Hello, cyberspace traveler!
Speaking of intelligent life in space, the Bible makes it clear that the earth is the center of God’s plan for the universe and that there is no life on other planets, but let us just suppose that the proverbial “man from Mars” is out there on the Red Planet.
Let us further suppose that, after picking up a few satellite transmissions from earth, he forms a religious research organization called A.L.E.R.T. (Aliens Learning Extremely Ridiculous Teachings), and that he comes to earth to investigate further.
Please keep supposing. Exhausted from the journey, he checks into a Holiday Inn, and decides to catch a nap. But the excitement of being on the same planet with Michael Jordan will not allow him to sleep, so he opens the desk drawer and pulls out the Gideon Bible. Using an old Martian speed reading technique, he finishes it in two hours.
Would he then be a Trinitarian?
When reporting back to A.L.E.R.T., would he tell them about “the Trinity,” “three-in-one,” “God the Son,” “the Godman,” “dual nature,” “100% God and 100% man,” etc.? And when he could not find one Trinitarian who would purport to be able to explain to him this convoluted doctrine, would he give his fellow Martians a lucid explanation of it?
Seriously, if he, or you, prior to reading the Bible, had never heard those extra-biblical terms, would you really have arrived at that confusing concept simply from the words on the pages of Holy Writ? If no one else believed it, would you? The odds are miniscule, at best.
What would you believe?
That God is the Father and that Jesus is His only begotten Son, the Savior. And that “the Holy Spirit” is simply another title for God, “the only true God,” as Jesus called Him. And that would fit with the last chapter of the Bible, where we find only two seats on the final throne.
God is the Author of language, right? And if language is to be effective for communication, words must have definitive meanings, right? OK, if we agree on that, we can have a discussion that might get somewhere. If you want to defend the Trinity (which might be challenging if you cannot explain it), let’s take turns asking each other one question at a time. The only stipulation is that our answers must consist only of biblical terminology or ideas. OK? You go first.
“What about John 1:1?”
Now it’s my turn.
“How can Jesus be both God and the Son of God at the same time?” (Remember, no extra-biblical words or concepts.)
“Well, he is both human and divine.” Wait – what verse says that?
Your turn. “What about [whatever verse that supposedly proves the Trinity or that Jesus is God]?”
My turn. “How could God die?”
“Only the human part died.” Wait – what verse says that?
And so our discussion would go.
“But hold it,” you say, “every Christian believes in the Trinity. How could they all be wrong?” First of all, there have been multitudes of Christians through the centuries who have not believed in the Trinity. Millions of these dear saints died at the hands of Roman Catholic inquisitors. Would to God they had been more inquisitive about Scripture!
Second, truth is not determined by the number of people who believe it. Remember the time when “everyone” knew that the earth was flat? Is it? And what if “everyone” believes that you are a serial killer? Are you?
Perhaps you are afraid that by thinking that Jesus is “only” the Son of God and not “God the Son,” you are diminishing his greatness. Please consider that it may be just the opposite. Think about it. For God to do what Jesus did is not that big a deal, because nothing is hard for God. But for a human being to go through the indescribable torture Jesus did and still be focused on the Word of God in his last agonizing moments on the Cross is awesome. And then to think that he said that we can be like him!
The false teaching that Jesus is God actually diminishes the magnitude of his heroism. On the other hand, the truth magnifies his unwavering trust (faith) in his heavenly Father, the same God who asks us to trust Him. And our Lord Jesus will help us to do so, to walk in his steps and do the works he did.
I’d be glad to believe in the Trinity if I could find it in Scripture, but somehow the “cornerstone” of the Christian faith, the most important tenet there is, the linchpin of Christianity, is strangely unclear. I do hope that you will do yourself the favor of at least giving our work an honest and thorough consideration. It just might enhance your walk with the Lord.