In his article Absolute Proofs of the Trinity Error, Kel repeats much of what I have dealt with elsewhere but I will add some comments anyway.
“Proof. What Three-Person-God? There is no evidence that a three-Person-God even exists.
It is never up to anyone to prove a negative. It is not up to anyone to prove to Trinitarians that a three-person-God does not exist. The onus is on Trinitarians to demonstrate that a three-person-God does exist.
Trinitarians often try to take the stance that the Trinity is true unless someone else proves it to be false. This is a farce in itself. No one needs to prove the existence of nothing. We often talk about nothing as if it is a something. But nothing is really not a something; it is only a way of describing the non-existence of anything. If I said, “There is a planet out there with self conscious bananas who are far more intelligent than us and unless you prove me wrong then we must believe it is true,” I am speaking ridiculous nonsense. A made up concept is not true unless it is proven false. That is essentially what we have with the doctrine of the Trinity since the concept of the Trinity is a made up concept; a three person God is not mentioned once in the entire Scriptures even though the one true God is the main character of the Scritures and is mentioned thousands of times. Rather, Trinitarians must first assume that a three person God does exist and then read this concept back into the Scriptures. The onus is upon Trinitarians to demonstrate that a three-person-God actually exists since it is never up to anyone to prove a negative.
But even though the onus is on Trinitarians to prove that a three person God does exist, and no one needs to demonstrate otherwise, we can indeed decisively show the doctrine of the Trinity to be utterly false.
For the Trinitarian there is almost nothing which would satisfy them and and nothing which will cause them to acceptthat their doctrine is false. Even if Jesus had said, “I am most definitely not God,” we can easily imagine what the Trinitarian response would be: “Jesus just meant he was not the Father.” We can easily see that Trinitarian apologists will always have their excuses and self made justifications. And we can also see that they take a position which essentially says, “I will continue to believe in the Trinity unless you are able pry my doctrine from my cold dead hands.” In other words, they take the stance that they must be forced to accept their doctrine is wrong since they will not do so on their own account. God does not force us to believe the truth nor should his servants try to force men into believing the truth. If Trinitarians want to be stiff-necked and stubborn and don’t want to accept the truth freely and willfilly then that is their problem. And they try to make it everyone else’s problem by suggesting they must be proven wrong. Humans have always had the means to devise self deceptive excuses and justifications and set up walls of denial. In the face of their behavior, we can also ask if there is anything in the Scriptures that will perhaps wake them up and illustrate to them that they are clearly promoting an error. And indeed there is much evidence of that sort.
If Jesus clearly excludes himself from identity as the one God, the Trinity is decisively proven to be an error. If the Father excludes everyone else but Himself, the Trinity is decisively proven to be an error. If the Scriptures exclude everyone else but the Father then the Trinity is desively proven to be an error. And if it can be demonstrated that any one of the three persons of the doctrine of the Trinity is also the other, the Trinity is decisively proven to be an error. All these things can be decisively proven.
Additionally, if it can be shown that Trinitarians must change their definitions of the one God to suit the occasion, the doctrine of the Trinity is an error since different definitions of the one God, where one definition cannot be said to identity the same God as the other, shows a belief in multiple Gods, and the doctrine of the Trinity is decisively proven to be an error. And since Trinitarians insist they do not believe in three Gods, then if the Father alone can be shown to be a God of anyone, then the doctrine of the Trinity is decisively shown to be an error.”
I have never heard anyone argue that “the Trinity is true unless someone else proves it to be false.” Can Kel document his claim that Trininitarians “often” take this stance? I don’t think so; I think it is another straw man argument that he made up because it is easy to knock down.
Ignoring for the moment Kel’s personal attacks on Trinitarians in general, let’s look at the logic of his statements concerning what would disprove the Trinity doctrine.
If Jesus excludes himself from being God, if the Father excludes everyone but himself from being God, if any of the three persons can be proven to be identical to any of the others, those things would disprove the doctrine. As I see it Kel has proven none of these, as I have tried to demonstrate in other articles and well as this one in what follows.
The argument that “different definitions of the one God, where one definition cannot be said to identity [identify?] the same God as the other, shows a belief in multiple Gods . . .” is correct but Kel never shows that the different definitions of the one God offered by Trinitarians cannot be said to identify the same God as the other. As we saw in the article on 1 Corinthians 8:6, the whole definition of the great God is so big that we can’t grasp all of it at once, and we can only begin to understand it in parts. These parts are not different definitions of different Gods but instead sub-points of the definition of the one God. With these things in mind, let us look at Kel’s “proofs.”
