Trinity on Trial An in-depth examination of Trinitarian doctrine
Critical Questions

  • The person Jesus has a God, the Father does not have a God.

Economic Unity

We must understand that an economic unity between God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, does not amount to Trinitarian dogma. It is very common for Trinitarians to read passages like Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14, and 2 Peter 1:2 and suppose the writers are here implicitly referring to their "three in one God." However, if we look at these passages more closely it becomes plainly clear that we simply have God mentioned with two other entities, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. In passages like these, Trinitarians like to replace the word "God" in their minds with "the Father, first person of the Trinity." And the next step is to take the word "God" and apply it to all three entities mentioned in the passage to mean "the Triune God," something which the Bible never does.

The early church understood an economic unity existed between God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is recognized by Trinitarians and non-Trinitarians alike. An Arian, or Jehovah's Witness, does not have any problems with the three entities in these passages. In fact, they have less problems. All they need to do is recognize that God is mentioned along with two other entities. The Trinitarian needs to comprehend the word "God" as "the Father, first person of the Trinity," and then decide for himself to label all three together as "God," something the non-Trinitarian does not need to do. He simply must accept what it says. The early fathers viewed God in a similar manner and perceived of an economic unity, or an economic trinity, between God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit, just as there is an economic unity between God, Jesus and the church where the Holy Spirit lives. However, this does not amount to Trinitarian dogma which insists God is a unity of substance, that is, God is three persons but one substance.

The Word Game

Trinitarians have a lot of fun claiming that "the Father is God" and "the Son is God" and "the Holy Spirit is God" yet there are not three Gods but one. What most people do not realize is how they are using the word "God" when they say make these statements. When they use the word "God" in such a manner they are implicitly suggesting "God" to mean "the nature of deity" in one place and "the creator person God" in another place. So what they are really saying here is, "the Father is the nature of deity" and "the Son is the nature of deity" and "the Holy Spirit is the nature of deity" yet there are not three Deities but one Deity. Did you catch that? All they are saying is that "the Father/Son/Spirit share a nature we will call God" They are really referring to two separate categories here, nature and identity. So what's the big deal and mystery? Nothing. In one place, the word "God" is used one way and the word "God" is used another way in the same breath. First it is used to state "what" these three persons are and then it is used to state "who" these three persons are. This is commonly seen in the Trinitarian expression "Jesus is God." When a Trinitarian uses such an expression you must ask him what he means exactly. Is he saying, "Jesus is that identity "God?" Or is he saying, "Jesus is the nature of deity." Trinitarians often utilize this shell game in their argumentation and most of them do not even realize they are doing it themselves.

Is God one person or three?

The big question at hand is whether or not God Most High is a three person being or whether God Most High is to be understood as one person, the Father alone. Is the appellation "God" to be reserved for the Father or can this word be rightly applied to His Son and His Spirit? The word "God" appears over four thousand times in English translations and not once does it refer to the three together. In fact, there is no single term of any kind in the entire Bible which refers to the the three together. The concept of calling the three together by the term "God" is not found in Scripture and is rooted in Trinitarian theology under the presumption that if all three entities share divine qualities then all three entities can be identified as one "God." The Bible, and even the Trinitarain mind, normally perceives God to be the Father of Jesus Christ. Is there valid reason then to suppose anything else?

The Old Testament View of God

The Old Testament consistently portrays God as a one person figure by referring to "Him" with singular pronouns such as "He," "Him," "I" and "Me", and also by describing him anthropomorphically (in human terms) as a single person who has eyes and ears, a heart and hands, goes for walks in the Garden of Eden, and is a white haired old man sitting on a throne in heaven. If indeed God is actually three persons, it seems He was also disingenously misleading his chosen people, via inspired prophets, to believe he was one person, and not two or three persons, especially when they chanted the Shema, "Hear O Israel, YAHWEH our God, YAHWEH is one." The Old Testament patriarchs and Jews never understood God to be anymore than one person, their "Abba Father."

Subordinate yet God?

Jesus, the Son of God Most High had a God, and still has, a God. His Father does not have a God but Jesus has a God. Jesus worshiped and served YAHWEH His God and taught his disciples to worship and serve that same God. Was this God a three person being or was this God he served, and taught his disciples to serve, his Father alone? Did Jesus mean that his Father alone was to be served as God when he called his Father, "the only God" and "the only true God." The Bible presents the Son as eternally subordinate to the Father. Can a person be subordinate to anyone and be God? Is this the reason Trinitarians decline to confess the Son is subordinate although the Scriptures plainly say that he is now subordinate and will be so for all eternity? And if one granted, for the sake of argument only, that Jesus was only temporarily subordinated, could he still have been God and that time?

