5 Arguments Showing that Jesus is Not the One God

The following arguments set out to briefly argue that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is not Himself the one God, the Supreme Being, Who is one person only, the Father, but that He is another distinct person (rational individual being) besides that one God.

Argument 1: Jesus is the Son of God.

A son is necessarily another person than his father, and is not his father.

Jesus is the Son of the one God;

Therefore Jesus is another person besides the one God, and is not the one God.

The first premise is plain in itself, according to the very thing signified by the words ‘father’ and ‘son’, that they denote a relation between two distinct individuals, and never a relation between an individual and himself. The second is made plain in many passages of scripture, including Jn 3:38, 18, Rom 5:10, and 1 Jn 4:15. It is plain that the ‘God’ Who Jesus is declared to be the Son of is the one God; and this is made even more explicit by John 17:1-3 “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (NASB). Here the same one that Jesus calls ‘Father’ He also calls ‘the only true God’, showing that the God that Jesus is declared to be the Son of is the one and only true God. And so scripture declares that Jesus is the Son of the one God.

Argument 2: Jesus is the Mediator between God and man.

A mediator between two parties, must be another third party besides those two.

Jesus is the Mediator between two parties, the one God and man.

Therefore, Jesus is not the one God.

The first premise is clear from the very function of a mediator, as one who intervenes between two or more parties. The one who so mediates cannot be himself one of the parties in need of mediation, or else, if he interacts with the opposing party, the interaction between parties will be direct and immediate, rather than through mediation. And the apostle Paul mentions as well, that a mediator is not for one party only (Gal 3:20); and if a mediator is not for one party only, much less could the mediator himself be one of the parties in need of mediation.

The second premise is clear from the text of scripture: “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim 2:5 NASB). We see here that the one mediator and the one God are distinguished from one another as two distinct parties, and that the Lord Jesus Christ is that one mediator, Who intervenes between two parties: one God, and mankind.

Argument 3: Jesus is the High Priest of God.

The high priest of a God is distinct from that God he is priest to.

Jesus is the High Priest of the one God.

Therefore Jesus is not the one God.

The first premise is clear from the very nature and function of priesthood; for a priest both mediates between men and a deity, leads men in worship of his deity, and himself worships and serves his deity. A mediator, as we have shown above, must be distinct from the parties between which he mediates; and so no priest can be the God he is priest to. And so in leading men to worship God, a priest leads men to worship another, and not himself. And to be priest to a God involves worshipping that God; and yet proper worship is always paid to another, and not to one’s self. It follows from all these things then that a priest of a God must be distinct from that God he is priest to.

That Jesus is the High Priest of God is the express teaching of scripture: “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;” (Heb 3:1 NASB) “And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb 5:9-10 NASB). And Hebrews 7:1 tells us this Melchizedek was the priest of “God Most High”, that is, the one God, the Supreme Being. And therefore, Jesus, being priest according to the order of Melchizedek, is likewise High Priest to no other than the same God Most High, the one and only God.

It may also be added, as a related argument, that the one God, being supreme over all, worships none. And so then that the Lord Jesus worships the Father, as the High Priest of God, shows that He is not Himself the one God, the Supreme Being, since He worships another, a thing which the one God does not do.

Argument 4: Jesus is our One Lord in contradistinction to the Father as our one God.

Scripture proclaims that Christians believe distinctly in one God and in one Lord; and so one is not the other.

Jesus is our one Lord, in contradistinction to the Father as our one God.

Therefore, Jesus is not the one God.

The first premise can be seen from several passages of scripture, including 1 Cor 8:6 and Eph 4:4-6, which both teach that Christians believe distinctly in one God and in one Lord. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:4-6 NASB). If then we have one God and one Lord, these must be distinct from one another, so that the one Lord is not the one God, and the one God is not our one Lord.

The second premise is proved from 1 Corinthians 8:5-6: “For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” (NASB). So the one God is equated particularly with one person, the Father, and our one Lord particularly with another person, Jesus Christ. And unique functions of each of these are also mentioned, to still more clearly set the two in contradistinction to one another; namely, that our one God is the one from Whom are all things, that is, the one supreme cause of all, while our one Lord is the one through Whom are all things, that is, the one instrumental cause of all. And so it is shown that Jesus Christ is our one Lord, in contradistinction to our one God, the Father.

Argument 5: Jesus is the Christ of God.

To be Christ of God is to be anointed by God, and therefore, distinct from Him.

Jesus is the Christ of the one God.

Therefore Jesus is not the one God.

