A major teaching of Catholic and Protestant Churches is that the Trinity is the central doctrine of Christianity. In its “Handbook for Today’s Catholics”, the Catholic Church says: “The Trinity” is the central doctrine of the Catholic faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church.” The Seventh Day Adventists, also lists the Trinity as one of its 27 Fundamental Beliefs and “The World Council of Churches (WCC), the largest association of Christian denominations in the world, stipulates that “for a church to become a member of the (WCC), it must first embrace the doctrine of the Trinity”. This doctrine is so important it is suggested that those who do not accept it are not true Christians. Because this doctrine is widely held as an essential belief for Christians, it is important to consider some of the history and tenets of the Trinity.
What is the Trinity?
The teaching of the Trinity says that God is three distinct persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) and that these three distinct Persons are a single Being. The first observation here is that the Trinity inherently contradicts itself. How can three persons be distinct and at the same time be a single being? The word distinct means separate, different and dissimilar. How can three persons who are separate, different and dissimilar be at the same time a single being? Trinitarians say this is a mystery that is not given to mortal beings to understand. But nowhere in the scriptures are the Father and the Son revealed as a single being. Instead, the oneness of God in scripture is about unity, harmony and purpose – not about a single being. Jesus explains this when he draws the similarity between the oneness of God and the oneness of believers in John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they 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.
The Trinity – An Idea of the Catholic Church
In its article on the Trinity written in The New Catholic Encyclopedia the Catholic Church has to says “the doctrine of the Trinity, as professed by the church, is not contained in the New Testament, … it was first formulated in the second century and received final approval in the fourth century…” “….Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective…the Trinity idea did not become doctrine until the year 379 when Roman Emperor Theodosius established Christianity as the state religion. Hence, the Roman Catholic Church, and its doctrine of a Triune deity was born.
The Catholic Church has gone further. They claim that because the doctrine of the Trinity was revealed to them, and did not come from the scriptures, Protestants who adhere to “sola scriptura” – meaning scripture alone, have no basis for believing it. The New Catholic Encyclopedia says: It is obvious that a doctrine so mysterious presupposes a Divine revelation. …. For this reason it has no place in the Liberal Protestantism of today. Did you get that? The formulators of Trinitarianism state clearly that the Trinity does not have a biblical foundation! Protestantism, which is a break-away from the Catholic Church, got its Trinity doctrine from the Catholics.
Is the Holy Spirit a Person?
The Holy Spirit is the spirit of the Father and the Son – NOT a third person. We solve the problem of the Trinity when we understand the clear teaching of the Bible that the Holy Spirit is not a Person like God and His Son are persons. The Holy Spirit is just what it says – the Spirit of God. Proof that the Holy Spirit is not a Person
- If the Holy Spirit is a person like the Father and the Son, why is it that the Father has a name and the Son has a name, but the Holy Spirit has no name? If the Holy Spirit is a person like the Father and the Son, why is there a biblical command to worship the Father and the Son but none to worship the Holy Spirit? This is because the Holy Spirit is not a person.
- In 1 Corinthians, Paul clearly states that “the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor 11:3). Why is there not a similar statement about the Spirit?
- Christ said, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28) Why is there no such comparison between the Father and the Spirit or the Son and the Spirit?
- Jesus said the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. Why is there no statement that the Father loves the Spirit and the Spirit loves the Father, or the Son loves the Spirit and the Spirit loves the Son?
- Think about this: Matt. 1:18 reads “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit”. Now, if the Holy Spirit is a distinct person who is the father of Jesus? The biblical explanation is that the Spirit of God is the power and presence of God so God is the Father of Jesus. God’s Spirit vs man’s spirit. In the very way that a man’s spirit is not a separate person from the man, so it is that God’s spirit is not a separate person from God. Hence we see the relationship between the Spirit of God and the spirit of man. in Romans 8:16. tells us “The Spirit itself (God’s Spirit) beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” 1 Cor. 2:11 – For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. It is God who dwells in us by His Spirit. Not a third person. For this reason, it is perfectly in order to refer to the Holy Spirit as HE because it is to God we refer when we refer to the Spirit.
What is God if not a Trinity?
In the scriptures God reveals himself as a Divine family. The Divine Family of God is made up of God the Father in whom all power and authority resides and Jesus Christ, His Son, to whom He has given all power and authority. God’s family comprises the Father and the Son in heaven, with many potential members of the same divine family now on earth. Ephesians 3:15 speaks of “the whole family in heaven and earth”. To put it another way, two divine members of that family, the Father and the Son, reside in heaven, but the human children of God on earth even now help make up this family. Romans 8:14 says For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Regrettably, the Trinity doctrine has obscured the biblical truth about the divine family of God.
Man was created to become part of God’s family. In the book of Genesis, God reveals that He created man after the God kind. God created plants after their “kind” and the various animals after their “kind”. Notice now when it is time for the creation of man what God says: Gen 1:26 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Notice the plurality. Notice that there is more than one person involved in the creation, and that these beings are of the same kind. John 1:1-3 reveals that these beings are the Father, and His son Jesus Christ. Ephesians 3:9, and Colossians 1:16 also confirm this. In Heb 2:5 we read It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet.” In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12 He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.”
Rom 8:16-17 says Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. God is transforming man to become beings like Himself and his Son Jesus Christ.
Heb 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. 2 Cor. 3:18 says we are being changed “into His likeness from one degree of glory to another”. Romans 5:2: “Through Him we have obtained this access to this grace in which we stand and we rejoice IN OUR HOPE OF SHARING THE GLORY OF GOD”. 1 John 3:3 says when Jesus appears “WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as He is”. Philippians 3:21 says Christ will “CHANGE OUR LOWLY BODY TO BE LIKE HIS GLORIOUS BODY”. Believers will have the exact body as Jesus! We are to have His Glory. We are to have His image. We are to be like Him. He is God. He is glorified. He is a distinct and separate person from His Father though united in one Spirit.
What a privilege it is to be part of a Church that know and teach these things, and to have this great hope. Let us remain faithful to the end. It’s worth every sacrifice you must make to enter the Kingdom of God.