“A. Proof from the Bible
Proof 1. Jesus’ God was His Father Alone.
There are numerous references to Jesus’ God in the Scriptures, the one God of Jesus. Jesus refers to his Father as “my God” both before and after his resurrection, and the Scriptures refer to the Father as “his God” and “THE God and Father of” Jesus. He was not his own God nor was the Holy Spirit another person who was his God in addition to his Father. His Father alone was his one and only God and he walked by his Father’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the Jew born under the Law, had the same God as every other Jew such as his Mother and brothers, and that one God was his Father alone. To have a three-person being as your God is to have a different God than Jesus’ God who was a one person being.
Additionally, Paul explains, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Who is the God of Christ who lives in Paul? The Father alone.
- PROOF: Jesus’ one and only God was his Father alone which thereby excludes everyone else.”
This is not a proof at all, but a summary of the arguments Kel is about to present. The heading says the subject is “Proof from the Bible” and yet no Scripture is quoted. Because of this, I will deal with these arguments when we get to them. Also his comment on Paul’s words do not appear to advance or support his argument in any way.
“Proof 2. Jesus’ Identified THE Only True God as HIS His Only True God, the Father.
At John 17:3, Jesus prayed to his Father, “Father…. this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God. The only definition of the word “God” which Trinitarians can attempt to use is to define the word “God” as “the divine substance” so that they can also attempt to claim that the Son and Holy Spirit are also this “only true [divine substance].” But it is clear that Jesus is not talking about knowing a divine substance for eternal life. He is talking about knowing an identity; he is talking about a personal relationship with an identity: the only true God. And Jesus identifies “the only true God” as his Father.
And furthermore, Jesus is praying to his God and Father. His words are directed to his Father and his prayer is between he himself and his Father. He says these words, “You, the only true God,” in prayer to his Father. And we know that his one and only God was his Father alone. So when he says the words, “You, the only true God,” to his God and Father, we know he is praying to his only God and to the one who is alone is only God, the Father, and we can be absolutely certain that the Father alone is “the only true God” Jesus ever knew and worshiped and served.
- PROOF: Jesus’ only true God was his Father alone and he identified his Father as the only true God that everyone else needs to personally know for eternal life.”
This is false; Jesus did not say one must know the Father alone in order to have eternal life. He said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, AND Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent,” John 17:3. Further, “the Divine Substance” is not an impersonal identity in the Trinity doctrine, as Kel implies. The Divine Substance is more than a person, a single personal being of three distinct but not separate persons. Kel, as is usual, ignores the biblical priniciple that a group composed of multiple persons can be implied by reference to only one of them, meaning that Jesus can refer to the Father as the only true God without necessarily meaning that the Father alone is the only true God. Therefore it is not true that the Trinitarian definition of God in John 17:3 must be “the divine substance.” (see ‘God Identifies Himself as One Person?’ for fuller explanation and see also ‘Major Problems with the Trinity?’ for a fuller explanation of John 17:3).
“Proof 3. Jesus Identified the One God of the Shema as his Father alone.
When the devil tempted Jesus with all the Kingdoms of the world, Jesus responded by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13, “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him alone.” In each temptation, Jesus responded to the temptation by indicating that he would (1) live by the word of His God, (2) not put the Lord his God to the test, and (3) serve His God alone. The one and only God of the Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, was his Father alone, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” The “Lord your God” whom he mentions at his temptation is his Father alone and the same God identified in the Shema: “the Lord our God the Lord is one” because this is the same Lord mentioned in the verse he quotes in response to the devil. His Father alone, the one Lord of the Shema, was that Lord, “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”
Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love The LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…. You shall fear only The LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5,13).
- PROOF: Jesus identifies the one Lord God of the Shema as his Father only.”
Jesus was not telling the Devil who God is in this passage; rather, he was telling the devil that God alone should be worshipped and served, and not put to the test. Jesus did not say that he (Jesus) would not put the Lord his God to the test; rather, Jesus told the Devil that you shall not put the Lord your God to the test. This is the context:
“If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:
And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” – Luke 4:9-13
This passage only explicitly states that the Devil is the one doing the tempting; it is only by inference that one can conclude that if Jesus followed the Devil’s suggestion Jesus would be tempting God (and even if it did mean Jesus would be tempting God, that wouldn’t mean Jesus was not also God). The passage makes just as much sense if Jesus is the God the Devil is tempting as it does if the Father is the God the Devil is trying to get Jesus to tempt.
