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Is God a Trinity... Part I B
Plurality in The Godhead, The Deity of Christ & The Deity of The Holy Spirit

Carol Brooks

    Index To All Six Sections

    Part I: Definition and Historical Background, Relying On Others To Decide What We Should Believe

    You Are Here 001orange Part I B Plurality in The Godhead, The Deity of Christ & The Deity of The Holy Spirit

    Part II: Passages That Supposedly "Prove" the Trinity.

    Part III: The Holy Spirit... a Separate Person, Or The Divine Presence And Power Of The Father Himself

    Part IV: The Grammar... Can it legitimately be used to support the idea that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity

    Part V: The Cappadocian Fathers.. The doctrine of the trinity, which has remained virtually unchanged to this day, found its roots in paganism not the Bible. This largely due to the part played by three ancient Greek philosophers and mystics. Part VB: The Cappadocian Fathers... Are both the Son and Spirit derived from the Father in "different ways"? Asceticism and Mysticism. The sad legacy of Neoplatonism.

    Part VI: Summary and Conclusion

 

ON THIS PAGE
Plurality in The Godhead
The Deity of Christ & The Deity of The Holy Spirit

 


Plurality in The Godhead
Let me remind the reader of part of Dr. Bruce Metzger's words (All Emphasis Added)

    "Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament. Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon. [19]

"Three coequal partners" cannot be found in the canon simply because there is no such thing. However, the Hebrew Scriptures very definitely point to more than one Person in the Godhead.


Elohim
The opening verse of the Bible says "In the beginning God (Heb. elhym) created the heavens and the earth". Elhym is a plural noun, used in several places to refer to false gods. For example

    You shall have no other gods (Heb. elhym) before Me. (Exodus 20:3 NASB)

    Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods (Heb. elhym) and worship them.  (Deuteronomy 11:16 NASB)

    provoking Me to anger with the works of your hands, burning sacrifices to other gods (Heb. elhym) in the land of Egypt, where you are entering to reside, so that you might be cut off and become a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? (Jeremiah 44:8 NASB)

What is interesting is that the singular form, elahh, has also been used of the one true God.

    Behold, how happy is the man whom God (Heb. elahh) reproves, So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.  (Job 5:17 NASB)

    Tremble, O earth, before the Lord, Before the God (Heb. elahh) of Jacob,  (Psalms 114:7 NASB)

However, elahh has been used about 40 times in the Old Testament, while the plural elhym is used well over 2000 times.  If God is numerically singular, then one has to wonder why the Old Testament authors ever used a plural noun, much less so many more times than the singular.


Plural Pronouns

Even more tellingly, when God spoke of himself, he often used the plural pronoun. Note: In the first example, the "our image" and "our likeness", cannot refer to angels since the very next verse makes it clear that man is made in the image of God Himself. (Emphasis Added)

    Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness .... God (Heb. elhym) created man in His own image, in the image of God (Heb. elhym) He created him; male and female He created them". (Genesis 1:26, 27 NASB)

    Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"--  (Genesis 3:22 NASB)

    Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!"  (Isaiah 6:8 NASB)

    "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another's speech." (Genesis 11:7 NASB)

Note: Most trinitarians read the "our" and "us" as reference to the persons of the Trinity, and the conversation in Genesis 11:7 as taking place between the persons of the Trinity. On the other hand, many non-trinitarians read the "our" and "us" as being a form of speech that uses the plural to emphasize the majesty of God. They consider the conversation in Genesis 11:7 being between God and His angels. 

However, neither explanation accounts for the fact that...


Elhym and Yahweh is Applied To Two Different Beings
The words elhym and Yahweh are, more than once, applied to two different Persons... in the same verse. For example, Genesis 19:24 very clearly speaks about more than one Yahweh... One rains fire and brimstone from the Other who is in Heaven.

    Then the Lord (Heb. Yahweh) rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord (Heb. Yahweh) out of heaven, (Genesis 19:24 NASB)

Verse 8 of Zechariah 2 makes it clear that Lord (Heb. Yahweh) is speaking yet, in the next verse, He also says Yahweh sent Him.

