Proof of the Trinity Error
In this verse, Paul indicates that the "one God" is one person, "the Father." In contrast to Trinitarian doctrine which states that the one God is three persons, this teaching by Paul clearly and necessarily says that the one God is one person and that one person is the Father of Jesus.
The Trinitarian Response
The standard Trinitarian claim here is that if anyone concludes that Jesus cannot be God since the Father is identified as the one God then one must also consistently conclude that the Father is not Lord since Jesus is identified as the one Lord. The expectation here is that no one will conclude the Father is not "Lord" and so the claim that Jesus is not the one God is voided by this response.
"But by that reasoning, since Jesus is the "one Lord," the Father cannot be Lord!" (Robert Bowman, Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, p. 73).
And ironically, Bowman immediately cites Matthew 11:25. We will see why that is so ironic down below.
Essentially, Bowman is arguing that if one argues that Jesus cannot be the one God then to be consistent one must also argue the Father is not the one Lord. This sounds good on the surface doesn't it? But is it even true? No, it is simply word trickery.
"False prophets also arose among the people just as there will also be false teachers among you who will secretly introduce destructive heresies....they will exploit you with well-turned words." (2 Peter 2:1-3).
Exposing the Trinitarian Trickery
1. Nullifying Scripture for the sake of Tradition
If Paul was not identifying the one God as one person, the Father, and if Paul was not identifying the one Lord as one person, Jesus, then what was his point? It is quite clear that the Trinitarian response here is simply designed to nullify this passage and rob it of any meaning whatsoever. What is Paul's point when he said, "for us there is one God: the Father," if it was not to identify quite clearly just who the one God is and that the one God is this one person we call "the Father"?
The Trinitarian robs Paul's message of any meaning. He must demand that Paul is simply saying there is one person who is God the Father and one person who is Lord Jesus Christ, rather than there is one God who is the Father and one Lord who is Jesus Christ. The effect of the Trinitarian claim is that it completely nullfies Paul's point. However, this is exactly what the Trinitarian needs to do for the sake of his tradition. In the end, all he has Paul say is that there are two persons, one of them is God the Father and one of them is Lord Jesus Christ, and Paul just happens to identify the Father here as God and just happens to identify Jesus Christ has Lord and he could have identied either one of them as God and Lord or both.
2. The Basis of this Word Trick
The basis of this word trick is to suggestively imply that Paul is declaring that there is only one God in existence and one Lord in existence. Therefore to deny that Jesus is the one God is to deny that the Father is the one Lord.
However, it is obvious that Paul's point is not to make a declaration that there is only one God in existence and one Lord in existence. In fact, he just explicitly said that there are MANY gods and MANY lords. Note how he says, "but FOR US there is one God." Paul's point is not to tell us how many Gods or Lords there are in existence as Trinitarians suggestively imply. His point is that we Christians have one God and that one God is the Father and in addition to the one God we have one Lord and that one Lord is Jesus.
3. King of Kings and Lord of Lords
The title "Lord of Lords" is an easy and simple way to see that there is not just one Lord in existence. If it were true that there was only one Lord in existence, the title "Lord of Lords" would be rather meaningless. And if we supposed these Lords did not even exist then such a title is a rather empty term. So we see in Scripture that there are indeed "many Lords" as Paul said at 1 Corinthians 8:4. There several facts which demonstrate the Trinitarian claim is based on false premises. "Lordships" were created (Col 1:16). David is profusely called "Lord" at 1 Kings chapter one and Israelites are bowing down (proskyneo) before him as their Lord, "David our Lord." The Trinitarian response to 1 Corinthians 8:6 is entirely based on suggesting only one Lord exists. They do this because they need to claim that if only Lord exists then the Father is necessarily that one Lord because they also want to claim, by an act of their own will, that Jesus is that one God of 1 Corinthians 8:6 despite the fact that Paul has already identified the one God as the Father. But the claim that only one Lord exists is demonstrably false.
The Head of every man is Christ and the Head of Christ is God. God made Jesus "Lord" (Acts 2:36). If the word "Lord" was another way of saying "the one God" it would make absolutely no sense whatsoever for the Bible to say God made Jesus "Lord." God made Jesus God? And neither would the term "Lord of Lords" make any sense.
4. Two Lords
It is quite clear in the Scriptures that there is not just one Lord in existence. At Acts 2:34-36, we read that Peter quotes Psalm 110:1, "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand,'" and then we read that Peter proclaims that this Psalm was fulfilled when God raised Jesus from the dead and "made him Lord." We find a similar idea at Matthew 28:18 where Jesus indicates He has been given all authority in heaven and upon the earth.
The Lord, Jesus' Father, made the Son, Jesus, "Lord." Did the Lord Father make Jesus into the Lord Father? No. The Lord Father made his son Lord, another Lord. What we are to understand here is that the Father gave his Lordship authority to His Son when He raised Jesus from the dead. He was given the name that is above every name, that is, "Lord." It is the same Lordship authority but there are two Lords, the Father, and the Son. Jesus was made Lord when God raised him from the dead. No one in their right mind would ever conclude that the Father is that same Lord.
