Six Objections to the Trinity – 3 of 6

3 of 6:  There was not a binity (if trinity means three in one, binity would mean two in one) recognized in the Old Testament even though the Father and Holy Spirit had been revealed in those days.  If we should accept a trinity from the New Testament, there should be a binity in the Old Testament.

The choice is simple: you can either follow Christ like it says in the New Testament, or you can try to follow a trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit when there wasn’t even a binity of the Father and the Holy Spirit before the Son came.

It’s much simpler, and more biblical, to live for our Lord Jesus Christ.

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything else – but Him.

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75 Responses to Six Objections to the Trinity – 3 of 6

  1. Brandon E says:

    Hi Mike,
    But you must be aware that the Old Testament does reveal a kind of plurality in God’s unity, presenting God, the Angel of the Lord, the Spirit as distinct but not separate.

    The Scripture does not explicitly say “trinity,” “triune” or “three-in-one” but there’s there’s plenty of important things that aren’t explicitly revealed in Scripture. For instance, the Scripture does not explicitly tell us what 66 books belong in the canon of Scripture.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      The Old Testament is utterly emphatic that God is one. There is no belief for which ancient Israel was more famous than for being against the idea of plurality when it came to God. Of course, the signature confession for this faith was the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4).

      What the instances you mention (“angel of the Lord” and “the Spirit”) refer to not plurality but rather agency. That is, God works through agents (representatives), such as the angel of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, prophets, and, most notable of all, the Messiah.

      I am glad you are willing to acknowledge the obvious truth that words like “trinity,” “triune,” and “three-in-one” are not found in the Scripture. I agree with you that this fact alone does not mean that the ideas cannot be scriptural, but it does put the burden of proof on those who want to say that it is.

      • Brandon E says:

        I think it’s fair to say that the Old Testament reveals plurality in God (and thus uni-plurality)–it is not an entirely uncomplex oneness. God refers to Himself using plural pronouns in Genesis 1:26-27, 3:22,11:6-8 and Isa. 6:8; the Angel of the Lord coming in a human form is called the Lord or identified as the Lord Himself (Exo. 3:2-6; Gen. 32:25-30; Judg. 6:11-24; 13:15-24; Zech. 1:11-12); the Father and the Son are revealed in Isa. 9:6 such that a human child and son was not just an agent of God but the Mighty God and eternal Father; in Zechariah 2:8-11, the Lord refers to Himself as both the One doing the sending and the sent One Himself; the Spirit is described as having personal attributes, raising the question of who the Spirit is if not God, etc. Notably, the Messiah is not simply the chief agent of God but the Son of God and God Himself (Isa. 9:6)–I don’t think you can drive that great of a wedge between uni-plurality and agency.


        I am glad you are willing to acknowledge the obvious truth that words like “trinity,” “triune,” and “three-in-one” are not found in the Scripture. I agree with you that this fact alone does not mean that the ideas cannot be scriptural, but it does put the burden of proof on those who want to say that it is.

        —-
        I think that the biblical evidence for God being triune is powerful compared to the alternatives. This web page is a well-formatted presentation (unlike me, the author happens to be Roman Catholic):
        http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2005/09/holy-trinity-biblical-proofs.html

        It’s easy to get caught up in terminology. Not all the statements you say on your blogs are found explicitly in Scripture. I care more for what words (including “trinity,” “triune,” and “three-in-one” or “three-one”) mean. If we put names and words to all a trotting out of all your beliefs about what God is and is not (the Father became the Son, and so forth) we could just as easily say that your view or interpretation of select biblical data is not explicitly found in Scripture and requires the burden of proof.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          A new Shema! “I think it’s fair to say that the Old Testament reveals plurality in God (and thus uni-plurality)–it is not an entirely uncomplex oneness.”

          I prefer the old one: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

          • Brandon E says:

            He is One. The God, Father, Son, and Spirit, are distinct but never separate. The same for Elohim, the Lord, the angel of the Lord, and the Spirit.

            One could easily claim that God having a Son who is God and yet prays to God introduces a new Shema.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              There’s never more than one God. Jesus left godhood when He became a man. He partially regained godhood at His resurrection-ascension, and He fully regained it at His coming in the kingdom.

              • Brandon E says:

                But elsewhere didn’t you claim that Jesus was in fact God during His earthly life but that He was not consciously aware of the fact? Is there a real difference between God and godhood?

                Of course I’m not saying that there is ever more than one God. What I’m saying is that the Father and the Son co-exist (are distinct) and yet are both God.

