One of the common objections to the Trinity Doctrine is the claim that the Bible teaches against it, but is that true? When reading the Bible it is important to ask the right questions to get a proper perspective. Does the Old Testament teach that there is only one personage whom is God? Or does the Old Testament teach that there is a Tri-Unity of how God has been revealed?
It is very important to have a proper understanding of the nature of God. Consider this quote: “It has often been said that every theological heresy begins with a misconception of the nature of God. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we have a clear and accurate understanding of the nature of God and the identity of Jesus Christ” (from Yes, You Should Believe In The Trinity book which is also online/ Witnesses for Jesus, Inc)
Groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Oneness Pentecostals claim to be Christians in affiliation but when examined their perspective of God is not in accordance with the Scriptures. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the Trinity Doctrine and claim that only the Father is God according to the Bible. Mormons have a plethora of Gods perspective when it comes to the Trinity. According to Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Mormons) the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate Gods, whom became Gods over time in the past. Oneness Pentecostals (United Pentecostal Church International, UPCI, Jesus Only) have a Modalist perspective when it comes to whom God is, thus they reject the doctrine of the Trinity and claim it is not supported in the Scriptures. They believe that God was the Father in creation, that the Father became the person of Jesus Christ in our redemption, and then became the Holy Spirit in our reconciliation. In short they have a form of Modalism which teaches that there are different manifestations (modes) of God but one personage, not three distinct personages as the Scriptures teach.
– Jehovah’s Witnesses have been taught by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: “In what position does belief in the Trinity put those who cling to it? It puts them in a very dangerous position. The evidence is indisputable that the dogma of the Trinity is not found in the Bible, nor is it in harmony with what the Bible teaches. (See the preceding pages.) It grossly misrepresents the true God. Yet, Jesus Christ said: “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23, 24RS) Thus Jesus made it clear that those whose worship is not ‘in truth,’ not in harmony with the truth set out in God’s own Word, are not “true worshipers.”” (Reasoning From The Scriptures, 1989, Trinity)
– And the Watchtower and Bible Tract Society states: “Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Our heavenly Father, whose name is Jehovah, is described in the Bible as being superior to his Son. For example, Jehovah is “from everlasting to everlasting.” But the Bible says that Jesus is “the firstborn of every creature.” That Jehovah is greater than Jesus, Jesus himself taught when he said: “My Father is greater than I.” (Matthew 6:9; Psalm 90:1, 2; Colossians 1:15; John 14:28, King James Version) Yet, the Trinity doctrine holds that the Father and the Son are “equally God.”” (Awake Magazine, April 22, 2005, page 6)
– Mormons have been taught by the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints: “Latter-day Saints believe in God the Father; his Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost. These three Gods form the Godhead, which holds the keys of power over the universe. Each member of the Godhead is an independent personage, separate and distinct from the other two, the three being in perfect unity and harmony with each other.” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Godhead)
– And: “What is Exaltation? Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives…If we prove faithful to the Lord, we will live in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom of heaven. We will become exalted, just like our Heavenly Father. Exaltation is the greatest gift that Heavenly Father can give his children (see D&C 14:7)…Those who receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ will receive special blessings…They will become gods.” (Gospel Principles, page 302, 1992)
– The United Pentecostal Church International teaches: “The doctrinal views of the UPCI reflect most of the beliefs of the Holiness-Pentecostal movement, with the exception of the “second work of grace,” the historic doctrine of the Trinity, and the traditional Trinitarian formula in water baptism. It embraces the Pentecostal view that speaking in tongues is the initial sign of receiving the Holy Spirit…In distinction to the doctrine of the Trinity, the UPCI holds to a oneness view of God. It views the Trinitarian concept of God, that of God eternally existing as three distinctive persons, as inadequate and a departure from the consistent and emphatic biblical revelation of God being one.” (UPCI site)
– And: “The One true God has revealed Himself as Father, through His Son in redemption, and as the Holy Ghost, by emanation. This one true God manifested Himself in the Old Testament in various ways; in the Son while he walked among men; as the Holy Ghost after the ascension” (Bethel United Pentecostal Church)
- There is one God according to the Old Testament Scriptures
There is no question in regards to the Bible teaching that there is one God. For example we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 NASB) Also, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4 NASB, The Shema) And, “”You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.” (Isaiah 43:10 NASB)
- Unity of God found in the Old Testament Scriptures
There are many Scriptures from the Old Testament that give reference to there being one God. But I have not found any particular reference that states there is only one personage (being) known as God. With that being said I have read numerous Scriptures from the Old Testament that demonstrates and identifies a Unity (plurality) of how God has been revealed. Though we do not read any passage in reference to a Trinity stating the Father is God, that the Son (Jesus) is God, or that the Holy Spirit is God, we do however read from the following Scriptures that there is a Unity/Plurality of God, thus giving proof that the Trinity Doctrine is Biblical, logical, and true.
For example we read, “26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27 NASB) We also read, “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever””. (Genesis 3:22 NASB) Notice in Genesis 1:26 the “Us”, “Our”, and in Genesis 3:22 “one of Us”, thus showing a Unity. Side note, man was created in the image of God, not angels, not animals, etc.
In another place we read, “Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven“. (Genesis 19:24) With that we read, “10 “I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses, And I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD. 11 “I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.” (Amos 4:10-11 NASB) In Genesis 19:24 there are two whom are called LORD, thus showing a Unity. This is affirmed by what the prophet Amos wrote in 4:10-11 which indicates that the LORD was speaking in the first person and then stated “as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” which is speaking in the third person, thus showing a Unity.
In Isaiah we read, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”” (Isaiah 6:8 NASB) And, “12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last. 13 “Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together. 14 “Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has declared these things? The LORD loves him; he will carry out His good pleasure on Babylon, And His arm will be against the Chaldeans. 15 “I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him, I have brought him, and He will make his ways successful. 16 “Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.“” (Isaiah 48:12-16 NASB) Again we read more Scriptures stating “Us” in reference to the LORD, and this is not speaking about angels. Isaiah 48:12-16 is a fascinating text which the speaker is identified as the LORD, the first and last, I am He. In Isaiah 48:16 the LORD states He was sent by the Lord God and His Spirit, which would indicate a Tri-Unity or proof for the Trinity Doctrine. As the New Testament affirms it was the the Father whom sent Jesus Christ into the world to give His life as an atoning sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. (John 1:1-29) And it was through the Holy Spirit that Jesus was supernaturally born through a virgin named Mary. (Matthew 1:18-23, Luke 1:26-35)
It is clear that the Old Testament indicates that there is one God whom has been revealed as a Unity, a Tri-Unity in reference to the Trinity Doctrine. As stated before there are not any specific Scriptures stating word for word that there is one God revealed in three persons known as the Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit. However, with that being said we do read numerous Scriptures from the Old Testament that indicates there was a Unity in how God was revealed and made known, thus giving proof for the Trinity Doctrine.
The evidence for the Trinity Doctrine is in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The question is, will people let the Bible speak in context? Those involved with such groups as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Oneness Pentecostalism, etc. have been mislead concerning what the Scriptures teach on the identity and nature of God. I have provided this as a short summary in reference to the doctrine of the Trinity in the Old Testament. If you wish to learn more about the Trinity Doctrine please check out our Trinity Doctrine section, or you can provide some feedback in a post or by email.
10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (Acts 17 NASB)