The Father was Jesus' "Lord" before his resurrection.
At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. (Matthew 11:25).
The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to [the] captives And recovery of sight to the blind, to free those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD." (Luke 4:18-19).
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 11:15).
And the Father is still Jesus' one Lord. It is quite clear then that there are two Lords in existence.
5. The Whole Passage
Now concerning idol sacrifices. Since we know that all of us have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If any one thinks that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, he is known by Him. Hence, as to the eating of idol sacrifices, we know that an idol is nothing and that there is no God but one. For although there may be gods in heaven or on earth, as there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is one God, the Father, out of whom are all things and we to Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and we through him.
(1 Corinthians 8:1-6).
5. The Structure of the Passage
There is no God but One
Yet for Us
One God - the Father
Out of whom are all things and we to Him
One Lord - Jesus Christ
Through whom are all things and we through Him
|Although there are
||For us there is|
|many gods||One God - the Father|
|many lords||One Lord - Jesus Christ|
6. "For US"
In the Trinitarian interpretation, the words "for us" essentially have no meaning. For the Trinitarian, Paul could have simply said, "For although there may be gods in heaven or on earth, as there are many gods and many lords, but there is one God, the Father." But words have meaning and value and Paul uses these words for a reason. And the point he makes is quite plain: although there are many gods and many lords there is "for us" but one God, the Father.
6. The Statement Itself
Trinitarians often like to say, "The Father is the one God, Jesus is the one God, and the Holy Spirit is the one God." However, it is quite a different thing to say, "The One God is the Father," or "The One God is Jesus." For example, if someone said, "the Father is the divine nature and Jesus is the divine nature," it is a hypothetically plausible concept that both persons are the divine nature just as two human persons are one human nature. We are saying something is true about two different persons. However, if someone said, "The divine nature is the Father," we are saying something quite different. We are identifying the divine nature as one person. Not only so, we would be confusing person and being which Trinitarians insist we cannot do. And then if we also said, "the divine nature is Jesus" we would be identifying the divine nature as another person and contradicting our first statement. For this reason, this statement by Paul is an inescapable dilemma for the Trinitarian.
To say, "the Father is the one God" is to say something true about the Father. However, to say "the one God is the Father," is different. This statement says something true about the one God. This statement identifies the one God as the Father. What is true about the one God is that this one God is the Father. Can you then also say, "the one God is Jesus?" No you cannot because then you would have defined the one God differently. To define/describe the one God differently is to define and describe another God. And indeed, in Trinitarian doctrine the Father is not the Son. Moreover, Paul did not simply say, "the one God is the Father." He actually said something more foreceful, "there is one God, the Father."
Analysis of the Evidence
1. The Definition of the word "God" in this Verse
How does the Trinitarian define the word "God" in this verse. Indeed, how does he define the words "one God." This cannot be defined as the Triune God because that would be saying the Triune being is the Father which makes no sense in Trinitarian doctrine. Hence, the Trinitarian's only option is to try and claim it means "the one divine ousia." And indeed he must since there is no other option. Paul is referring to the "one God" and the oneness of God in Trinitarian doctrine is the divine ousia.
And this is where the Trinitarian is caught in an insoluble predicament. Here Paul would be defining the one divine nature as the one person of the Father. And this rules out anyone else being identified as the divine nature. This is where we see that the statement, "the one God is the Father" is quite a different statement than, "the Father is the one God." Here, one could perhaps also say, "the Son is the one God." But you cannot say, (1) "the one God is the Father," because it defines the one God as one person, the Father, and also say, (2) "the one God is the Son," because it would define the one God as another single person, the Son.
And the predicament gets even worse. If the one divine ousia is identified as the Father, and one of Jesus divine natures is the the one divine ousia, then Paul has just defined Jesus' divine nature as the person of the Father.
2. Trinitarian Definition of the One God vs. Paul's.
In the doctrine of the Trinity, the one God is three persons. The one God is the one Triune Being. But Paul is defining the one God as one person, the Father. The Father is not the Triune Being and the Triune Being is not the Father. Hence, Paul is clearly defining the one God differently than Trinitarians.
Trinitarian: there is one God: the Triune Being
The Bible: there is one God: the Father
3. Paul's Purposeful Contrast
Paul's contrast is not meaningless but meaningful. His point here is not that there is only one God in existence and one Lord in existence. Indeed, this is why he contrasts many gods and lords with our one God and Lord. And it is also why he uses the words, "for us." While there are many gods and many lords, there is "for us" Christians one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ.
4. Illustration: Pharaoah and Joseph
To illustrate, we can observe how this worked out with Pharaoh and Joseph. Let us just suppose we are ancient Egyptians. If we said, "For us there is one King: Pharaoh and there is one Lord: Joseph," would it then make sense to conclude that Joseph is not the one King we are mentioning? Yes it would. Would it also make sense to conclude that Pharaoh is not the one Lord we are mentioning? Yes it would. Should we argue that Joseph is not the one King? Yes, we should. Should we also argue that Pharaoh is not Lord? No, we should not. We know that Joseph's Lordship authority is sourced in Pharaoah, not Joseph, and Pharoah has simply vested Joseph with this authority.
