Dear Wake Up Family:
This month I want to share what is probably the most frequently asked question (grievance) we get in the office and how we answer it. The question, although asked in different ways, always pertains to Jesus’ divinity or the Trinity being three separate entities. Here are some of the complaints…
“You are propagating a false doctrine called tri-theism.” Or “God isn’t three different persons. The three-in-one God can be explained using a water analogy. While water is rain and snow and also ice, it’s all water. The word trinity means the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are ONE GOD manifest in three forms, not three different persons.” Some arguments get more sophisticated and question Jesus’ righteousness because he was baptized. The rationale being if He were sinless (divinity) there would be no need to have His sins washed away. This is how we respond to such comments, emails, and calls.
Hello: Thank you for commenting and sharing your thoughts. Your idea that Jesus needed to be baptized to fulfill righteousness is a denominational doctrine, but it isn’t Biblical. A ritual exercise isn’t required for salvation. The thief on the cross wasn’t baptized in his final moments of life, yet Jesus assured him of salvation. Who can promise eternal life but God? Jesus submitted Himself to be baptized for two reasons. First, He was born under law and subject to the Levitical system He was about to end. Second, Jesus was baptized because He does not ask His followers to do something He hasn’t done first. He is our example.
Next, I understand your argument about three personalities (if you will) in one being. I have many friends and some family that believe what you’ve stated. The problem is that belief places the Bible in a state of internal conflict. How do you reconcile Luke 3:21–22 with the idea that all three are the same being? The Bible says, “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”
In this verse Jesus is standing in the water on earth, the Father is in heaven, and the Holy Spirit is in the air… three separate and distinct entities present at the same time! Quite unlike the water in three forms you mentioned.
My sister and I were talking about this and she used the example of being a sister, a mom, a wife, and a daughter but the same person. Luke 3, however, destroys that argument. I said to my sister, “The problem is you’re still one person. There aren’t three of you standing in front of me simultaneously.”
For those who believe there is only one God personified in different ways, how do you answer these questions?
- If there is one God, who died on the cross? (Matthew 27)
- If there is one God, did Jesus pray to Himself in the garden before going to the cross? (Mark 14)
- If there is one God, did the Father find Himself worthy to open the book He wrote in Revelation 5?
- If there is one God, explain John 1:1–18.
- If there is one God, explain Genesis 1:1–26.
The one God theory puts the Bible in a state of internal conflict. For the Bible to make sense there must be three separate and distinct beings who are God. If we disregard what the Bible says because we don’t like the idea of rethinking what we believe, we’re defending what we believe, not searching God’s Word for truth.