Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
We have already shown that John 5: 23 does not teach that an equal honor is to be given our Lord with the Father. The honor to be given them is not to be one of the same degree, but one of fact, because the Son is the Father's Representative and Plenipotentiary in all things. Thus they honor Him as the Father in a Representative. Phil. 2: 10 indeed shows that every knee will bow to Christ; but it is to Him as God's Representative, and not to Him as the final goal of every creature's honor; but, as the next verse shows, Christ's exaltation is a means to a higher end—that God be the one finally honored. Indeed our Lord is to be worshiped. But a Divinely pleasing worship is not a thing given exclusively to God; for God says that He will cause the enemies of the Church to worship Her (Is. 60: 14; Rev. 3: 9). When Protestant trinitarians stress Matt. 4: 10 as a proof that God alone may receive worship in harmony with God's will, they leave out of consideration numerous Scriptures to the contrary, and the implied contrast in Jesus' warding off Satan's suggestion that He worship him. What is forbidden is to worship anyone not in harmony with God, or one in rivalry with God, e.g., Satan, Antichrist. In His own God alone may be worshiped, which includes the Bible worship given God's representatives as such, as was frequently done to the angelic representatives of God in the Bible, as is done to Jesus, and as will be done to the glorified Church by mankind in the Millennium.
A consideration of the Greek and Hebrew words translated worship will show this. The Hebrew word, shachah, is the one usually translated worship and means to bow down in reverence. In the 170 occurrences of this word only about one half refer to the worship of God, which is hidden from the English reader, because the word in nearly half of its occurrences is translated to bow, bow down, do reverence, do obeisance, as can be seen from the following passages:
Gen. 18: 2-4; 19: 1; 23: 7, 12; 27: 29; 1 Sam. 24: 8; 25: 23, 41; 2 Sam. 9: 6; 14: 4, 22. The Greek word usually translated worship is proskyneo, and means to kiss the hand, as a dog licks one's hand. Like the Hebrew shachah, it means reverence. Is. 60: 14; Rev. 3: 9 are conclusive proof that it is permissible to worship God's representatives, as the Israelites did to the Lord's angels who came to them with God's message. Had the Jews the extreme view of Protestant trinitarians on this subject, they would have stoned those who worshiped our Lord; for none of these Jews believed Him to be God Almighty, they understanding the prohibition of worship to be limited to idols and rivals of God. Hence Jesus' receiving worship by God's sanction no more implies that He is God Almighty, than the Church (Is. 60: 14; Rev. 3: 9), the herald angels, David, etc., receiving worship by God's sanction are thereby proven to be God Almighty. Our study of the four arguments for the fourth alleged indirect proof that Jesus is God Almighty, i.e., the names, attributes, works and honors that belong to God alone are by the Bible expressly ascribed to Him, proves that they fall to the ground for the reason that, as we have seen, none of the names, attributes, works and honors that are exclusively God's are ever ascribed to our Lord of His own inherent right; as we have found that Jesus' relation to God in these four respects is never more than that of a Representative, Executive, Vicegerent, Plenipotentiary, or Mouthpiece.
The fifth alleged indirect proof that trinitarians offer for the trinity doctrine, like the fourth, is alleged to be demonstrated by four separate arguments. It is this: The Holy Spirit is God Almighty, because in the Bible the names, attributes, works and honors that belong to God alone are expressly ascribed to Him. But if we remember that the words Holy Spirit mean (1) God's power and (2) God's disposition—His
mind, heart and will—we will find that their attempted proof breaks down at every point. In the first place, they cannot quote one passage that expressly calls the Holy Spirit, as such, Jehovah. They try to read it into Num. 6: 24-26 and Is. 6: 3; but the words Holy Spirit do not occur in either passage. Our explanation above disproves the thought that the trinity is referred to in Num. 6: 24-26. They think that the threefold use of the word "Holy" in Is. 6: 3 proves it. Surely a farfetched proof! The three double blessings, one for each one of three pertinent conditions of God's people implied in Num. 6: 24-26, being the things for which holiness is ascribed to God, because they are the way God's wisdom, justice, love and power (the seraphim of Is. 6: 2 and the four living creatures of Ezek. 1; Rev. 4) operate, symbolically speak, are doubtless the occasion of using the word holy three times of God in Is. 6: 3. Not only is the name Jehovah never applied to the Holy Spirit in the Bible, but even the Hebrew words Adon, Adonai, and the Greek word Kyrios are never applied to the Holy Spirit. That leaves only one other proper name ascribed to the Father only, God, in the supreme sense, to be considered. Does the Bible ever call the Holy Spirit God? We answer, it does not!
