Invoking Philosophy to Prove the Trinity to Deny Philosophy?

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3) In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: (1 John 5:7. Matt 3:16–17, Matt. 28:19, 2 Cor. 13:14) the Father is of none, neither begotten, not proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; (John 1:14, 18) the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. (John 15:26, Gal. 4:6) (1)
This is how the The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCOF), in chapter two, marks off the persons of the Trinity. Notice the statements closely above. Furthermore, in their classical commentary on the WCOF, the Hodge scholars, note this of section three:
All the names and titles of God are constantly applied to Christ, and to none others except to the Father and the Spirit: as Jehovah (Jer. 23:6); mighty God, everlasting Father (Isa. 9:6); God (John 1:1; Heb. 1:8); God over all (Rom. 9:5); the true God, and eternal life (1 John 5:20); the Alpha and the Omega, the Almighty (Rev. 1:8). (2)
Trinitarians often bifurcate the person of Christ. This is routine for Trinitarians to mine the Gospel narratives (See Bowman and Sabin debate), especially the Gospel of John, for passages that seems to suggest a pre-existent second person is speaking of Christ, who is also using the emphatic "I", can also be divided from His humanity in those instances. This is not allowing all of Scripture to speak but that which they will cherry pick in order to split Christ into two Sons. One human who can and does die and another exclusively divine one who cannot die. This does not satisfy the totality of Scripture rather it also bifurcates the Old Testament from the New Testament.

Because of the assumption of eternally begotten, which are mutually exclusive terms, they have immediately assumed God is eternally a Father person, a Son person and consequently a Holy Spirit person. Besides the Biblical record that the Son was begotten in time (Hebrews 1:5, Luke 1:35) they continue to explain this by the invocation of a mystery or attempting to sideline the issue as if it has no true bearing on their assumed doctrine of Pre-existence. Shelf it for another day? As if it hasn't been shelved since AD 451.
In a review of Peter Toon’s Our Triune God evangelical scholar Max Davidson in the Evangelical Review of Theology:
"Of particular concern is the frequent reference to the Son as eternally begotten by the Father, but without any demonstration that this follows from Scripture, or any explanation of just what this concept might actually mean. Toon appears to accept, with most modern scholarship and Bible translations that monogenes in Jn. 1:14, 18; 3:16 means unique, for he writes, ‘Jesus is the only Son; he is one of a kind’ (p. 162). But in keeping with the church fathers, he frequently speaks of the Son as ‘begotten of the Father before all ages’ (p. 240). He accepts, without demonstration, the fourth century Cappadocian distinctions between Father, Son and Spirit as being based in ingenerateness, generateness and procession. Much more penetrating exegesis is called for in this matter. Certainly ‘Son’ can be adequately interpreted in terms of relationships, rather than origin. Toon’s position implies a kind of eternal subordination. He writes that ‘the Father is first and the Son is included in the Father, for he is begotten of the Father before all ages’ (p. 240). In fact, it seems that Toon’s self-confessed allegiance to the early creeds, rather than an openness to the biblical text itself, underpins his trinitarian exegesis.” (3)
The idea of the Son being eternally begotten does not come from Scripture, but the 5th century Council of Chalcedon (AD 451). Notice the comments of another Reformed theologian R.C. Sproul:
“Numerous heresies arose in the early church to challenge the deity of Jesus Christ. In responding to these attacks from within, church leaders eventually explained the second Person of the Trinity in this manner: The Son is eternally begotten by the Father. He is equal to the Father, but he is called a Son, and the Bible speaks of his being begotten. God exists in eternity, so there was never a time when the Son did not exist. Begetting is not an event in time; it simply describes the relationship between Father and Son. The Son is eternally mature and equal to the Father and also eternally begotten by the Father. This is a mystery because we cannot imagine a timeless state.” (4)
Although the Council proclaimed that “begetting is not an event in time,” the Bible deliberately describes it as a temporal event. Any creed or council suggesting otherwise should not be seen as a terminal stopping point. Hebrews 1:5 certainly applies time words to the begetting of Jesus. These are words that only make sense in a temporal state:
"For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’? Or again, ‘I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son’?” (ESV)
Essentially they invoke a philosophical conclusion and then avoid explaining how that is so at all cost. In fact, every example or analogy of the Trinity will fail as has been repeatedly demonstrated (e.g. three headed dog Cerberus used by William Craig and J.P. Moreland). Simply saying these properties distinguishes the persons is to assume what has not been proven.

