I thought I would not write on this subject again, but I have had many questions and comments on my last blog, and I thought I should answer them here. I do not want any error coming from my pen, for, as Ellen White said, "Error is never harmless" (CW 46.2). I wish earnestly with all my heart not to offend. When I picked up my "pen" [computer keyboard] to cover this subject, I thought this new information would please you. That is what I continue to hope for today with my present blog. Also, may I say, that I would welcome a fact checker to assure my readers that I have my facts straight. [emphasis supplied throughout]
Brothers and sisters, I am prepared to back down. Just show me that the antitrinitarian view has the weight of evidence, and I will gladly confess my error. Until then, "Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me." (paraphrase of Martin Luther) I am concerned about where this concept is taking us and will get to that in a moment.
Here are the questions that were raised, along with others that I thought were appropriate, and my response to them:
1. Q. An alternate translation of Elohim is "majestic," "the highest," "the greatest," etc. Is it not possible that the writer had the concept of ultimate superiority in mind when He wrote?
A. When I looked into Strong's Concordance (two versions actually) and in many others online, they all said, as the first definition, that Elohim is plural. One said derivations were occasionally used, with "majestic" given as an example. You are invited to research your own concordances and see if they shed light on this question. If you find anything other than this, please inform me.
2. Q. Doesn't the Bible says they are one? "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one" (Deut. 6:4, KJV).
A. This text is given more weight than other texts used in this discussion, and that is a perfectly acceptable approach. The original Hebrew word used in Deuteronomy 6:4 for "one" is plural. Look it up. It is echad, the plural one. (Strong's Concordance, No. 258, to unify; No. 259, prop. united.) What it signifies is unity--the unity that exists among the heavenly Trio. That unity our Father expects of us. That unity justifies us in speaking of them as one, as monotheistic.
3. Q. Jesus is the "only-begotten" of the Father; therefore, that makes Him of the Father and justifies the appellation "Son of God."
A. For years I have read about and accepted that Jesus is the Son of God. I have no problem with it and do not need this doctrine to prompt me to accept Jesus as God's Son. Nontrinitarians have a rule of interpretation that if a concept does not "violate the laws of nature," all else being equal, that concept may be accepted as doctrine. But everything I read in Scripture about "begetting" or "begotten" pertains to birthing someone. That's all I know. When you are begotten, you are born. It requires a mother and father, and nine months later you have a brand new baby. That is "begetting." In heaven, in eternity past, if the nontrinitarian view is correct, who played the part of the mother? Well, without a mother doesn't that violate nature? Can you show me where I'm wrong?
Is it not possible that Jesus became God's Son when He was born of Mary in the manger of Bethlehem? Jesus had no other father. God's foreknowledge that this would happen justifies Him in calling Jesus His Son long ago in eternity past, for to God all things occur in the present. Scripture says that Jesus is eternal; He had no beginning. Christ's "goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2, KJV). Does this agree with the concept that Jesus had a beginning? I will let you decide.
4. Q. Do you presume to disagree with the pioneers of Adventism who believed this way?
A. "We must study the truth for ourselves. No man should be relied upon to think for us. No matter who he is, or in what position he may be placed, we are not to look upon any man as a criterion for us. We are to counsel together, and to be subject one to another; but at the same time we are to exercise the ability God has given us, in order to learn what is truth. Each one of us must look to God for divine enlightenment. We must individually develop a character that will stand the test in the day of God. We must not become set in our ideas, and think that no one should interfere with our opinions." - TM 109.4
I'm not interested in what the pioneers believed, nor in what the Catholics believe, nor in what the council of Nicea believed, nor in what the Adventist church believes today. I am only interested in what the Bible says.
But I will share the history of this matter for the sake of discussion. It is uncontested that many of the early Adventists were nontrinitarians, including some of the great pioneers of Adventism. "However, it is also a historical fact that the understanding of our pioneers changed over time. For example, in 1846 James White referred to 'the old unscriptural Trinitarian creed, viz., that Jesus is the eternal God.' But in 1876 he wrote that 'S.D. Adventists hold the divinity of Christ so nearly with the Trinitarians, that we apprehend no trial here.' And a year later he declared his belief in the equality of the Son with the Father and condemned any view as erroneous that 'makes Christ inferior to the Father.'" (from http://www.macgregorministries.org/seventh_day_adventists/trinity.html)
Belief in the nontrinitarian view was never a pillar. Rather, the church's concept of the Godhead developed over time as the church grew.
I will make one caveat to the idea that I care not for human opinions. I believe Ellen White spoke for heaven; therefore, I honor her statements. What did she believe about this subject? One of her best-known statements in this regard is DA 530, where she states, "In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. 'He that hath the Son hath life.' 1 John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer's assurance of eternal life," aligning herself with Christ having full divinity.
(You will hear that upgrading Christ's position from subordinate to the Father to full deity is the work of EGW's staff, of her son, of others but I have looked this up throughout her work, and she seems to really believe and be committed to the position she sets forth in her writings. Here are the citations in which she originated this or a very similar idea: ST 4/8/1897; Ms. 2, 2/9/1886; Ms. 22, 2/22/1898. The document dated 2/9/1886 is original and can possibly be found in the archives in her own handwriting. If this was not her position, please send corroboration. For further study consult https://media1.whiteestate.org/legacy/issues/The-Trinity.pdf, Tim Poirier's, "Ellen White's Trinitarian Statements: What Did She Actually Write?")
5. Q. You cannot believe the message of God's character of love without believing in the antitrinitarian view.
A. How so? I believe in three co-equal Persons in one God, because that is the message of Scripture. It is true, our generous, considerate God leaves in Scripture "hooks to hang doubts on," but I believe the weight of evidence supports the Godhead view. I have no further comment on this, except that if you have evidence that this assertion is true--that one cannot believe the message of God's character of love while believing in the equality of the Godhead--you are invited to share your views below.
6. Q. What do you think is the "hook" that Satan has placed in the antitrinitarian view of God?
A. It makes Jesus inferior to the Father. It causes Him to have a beginning. In this case, God sent an inferior Being to this earth to redeem us. The incarnation cost the Father nothing, because the Sacrifice came into being at some time in the past and was therefore common.
Please check your logic with this syllogism:
Proposal 1. There is numerically one God.
Proposal 2. The Father is God.
Conclusion: Therefore, Jesus is not God.
If proposals No. 1 and 2 are true, then the conclusion, based on the proposals, must be true as well. If you insist that the nontrinitarian view of God is correct, then the conclusion is the reality you have to live with. I cannot do that. This is where this doctrine is taking us. I can see it in neon. What might Jesus say to this proposal? Might He say, "Before Abraham was, I Am" (John 8:34)? He is Jehovah, the self-existent one.