Trinitarians claim to find a proof that the Holy Spirit is God in Acts 5: 3, 4, "Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? … thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." They reason as follows: Lying to the Holy Spirit is lying unto God; Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit; hence the Holy Spirit is God. We, too, claim that lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God; but deny that the Holy Spirit is God. An illustration will show this: Whatever one does, e.g., to one of the English King's judges in their capacity as judges, who while acting as such are the King's representatives, they do to the King; but who would say that such
judges are the King? So Ananias lied to Peter, who, acting on the occasion as an Apostle, God's representative, was as such not only then the instrument of the holy power of God, but also a partaker of the heart, mind and will of God, God's Holy Spirit, disposition. Hence he lied to the Holy Spirit; and because the Holy Spirit both as God's power and disposition in Peter represented God on that occasion, Ananias in lying to God's representative lied to God. This proves that this passage does not show that the Holy Spirit is God. Therefore this peculiar name of God is in the Bible not ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Hence the first argument for the fifth alleged indirect proof of the trinity—that the Bible ascribes God's peculiar names to the Holy Spirit—falls to the ground. Trinitarians cite passages where the terms, Spirit of God, Spirit of the Lord and His (God's) Spirit, occur, and claim that these expressions prove that the Spirit is God. As logically could we say that the terms, the hair of the head, the scabbard of the sword, the tail of the horse, mean respectively the head, sword and horse. This is the same kind of logic that claims, the expression, "Son of God," proves that Jesus is God, which means that one can be his own father and his own son, and that at the same time! Trinitarians, with a combination of their logic on Acts 5: 3, 4 and of that which we have just exposed on the expressions, Spirit of God, etc., use, as a proof that the Spirit is God, 1 Cor. 3: 16, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you." This passage neither says, nor implies that the Holy Spirit is God. The saints are God's temple, and that because God's Spirit dwells in them; but that does not prove the Spirit of God is God. God is in us not personally; for personally He is in Heaven; but He is in us, and dwells in us by His Holy Spirit, holy power and disposition, as His Representative, which makes us God's habitation as His temple (Eph. 2: 20-22).
But this passage does not say or imply that the Spirit is God. Thus our examination proves that trinitarians have failed to give any passage that calls the Holy Spirit Jehovah, God or Lord. Hence the first argument for their fifth alleged indirect proof of the trinity is not a matter of fact; it is a false claim, and therefore as a proof falls to the ground, and leaves the thing that it was intended to prove, the trinity, high up in the air without any support.
The second argument for their alleged fifth indirect proof of the trinity, that the Holy Spirit is God, is that God's exclusive attributes are in the Bible expressly ascribed to the Holy Spirit. To their claim that Ps. 139: 7-10 proves the Spirit has as an attribute omnipresence, which doubtless is exclusively an attribute of God, we reply, first, by a question: How is God omnipresent? Certainly not by His body, which is in Heaven (1 Kings 8: 30), but by His attributes, according to Ps. 139: 7-10, of power and wisdom. This is proven by vs. 7, 8, 10 where the word Spirit is used in the sense of power and wisdom, not in that of a personal being; for according to v. 8 God is said to be in hell, the death state, oblivion. This cannot be true of Him as a person. It doubtless refers to His wisdom, that permeates even the death state, and to his power that will sometime empty it. Hence it is by His wisdom and power that He is in hell, oblivion; and thus by His power and wisdom, not by His body, He is omnipresent. That God's wisdom and power are in this passage meant by His Spirit is very plain from v. 10, where His hand (power) and right hand (wisdom) are used synonymously with the word Spirit in v. 7. This whole passage proves that nowhere in the universe can one remove himself from the power and knowledge of God. Of course in this sense His Spirit— power, knowledge—extends throughout the universe; but this does not prove the Spirit to be God; it disproves it. To the trinitarians' claim that