    (8) For thus says the Lord (Heb. Yahweh) of hosts, "After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. (9)  "For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the Lord (Heb. Yahweh) of hosts has sent Me.

The case for plurality in the Godhead is made even stronger by the fact that in verse 12 of Isaiah 48, the speaker is obviously God, since He refers to Himself as the one who founded the heavens and the earth. In verse 16, the same speaker refers to Himself using the pronouns "I" and "Me" then, very obviously, distinguishes Himself from the Lord God (Yahweh) and from the Spirit of God.

    (12) "Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last. (13) "Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together. (14) "Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has declared these things? The Lord loves him; he will carry out His good pleasure on Babylon, And His arm will be against the Chaldeans. (15) "I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him, I have brought him, and He will make his ways successful.  (16)  "Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord (Heb. adny) God (Heb. Yahweh) has sent Me, and His Spirit (Heb. rach) ." (Isaiah 48:12-16 NASB)

(To make it simpler, read the first, part of the second, and last verse together.  "Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last."Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; ... And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit )

But what about the verses that so explicitly state that ...


God is "One"
There are several verses in both the Old and New Testaments, that categorically state that God is One (largely why the Jews reject Jesus as God). However, since one of the earliest and most explicit of these declarations was made in the Old Testament, it is to the Hebrew that we should first turn.

The Shema Yisrael (Hear, Israel) is probably the best known prayer in Judaism, recited twice daily. Special emphasis is given to the first six words of the passage - which were spoken by Moses when he summoned all Israel and instructed them to carefully hear and learn all the statutes and the ordinances of the Lord so that they might live and prolong their days in the land of Canaan.

    "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one (Heb. echd)! (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Malachi expressed a similar thought

    "Do we not all have one (Heb. echd) father? Has not one (Heb. echd) God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?  (Malachi 2:10 NASB)

In the case of Deuteronomy 6:4 (the Shema Yisrael), there are several factors one should take into consideration ie. a study of the immediate context, all the possible grammatically correct translations of echd, and the situation when Jesus quoted this verse. Doing so does not lead to a single definite conclusion, but to three possibilities... all of which are Biblical.

1) In context, Moses could have been saying God is to be first priority:
It is entirely feasible that on the eve of the invasion of Canaan, a nation steeped in idolatry and the worship of a pantheon of different gods, Moses was telling the Israelites that the Lord was to be first priority in their lives and hearts... He was to be number one. This is supported by his very next words...

    "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  (Deuteronomy 6:5 NASB)

2) The scribe, who heard these words from the lips of the Savior Himself, understood them to mean that there is one God; and there is none other but Him. Note his response... "You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him".

    (28) One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" (29) Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is One (Gk. heis) Lord;  (30) And you shall love the Lord your god with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'  (31) "The second is this, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (32) The scribe said to Him, "Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; (Mark 12:28-32 NASB)

3) And, of course, Moses could simply have been speaking numerically... stating that God is numerically One, which is the most usual understanding of the passage. One has to wonder if Moses had intended to teach that God's absolute oneness in Deuteronomy 6:4, why he didn't used the Hebrew word ychyd (sole) instead.

    He said, "Take now your son, your only (Heb. ychyd) son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you." (Genesis 22:2 NASB)

However, since the Bible tells us that Jesus, the Son of God, is also God (John 1:1, Hebrews 1:8 etc.) there can be no argument that there is a plurality in the Godhead.

But how is that possible?


"One" Can Be A Collective Unit
English words tend to be very precise. However, in Biblical Hebrew, a word can have more than one meaning, which makes precise translation rather difficult. Therefore, the exact meaning of many words often best determined by the context.

echd
In this case, the Hebrew word translated "one" is the Hebrew echd which is used many, many times in the Old Testament, and usually means one. However, echd (properly united) which comes from the root word chad, which means to unify.  In other words, echd does not necessarily mean a single unit, but is also used to refer to collective nouns, as in the following examples...