                • Mike Gantt says:

                  The very term “co-exist” implies that more than one is existing. Yet you say God is one. Something is either one or more than one; it cannot be both.

                  • Brandon E says:

                    Let’s pay attention to what the Bible presents, rather than our rationalizations. Does the Bible present the Father and Son as “distinct” (with the Son being heard by and praying to the Father, the Father action upon the Son, the Son who God doing all things unto the Father who was God, etc.) and yet as being one?

  2. Brandon E says:

    Okay, and does not the Scripture present the distinct Father and Son as being around at the same time? That is, when the Son is around, the Father does not go away or cease being the Father, when the Father is around the Son does not go away or cease being the Son, the Father operating upon the Son, the Father being heard by and prayed to by the Son, etc?

    • Mike Gantt says:

      The New Testament, beginning with the gospels, describes a transfer of power from the Father to the Son. See for example, Matthew 11:27; 28:18; Luke 10:22; John 3:35; 5:22-23; 13:3; 16:15; 17:2; Hebrews 1:2. The Father was decreasing; the Son was increasing. This is exactly what you would expect if a king’s son was inheriting a father’s throne.

      There are no actions or words attributed to the Father which could not have been arranged ahead of time. And since we are informed that all arrangements for Messiah were made ahead of time, it stands to reason that the Father did not have to be personally involved to make sure that they happened. A great many things are done in the name of the president of the United States which he does not have to personally oversee. Heaven is a much bigger operation than the United States government, and has a far bigger workforce.

      • Brandon E says:

        And since we are informed that all arrangements for Messiah were made ahead of time, it stands to reason that the Father did not have to be personally involved to make sure that they happened.

        This is your logical leap and philosophical construct. It’s not explicitly revealed in Scripture. The fact that you claim that “it stands to reason” and yet it contradicts the clear cases in which the Bible portrays the Father as actively involved–speaking, working, hearing, answering, being prayed to by the Son–in the life of the Messiah rather than acting only by “employees,” shows that you are relying on your own philosophy and reason rather than utterly depending upon Scripture.

        See my response here:
        http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/six-objections-to-the-trinity-%E2%80%93-4-of-6/#comment-4639

        • Mike Gantt says:

          The Father’s pronouncements from heaven were quite general and entirely supportive of the Messiah and the messianic mission. Nothing was happening “on the fly.” All provision had been made in advance.

          I offer no philosophical construct. That is the province of trinitarianism. My point is that the Father died and was resurrected as the Son. As far as I know philosophy does not utilize resurrection as a building block.

          • Brandon E says:

            First, the Scriptures do not explicitly say that the Father “became” the Son and “ceased to be the Father.” Rather, they present the Father and Son as being concurrently distinct, conversing, etc.

            Second, the Father does not only speak concerning the Son, but the Son prays to the Father;
            the Son lifts His eyes to heaven and says “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me” (John 11:41), the Son “answers” and then extols the Father (Matt. 11:25), the Son prays saying “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet, not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

            And what is your understanding of this? That the Father speaking concerning the Son is an illusion, a spirit-less simulacrum of a Father that had ceased to exist? Was the Son under the false impression that He was addressing, being heard and answered by a Father that had actually ceased to exist?

            And yes, your explanation that provision or “carefully planning ahead of time” means no active attendance, even if the Scripture presents the Father and not some other agent as speaking, working, hearing, answering, etc. is a philosophical construct not revealed in Scripture. It’s a false dichotomy being something being “planning ahead” and “on the fly.” As I said earlier, the Scripture speaks of God planning and predetermining many things beforehand but it doesn’t mean that there is no active attendance there even if the Scripture presents God Himself and not some go-between as the direct agent. Would God making provisions to have a relationship with us show that He is not in active attendance in our relationship with Him? If not, is everything concerning our relationship with Him “on the fly” without Him making any thoughtful plans or provisions for us beforehand?

            • Mike Gantt says:

              Here’s an exercise for you: Read through the New Testament writing down on one list all the statements made by the Father and on the other all the statements made by the Son. Of course, one list will be very long and the other will be very short. You can even do a mini-exercise of all the “conversations” the Father and the Son had in prayer. Again, one list will be much longer than the other.

              There are reasons why the Father’s list is short, and I have given it to you.

  3. Brandon E says:

    That’s, of course, because the Son was visible, walking around and talking during His life on earth. Where we differ is on whether the Son existing means the Father ceased to be the Father. With your framework (the Father “became” the Son and ceased to be the Father) we wouldn’t expect to see the Father speaking, working, hearing, answering, and being prayed to by the Son at all.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      We would if He had left instructions without telling anyone where He’d gone or that He’d even left.