The first premise is apparent from the meaning of the very terms Christ, and its Hebrew equivalent, Messiah, which both mean ‘anointed one’. And so in Acts 10:38 Peter preached “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (NASB). And in Acts 2:36 he preached “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”” (NASB). So the one Who is anointed by God with power and the Holy Spirit, is obviously distinct from that God Who anointed Him.

That Jesus is the Christ of God has already been shown in the paragraph above, and is one of the most clear and repeated teachings of the New Testament. Peter quotes Psalm 2 as about Jesus in his preaching : “‘The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’” (Acts 4:26 NASB). “And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”” (Luke 9:20). “Christ” then, as we have said, is a title literally denoting having been anointed by another, and particularly in scriptures, denotes the one Who would come and be anointed by God as His prophet, priest, and king (for each of these offices were ordained by anointing in the Old Testament). And so then, that Jesus is the Christ of God is clear, and this shows that He is another besides the one God Who anointed Him, the God Jesus serves as His prophet, priest, and appointed king over the people of God.

John Biddle’s 12 Arguments Showing That the Holy Spirit is Not the One God

John Biddle set forth twelve arguments from the scriptures to demonstrate that the Holy Spirit is not Himself the one God; rather He acknowledged Him to be a third distinct person besides God and His Christ. Biddle expressed his view in another place: “I believe there is one principal Minister of God and Christ, peculiarly sent from heaven to sanctify the church, who, by reason of his eminency and intimacy with God, is singled out of the number of other heavenly ministers or angels, and comprised in the Holy Trinity, being the third person thereof; and that this minister of God and Christ is the Holy Spirit.” His endeavor here is to show that the Holy Spirit is not Himself the Supreme Being, the one God, viz, the Father, but another distinct person (or rational individual being) besides Him.

Argument 1:

He that is distinguished from God, is not God. The Holy Spirit is distinguished from God: therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God.

The major premise is evident: for if he should be both God, and distinguished from God, he would be distinguished from himself; which implieth a contradiction. The Minor is confirmed by the whole current of the Scripture, which calleth him the Spirit of God, and saith that he is sent by God, and searcheth the depths of God, &c. Neither let any man here think to fly to that ignorant refuge of making a distinction between the Essence and Person of God, saying that the holy Spirit is distinguished from God, taken Personally, not Essentially: For this wretched distinction (to omit the mention of the Primitive Fathers) is not only unheard-of in Scripture, and so to be rejected, it being presumption to affirm any thing of the unsearchable nature of God, which he hath not first affirmed of Himself in the Scripture; but is also disclaimed by Reason. For first, it is impossible for any man, if he would but endeavour to conceive the thing, and not delude both himself and others with empty terms, and words without understanding, to distinguish the Person from the Essence of God, and not to frame two beings or things in his mind, and consequently two Gods. Secondly, If the person be distinct from the Essence of God, then it must needs be something; since nothing hath no accident, and therefore neither can it happen to it to be distinguished. If something, then either some finite or infinite thing: if finite, then there will be something finite in God, and consequently, since by the confession of the adversaries every thing in God is God himself, God will be finite; which the adversaries themselves will likewise confess to be absurd. If infinite, then there will be two infinites in God, to wit, the Person and Essence of God, and consequently two Gods; which is more absurd then the former. Thirdly, to talk of God taken impersonally, is ridiculous, not only because there is no example thereof in Scripture, but because God is the name of a Person, and signifies him that hath sublime dominion or power: and when it is put for the most high God, it denotes Him who with Sovereign and absolute authority rules over all; but none but a person can rule over others, all actions being proper to persons: wherefore to take God otherwise then personally, is to take him otherwise then he is, and indeed to mistake him.

Argument 2:

If he that gave the Holy Spirit to the Israelites to instruct them, be the LORD alone, then the Holy Spirit is not the LORD or God.

But he that gave the Holy to the Israelites to instruct them, is the LORD alone:

therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God.

The sequele of the major premise is plain; for if he that gave the Holy Spirit be the LORD alone, and yet the Holy Spirit that was given be the LORD too, the same will be the LORD alone, and not the LORD alone, which implies a contradiction. The minor is evidenced by Neh. 9. 6, 20. ““You alone are the LORD. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You… You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth, And You gave them water for their thirst.” (NASB)

Argument 3:

He that speaketh not of himself, is not God.

The Holy Spirit speaketh not of himself.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God.

