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HINDUISM, SIKHISM AND ISLAM: ARE THESE GOD'S RELIGIONS
God Is Not a Trinity
Sura 5:73 in the Quran states, “73 Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three [The Trinity of mainstream Christianity]; and there is no god but the one God, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve.”
Based on this Sura, Islamic writers find fault with mainstream Christianity. When they ask Christian scholars to explain the Trinity, they claim that it is a mystery, but maintain that God is a Triune God who exists as the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. But to a human mind, that does not make sense. That’s why Christians say that it is a mystery. Since Christians cannot offer a satisfactory explanation, and the Quran condemns this doctrine, Muslims feel justified in thinking that the Quran is superior to the Bible.
The truth, however, is that the Trinity doctrine is not based on the Bible. Muslims and the Quran are merely criticizing a doctrine invented by human beings, who claim to be Christians, by borrowing from the ancient paganism of Nimrod and Semiramis, and foisted upon mainstream Christianity by the great false Roman Church. God’s Church here agrees with Islam in refuting the Trinity doctrine. But the Bible is not to be blamed for this belief of mainstream Christianity.
We will not provide a history of the Trinity doctrine and detailed proofs that this doctrine is false because the United Church of God (UCG) publishes a comprehensive booklet titled “Is God a Trinity?” which is available free of charge at the Church’s web site www.ucg.org.
The Trinity doctrine is wrong because it conflicts with the Bible. For example, when Christ died, the Trinity ceased to exist. Supposedly, only God the Father and the Holy Spirit existed. This is inconsistent with the coeternal concept of the Trinity.
Jesus Christ prayed to God the Father before His crucifixion. If God is just one Triune Being, then Jesus Christ was praying to Himself.
In Matthew 1:20 we read that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And if the Holy Spirit is indeed a person, Jesus Christ should have been called the Son of the Holy Spirit. However, Jesus continually prayed to and addressed God the Father as His Father and not the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10:32-33; 11:25-27; 12:50). In the Bible Jesus is never called the Son of the Holy Spirit but the Son of the Father. This is clear evidence that the Holy Spirit is not a separate entity but was the agency or power through which the Father begot Jesus as His Son.
Because no one can adequately explain these problems, or how three distinct individuals can be one Being, the Trinity is called a holy mystery by mainstream Christianity to make it appear credible.
What is the Holy Spirit
What then does the Bible reveal about the holy spirit?
In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is most often referred to as God’s divine power. In the Old Testament, Jewish scholars have never considered the Holy Spirit to be anything other than God’s power. For example:
Zechariah 4:6: “…Not by might, nor by power, but my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”
Micah 3:8: “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord…”
Even in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is most often referred to as God’s divine power. For example: 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Here is how the angel told Mary that Jesus would be supernaturally conceived in her womb (NKJV): "The Holy Spirit will come upon you…and the power of the Highest," which "will overshadow you" (Luke 1:35). The holy spirit is referred to as the power of the Highest, or God the Father.
Jesus began His ministry "in the power of the Spirit" (Luke 4:14). This was the same power that enabled Christ to perform many mighty miracles during His ministry. He told His followers, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8 - NKJV). Thus, in many places the Bible depicts the Holy Spirit as the power of God.
Other attributes of the Holy Spirit
The Bible describes the Holy Spirit in many other ways that demonstrate that it is not a divine person. The UCG booklet “Is God a Trinity” states on pp 55-56:
“The Holy Spirit is spoken of in many ways that demonstrate that it is not a divine person. For example, it is referred to as a gift (Acts 10:45; 1 Timothy 4:14) that God gives without limit (John:3:34, NIV). We are told that the Holy Spirit can be quenched (I Thessalonians 5:19), that it can be poured out on people (Acts 2:17, 33), and that we are baptized with it (Matthew:3:11).
“People can drink of it (John 7:37-39), partake of it (Hebrews:6:4) and be filled with it (Acts:2:4; Ephesians:5:18). The Holy Spirit also renews us (Titus 3:5) and must be stirred up within us (2 Timothy 1:6). These impersonal characteristics are certainly not attributes of a person or personal being!
“The Spirit is also described by other designations—"the Holy Spirit of promise," "the guarantee of our inheritance" and "the spirit of wisdom and revelation" (Ephesians:1:13-14, 17)—that show it is not a person.
“In contrast to God the Father and Jesus Christ, who are consistently compared to human beings in Their form and shape, the Holy Spirit is consistently represented, by various symbols and manifestations, in a completely different manner—such as breath (John:20:22), wind (Acts:2:2), fire (verse 3), water (John:4:14; 7:37-39), oil (Psalm:45:7; compare Acts:10:38; Matthew:25:1-10), a dove (Matthew:3:16) and an "earnest," or down payment, on eternal life (2 Corinthians:1:22; 5:5; Ephesians:1:13-14, KJV).
“To say the least, these depictions are difficult to understand if the Holy Spirit is a person!
“In Matthew 1:20 we find further proof that the Holy Spirit is not a distinct entity, but God's divine power. Here we read that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. However, Jesus continually prayed to and addressed God the Father as His Father and not the Holy Spirit (Matthew:10:32-33; 11:25-27; 12:50). He never represented the Holy Spirit as His Father! Clearly, the Holy Spirit was the agency or power through which the Father begot Jesus as His Son—not a separate person or being altogether.”