      God’s Last Will and Testament

      The Last Will and Testament of God the Father

      • Brandon E says:

        So now you’re saying that the Father “died” and was “reborn” as the Son, which of course Christ and the apostles did not say. If the Father “died” and was “reborn” as the Son, and ceased being the Father, why do we see the Father speaking, working, hearing, answering, and being prayed to by the Son while the Son was on earth? Was the Son under the false impression that the Father was still “alive”?

        • Mike Gantt says:

          The Son lived like we should – by faith.

          • Brandon E says:

            His life of faith included praying to the Father.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              Indeed it did. As God, He had made His promises regarding prayer so extensive and so strong that He would be able to rely on them completely when He came to the other side and lived as a human being like us. Thus He proved that if the word of God was sufficient for Him to trust, how much more sufficient it is for us to trust.

              • Brandon E says:


                As God, He had made His promises regarding prayer so extensive and so strong that He would be able to rely on them completely when He came to the other side and lived as a human being like us.

                And this would actually mean what? That the Father promised that the Son would pray to, be heard by, and answered by the Father even though the Father actually had ceased to exist, all without the Son knowing that the Father had ceased to exist? Thus the Son’s life of faith and prayer life would have been founded upon an illusion or false impression of a relationship, and reduced to an impersonal relationship, and thus a poor model for our life of faith.

                • Mike Gantt says:

                  There was nothing impersonal about it at all for Jesus. He was trusting in the faithfulness of His Father’s word – just as we can do.

                  God’s word is true! It is more faithful than anything else in this universe. In fact, the universe itself is sustained by the word of God. All of creation hangs on His word!

                  • Brandon E says:

                    In your scheme, Jesus’ impression of personal interaction with “His Father” would be a false and confused one, based on a false and confused impression that He was not praying to Himself, that He was not the Father who “became” Him and had ceased to exist.

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      Jesus’ prayer to His Father was true, clear, and the perfect example for us to follow. He trusted the word of His Father…and so should we. Only in our case, it is Christ who is our Father.

                    • Brandon E says:

                      So, Mike, do you cede the point that, according to your scheme, Jesus’ impression of “His Father” was based on a false, confused impression that He was not praying to Himself and that He was not the Father who “became” Him and had ceased to exist?

                      If not, why not? Why doesn’t your view amount to this? Of course we should trust God’s word, but our trust is not in a word removed from God (a word God gave before He ceased to exist, such that only the word is left to trust) but in the living God.

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      It’s by your view (Trinitarianism) that Jesus was praying to Himself. By my view He was praying to God just as we do.

                    • Brandon E says:

                      We don’t pray to a God or a Father who had ceased to exist as God or Father, so according to your view Jesus could hardly pray, be heard, and answered, and have fellowship in the way that we do.

                      And trinitarism holds that the Father and Son co-exist distinctly but not separately. Hence, Jesus, standing in the position of the Son of Man, could pray to His Father who still existed as Father.

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      We pray to a God who has given promises regarding prayer. As Jesus trusted the promises given Him, we can trust the promises passed on to us. And we can be all the more sure that as He lived off the promises, so can we.

                      To “co-exist distinctly but not separately” is simply a restatement of the oxymoron that is the trinity. Embellishing a self-contradictory statement with theological jargon does not make it any less absurd.

                    • Brandon E says:

                      We pray not only to a God who has given promises regarding prayer but to a personal God with whom we have personal fellowship. Our relationship is with God, not simply God’s promises.

                      “Co-exist distinctly but not separately” is a restatement of John 10:30 and 14:10-11 and the plain scriptural revelation that the Father and Son exist at the same time (when the Son exists, the Father does not go away or cease to exist as Father).

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      We pray not only to a God who has given promises regarding prayer but to a personal God with whom we have personal fellowship. Our relationship is with God, not simply God’s promises.

                      Yes. And that God is Christ.

                      “Co-exist distinctly but not separately” is a restatement of John 10:30 and 14:10-11 and the plain scriptural revelation that the Father and Son exist at the same time (when the Son exists, the Father does not go away or cease to exist as Father).

                      To suggest that John 10:30 and John 14:10-11 teach trinitarianism is textbook eisegesis.

                    • Brandon E says:

                      God to us today is Christ who is the expression of the Father and realized as the Spirit.

                      We don’t pray to a bunch of promises, or trust in a bunch of promises or a text removed from God. So if Jesus was under the false and confused impression that He was praying to “His Father” without realizing that the Father had ceased to exist because He died and became Jesus, He could hardly be a model for our personal prayer life and life of trust in God as Father.

