So open up with the various beliefs:
- Trinitarianism believes God consists of three equal beings Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Most Unitarians say the Trinitarian doctrine was created in 325 AD (declaration by Constantinople that it is an article of faith that Jesus is God) and in 381 AD (declaration that it is an article of faith that the Holy Spirit is God). It is understood that the belief is the Father incarnated as Jesus.
- Unitarianism believes in the Father as true God and Jesus is the Son, a man. The extreme left end believes Jesus is merely a sinless man that materialized at birth. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Michael the Archangel incarnated as Jesus and then returned to spirit being status ; they also call Him “Mighty God” and their John 1:1 refers to Him as a god. Iglesia Ni Cristo believes the Word is God’s thought materialized by the spirit of Jesus taking human form and remaining flesh and bone after resurrection. Biblical Unitarianism believes Jesus was created in human form but use John 1:1 as an adjective as per Revised English Version (“the Word was what God was”). For details about Michael the Archangel: https://religiousrealist.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/michael-the-archangel/ .
- Armstrongism believes God is a family consisting of the Father and Son. They believe the Holy Spirit is a force.
- Members of Church of God International (www.mcgi.org) believes the Godhead is hierarchial (Father greater than the Son and the Holy Spirit being sent by both) but assign the noun “God” to it. Christian Church of God (www.ccg.org, a form of Biblical Unitarianism) recognizes it the same manner (hierarichical); however, they are distinct Beings with the Father being God, the Son being Jesus and the Holy Spirit being a force and they consider the other Unitarian sects as “Radical Unitarianism.”
- Apostolic/Pentecostal Oneness believes that God is a divine spirit that manifests Himself in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and believes in a Jesus only baptism (Acts 2:38) vs Matt 28:19 (baptizing in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit). It is non-Trinitarian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oneness_Pentecostalism
- All of them say the others are wrong and doomed to the lake of fire. Honestly, this is a circular argument. Explore the articles and the bible verses associated.
Previous blogs determined the following:
- John 1:1 being used as an adjective (“the Word was what God was” in REV and “the Word was divine”) means “the Word was God” denotes that Jesus has the qualities of God. So saying “Jesus is God” in this aspect is not wrong because that refers to the qualities vs the Being. Use as a noun, for instance, in NWT, would give rise to Hos 13:4 (you shall have no god beside me). John 1:1 maintains the divinity of Jesus but also separates Him from the Father.
- The spirit pre-exists based on Eccl 12:7 and Matt 27:50 (both say the spirit returns to God).
- The Word became flesh by Matt 1:18 and Gal 4:4-5. God’s plan was in John 3:16.
- Things come from God and through Jesus and we by the latter (1 Cor 8:6).
- The state of being of Jesus since birth remains flesh and bone (Heb 13:8, Luke 24:36-39). John 20:27 implies Jesus had no blood when He was resurrected (and that disputes the interpretation that 1 Cor 15:50 means Jesus became a spirit being; 1 Cor 15:50-58 is a transformation from an earthly body to a glorious body and Phil 3:20-21 is the desire for those who have eternal life to transform from a vile body to that worthy of the kingdom of heaven – no mention of “spirit being”).
- 1 Tim 2:5 – one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.
- Jesus being incarnated from a spirit being and returning to that status makes John 3:16 and Matt 27:46 vain statements.
What did God say?
Genesis 1:26King James Version (KJV)
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
This would have to confirm Jesus’ existence with God at the beginning (the Word).
Hebrews 1:9-12King James Version (KJV)
9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
(Hebrews 1:8 in most translations states “but of the Son, he says ‘Thy throne O God” and in NWT and Moffatt it states “God is thy throne”). Nonetheless the above passage would also indicate that Jesus existed in the beginning.
1 John 5:7King James Version (KJV)
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Notice this does not say “one Being”; it could mean one “entity” (which will be shown later in this article) united.
Hosea 11:9King James Version (KJV)
9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.
Hosea 13:4King James Version (KJV)
4 Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.
What did Jesus say?
Luke 18:18-19King James Version (KJV)
18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
Luke 24:36-39King James Version (KJV) – reiteration
36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
Matthew 27:46King James Version (KJV) -reiteration
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
John 6:38-40King James Version (KJV)
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day
John 8:28King James Version (KJV)
28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
John 8:40King James Version (KJV)
40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
John 8:42King James Version (KJV)
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
John 8:57-58King James Version (KJV)
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
John 10:29-30King James Version (KJV)
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.
John 14:28King James Version (KJV)
28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
John 17:1-3King James Version (KJV)
17 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
John 17:5King James Version (KJV)
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
John 20:17King James Version (KJV)
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
John 20:29New International Version (NIV)
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Notice He did not confirm nor deny what Thomas said. That is a safe answer. It could be taken as a reprimand.
What did others say about Jesus?
John 20:28King James Version (KJV)
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Again reiterating verse 29 is more of a reprimand.
What does the bible say about God?
