WELCOME TO THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES

 

THE GOD OF JESUS: PART TWENTY-SIX

Summary

 

       The Biblical Scriptures provide us with a clear understanding that God is not Father, Son and Spirit.  Both Old and New Testaments identify God as the Father and only the Father.  In the Hebrew Scriptures, God is seen as YHWH, the self existent one, and is identified as Father some fifteen times.  In the Greek Scriptures, Jesus, Paul, Peter, John and other authors of Scripture clearly identify the Father as the one and only God. 

       Scripture identifies Jesus as the promised Messiah to Israel who became the Son of God through supernatural conception in the womb of Mary some 2000 years ago.  Jesus fulfilled His ministry, was crucified and through resurrection was born again to eternal life.  Jesus was the first fruits of those who had died.  Scripture clearly shows Jesus was the first to be born from the dead to eternal life.  Jesus plainly said He was dead.  The Son was not God incarnate which is to say He eternally existed and could not die.  The Son of God clearly died.  He is alive because the Father resurrected Him, not because He eternally existed (Acts 2:24, 5:30-31, Romans 6:9-11, 1 Corinthians 15:20, Colossians 1:18, 1 Peter 1:3, Revelation 1:5, 1:18). 

       The Spirit is of the Father.  It is not one of three distinctions or persons of a Triune God where it is co-equal and con-substantial with the Father and the Son.  The Spirit of God the Father is the power and creative activity of God the Father.  It is manifested throughout the universe.  It is manifest in the Son and in you and me.  While the Spirit is at times seen as personified in Scripture, it is not a person or distinction of God.  It simply is the mind and power of God the Father. 

       The word of God is not a person called the Son but is the virtual speech of the Father. It is the Father’s expressed thought, will and purpose which is manifested through the power of His Spirit.  When Apostle John writes that the word became flesh in the person of Jesus, John is saying the word of the Father was manifested in the conception of Jesus through the Father’s Spirit.  Because of what Jesus accomplished in becoming the savior of the human race, God the Father elevated Jesus to His right hand and gave Him great power, authority and glory.

       Trinitarian theologians use the Greek word perichoresis to describe a mutual indwelling of Father, Son, and Spirit.  The Father, Son and Spirit are believed to participate in a three-way reciprocity.  While the three are seen as having properties of their own as distinctions of the one God, the three are seen as inseparable.  Though distinction can be seen in their activities they are considered to be one in both Being and activity.  The three are seen as always acting together.  The Father is not the Father apart from the Son and the Spirit, the Son is not the Son apart from the Father and the Spirit and the Spirit is not the Spirit apart from the Father and the Son.  It is believed there is oneness of activity between them within their homoousial (single substance), perichoretic (mutual indwelling) and hypostatic (distinction of Being) existence as Father, Son and Spirit. 

       Trinitarian theology teaches all humanity is centered in the homoousial, perichoretic and hypostatic existence of Father, Son and Spirit.  It is sometimes stated there is no God behind the back of Jesus.  Jesus is believed to be God as God is God and when we look at Jesus we see God which is to say we see Father, Son and Spirit.  It is maintained God reveals Himself through Himself, a concept originally formulated by the theologian Irenaeus and more recently developed by theologian Karl Barth.  Therefore, it is believed Jesus had to be God in order for God to reveal Himself through Himself. 

       Scripture shows, however, that God has and does reveal Himself in many ways. God revealed Himself to Moses in a burning bush.  No one would conclude the burning bush was God.  God was revealed to Israel through Moses.  No one would conclude Moses was God.  The power, will and purpose of God were constantly revealed to Israel and other nations through the prophets.  No one would conclude these prophets were God.  We consistently see in the OT Scriptures God revealing Himself through the prophets and others for the explicit purpose to have the people know that “I am YHWH.”   Jesus was a prophet (Acts 3:22) and as such had the Spirit of God by which He revealed God as His Father and our Father and his God and our God (John 20:17).  Jesus did not have to be God to reveal God.

       Theologians, such as the late Thomas F Torrance, teach that all Christian doctrine is to be formulated within the framework of the Trinity and incarnation.  It is believed all humanity is centered in the Trinity and through participation in this Trinitarian union of Father, Son and Spirit we have relationship with God. 

