AGAINST TRINITY IV
(Authors original title: Paganistic False Views of God)
by P.S.L. Johnson
This doctrine is false, because it is based on wrong methods of interpretation and of propaganda. This we present as our ninth general argument against it. It sets aside clear statements and stresses obscure ones. It ignores contrasts between the Supreme Being and Christ that, if heeded, would give the trinity doctrine a death blow. It reads into its main proof texts thoughts that they do not contain, and ignores the features of those texts that refute the doctrine that those texts are by trinitarians supposed to prove. Nowhere in the Bible is it either clearly or even obscurely stated. In a word, it is read into the Bible and not drawn out of the Bible. Or to put it in another way, it is based on eisegesis, not on exegesis. It was not originally accepted by weight of argument; but by the power of Emperor Constantine and his successors. who forced the doctrine upon the Christian world, banishing and degrading its opponents, who had decidedly the better of the argument in the debate on the question. The majority of Christian people at first were on their side and recognized the trinity teaching as a thing foreign to the belief that had prevailed from the days of Christ and the Apostles; but they had to bow to the might of emperors who forced their subjects to receive this error. The controversy lasted several centuries before the opponents of this doctrine were forced to give up, the trinitarians owing their victory to armies, generals
and emperors, which again shows that the doctrine was not spread by the sword of the Spirit, but by the sword of the Roman Empire--a sure proof that it was championed by Satan and Antichrist.
As a tenth general argument against the trinity doctrine we present the following: A right understanding of our Lord's three natures overthrows the thought of His being God Almighty or a part of God Almighty. On this point, as on our preceding and following points, lack of space prevents our giving details; therefore as on all our other points we, on this point, will summarize our pertinent thoughts. According to the Bible Jesus has had three natures: (1) A prehuman nature, lower than the Divine, but higher than the angelic natures; (2) human nature, and (3) a posthuman nature, the Divine nature. If this is true, it destroys the possibility of His being the so-called second person in the trinity. We have treated rather detailedly on His prehuman nature above. As we, as well as trinitarians, believe that Jesus existed as the Logos before He came to earth as the human being, Jesus, there is no need of discussing that phase of the subject here; since details on it are given above. The following things may be said on His prehuman relations to the Father, all of which prove that he was not God Almighty or a part of God Almighty. He is said to have been created by God (Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14), hence had a beginning, was therefore a creature, hence could not have been God Almighty. Instead of being God Almighty, He was then (and since) called the Son of God, the firstborn of, and the only begotten by God (Ps. 89:27; John 3:16, 18; 1:4, 18; 1 John 4:9; Ps. 2:7-10). Hence He was not God Himself, but God's Son in His Prehuman condition. Being a Son of God, having been begotten by God, He is not so old as the Father; hence He had a beginning; hence is not eternal; hence is not God Almighty. In His pre-human condition He is called: (1) Michael, the Arch-
angel (Dan. 10: 13, compare with 12: 1; Jude 9, compare with 1 Thes. 4: 16) ; (2) the Angel, and (3) Angel of God, or of the Lord (Ex. 14:19; Judg. 6: 11-22; 13:3-21; 2 Sam. 24: 16; 1 Kings 19:7, 2 Kings 1:3, 15; Ps. 34:7; Zech. 1:11, 12, etc.). Hence in His prehuman condition He was not God Almighty or a part of God Almighty, but was His Chief Angel or Messenger, which proves that He was in His pre-human condition neither co-eternal, consubstantial (of the same substance or essence) nor co-equal with the Father, things absolutely necessary for Him to have been in His prehuman nature, if He was God Himself, or an essential part of God Himself.