The minor premise is clear from Joh. 16. 13. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (NASB) The major premise is proved thus: God speaks of Himself; therefore if there be any one that speaks not of himself, he is not God. The antecedent is of itself apparent; for God is the primary Author of whatsoever he doth; but should he not speak of Himself, He must speak from another, and so not be the primary, but secondary author of His speech; which is absurd, if at least that may be called absurd, which is impossible. The consequence is undeniable. For further confirmation of this Argument, it is to be observed, that to speak or to do any thing not of Himself, according to the ordinary phrase of the Scripture, is to speak or do by the shewing, teaching, commanding, authorizing, or enabling of another, and consequently incompatible with the supreme and self-sufficient Majesty of God. Vid. John 5. 19. 20, 30. Joh. 7. 15, 16, 17, 18, 28. John 8. 28, 42. Joh. 11. 50, 51. John 12. 49, 50. John 14. 10, 24. John 15. 4. John 18. 34. Luke 12. 56, 57. Luke 21. 30. 2 Cor. 3. 5.

Argument 4:

He that heareth from another what he shall speak, is not God.

The Holy Spirit doth so:

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God.

The Minor premise is plain from the forecited place, John 16. 13. The Major premise is proved thus:

He that is taught, is not God.

He that heareth from another, what he shall speak, is taught:

Therefore, He is not God.

The Major is clear by Isa. 40. 13, 14. compared with Rom. 11. 34. 1 Cor. 2. 16. For these places of the Apostle, compared with that of the Prophet, shew that Isaiah did not by the Spirit of the Lord there understand the Holy Spirit, but the mind, or intention of God. The Minor is evidenced by John B. where our Saviour having said in the 26. verse, Whatsoever I have heard from him (the Father) these things I speak; in the 28. verse he expresses the same sense thus; According as the Father hath taught me, these things I speak. Neither let any man go about to elude so pregnant an Argument, by saying that this is spoken of the Holy Spirit improperly: For let him turn himself every way, and scrue the words as he pleases, yet shall he never be able to make it out to a wise and considering man, how it can possibly be said, that any one heareth from another what he will speak, who is the prime Author of his speech, and into whom it is not at a certain time insinuated by another. For this expression plainly intimates, that whatsoever the Holy Spirit speaks to the Disciples, is first discovered and committed to him by Christ, whose Embassadour he is, it being proper to an Embassador to be the Interpreter not of his own, but of another’s will. But it is contradictious, to imagine that the most high God can have any thing discovered and committed to Him by another.

Argument 5:

He that receiveth of another’s, is not God.

The Holy Spirit doth so: Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God.

The Minor premise is witnessed by the aforesaid place, John 16. 14. The Major is proved thus; God is he that giveth all things to all; wherefore if there be any one that receiveth of another’s, he cannot be God. The antecedent is plain by Acts 17. 25. Rom. 11. 35, 36. The consequence is undeniable: for if God should give all things to all, and yet receive of another’s, He would both give all things, and not give all things; have all things of his own, and have something of another’s; both which imply a contradiction. The Major of the Prosyllogisme is otherwise urged, thus: He that is dependent, is not God. He that receiveth of another’s, is dependent: Therefore He is not God. The Major is unquestionable: for, to say that one is dependent, and yet God, is in effect to say he is God, and not God, which implies a contradiction. The Minor also is evident: for to receive of another’s, is the notion of dependency.

Argument 6:

He that is sent by another, is not God.

The Holy Spirit is sent by another:

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God.

The Minor is plain from the fore-quoted place, John. 16. 7. The Major is evinced thus:

He that Ministreth, is not God.

He that is sent, Ministreth:

Therefore, He is not God.

The Major is indubitable, it being dissonant to the supreme Majesty of God to Minister, and serve another; for that were to be God and not God; to exercise sovereign dominion over all, and not to exercise it. The Minor is confirmed by Heb. 1. ult. where the divine Author shows, that the Angels are all Ministring Spirits, in that they are sent forth; as he before intimates Christ to be Lord, because he sitteth at the right hand of God. Thus David, Psal. 2. declareth the Sovereignty of God, in saying that he sitteth in Heaven. The Minor is further proved thus:

He that receives a command for the performance of something, doth Minister:

He that is sent forth, receiveth a command for the performance of something:

Therefore, He ministers.

The Major is evident to common sense, since it suiteth with none but Ministers and inferiours to receive commands. The Minor is manifested by John 12. 49. The Father that hath sent me, he gave me a Command what I shall speak. Neither let any man here reply, that this very thing is spoken also of Christ, unless, having first proved that Christ is the supreme God, he will grant that whatsoever is spoken of him, is spoken of him as God; or can make good that to be sent at least may agree to him as God. The contrary whereof I suppose I have clearly proved in this Argument, shewing that it is unsutable to the divine Majesty.

Argument 7:

He that is the gift of God, is not God.

The Holy Spirit is the gift of God:

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God.

The Minor premise is plain by Acts. 12. 17. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift (meaning the Spirit) as he did unto us, who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, was I one that could withstand God? The Major, though of it self sufficiently clear, is yet further evidenced thus:

He that is not the giver of all things, is not God.