                      Many Scripture passages plainly reveal that the Father and the Son exist at the same time, and John 10:30 and 14:30 show that the Father and the Son are one because the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father and hence not separate. “Co-exist distinctly but not separately” is a restatement of this.

                      Your claim that the Father “became” the Son and ceased to be the Father is eisegesis.

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      God to us today is Christ who is the expression of the Father and realized as the Spirit.

                      You have made here a good statement, as it is approaching the truth. Because you are inclined to Christ, you are doing better than most Trinitarians.

                      Indeed we do not pray to “a bunch of promises.” We pray to Christ our Lord. He, however, trusted in the promises of God. Because of the life He lived by faith in that word, we may live even ore confidently.

                      That the news of the Father’s death had not reached anyone’s hears until the Son was ready to assume the throne is to the glory of God who planned the whole transition – unaided by human reason or counsel.

                      Jesus held no false or confused notion about God. Note that as his greatest crisis was coming upon him, Jesus said that an appeal to His Father would bring forth twelve legions of angels. Jesus did not expect the Father Himself to personally respond to such a call. God has servants. They are called angels. And they are too numerous for us to count. Jesus’ faith in the word of God shows both the sufficiency and efficacy of that word.

                      If I make a promise to you – let’s say I write you a check – that promise is good whether I am awake or asleep, whether I am alive or dead. God, of course, has infinitely more integrity than I do so this is even more true in His case.

                      I am helping you understand how it can be that Jesus Christ is God based on the Scripture. The trinitarian solution is to pose the contradiction of Jesus praying to Himself. That is, trinitarian doctrine shrugs its shoulders and says it cannot understand the Scripture. God is not a God of contradiction. Therefore, there is no reason to infer one on the Scriptures and no need to impose one on the Scriptures.

                    • Brandon E says:

                      —-
                      That the news of the Father’s death had not reached anyone’s hears until the Son was ready to assume the throne is to the glory of God who planned the whole transition – unaided by human reason or counsel.
                      —-
                      The Scripture never presents the Father as dying.
                      —-
                      Jesus held no false or confused notion about God.
                      —-
                      Was He under the impression that the Father existed while He (the Son) was on earth, even though (you claim) the Father had ceased to exist? If the Father told nobody about His “death” (as you claimed above), it seems that Jesus must have been under this false, confused impression.
                      —-
                      Note that as his greatest crisis was coming upon him, Jesus said that an appeal to His Father would bring forth twelve legions of angels. Jesus did not expect the Father Himself to personally respond to such a call. God has servants. They are called angels. And they are too numerous for us to count. Jesus’ faith in the word of God shows both the sufficiency and efficacy of that word.
                      If I make a promise to you – let’s say I write you a check – that promise is good whether I am awake or asleep, whether I am alive or dead. God, of course, has infinitely more integrity than I do so this is even more true in His case.

                      —-
                      But He spoke of beseeching the Father, not angels. The Lord also prayed to, was heard by and answered by the Father, not a sleeping or dead Father. You’re explaining away the obvious, that the Scriptures present the Father and Son as existing at the same time throughout the Son’s incarnation, human living, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, heavenly ministry with no teaching that either had or would to exist as Father and Son.

                      I am helping you understand how it can be that Jesus Christ is God based on the Scripture. The trinitarian solution is to pose the contradiction of Jesus praying to Himself. That is, trinitarian doctrine shrugs its shoulders and says it cannot understand the Scripture. God is not a God of contradiction. Therefore, there is no reason to infer one on the Scriptures and no need to impose one on the Scriptures.

                      Ah Mike, what posturing.
                      1) Believers who affirm that God is triune affirm that the God Son, who had a human body, soul, and spirit through incarnation, was praying to God the Father (distinct, but not separate). You’re the one who says that Jesus was praying to Himself, His dead self.
                      2) You infer and impose a lot when you say that the Father died and “became” the Son and ceased to be the Father, when the Scriptures reveal quite the opposite. In contrast, affirming the biblical truth the Father and Son exist at the same time and yet are one (John 10:30; John 14:10-11) requires less imposition on the text.

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      The Scripture never presents the Father as dying.

                      No one appoints an heir and assigns all his property and rights to the inheritance unless he is planning on dying. The Scripture is replete with references to God passing on everything to His Son.

                      Was He under the impression that the Father existed while He (the Son) was on earth, even though (you claim) the Father had ceased to exist? If the Father told nobody about His “death” (as you claimed above), it seems that Jesus must have been under this false, confused impression.