       The Scriptures, however, say nothing about humanity being centered in a homoousial, perichoretic and hypostatic union of Father, Son and Spirit.  Christ taught we are to be centered in the Father.  Jesus plainly said the Father is the one and only God and it is the Father who we are to be reconciled to and with whom we are to have a relationship.  While such relationship is facilitated through Christ, it is, nevertheless, a relation with the one and only God who is the Father, not a God who is Father, Son and Spirit.  Scripture teaches we become adopted sons of the Father.  Paul wrote to the Galatians that God the Father sent His Son to redeem us so we may receive full rights as His (The Father’s) sons.  Because we are sons, God gives us His Spirit whereby we acknowledge God as our Father.  This is the same Spirit whereby Christ acknowledged God as His Father.  This is why Paul can say God sends the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.  It is the same Spirit the Father gave to His Son.  Being a son of God equates to being a son of the Father.  Nowhere in Scripture are we identified as sons of the Son of God or the Spirit of God. 

       Galatians 4:4-6:  But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

       As did Paul and other of the Apostles, Jesus also consistently directs attention to the Father in His teachings.  While the Scriptures show Jesus as being worshiped and at times prayed to, we find Jesus directing worship and prayer to the Father (Matthew 6:6, John 4:23).  While we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus, we still pray to the Father.  This says a lot about who the one and only God is and where our relational focus should be.

       While the concept of perichoresis does not define God as a mutual indwelling of Father, Son and Spirit resulting in singleness of Being, it is a useful concept in defining the spiritual relationship between God, Christ and humanity.  Jesus spoke of His being in the Father and the Father in Him and of our being in the Father and the Father being in us.  All this is seen as accomplished through the Spirit of the Father which proceeds from the Father through Christ and to us.  This mutual indwelling pertains to spiritual oneness.  The mutual indwelling between the Father and the Son and between the Father and us has nothing to do with being one in Being.  Being one in spirit does not mean oneness of Being.  We do not become one in Being with the Father by having the Spirit of the Father dwell in us and neither does Christ.  Jesus having the Father’s Spirit dwell in Him does not make Him ontologically one with the Father anymore than it makes us ontologically one with the Father.  The indwelling passages found in Scripture all have to do with spiritual dynamics of singleness of mind, purpose, thought and will and not singleness of Being.    

The Worship of Jesus:

       Because Jesus is seen as being worshiped in NT Scriptures, it is commonly believed Jesus must be as much God as the Father is God.  It is believed the Hebrew Shema prohibits worship of anyone other than the one God. (See Chapter Two for a discussion of the Shema). It is believed first century monotheistic Jewish Christians could not have worshiped Jesus if they didn’t believe Him to be the one God as much as the Father is the one God. Does the Shema prohibit worship of anyone other than God?

        The Shema doesn’t address worship.  The Shema simple states that God is one and is to be loved with all your heart soul and strength.  Jesus identified who the One God of the Shema is. Jesus plainly said the Father is the one and only true God (John 5:44 and 17:3).  Jesus upheld the Shema (Mark 12:29).   Apostle Paul upheld the tenets of the Shema (1 Corinthians 8:6, 1Timothy 2:5).  In the Shema, God the Father is seen as a stand alone Deity who alone is YHWH Elohim.  Scripture identifies YHWH alone as the Most High God over all the earth and above all other gods. 

        Psalm 97:9: For you, O LORD (YHWH) are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.

        Psalms 83:18: Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD (YHWH), that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

         Scripture teaches there is only one Most High God and that God is YHWH.  The monotheism represented in the Shema is violated if someone worships someone other than YHWH as the one and only Most High God. In worshiping Jesus, we are not worshiping the Most High God.  We are worshiping the Son of the Most High God. 

        Luke 1:35: The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

        As discussed throughout this book, Jesus identifies himself as the Son of the one and only true God and not that He also is the one and only true God.  Jesus identifies himself as the Christ (anointed one) of the one and only God.  As discussed several times in this book, nowhere in Scripture will you find the phrase God the Son or God the Spirit. You only find God the Father.  The Shema prohibits worship of someone as the one and only God who is not the one and only God. The Shema does not prohibit the worship of someone who is not the one and only God but is considered worthy of worship.  Worship of Jesus is not worship of the Most High God.  Therefore, worship of Jesus and Jesus accepting worship is not a violation of the Shema.  

        We worship the Father commensurate with who He is and who He is, is the one and only Most High God over all reality. We worship Jesus commensurate with who he is and who He is, is the resurrected and glorified one and only directly begotten Son of the one and only Most High God.  As discussed and demonstrated throughout this book, being the resurrected and glorified Son of God does not equate with being that God. While it is not permissible to worship anyone but YHWH as the one and only God, it is permissible to worship others commensurate with who they are.