He that is the gift of God, is not the giver of all things:

Therefore, He is not God.

The Major premise is apparent from Act. 17. 25. God giveth to all, life, breath, and all things. The Minor premise is proved thus:

He that is himself given, is not the giver of all things:

He that is the gift of God, is himself given:

Therefore He is not the giver of all things.

The Major premise is undeniable, for otherwise the same would be the giver of all things, and yet not the giver of all things, inasmuch as he himself, a principal thing, is given, which implies a contradiction. The Minor premise needs no proof. Moreover, a gift is in the power, and at the disposal of the giver; but it is gross and absurd to imagine that God can be in the power, or at the disposal of another. Neither let any man here think to evade, by saying, that not the Holy Spirit himself, but only his gifts are imparted to men; Since both the more learned adversaries themselves confess, that the Person of the Holy Spirit is given together with his gifts, and the Scripture puts the matter out of doubt, if you consult Neh. 9. 20. and Rom. 5. 5. In both which places, the Holy Spirit is said to be given contradistinctly from his gifts and operations: in the first, contradistinctly from the instruction flowing from him; in the other, contradistinctly from the love of God diffused in our hearts by him. Whence we may draw this Corollary, that if the Person of the Holy Spirit be out of favour given to certain men, as the aforesaid places testify, then he was not personally present with them before, and consequently, by the concession of the adversaries themselves, cannot be God, since they will not deny that God is always personally present with all alike. But I forestal the following Argument.

Argument 8:

He that changes place, is not God.

The Holy Spirit changes place:

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God.

The Major premise is plain: for if God should change place, he would cease to be where he was before, and begin to be where he was not before; which everteth his Omnipresence, and consequently, by the confession of the adversaries themselves, his Deity. The Minor premise is ocularly apparent, if following the advice of the adversaries, you will but go to Jordan; for there you shall have the holy Spirit in a bodily shape descending from heaven, which is the terminus a quo; and alighting upon Christ, which is the terminus ad-quem, Luke 3. 21, 22. Joh. 1. 32. Neither let any man alledge, that as much is spoken of God, Exod. 3. and chap. 20. and Gen. 18. For if you compare Acts 7. 30, 35, 38, 53. Gal. 3. 19. Heb. 2. 2, 3. and chap. 13. 2. with the foresaid places, you shall find, that it was not God himself that came down, but only an Angel, sustaining the Person and Name of God; which hath no place in the history touching the descent of the holy Spirit.

Argument 9:

He that prayeth unto Christ, to come to judgement, is not God.

The Holy Spirit doth so:

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God.

The Major premise is granted. The Minor is evident from Revel. 22. 17. compared with the 12 verse. “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”… He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.”” (NASB). Neither let any man think to elude this proof, by saying, that the Spirit is here said to pray, only because he makes the Bride to pray: for when the Scripture would signify the assistance of the Holy Spirit in causing men to speak, it is wont to affirm, either that the Holy Spirit speaks in them, as Matth. 10. 20. or that they spake by the Holy Spirit, as Rom. 8. 15. We have received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, Abba, Father. But here it is expressly said, that the Spirit and the Bride say, Come; not the Spirit in the Bride, nor the Bride by the Spirit.

Argument 10:

He in whom men have not believed, and yet have been disciples and believers, is not God.

Men have not believed in the Holy Spirit, and yet have been so:

Therefore the Holy Spirit is not God.

The Major premise is plain: for how can they be disciples and believers, according to the phrase of Scripture, and not believe in him that is God? The Minor premise is proved thus:

Men have not so much as heard whether there were an Holy Spirit, and yet have been disciples and believers:

Therefore, They have not believed in the holy Spirit, and yet have been disciples and believers.

The Antecedent is apparent from Acts 19. 2. “He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”” (NASB) The Consequence is grounded on that of the Apostle, Rom. 10. 14. [How shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard?] Now if any man, to decline the dint of this Argument, shall say, that by Holy Spirit in these words is meant not the Person, but the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; He, besides that he perverts the plain and genuine meaning of the words, and speaks without example; doth also evacuate the emphasis of the Particles 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which imply that these disciples were so far from having received the gifts of the holy Spirit, whereof we may, without prejudice to our cause, grant that the question made mention, that they had not so much as heard whether there were an Holy Spirit or not. Again, that the Holy Spirit is not God, doth further appear by this very instance, since the Apostle, when there was so ample an occasion offered to declare it, (if it had been so) doth quite decline it: for it is incredible that he, who was so intent and vigilant in propagating the Truth, as that casually seeing an Altar at Athens inscribed To the unknown God, he presently took a hint from thence, to preach unto the Heathen the true God; yet here being told by disciples that they had not so much as heard whether there were an Holy Spirit, or not, should not make use of the opportunity to discover unto them, and in them to us, the Deity of the holy Spirit, but suffer them to remain in ignorance touching a point of such consequence, that without the knowledge thereof, (if we believe many now-a-days) men cannot be saved. Certainly, the Apostle had a greater care both of the Truth of God, and the salvation of men, then to do so.