In verse 7 where the Devil tried to get Jesus to worship him, Jesus said “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” This, too, makes just as much sense if Jesus was saying that instead of Jesus worshipping the Devil, the Devil ought to be worshipping Jesus, as it does if it is taken to mean Jesus was refusing to worship the Devil because he would only worship the Father.
I hasten to add that the Trinitarian position has no problem with either interpretation of Jesus’ temptation in Luke 4, since Trinitarian belief is that the Father is called God by Jesus just as the Son is God called God by the Father (Hebrews 1:8). And in fact I believe Jesus’ words to the Devil probably intend both meanings.
Of course in the case of Jesus refusing to turn stones into bread because man lives by the words of God and not just bread, Jesus was clearly referring to himself as an example of the man in question. However, the words “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” neither affirms nor denies that the one quoting this text is God.
“Proof 4. Jesus Identified Our God for us.
After Jesus had risen from the dead, he met Mary Magdalene and said to her:
I ascend to my Father and your Father and your Father and my God and your God.
Jesus’ one and only God was a one person being, his Father alone. If your God is a three person being you have a different God than Jesus’ God who was a one person being.
- PROOF: Jesus identified his only God, his Father, as the God and Father of Mary Magdalene.”
I will repeat what I said in response to Kel’s article Critical Questions. Although Jesus did not tell Mary Magdalene he is God in this passage, he didn’t deny it either. An earthly analogy would be if a congressman came back from Washington to visit his wife and when he was about to return to the capital, he said “I am going back to my President and your President, and to my government and your government.” His wife is neither the president nor part of the government; however, though the congressman is not the president, he is part of the government he is returning to.
“Proof 5. Jesus the Jew and a Jewish Scribe Explain How to Understand the Shema.
At Mark 12:28-34, a Jewish scribe asked Jesus which is the foremost commandment. And Jesus responded to him by quoting the Shema, “the Lord our God the Lord is one.” The scribe then replied, “You are right Teacher. You have truly said that He is one, and there is no other but He and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And then we read that Jesus saw that he had responded wisely and Jesus then said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Jesus the Jew, born of a woman, born under the Law, and this Jewish scribe, illustrate to us how the Shema is to be understood.”
I have already responded to this argument in Major Problems with the Trinity. When Jesus said the scribe was not far from the Kingdom of God, he indicated that the scribe was close, but still missing something. And that something could have included a full understanding of God. On the other hand when Thomas called Jesus “my Lord and my God,” Jesus didn’t say “you’re not far from the truth” but instead gave him a 100% endorsement.
Proof 5 continued:
“In Trinitarian doctrine, the oneness of God is not a oneness of person. There are three persons not one in the doctrine of the Trinity. Rather, the oneness of the Trinity is the divine nature (ousia, being, substance). And so the Shema then necessarily means “the Lord our God the Lord is one [substance/being/ousia/divine nature]” in the doctrine of the Trinity. However, these two Jews whole-heartedly agree that the word “one” refers to a personality not a nature, “He is one” means “there is no other but HE. It is one “HE” not one substance belonging to and shared by three persons. Moreover, one is to love this “HE” with all their might; we do not love natures and substances; we love persons, that is, “HE.”
- PROOF: Jesus the Jew, and a Jewish Scribe, show us that the Shema refers to one HE, the Father.
(As far as I can tell, the rest of “proof 5” simply repeats what has already been said so I won’t quote it here).
As we have seen elsewhere, “he” can refer to a group of multiple persons in the Bible by reference to only one of them, such as their head (or sometimes whichever member of the group figures most prominently in the situation under discussion). For example, we often find whole nations tribes addressed as “Jacob” or “Moab,” as in Genesis 19:37 where it says, “The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today.”
Jeremiah 48:11-12 says,
“Moab has been at ease since his youth; He has also been undisturbed, like wine on its dregs, And he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, Nor has he gone into exile. Therefore he retains his flavor, And his aroma has not changed. Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will send to him those who tip vessels, and they will tip him over, and they will empty his vessels and shatter his jars.”
In Amos 7:2 and again in verse 5, Amos says “Lord God, please pardon! How can Jacob stand, For he is small?” In verse 8 it becomes clear that Jacob and he both mean My people Israel. Many more examples could be given.