                      Jesus perceived God as the Creator of heaven and earth and someone whose word should be trusted. This is just who God was.

                      The Father never ceased to exist; He simply became the Son – leaving the universe to be upheld by the word of His power.

                      If I accept your notion that the Father and Son were two separate [placeholders] then all I have is a contradiction. It’s only the familiarity of trinitarian doctrine and the group decision to accept its inherent contradiction that keeps you from rejecting it as you would any other contradiction presented to you.

                    • Brandon E says:


                      No one appoints an heir and assigns all his property and rights to the inheritance unless he is planning on dying. The Scripture is replete with references to God passing on everything to His Son.

                      Already dealt with. No predecessor becomes his heir and ceases to exist as predecessor. No father becomes his son and ceases to be exist as a father, or ceases to exist as father in order to become his son. Romans 8:17 says that we are heirs of “God,” but that doesn’t mean that that “God” had to cease die or cease to exist as “God” for us to be His heirs. None of your speculative reasonings override the obvious, that the Scripture reveals the Father continued to exist without interruption at the same time as the Son.

                      Jesus perceived God as the Creator of heaven and earth and someone whose word should be trusted. This is just who God was. The Father never ceased to exist; He simply became the Son – leaving the universe to be upheld by the word of His power.

                      The Father exists, dwells within and works, is prayed to, hears, answers at the same time that the Son is in existence, and is known fully by the Son (John 14:10-11; Luke 11:25; Matt. 11:25-27; Luke 22:42; John 17).
                      —-
                      If I accept your notion that the Father and Son were two separate [placeholders] then all I have is a contradiction. It’s only the familiarity of trinitarian doctrine and the group decision to accept its inherent contradiction that keeps you from rejecting it as you would any other contradiction presented to you.
                      —-
                      I never say “separate” (as if existing entirely outside, independently, or autonomously) only “distinct” and existing at the same time, which is precisely what the Scripture reveals. (The Father never existing at the same time as the Son is precisely what the Scripture does not reveal.) I didn’t begin to see the revelation that God is “triune” out of familiarity; I was familiar with the idea, its common terminology, and counter-views and struggled over it, and wanted to see what the Scripture really reveals. Then I saw how the Scripture presents the Father, Son, and Spirit as existing and interrelating at the same time (contrary to your claims, modalism, etc.) and yet not being three separate beings but that the Father, Son, and Spirit mutually and unseparately indwell and operate as one (contrary to tri-theism). I actually think that many professing trinitarians, including some of those you have interacted with on your blogs, are unwittingly tri-theists repeating the words “three persons” and “one nature” without seeing what they were and were not meant to signify, because they speak about the Father, Son, and Spirit as if separate beings who happen share one nature, like three separate human beings who happen to share a human “nature” or three separate pieces of furniture that happen to share one wood “nature.”

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      Already dealt with. No predecessor becomes his heir and ceases to exist as predecessor.

                      You are, of course, correct that fathers do not normally become their sons – but this is simply one of the ways that the metaphor doesn’t work. All metaphors cease to work sooner or later. For you to reject the father-son understanding on this basis would be like rejecting the tree simile in Psalm 1 because a human being does not actually have leaves, branches or roots.

                      The Father exists, dwells within and works, is prayed to, hears, answers at the same time that the Son is in existence, and is known fully by the Son (John 14:10-11; Luke 11:25; Matt. 11:25-27; Luke 22:42; John 17).

                      Such is the potency of His word.

                      I never say “separate” (as if existing entirely outside, independently, or autonomously) only “distinct” and existing at the same time, which is precisely what the Scripture reveals.

                      Such parsing of terms doesn’t remove the contradiction – it just seeks to legitimize the contradiction.

                    • Brandon E says:


                      You are, of course, correct that fathers do not normally become their sons – but this is simply one of the ways that the metaphor doesn’t work.

                      So why say that “No one appoints an heir and assigns all his property and rights to the inheritance unless he is planning on dying”? The clear exception to this and many human metaphors is God. We could no more deduce that the “Father” or “God” appointing the Son or us an heir (Rom. 8:17) means that the Father or God must die than we could say that God having a Son means that His Son is a separate being.

                      Such is the potency of His word.

                      But this contradicts the plain Scriptural revelation that never presents the Father as ceasing to exist, that the Lord Jesus and the apostles didn’t think that the Father had ceased to exist, etc.

                      Such parsing of terms doesn’t remove the contradiction – it just seeks to legitimize the contradiction.