the words, "The Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2: 10), are a proof of the Spirit's omniscience, another exclusive attribute of God, we would say that the Spirit here is evidently not God Almighty; for He knows all things that He desires to know, intuitively, and hence needs not to search (study out) the deep things of God. Evidently here, as the connection shows, the Spirit means not God's mind in Himself, but His Spirit, God's mind in us, our new creature, which searches the deep things of God. This experience proves to be true. God's Spirit as His disposition in Himself, through its mental faculties, knows all things that He desires to know without searching; but God's disposition in Himself or in us is no more Himself than our dispositions are ourselves. Hence this passage does not treat of the Spirit's omniscience; hence does not prove the thing it is quoted to prove. Trinitarians quote 1 Cor. 12: 11 to prove that the Spirit is omnipotent. Of course God's Spirit in the sense of power is omnipotent; but here the word Spirit is used in both senses, power of God and disposition of God. But God's power is not God, neither is His disposition. Thus these three passages prove that God in His power is omnipresent and omnipotent and in His disposition in Himself is omniscient. But that does not make His power and His disposition (His Spirit) Himself. Hence these passages do not prove the trinitarians' contention that the Spirit is God Himself. The Spirit manifests Itself in these exclusive attributes of God for the reason that the Spirit is these attributes themselves, plus more beside; and, of course, God's attributes are not Himself; they are merely qualities of Himself as a person. Thus this second argument for their fifth alleged indirect proof of the trinity falls down.
The third argument for the fifth alleged indirect proof of the trinity is that God's exclusive works are in the Bible attributed to the Holy Spirit, hence the
Holy Spirit must be God. They enumerate among these works first, Creation, for which they quote Gen. 1: 2; Ps.
33: 6; Job 33: 4 as proofs. Of course God's power and wisdom produced creation, as these passages say, Gen. 1: 2 and Job 33: 4 referring to His Spirit in the sense of power, while Ps. 33: 6 refers to His Word, the "breath of His mouth," in the sense of His wisdom, that part of His disposition that exercises knowledge—His mind. But of course God's power and wisdom are not Himself; they are qualities of Himself. Another of the works that the Spirit does, and that trinitarians allege proves that the Spirit is God, is the begettal, renewal and birth of the Spirit (John 3: 3, 5; Tit. 3: 5). We grant that the Spirit does these works, and that only God can do them. But God does them by His power, Spirit; and certainly God's power is not Himself. So the fact that the Spirit did the works of Creation, and now does the work of regeneration does not prove that the Spirit is God Himself; it merely proves that the Spirit is God's power, which is not a person but an attribute of a person. So the third argument for the fifth alleged indirect proof of the trinity falls down.
Their fourth argument for their alleged fifth proof of the trinity is that God's exclusive honor—worship—is by the Bible expressly ascribed to the Spirit. But they are even more straitened to find a proof passage on this subject than on their first argument for their fifth alleged proof for the Holy Spirit's being God—God's exclusive names Scripturally attributed to the Spirit. Their main alleged proof is Is. 6: 3, the words of the seraphim, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts." We have already refuted the use of these words as applying to the Son or the Spirit. We may further add that if the Holy Spirit were a person separate and distinct from the Father and Son, Is. 6 (which certainly refers to the Son by its Adonai and to the Father by its Jehovah, though
disproving that the Son is God Almighty by the title it gives Him as distinct from the Father's title) is surely the place where we ought to find reference made to the Holy Spirit as a person; for Is. 6 describes a scene in Heaven connected with the execution of God's plan. But no mention of the Spirit is made at all in the whole chapter. How straitened must those be for proof of worship ascribed to the Holy Spirit who quote Is. 6: 3 for it! More desperate still is their use of Matt. 28: 19, "Baptizing them into the name [character likeness] of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," as a proof of worship given to the Holy Spirit, for the passage has nothing to say of worship or honor. If they did have real proof texts for their thought, they would never quote Is. 6: 3; Matt. 28: 19 on this point. There is no Bible passage referring to worship given to the Holy Spirit. Hence the Bible does not teach it. But understanding the Holy Spirit in its second sense—God's disposition in Himself—His holy mind, heart and will—we would not say it would be wrong to worship It, understanding such worship to be intended for God in His holy character; because the chief reason we have for worshiping God is His holy character. We therefore in such worship endorse singing such hymns as "Holy Spirit, banish sadness," and "Holy Spirit, faithful Guide"; for if the Bible had charged or endorsed such worship, which it nowhere expressly does, it would mean worshiping the Father (also the Son) in their holy dispositions, thus not meaning that the Spirit is a person, but the disposition of the Father primarily, and secondarily of the Son, and then of the holy angels and of the saints. Accordingly, the fourth argument that trinitarians allege for their fifth indirect proof of the trinity falls to the ground; and thus we have found every one of these arguments to be false, which proves their fifth alleged indirect proof to be false. With this and the fourth one, i.e., as to the Son, goes
to pieces their theory that the Father's, Son's and Holy Spirit's cooperating in the work of Creation, preservation, and salvation, proves the trinity; for this cooperation by the Son is that of an Agent, and by the Spirit is that of God's attributes.