The point is, since in the Bible mere humans who share some nature such as being descended from the same ancestor can be referred to by the singular “he,” Kel’s argument that “He” cannot refer to Divine persons with one nature is proven false or at least unbibical. The argument that one cannot love a nature is proven false by the very fact that the nature is the person (or persons) who share that nature. God loves Jacob and calls him he. The nature of a person or persons cannot be separated from the persons any more than something’s form can be separated from its substance; they are different ways of looking at the same thing. To love one is to love the other.
Now it is true that you cannot have the highest form of love for an impersonal substance, but when Trinitarians refer to God’s “substance” they mean something intensely personal, and not separate from the persons who share that “substance.”
Proof 6. “Paul Identifies the One God of Christians as One Person, the Father.”
Response: Not true (see my article on 1 Corinthians 8:6)
Proof 7. “Paul Identifies the one God as an Identity who cannot be Jesus.”
Response: Not true (see my article on 1 Timothy 2:5)
“Proof 8. Song of Moses: Deuteronomy 32:39 – YAHWEH the Father excludes everyone but He Himself.
At Deuteronomy 32:39 we find YAHWEH indicating “there is no God besides ME.” When we check the context to see specifically who is making this statement we find that it is YAHWEH the Father.
At Deuteronomy 32:6, Moses is speaking and says,
“Do you thus repay YAHWEH O foolish and unwise people? Is HE not your Father who has bought you?”
Here we find an explicit and direct reference to YAHWEH the Father. As we keep reading what Moses has to say about YAHWEH the Father, we also find the language of filial relationship between Israel and YAHWEH their FAther, “you neglected the Rock who begat them,” and they forgot “the God who gave them birth,” and YHAHWEH was then provoked to spurn His “sons and daugters.” It is a clear reference to God the Father . . .
- PROOF: YAHWEH the Father excludes everyone else by telling us Himself there is no God besides “ME”.”
See my response to proof 5. “He” and “Me” do not always indicate only one person is speaking; they can be multiple persons speaking in unison or one speaking for several. Also, remember that all of God (Yahweh) is Father to everything in creation but that doesn’t mean that within Yahweh there cannot be both Father and Son. See also my response to An Important Question for Trinitarians and my article Major Problems with the Trinity?
“Proof 9. 2 Samuel 7:22: King David excludes everyone but God the Father.”
Kel repeats the same argument as in proof 8; see my response to that. Also see my response to his argument on Hebrews 1:5 (in my article Hebrews 1).
“Proof 10. The Holy Spirit Fathered Jesus and God the Father is Jesus’ Father . . . .
- PROOF: Matthew and Luke make it quite clear that the Father and the Holy Spirit cannot be two separate persons otherwise one must accept the absurdity that one person begat/fathered Jesus (i.e. the Holy Spirit) but another person altogether turns out to be Jesus’ father and is not the one who begat the infant son Jesus.”
I will repeat my response given to this same issue Kel raised in Major Problems with the Trinity:
(1) In the Trinity doctrine Jesus is not the Son of the Father because the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary — instead he was already the Son, not by being born, but by having an eternal filial relationship with the Father.
(2) Even if we think of Jesus’ human sonship only, remember that if a woman is impregnated by the sperm of a man, that man is still the father of the child even if his sperm was stored and later implanted in the woman by a doctor. The action of the doctor was in that case required to make the pregnancy happen but that doesn’t make the doctor the baby’s father. Similarly, just because the action of the Holy Spirit made Mary’s pregnancy happen, that doesn’t make the Holy Spirit the Father of the baby Jesus.
“Proof 11. The Holy Spirit Fathered All the Disciples.
In the Bible, the disciples are begotten of the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:6) and they are also said to have been begotten of the Father (1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 5:1). In the doctrine of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is not the Father. But if the Holy Spirit and the Father are two distinct persons, then a contradictory absurdity results where Christians are fathered by two different fathers who begat them: (1)God the Father (2) the Holy Spirit. However, if the Holy Spirit is not a separate third person but the personal presence and power of God, there is no contradiction.”
The Holy Spirit and the Father begat the disciples with one and the same act of begetting. Thus, those who are begotten of the Father are begotten of the Holy Spirit because both are performing one and the same action, though they are distinct persons. Since everything in God is Father to everything in creation, the attempt to divide the persons of the Trinity into several Fathers is as futile as the attempt to divide them into several Gods.
Proof 12. “Only the Father knows the day and hour of Jesus’ return.”
Response: See my article Attributes Jesus Lacks?, response to argument 1.
Proof 13. “The RISEN Jesus IS the Holy Spirit.”
Response: See my article 2 Corinthians 3:17, which is the passage Kel is using in proof 13.
Proof 14. “Jesus explicitly denied he was God.”
