The Greatest Threat To Biblical Monotheism
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
Why I reject the Orthodox view of God's nature aka the Doctrine of the Trinity
My reasons for writing this paper stems from multiple reasons. First and foremost, it has been said that the theological position that I'm perpetuating is not “kingdom-worthy”. There are suppositional roadblocks put in place on the highway to salvation if one doesn't hold to the antithetical theological stance of Unitarianism, that is none other than Trinitarianism. Which in my view, is the greatest threat to the very fabric of biblical Monotheism. Admittedly, I do acknowledge this to be an uphill battle, however, to use a biblical analogy, the 12 disciples climbed a steep hill to deliver a message to the known world likewise. They did not leave it a mystery that was left incomplete.
To be transparent, I do not subscribe to shelving logic for a mystery that is pinned with some "progressive revelation". That to me opens us up to all kinds of logical contradictions and wild imaginations. No theory could be refuted since we need our God-given logic to do that.
My supposition as a Unitarian strongly suspects that the Father alone is the ἀληθινὸν Θεὸν (True God). That is The Father is depicted as God par excellence. I will proceed to lay out my basic arguments with 3 important key tasks in which my position is substantiated.
1. Is there enough evidence that we can find in the inspired literature that are explicit, unambiguous and clear in the Bible that show Jesus and the HS is and was the covenant God of Israel? Not just mere inferences? I.e an Apostle’s confession in a clear manner that tells of Jesus’s activity as God in the OT. [note the emphatic ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Θεὸς -(Matthew 22:32) was also never used in relation to Jesus or the Trinitarian view of the Holy Spirit.]
2. Can we find evidence that the Bible proposes any other sentient being other than the Father as a se’? That is, does the Son possess aseity which is a necessary attribute to the God of Israel?
3. Can we prove Jesus and the HS is the lone creator exnihilo *of* all material things (like people, trees) and immaterial things (like spirits); The passages found in the Gospel of John, Colossians, and Hebrews when read in context will not suffice enough to denote Jesus —himself—being the creator of all things, instead, we see things being created through [δι’+genitive] and for him by someone else [with passive verbal expressions like ἔκτιστα]ι , he is made like us, being made lower than angels, and his very LIFE is delegated to him from the Father [Jhn 5:26], etc…
A Progressive Revelation
It is quite often argued that the Doctrine of the Trinity was revealed between testaments. That is, after Malachi and before the Gospel of Matthew, the Triune God concept was embedded in the NT writer's psyche as a revelation that they in real-time was living in. The historical events of the ministry, death, burial, resurrection, and exaltation of the Son in conjunction with the outpouring of the Spirit serves as an impetus for how some Trinitarians claim how the NT authors maneuvers around the explicit vs the implicit dichotomy this doctrine is faced with. However, this is just an immature over-emphasis of "Progressive Revelation" and it leads to an apriori against the OT theses…Ultimately an argument from silence.
Here is an interesting quote from a historical Trinitarian, Gregory Nazianzus
“The Old Testament proclaimed the Father openly, and the Son more obscurely; the New manifested the Son, and suggested the deity of the Spirit; now the Spirit himself dwells among us, and supplies us with a clearer demonstration of himself (Gregory Nazianzus in his Fifth Theological Oration 26 [SC 250:326-27]).”
The great Church leader doesn't seem to ascribe to the concept of the most direct text should have the final “say” on doctrinal matters. Lordship was at the very heart of Jesus' redemptive work on the cross. Paul makes this clear in Romans 14:8-9 (NKJV): "For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died, and rose and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living."
We really can't know if it was a deliberate scribal alteration. However, throughout the verses in Jude, there is a consistent pattern that reveals that "the Lord" (KJV, NASB, NIV) is probably the best option in Jude 1:5 ...
1. When Jude refers to "God" at the present time, he calls him "the Father" (v. 1) and distinguishes Him from Jesus Christ (v. 1, 25).
2. When Jude refers to something that happened prior to the time of Jesus, he uses "the Lord" (without a name) which was a title for God the Father prior to the time of Jesus (v. 5, 9, 10).
3. When Jude refers to Jesus Christ as "the Lord" at the present time, he uses his name as "our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 4, 17, 21, 25) to distinguish him from God the Father.
Thus, we can see that the title of "the Lord" could apply to both God the Father and Jesus Christ (as elsewhere in the NT), but that Jude consistently qualified it with "our" and "Jesus Christ" when he was not referring to God or someone prior to the present time of writing.
Hence, biblical unitarians can take "the Lord" (KJV, NASB, NIV) as the preferable reading of Jude 1:5 from both an exegetical and contextual standpoint without needing to debate about the different manuscripts.
Did Jesus or YHWH lead the Israelites out of Egypt? A closer look at Jude 5 considering the claim by JW that Jesus is Michael.
Jude alone is sufficient in refuting this idea, but for the sake of clarity I would like to also introduce some extra-biblical scholarship in to the conversation.
