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Saturday, March 31, 2012

The false doctrine of the Trinity

The eighth point in Jamsco's attempted summary of my doctrinal beliefs is a succinct one. "8. The Trinity is obvious BS. It’s easily proved. [Direct quote from a comment here]." As it happens, he got that one entirely correct, which is not the case in two of the other ten points.

Now, the falsity of the doctrine can be proved in a variety of ways, but since we're dealing with mainstream Churchianity here, I'll utilize the easiest and most obvious because those who subscribe to the doctrine of the Trinity also subscribe to the doctrine of divine omniscience. Note that since I am skeptical of both doctrines, this argument obviously does not reflect my own theological beliefs. Let's follow the logic:

1. The Trinity is God as three divine persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial. These three divine persons are combined in one being we call God.

2. This one being is omniscient, and therefore knows everything.

3. It is written, in Matthew 24:36: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Therefore, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not omniscient, and furthermore, do not possess the same knowledge as the Father.

4. Therefore, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not co-equal and consubstantial with the Father. They may or may not be co-eternal.

5. Being neither co-equal nor consubstantial, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not one being with the Father.

6. Therefore, God is one person, the Father. The doctrine of the Trinity is a false one.

I further note that we can branch from (3) and prove the falsehood of the Trinity in a slightly different manner.

4b. Since God is omniscient and the Son and the Holy Spirit are not, neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit are God.

5b. Therefore, God is one person, the Father. The doctrine of the Trinity is a false one.

It should not escape one's attention that if one insists on clinging to the doctrine of the Trinity, it is necessary to abandon the doctrine of divine omniscience. Obviously, I subscribe to neither, but it is not possible to subscribe to both. My perspective is that divinity can be most usefully understood in a manner akin to human royalty. Prince Harry may be royal, but no one is under the impression that he is co-equal and consubstantial with his grandmother, the sovereign Queen Elizabeth. This is in keeping with the idea that both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are Man's advocates, they are not his judge.

And for another perspective from one with doubts about the Trinity doctrine, this is an interesting summary of Isaac Newton's studies of the subject. Another one can be found here.

In one notebook it is clear that, already in the early 1670's, Newton was absorbed by the doctrine of the Trinity. On this topic he studied extensively not only the Bible, but also much of the Church Fathers. Newton traced the doctrine of the trinity back to Athanasius (298- 373); he became convinced that before Athanasius the Church had no trinitarian doctrine. In the early 4th century Athanasius was opposed by Arius (256-336), who affirmed that God the Father had primacy over Christ. In 325 the Council of Nicea condemned as heretical the views of Arius. Thus, as viewed by Newton, Athanasius triumphed over Arius in imposing the false doctrine of the trinity on Christianity.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Echo C December 09, 2012 3:13 PM  

I know I'm a late comer to this but figured I'd throw my two cents in. The Council of Nicea was called because before Arius' heresy, it was not needed to define the Trinitarian Doctrine. It was already understood! Arius did such damage that it was required to spell it out explicitly. Explicitness is what Councils are about.

Anonymous Anonymous February 03, 2013 11:28 AM  

@ Stryker
"According to you then there are basically two Gods. A fully divine but subordinate Son and the Father. Unless you are going to try and sell me on the proposition that Jesus posesses the fullness of deity but is not God."

I must say, you're a really funny guy! Let's see, how did that joke you tell us go again? Ah me...oh yes, I remember... the Trinity doctrine means Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God and the Father is God, and each is not the same as each other,but then they are all God, and so they are the same- they are all equal, but perform different functions- and so they are not equal when one uses his God nature and then his man's nature nature, and so they are actually three Gods but not actually three Gods,but instead they are actually one God, the Son is actually God Almighty but not the Father because they can't be the same- and, wait for it, here's the punch line...if you don't believe this you are damned!!! Hilarious!!!!

Wake up mate, smell the coffee

Anonymous Anonymous February 03, 2013 2:35 PM  

To Other Josh, Frank Norman, Titus Quinctinus, Chris 338 and others of like mind, Jesus never claimed that he was God Almighty.He never claimed that he was the 'Great I AM'. You are in gross error.I prove this in my post at www.havefaithinjesus.wordpress.com , there's insufficient space here.

It is also highly hypocritical and contradictory when you say that Jesus is God almighty because he said 'I and the Father are one' (-when in fact he meant he was of 'one accord' with the Father, and not the same person -)and then ignore your own definition of the Trinity which states that the Father cannot be the same person as the Son.

The RC trinity and Oneness doctrines are false.

Anonymous RHJunior April 20, 2013 12:42 AM  

As you stated in your own book, "irrational atheism," Omnipotence and omniscience are attributes-- abilities. And possession of an ability is not the same as exercising one.

God is also described as omnipresent. Yet Jesus was clearly not everywhere simultaneously. Does that qualify as proof that He and His Father were not one? No, because Jesus had self-evidently chosen NOT to exercise His omnipresence.