Argument 11:

He that hath an understanding distinct from that of God, is not God.

The Holy Spirit hath an understanding distinct from that of God:

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God.

The Major premise is clear: for he that hath an understanding distinct from that of another, must needs likewise have a distinct individual essence, wherein that understanding may reside. The Minor is proved thus:

He that hears from God at the second hand, namely, by Christ Jesus, what he shall speak, hath an understanding distinct from that of God.

The Holy Spirit so hears from God:

Therefore the Holy Spirit has an understanding distinct from that of God.

The Minor premise is evident from Joh. 16. 13, 14, 15.

The Major is confirmed thus:

He that is taught of God, hath an understanding distinct from that of God.

He that heareth from God what he shall speak, is taught of God:

Therefore, he that hears from God has an understanding distinct from God.

The Minor is manifest from Joh. 8. where our Saviour Christ having said, in vers. 26. Whatsoever I have heard from him (the Father) these things I speak. In vers. 28. he expresseth the same sense thus: According as the Father hath taught me, these things I speak. The Major premise is of itself clear: for he that is taught, hath an unknowing understand∣ing, since none can be taught what he knows already; and he that teaches, hath a knowing understanding, otherwise he could not teach another something; but it implies a contradiction, that the same understanding should at the same time be both knowing & unknowing of the same thing. Besides, that the Holy Spirit hath an understanding distinct from that of God, is easily deducible from the words of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 2. 10. where he affirms, that the Spirit searches the depths of God, (as Rom. 8. 27. he intimates, that God searches the heart of the Spirit:) but to search the depths of any one, necessarily supposes one understanding in him that searches, and another understanding in him-whose depths are searched, as is evident not only by collation of other places of the Scripture, as 1 Pet. 1. 11. Rev. 2. 23. but even by common sense, dictating to every man so much, that none can without absurdity be said to search the depths of his own understanding. Whence the Apostle going about to illustrate what he had spoken of the Spirit of God, by a similitude drawn from the spirit of a man, doth not say, that the spirit of a man doth search, but know the things of a man, though his former words did seem to lead him thereunto.

Argument 12:

He that hath a will distinct in number from that of God, is not God.

The Holy Spirit hath a will distinct in number from that of God.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not God.

The Major premise is irrefragable. The Minor premise is asserted thus.

He that wills conformably to the will of God, hath a will distinct in number from that of God.

The Holy Spirit so willeth:

Therefore, the Holy Spirit has a will distinct in number from that of God.

The Major is plain: for conformity must be between two at least, else it will not be conformity, but Identity. The Minor is confirmed by Rom. 8. 26, 27. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (NASB) Neither let any man here reply, that there is no mention made in the Greek either of the will of the Spirit, or of the will of God: For first, the word intercede, which signifies to make suit for something, implies both the will of him that makes the suit, for if he did not will the thing, he would not make suit for it; and also the will of him to whom the suit is made, for were he not endued with a will, it would be bootless to make suit unto him, all suits whatsoever being made to bend the will of him to whom they are made: so that this, without any more, sufficiently sheweth that the Holy Spirit hath a will distinct in number from that of God; since the one sueth, the other is sued to at the same time, and for the same thing. Secondly, the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in English rendered Mind, doth here signify the same with Will or Desire, as appeareth from the 6. and 7. verses of this Chapter, and also from the verb 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, whence it is derived, which signifies to Affect, Will, Desire, Pursue: see verse 5. of the same chapter, and Col. 3. 2. Thirdly, though the Greek hath 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, according to God, yet is this, in the judgement of the English Translators themselves, the same as if it had been said, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, according to the will of God; neither can any other commodious interpretation be put upon the words.