Trinitarians seek as a sixth indirect proof of the trinity to show that the Holy Spirit is a person; and think they find this proof in the fact that the Spirit in the Bible is set forth as thinking (1 Cor. 2: 10), feeling (Eph. 4: 30) and willing (1 Cor. 12: 11). We agree that the Spirit thinks, feels and wills, which proves the personality of the Spirit in the sense of God's disposition, His mind, heart and will, in Himself, in our Lord, in the holy angels and in the saints; for the personality of the Holy Spirit is not a person, but is the Father, Son, good angels and saints in their dispositions. We believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit; but deny that the Holy Spirit is a person. But one's disposition is not a person, it is the sum total of his mental, moral and religious qualities as a person. Thus God's Spirit, in the second sense of that word, is the sum total of God's, Christ's, the holy angels' and the saints' mental, moral and religious qualities as persons. But the sum total of one's mental, moral and religious qualities as a person is not himself, a person; rather it is the attributes of himself, a person, who should not be confused with his attributes. So the sixth alleged indirect proof of the trinity falls to the ground. Trinitarians seek also to prove their thought, that the Holy Spirit is a person, by referring to the masculine pronouns used of It in John 14: 17, 26; 15: 26; 16: 7, 8, 13-15.
On this point we make several replies: (1) The trinitarian translators have sectarianly given a bias in their favor to this subject in John 14: 17, where in the Greek all the pronouns referring to the Holy Spirit are neuter, in John 14: 26, where one of the two is neuter, in John 15: 26, where one of the three is neuter,
and in John 16: 7, 8, 13-15, where they are mainly masculine, and in the other cases the gender is not definitely expressed, since in those forms the masculine and neuter genders are alike. (2) This raises the question, Why this diversity? Our answer to this question will show our second point on this subject. The diversity is due to the fact that in Greek gender is not based on sex and non-sex, as in English, but on the endings of the nouns, regardless of sex or non-sex, e.g., the Greek word for Comforter is Parakletos, and is masculine, because it is a noun of the second declension ending in os, all of which with this ending, with very rare exceptions, are masculine, while the Greek word for Spirit is Pneuma and is neuter, because it is a noun of the third declension ending in ma. When in the Greek of these passages the pronouns refer to Parakletos, they are always masculine; but when they refer to Pneuma, they are always neuter. The reason is this: Pronouns in Greek must agree, among other ways, in gender with the nouns to which they refer; hence properly in referring to Parakletos they are masculine in the Greek, and properly in referring to Pneuma they are neuter in the Greek. And hence (3) from the gender of the pronouns used in connection with these two words we cannot infer anything one way or the other, on whether the Holy Spirit is a person or not. This must be found out from what the teachings of all the Scriptures using the term Holy Spirit are. Our study has surely given us proof in abundance that the Spirit is not a person. Our trinitarian translators know these rules of grammar just given; but seemingly in their sectarianism, which they doubtless honestly held, they gave a bias to these passages favorable to their view. Accordingly, the masculine pronouns of John 14: 17, 26; 15: 26; 16: 7, 8, 13-15 do not prove that the Holy Spirit is a person, just as the neuter pronouns of these passages do not prove that the
Holy Spirit is not a person. Hence the trinitarian contention, based on the masculine pronouns of these passages, that the Holy Spirit is a person, falls to the ground. However, since it is customary to designate powerful things, e.g., the sun, by masculine pronouns, and delicate things, e.g., the moon, by feminine pronouns, we often refer to the Holy Spirit by masculine pronouns, but do not mean thereby that It is a person. We have, however, in this article referred to the Holy Spirit by neuter pronouns designedly, for the sake of clarity, to emphasize its contrast with the error that we have been combating on the subject.