Likewise, it could be said that the knowledge of what Hour he was to return was an aspect of his omniscience He chose not to exercise. (one might say he had decided not to look at the clock.)

Anonymous Anonymous August 17, 2013 5:55 PM  

Here is one of the most beautiful revelations of the Holy Trinity:

"I saw the Most High, at the same time understanding how His Majesty is in Himself; I received a clear intelligence and a true perception of what is meant by a God, infinite in His substance and attributes, eternal, exalted above all, being three in Person, and one true God. Three in Person, because of the three activities of knowing, comprehending and loving each other; one, so as to secure the boon of eternal unity. It is the trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Father is not made, nor created, nor begotten, nor can He be generated or have a beginning. I perceived, that the Son derives His origin from the Father alone by eternal generation; and that they are equal in their duration from eternity; and that He is begotten by the fecundity of the intelligence of the Father. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son through love. In their indivisible Trinity there is nothing which can be called first or last, greater or smaller; all three Persons are equally eternal and eternally equal; there is unity of essence in a trinity of Persons. Nor are the Persons mingled in order to form one God, nor the divine substance separated or divided in order to form three Persons, being distinct as the Father, as the Son and as the Holy Ghost. They are nevertheless one and the same Divinity, equal in Each is the glory and majesty, the power, the eternity, the immensity, the wisdom and sanctity, and all the attributes. And though there are three Persons, in whom these infinite perfections subsist, He is the one and true God, the Holy, the Just, the Powerful, the Eternal and the Measureless.

I also obtained an understanding of the manner in which this Trinity comprehends Itself by simple vision, so that no new or distinct cognition is necessary: the Father knows that which is known to the Son, and the Son and the Holy Ghost know that which is in the intelligence of the Father. I understood how they love One another with one and the same immense and eternal love; how there is a single, indivisible and equal oneness of intelligence, love and action, how there is one simple, incorporeal and indivisible nature, a divine essence of the true God, in which are joined and united all the perfections in their highest and in an infinite degree.

I learnt also to understand the quality of these perfections of the highest Lord: that He is beautiful without a blemish, great without quantity, good without need of qualification, eternal without the duration of time, strong without any weakness, living without touch of decay, true without deceit, present in all places, filling them without occupying them, existing in all things without occupying any space. There is no contradiction in His kindness, nor any defect in His wisdom. In his wisdom He is inscrutable, in his decrees He is terrible, in His judgments just, in His thoughts most hidden, in His words most true, in His works holy, in His riches affluent. To Him no space is too wide, no narrowness causes restraint, His will does not vary, the sorrowful does not cause Him pain, the past has not passed for Him, nor does the future happen in regard to Him. O eternal Immensity, what illimitable expansion have I seen in Thee? What vastness do I see in Thy infinite Being? Vision does not terminate, nor ever exhaust itself in Thy abyss of being. This is the unchangeable Essence, the Being above all other beings, the most perfect sanctity, the most constant truth; this is the infinite, the length, the breadth, the height and the depth, the glory and its cause, rest without fatigue, goodness immeasurable."

Continued here with source: https://restinginapricity.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/the-nature-of-the-godhead-and-the-act-of-creating/

Anonymous Omar P. May 22, 2014 12:53 PM  

Vox, are you seriously still using Aristotelian logic, guy? Term logic has been played out for decades, dude!!

Blogger John Anderson January 16, 2017 8:10 AM  

.
God is not a Trinity. Man is not a trinity. From Taylor's book:
.
According to the Word of God, God formed Man’s body from the dust of the ground, breathed God’s breath of life (spirit) into Man’s body, and Man came alive, became a living soul; that is, Body + Spirit = Soul. Genesis 2:7 shows that The Trinity is a false doctrine. The Trinity, or any trinity, has 3 equal parts. This equation accurately reflects Genesis 2:7, and it demonstrates that body, spirit, and soul are not 3 equal parts. This equation says that body and spirit are two parts each by itself, but the soul is not a part by itself, for the soul is dependent on the other two parts, body + spirit. Can a body exist by itself? Yes. Can a spirit exist by itself? Yes. Can a soul exist by itself? No. A soul needs both body and spirit in order to come into existence, as this verse explicitly says.
.
Copyright © 2016-2017 Arthur Rain Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
Body, Spirit, Soul - An Exposition of Genesis 2:7
ISBN-10:0-9985753-1-3; ISBN-13:978-0-9985753-1-5
20-pages essay, $2.99 at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, etc.
.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine August 13, 2017 5:19 AM  

We could have just stated that the concept of 3 = 1 is not consistent with Aristotleian logic, Vox.

Anything beyond that point is absurd, and your entire argument is unnecessary. What I see here is a whole lot of people who don't even understand what the others are saying.