John 4:24King James Version (KJV)
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
1 Timothy 2:5King James Version (KJV) -reiteration
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1 Corinthians 8:6King James Version (KJV)
6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
What does the bible say about Jesus?
Matthew 27:50King James Version (KJV) -reiteration
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
Matthew 28:9New International Version (NIV)
9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
John 20:31King James Version (KJV)
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Colossians 2:9King James Version (KJV)
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Colossians 2:9New International Version (NIV)
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
“because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily” (taken from the online NWT at jw.org).
That means that Christ has the qualities of the Deity/Godhead and, based on the NWT, it is a divine quality. 1 John 5:7 refers to this entity where they are one “divine quality.” What Jesus said in John 10:29-30 would indicate a unity among the three Beings (God , Jesus and Holy Spirit) but also a hierarchy (John 14:28 confirms it is a hierarchy). It is biblical interpretation to assign the noun “God” to this entity considering history (4th century). The summary and logical explanation follows (from a secular point of view). Of note, a page called “Christian Churches of God” (www.ccg.org), although a form of Biblical Unitarianism, acknowledges a Godhead and point out that it supposedly is distorted by Binatarianism (God consists of Father and Son) and Trinitarianism.
Philippians 2:8-11New International Version (NIV)
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Mark 16:19King James Version (KJV)
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
So based on this:
- Jesus did exist at the beginning in spirit form. “the Word” can be construed as both God’s plan and that the spirit comes from God. John 17:5 where Jesus implies He had the glory before the world began. Jesus even stated He came down from heaven to do the will of his Father in John 6:38. In John 8:58 Jesus stated “before Abraham was, I am.”
- Genesis 1:26 says “we” created man in our image. So Jesus and the Father existed in heaven in spirit form at the beginning. Let’s assume Father is greater than the Son and both are greater than the Holy Spirit. John 10:29-30 would support this along with what God and Jesus say in the bible.
- Heb 1:10-12 indicates Jesus existed in the beginning.
- God manifested Himself by Jesus becoming flesh. “Manifesting” means carrying out His plan. This is a transformation as opposed to a creation. The form called a “human” is a creation as are “angels” (and the bible clearly states in Heb 1 that Jesus is not an angel) and both are independent.
- Jesus remained flesh and bone and died for our sins.
- The divinity of Jesus is not doubted. Col 2:9 could say the fullness of the Deity or Godhead refers to the qualities (which includes no sin). NWT and REV seem to support this (“the divine quality” and “what God is”, respectively). But the bottom line is there is a Godhead/Deity.
- The devil tried to tempt Him in Matt 4:10 but failed.
- The human quality is being able to control one’s strength or emotions. Obviously Jesus could have overpowered and easily destroyed his captors but chose to endure instead (as shown in Phil 2:8).
- The Deity/Godhead could be an entity as opposed to a Being. This makes logical sense if you consider a Local Area Network as a server and workstations connected by cables; the server is the main computer that controls the system and has elaborate anti-virus and malicious site blocking software. One could take a workstation home and connect via wireless router but it would be vulnerable to corruption by viruses and malicious websites (normal humans are independent and can be influenced by evil thinking). God retains control of Jesus and the Holy Spirit so there are no imperfections so the Deity does have God’s qualities. It is hierarchical based on John 10:29 and John 14:28. It may not make logical sense that one Being = 3 separate distinct “persons.”
- Jesus recognized the Father as greater (John 10:29, John 14:28) and stated He was returning to His God and your God (John 20:17). His humility (John 10:29 and Phil 2:8). And why does he say “my God, my God why have you forsaken me?” in Matt 27:46. Points to consider.
- Things come from God and through Jesus (1 Cor 8:6)
- Jesus did not confirm nor deny being God in John 20:28 and verse 29 appears to be a reprimand.
- Jesus is Lord. Acts 20:28 ASV implies also.
- Jesus stated in John 8:42 that He came from God. I come from my own biological father and it is the fertilization of the egg that starts the process called “birth.” My father is in me because I inherit his genes and DNA. I’ll leave this open-ended.
- Jesus also stated in John 8:28 that he does nothing of himself. He was 33 years old when He died. Given a day in heaven is 1000 years (2 Peter 3:10), that is not even an hour; relatively speaking, a newborn compared to the Almighty Father. Do we as parents allow our children to be totally independent as infants? Fuzzy logic, maybe.
- Even if one follows Phil 2:6-11, it would indicate Jesus was a spirit in the beginning, transformed to flesh and bone, and was resurrected and that God commanded He be worshipped.
This author has what he believes is safe belief about the divinity of Jesus and that is between him and God. At this point in time, Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, the mediator whose state of being is flesh and bone with no blood, and the head of the church of Christ. That has not changed in 1983 years.
The imperfections in the 5 belief systems are not in the scope of this topic. Each one has one or two. This is an objective analysis.
Again, re-read the blogs about the church of Christ and what a true Christian is. Examine yourself.
Food for thought: Jesus knew of His resurrection.
Luke 24:46-47New International Version (NIV)
46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.