The Trinity -- Fact or Fiction?
References for all statements obtained from research are listed at the end of this thesis and are marked throughout the text with corresponding superscript numbers.
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture is quoted from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible.
Readers are encouraged to verify everything to their own satisfaction.
"...for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so." (Acts 17:11)
"...test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)
I. IntroductionMost Christians in the world today believe in the Trinity which is the union of the three divine persons -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- into one Godhead.(1)
The Dictionary states that doctrine is something taught as the principles of a religion and taht dogma is a doctrine formally and authoritatively affirmed(2) but not necessarily proven. The Trinity, therefore, is a principle that can be considered dogmatic.
Sincere Christians, however, are more interested in obtaining accurate knowledge from Biblical research than in twisting and manipulating the scriptures to fit some preconceived man-made doctrine or dogma. To these people, truth is more important than tradition.
Is the dogma of the Trinity fact or not? Let us examine the evidence.
II. How the Trinity Became DoctrineDuring the days when Christ's apostles lived, the Gospel was taught with accuracy, but after their death, it did not take very long for the truth to become eroded with falsehoods.
This erosion of Biblical truth grew like a cancer -- slow, but sure. Little by little, inacuracy crept in as the Gospel message of Jesus Christ became more and more popular.
In an effort to increase the church membership, many Pagans were brought in and with the Pagans came Pagan ideas. Rituals began to replace serious Bible study and differences in opinion soon became the basis for growth of various creeds and sects. Ober the span of many years, man-made rites became time honored tradition.
Christian leaders then became powerful forces in the church as well as in politics; religious beliefs, many times, were dictated by the state. These facts, however, are not surpirsing considering the Biblical warning:
"First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them.... And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words...." (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2:1-3)
Trinity Is Not A Christian IdeaOne idea that became popular among Christians around the fourth century was that of a trinity of gods. It was not, however, a new idea conceived by Christians, for there is much evidence of widespread belief in similar ideas throughout earlier recorded history.
Many scholars believe that the Trinity, as taught by Christians, comes from Plato as suggested in the Timaeus, but the Platonic trinity is itself merely a rearrangement of older trinities dating back to earlier peoples.(3)
In Indian religion there is the Trinitarian group of Brahma, Vishna, and Shiva; in Egyptian religion there is the group of Kneph, Phthas, and Osiris. In Phoenicia the trinity of gods were Ulomus, Ulosuros, and Eliun. In Greece they were Zeus, Poseidon, and Aidoneus.
In Rome they were Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto. In Babylonia and Assyria they were Anos, lllinos, and Aos. Among Celtic nations they were called Kriosan, Biosena, and Siva, and in Germanic nations they were called Thor, Wodan, and Fricco.(4)
Trinities of gods existed in other cultures as well, including, but not limited to, those of Siberia, Persia, Japan, Scandinavia, and Mexico.
We can see, therefore, that although the Trinity is characteristic of the Christian religion, it is by no means peculiar to it.
Trinity Not Mentioned In BibleThe truth is that the Trinity isn't even mentioned in God's word, the Holy Bible.(5) A check of any concordance will prove this fact. Not only is it not mentioned, but the doctrine is neither found in the New Testament,(6) nor the Old Testament.(7)
Concerning Old Testament scriptures, "theologians today are in agreement that the Hebrew Bible does not contain a doctrine of the Trinity, even though it was customary in past dogmatic tracts .... to cite texts like Genesis 1:26 .... as proof of plurality in God."(8) And "... in the New Testament the doctrine of the Trinity is not enunciated ..." but only "deduced from a collocation of passages ...."(9)
The Trinity, therefore, did not " ... reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God, it was, on the contrary, a divination from this teaching."(10)
"The formulation 'one God in three Persons' was not solidly established ... into Christian life ... prior to the 4th century.... Among the Apostolic Fathers, there has been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective."(11)
If the Trinity doctrine isn't Biblical in nature, how did it become a part of Christian dogma?
Idea of Trinity Evolved"It is generally acknowledged that the church father Tertullian (ca. A.D. 145-220) either coined the term or was the first to use it with reference to God. The explicit doctrine was thus formulated in the post-biblical period...."(12)
The book World Religions From Ancient History to the Present indicates that today's belief in the Trinity evolved over many years of heated political argument. The book states:
The great Arian controversy of the fourth century, which split the Church in two, stemmed from the preaching .... that the Son was a created being who did not eternally exist and, therefore, was a sort of demi-god, subordinate to the Father.