@Nate: As to "who cares about the Greek?" Well, sure, it's a translation, but when it was the only translation and all other sources come from it, well. As we apparently liked to say so much in this thread, "Irrelevant". It's neither here nor there, and calling that translation into doubt falls into the "we don't know" or potentially the "we can't know" category. If that's the point you were trying to make, fair, but you could probably have communicated it more clearly.

To me, this whole argument falls down a logical hole (both side of the argument, by the way) way, way before we ever get to Aristotle or anyone else. The human mind lacks the capacity to comprehend the infinite. The human mind lacks the capacity to even understand arbitrarily large finite things, even though it can gradually be scaled up. As soon as we say that A != A we're outside of the realm of what a human can understand. 1 = 3 fits this. So does "Both fully man and fully God".

Do I believe in the Trinity? I don't know. I also don't find it needful to know. Any other standpoint is likely quite arrogant, much like my pretending that anything other than an A.I. will ever read this. If I say that I don't believe in the Trinity, then it would appear that at the very least there is a cosmic organization of some sort in operation, and we are commanded to worship more than one part of it. K? Whatever. Not even useful to think in that direction as far as I can tell.

Blogger Unknown August 10, 2018 4:24 AM  

Your argument is easily answered by understanding two things, the doctrine of Kenosis and the understanding that "all" does not always mean "all" in Scripture. As I am sure you are aware, the doctrine of Kenosis teaches that Christ (God the Word) emptied himself of some of his divine attributes (or as I personally believe, he simply did not utilize them) during his life on earth. This explains how Christ, while being both God and man, could die on the cross, learn as he grew, need physical sustenance, etc (1 John 3:16, Luke 2:52, Matthew 4:11). Furthermore, there are many times in Scripture where the word "all" is used in an overarching general sense and does not truly mean every single human/living thing; for example when Scripture says "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" we know this does not mean every human being, as Jesus did not sin and millions of children have died in the womb before ever being capable of committing sin (whether you believe in the concept of original sin through Adam or not, it is a simple fact unborn children cannot have consciously committed sin themselves). Thus, your first argument against the Trinity can easily be answered by claiming (A) Jesus did not know the time of the end because he emptied himself of his full omniscience while on earth and (B) the Holy Spirit was not part of the "no one" who were ignorant of the time of the end, in fact only humans (which Christ was at the time) and angels (who, while divine, are not even remotely equal to God) are being referenced in this verse so it has no real relevance to a discussion on the omniscience of the three persons of God.

Your argument against the Trinity is based on fallacious assumptions, namely that God the Word did not or could not limit himself while in the form of Christ and that the Holy Spirit is included among the unknowing humans and angels mentioned in Matthew 24:36. The above passage is not mutually exclusive with the doctrine of the Trinity or divine omniscience, thus it cannot be used to argue against it.

Blogger Unknown August 10, 2018 4:24 AM  

Seeing as you do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, and indeed presume to claim "the Trinity is obvious BS", how do you explain the following facts and doctrines of Scripture?

1. Worship of Christ & the Holy Spirit: Throughout the New Testament Jesus and the Holy Spirit are given due reverence, authority and even worship, as the Father. This is extremely important as no one other than God is allowed to be worshiped; angels/elohim always discourage any worship given to them, thus Jesus and the Holy Spirit cannot simply be lesser deities.

2. Jesus Claims of Godhood: Jesus not only claimed eternal Godhood equal with the Father while on earth, he also reappeared to the Apostle John and declared himself to be the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the Almighty God. No angel or lesser deity could claim the title of I AM as Jesus did, or claim to have shared the glory of the Father before the world began.

3. Gospel Writer's Claims of Christ's Divinity: The Apostle John devotes the first 14 verses of his gospel to explaining that Jesus is God the Word, the creator of all things. Paul declared that Christ was "the fullness of the Godhead bodily". Again, the entirety of the book of Revelation is proof of Christ's divinity and equality with the Father, not just in association but in glory, status and power.

4. Christ's Atonement: As Athanasius and many others have argued for centuries, it is necessary that Jesus was God for him to have been able to reconcile us to God through his sacrifice. Whether you favor a Christus Victor or Penal Substitution outlook on the atonement, it is necessary that Jesus have been God Almighty as only the infinite righteousness and power of God could wipe away our infinite sins. Only an infinite sacrifice could pay for an affront against the infinite God.

Blogger Unknown August 10, 2018 4:24 AM  

If you do not believe Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God then you must also believe the New Testament is full of Heresy and the Apostles were idolaters as they gave Christ worship and addressed Jesus and the Holy Spirit with the same authority as God the Father. If you reject the Trinity you must also take a completely unbiblical view of Christ's sacrifice and atonement, such as the Moral Influence Theory which strips Christ of his divinity and makes his sacrifice into a mere pity play.


You will probably never read this, but if you do I hope it gives you some food for thought. Jesus is my victor, redeemer and mediator. The Father is my just, loving and jealous judge who accepts me into his heavenly family. The Holy Spirit is my comforter and guide. This is my one God in three persons, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, the I AM, YHVH.

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