    And he made fifty taches of gold, and coupled the curtains one unto another with the taches: so it became one (Heb. echd) tabernacle.  (Exodus 36:13 KJV)

    "Now then, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each (Heb. echd) tribe. (Joshua 3:12 NASB)

    that they gathered themselves together with one (Heb. echd) accord to fight with Joshua and with Israel. (Joshua 9:2 NASB)

    He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, "Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen." Then the dread of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out as one (Heb. echd) man. (1 Samuel 11:7 NASB)

    And the raiders came from the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one (Heb. echd) company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual, (1 Samuel 13:17 NASB)

    "However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one (Heb. echd) tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen."  (1 Kings 11:13 NASB)

    And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one (Heb. echd)  mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.  (1 Kings 22:13 KJV)

Unsurprisingly, in several instances, one form of the word echd carries the meaning of more than one person or thing united in a group or relationship. At the time of creation, one (ehad) day was comprised of morning and evening.

    God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one (Heb. ehad) day. (Genesis 1:5 NASB)

The groups of people in the following examples remained individuals, yet became one as a group through their unity of purpose, belief etc.

    The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, "Behold, they are one (Heb. ehad) people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. (Genesis 11:5-6 NASB)

    Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one ((Heb. ehad) people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised. (Genesis 34:22 NASB)

    And all the people gathered themselves together as one (Heb. ehad) man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.  (Nehemiah 8:1 KJV)

    The whole assembly together (Heb. ke-e-had) was 42,360,  (Nehemiah 7:66 NASB)

When a man and woman are joined in matrimony, they do not physically merge, but remain separate individuals united in a bond.

    The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one (Heb. ehad) flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24 NASB)


heis
Similarly, the Greek heis, which Jesus used in place of the Hebrew echd when He quoted Deuteronomy 6:4, is used several times in the New Testament to express God being "one"

    yet for us there is but one (Gk. heis) God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one (Gk. heis) Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.  (1 Corinthians 8:6 NASB)

    one (Gk. heis) God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:6 NASB)

    For there is one (Gk. heis) God, and one (Gk. heis) mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (1 Timothy 2:5 NASB)

    You believe that God is one (Gk. heis). You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.  (James 2:19 NASB)

However, like the Hebrew echd, the Greek heis is also used for group unity, as well as equality.

Group Unity
When Jesus quoted Genesis 2:23-24 (above) to express group unity, He used heis

    and said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one (Gk. heis) flesh'? "So they are no longer two, but one (Gk. heis) flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." (Matthew 19:5-6 NASB)

Similarly, no one physically merges with a prostitute, nor can anyone who joins himself to the Lord be physically one with Him.

     Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one (Gk. heis) body with her? For He says, "the two shall become one (Gk. heis) flesh. But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one (Gk. heis) spirit with Him. (1 Corinthians 6:16-17 NASB)

Equality
In speaking of His and the Father's relationship, Jesus said He and the Father were one (Gk. heis)" (John 10:30), which was not only expressing His oneness with the Father but, from the reaction of the Jews who took up stones to punish him for blasphemy, was also unquestionably a declaration of His equality with God.

    Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." (John 10:32-33 NASB)

Jesus also used the word heis when He prayed that His followers would all be one, just as He and the Father were one. In this case "one" cannot mean equality, but has to mean a unity of mind and purpose

    that they may all be one (Gk. heis); even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one (Gk. heis), just as We are one (Gk. heis); I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity (Gk. heis), so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:21-23 NASB)

In summary, all three of the possible interpretations of Moses' words are Biblical, all are true, and none exclude a plurality in the Godhead.


The Deity of Christ & The Deity of The Holy Spirit

The Deity of Christ
It is possible that many of those who emphatically declare that a person cannot be saved without a belief in the Trinity may actually have the Deity of Christ in mind. As said by Michael Gleghorn of Probe Ministries...