       Worship is an act of respect and reverence toward one having authority, power, and a certain status.  In the Hebrew Scriptures we find worship being directed not only to God but to men of position and power.  The Hebrew word commonly used in the OT for worship is hithpael which means to prostrate one self.  It was a way of doing homage to a superior.  While this word is primarily seen in association with the worship of God in the OT, it is also seen in association with the worship of Kings and others.  We see David prostrating himself before King Saul and the Israelites doing hithpael to both God and King David. 

       1 Samuel 24:8:  Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, "My lord the king!" When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated (hithpael) himself with his face to the ground.

       1 Chronicles 29:20: Then David said to the whole assembly, "Praise the LORD your God." So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king.

        We find Bathsheba doing hithpael to David.  Ruth did hithpael to Boaz.  The Shunammite women, whose son the prophet Elisha raised from the dead, did hithpael to Elisha.  We find dozens of such occurrences in OT Scripture.  Worship in Scripture is not something limited to God.  Worship can be directed to others commensurate with their level of qualification for such worship.  

        In the Greek Scriptures we see the word proskuneo translated “worship.”  This word is equivalent to the Hebrew hithpael in meaning and is used almost exclusively in association with the worship of God and Jesus but is also seen in Revelation 3:9 as applied to members of the church at Philadelphia.   

       Revelation 3:9: I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars--I will make them come and fall down (proskuneo) at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.

       The Father is the only one worthy of being worshiped as the Supreme, Most High God because the Scriptures show Him to be the one and only Supreme God.  Jesus is worthy of worship because of His status as the one and only begotten Son of the one and only Supreme God.  Our worship of the Father and Jesus is a response to who they are.  Our worship of them is commensurate with who they are.  We worship the Father as the one and only self existent Eternal Creator God.  We worship the Son as the anointed of this stand alone Supreme God.  Because we worship Jesus doesn’t mean He is the Supreme God.  Jesus was worshiped by the Magi that came to Bethlehem not because they thought He was the Supreme God but because they knew He was the prophesied King of Israel.  Therefore, they paid Him the appropriate homage.  God the Father and Jesus the Son of God the Father are worthy of worship commensurate with who they are.  Paul makes plain who they are.

        I Corinthians 8:6: Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

       1Timothy 2:5: For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 

       Some believe when Paul, in 1 Corinthians 8:6, says Jesus is the one Lord, Paul is identifying Jesus as the LORD of the Shema since the Shema says, “Hear, O Israel: the LORD (YHWH) our God, the LORD (YHWH) is one.”  It is believed Paul is reformulating the Shema to reveal the identity of the one God as being both the Father and the Son.  Therefore, it is believed Jesus is identified with the LORD (YHWH) of the Shema.  Those who take this position read 8:6 as, “There is but one YHWH the Father and one YHWH Jesus Christ.”

       This approach assumes the thing to be proved which is that Father and Son are equally YHWH.  Paul clearly says the Father is the one God and Jesus is the one Lord. Jesus, as the one Lord, is clearly distinguished from the Father who is identified as the one God.  Paul makes this distinction throughout his writings and clearly shows the Son is not the Father's equal but is subservient to the Father (I Corinthians: 11:3, 15:27-28). Both the Father and the Son are identified as Lord in Scripture.  The Father is the one Supreme Creator LORD God (YHWH Elohim) while Jesus is Lord Christ (The anointed of the Father).

       In Chapter fourteen, I asked the question, Is Jesus Divine?  Let’s return to that question.  As pointed out in Chapter Fourteen, to be divine involves exceeding the bounds of normal humanity and manifesting supernatural attributes. The Son of God, as the human Jesus, demonstrated supernatural attributes more than any other human.  He did this not because He was God in the flesh but because the one and only Most High God granted Him supernatural attributes.  To a lesser extent, God granted supernatural attributes to Apostles Peter, Paul and others as witnessed by their miracle working activity.  This did not make these men the Most High God or entitle them to be worshiped as the Most High God.  They understood all praise and worship for humanly performed supernatural activity belonged to the Supreme God. 

       When Paul facilitated the healing of a man crippled from birth, the people began to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas believing them to be gods come down to them in human form.  Paul quickly dismissed such activity and said the credit for what they did should be directed “to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them” (Acts 14:8-15).  Even though Paul and Barnabas displayed divine activity, they were quick to reveal the source of such divine activity.  Jesus did the same thing throughout His ministry and even after His ascension He continued to identify the source of His power and glory as the Father who He continued to relate to as His God. 