The Oneness Pentecostal Confession (2002-2007) in section 42 states:
42) We regard the terms “Father” and “Son” in the New Testament as serving to emphasize the true humanity of Jesus, not to make distinctions within God’s being. The title of Father reminds us of God’s transcendence, while the title of Son focuses on the incarnation. Any attempt to identify two divine persons tends toward ditheism or subordinationism. Moreover, in our view, defining the Son as a second divine person results in two Sons—an eternal, divine Son who could not die and a temporal, human Son who did die. (5)
Trinitarians are routinely guilty speaking of God as having separate persons or separate personal beings. In countless debates with Church of Christ, Wesleyan and Reformed Trinitarians such references as "separate persons"; "separate beings"; "personal beings" are used to describe some part of the Trinity. In David Bernard's debates with Gene Cook and Eugene Carpenter both of these Trinitarians said as much. The conceptualization of the Trinity tends toward tritheism and not monotheism. As a result Trinitarians cannot remove the implications of believing in multiple "persons" while at the same time trying to speak of the One true God.

Consider this example. In his September 7, 2010 podcast James White, a Trinitarian apologist, not only sees distinct divine persons but also separate and not together persons. At 13:48 into the podcast White says that Oneness Pentecostals have the presupposition:
“that if Jesus is in anyway shape or form connected with the father that they are somehow together.”
Here we see the typical Trinitiarian faux pas as they attempt to define the Son, who is YHWH, apart from the Father who is also YHWH. They obviously have more than one YHWH in mind because their language betray's them. This is nothing new as it was the early Trinitarians apologists such as Tertullian and Hippolytus that helped to move Christian thought away from the actual Biblical God who came in flesh while also being in gross error. A God who suffered, was crucified, bled and died was no longer tenable to Greek sensibilities. In this way Unitarianism and Trinitarianism have joined roots. The Westminster Press in 1949 printed The Christian Doctrine of God by Emil Brunner. Notice his remarks about the Trinity:
“The doctrine of the Trinity itself, however, is not a biblical doctrine and this indeed not by accident but of necessity. It is the product of theological reflection upon the problem...the ecclesiastical doctrine of the Trinity is not only the product of genuine biblical thought, it is also the product of philosophical speculation...” (6)
In the 1970's Geoffrey W.H. Lampe gave his Bampton Lectures which were later turned into a book entitled: God as Spirit. Here he shows the complete inadequacy of the Trinity and its unique ideal of pre-existence while maintaining the deity of Christ. In the Oxford Dictionary Christian Church it’s noted that Lampe, has “sought to maintain the Divinity of Christ while regarding Trinitarian doctrine as basically outdated.”(7) Trinitarians often suggest you cannot affirm the deity of Christ apart from believing in multiple person who are God. There is no logical correlation.

There is no need of the Trinity to guard monotheism. In this it has failed Jesus and it has failed his followers. There is no need of the Trinity to guard the deity of Christ. It actually misunderstands and abandons Him in his very person. There is no Trinity in the Scriptures so it has nothing to defend, it does not exist.

Adversus Trinitas,



1. The Westminster confession of faith. 1996. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
2. Hodge, A., Hodge, C., & Hodge, A. (1996). The confession of faith : With questions for theological students and Bible classes (electronic ed. based on the 1992 Banner of Truth reprint.) (56). Simpsonville SC: Christian Classics Foundation.
3. Max Davidson, “Review of Our Triune God by Peter Toon” in Evangelical Review of Theology: (1997) Volume 21, page 286.
4. R.C.Sproul, Before the Face of God: Book Four: A Daily Guide for Living from Ephesians, Hebrews, and James.  Page 140
5. Oneness-Trinitarian Pentecostal Final Report, 2002-2007 Presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies
6. Brunner, Emil. The Christian Doctrine of God. Copyright © 1949. Philadelphia : Westminister Press.
7. Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (2005). The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev.) (1653). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks James, I enjoyed reading your post. I found the Lampe book on goodle and will take a look at it.

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)