But this passage of the Apostle, doth further afford us a second and third impregnable Argument of the Holy Spirit’s being inferiour to God. For first, he is here said to make intercession for us (as we before urged his praying to Christ, Argument 9.) and that with grones unutterable; which is not so to be understood, as if the Holy Spirit were here said to help our infirmities, only by suggesting petitions and groans unto us (as is commonly, but falsely affirmed) for the very words of the context sufficiently exclude such a gloss; since they say, that the Spirit himself, not we by the Spirit, (as we have it in the 15. verse of the same chapter) makes intercession for us: yea, vicarious intercession, as the Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifies: But to help others infirmities, by making intercession; and, what is more, vicarious intercession for them, is not to instil petitions into them, but to pour out petitions apart in their behalf; as is apparent both from the thing is self; since none can intercede for himself, all intercession (at least such as is here spoken of) requiring the entermise of a third person; and by the Collation of verse 34. of the same Chapter, and 1 Tim. 2. 1. Heb. 7. 25. Neither let any man think to baffle off this place, (which is written with a beam of the Sun, and hath together with that, Joh. 16. 13, 14. quite nonplussed, not only Modern Authors, but the Fathers themselves,) by saying, that this is improperly spoken of the Holy Spirit: for, besides that he hath no other ground to say so, but his own preconceived opinion touching the Deity of the Holy Spirit, he ought to know that the Scripture, though it speaks some things of God in a figure, and improperly, yet doth it nowhere say any thing that argues his inferiority to, and dependance on another. But this passage of the Apostle plainly intimates, that the Holy Spirit is inferiour to God, and dependent on him; otherwise what need had he to make intercession to God, and that with groans unutterable, for the Saints? Secondly, the Holy Spirit is here distinguished from him that searcheth the hearts; and this description is made use of to put a difference between God and the Holy Spirit: but how could this be done, were the holy Spirit also a searcher of the hearts? For can a description that is common, yea alike common to two (for so the Adversaries hold concerning God, and the Holy Spirit) be set to distinguish the one from the other? For instance; to prepare the Passover for Christ, is an action common to Peter with John, for they two were sent by Christ to that purpose, and did accordingly perform it; see Luke 22. 8, 13. wherefore can a description taken from this action, be fit to difference Peter from John? and is it suitable to say, He that prepared the Passover for Christ, was a greater Apostle then John? would not this plainly argue, that John did not prepare the Passover for Christ? So that it is apparent, that the Holy Spirit is not a searcher of the hearts. If therefore it would not follow that the Holy Spirit is God, although it had been said in the Scripture, that he searcheth the hearts, unless he had such a faculty originally, and of himself (for nothing hinders but that God may confer it upon others, as we see by the Scripture, that he hath de facto conferred it on Christ, having given him all judgement, and that because he is the Son of man, John 5. 22, 27. for such judgement requires that he be a searcher of the hearts) If, I say, it would not even then follow that he is God; how clearly, how irrefragably doth it on the contrary follow, that he is not God, but hath an understanding distinct from, and inferiour to that of God; inasmuch as he is destitute of such a perfection, as the searching of the hearts, which is inseparable from the divine majesty? These two considerations have I added at the close of my twelfth Argument; because they are not so much new Arguments, as props and further confirmations of the ninth and eleventh Arguments.

One Individual Essence?

In the following, Dr. Samuel Clarke confutes the Reverend Dr. Wells, who writes that the true scripture doctrine of the Trinity is that the three persons; the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, are one individual essence, i.e. one numeric being.

However, in your interpretation of this text, you declare explicitly what your notion of the Trinity is. And still more distinctly, p. 21; “The Scripture-Doctrine of the Trinity,” you say, “is truly this, that in the Godhead there are three persons of the same divine INDIVIDUAL essence.” Now this, I say, is an express contradiction in the very terms. For INDIVIDUAL essence, in all propriety of speech, and if the word has any signifigation at all, is (when spoken of an intelligent being) the very same as PERSONAL essence; that is to say, that by which a person is that individual person which he is is, and no other. Besides, it is a phrase not only not used in Scripture, nor in the three first centuries, nor in the fourth, (unless it be the true rendering of the word μονοουσιος [monoousios] or ταυτοουσιος [tautoousios], which was then universally condemned as heretical;) but seems to be the invention of the schools, in latter ages. Hear the very learned Dr. Cudworth upon this point. “It is evident,” saith he, p. 604, “that these reputed Orthodox Fathers, [viz. St. Cyril, St. Gregory Nyssen, and others,] who were not a few, were far from thinking the three hypostases of the Trinity to have the same SINGULAR existent essence: – that Trinity of persons numerically the same, or having all one and the same SINGULAR existent essence, is a doctrine which seemeth not to have been owned by any public authority in the Christian Church, save that of the Lateran Council only: that no such thing was ever entertained by the Nicene Fathers, &c.” Again: “The truth of this,” saith he, “will appear, first, because these Orthodox Anti-Arian Fathers did all of them zealously condemn Sabellianism; the doctrine whereof is no other than this, that there was but one hypostasis, or singular INDIVIDUAL ESSENCE, of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: In the next place, because the word ὁμουσιος [homoousios], was never used by Greek writers otherwise, than to signify the agreement of things NUMERICALLY DIFFERENT from one another, &c. – Lastly, that the ancient orthodox fathers, who used the word homoousios against Arius, intended not therein to assert the Son to have one and the same singular or INDIVIDUAL essence with the Father, appeareth plainly from their dsclaiming and disowning those two words, ταυτοουσιον and μονοουσιον.” Again: “It is plain,” saith he, “that the ancient orthodox fathers asserted no such thing, as one and the same SINGULAR or numerical essence of the several persons of the Trinity.” And this he proves by numerous most express quotations. Where now is your vain confidence in the concurrent testimonies of the fathers; when not only in the three first centuries your notion, in the manner you express it, was never heard of, but even in the fourth and following centuries it was universally condemned? But still I am willing to allow all this to besides the main question; for Scripture only is our rule.