    Although the doctrine of the Trinity is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith, I do not personally think that a person needs to have an orthodox understanding of this doctrine in order to be saved. Indeed, when you think about it, many of the people in Christian churches today have an inadequate and unorthodox understanding of this doctrine (but this doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't saved). He or she can still be saved through genuine faith in Christ. Of course, if one were to deny the deity of Christ, that would be another issue! [20]

There is no question that the Incarnation of Christ is an essential component of the Gospel. To deny the Incarnation is to deny that God Himself took human form in order to pay the price for the sins of those who would follow Him. Therefore, there can be no salvation without believing in the Deity of Christ. In fact, Jesus Himself, using the term I Am, told the Jews...

    "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 NASB)

    So Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. (John 8:28 NASB)

    "From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. (John 13:19 NASB)

    Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." (John 8:58 NASB)

Note: The word "He" has been italicized because it was not in the original text.

While "He" may have been may have been added in order to aid understanding of the passage, or make Jesus' words more grammatically correct, it has actually led the reader away from a true understanding of what Jesus meant. The addition of this single word obscures the fact that when Jesus used the words "I Am", He was echoing the words of God the Father, who was asked by Moses what he should say were the Israelites to ask him who sent him. The Father told Moses that he was to tell the sons of Israel that "'I AM has sent me to you". (Exodus 3:14). By using the exact words, Jesus was claiming to be the  "I AM' "of the Old Testament Scriptures. See The Deity of Christ

In other words, Jesus said that unless we believe HE IS (God), we will die in our sins.

Bible scholar, F. F. Bruce, has often been quoted as saying "the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity are embedded in the New Testament, although not explicitly formulated there". (I cannot verify this quote, but it is said to be from his book The Spreading Flame). However, I have to disagree... on both counts.

It is true that there is not one passage in which the Bible unambiguously says "Jesus is God", neither is there an unequivocal "I am God" statement from the lips of the Saviour Himself. However, the New Testament abounds with so much proof of the deity of Jesus Christ, that it is puzzling that so many who claim to believe in the Bible repudiate it. It is equally bewildering that it took a battle royal in the church and a council convened by an emperor to sort the problem out.

The case for the Deity of Christ is pretty much established by a single verse.

Psalm 45 uses the term elhym in verse 6, which is the very first term in the Bible to refer to the Supreme God.... "In the beginning God (Heb. elhym) created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). Besides which, only God's throne will last forever, as verse 6 says. However, the author of Hebrews applied the Psalm to the Messiah. When he quoted this verse, he makes it very clear that it is Jesus who is being spoken to, and addressed as God (theos). The next verse says that His (Christ's) God has anointed Him with the oil of gladness.  In other words, God's God has anointed Him.

    (6) Your throne, O God (Heb. elhym), is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. (7)  You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God (Heb. elhym), Your God (Heb. elhym), has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. (Psalms 45:6-7 NASB)

    But of the Son He says, "Your throne, O God (Gr. theos), Is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. "You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God (Gr. theos), your God (Gr. theos), has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions." (Hebrews 1:8-9 NASB)

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. The fact is, that anyone who is willing to do just a little digging will find that the Deity of Christ quite literally screams at them from innumerable pages in the Scriptures, especially when it comes to the many strikingly significant parallels between Yahweh in the Old Testament, and Jesus in the New. (See The Deity of Jesus Christ. Was He Lord, Liar Or Lunatic?)


The 'Second Person' of The Trinity?
Challenging the doctrine of the Trinity does not mean challenging the Divinity of Christ.

What it does mean is that Christ is not the "second Person" of the Trinity, but God Himself, which is very, very difficult for us to comprehend. However, I challenge anyone who believes we have to comprehend and explain everything, to turn to the opening verses of Genesis and explain how the events listed there came about. Whether we can explain it or not, the inescapable fact is that when Jesus said He and the Father were one, and that He was in the Father and the Father was in Him (John 10:30, 14:7-10)

    He was not just saying that they had the same mindset, nature, and attributes, although they do.

    He was not simply saying that they were united in purpose, although they are.

    He was not just saying that He was Divine, although He is.

