The Word of God teaches that there is but one God, the Father, who is one in essence and person. There is only one person who is God. It teaches that Jesus is not God but the Son of God. He is divine but not deity. Jesus is the most highly exalted person in the universe next to God. Christ eternally will be subject to His Father, the one supreme God. The Holy Spirit is the impersonal power of God through which He performs His works.
1. Only One Person Who Is God. Jesus is not God because there is only one person who is God. This one person has been identified as the Father. Jesus, therefore, cannot also be God. There is no other person who can be God in the same sense in which the Father is God. "To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him" (1 Cor. 8:6). "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all " (Eph. 4:6). Jesus is divine but not deity. He is the divine Son of God, but He is not the deity, the Supreme Being.
|John 17:3||Thee the only true God|
|Romans 15:6||God, even the Father|
|1 Corinthians 8:6||One God, the Father|
|1 Corinthians 15:24||To God, even the Father|
|2 Corinthians 1:3||God, even the Father|
|Ephesians 1:17||God of our Lord Jesus Christ|
|Ephesians 4:6||One God and Father of All|
|1 Thessalonians 3:13||God, even our Father|
|2 Thessalonians 2:16||God, even our Father|
|James 3:9||God, even the Father|
|2 John 3||From God the Father|
The unity of God is not compound. One God means one person. This one person is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Jesus As Mediator Cannot Be God Himself. "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus is mediator between God and men. Jesus, therefore, is not God Himself. If Jesus Himself were God and equal with God, as trinitarians assert, He would not be in a position to serve as mediator. As mediator one must be a third party. If Jesus were God and equal with God, He would be one of the two parties and could not serve as mediator between the two--God and man. (Gal.3:20.) The fact that Jesus is a mediator nullifies the possibility of His being part of a trinity.
Jesus insisted that He and His Father are not identical. He and His Father are separate in personality, essence, and being. He declared that He and His Father constitute two separate witnesses. "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me" (John 8:17, 18).
3. Jesus Is the Son of God. Jesus is not God Himself nor part of a triune God because He is the Son of God. He cannot be both God and the Son of God. The Father and the Son are neither equal nor identical. The Father lived before the Son. The Son received His life from the Father. The Father is greater than the Son. Jesus was begotten of His Father and born of Mary. He is the Son of the living God. The New Testament abounds with scriptures stating that Jesus is the Son of God.
4. God Is the God of Jesus. Jesus recognized the Father, the one true God, as His God. Jesus never claimed to be God Himself. He did not pretend to be equal with God. He always regarded the Father to be superior to Him, His God. In the following scriptures, Jesus refers to the Father as His God, or God is described as the God of Jesus.
|John 20:17||To my God and your God|
|Revelation 3:12||My God, my God, my God, my God|
|Matthew 27:46||My God, my God, why hast thou|
|Mark 15:34||My God, my God, why hast thou|
|Psalm 22:1||My God, my God, why hast thou|
|2 Corinthians 11:31||The God and Father of our Lord|
|Ephesians 1:3||The God and Father of our Lord|
|Ephesians 1:17||The God of our Lord Jesus Christ|
|1 Peter 1:3||The God and Father of our Lord|
|Hebrews 1:8, 9||God, even thy God, hath anointed|
|Psalm 45:6, 7||God, thy God hath anointed thee|
|Revelation 1:6||Unto his God (R.S.V., Diaglott)|
|2 Corinthians 1:3||God of our Lord Jesus (R.S.V.)|
5. Jesus Prayed to His God, the Father. Jesus revealed that He was not Himself God when He prayed to His Father as God. If Jesus were equal with God, why did Jesus pray to God? Trinitarians claim that God, Jesus, and the Spirit all have one intelligence and one will. If Jesus and God share one will, the power of decision, it would seem like mockery for one person of a trinity to pray to another person of a trinity. Jesus showed that He is inferior to His Father and that His Father alone is God by the fact that He prayed to Him.
|Hebrews 5:7, 8||Offered up prayers unto him|
|Luke 6:12||All night in prayer to God|
|Matthew 11:25||O Father, Lord of heaven and earth|
|John 17:1||Father, the hour is come|
|Matthew 26:39, 42||O my Father, if it be possible|
6. Jesus Is Inferior to God. Jesus occupies the most highly exalted position in the universe next to God. Jesus is not equal with His Father. God is greater than His Son; the Son is inferior to His Father. Jesus, therefore, is not God. Recognizing this fact is not failing to give proper glory to Christ; it is recognition of the true relationship between God and His Son.
