Errors in Anti-Trinitarian Thought: Ontology Vs. Function

Unipersonalism is always the big mistake anti-Trinitarians make, but I believe this one would be right behind it. In the gospels, you see Jesus submitting to the will of the Father and the objection is that if Jesus submits to the will of the Father, then he can’t be fully God.

Other passages that will be used will be passages such as Jesus being given the revelation by God in Revelation 1:1. Jesus does what he sees the Father doing in John 5:19 and in John 6:57, Jesus says that he lives because of the Father.

As an orthodox Trinitarian, I can say amen to all of those easily and not blink with my Trinitarian thought.

This gets into the topic mentioned in the title that might be a word some people don’t recognize so I’ll explain it. Ontology is the study of being. The ontological status of a thing is what that thing is. My ontology is human. The ontology of a cat is that it fully possesses the nature of a cat. A horse fully possesses the nature of a horse. Etc.

Too often, Anti-Trinitarians believe that because one is a superior in a relationship functionally, then that must mean they must be superior in ontology. Anyone who is married and anyone who has experience in the work force or anyone raised by parents can see this. (That should cover all of us unless you were somehow raised by wolves and strayed onto a laptop at a campsite in the wild and you’re reading this post to which I say “Welcome to civilization!”)

In a marriage commitment biblically, the man is to be the head of the woman. Does that mean the woman is less human? No. She is to be subordinate to her husband yes, but that does not mean that he treats her as if she’s less human. She is fuly human. In fact, in Christian thought, she bears the image of God just as much as her husband does.

When you go to work, you probably have a boss that is your superior over you or maybe you’re one of those people that is actually the superior. Does that mean though that you are inferior to your boss in humanity or that you are superior to your staff in humanity? No. You serve different functions, but your ontology is the same.

When you were growing up, you listened to what your parents said hopefully and you had to do what they told you to. (Well, you were usually supposed to at least.) However, this doesn’t mean that you were less human. It just meant that functionally, you’re in a subordinate position. The position that you are in functionally tells nothing about your ontology.

In each of the passages going on, we see an interaction between the Father and the Son and when people interpret these in a position where Jesus is functionally subordinate, they think they’ve disproven the Trinity. (And statements like John 5:19 being used to disprove the Trinity just really blow my mind.)

Now some of you might be wondering about specific texts that I cited above. That is for later on. Before we get into the interpretation of the text, we’re going to look at the thinking that takes place and the assumptions that are brought to the text. I also intend to show errors in Trinitarian thought where some Christians make mistaken assumptions that they shouldn’t. That’s it for today!

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