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Trinity on Trial An in-depth examination of Trinitarian doctrine
Matthew 3:16

One, Two, Three

"And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him and behold a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

This is a passage which Trinitarians do not seem to realize is just as pleasing to a Jehovah's Witness or an Arian and even moreso an Adoptionist. It offers absolutely no support whatsoever for a Triune God. You would think the way Trinitarians behave that no one but them has ever seen this passage and they seem to live in the fantasy that everyone else but them wish this passage wasn't in the Bible. It seems that everytime a Trinitarian has an opportunity to count, "one, two, three" he thinks it amounts to his doctrine of the Trinity. But it unfortunately it doesn't. No one really disputes there are three entities, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and that there is a special relationship between those three. The issue is whether these three constitute one Triune God. As it is, this passage does absolutely nothing to support the Trinitarian dogma. It simply says three are present and we are led to believe that one of them is God. Even further, we can read this passage to mean that there are only two, Jesus and the Spirit of God. But if we suppose there are three, why then does the Trinitarian suppose that all three of them together should be named "God"? Where did they receive their permit to apply that designation to these three? What Trinitarians do here is impose their Trinitarian preconceived ideas, "God the Father," "God the Son," and "God the Holy Spirit" into the passage. But what we really have here is God the Father, His Spirit, and His Son, and the passage says nothing more.

In fact, if anything this passage militates against Trinitarianism as adoptionism has shown us. Luke tells us that after Jesus was baptized he went into the synagogue to preach and said, "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me." The word "anointed" is literally "christened." It essentially means Jesus was "Christed" or "Christened" when he was baptized. The earliest Christians were "economic Trinitarians," if we may even call them that, in the sense that they believed in the existence of three entities, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and these three entities had a relationship in economic unity with one another. However, this does not amount to Trinitarian dogma which claims these three constitute one God. With respect to this economic unity, the early fathers simply believed that one of the three was "God." Trinitarians are completely wasting their time promoting something even non-Trinitarians believe themselves. For example, an Arian has no problem seeing that in Jesus' baptism the man Jesus was baptized in the Spirit of God and God the Father spoke to him out of heaven. Adoptionists believe that this is when the man Jesus became Christ and Son of God. This passage does absolutely nothing to serve the Trinitarian agenda but they keep waving around like it really means something. They would be just as successful pointing to Brahma, Vishnu and Sheva as a Trinity as to this passage because it does not provide any support for Trinitarian dogma.

The fact is that the earthly and divine were meeting here at Jesus' baptism which is why the heavens were opened. There is nothing here to suggest Jesus is "God" or the Holy Spirit is "God" or even a person. We simply have an interplay between three things and everyone, including the Jehovah's Witnesses recognize the existence of the three. Perhaps we should count "one two three" with "Jesus the bridegroom, the church his bride, and the Holy Spirit in that temple, the church, and claim that this is God too. It is quite easy to imagine these things up. But foisting our imaginations upon the Bible is not what we want to do when truth is involved and Trinitarians have nothing here but their preconceived imaginations. It is the nature of those three and the nature of their relationship that is the issue not simply whether there are "three" things. If it were only a matter of counting "one, two, three" then everyone is a Trinitarian. "The Trinity" means more than just "there are three things." It involves the notion that those three things together constitute one God and therefore each of those three things ARE God which this passage says nothing about and in fact indicates otherwise. Shall we also argue that we ourselves are God the Second Person of the Trinity since we are also sons of God (Gal 3:25-4:6; Rom 8:14) because the Spirit of God descends upon us at our baptism too? Or even worse, claim we are God because the heavens opened and the Spirit descended upon us in the very same way at the Hometown Community Church? The Trinitarian must prove that all three of these constitute the one God in order to maintain his doctrine of the Trinity. As it is, the passage does not refer to these three as one God. The Trinitarian most certainly will gain not one inch with this passage except to please his own fancies. He is simply coming to this passage and reading his own doctrine of the Trinity into it. Quite simply, he has decided for himself to give these three entities in this passage the name "God" which the passage itself does not even remotely suggest.