    Jesus went much further than that... He literally meant that He and the Father were one.

Because, if Jesus and the Father were not one, it would not be possible for innumerable statements in the Old Testament concerning God the Father, to be quoted in the New Testament as referring to Jesus. For example...


Isaiah's Vision

Compare the statements made by two inspired Biblical authors. Although it is very clear that the prophet Isaiah saw the glory of Yahweh... God the Father, John says Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ... he expressly applies Isaiah's vision to Christ. Unless we are willing to believe that one of them was mistaken, or lying through their teeth, we have to accept that they were both right, when each of them said

    In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord (adny) sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple... Then I said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord (Yahweh) of hosts." (Isaiah 6:1, 5 NASB)

    But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. (38] This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: "Lord, who has believed our report? and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" (39) For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, (40] "He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them." (41] These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. (John 12:37-41 NASB)

Additionally, Isaiah 8:13-14 refers to Yahweh as the one who would become a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, yet the New Testament applies these very same terms to Jesus.

    "It is the Lord (Yahweh) of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread. "Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 8:13-14 NASB)

    you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: "Behold , I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Hhim will not be disappointed." This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, "TThe stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone," and, "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence "; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. (1 Peter 2:5-8 NASB)

The following two verses speak of the messenger who would prepare the way of the Lord.

    Behold, I send my messenger (Heb. mal'k), and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord (Heb. dn), whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye desire, behold, he cometh, saith the Lord (Yahweh) of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)

    The voice of one that crieth, Prepare ye in the wilderness the way of the Lord (Yahweh); make level in the desert a highway for our God (Gr. elohym). (Isaiah 40:3)

Strikingly, both prophecies found fulfillment in the coming of John the Baptist, who heralded Jesus' public ministry. Matthew is very evidently quoting the Old Testament prophet Malachi.

    Yea and thou, child (John The Baptist), shalt be called the prophet of the Most High: For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to make ready his ways; (Luke 1:76)

    This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way before thee. (Matthew 11:10)

(See The Deity of Jesus Christ. Was He Lord, Liar Or Lunatic?)


"Came Forth From" Vs. 'Sent By'
Particular evidence is found in the words Jesus used when He said...

    for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth (Gk. exelthon) from the Father. "I came forth (Gk. exelthon) from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father." His disciples *said, "Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. "Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from (Gk. exelthes) God." (John 16:27-30 NASB)

If the intended meaning of the verses above was solely that Jesus was dispatched on a mission by the Father, John would probably have used the word apostello from which we get the word 'apostle'. It literally or figuratively means to send on a mission. There is no question that Jesus was sent on a mission by the Father, as the following two examples show... Note exapostello is a combination of apostello and the preposition ek which denotes origin.

    And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send (apostello), even Jesus Christ. (John 17:3)

    but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth (Gr. exapostello) his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God sent forth (Gr. exapostello) the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Galatians 4:4-6)

However, the Greek verb exerchomai that John used three times in 16:27-30, is a compound word, composed of ek (origin) and the verb erchomai (to come). In other words, it means to, literally or figuratively, issue from. The word is used overwhelmingly of emerging, or coming out of something. Different forms of exerchomai have been used in the examples below

    Prison: Truly I say to you, you will not come out (Gk. exelthes) of there until you have paid up the last cent. (Matthew 5:26 NASB)

    A City: And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out (Gr. exerchomenoi) from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them." (Luke 9:5 NASB)

    Sodom: but on the day that Lot went out (Gr. exelthen) from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.  (Luke 17:29 NASB)

    People: And He said to her, "Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out (Gr. exelelythen) of your daughter." And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left (Gr. exelelythos). (Mark 7:29-30 NASB)

There is at least one verse where Jesus, using both words, says He 'came forth from' and was 'sent by' the Father.

    Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth (Gk. exelthon) and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent (Gr. apostello) Me.  (John 8:42 NASB)

Jesus was not "created" by the Father but, in His words, He literally "came out" of the Father. Yet, the fact that the Father and the Son spoke to each other provides shows they are distinct Persons.

    and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." (Matthew 3:17 NASB)

    Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, (John 17:1 NASB)

    And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:39 NASB)

Please note that a very similar word is used in the New Testament to show that the Holy Spirit also came forth from the Father. This is covered in detail in a later section.


The Deity of The Holy Spirit

is a far simpler matter. Note Peter's words in Acts 5:3-4...

    Then Peter said, 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.' (Emphasis added)

Since lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God, this short passage is more than enough to clinch the issue of the Holy Spirit being God. However, that does not necessarily mean that there are three coequal Persons in one Divine Being.


Either/Or Theology
Charles Ryrie, professor of systematic theology, and dean of doctoral studies, at Dallas Theological Seminary says

    "It is fair to say that the Bible does not clearly teach the doctrine of the Trinity, if by clearly one means there are proof texts for the doctrine. In fact, there is not even one proof text, if by proof text we mean a verse or passage that "clearly" states that there is one God who exists in three persons.

He goes on to say that we arrive at a clear doctrine of the Trinity by

    "accepting two lines of evidence in the Bible: (a) clear statements that teach there is only one God; and (b) equally clear statements that teach there was Someone called Jesus and Someone designated the Holy Spirit who in addition to God the Father claimed to be God. Such evidence permits only one of two conclusions: either Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not divine, or God exists as a Triunity." (21]

I am afraid that this is a vast over simplification of the matter, since it does not entertain any possibility other than a) Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not Divine, or b) God is a Triunity. It's either this or that... take it or leave it. The fact is that while the Divinity of Christ and the Divinity of the Holy Spirit are unarguable, the choices are not limited to God is either a Triune God, or Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not Divine.

The "Third Person" of The Trinity
While it is pretty much established that the Holy Spirit is God, the question of the Holy Spirit being the third person of the trinity... a co-equal member of the Godhead, is not as set in stone as orthodox doctrine would like us to believe.

The problem is that when it comes to a defense of the orthodox version of the doctrine of the trinity, very little research and investigation is ever undertaken. Instead, as previously mentioned, the doctrine was given shape way back in the mists of antiquity and, since then, has been passed down as Gospel truth from one generation to the next... with the same 'proof texts' offered and accepted. The result being that when people go to their Bibles, they do so with preconceived ideas already firmly in place.

Although, as Charles Ryrie says, there isn't a single verse or passage that "clearly" states that there is one God who exists in three persons, Trinitarians usually advance a number of verses (in less polite terms, the usual suspects are rounded up) as evidence for there being three co-equal members of the Godhead.

In reality these verses do no such thing.

Probably the most commonly appealed to verse in defense of the Trinity is in John's first letter. 
 

Continue Reading... Part II
Passages That Supposedly "Prove" the Trinity
Although there isn't a single verse or passage that "clearly" states that there is one God who exists in three persons, Trinitarians usually advance a number of verses (in less polite terms, the usual suspects are rounded up) as evidence for there being three co-equal members of the Godhead. In reality these verses do no such thing. Read without prejudice, or preconceived ideas, the "proof texts" merely state that Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist. None of them can be used to prove the three-in-one theory. Yet, asking a person to read the actual text, and not allow anyone to tell them what they think the text means, seems to be quite a novel concept in Christianity. Why? Are we just so used to having the Bible interpreted for us that we are too lazy, or too gullible to go look for ourselves? Or have we been so indoctrinated that when we read the verses in question, we read into them what we have been led to believe they say / have always been told what their meaning is.

 

Endnotes
(19] The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Editors Bruce M. Metzger and Michael David Coogan. Oxford University Press, USA; First Edition edition (October 14, 1993 Pg 782

(20] Michael Gleghorn. © 2010 Probe Ministries.
http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.6467479/k.E47A/Does_One_Have_to_Believe_in_the_Trinity_to_be_Saved.htm

(21] Charles C. Ryrie Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth Hardcover. Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (January 11, 1999) Pg 89- 90

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