Source: A Letter to the Reverend Dr. Wells, &c.

Note: Updated archaic spelling, italics, etc.

Distinct Actions of the Persons of the Trinity

“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;” 1 Peter 1:17 NASB

“For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,” John 5:22 NASB

Here we read from Peter, firstly, that the Father judges men impartially; then we read from John, that the Father judges no one, but has given all judgement to the Son. Is there disagreement between Peter and John? Does scripture contradict itself? Not at all; but rather, the difficulty is resolved when we read “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31 NASB; and, “And He [the Son] commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.” Acts 10:42 NASB

What we have then, is this: scripture says that God, the Father, judges all men; and yet, in another place, it says He judges no one at all. Unless we will say that these statements contradict one another, we must acknowledge each to be speaking in a different sense; one speaks of God judging all men indirectly through Christ, through Whom are all things 1 Cor 8:6. The Father is the ultimate Cause of all judgement, and all judgment is according to His will and command, although it is executed through the Son. And so the Son said “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:30 NASB. The Father then may truly and rightly be said to “impartially judge according to each one’s work”, because He so judges mediately, through the Son, Who judges not on His own initiative, but according to the will and command of the Father.

On the other hand, the Son has all judgement given to Him by the Father, and the Father judges no one, in this second sense, in reference to immediate action, since the Father immediately judges no one, but all immediate judgment is given to the Son. For the Son clearly says that He does not judge according to His own initiative but according to the will of the Father; and so the Father judges through the Son, and so, Himself truly judges all- not immediately and directly, but mediately, through the Son, the one Mediator between God and man. Meanwhile the Son alone judges immediately and directly. Since all things from God through Son, so God judges through Son, the Son judging according to the will and command of the Father. The Son alone, however, judges immediately, and in that immediate sense, God judges no one.

We can apply this same sort of logic reasonably to all things that God does through His Son. So there is shown a significant difference between the actions of God and of His Son towards creation; the Father acts towards creation mediately, the Son both immediately, and through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit only acts immediately towards the universe, never through another person of the Trinity. So the actions of the persons are not entirely identical, but each acts towards creation differently and distinctly. This shows that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct individual beings, or persons.

In all this we still see that the persons are united in their actions; the one God, the Father, works through His only-begotten Son, and the Son through the Holy Spirit. This is the pattern of all God’s great works toward the universe: all things are from Him, through His Son. “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” 1 Corinthians 8:6 NKJV. God created the universe through His Son; God upholds the existence of the universe through His Son; God rules over all things through His Son; God reconciles all things to Himself through His Son; and as we read above, God judges the world through His Son. In the immediate and most high sense, as being the Supreme Cause and Instigator of all these things, the Father is the one Creator, the one Sustainer, the Only Ruler, the Only Savior, and the one Judge of the universe; performing all these actions through the mediation of His Son.

And in the same manner as that judgement was spoken of, we might reasonably speak of any of these acts of God; God, the Father, alone in truth performing all these actions, not immediately and directly, but through the mediation of His only-begotten Son, Who acts upon the universe directly and immediately, according to the will and command of the Father. And so the Son, and not the Father, is the immediate Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Judge of the universe; in this immediate sense the Father creates no one, sustains no one, saves no one, and judges no one, in the whole of the universe that is through His Son. And so, we see the distinct roles of each person; and we see that although God acts through His Son, and His Son acts on His behalf, and according to His will and command, the roles, and so, the actions, of each person, within these greater works are distinguished from one another.

We cannot speak of the Father as the immediate worker of any of those works; nor can we speak of the Son as the ultimate cause of any of those works. The Father alone is the one from Whom are all things; and the Son alone the one through Whom are all things. Therefore the actions of the persons are shown to be distinct and different; the one working mediately and indirectly, the other working immediately and directly on the universe. As mentioned earlier, this distinction in action proves that God and His Son are distinct persons; the Father, the one God, and His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, are two distinct rational individual beings, not one and the same. Otherwise, if They were the same, one could not be said to do something through the other; and one could not be said to be the one from which an action was, the other the one through Whom an action was performed, unless They are two really distinct persons.