       During His ministry, Jesus consistently directed praise for what He did to His Father God.  Jesus plainly said He could do nothing on His own.  All that He did He did because God the Father enabled Him.  God gave Jesus supernatural powers beyond anything given to any other human.  While Scripture shows Jesus being worshiped, there is no evidence such worship directed to Jesus was directed to Him as the One and Only Most High God.  Worship of Jesus as the One and Only God would have run totally contrary to the Shema which Jesus showed identified God as a single, undifferentiated Being.  Nothing in the Shema identifies God as being differentiated as Father, Son and Spirit.           

       During His ministry, Jesus gave no hint of being one with the Father in Being.  Jesus plainly said the Father was the one and only true God (John 5:44 and 17:3).   Worship directed toward Jesus during His earthly ministry was in response to recognition of Him being the promised King of Israel.  As previously discussed, when the Magi worshiped Jesus at his birth they didn’t do so because they thought He was the Eternal God.       

       After the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, His God and Father granted Him great power, authority and glory.  Within the context of who God the Father has made Jesus to be, Jesus is worthy of being worshiped as a god provided we remain cognizant of the fact the Father is the One and Only Most High Supreme God from whom all power and authority flows.  YHWH is this God and there is no other God like YHWH (See my discussion of Psalm 82:1-7 and John 10:30-36 in Chapter Fourteen).  

       When we consider what Jesus accomplished on our behalf as the totally obedient and subservient agent of the One and Only Most High God and how His God and Father elevated Him to high status because of what He accomplished, it should be apparent Jesus is worthy of great worship as our glorified Savior and Lord.  This does not in any way compromise the monotheism of Scripture which is based on the exclusive worship of only one Being as the Supreme God, a God who is the power over all reality including the reality that is Christ Jesus.  Worship of the Son is not equal to worship of YHWH.  The belief that worship of Jesus undermines monotheism if Jesus isn’t YHWH does not square with the Scriptures.

       I have presented a number of straightforward Scriptural quotes from Jesus, Paul, John and others who identify the Father as the one and only Supreme God.  I believe it is clear Scriptures such as these that must define our understanding of who God is in relation to who Jesus is.  These are core statements made by the men we look to for formulation of Christian doctrine.  These are foundational statements that must define our understanding of who the Father and the Son are in relationship to each other.  Scriptures that appear on the surface to say something different as to the relationship between God and Christ must be examined in light of the clear and concise core Scriptures that show there to be one Unitarian, undifferentiated God who is the Father.  Such Scriptures present straightforward, unambiguous evidence showing the Father to be the one and only Most High God.  

       We have examined dozens of Scriptural passages that have been used by Trinitarians to say Jesus is God as God is God.  Upon careful examination of these Scriptural passages, they do not provide clear evidence of Jesus being God as God is God.  In many cases they provide strong evidence Jesus is not God as God is God.   On the other hand, we have examined dozens of Scriptural passages that provide undeniable evidence that the Father is the one and only Most High, Supreme Creator God and the Son is the prophesied and begotten Messiah of this one and only Most High, Supreme Creator God. 

       Trinitarian theologians readily admit their three in one and one in three concept of God is a mystery that cannot be comprehended.  Typical of admissions to that effect are the following statements taken from the book we quoted from earlier, The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons, by the renowned Trinitarian theologian Thomas F Torrance.

       “Both the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit are incomprehensible mysteries which are not explicable through recourse to human modes of thought.  Hence, as Athanasius and Gregory of Nazianzen insisted, we must set aside all analogies drawn from the visible world in speaking of God, helpful as they may be up to a point, for they are theologically unsatisfactory and even objectionable, and must think of ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ when used of God as imageless relation.  ‘Father,’ Gregory pointed out, is the name of the relation in which the Father stands to the Son, and the Son stands to the Father, but as such it is an ineffable relation which exceeds and transcends human powers of imagination and conception, so that we may not read the creaturely content of our human expressions of ‘father’ and ‘son’ analogically into what God discloses of his own inner divine relations. Hence Gregory Nazianzen like Athanasius insisted that thy must be treated as referring imagelessly, that is in a diaphanous or ‘see through’ way to the Father and the Son without the intrusion of creaturely forms or sensual images into God.  Thus we may not think of God as having gender nor think of the Father as begetting the Son or the Son as the begotten after the analogy of generation or giving birth with which we are familiar among creaturely beings” (Page 157-158).