In the passages in which His prehuman condition and carnation are described He is set forth in terms that exclude the thought of His being God Almighty or an essential part of God Almighty. In Phil. 2:5, He is directly said in His prehuman form to have been a Spirit Being inferior to God. Please see the A.R.V. for the proper translation of this verse. Moreover in v. 7 His becoming a human being is said to have occurred by His emptying [divesting] Himself, a thing a Divine Being cannot do, sin since such a being is unchangeable. John 1:14, literally translated, reads thus: "The Word [the prehuman Christ] became flesh," i.e., became a human being. Notice the passage does not say, as the trinitarians' thought requires, "the Word remained the Word and assumed into the unity of His person human nature." But this passage shows us that the Word ceased to remain the Word, the highest being next to God, and became a human being, just as the water at Cana ceased to be water when it became the wine in Christ's first miracle. Because of God's in variableness, it would have been impossible for Jesus to become a man had He been God The same thought is taught in 2 Cor. 8:9, by the fact that the passage tells us that He who was rich [in nature, etc.] became poor, an impossibility for God. Indeed, to harmonize
with the trinity doctrine this passage would have to read something like this: He who was rich became richer, inasmuch as He retained His rich nature and added to it as much more of riches as perfect humanity is worth. Does the passage give such a thought?
Heb. 2:9, 11, 16, 17 overthrows the trinity doctrine; for this doctrine teaches that He as God remained higher than the angels, and that when He assumed in addition the human nature, He still was higher than the angels, remaining God Almighty. To become a little lower than the angels, i. e., a perfect man as Adam was (vs. 7, 8), He had to give up the nature that was higher than theirs (Heb. 2:16, see A. R. V.), which would have been impossible, if He were God Almighty. In His prehuman condition He is shown not to be God Almighty by the contrast that John 1:1, 2 brings out, as the literal translation shows: "In a beginning (hence not in eternity) was the Word; and the Word was with the God [the Supreme Being] ; and the Word was a God. The same was in a beginning with the God [the Supreme Being]." It will be noted that there is a strong contrast made here between a God, which the prehuman Jesus was, and the God. By the latter term the Almighty God is meant; by the former term a Spirit Being inferior to Almighty God is meant. This will become clear, if we remember that about 200 times in the Bible angels, good and bad, are called Gods, as, among others, can be seen in the following: Ps. 97 :7, compare with Heb. 1:6, where St. Paul gives an Inspired comment on Ps. 97 : 7; Gen. 3:5 Ex. 12:12; 15: 11; 18: 11; Deut. 7:25;10: 17; Josh. 22: 22; 1 Sam. 28: 13; Ps. 95:3; 96:4; 97 : 9; 136:2; Acts 14: 11; 1 Cor. 8:5; 2 Cor. 4:4. Hence the Logos as the Archangel is in John 1: 1, 2 called a God; but the very contrast between a God and the God shows that he was not the Supreme God, nor a so-called second person of the Supreme God. Hence in this paragraph and the two preceding paragraphs, where His prehuman condition
and His carnation are described, He is set forth in such Biblical terms as disprove His being Divine before and during His carnation. Therefore He was not then God Almighty, which fact proves that He never was nor could be God Almighty, which is fatal to the trinity doctrine as an alleged Bible doctrine. Then, too, during the days of His flesh, i. e., of His human nature, He is set forth in such terms as disprove His being God Almighty. We have already seen from Phil. 2:5-7; 2 Cor. 8:9; Heb. 2:9, 14, 16, 17; John 1:14 that He could not have become a human being without giving up His prehuman nature, which could not have been given up, had it been Divine, since Divinity is unchangeable. This, of course, proves that while He was in the flesh He was not in the Divine nature. Hence He never was God Almighty. The Bible is most explicit that He was a sinless man among sinful men for 331/2 years. That He was a human being during those 331/2 years follows from His having been born of a human mother (Gal. 4:4), by His growing as a human being into manhood (Luke 2:52; 3:23), by His oft-given title as the pre-eminent descendant of Adam, literally, the Son of the man, and the Son of David, by his hungering and thirsting (Matt. 21:18, 19; 4:2; John 19:28), by His becoming weary (John 4:6), by His weeping (Luke 19:4144; John 11:35), by His praying (Matt. 26:39-44; Heb. 5:7), by His temptations (Matt. 4: 1-10; Luke 22:28; Heb. 2:18; 4:15), by His sorrowing (Is. 53:3 Matt. 26:38), by His suffering (1 Pet. 2:21; 3: 18), by His dying (1 Cor. 15:3), by His crying, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matt 27:46), by His being buried as a dead man (Matt. 27 :57-62) and by His resurrection after being dead parts of three days (Matt. 28: 1-6). Had He been God Almighty during those 331/2 years, He could not have been born of a woman, grown into manhood, been rightly called the Son of the man, and