“I will not share my glory with another” Isa 42:8

“I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42:8 NASB

This verse is sometimes cited by those who wish to deny the real distinct existence of the Son. If He is another individual being, or person, besides the Father, they say, then how can He be called “God”, be credited with the work of creation, and in short, be glorified and worshipped with such honor as would otherwise properly belong to God alone. How is He called by the name LORD, when God does not share this glory with another? Haven’t you read that God does not share His glory with anyone else, they ask? Therefore, they conclude, since the Son is so glorified, He cannot be another, but must be the same individual being as the Father; and so they falsely declare that the Son is Himself the only true God, the Supreme Being, Whose Son He actually is.

The context of the passage actually shows, however, that the person quoting it to such an end is either being deceitful, or is simply ignorant of its context. For if we read it with what comes before, the true meaning of the text becomes clear:

“Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it, 6 “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations, 7 To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison. 8 “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.” (Isa 42:5-8 NASB)

In context, then, it should be clear to anyone familiar with the New Testament that the Son is in fact in view here: it is the Son Who God has given as a covenant to the people and a light to the nations; the Son Who opens the blind eyes of men’s hearts, and frees men from bondage to sin and death. It is this one, the Christ of God, Who God glorifies mightily, even with that name that is above all names (Phil 2); and besides this one, He will not give His glory to another. That is, He will not share His glory with any other but His Son, through Whom He redeems men from every tribe and tongue and nation.

Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue With Trypho, a Jew, dealt with this text as well:

“And Trypho said, “Being shaken by so many Scriptures, I know not what to say about the Scripture which Isaiah writes, in which God says that He gives not His glory to another, speaking thus ‘I am the Lord God; this is my name; my glory will I not give to another, nor my virtues.'”

And I answered, “If you spoke these words, Trypho, and then kept silence in simplicity and with no ill intent, neither repeating what goes before nor adding what comes after, you must be forgiven; but if[you have done so] because you imagined that you could throw doubt on the passage, in order that I might say the Scriptures contradicted each other, you have erred. But I shall not venture to suppose or to say such a thing; and if a Scripture which appears to be of such a kind be brought forward, and if there be a pretext[for saying] that it is contrary[to some other], since I am entirely convinced that no Scripture contradicts another, I shall admit rather that I do not understand what is recorded, and shall strive to persuade those who imagine that the Scriptures are contradictory, to be rather of the same opinion as myself. With what intent, then, you have brought forward the difficulty, God knows. But I shall remind you of what the passage says, in order that you may recognise even from this very[place] that God gives glory to His Christ alone. And I shall take up some short passages, sirs, those which are in connection with what has been said by Trypho, and those which are also joined on in consecutive order. For I will not repeat those of another section, but those which are joined together in one. Do you also give me your attention.[The words] are these:’Thus saith the Lord, the God that created the heavens, and made them fast, that established the earth, and that which is in it; and gave breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them who walk therein: I the Lord God have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will strengthen Thee; and I have given Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out them that are bound from the chains, and those who sit in darkness from the prison-house. I am the Lord God; this is my name: my glory will I not give to another, nor my virtues to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass; new things which I announce, and before they are announced they are made manifest to you. Sing unto the Lord a new song: His sovereignty from the end of the earth.[Sing], ye who descend into the sea, and continually sail[on it]; ye islands, and inhabitants thereof. Rejoice, O wilderness, and the villages thereof, and the houses; and the inhabitants of Cedar shall rejoice, and the inhabitants of the rock shall cry aloud from the top of the mountains: they shall give glory to God; they shall publish His virtues among the islands. The Lord God of hosts shall go forth, He shall destroy war utterly, He shall stir up zeal, and He shall cry aloud to the enemies with strength.’ ” And when I repeated this, I said to them, “Have you perceived, my friends, that God says He will give Him whom He has established as a light of the Gentiles, glory, and to no other; and not, as Trypho said, that God was retaining the glory to Himself?”

Then Trypho answered, “We have perceived this also; pass on therefore to the remainder of the discourse.”” (Ch 65)

So far then is this passage from in any way denying the Son, then, that it rather proclaims Him as the one Whom God glorifies with a glory far above all else, as His beloved Son, the Christ He has anointed to rule the nations. And were the Son not another besides the Father, and distinct from Him, God could give Him no glory; for were the Son the Supreme Being, the only true God Himself, He would have all glory already, and could not receive more than He has. But God glorifies His only-begotten Son, His Christ, with the name above all names, the most holy name of God.