                      “Distinct” and “separate” are different concepts. Linguistically it is not a contradiction. And who are you to say that the Father, Son, and Spirit cannot be distinct at the same time and yet not separate? This is what the Bible reveals–the Father, Son, and Spirit existing at the same time, there being one God, the Father, Son, and Spirit as God and sharing one name (Matt. 28:19), the Father being in the Son and the Son in the Father, the Father and the Son being one such that to see the Son is to see the Father, Christ the Son being identified with the Father (Isa. 9:6) and the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17-18; 1 Cor. 15:45b), the Father, Son, and Spirit indwelling the believers as One, etc.

          • Brandon E says:

            Mike, do believe that the Son while on earth was under the impression (in your view, mistaken) that the Father was still “alive” at the time, still existing as Father? Your “The Son lived like we should – by faith” in response to my question seems like an evasion.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              I don’t know exactly what Jesus knew and when He knew it – except for what is revealed in Scripture. It appears to me that He was unaware that He Himself was the Father, destined to regain His understanding at some point (not unlike Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4). But did He have an inkling? I can’t say. I know Paul says we have the mind of Christ, but there are obviously limitations to that.

              • Brandon E says:

                If the Father “died” and didn’t tell anyone about it, as you claim, how would Jesus have discovered it? Doesn’t the Scripture reveal a Jesus who believes that the Father was very much “alive”?

                • Mike Gantt says:

                  The Scripture reveals a God whose word could be trusted.

                  “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” – Psalm 138:2

  4. Brandon E says:

    Also, I want to point out that the wording of the Shema does allow for distinctions within oneness.
    The Hebrew word for “one” used in the Shema is echad, and the same word is used in Genesis 1:5, 2:24; Ezra 2:64; Ezek. 37:17 to describe the “oneness” of evening and morning being one day, of man and wife being one flesh, of individual members combined into a whole assembly, of two sticks being joined together. (And those who properly affirm that God is triune believe that the Father, Son, and Spirit are vastly more one than the oneness described in any of those scenarios, since the Father, Son, and Spirit are never separate.) The Hebrew language does have a word for absolute, undifferentiated oneness, yachid, but this is not the word used for the Shema.

  5. Mike Gantt says:

    On your view, it’s all the more remarkable that the OT Jews never made allowance for a binity in the Shema given that they knew about the Holy Spirit.

    • Brandon E says:

      I don’t think so. The things of God, the Father, Christ, the Spirit, were not revealed as clearly and fully in those times, so they didn’t have need to consider the Spirit of God beyond being God in action or in His shekinah glory and manifested presence. (I’m not sure that the Old Testament Jews believed what you seem to believe about the Spirit, that the Spirit of God is a separate being from God from outside of this creation who acts as God’s agent). But the revelation of Christ being the Son of God, even the very God incarnate, is enough for anyone to consider God, the Father, the Son, the Spirit, and the Shema, with a fresh pair of eyes.

  6. Mike Gantt says:

    You’re misunderstanding my view of the Holy Spirit if you think I take a different view than the ancient Jews (and by ancient I mean those who wrote the Old and New Testaments).

    I don’t see what about the revelation of the Son would cause the ancient Jews to see the Holy Spirit differently than they had before. They certainly don’t speak in the New Testament of seeing Him differently – except, as I mentioned earlier – as being granted to far more people in far greater measure than was previously known.

    However, that the revelation of the Son caused these ancient Jews to see the Shema with a fresh pair of eyes is absolutely true. Thus we see in 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 and Ephesians 4:4-6 passages we would not have easily imagined having first read Deuteronomy 6:4. That there is nothing “tri” about any of these passages, however, should give any trinitarian pause.

  7. Mike Gantt says:

    That the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (or their equivalents) occasionally show up in the same verse don’t any more mean that there’s a “tri” to God than the many more occasions where two of these names show up in the same verse mean that there’s a “bi” to God.

  8. Mike Gantt says:

    To pick one from your list:

    “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” – 2 Corinthians 13:14

    A Trinitarian looks at a verse like this and says, “See, there it is – the Trinity!” But to a person who has not been indoctrinated into that system, it just looks like a verse that mentions three names.

    Trinitarian doctrine is a system of belief – constructed almost entirely of nonbiblical terms such as co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial – that is then superimposed on unwilling verses like this one. Thus does this doctrine do violence to the Scriptures.

    • Brandon E says:

      2 Corinthians 13:14 is a benediction, not merely a mentioning of three names together. Comparing this with Matthew 28:19, in which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share a singular name, we already have a greater revelation of the Father, Son, and Spirit than we did in the Old Testament, and this is without looking at the content of many other passages that reveal that the Father, Son, and Spirit are God, exist at the same time, and yet are one and not separate. In Christian experience we don’t experience the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit as separate items from separate beings who exist at different times and places. Rather, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is inseparable from the grace of Christ and the love of God.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        You prove my point.

