Irenics: Plural in God’s Majesty?

I have being reading, reasoning, reflecting and writing about the most challenging Christian Doctrine: Trinity,as I prepare a Biblical defense for it.

I am totally in agreement with C.S. Lewis as he captured the hardness of this Doctrine. He wrote:

“If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.”(Lewis, ‘Mere Christianity’, Macmillan Company, New York, 1943, page 145)

Defining Terms:

First thing I will define my terms; Trinity, Irenic and Plural in God’s Majesty.

Trinity: a Christian doctrine which teaches the oneness of God: one only and true God, in the unity three co-eternal and coequal Persons, who are the same in substance but distinct in subsistence.

Irenics: The practice of debating and discussing Christian doctrines with other Christians who are theologically orthodox but with whom there are matters of genuine theological disagreement.

It involves the friendly but rigorous task of doing theological reflection together within the community of faith.

Irenics stands in contrast to polemics, which is the practice of debating, discussing and refuting the positions of those who stand outside the accepted orthodox boundaries of Christian theology yet who insist on calling themselves Christian1

Plural in God’s Majesty: the appearance/occurrence of more than One Person in God.(Trinity view, God is One,in three distinct persons. Not God in three gods(Tritheism) or One Person in three different occurrence or Three gods in One Person(the Jehovah’s Witnesses Watch Tower lie))

Understanding of Trinity

Illustrations of Trinity(example: Dimension: Width, Length,and Height; Nature: Space, Time and Matter) can be of help but in adequate in most times, which often results in confusions which then give birth to fatal errors(and Heresies).

The only illustration I can give is one which I think is Biblical and easy to understand.  I, Prayson Wilfred Daniel have one person in me(I) but God has three persons(I,He,Him)

John 14:15-17(my emphasis in bold) show this:

“If you love me(»Jesus), you will keep my commandments. And I(»Jesus) will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Jesus: I, Father: He, Holy Spirit: Him(I ,He , and Him depend on who is speaking, If God the Father  is the one speaking then he takes “I” and the rest follows)

In this verses we have Jesus speaking(asking) the Father, to send “ANOTHER HELPER” the Holy Spirit.

The Word in Greek Parakletos which mean counselor, intercessor, helper, one who encourages and comforts is used here by Jesus.

Another Parakletos? Was there a Parakletos already? Yes Christ Jesus was the existing Parakletos

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6 ESV)

The question then is who is the “another Parakletos?”
The Holy Spirit is the another Parakletos

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
(John 14:26 ESV cf 15:26-27, 16:7)

Therefore:

Trinity Illustration

A Geometric Illustration of Trinity

Notice that; Each persons in the Trinity can refer to himself as, ” I,my,mine,” and refer to the other members as “He, Him”, and together as  ” we, us”

Old Testament Plural in God’s Majesty:

The Us-Our Image of God:

Then God said,“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”(Genesis 1:26)

Who is “Us” and “Our” in Genesis 1? Who is God talking to? Angels? Well angels will be tempting idea to solve this riddle. For Jehovah’s witnesses and other non-Trinitiarian, angels seems a good spot. But that the next verse cancel angel option out:

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.(Genesis 1:27)

Man is created in God’s image, not “angels image” or “God + angels image”.In fact the Bible does not teach of angels creating or being part of creating anything.

extras: Jesus created angels(Hebrews 1, angels and all things are from him, to him, and for him)

Logic Behind:

  1. If X entails Y
  2. and Y entails Us-“I, He, and Him”
  3. Then X entails Us-“I,He, and Him”

Note: A sentence X entails Y if Y follows logically from X

  1. If Man is only created in the Image of God
  2. and in the Image of God there is a plural “Us-our Image”
  3. Then Man is created in plural image of God(Thus more than one person in God in the Image of God)

More Verses on “US”:

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”(Genesis 3:22)

From the context we know that like “one of us” means one of God in knowing good and evil.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
(Genesis 3:1-5 ESV)

Now let see the logic behind.

  1. If X will be like God, knowing good and evil,
  2. God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil,
  3. Then X has become like God’s plural “US” in knowing good and evil,
  4. Therefore X has become like a-more-than-one-person in God.

From this, I can conclude that the only plausible explanation of like one of us is more than one person in one God namely The Triune God.

Extra Verses:

Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”(Genesis 11:7)

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”(Isaiah 6:8)

God speaking to God:

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;(Psalm 45:6-7»Hebrew 1:8-9)

From Hebrew 1, we can know for certain that it is God the Father who is talking to Christ Jesus, his Son calling Christ, God.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Objection:

Correct rendering is that Jehovah God(Father) is telling Christ Jesus that “God is your throne …”

“But with reference to the Son: ‘God is your throne forever and ever, and [the] scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness'” The New World Translation.

In deed this can be an alternative way of translating Hebrew 1:8, but is it a correct way to translate it? Does the context allow as to translate it that way?

Let us try inserting ordinary names in these verses, instead of to the Son, let insert Jonathan, a fellow royal member in England, and God The Father, we will insert Queen Elizabeth II(please do not focus on the gender, I used Queen Elizabeth II because she is the Queen of England at the moment and will do better in our present illustration)

“But with reference to Jonathan: ‘Queen Elizabeth II is your throne forever and ever, and [the] scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness'”

Now Rhetoric Questions as a reflection:

Who is speaking these words? Queen Elizabeth II. To whom are these words spoken to? Jonathan.

Why is Queen Elizabeth II telling Jonathan that she is his throne? Is Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan’s throne? Plus, how is Queen Elizabeth a throne? Is she a person who sits on the throne or is she the throne?

At the bottom, Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible translation on Psalm 45:6-7 is refuted by Psalm 47:8, 55:19, 61:7(Using the Psalmist to tell us what he meant on 45:6-7)

From Clear To Unclear

It is always important to start with clear/understandable verses then the easy understandable verses will help us understand or make sense of the unclear one. From Black/White to the gray zone and not the verse.

Lord chatting with Lord:

The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”(Psalm 110:1 » Matthew 22:44,Mark 12:36,Luke 20:42-43, Acts 2:34-35)

We know from the Gospels that Jesus is the “my Lord”, and the Father is the “The LORD”

The Lord … from the Lord

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.(Genesis 19:24)

Two Jehovahs; The Jehovah’s Witnesses Absurdity:

“Then Jehovah made it rain sulphur and fire from Jehovah, from the heavens, upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah(New World Translation)

Are we having two Jehovahs? Jehovah #1 who made it rain sulphur and fire from Jehovah #2 from the heaven.If so, then Jehovah’s witness teaching falls.

For Trinitarian, this is not a problem, The Lord, and from Lord all are “Us” the Plural in one God.Genesis 19:24  needs a lot of reflecting to understand it 🙂

More verses:

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.(Malachi 3:1-2»Isaiah 40:3, Matthew 11:10,Mark 1:2 Luke 7:27, Luke 1:72)

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.(Malachi 4:5)

It is important to know Who is Who in this passages. Who is Speaking? the Lord;  Who is to prepare a way of the Lord? John the Baptist; Way for who? the Lord to who the Lord is speaking about.

Matt Slick Trinity Chart:

Here are more verses collected by Matt Slick on Trinity (President of CARM, has Masters of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary)

god

Sneak Preview of Plural in God’s Majesty in New Testament

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.(John 14:23)

1. Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 68.
Note: Bible Version used ESV Study Bible

Related Article:
Roger Garza’s Defense Of Trinity On the light of Modalism(One Person One God) Objections

Advertisements