Jesus declared, "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). When Jesus said, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30), He did not teach that He and His Father were one in essence or being (as trinitarians assert) or one in person (as Sabellians teach). He referred to the unity of purpose and perfect accord that exists between Himself and His Father. Jesus prayed that this same unity would become a reality among His followers. (John 17:11, 21-23.) Jesus always realized that His Father is greater than He. This clearly shows that Jesus cannot be part of a triune God.
|John 14:28||The Father is greater than I|
|John 10:29||My Father is greater than all|
|I Corinthians 11:3||The head of Christ is God|
|1 Corinthians 3:23||Christ is God's|
|Matthew 20:23||Not mine to give but my Father|
|1 Corinthians 15:24-28||Son himself subject to Father|
After Christ's redemptive rulership has been completed and God has put all enemies under His feet, Jesus will continue to be subject to God. God will be supreme. He will be all in all. " For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." (1 Cor. 15:24-28.)
Jesus lived as God's servant. He yielded perfect obedience to His Father. He always did those things that pleased God. This showed that Jesus recognized Himself to be inferior to God.
|Zechariah 3:8||My Servant the Branch|
|Matthew 12:18||Behold my servant|
|Philippians 2:7, 8||The form of a servant|
|Hebrews 10:7, 9||I come to do thy will, O God|
|John 4:34||I do the will of him|
|John 5:30||The will of him that sent me|
|John 6:38||Not to do mine own will|
|John 8:29||Those things that please him|
|Luke 22:42||Not my will, but thine|
|Romans 5:19||Through the obedience of one|
7. Jesus Inferior to God in Attributes. The New Testament reveals Jesus Christ as inferior to God in attributes. This is definite indication that Jesus is not God Himself. He is neither equal with God nor identical with God. He is not part of a triune God.
God is infinite and perfect in all His attributes. In all these things God is unchangeable. His infinite perfection can neither increase nor decrease. What He has been, that shall He always be. Jesus showed Himself to be inferior to God in His attributes.
Inferior in Knowledge. God is omniscient. He is perfect in knowledge. "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." His knowledge is infinite, eternal, and complete. Jesus, on the other hand, was not omniscient. Jesus "increased in wisdom" (Luke 2:52). If Jesus were God with infinite knowledge, how could He have increased in wisdom?
God's knowledge is underived and unacquired. His knowledge originates within Himself. "Who hath taught him?" (Isa. 40:13, 14.) Jesus, on the other hand, received His knowledge from God. (John 8:28.)
God's knowledge includes all things past, present, and future. He knows all things. Jesus, on the other hand, was limited in knowledge in regard to the date of His return. (Mark 13:32.) Jesus is not God.
|Luke 2:52||Jesus increased in wisdom|
|John 5:19||What he seeth the Father do|
|John 8:28||As the Father hath taught me|
|Mark 13:32||Did not know date of His return|
|Acts 1:7||In Father's authority|
Inferior in Power. God is omnipotent. He is almighty. He has infinite power. "With God all things are possible." God's power originates within Himself. Through His power God performs all His works. Jesus, on the other hand, was not omnipotent. The power Christ exercised in performing miracles was received from God. He said, "The Son can do nothing of himself " (John 5:19). The power which Christ uses to accomplish His work in the church today and which He will use in ruling the earth in His future kingdom has been received from God. God's power originated within Himself; Jesus received power from God. Jesus is not God.
|John 5:19||Son can do nothing of himself|
|John 5:30||Of mine own self do nothing|
|John 8:28||I do nothing of myself|
|John 14:10||He doeth the works|
Inferior in Life. God has always existed. There never was a time when God did not exist. God not only will live forever in the future, but also has lived forever in the past. God's life was without beginning. Christ's life, on the other hand, had a definite beginning. There was a time when Jesus did not exist. Jesus will live for all eternity in the future, but He has not lived for all eternity in the past. Jesus is inferior to God in regard to age and previous length of life.