        • Brandon E says:

          How so? I’m not saying that any one verse demonstrates all these things.

          • Mike Gantt says:

            If no single verse in the list teaches the trinity, how can the list teach the trinity?

            • Brandon E says:

              Because we interpret the Scripture with the Scripture. No one verse in isolation teaches all we need to know about God, Christ, salvation, the gospel, etc., just as no one page of a textbook tells us all we need to know about its topic. However, if one NT verse establishes that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, share a singular name into which the disciples are to baptize, and another NT verse includes the Father, Son, and Spirit in a benediction, we are already considering something not previously revealed in the Old Testament. If further verses indicate that there is one God, that the Father is described as God, the Son is described as God, the Spirit is described as God, that the Father is not separate from the Son, that the Son is not separate from the Spirit, that the Father is not separate from the Spirit, that the Spirit’s indwelling is the indwelling of God, Christ, and the Spirit, then an overall vision in Scripture emerges.

    • Brandon E says:

      And no, the understanding of God being triune is based on the biblical revelation that there is one God, the Father, Son, and Spirit are God and exist at the same time and yet are one and not separate.

      “Co-equal,” “co-eternal,” and “consubstantial” are terms that came in later to describe or summarize biblical data without reciting long strings of verses again and again. The Father, Son, and Spirit are all called Lord in Scripture The Father, Son, and Spirit are all described as eternal in Scripture. The Father, Son, and Spirit are all life and life-giving, such that to partake of one through redemption, regeneration and ongoing transformation is to partake of the life of one is to partake of the one divine, eternal life of God.

      Your claims–that the Father “became” the Son and ceased to be the Father, that the Father and the Son would only be revealed as being “one” and not separate until Christ’s second coming (of all occasions) after the Scriptures were completed–contradict the plain scriptural revelation and are a peculiar extra-scriptural system of belief superimposed upon the Scriptures.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        As long as you continue to insist that the Lord has not yet fulfilled the promises made concerning His coming, you will continue to see God as existing in a state of suspended animation.

        • Brandon E says:

          You mean the Father, Son, and Spirit existing at the same time, just like the Scripture says? Mike, your problem is with the plain revelation of Scriptures, so you invented this anti-scriptural concept of the Father “becoming” the Son and ceasing to be the Father (even though the Scripture reveals the Father as continuing to exist at the same time as the Son and the believers who are also the heirs of God) and the Father and Son not being revealed as “one” instead of a separate “two” until the second coming of all occasions (which the Scripture does not say concerning the Lord’s coming, and would be an extra-scriptural revelation, which explains why Jesus and the apostles have it that the Father and the Son exist at the same time and interact).

  9. Mike Gantt says:

    The NT writers describe themselves as living on the verge of a great revelation. If you say you’re on the verge of an announcement, you can’t be expected to have delivered the announcement already.

    • Brandon E says:

      A revelation/manifestation of Christ’s second coming, with the kingdom, judgment and bodily resurrection of the dead–something already announced but not yet realized and manifested–not of the Father and the Son being revealed as “one” as if previously considered a separate “two.” If anything, the apostles reveal an ongoing distinction between the Father and Son at the full coming of the kingdom (1 Cor. 15:27-28).

  10. Mike Gantt says:

    Odd. You insist that the Second Coming hasn’t occurred but you claim that it won’t reveal anything you don’t already know.

    This also makes it odd that the apostles used the word “revelation” in association with the Second Coming. It seems that if you were right, they’d have been warning people not to expect any great revelation at the Second Coming – which is the opposite of what they did (1 John 3:2 and elsewhere).

    • Brandon E says:

      Experience is different than teaching.

    • Brandon E says:

      At the revelation/manifestation of the Lord Jesus with the associated coming of the kingdom and the bodily resurrection of the dead, something that was previously taught will be revealed and manifested, making this consummation and fulfillment new to us in our experience.

      However, it will not reveal a new extra-scriptural teaching that the Father “became” the Son and had ceased to be the Father–as if the apostles were hiding such a “revelation” during their writing of the Scriptures–which contradicts the ways in which Christ and the apostles spoke about the Father and the Son and was nowhere predicted by them to occur at the second coming. This is your desperate attempt to get around what the Bible actually reveals about the Father and Son.

  11. Mike Gantt says:

    The revelation to come about which the apostles wrote was the revelation of Jesus Christ This was not to be, as you suppose, a revelation in the flesh, for this had already take place (1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:16).