Finally, trinitarians offer a seventh alleged indirect proof of the trinity—man's creation in God's image (Gen. 1: 26); for they allege man is a trinity—body, soul and spirit in one being; hence they conclude, God, whose image he is, must be a trinity! To this alleged proof of the trinity we offer several refutations: (1) Nowhere does the Bible indicate that God's image in man is man in his body, soul and spirit; (2) God's image in man is His mental, moral and religious likeness to God (Eph. 4: 23, 24; Col. 3: 10); (3) God's image as such in man has been effaced, proven by the fact that it is being renewed in the saints (Eph. 4: 23; Col. 3: 10; Rom. 12: 2; Tit. 3: 5); but man's body, soul and spirit are not effaced; hence God's image in man does not consist of these; and (4) man is not a trinity. He is a unity; for man is a soul that has two parts, body and spirit (in the sense of life principle, Gen. 2: 7). Thus God is a unity, not a trinity, for He is a soul (Is. 42: 1; Matt. 12: 18; Heb. 10: 38) that has two parts, body (John 5: 37) and spirit (which word does not here have the meaning of the Holy Spirit, but the life principle, John 5: 26). This fact is true of every other sentient being in the universe, Christ, angels, etc. Accordingly, this alleged proof falls to the ground.
Thus we have brought our examination and refutation of the trinity doctrine to an end. As pointed out in the beginning, we have had to be terse in dealing with so vast a subject; but we believe we have fairly presented and sufficiently refuted this error, whose wide prevalence among all nations during the time that darkness prevails among the nations (Is. 60: 2), is a sure proof of its being championed by the god [ruler] of this world, Satan (2 Cor. 4: 4).
With our discussion of tritheism—trinity—we bring our discussion of false views of God to an end, and therewith conclude our discussion of God. In this discussion we have proved that there is a God: from the universality of the belief as a proof of its being grounded in the constitution of man, from cause to effect, from the order and the reign of law in the world, from design everywhere manifest in the universe, from man's mental, moral and religious nature, from experience and from the impossibility of disproving His existence, or of proving that He does not exist. We have, further, discussed God's attributes of being and shown that the main ones are His personality, corporeality, spirituality, self-existence, eternity, self-sufficiency, immortality, invisibility, unity, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, supremacy, unfathomableness, all of which attributes of being naturally evoke reverence in a responsive heart. We have learned that the elements of God's character are His righteous attitude toward evil, holy affections, the graces, strength, dominance by the higher primary graces, balance and crystallization. Thereafter we considered God's graces. First we considered His higher primary graces: wisdom, justice, love and power, and found their function to be that of properly coordinated rulership over all other elements of character. Then we considered His lower primary graces of self-esteem, approbativeness, restfulness, vitativeness, self-defensiveness, aggressiveness, carefulness, secretiveness,
providence, intelligence, agreeableness, conjugality, fatherliness and kingliness. Next God's secondary graces of modesty, industriousness, longsuffering, forbearance, forgiveness, courage, candor and liberality engaged our attention. After this we studied His tertiary graces, particularizing on His meekness, zeal, moderation, magnanimity, or goodness, and faithfulness. And, finally, we reviewed the various false views of God: in their infidelistic forms of atheism, materialism, agnosticism, pantheism and deism, as well as in their heathen forms of polytheism and tritheism.
In this discussion we omitted a study of God's works, designing it for later treatment. Nor did we attempt to treat exhaustively any of the phases of God under discussion, since that would have carried us into too great detail. But we discussed our subject from general standpoints, designing to give the reader clear, Biblical views of God, so that both by head and by heart he might be drawn to a proper appreciation of, love for, and devotion to God, whose glorious person, Holy Spirit, marvelous plan and great works, properly appraised, will draw the good head and heart into spontaneous appreciation, love and worship of Him. Surely, our study should move all of us to enter in spirit into a life-long realization of the Psalmist's exhortation, "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker" (Ps. 95: 6); for in its heart of hearts this passage implies such an appreciation, love and devotion, and of these God is supremely worthy.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him aloud with heart and voice,
And always in His Son rejoice!