Beginning with the text of Jude itself: If it was Jude’s intention to claim or belief that Jesus was Michael, who “saved the people out of the land of Egypt”( v.5), then surely Jude would have not only identified Michael as Jesus in verse 5, but would have carried that theme to verse 9. If it was believed that Jesus was the pre-existent person who led the Israelites out of Egypt, and Jude believed Jesus was Michael, why not then identify the “archangel” as Jesus in verse 9, while recording an event that would have taken place with a 40 year time span?
If we consider only some of the manuscript evidence, we may claim that Jude was saying or believed that Jesus was indeed a divine angel being who led the Israelites out of Egypt. But, what we see is several different manuscripts. In Bart Ehrman’s ‘Orthodox Corruption of Scripture’, he identifies several corruptions and variants in different manuscripts.
Regarding Jude 5, Ehrman notes: “Thus, in Jude 5, where manuscripts vary over whether it was “the Lord” (most manuscripts), or “Jesus” (A B 33 81 1241 1881) or “God (c2 623 VGms) who saved the people from Egypt…p72 stands alone in saying that the Savior of the people was “the God Christ”.” So, we see that are 4 different variations, with a 3rd century (approx.) copy going as far as changing the text to “the God Christ”. pp.85-86
From my understanding, the earliest manuscript we have of Jude is P72 from the 3rd-4th century. ‘κύριος’ (Lord) is also the favored translation by Tommy Wasserman who is accredited with compiling “the most exhaustive investigation of the epistle” (‘Jude on the Attack by Alexandra Robinson pg.12) (Also see: The Epistle of Jude: Its Text and Transmission by Wasserman). To be fair, Robinson also notes “the committees on the Greek New Testament clearly struggled to come to a consensus on the matter given their verdict to class this variant as category D (Unresolved)”.
However, not only is the epistle by Jude damning to the case it’s claimed Ἰησοῦς’ led the Israelites out of Egypt in Jude’s epistle, but scholarship, including an unbiased agnostic (Ehrman) as well as by the professor who’s complied “the most exhaustive investigation” on the epistle by Jude, both identify corruptions and variants of the text, but Wasserman also believes κύριος’ to be the proper translation (Ehrman doesn’t state specifically regarding Jude, although he does identify the p72 manuscript as having several “modifications”).
Taking all of the evidence in to consideration, it seems highly unreasonable to me to claim the original text read ‘Ἰησοῦς’ and not ‘κύριος’. Ehrman’s also pointed out that “most” manuscripts read “the Lord”.
So, in the epistle of Jude, even if we were to claim that Ἰησοῦς’ was the original reading, Jude clearly doesn’t believe that Jesus was Michael, because he identifies by name, Michael, in an event that would have only taken place within 40 or less from the beginning of the Exodus (the argument over the body of Moses v.9). On top of the fact that it would make absolutely no sense for Jesus to have 2 names, JW would have to account for the reason Jude did not identify Michael as Jesus in verse 9.
It should be obvious that Jude 5 is not about Jesus because:
i) the O.T. does not mention Jesus led the people out of Egypt.
ii) the O.T. does not mention Jesus punished anyone for unbelief.
iii) Jesus was begotten and born long after these events.
iv) God did not speak through Jesus in the past. Hebrews 1:1-2
v) the OT informs us that this was done by YHWH and no other God or LORD.
A short summary of my reasons for rejecting Trinitarianism.
The "God dying" dichotomy -The idea that God at some point experienced death is oxymoronic. The loopholes that have been given seems to be factored out by biblical and ancient history in general. The EXPLICIT teachings in the Bible such as 1 Timothy 1:16 explain the immunity of the nature of God to death. Any form. The two things can be true theory is generally correct, but here it's ad -hoc and grossly misapplied. Whenever it seems like a fringe in the pro-deity claim, it seems far too convenient to apply God's human aspect into the equation. Of which there isn't enough Biblical evidence to endorse this theory.
The subordinate factor-The idea that God has a superior, whether ontological or authority proves inadequate for Supreme deity. That God has a God seems anti-reflexive and antithetical to the bibles EXPLICIT teachings of God's sovereignty.
Christ’s admissions-The EXPLICIT declarations from Jesus himself that God is Uni-personal and alone true. The truth about the nature of God should be understood in light of what Jesus says in plain Scripture. Notwithstanding other's views of the biblical author's aphorisms. For example, It seems improper to interpret Jesus teachings in light of Paul. Paul seems to be definitive in 1 Corinthians 8:6 that in their day God was exclusively God the Father. If he was implicitly teaching Jesus is also conflated with the one YHWH, then Jesus’s theological conversation with his fellow Jewish practitioner in Mark 12:29 would seem incomprehensible. You have the unfitting redundant declaration "To us, we have one YHWH and one YHWH” or “we have one true God and one true God".