the Son of David. Nor could He have hungered and thirsted, become weary, weak, prayed to God (which would have been praying to Himself), been tempted, sorrowed, suffered, been forsaken by God, died, been buried and resurrected. Had He Been God Almighty, we would have to consider these experiences as a pretense, a pro forma exhibition, a sham. The doctrine that He was God Almighty, and that His only personality was the personality of God Himself, must make these experiences a sham, a pro forma matter, since the trinity doctrine denies the possibility of His human nature having a personality of its own, and does this to evade the logical conclusion that His having two natures at the same time -"The God-man"- each of which had its own intellect, sensibilities and will, the constituents of personality, there must be two persons in Him. These facts prove that He was only a human being--a perfect one, it is true--during those 331/2 years. Accordingly we see that Christ's having human nature, and only human nature, during those 331/2 years, He could then not have been God Almighty. And if He then was not God Almighty, He never was such, since this would imply that God Almighty in His alleged second person was out of existence during those 331/2 years. The absurdity that He was during those 331/2 years "the God-man" and is such yet is the basis of such absurd trinitarian expressions as: "the Mother of God," "God died" and the words of a trinitarian hymn, "O great woe! God Himself lies dead!" Such absurd and blasphemous expressions never occur in the Bible, because they inculcate a grossly unreasonable and unbiblical thought. Rather the thoughts set forth in this paragraph prove that, Christ having been a human being 331/2 years, the trinity doctrine must be false.
The trinity doctrine is false because it implies, among other things, that our Lord had the Divine nature from eternity, whereas the Bible teaches that
he became Divine in nature at and by His resurrection. What was above proven of His nature as the Logos and as a man proves that He was not Divine in nature before His resurrection. We will now prove that He became Divine in nature at and by His resurrection. This will appear from a number of considerations. (1) On condition of being faithful unto death He was offered, among other things, the Divine nature as the joy set before Him (Heb. 12:2). To reach this condition He had to undergo the resurrection process, which begins with the begettal of the Spirit to the Divine heart and mind, proceeds through the development into perfection of that which is begotten--the Divine heart and mind--and is completed in the birth of the Spirit. The begettal occurs at consecration, the resurrection of the spiritual heart and mind proceeds hand in hand with the sacrificial death and the bestowal of the Divine body or nature occurs at the awakening from death. This resurrection process is a regeneration. That Christ underwent this rebirth is evident from several facts: (1) from the fact that His resurrection process is set forth as forming the pattern of ours (Rom. 6:4, 5), which this passage proves begins at our consecration and proceeds unto perfection, as we carry out that consecration faithfully unto death; (2) from the fact that our resurrection process is called a rising with Christ (Col. 3:19: 12, 13; Eph. 2:5, 6), and the power of His resurrection (Phil. 3:10 and (3) from the fact that the Bible teaches that we are dying with Him (hence undergoing the same kind of a sacrificial death as His) and at the same time rising in life with Him. This thought is taught in all the passages quoted under (1) and (2); it is also taught in the following: Rom. 6:3-11; 8: 10; 2 Cor. 4: 10; Gal. 2:20. These three points prove that Christ and the Church from their consecration onward until they are raised from the dead undergo the regenerative process, the resurrection process.