    “All flesh is like grass, and its glory like the flower of grass.” Your idea of the Second Coming would be to gild the grass.

    The revelation of Christ was to be of “great glory,” even “the glory of the Father.” This then, of necessity, must be a glory of the spirit for “the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

    • Brandon E says:

      At the mount of transfiguration Peter, James, and John saw Him transfigured and were eyewitnesses to this One’s power, majesty, and glory, and yet He was still in the visible form of the Son of Man.

      We’ve already been through the reasons why you, proto-Gnostics, Gnostics & co., erroneously think that the second coming and resurrection of the dead has to be invisible or else its “fleshly,” but why early Christians believed upon the Scriptures that the Lord’s second coming and the resurrection of the dead will be bodily and visible. How does any of this show that at the second coming it would be revealed that the Father had “become” the Son and had ceased to be the Father, in contradistinction to how the Lord Jesus and the apostles revealed the Father and the Son as existing at the same time?

  12. Mike Gantt says:

    At the Mount of Transfiguration the Lord’s promise to His disciples that some of them would not taste death until they saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom was not fulfilled – rather it was confirmed.

    The revelation of the Lord at the Second Coming was to be one of understanding, not of physical sight. The disciples did not need another physical sighting of Jesus – there had been enough of those. They needed a better understanding of who He was. That’s what He gave us.

    • Brandon E says:

      1) The point about the mount of transfiguration is that physical sight and the revelation of His majesty and glory are not mutually exclusive; in fact, on the mount of transfiguration they accompanied one another. As Peter writes, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we became eyewitnesses of that One’s majesty. / For He received from God the Father honor and glory, a voice such as this being borne to Him by the magnificent glory: This is My Son, My Beloved, in whom I delight” (2 Pet. 1:16-17).

      2) But the Bible nowhere predicts that He would give this extra-biblical “understanding” that you claim He would give.

  13. Mike Gantt says:

    1) What happened on the Mount of Transfiguration was a vision (Matthew 17:9), and its purpose was to confirm as divine the promise Jesus had made to His disciples in Matthew 16:28. The fulfillment of the promise and the vision was in the Second Coming. (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again and its attendant biblical case Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?)

    2) A revelation is not an extra-biblical understanding; it’s a God-given understanding of something in the Bible.

    • Brandon E says:

      1) How does this address my point that “eyewitness” and manifestation of His majesty, power and glory are not mutually exclusive, but are known to quite hand-in-hand? Peter contrasts “eyewitness” with “cleverly-devised myths,” not with “spirituality.”

      2) If the Bible does not reveal that the Father “became” the Son and ceased to be the Father, such that you don’t even know how much the apostles (most of whom died before 70 A.D.) knew about this, and Christ and the apostles went on teaching that the Father and the Son exist at the same time (you claim as two “separate” beings, I say, as distinct but not separate) and the “understanding” you claim is true would not be revealed until after the Scriptures were written, then it is indeed an extra-biblical “understanding.” It is unlike how the Scriptures do tell us that Jesus is God, and plainly tell us that He knew and had told the disciples that we was the Christ during His earthly ministry but to not speak it openly.

  14. Mike Gantt says:

    1) A vision is spiritual. Your version of the Second Coming isn’t.

    2) You’re not thinking through what you’re saying. Jesus did tell His disciples that He was the Messiah, and told them to keep quiet about it until after He was raised from the dead. He did not tell them He was God – at least not in the New Testament records. If He had told them He was God it would have been much bigger news than His being the Messiah. Don’t you see this?

    • Brandon E says:

      1) You mean the not-Gnostic or proto-Gnostic version, held by the believers since the dawn of the church? I believe it’s both spiritual and bodily. Since when does something occurring bodily preclude its being a spiritual event? Was the Lord Jesus’ breathing into the disciples after His resurrection and saying “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22) not a spiritual event simply because He was standing there before them speaking while He breathed? The revelation/manifestation of Christ is that of His appearing with great power and glory with the accompanying bodily resurrection of the dead and judgment of the nations. Nothing of what you’re saying shows that the apostles actually indicated or predicted that the revelation or manifestation of the Lord meant a revealing that the Father had “become” the Son and ceased to be the Father all along, which would have leveled all theirs and the Lord Jesus’ words of the Father and the Son existing at the same time in the inspired writing of Scripture to unreliable confusion.

      2) See: http://blogforthelordjesuschristianleaders.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/god-put-his-people-in-the-cleft-of-the-rock-until-he-passed-by/#comment-1280

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