Response: See my article on Mark 10:18, which is the passage Kel is using in proof 14.
“Jesus’ Father indicates Israel has know no other God besides Him.
Out of Egypt I called My son. (Hosea 11:1)
This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Matthew 2:15).
Because this verse refers to Jesus, it is necessarily God the Father who said at Hosea 11:1, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” And it is the exact same identity who says this in chapter 13:
Yet I YAHWEH your God ever since the land of Egypt, and you shall know no God but Me; For there is no Savior besides Me.
- PROOF: God the Father indicates Israel knew no God but Him.”
This argument assumes two things, 1) that God is only one person and 2) that singular pronouns like “Me” prove only one person is speaking. If these two assumptions are not present, there is no reason why God the Father could not say “out of Egypt I have called my Son” when the Son and the Father are both the same God. Likewise, there is no reason why any or all of the persons who are God could not say “You shall know no God but Me” and yet not exclude the other persons. In this sense “Proof 15” is really just a watered down re-statement of proof 5.
“Proof 16. God the Father indicates there is no God besides Him.
The Holy Spirit proceeds from God the Father:
But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. John 15:26.
The Spirit is poured out at Pentecost, and Peter accordingly proclaims:
This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. (Acts 2:33-34)
Jesus pours out the Father’s Holy Spirit as the Old Testament prophesied several times. And Peter had quoted one of those prophecies:
For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is [only] the third hour of the day. 16 “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, [that I will pour out my Spirit] on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. 21 And it shall come to pass [That] whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’
And when we go back and check this passage in Joel, we find:
Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, And that I am the LORD your God, And there is no other; And My people will never be put to shame. 28 “It will come about after this That I will pour out MySpirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. 29 “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. 30 “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. 31 “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 32 “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.
- PROOF: God the Father indicates there is no other.”
This argument simply assumes in advance that Jesus isn’t included in “the LORD your God” of which there is no other. This assumption is unspoken but obviously present in Kel’s argument. The fact that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father does not mean that the Father and the Son are not the same God who pours out the Holy Spirit (which is also God). Since this assumption is the same as the conclusion, the argument is circular and without merit.
“Proof 17. The Father alone was the God of Jesus in contradiction to Trinitarian doctrine.
The doctrine of the Trinity states that Trinitarians do not believe in Three Gods but only in one God. By definition, this means that the only God of anyone is a three person being and that none of the three persons of the Trinity are by themselves, each and apart from the other two, a God of anyone. In other words, one cannot say that Jesus is a God by Himself or that the Holy Spirit is a God by Himself or that the Father is a God by Himself or this would result in three Gods. However, the Scriptures declare that the Father is indeed a God by himself apart from anyone else . . .”
Where? I have searched this website and have not found the evidence for the statement, “the Scriptures declare that the Father is indeed a God by himself apart from anyone else.” Since he provides no text to support this claim it is obvious he regards the point as having been proven elsewhere. For reasons anyone who reads my responses will know, I think he fails in this regard.
“Proof 18. The One True God is a singular “Who,”, “I,” “Me,” “He,” and “Him.”
Trinitarians deny that God is a single person. However, the very purpose of singular personal pronouns in either English or Hebrew is to signify and identify a single person is in view. And there are numerous passages where God, using singular personal pronouns of Himself, indicates that there is absolutely no other God besides Him alone. By definition, these singular personal pronouns identify the one true God as one person. And indeed, Trinitarians unwittingly betray themselves by admitting that singular personal pronouns signify and identify a single person when they insist that these pronouns are used of the Holy Spirit to indicate the Holy Spirit is indeed one single person.
- PROOF: The uses of singular personal pronouns proves the one true God is a single person and Trinitarians unwittingly admit this fact when they insist that the Holy Spirit is a single person because singular personal prounouns are used to refer to the Holy Spirit.”
See responses to proof 5 and my article on Genesis 1:26. Also, the Trinitarian concludes that the Holy Spirit is a single person not simply because singular personal pronouns are used to refer to the Holy Spirit, but because no plural personal pronouns are. This is not true of the one true God; both singular and plural pronouns are used of God.
I am not aware of Trinitarians “often” resorting to the argument that the Trinity must be true unless someone can disprove it, and I challenge Kel to document this claim. Kel’s “proofs” in this article do not succeed in disproving the Trinity, and as I worked on this article I began to feel that I am reading the same arguments over and over again, stated slightly differently but amounting to the same thing.
New Book coming! https://www.givesendgo.com/G2BZK