Teaching of the Apostles about the Holy Spirit
Even the writings of the apostles Paul and Peter do not show the holy spirit to be a person. Paul's standard greeting in his letters to the churches is "Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." In each of his greetings he never mentions the Holy Spirit. Peter also does not include the holy spirit in greetings in both his epistles. This would be an astonishing oversight if the holy spirit was indeed a person or entity coequal with God the Father and Christ.
Paul states that "there is one God, the Father… and one Lord Jesus Christ …" (1 Corinthians 8:6). He makes no mention of the Holy Spirit as a divine person.
1 John 1:3 tells us, "truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." Thus, the apostle John also does not mention the Holy Spirit in our fellowship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus also never spoke of the Holy Spirit as a divine third person. He spoke only of the relationship between God the Father and Himself as in Matthew 26:39 where He prayed to the Father: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Other verses that describe their relationship are Mark 13:32; 15:34; John 5:18, 22; etc. The Holy Spirit as a person is conspicuously absent from Christ's relationship with God.
We should also consider that, in visions of God's throne recorded in the Bible, although the Father and Christ are seen, the Holy Spirit is never seen (Acts 7:55-56; Daniel 7:9-14; Revelation 4-5; 7:10). Jesus is repeatedly mentioned as being at the right hand of God, but no one is mentioned as being at the Father's left hand. Nowhere are three divine persons pictured together in the Scriptures.
Even in the final book of the Bible (and the last to be written), the Holy Spirit as a divine person is absent from its pages. The book describes "a new heaven and new earth" (Revelation 21:1) wherein "the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them" (verse 3). Christ, the Lamb of God, is also present (verse 22). The Holy Spirit, however, is again absent—another oversight that cannot be explained if this Spirit is the third person of a triune God.
Those who adhere to the trinity doctrine use two small passages in support of this doctrine. One is I John 5:7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” These words are a spurious addition to the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible in the early fourth century, during the heat of the controversy between the Roman Catholic Church and a Dr. Arius of Alexandria. They do not appear in any of the older Greek manuscripts or in other modern English translations. Bible commentaries explain that these words were never written by the apostle John.
The second passage used in support of the Trinity doctrine is Matthew 28:19 (NKJV), “19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in [the Greek word used here is eis which means into] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
Jamieson Fauset Brown commentary states: “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost--It should be, "into the name"; as in 1 Corinthians 10:2, "And were all baptized unto (or rather 'into') Moses"; and Galatians 3:27, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ."
This passage is not a description of the nature of God, existing as 3 named persons. It is a comment on the process of becoming disciples by baptism after conversion. And three names are involved in the process. he three do not have to be names of persons and are not. Buildings, mountains, hills etc. are named but are not persons.
The process of becoming disciples was described by Peter in Acts 2:38 (NKJV), “38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore Matthew 28:19 is stating that 3 named entities are involved in making disciples which process is completed by baptism. At baptism we enter into a covenant relationship with God (that is God the Father and Jesus Christ). We enter into that relationship by first repenting of our sins, and it is the goodness of God (God the Father and Jesus Christ) that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). After we are led to repentance and have decided to enter into a covenant relationship with God by being baptized, our sins must first be forgiven. That is possible only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. After our sins have been forgiven which is symbolized by burial of our old self in a ‘watery grave’ at baptism by immersion in water, we are resurrected to a new life when we come out of the watery grave. But baptism itself does not impart us God’s divine nature. God’s divine nature comes only by God’s holy spirit. God gives it to us after the laying on of the hands of a God’s true minister and prayer for us to receive the holy spirit. God imparts to us the seed of His divine nature by giving us an earnest or down payment of His holy spirit. Then that seed must grow in us through spiritual development until Christ is fully formed in us (Galatians 4:19 (NIV), “19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.”)
Thus Matthew 28:19 is not providing us 3 names of God Beings existing as a Trinity (or a Triune God) but is describing the process of becoming Jesus’ disciples in which God the Father, Jesus Christ and the holy spirit are fully involved. At baptism we are begotten children of God through the holy spirit and will be born as literal children after we have fully grown (Ephesians 4:13, “13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”) through spiritual development.
Clearly, the holy spirit, from the evidence found in the Bible, is not a person in a supposed Trinity. Unfortunately, this unbiblical doctrine obscures the biblical truth that God is a family—a family which is the ultimate destiny of every human being unless they disqualify themselves! Man’s ultimate potential is to become members of God’s family as His literal, immortal Sons, inherit and rule the universe with Him.
I John 3:2 makes it clear, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see Him as He is.”
John 1:12 also states, “1 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
Since man’s potential is to become literal immortal Sons of God, look like Jesus Christ, and be divine members of God’s family, one can understand why the Trinity doctrine is an invention of the Devil, because it limits the family of God to just 3 persons and denies that man’s potential is to become members of God’s family. This doctrine teaches that the one Triune God exists in three distinct Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit (sometimes referred to as “Holy Ghost”). But Trinity is a word that does not even appear in the Bible. So, this doctrine is not based on God’s word, but on human reasoning, and copied from paganism.
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