The regenerative process as undergone by both Christ and the Church is described as a new creation. It begins with the begettal of the Spirit (John 1:12, 13; 1 Cor. 4:15 Phile. 10; Jas. 118; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23; 1 John 51), which begettal made them embryo new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15 compare with 1 Pet. 3: 16; 5: 10, 14). It proceeds through a quickening process (Eph. 2:5 Col. 3:13 1 Tim. 6: 13). It passes through a growth process until developed enough for the birth (2 Pet. 3:18; Eph. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:2; 5:10; Eph. 4:12). The birth from the dead makes them Spirit beings of the Divine nature (John 3:5; Jas. 1:18; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:50-54). This process beginning with the begettal and ending with the birth of the Spirit constitutes the creative acts whereby God brings into existence a new order of beings, that of the Divine nature. This new creation consists of Jesus and His faithful followers. The passages treating of this creative process just given prove that the Church undergoes this creative process unto the Divine nature. The Scriptures teach that Jesus also underwent it. Thus as the Church was begotten of the Spirit, in its Jewish and Gentile parts (Acts 2:l-4; 10:44-47)--so was Jesus begotten of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:16). As the Church was quickened, so was Jesus (Eph. 2:5). As the Church is developed unto character perfection and thus fitted to be born of the Spirit in the resurrection, as the passages in the first part of this paragraph prove, so was Jesus (Heb. 2: 10; 5:8, 9). And after being so perfected He was born of the Spirit in His resurrection as the Beginning and Chief One of the class so to be born (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5; Rom. 8:29). This entire re-creation process that changed Him from a human to a Divine being is described in Ps. 2:7; Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5 Rev. l:5, as a bringing to birth. Hence in Jesus' resurrection He was given the Divine nature for the first time.
The following considerations also prove that He was made Divine in His resurrection. Immortality, which the Bible defines as life in oneself (1 Tim. 6: 16; John 5:26; 6:53), is an exclusive quality of their Divine nature, as we see from 1 Tim. 6: 16 and from the first clause of John 5:26. Its second clause shows that while Jesus did not then have it, God had promised it to Him. This promise God fulfilled to Him in His resurrection, as we see from the fact that in the resurrection all the Faithful, one of whom He was, obtain immortality (1 Cor. 15:53, 54) and from the fact that in the resurrection the saints will be like Him (1 John 3:2); hence He must then have gotten it, since they partake in His resurrection (Phil. 3:10). This likeness consists in their having His, the Divine nature, in their resurrection, which is the same kind of a resurrection as His (2 Pet. 1:4; Phil. 3: 10, 21; 1 Cor. 15:45-49). Thus in His resurrection He obtained the Divine nature and its kind of life, immortality. That Jesus did not have immortality before His resurrection is evident from the fact that He died, which an immortal being cannot do. And since immortality is an inherent quality exclusively of the Divine nature (1 Tim. 6: 16), before His resurrection Jesus was not Divine since before that He died; and since His resurrection changed him from a human into a Spirit being (1 Cor. 15:45-49), it was in His resurrection that He became Divine. But we have yet more proof for it. His, exaltation to the Divine nature, whereby He became "the exact impress of the Father's substance [Divine]," is clearly shown to have occurred in His resurrection by Heb. 1:3-5 for the whole passage treats of Him after His resurrection at the time of His glorification. We will quote it from the Improved Version, asking our readers to note particularly the tenses of the verbs: "Who, being the effulgence of His Glory [like God in splendor of character] and the very image of His Substance [a body just like God's,