God is the source of all life. He derived existence from no one; He possesses life within Himself. Jesus, on the other hand, received life from God. If it were not for God, Jesus never would have existed. Jesus was begotten of the Father. His life was derived from God. The power of God caused Mary to conceive and bring forth a son. If it were not for the holy power of God, Jesus never would have been born. "The Holv Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). Jesus said, "The living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father" (John 6:57).
Jesus also received resurrection life from the Father. God raised Jesus from the dead through His power, the Spirit. (Acts 10:40; 13:30; Rom. 10:9.) Jesus voluntarily laid down His life as a sacrifice. He had authority to lay it down and He had authority to receive it again. (John 10:17, 18.) Jesus did not raise Himself from death. He was raised from death through the power of God. God is the source of all life; Jesus received life from God. Jesus is not God.
God Cannot Die. God is immortal. He is not subject to death. God always has been immortal and always will be immortal. It is impossible for God to die. Jesus, on the other hand, was born mortal. He died. Jesus had the characteristics of mortal man. He experienced hunger (Matt. 4:2), thirst (John 19:28), weariness (John 4:6), temptation (Matt. 4:1), and suffering (Luke 24:46). Jesus died (John 19:33; 1 Cor. 15:3). God cannot die; Jesus died. Jesus is not God.
Jesus became immortal when God raised Him from the grave. Jesus received immortality from God. Jesus can never die again. (Rom. 6:9.) When Jesus comes, all true believers will be made immortal like Him. (1 Cor. 15:52, 53; Phil. 3:20, 21.)
8. Divine Attributes and Positions Received from God. Some men argue that Jesus must be God and a part of the trinity because He exercises certain divine authority and reveals certain divine attributes. Exalted at God's right hand, Jesus has received divine authority and power from God. This, however, does not prove that Jesus is equal with God, God Himself, nor a part of God.
The fact that Jesus has been exalted by the Father shows that the Father is greater than Jesus. The fact that Jesus receives divine positions and works from God shows that Jesus is inferior to God. Today, Jesus has been exalted to the highest position in the universe second only to God Himself.
Authority Received from God. Jesus said, "All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18). Jesus always realized that His Father was superior to Him in authority. He lived in perfect obedience to God. After His resurrection, Jesus received divine authority from God. God's authority is derived from no one; it originates within Himself. God is greater than Jesus; Jesus is inferior to God. Jesus is not God.
Kingship Received from God. Jesus is designated King of kings. God has always been King of the universe; Jesus received His kingly authority from God. The basis of Christ's kingship is the fact that He is the Son of David (Luke 1:31-33) and also the Son of God (Psalm 2:6-9; Dan. 7:14). Jesus did not become Son of David and Son of God until He was born of Mary.
Work of Judgment. God has authorized Jesus to be Judge of mankind. God has committed judgment unto His Son. God will judge mankind through the work of Christ, the Judge. Jesus has received this position and work from God. (John 5:22, 27; Acts 10: 42; 17:31.) The fact that Jesus received this prerogative from the Father shows that the Father is superior to Him. Jesus is not God.
His Invisible Presence. Although Jesus is in heaven, He is able to be everywhere present with His followers. He said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:20). Jesus is able to do this through God's power, the Spirit. Jesus received this power from God. (John 15:26; Acts 2:33.)