It is interesting to note that the first General Council of the Church at Niceae stated that the basic question contained in the New Testament was: Is Christ God or not? They stated that it could only be answered with a "yes" or "no." It was either true or not.(14)
The search for basic truth deteriorated into a widely accepted doctrine which was influenced, not by logic and biblical research, but by politics and human egotism.
Trinity Is Man-Made ConceptThe facts, therefore, prove that the doctrine of the Trinity does not appear in the Bible(15) "nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old testament: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord' (Deut. 6:4).... The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies.... By the end of the 4th century the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since."(16)
The controversy, indeed, was settled by man, not God. But, if God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not one and the same, who, or what, are they?
III. The FatherThere are many words used in original Bible manuscripts which translate to the English "god." In Hebrew, there are four such words: el, elah, eloah, and elohim. These words are all common nouns which can mean "great" or "mighty" or "ruler" and are used to describe the many different gods mentioned in the Bible.
The Bible mentions that, in many cases, some mortal men are considered gods. Moses was called a god: "And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god [elohim] to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brohter shall be thy prophet." (Exodus 7:1, KJV) And in the first book of the Bible, Abraham is called a god: "The Hittites answered Abraham, 'Hear us, my lord; you are a mighty [elohim] prince among us.'" (Genesis 23:4-5)
Angels are called gods: "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then you eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods [elohim], knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5, KJV)
A specific reference to a messenger of the Lord is made at Judges 13:21-22 which states: "But the angel [elohim] of the Lord appeared no more to Mano'ah and to his wife."
References to angels as gods are found in dozens of other places in the Bible.
Other groups, too, are called gods. In the second Old Testament book, the judges appointed by Moses are called gods: "Then his master shall bring him unto the judges [elohim]..." (Exodus 21:6, KJV; also see Exodus 22:8-9, 28)
Even the princes of Egypt are referred to as gods: "For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods [elohim] of Egypt [princes] I will execute judgments: I am the Lord." (Exodus 12:12)
In the New Testament, the Greek word most translated "god" is theos, however it is important to point-out that this word is also a common noun applied to all types of gods.
Even Jesus made mention of mortal men being called gods: '"In your own Law it says that men are gods!" he replied.' (John 10:34, TLB)
Satan is called a god in the New testament: "In their case the god [theos] of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers...." (2 Corinthians 4:4) The ruler Herod is also called a god: "On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and made an oration to them. And the people shouted, 'The voice of a god [theos], and not of man!'" (Acts 12:21-22)
Since so many beings are referred to as gods, how do we know when the Bible speaks of the only true God -- the Creator of the heavens and the earth?
There Is Only One Supreme GodAlthough there are many words translated as "god" in the English language, the Bible clearly states that thee is but one true eternal Supreme deity and He has a name. In Bible manuscripts, God Almighty is referred to by the letters YHWH or JHWH, generally called the Tetragrammaton.
The Tetragrammaton appears in the Hebrew texts over 6,800 times and is transliterated as Yahweh or Jehovah. While many Bible translators prefer "Yahweh," the most used English pronunciation is "Jehovah." "That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth." (Psalms 83:18, KJV)
This name is not a common term, like "god," but is a proper and personal name for God Almighty and is not applied to any other being in the Bible.
Although some Bible translations use God's name, many other translate the Tetragrammaton as LORD or GOD.
It is easy, however, to locate where God's name should appear in most common translations, because GOD or LORD is printed in small capital letters in those places. For common uses of these words, they are printed in regular upper and lower case type.
The Bible speaks of God as being the creator of all things, but it also speaks of all things being made by the "Word." "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God ... all things were made through him ...." (John 1:1, 3)
Are the Word and Jehovah the same person? If not, who is the Word and what is their relationship?
IV. The SonJesus was not an uncommon name in Biblical history. It is a Latin form of the Greek "Iesous" and corresponds to the Hebrew Yeshua or Yhohshua which means "Salvation of Jehovah."(17)
The Son of God is sometimes distinguished from others of that name by his title: the Christ. Christ is from the Greek Khristos and its meaning is the same as the Hebrew Mashiahh (Messiah) and means "Anointed One."(18)
Many other names are used throughout the Bible to describe Jesus Christ including the Greek Logos which is translated "Word."
Speaking of the Word, Paul states that He was in existence even before the world was created: "He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible .... all things were created through him and for him." (Colossians 1:15-16)
Jesus was Jehovah's only direct creation, "...his nly begotten Son...." (John 3:16, KJV) Thereafter, Jehovah used Jesus as the instrument through which everything else was created. This did not mean that Jesus was a co-creator with Jehovah, but only a servant of God who carried out the Almighty's will. Jesus always credited Jehovah with creation (see Matthew 19:4-6).