hence Divine in nature] and upholding all things by His powerful Word [acting as God's Vicegerent throughout the universe (Matt. 28: 18)], after making a purification of sins [sprinkled His blood on the Mercy Seat], sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in the highest, after becoming [a thing that He while in the flesh (Heb. 2: 9) had not been; but yet a thing that prior to His sitting down at the right hand of God He had become] by so much superior to angels as He has inherited a more excellent name [nature] than they; for unto which of the angels did He ever say, Thou art my Son; today I have brought Thee to birth." Please note that in Acts 13:33 St. Paul quotes the last two clauses from Ps. 2:7 as a proof of Christ's resurrection, which proves that he quotes them here to prove the same thing. Hence this passage proves that Jesus in His resurrection inherited the more excellent name nature], the Divine nature, than angels have. Here it is important to note that the word name in the Bible has seven meanings, three of which are nature (Is. 62:2; Rev. 3:12), honor (Ex. 9:16; Neh. 9: 10) and official authority (Ex. 5:23 Esth. 8:8, 10). While in Heb. 1:4 the word undoubtedly means nature, which is proven by the fact that the resurrection passage in Ps. 2: 7, compared with Acts 13:33, is quoted in proof that His resurrection made Him higher than angels, whereas, while a man, He was a little lower than angels (Heb. 2:9), all three of these meanings occur in Phil. 2:9-11, where the "name above every name," the Father's of course excepted (1 Cor. 15:27), means nature, honor and official authority. Here the Apostle tells us that because of our Lord's emptying [divesting] Himself of His prehuman nature in becoming a man and then obeying God even unto the death of the cross, God highly exalted Him, by giving Him a name above every other name, i. e., a nature, honor and official authority above every other nature, honor and official authority. The same thought
of God's exalting Christ in His resurrection above every other name (nature, honor and official authority) we find in Eph. 1:19-22. Col. 2:9 assures us that in Christ now all the fullness of the Deity dwells bodily, i. e., in Christ as God's Vicegerent lodges God's character, nature, honor, power and official authority; but a comparison of Col. 1:18, 19 proves that this is since Christ's resurrection, and is a reward for His faithfulness to God unto death. Having thus proven that Christ attained the Divine nature in His resurrection, it follows that the trinity doctrine cannot be true; for it implies that Christ always has been Divine in nature. Trinitarians seek to meet this argument by the claim that Christ's exaltation in His resurrection was not in His Divine nature, which they claim was always exalted, but in His human nature. To this we answer, the Bible never says that He was exalted in His human nature in His resurrection; but it says that He, the person, and not a part of Him was exalted. Again, the Bible by at least 21 separate lines of thought teaches that Jesus was not resurrected as a human being, which would have made Him take back the ransom price, and thus vitiate the whole plan of salvation, but was resurrected as a Spirit Being of the Divine nature (P 28, 11-15). Hence their evasion falls to the ground. If it were kept in mind that God, among other things, set before the Logos the joy of His exaltation to the Divine nature, honor and official authority, if He would give up His prehuman nature, become a sinless human being and give Himself as such to become man's ransom price to be laid down by a sacrificial death and to be paid to God after Jesus' ascension (Heb. 9: 24; 1 John 2:2; 4: 10), God would as a reward exalt Him in His resurrection to the Divine nature, honor and official authority (Heb. 12:2; 1:3-5; Phil. 2:9-11; Eph. 1:19-22: Col. 2:9; 1:18, 19), the futility of this evasion will at once be recognized. Why did God require such stringent tests of our Lord before exalt-
ing Him to the Divine nature? He desired a Vicegerent that could be absolutely depended upon to take God's side--the side of truth and righteousness--and be faithful to that side, regardless of any pressure whatsoever to the contrary. Hence He deferred His exaltation until by His obedience in carnation, life and death He proved Himself worthy--"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and glory and blessing" (Rev. 5:12). If He received these after He was slain, as appears from Matt. 28:18 and the last passage quoted, He did not have them before, hence was not Divine before He was slain. The trinity doctrine cannot stand up in the presence of the Bible and the Plan of God therein contained. The fact that Jesus was raised to the Divine nature in His resurrection gives a fatal blow to the trinity doctrine, as we trust our readers see.