Discussion of biblical topics and texts that show that the God revealed in the Bible is One, and not a Trinity. Jesus, put to death and raised from the dead by God, is the Messiah (the Christ, the Anointed) of the One God.
This episode is part 2 "What about John 1:1?" - Jesus is the Beginning of God's New Creation.
We recommend before listening to this podcast, first listen to our previous podcast, #6) "What about John 1:1, Part 1".
In this current episode we ask the question "What beginning does John 1:1 mean in the statement "In the beginning was the Word..."? We see that while John is echoing Genesis creation language, he is not directly describing the Genesis creation, but rather the renewal or new creation work of God in and through Jesus the Messiah.
Therefore, contrary to the "deity of Christ" interpretation of John 1:1, Jesus, the Word of John 1:1 was not literally present or involved in the Genesis creation. Rather, Jesus, the Word of John 1:1, is God's channel of the New Creation.
The entire text of this episode is available here.
The following is a summary:
1. “In the beginning” of John 1:1 is a new beginning. While intentionally echoing some of the language of the Genesis creation, “in the beginning” of John 1:1 directly refers to the life and ministry of Jesus the Messiah, not to the Genesis creation of earth, plants and animals.
2. In the rest of the Gospel of John “the beginning” never means eternity past or the time of the creation of the universe. In the Gospel of John “the beginning” refers to the life and ministry of Jesus.
3. In the Epistles of John, “the beginning” never refers to eternity past or the time of the creation of the universe, but rather to events associated in the 1st century when people saw, touched and heard Jesus.
4. In the Book of Revelation (another book attributed to John), Jesus Christ is presented as the “first-born from the dead, the beginning of God’s creation”. Jesus being the “first-born from the dead" and "the beginning of God’s creation” agrees with, and is evidence that “the beginning” in the Gospel John 1:1 is the beginning of God’s new creation in the life of Jesus.
5. The other three Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke also associate words like “the beginning” and “word” with the life and ministry of Jesus. Like the Gospel of John, the Gospels
6. We see other places in the New Testament where the phrase “in the beginning” does not refer to the Genesis creation. Context is necessary to determine what beginning is meant.
7. Finally, we note that the literary context of John’s Prologue (John 1:1-18) is an introduction to and a summary of his entire Gospel, which describes the life and ministry of Jesus the Messiah. The Gospel of John is not a record of the Genesis creation of seas, dry land, plants, animals, moon and stars. Rather, the context of “in the beginning” in the Gospel of John is the life of Jesus.
Ever since I came to understand from the Bible that God (Yehovah, YHVH) is one, and that Jesus is God’s human Messiah (Christ) whom God raised from the dead, people say to me: “What about John 1:1?”. For my friends who believe in the “deity of Christ”, John 1:1 is biblical evidence that Jesus is God.
But is it?
In this podcast we begin to take a look at the Gospel of John and see that the Trinitarian or "deity of Christ" interpretation of John 1:1 is found wanting.
We show four "broader view" observations about the Gospel of John to see there is something wrong with the Trinitarian interpretation:
1. The purpose for writing
The author of the Gospel of John tells us the purpose he wrote his book, or at least why he recorded the signs that Jesus did. “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are recorded so that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31).
The Trinitarian "deity of Christ" interpretation of John 1:1 is contradictory to the author's own purpose statement.
We present what it means to be the "Son of God", describing biblical examples and characteristics, rejecting the definition of the Hellenized "church fathers" of later centuries.
2. No Trinity in John’s Gospel
In the Gospel of John, “God” is never the Trinity. Trinitarians should at least acknowledge that there is no Trinity described in John 1:1 (or anywhere else in John’s Gospel). Try replacing the word "Trinity" for the word "God" in the Gospel of John, and see if that makes sense. For instance, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the Trinity, and the Word was the Trinity"
How about John 3:16: "For the Trinity so loved the word, that he (it?) sent his (its) unique Son...."
It is strange that for the biblical book that is supposedly the main book that presents Jesus as God and that God is a Trinity, nowhere in the book does "God" mean "the Trinity. More details here: https://landandbible.blogspot.com/2019/10/did-trinity-so-love-world-in-gospel-of.html
3. In the Gospel of John, Jesus is the Messiah, not God
The question that the Gospel of John addresses and answers is: "Is Jesus the Messiah", not "Is Jesus God" or "Is the Messiah God". We see being "the Messiah" is the question from the beginning of the book to the end: John 1:17, 1:20, 1:41, 4:25-26, 7:26, 7:41, 9:22, 10:24, 17:3, 20:31.