At the proper time in God's plan, the Word was make a human: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (John 1:14, NIV)
Is Jesus God?Proclaimers of the Trinity theory use John 1:1 as their strongest proof that Jehovah and Jesus are one and the same: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1, KJV)
And, on the surface, this statement seems to be a rather straight forward explanation of the relationship of God and Jesus. However, truth does not arise from single Bible verses taken out of context or blindly accepted without research and study.
The Greek manuscripts of John 1:1 show that the Greek definite article is used to distinguish Jehovah as "the God" from his Son which is "a God." The authoritative Bible scholar, Benjamin Wilson, gives the correct translation: "In a beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and a god was the word." (John 1:1, DGT)
Another section of the Bible used to support the Trinity theory is in 1 John 5. The king James Version states:
"For there are three that bear record [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth], the spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one." (1 John 5:7-8, KJV)
The oldest and most reliable Bible manuscripts do not include the words withing the brackets in the above scripture and most recognized Bible scholars do not recognize them as part of the original text. The Revised Standard Version states:
"And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree." (1 John 5:7-8, also see NIV, MEB, NEB, TLB, GNB, NAS)
Many Bible Verses Prove Jesus Was Not GodThere is a direct statement about Jesus being the Son of Jehovah in the Psalms: "...He said to me, 'You [Jesus] are my son, today I [Jehovah] have begotten you." (Psalm 2:7)
Jehovah spoke to Jesus, in His pre-human existence, concerning the creation of Adam and Eve: "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ....'" (Genesis 1:26)
There were plans, from the beginning, to make Jesus a human as shown in Deuteronomy: "...he [Jehovah] will raise up for you a Prophet [Jesus] like me [Moses], an Israeli, a man to whom you must listen and whom you must obey." (Deuteronomy 18:15, TLB; see also Acts 3:22)
During His ministry on Earth, Jesus stated that He taught not His own wisdom, but that of His Father, Jehovah: "For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak." (John 12:49)
There are a large number of Bible verses which can be used to prove that Jesus was not God, but the Son of God. The chapter of this thesis, "VII. Bible Verses Prove Trinity False", lists over a hundred such texts.
The Bible, therefore, teaches that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Jehovah said He would send His Son and Jesus made the statement that Jehovah was His Father. The Apostles taught these facts. The Bible does not teach that Jesus was Jehovah and neither Jesus nor His followers claimed otherwise.
The Trinity doctrine, however, speaks of a third person -- the Holy Spirit. Who, or what, is the Holy Spirit?
V. The Holy SpiritProbably one of the most accentuated subjects in most Christian religions has been that of the Holy Spirit. It is probably the least understood subject, too.
To get the true meaning of the Holy Spirit, we must obtain the true context in which the term is used and, also, harmonize its meaning throughout the Bible.
The English word "spirit" is usually translated from the Hebrew (ruach) and Greek (pneuma) words meaning "wind" or "breath,"(19) and by several extended meanings: "dominate feeling," "spirit persons," and "vital or active force."(20)
An example of the Hebrew word trans translated as "wind" is found in Zechariah: "...Flee from the land of the north, says the LORD; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds [ruach] of the heavens ...." (Zechariah 2:6)
In Job is found an example of the same word translated as "air": "One is so near to another that no air [ruach] can come between them." (Job 41:16)
There are numerous scriptures translating the words as "sprit persons": "Then a spirit [ruach] came forward and stood before the LORD ...." (1 Kings 22:21) and "... immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit [pneuma] ...." (Mark 1:23)
When the Bible speaks of God's Holy Spirit, it speaks of God's invisible active force. There is no Bible description which indicates that it is a person.
A fine example of this idea is expressed in a story about Samson:
"Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and he came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion roared against him, and the Spirit [ruach] of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion asunder as one tears a kid ...." (Judges 14:5-6)
In the New Testament, "pneuma" is translated as God's Holy Spirit in the book of Romans:
"I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done -- by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit [pneuma] ...." (Romans 15:18-19, NIV)
God's Invisible Active ForceThe New Testament "texts reveal God's spirit as something, not someone; this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God."(21) Evidence of this is indicted in what the Angel told Mary concerning her upcoming pregnancy: "And the Angel said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you ....'" (Luke 1:35; see also Luke 24:49 and John 20:22-23)
Some Bible verses also speak of God's Holy Spirit as being the disposition of God, either in Himself or in others.