       “In response to his Word we cannot help but use human language in speaking of God, but in itself it is far from adequate or proper.  The ultimate truth to which we seek to give theological expression when, following Holy Scripture, we call God ‘Father and Son’ is hidden in the mystery of God’s transcendent Being.  That is holy ground upon which we dare not try to intrude through human speculation.  Karl Barth went as far as to write about this: ‘We do not know what we are saying when we call God Father and Son.  We can say it only in such a way that on our lips and in our concepts it is untruth.  For us the truth we are expressing when we call God Father and Son is hidden and unsearchable’ ” (Page 159). 

       “As Karl Barth once wrote: ‘In our hands even terms suggested to us by Holy Scripture will prove to be incapable of grasping what they are supposed to grasp.’ However, as Cyril of Alexandria one said, ‘when things concerning God are expressed in language used of men, we ought not to think of anything base, but to remember that the wealth of divine Glory is being mirrored in the poverty of human expression’ ”(page 173).

       In response to the above quotes, let me say the following:  The Christian theological system is based on the Biblical Scriptures which are a collection of documents believed to have come about as a result of the leading of the Spirit of God.  It is recognized that authors of Scripture use a great deal of analogy, metaphor, rhetorical exaggeration (hyperbole) and figurative language in their writings.  Analogy is showing something to be like something else.  It involves the drawing of parallels.  Metaphor is using the non-literal to represent the literal.  Metaphor often uses symbols to represent the real thing. Hyperbole is the use of language in exaggerated ways to make a point.  There is much use of all three of these forms of communication in the Scriptures, especially in the prophetic writing.

       While it is true the authors of Scripture frequently used these forms of speech, much of what is written in Scripture is straightforward in its communication to us of information vital to our understanding of who the Father, Son and Spirit are.  If this were not the case, we would flounder in an endless sea of speculative interpretation as to what the Scriptures are teaching us.  Language is for the purpose of communicating information.  Words are meant to communicate their common and accepted meaning.  When reading the Scriptures, we must consider the words used by its authors to contain the normal and accepted meaning germane to such words unless context suggests something different. 

       For example, we see the word “begotten” used in Scripture to signify a moment in time beginning.  This is the common and normal way this word is used and understood as seen by its use in both secular and sacred context.  Therefore, there is no reason to use this word to signify an eternal (without beginning) event.  Such usage is completely outside of the normal usage of this word. Mr. Torrance writes that we can’t define begetting or begotten in terms of how those words are used in describing human activity and yet sees nothing wrong with defining these words in ways totally contrary to their normal meaning.

       The Arian controversy of the fourth century centered on how the Son came to be.  Arius believed the Son had a moment in time beginning.  His opponents believed the Son was eternally begotten (had no beginning).  Fourth century theologians could have avoided much conflict if they simply would have recognized that to become begotten is to have a beginning in time.  Having a beginning in time involves something or somebody coming into existence that was not previously in existence. 

       When the Scriptures tell us God is immortal and those same Scriptures tell us Jesus died, I have no reason to conclude the Jesus who died is the immortal God as such a conclusion is totally out of line with the normal and accepted meaning of the word immortal and the word death.  When Jesus says His Father is the one and only true God, I have to believe “one and only” means “one and only” and not that “one and only” includes two additional entities.

       The Scriptures do not present the relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit as a great mystery that can’t be understood.  As previously discussed, the Greek word translated mystery in the NT does not mean something that can’t be understood but something that is understood as private knowledge held by an individual or group to whom understanding has been given.  Paul consistently uses this word in relation to revealed knowledge, not hidden knowledge. Here is just one example of this.

       Romans 16:25-27: Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him-- to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

       God being a Trinity is truly a mystery that cannot be understood because it presents a construct of God that does not square with the Scriptural revelation of who the Father, Son and Spirit are in relation to each other.  Formulation of the Trinity is founded on the use of words outside their normal and accepted usage resulting in ambiguous and confusing theology.

       I want it to be clear that if the Biblical Scriptures clearly revealed God to be a single Being of single undivided substance and yet differentiated in three Persons or distinctions, I would have no problem accepting such revelation as paradoxical as such a concept of God may appear to be.  If the Scriptures clearly revealed the immortal God died, I would have no problem accepting such revelation as contradictory as such a teaching would be to human reasoning.  The Scriptures, however, do not reveal such a paradoxical and contradictory God.  The Scriptures reveal God is an intrinsically immortal, undifferentiated Unitarian Being who is incapable of dying.  This God of immeasurable power is the source of all things and purposed from the beginning to provide a totally mortal human sacrifice to atone for the sin of mankind.  That sacrifice was the man Jesus, begotten through the Spirit of the Father who, upon completing His earthly mission, ascended to His God and Father and received great power and glory which had been ordained for Him from the beginning.

