The Biblical Basis of the Doctrine of the Trinity
I - There Is One God
- One God: Explicit Statements
- OT: Deut. 4:35; 39; 32:39; 2 Sam. 22:32; Isa. 37:20: 43:10; 44:6-8; 45:5; 14; 21-22; 46:9
- NT: John 5:44; Rom. 3:30; 16:27; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5; James 2:19; Jude 25
- None like God (in His essence)
- Explicit statements: Ex. 8:10; 9:14; 15:11; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Kgs. 8:23; 1 Chr. 17:20; Psa. 86:8; Isa. 40:18, 25: 44:7; 46:5, 9; Jer. 10:6-7; Micah 7:18
- Being like God a Satanic lie: Gen. 3:5; Isa. 14:14; John 8:44
- Fallen man become "like God" only in that he took upon himself to know good and evil, not that he acquired godhood: Gen. 3:22
- Only one true God: 2 Chr. 15:3; Jer. 10:10; John 17:3; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 5:20-21
- All other "gods" are therefore false gods (idols), not gods at all: Deut. 32:21; 1 Sam. 12:21; Psa. 96:5; Isa. 37:19; 41:23-24, 29; Jer. 2:11; 5:7; 16:20; 1 Cor. 8:4; 10:19-20
- Demons, not gods, are the power behind false worship: Deut. 32:17; Psa. 106:37; 1 Cor. 10:20; Gal. 4:8
- How men are meant to be "like God"
- The image of God indicates that man is to represent God and share His moral character, not that man can be metaphysically like God: Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1; 1 Cor. 11:7; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10
- The goals of being like Christ has the following aspects only:
- Sharing His moral character: 1 John 3:2; Rom. 8:29
- Being raised with glorified, immortal bodies like His: phil. 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:49
- Becoming partakers of the divine nature refers again to moral nature ("having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust"), not metaphysical nature: 2 Pet. 1:4; see also Heb. 12:10; on the meaning of "partakers," see 1 Cor. 10:18, 20; 2 Cor. 1:17; 1 Pet. 5:1
- Are mighty or exalted men gods?
- Scripture never says explicitly that men are gods
- Powerful, mighty men are explicitly said not to be gods: Ezek. 28:2, 9; Isa. 31:3; 2 Thess. 2:4
- Men adn God are opposite, exclusive categories: Num. 23:19; Isa. 31:3; Ezek. 28:2; Hosea 11:9; Matt. 19:26; John 10:33; Acts 12:22; 1 Cor. 14:2
- Moses was "as God," not really a god: Ex. 4:16; 7:1
- Ezek. 32:21 speaks of warriors or soldiers as "mighty gods," but in context they are so regarded by their pagan nations, not by God or Israel; cf. Ezek. 28:2, 9
- The elohim before whom accused stood in Exodus was God Himself, not judges, as many translations incorrectly render: Ex. 22:8-9, 28; compare Deut. 19:17
- The use of elohim in Psalm 82, probably in reference to wicked judges, as cited by Jesus in John 10:34-36, does not mean that men really can be gods.
- It is Asaph, not the Lord, who calls the judges elohim in Psa. 82:1, 6. This is important, even though we agree that Psa. 82 is inspired.
- Asaph's meaning is not "Although you are gods, you will die like men," but rather "I called you gods, but in fact you will all die like the men that you really are"
- The Psalmist was no more saying that wicked judges were truly gods than he was saying that they were truly "sons of the Most High" (v. 6b)
- Thus, Psa. 82:1 calls the judges elohim in irony. They had quite likely taken their role in judgment (cf. point 5 above) to mean they were elohim, or gods, and Asaph's message is that these so-called gods were mere men who would die under the judgment of the true elohim (vss. 1-2, 7-8)
- Christ's use of this passage in John 10:34-36 does not negate the above interpretation of Psalm 82
- The words, "The Scripture cannot be broken," means "the Scripture cannot go without having some ultimate fulfillment" (cf. John 7:23; Matt. 5:17). Thus Jesus is saying that what the OT judges were called in irony, He is in reality; He does what they could not do, and is what they could never be (see the Adam-Christ contrasts in Rom. 5:12-21 and 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45 for a simiar use of OT Scripture)
- The clause, "those against whom the word of God came" (John 10:35) shows that this "word" was a word of judgment against the so-called gods; which shows that they were false gods, not really gods at all
- Finally, these wicked men were certainly not "godlike" or "divine" by nature, so that in any case the use of elohim to refer to them must be seen as figurative, not literal
- Even if men were gods (which they are not), this would be irrelevant to Jesus, since He was God as a preexistent spirit before creation: John 1:1
- Are angels Gods?
- Scripture never explicitly states that angels are gods
- Demonic spirits are not gods, 1 Cor. 10:20; Gal. 4:8; thus, being "mighty spirits" does not make angels gods
- Satan is therefore also a false god: 2 Cor. 4:4
- Psalm 8:5 does not teach that angels are gods
- Psa. 8:5 is paraphrased in Heb. 2:7, not quoted literally (cf. Psa. 68:18 with Eph. 4:8). In Psa. 8:5, elohim certainly means God, not angels, since Psa. 8:3-8 parallels Gen. 1:1, 8 16, 26-28. Note that the Psalmist is speaking of man's exalted place in creation, whereas Hebrews is speaking of the lower place taken by Christ in becoming a man. Thus, Heb. 2:7 may not mean to equate angels with gods at all.
- Even if Heb. 2:7 does imply that angels are "gods," in the context of Hebrews 1-2 these angels would be those falsely exalted above Christ: Note Heb. 1:6 (which quotes Psa. 97:7, which definitely speaks of "gods" in the sense of false gods); and cf. Col. 2:16 on the problem of the worship of angels
- Elsewhere in the Psalms angels, if spoken of as gods (or as "sons of the gods"), are considered false gods: Psa. 29:1; 86:8-10; 89:6; 95:3; 96:4-5; 97:7-9 (note that these false gods are called "angels" in the Septuagint); 135:5; 136:2; 138:1; cf. Ex. 15:11; 18:11; Deut. 10:17; 1 Chr. 16:25; 2 Chr. 2:5
- Even if the angels were gods (which the above shows they are not), that would be irrelevant to Jesus, since He is not an angelic being, but the Son who is worshipped by the angels as their Creator, Lord, and God: Heb. 1:1-13
- Conclusion: If there is only one God, one true God, all other gods being false gods, neither men nor angels being gods, and none even like God by nature - all of which the Bible says repeatedly and explicitly - then we must conclude that there is indeed only one God.