9. Four Trinitarian Arguments Considered. Trinitarians object to the truth that Jesus is not God. The four main arguments they use to teach that Jesus is God Himself are: (1) divine attributes are ascribed to Christ; (2) divine prerogatives are ascribed to Christ; (3) certain scriptures state that Jesus was in the image or fullness of God; (4) Jesus is given the title "God" in certain scriptures.
We have already considered the first argument and observed that Jesus was inferior to God in attributes of knowledge, power, and life during His earthly ministry. He was dependent upon God in all things. Instead of proving that Jesus is God, His attributes prove that He is not God.
The second argument also has been considered. The fact that Jesus exercised or will exercise certain divine authority and perform divine works (King, Judge, etc.) does not indicate that Jesus is God. On the contrary, we notice that Jesus received all these positions and works from God, showing that Jesus is inferior to God.
The third argument used by trinitarians against the truth that Jesus is not God is the fact that certain scriptures state that Jesus is in the image of God. These scriptures are as follows:
|Philippians 2:6||Being in the form of God|
|Colossians 1:19||In him all fulness dwell|
|Colossians 2:9||In him dwelleth all the fulness|
|Colossians 1:15||The image of the invisible God|
|2 Corinthians 4:4||Christ, who is the image of God|
|Hebrews 1:3||Express image of his person|
|John 12:45||He that seeth me seeth him|
|John 14:9||Seen me hath seen the Father|
These scriptures do not teach that Jesus is God. They do not indicate that Jesus is part of a trinity. The word "image" means likeness or impressed character. Jesus was the moral likeness of God. His character reflected God's moral attributes--holiness, love, and truth. Men could know what God's character or image was like by looking at the lovely life of Jesus. His life revealed holiness, righteousness, justice, love, mercy, lovingkindness, truth, veracity, and faithfulness. Jesus was godly; He was God-like in character and conduct. Jesus was not God Himself; He reflected God's character in His perfect life.
The fourth argument used by trinitarians is that Jesus is given the title "God" in a few scriptures. Three principal scriptures are: John 20:28; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8.
This argument is answered by the fact that the word "God" (Hebrew elohim and Greek theos)sometimes is applied to men and to angels in the Bible. When used in this secondary sense, the word "God" indicates someone who is a representative of the one true supreme God.
The term God is employed in the Scriptures chiefly in two senses. The former of these is when it designates Him who so rules and presides over all things in heaven and on earth, that He acknowledges no superior ... in this sense the Scriptures assert that God is one. The latter sense is when it denotes a Being who has received from that one God some kind of superior authority either in heaven or on earth among men, or power superior to all things human, or authority to sit in judgment upon other men, and is thus rendered in some sense a partaker of the Deity of the one God. (The Racovian Catechism. Section III, Chapter 1.)
Moses was designated as God in relation to Aaron (Ex. 4:16) and to Pharaoh (Ex. 7:1). Moses was called God (elohim) but he was not the one supreme God nor part of any trinity. Moses was God's representative. Human judges, representatives of the one true God, are designated as God. In Exodus 22:28 the word "gods" refers to human judges. In Exodus 21:6; 22:8, 9; and 1 Samuel 2:25, the word "judges" is translated from the Hebrew elohim or God. Psalm 97:7 is quoted in Hebrews 1:6. The "angels" of Hebrews 1 are the "gods" in Psalm 97. Angels are representatives of God, but not God Himself.
Israelites were called "gods" in Psalm 82:6, 7. Jesus quoted this verse to show this fact. "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" (John 10:34-36.)
The fact that the word "God" is used in the secondary sense as a representative of God in Hebrews 1:8 is shown by the next verse. In Hebrews 1:9 the one true supreme God is described as the Son's God. "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." (Hebrews 1:8, 9 is a quotation of Psalm 45:6, 7.)
Jesus is not God Himself. He is not part of a trinity. Jesus is the Son of God.
(Adapted from Systematic Theology, by Alva Huffer, published by Church of God General Conference, Oregon, Illinois 61061, U.S.A.)
© Church of God General Conference. This lesson may be reproduced without change for non-commercial purposes without prior permission.