4. Jesus in the Gospel of John distinguishes himself from God
In John 8:40 Jesus says he is a "man who heard the truth from God". Jesus distinguished himself from God, from all of God, not just from "one person of the Godhead". Likewise Jesus distinguishes himself from God in John 17:1-3 when he says that the Father is the "only true God" and that he, Jesus, is the Messiah sent by God.
Finally, we ask the question, and leave open for later examination, what beginning is intended by the words of John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word..." Is this beginning a direct reference to the Genesis creation, or does the author of the Gospel of John have in mind a new beginning? How is "the beginning" used in other places in John's Gospel, in John's Epistles, and in the Book of Revelation?
Does Philippians 2:5-11 describe the eternal God the Son humbling himself to become man?
We think not.
In this podcast we explain some problems and contradictions with the "deity of Christ" interpretation of Philippians 2, and suggest a better way to understand this section of Scripture:
When Christ Jesus "emptied" and "humbled" himself, he was already a human being. The acts of emptying and humbling himself relate to his obedience to die on the cross, not "to become a human being".
1. The context of the Letter to the Philippians shows that Paul is talking about the human being, Jesus Christ.
2. Paul is describing the mind of Christ Jesus, the title (Christ/Messiah) and name (Jesus) of the human being, not of an assumed pre-existent "Second Person of the Godhead".
3. Paul expects his readers to have the same mind of Christ Jesus, which would be impossible if he was referring to an eternally pre-existent God who became a man.
4. As in many other places in his writings, in this passage Paul differentiates three times between God and Jesus Christ. God is someone other than Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is someone other than God.
5. Being in "the form of God" means Jesus is not God. The word for "form" does not have reference to the metaphysical nature of Jesus.
6. Jesus has a certain representative, functional equality with God that Jesus knows is given to him by God, so Jesus knows he does not have to seize or hold on to that equality. He has it because God has given it to him.
7. Jesus "being/being made in the likeness of men, in the fashion of men" (2:7-8) means that Jesus is a human being.
5. Christ Jesus "emptied himself", taking on the form of a servant, that is, as a human being. Paul does not say that Christ Jesus "emptied himself" of his deity to become a man, but that he "emptied himself, taking on the form of a servant".
6. Jesus Christ is obedient to God, to the extant of death on a cross. This means that Jesus is not God - he is obedient to God, and God does not die.
7. God exalted Jesus Christ and gave him a name above all names. This means that Jesus is not God, since God exalted Jesus, and gave Jesus a name.
8. Jesus Christ's exaltation and glory is never described as something he "gave up" and then "received back" again. Rather, his exaltation and glory is something he had and received only after his death.
9. Will you and I bow the knee to God's designated human Messiah Jesus, or will we continue to insist that Jesus must be "God become man" before we bow the knee to him, refusing God's Messiah and God's will for us?
One God Report correspondent Preston Macy, a former F-18 pilot in the US Navy, who still serves as a Navy Reserves flight instructor, shares his testimony. Preston breaks his testimony into three parts:
1. Being introduced to God, Jesus and the Bible.
2. Coming to a better understanding of the One God and His Messiah Jesus. In addition to be challenged by non-Trinitarian Christians, Preston shares how understanding from the Scriptures that the man Jesus has a God, helped him to see that Jesus is a human being distinct from God.
3. Coming to a better understanding of Scriptural hope of the resurrection from the dead into the Kingdom of God, as opposed to a dis-embodied "going to to heaven."
You can see Bill and Stephanie's testimony here:
Contrary to some overly zealous Trinitarian preaching, to be “Lord” does not mean you are God. Otherwise the upper house of the British parliament would be the House of Gods. Sometimes LORD/Lord in the Bible does mean God, but there are many lords/Lords in the Bible who are not God.
“Jesus is Lord” is not a claim to deity (Act 2:36, Rom. 10:9).