       The doctrine of the Trinity, as is true of all Christian doctrine and propositions of all kinds, must be able to stand up to falsification.  Falsification is the presentation of evidence that contradicts what is believed to be true.  I believe the Scriptures falsify the doctrine of the Trinity by presenting God as Unitarian and not Trinitarian.  I have identified and discussed multiple dozens of Scriptural passages that falsify the doctrine of the Trinity.  Here is just a sampling of the Scriptural passages used in this book that provide such falsification.  John 5:43-44, 17:3, 14:28, 5:26, 20:17, Romans 3:29-30, 16:25-27, Revelation 1:5-6, 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, Ephesians 4:4-6, 1 Timothy 2:5, Galatians 1:3-5, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 15:27-28, 1 John 5:20, Mark12:29-30, Psalm 103.

       The very language of the NT Scripture is evidence Jesus was not viewed as the eternal God but as the appointed servant of the eternal God.  When Jesus and the Apostles are quoted as saying the Father is the one and only true God, they are not speaking in code which can be deciphered to mean Jesus and the Spirit are also the one and only true God.  Apostle Peter’s Pentecost sermon shortly after Jesus had ascended to the Father emphatically shows who Jesus is versus who God is.

       Acts 2:22-24: Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.  This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.  But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.    

       There is no hint in anything Peter said to indicate he believed or anyone else believed Jesus was God as God is God.  Jesus is shown to be a man accredited by God through miracles God did through Him.  His crucifixion is seen as occurring as a result of God’s will and purpose to have Jesus die.  Jesus, the Son of God, died!  The man Jesus was dead.  God raised Him from the dead.  If we allow the Scriptures to instruct us as to who Jesus was during his presence on planet earth, it becomes abundantly clear Jesus was a totally human man ordained by God to accomplish a special purpose.  Upon completion of that purpose, God made Jesus immortal and elevated Him to great glory.  

       The Jesus of Scripture is not an incarnation of the eternal God.  The Jesus of Scripture is a totally human man through whom the eternal God accomplished His purpose to have a human sacrifice atone for human sin.  Jesus is alive, not because He is the immortal God but because the immortal God resurrected Him from the dead.      

      I know the Trinitarian concept of God is entrenched in the Christian consciousness.  I know what I have written in this book runs contrary to what is believed by the majority of Christian theologians, ministers and members of the Christian community.  Many will see my conclusions as revisionary, radical and heretical.  Some will accuse me of promoting a low Christology versus the high Christology generally seen in Evangelical Christianity. Some will see what I have written as a minimalistic interpretation of Christian theology. Others may accuse me of reviving the Arian controversy of the fourth century.  Some will simply conclude that the historical leadership of the Church could not possibly be wrong on an issue as important as the nature of the Father, Son and Spirit.  

       In reality, all such responses are irrelevant.  The only thing relevant is what the Scriptures are actually teaching as to the nature of the Father, Son and Spirit.  I ask you to carefully and objectively consider what the Scriptures reveal regarding the issues dealt with in this book and resist the urge to simply pigeonhole the position presented here as being without merit.

       The Christian community has been shown to be wrong before on major issues.  For centuries the leadership of the Christian Church believed and taught the sun revolved around the earth and used various Biblical Scriptures to support this belief.  When evidence was presented that the earth revolves around the sun, such evidence was denounced by Church leadership and those advancing such evidence were condemned. It took a considerable amount of time for the Church to embrace the evidence that the earth does indeed revolve around the sun. 

       I urge you to carefully and objectively examine what I have written.  Be careful to evaluate what has been presented within the context of the whole of Scripture.  When all the Scriptures that bear on this issue are carefully examined and studied in their relationship to each other, I believe there is a preponderance of evidence for the conclusions I have drawn.  If it can be demonstrated that the many Scriptures I have presented that identify the Father as the One and Only Supreme, Most High God can fit into a Trinitarian construct of God, I will be happy to examine such evidence.  I only ask that responses to what I have written be constructive, comprehensive and evidence based and not just sectarian or knee-jerk emotional reactions to the material presented.

REFERENCES