5. The Trinitarian Trick
The Trinitarian trick is to suggestively imply that Paul's point is to tell us how many Gods exist (one) and how many Lords exist (one). The distinction here is whether we are talking about whether there is one God in existence and whether there is one Lord in existence or whether we are talking about something else. The trick in the Trinitarian response is to suggestively imply that the verse is being interpreted to say, "There is only one God in existence: the Father, and there is only one Lord in existence: Jesus," and if we accept this implied suggestion they build their response upon it.
But this is obviously not Paul's point. He is contrasting many gods with one God, the Father. And he is contrasting many lords with one Lord, Jesus. He is not making a statement about the existence of one God but about who for us is our one God: the Father. And he is not making a statement about the existence of one Lord but who for us is our one Lord: Jesus.
Whether or not these other gods or lords actually exist is irrelevant to the question. If other people have other gods or other lords which are true gods or lords or false gods or the lords doesn't make a difference. They still have many gods and many lords and in that sense they exist. Truth and reality are not the same thing. Lies are things which exist. And Paul is contrasting the existence of these many gods with our one God and the existence, whether true or false, of many lords, with our one Lord.
6. The Point: One Lord God, the Father, plus One Lord Jesus Christ
Paul's point is quite clear. For us Christians there is one God: the Father. In contrast to many Gods we just have one God and that one God is the Father. Period. For us Christians there is also one Lord: Jesus Christ. In contrast to many Lords we just have one Lord and that one Lord is Jesus.
If we said that Jesus cannot be the one God whom Paul is mentioning then we would also have to say the Father is not the one Lord Paul is mentioning. And yes we would and should. Jesus is the one whom God MADE Lord when He raised him from the dead. This Lord is most definitely not the Father.
And here is the critical turning point. Can we say that Jesus cannot be the one God? Yes we can. There is only one true God in existence and Paul identifies that one God as the Father. Do we then need to say that the Father is not the one Lord? No, there isn't just one Lord. The Father is not the one Lord in view here and there are two true Lords in existence for Christians. For us there is one God, the Father, Lord and God but also for us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, the one whom God made Lord of all when He raised him from the dead.
The crux of the matter is this. The Father is our God and the Lord of Jesus. Jesus is the Lord of us. When Paul says there is one God, the Father, Jesus cannot also be that one God. When Paul says there is one Lord, Jesus, the Father cannot be that one Lord, and He isn't. He is another Lord, the Lord of Jesus of made Jesus Lord when He raised him from the dead.
The Lord said to my Lord
Lord 1 said to Lord 2.
7. The Trinitarian's Inescapable Dilemma
When Trinitarians wish to insist that Paul is indicating there is only one Lord in existence, he is caught in an ultimately finds himself caught in an escapable dilemma with his claim that the word "Lord" is simply another way of indicating that one is "God." Carefully regard the following passages of Scripture:
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 15:6).
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 1:3).
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 11:31).
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3).
the God of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 1:17).
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Col 1:3).
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:3).
The one Lord, Jesus Christ, has a God. If, as Trinitarians are claiming at 1 Corinthians 8:6, there is only one Lord in existence, the "one Lord" is equivalent to the one God, and therefore the Father is also this "one Lord," then there is an insurmountable problem on their hands when the above passages are considered. If there is only one Lord in existence and the Lord Jesus Christ has a God then so does the Father.
8. The Trinitarian Error
The Trinitarian error is based on the notion that the one Lord is the one God and the one God is the one Lord. However, as we have seen this is hardly possible since our one Lord has a God, "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The Head of every man is Christ and the Head of Christ is God (2 Corinthians 11:3). This is effectively the same thing as saying the Lord of every man is Christ and the Lord of Christ is God. Our one Lord is the man Jesus Christ. Jesus' one Lord is his God and Father. Our one God and Jesus' one God are the same one God, the Father. But our Lord is not the same as Jesus' Lord. Our Lord is Jesus and Jesus' Lord is God. This simply means that the one who rules over us is Jesus and the one who rules over Jesus is God. When God made Jesus "Lord" by seating him at His right hand, it meant Jesus was now exercising His God and Father's authority.
Trinitarians have had 1600 years to dream up their contrivances and word tricks. This is just another of the many that have been crafted and devised. The suggestive trick here is to imply Paul is referring to how many God and Lords actually exist and to insist that if there is only one Lord then both Jesus and the Father must be that one and same Lord. But that is the problem. They are not the one and same Lord. The Lord God our Father made Jesus into a Lord when He raised him from the dead. By definition, this Lord cannot be the same Lord as the Father.
Paul's point is that "for us" Christians we have two things: (1) one God: the Father, and (2) one Lord: Jesus Christ. The "one Lord" in view here can hardly be God since this one Lord has a God. The one Lord here is the Head of every man, Christ, and the one God here is the Head or Lord of Christ, the Father. No one can have two Lords or he will love the one and hate the other. Our Lord is the one we are directly serving. Since God made Jesus "Lord" he is the one Lord we directly serve. Our Lord is the man Jesus; Jesus' one Lord is God the Father, our God.
Last Updated: June 8, 2013