Welcome everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’re continuing tonight our look at the Watchtower booklet of “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” Tonight, we’re finally going to start getting into discussing the Bible. Let’s see what the Watchtower has to say.
To begin with, the Watchtower has a little bit before their first point on God being one and not three that no one reading the Bible through would come to the concept of the Trinity.
No one, that is, except the early church.
To get to the Scriptures, the Watchtower begins quoting an authority again, L.L. Paine who says:
“The Old Testament is strictly monotheistic. God is a single personal being. The idea that a trinity is to be found there . . . is utterly without foundation.”
To begin with, I as a Trinitarian agree. The Old Testament is monotheistic as is Trinitarianism. God is a single personal being. I also agree that the Trinity is not found in the Old Testament in the sense that it is explicitly taught, although I do think the seeds of the doctrine are there.
But of course, the Watchtower wants to give the impression that all Trinitarians teach that the Old Testament explicitly teaches the Trinity.
We are told that Jesus affirmed the tradition of Jews that “Hear O Israel, The Lord your God is one.”
It’s a good thing Trinitarians affirm that too. Does the Watchtower tell its readers that? Nope.
We are told the word “one” has no plural modifiers to indicate it refers to one individual. This does not follow. The word for one itself is a word that leaves room open for plurality. Also, one individual and one being are not necessarily the same. The term individual is to be equated with persons so that the Watchtower is wanting to stack the deck without coming out and blatantly doing so.
We are told Paul affirmed that God is one in Galatians 3:20 and 1 Cor. 8:4-6.
Okay. Are we supposed to disagree with this sometime along the way? In fact, I would begin a teaching of the Trinity by affirming that God is one.
We are then told:
Thousands of times throughout the Bible, God is spoken of as one person. When he speaks, it is as one undivided individual. The Bible could not be any clearer on this. As God states: “I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory.” (Isaiah 42:8) “I am Yahweh your God . . . You shall have no gods except me.” (Italics ours.)—Exodus 20:2, 3, JB.
Note there are times he speaks in the plural, such as Genesis 1 and Genesis 11. That God uses terms like “me, my, I, etc.” does not go against Trinitarianism. In the Trinity, the Son and the Spirit would be subsumed under the identity of the Father. An excellent reference on this would be Richard Bauckham’s “God Crucified.”
The Watchtower says that surely this would be made clear. We argue that it was. One wonders if the Watchtower would hold that the condemnation of homosexuality is clear for instance, but there are some who deny the Bible explicitly teaches a condemnation of homosexual practice.
However, to say that God being one goes against the Trinity is completely false since we do affirm the oneness of God. The Watchtower is mistakingly making the case that God is one means that God is one person.
The question to ask is “God is one what?”
Do try to find a verse that explicitly says one person as well.
After all, this needs to be explicitly taught.