Obviously a third person?

Is the Holy Spirit really a separate person in addition to the Father, or is the Holy Spirit the divine presence of the the Holy God himself, the Father, since by definition, God is Spirit? Why does the New Testament most often portray the Holy Spirit as a non-personal entity if we are to understand the Spirit is a person? Is the personalization of the Holy Spirit a tragic misunderstanding of Jesus' teaching? The Jews of the Old Testament understood the Spirit of God to be God's divine power or energy and His presence. Was their God being illusively coy?

Serious Problems with Trinitarian Prooftexts

Every single passage of Scripture where Jesus is said to be identified as "God" is problematic. Some are likely scribal errors or forgeries, or they are under high suspicion by Trinitarian Greek scholars themselves. Many passages have other translation possibilities which Trinitarian Greek scholars admit are grammatically correct, and not only so, but the immediate context suggests a more likely translation than what Trinitarians choose to offer. A simple comparison of Trinitarian translations reveals the seriousness of the problem. And passages such as John 20:28 are not so cut and dry to interepret as Trinitarians would have everyone believe. A careful eye on John 14:9 strongly suggests Thomas was not identifying Jesus of Nazareth as "God" but affirming Jesus' earlier teaching, especially in view of the fact that he was now full of the glory and presence of the Father in his resurrection (17:5). And should we understand that Matthew said Jesus would be called, "God with us [geographically]," or did he simply mean "God with us [purposefully]" just as it is written that God was with Jesus in the miraculous works that he did. At every turn, Trinitarian translations and interpretations suffer from a very feeble weakness.

What you indicates who you are?

Another serious problem with Trinitarian doctrine is a premise that what you are makes you who you are. In other words, they presume that if one shares God's divine nature then one is also to be identified as "God." This idea presumes that identity is qualified by nature and not position. For example, we could then say the Vice President of USA is a human being by nature and we can therefore conclude he is President because he shares the human nature of the person commonly known as the President. This Trinitarian premise is obviously resting upon very shakey ground. If Jesus shares the same nature as his Father it does not necessarily seem to follow that this qualifies him to share his Father's identity, "God." One must inquire whether or not the word "God" is reserved for the person with the Highest position. Is God's Godness ultimately based on his divine nature or his position above all other things?

The Early Church Fathers

Another critical question involves the beliefs of the early church fathers. They are very often misprepresented by Trinitarian apologists. For example, they suggestively note Tertullian used the word "trinity" but fail to inform anyone that he also believed "there was a time when the Son was not" and Tertullian did not use the word "trinity" to refer to a three in one God but used this Latin threeness term to refer to the economy between God, His Son and His Holy Spirt. Irenaeus repeatedly insisted the Father alone was the only true God, yet Trinitarians present him as if he was a Trinitarian. The real beliefs of the early church fathers must be explored to reveal the real truth of this matter.

The Father: Is he "of" anything?

such as "of" the Godhead


Eternity, Creation, and the Word

Yet another problem concerns creation and time. Creation is by definition time and space. Indeed, the Bible indicates God created the ages.

The Incarnation of the Word: Emptied of What?

The book of Philippians seems to indicate that the Word emptied himself of his divine nature to take on human nature. Trinitarians both translate and interpret the passage in an attempt to have it say that Jesus continued to possess his divine nature when he took humanity nature. Furthermore, Trinitarians teach that the Word did not actually become flesh but added or acquired human nature along with his divine nature and they must do so or be found admitting the divine Word was dead flesh in a tomb. Yet, this does not seem to match with Scripture which indicates the Word was touchable flesh. Even further, Trinitarians insist that Christ was not born into quite the same humanity as the rest of us even though Scripture indicates otherwise. Or does the Bible teach that the Word was poured out of his divine nature as a seed to a field and into the Virgin's womb and in this way became human flesh and the same human flesh in which the rest of us exist.

The Death of Jesus: Where was he?

The Resurrection of Jesus: Divinized Humanity

The Holy Spirit: Person or Divine Energy of the Father?