God's disposition can take the form of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, truth, promise, etc.: "Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God." (1 Corinthians 2:12; see also Isaiah 11:2; John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 17:17; Genesis 22:16-18)
The idea of the Holy Spirit being part of a "Godhead" was not in the minds of the earliest Church members. The place and character which the Holy Spirit now possesses in Christianity can be credited to the Cappadocians.(22)
It is apparent that the Holy Spirit is not a person as implied by the personal pronoun "he" in some scripture (see John 14:17, KJV), but a power, or force, as correctly indicated by the imprsonal "it" in Romans: "The Spirit itself beareth witness ...." (Romans 8:16, KJV)
While it can be said that the Holy Spirit reflects personality (that of Jehovah and all who display His attributes), it is obvious, from scriptural research, that the Holy Spirit is not a person.
VI. ConclusionConcerning the Christian Trinity concept, J. L. Mckenzie, in his book, Dictionary of the Bible, states: "The Trinity of persons withing the unity of nature is defined in terms of 'person' and 'nature' which are G[ree]k philosophical terms; actually the terms do not appear in the Bible."(23)
Research, therefore, proves that even the concept of the Trinity, as taught by Christian religions, did not exist, and could not have existed, during all of Biblical history.
The deduction, by factual research and logical reasoning, is that there is absolutely no evidence or proof that there is a Trinity. The evidence, in fact, proves the opposite -- there is definitely not a Trinity.
The Father is Jehovah, the Creator of the Universe. The Son is Jesus Christ, begotten by the Father. And the Holy Spirit is God's power -- his active force -- not a person or being.
This booklet contains just a sampling of some of the truths taught in the Holy Bible. All people who desire an accurate knowledge of our Creator and His divine plan for mankind are encouraged to carefully examine the great book of truths, the Holy Bible, and learn how harmonious and comprehensible His plan is.
VII. Bible Verses Prove Trinity FalseListed below are over a hundred individual Bible verses which prove conclusively that Jesus Christ was not God, but God's Son. We urge all sincere Christians to examine their own Bibles as to the accuracy of this information.
VIII. The Son of God Became the Son of Man So that We, the Sons of Man, May Become the Sons of GodHere are 60 Bible texts which prove conclusively that Jesus was NOT GOD, but RATHER the SON of God. [If in fact He WAS God, (as trinitarians would want us to believe), He could not have really died; and the act of paying the Ransom would merely have been a hoax!]
Since these texts exist in God's Word, the Gospel story has been told over and over again. However, it could NOT be told if Jesus had really been God and the ransom had not actually ben paid! GOD CAN"T DIE!
IX. Bible Versions and References Used
1. Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, ed. V. Neufeldt, c.1988, Simon & Schuster, New York
2. Webster's New World Dictionary, (see previous reference)
3. Nouveau Dictionnaire Universel, Vol. 2, by M. Lachatre, c.1865, Paris
4. God, by Paul Johnson, c. 1938, pub. By P.S.L. Johnson, Philadelphia, Pa.
5. Harper's Bible Dictionary, by P. Achtemeier, c. 1985, Harper & Row, San Francisco, Ca.
6. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. 12, ed. S. Jackson, reprint of early 1900's edition republished by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Mich.
7. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol. 10, by J. M'Clintock and J. Strong, reprint of 1881 workd published by Baker Book House, Grands Rapids, Mich.
8. The Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol. 15, ed. M. Eliade, c. 1987, Macmillan Pub. Co., New York
9. The New Schaffe-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. 12, ed. S. Jackson, reprint of early 1900's edition republished by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Mich.
10. Encyclopedia Americana, Vol. 27, c.1956, Americana Corp., New York
11. New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 14, p.299, by editorial staff at the Catholic University of America, c.1967, McGraw-Hill, New York
12. Harper's Bible Dictionary (see previous reference)
13. World Religions From Ancient History to the Present, ed. G. Parrinder, c.1971, Facts On File Publications, New York
14. The Three-Personed God, by W. Hill, c.1982, The Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C.
15. Dictionary of the Bible, by J. McKenzie, c.1965, Bruce Pub. Co., Milwaukee
16. The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 10, Micropedia Ready Reference, c.1976, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., Chicago
17. Aid to Bible Understanding, c. 1971, pub. I.B.S.A., New York
18. Harper's Bible Dictionary, (see previous reference)
19. Harper's Bible Dictionary, (see previous reference)
20. Aid to Bible Understanding, (see previous reference)
21. New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 14, by editorial staff at the Catholic University of America, c.1967, pub. McGraw-Hill, New York
22. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. 15, (see previous reference)
23. Dictionary of the Bible, (see previous reference)