1 John 5,7` (“in heaven the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one; and there are three that bear witness in earth”), are not contained in any of the oldest Greek manuscripts. The Religious Dictionary, page 944, says: “It was not until the fourth century that the Trinitarian view began to be elaborated and formulated into a doctrine, and an endeavor made to reconcile it with the belief of the Church in one God . . . Out of the attempt to solve this problem sprang the doctrine of the Trinity . . . Trinity is a very marked feature in Hindooism, and is discernible in Persian, Egyptian, Roman, Japanese, Indian, and the most ancient Grecian mythologies.”
Is the oneness between Jesus Christ and God, the Heavenly Father, ethical or metaphysical? (R.A.H.)
<ANSWER>–In the early history of the Church, after the Apostles had fallen asleep, many bitter controversies were engaged in over this very question. But now in these latter days when knowledge is increasing along all lines, and particularly so as regards the knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures, the solution of the matter is clearly seen. There is not a single passage of Scripture to be found in which it is set forth that the Lord Jesus and the Father are one in the metaphysical sense. Two texts are usually relied upon to support the metaphysical view, but it has been wrongly translated and the other is spurious as it is not contained in any of the old Greek manuscripts. The first of these, `John 1:1`, should read–“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with (<ho theos>) the God, and the Word was (<theos>) a God. The same was in the beginning with (<ho theos>) the God.” The Logos was a God (mighty one) and was with the God (the Almighty One). The spurious passage is found in `1 John 5:7`, and consists of the words, “in heaven the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth.” As showing that the oneness of the Father and the Son is in the ethical sense we need only to quote a portion of the Lord Jesus’ prayer–“I pray not for the world but for them which Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine . . . neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us…that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.”–`John 17:9,20-23`.
If Christ was God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; how could a voice from heaven say–“This is My beloved Son,” when He was a man on earth? (Diogenes.)
< ANSWER> This is an age of general enlightenment. Knowledge is increasing along all lines, and specially so in regard to the teachings of the Scriptures. The superstitions and theories of the darker past are fading away in the light that is gradually widening out unto the perfect day. The shadows of ignorance and prejudice are still lingering here and there; but those minds of bolder sway that have burst the bonds and shackles of the creeds and traditions of former times, are rejoicing in the glorious liberty that comes to those who know the truth. God’s Word has been woefully misrepresented both by friends and foes, and because many have been taught to believe that the absurd theories found in the creeds are contained in the Bible; these, in the light of our day, are rejecting the Bible as the inspired Word of God in place of studying the Scriptures to ascertain what they really teach. The expression of the creeds, contained in the question, is nowhere found in the Bible. Our Lord Jesus never claimed to be “God the Father” but always said that He was the Son of God. “My Father is greater than I”; “God sent His Son into the world.” Our Lord Jesus was not His own Father; but as the Scriptures declare He “was the beginning of the creation of God.” The voice from heaven to the Son on earth proves absolutely, unless we deny our reasoning faculties and become unreasonable, that the Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus are two distinct personalities.
Please explain Isaiah 9:6 where Jesus is referred to as being the “everlasting father” and “mighty God”. Doesn’t this support the idea of the Trinity?
< ANSWER> Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Regarding the possible confusion on this verse in harmonizing it with the scriptural teaching that Jesus is the Son of God, we observe that this verse is definitely a prophecy referring to Jesus. Jesus is a mighty god, but he is not the Almighty God. Remember that Jesus quoted verse (Psalm 82:6) in reproving the Jews for wanting to stone him for calling himself the Son of God.
Let us read this account in John 10:31-36: “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, for a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, thou blasphemes; because I said, I am the Son of God?
God in this sense means a mighty one. To refer to the one and only Almighty God, we need to add definitive language, like “Almighty.”
So then in Isaiah 9:6 we can see that the phrase “mighty God” does not have to refer to the Heavenly Father, but can and does refer to Jesus.
Now the phrase “everlasting Father”, means agelasting Father in the Hebrew. But the thought of Jesus being a father is of more interest.
In I Corinthians 15:45 we read “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam a life giving spirit”. As Adam was the father or progenitor of the human family, so Jesus because of his willing sacrifice on the cross, became the second Adam, a life giving spirit for the dying human family. Adam gave us life, but actually we all die because of inherited sin. Jesus though, gives us the ability to gain perfect life and that eternally.
Similarly we read in Revelation 22:16 “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the birth and morning star.”
Jesus is the offspring of David in a sense through his genealogy through Joseph and Mary. This fulfills certain prophecies. He is the root of David in the sense that the root is the life source for a plant. Jesus will resurrect David, he will be the life source for David in the future. So then, in effect, Jesus will be a father or life giver to David, but not to David alone, but rather to all mankind, just as the first Adam was to the whole human family.
We trust that this helps to explain Isaiah 9:6 with the rest of the scriptures in explaining that Jesus is the Son of God Almighty, and that in the peaceable kingdom, Jesus will be the mighty God empowered to restore the fallen human family as his own as the second Adam or second father to the race.