The confusion over LORD/Lord/lord stems from the translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek. The title “Lord” kurios (“master, sir, prince, ruler”), an honorific title acknowledging authority, was substituted for God’s personal name, Yehovah יהוה . English translations of the Old Testament usually indicate Yehovah’s personal name with all capitals LORD. But God’s name Yehovah is very different from the replacement title “Lord”. Yehovah/Yahweh is God’s personal name but the title Lord is adon in Hebrew and kurios in Greek).
Abigail distinguished between her Lord (David) and her God (LORD/Yehovah): “for the LORD will certainly make for my Lord an enduring house, because my Lord is fighting the battles of the LORD” (1 Sam. 25:28, Abigail called David “Lord” 13x in this chapter). In the Hebrew text there is no confusing Abigail’s LORD from her Lord, because they are two very different words. In the Greek text the words are exactly the same, and therefor confusing.
Sometimes God is called “Lord” in the New Testament, using the Greek practice of substituting the title Lord/kurios for Yehovah’s personal name. Context can most often determine if kurios/Lord in the New Testament means God, or the Lord Messiah, or some other lord. Lord/kurios in the Gospel of John, for example, refers to God only in direct Old Testament quotations.
Scriptures referred to in this podcast:
Acts 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.
Romans 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...
Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
1 Samuel 25:28 Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live.
Matthew 17:4 And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good that we are here...."
Mark 9:5 And Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here..."
Luke 9:33 ...Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good that we are here..."
Matthew 27:63 and said, "Sir (Lord/kurios), we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise.'
Acts 25:26 But I have nothing definite to write to my Lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa...
Psalm 110:1 A psalm of David. The LORD (Yehovah) says to my Lord (adoni): "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool."
Revelation 11:15 …"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).
Trinitarians have said that this verse, like 2 Corinthians 13:14, is evidence that God is a Trinity. But are these verses evidence that God is a three-in-one-God? We think not.
Rather, in these verses the Son of God, the Lord Jesus the Messiah, is distinguished from God.
Other Scriptures referred to in our discussion of the Spirit of God, and how Jesus is differentiated from God:
In Matthew 12:28, Jesus was able to cast out demons by the "Spirit of God" , which is parallel to the "the finger of God" in Luke 11:20.
Acts 10:38, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him."
Jesus of Nazareth is differentiated from God. It was God's Spirit and power which enabled Jesus to heal and cast out demons. God was with Jesus, which means Jesus was not God.
Acts 2:32-33 "This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. "
Again, Jesus is differentiated from God. Jesus was dead, but God raised him from the dead and exalted Jesus to the right hand of God, which shows that Jesus is not God. Jesus received the Holy Spirit from God, and poured it out on others.
Acts 2:36, "Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
Again Jesus is differentiated from God. God made Jesus Lord and Messiah (Christ). Jesus had been crucified. God was not crucified.
2 Corinthians 1:2-3, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort..."
2 Corinthians 11:31, "The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. "
These verses, also from 2 Corinthians, show the distinction in the Apostle Paul's mind between God (the Father) and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus the Messiah is not God. The Lord Jesus has a God, the Father. Jesus is not God if he has a God.
The challenge: Where in the Scriptures is God described as three persons in one God, or three persons in one God essence?
In Genesis 1:26, before the creation of man, God said, "Let us make man in our image". The plural verb and pronoun ("let us make", "our image") is claimed by some Trinitarians to be evidence that God spoke to other members of a three-person "godhead".
But is this claim correct? We think there is a much better way to understand Genesis 1:26. So does modern Trinitarian scholarship. One Trinitarian scholar, G. Wenham who wrote the evangelical Word Biblical Commentary Genesis writes: "It is now universally admitted that this was not what the plural meant to the original author."
But pastors and popular apologists don't appear to have gotten that memo since one still hears Genesis 1:26 proclaimed as evidence for the Trinity.
This podcasts explores the problems with the Trinitarian interpretation, and suggests a more biblically consistent way to understand Genesis 1:26.
We also recommend:
this podcast which examines the same verse: https://biblicalunitarianpodcast.podbean.com/e/032-%e2%80%9clet-us-make-man%e2%80%9d-and-other-passages-with-plural-pronouns/
and this article http://www.angelfire.com/space/thegospeltruth/TTD/verses/genesis1_26.html