Dear Jehovah Witness:
This letter to sets forth why the Bible supports the Trinity.
Without over simplifying the arguments of your church, your church claims that if Christ proclaimed to be the Son of God, prayed to God, and submitted himself to God’s will, Christ cannot be equal in nature to the Father Almighty. Accordingly, it is the contention of your church that Christ is lesser in nature to the Father Almighty. A belief in the Trinity Doctrine would, therefore, constitute a biblical heresy.
While Jesus assumed human form, proclaimed to be the Son of God, prayed to God, and submitted himself to the will of God, these premises do not refute the Trinity Doctrine. In fact, they support this doctrine.
To demonstrate how, this letter must first establish the biblical definition of the Trinity Doctrine. Second, this letter will provide biblical justification for the Trinity Doctrine. Third, this letter will address the verses you rely upon to explain how the submission of Christ to the Father Almighty, as a co-equal within the context of the Trinity, constituted a necessary prerequisite for the atonement of our sins and our chance for eternal salvation. Finally, this letter will provide an explanation for why there is no other biblically consistent explanation for the identity of Christ.
The contentions raised in this letter rest upon the following six assumptions:
∙ASSUMPTION 1: This discussion will presume that the Bible is the best and only source of authority for interpreting itself. “All scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for discipling in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
∙ASSUMPTION 2: This letter will assume that any single passage should not be extracted and interpreted outside of its surrounding context. A verse must be interpreted in a manner consistent with the surrounding verses in a given passage. Likewise, any given passage must be interpreted in a manner consistent with surrounding passages within a given book and with other passages within the Old and New Testaments.
∙ASSUMPTION 3: As the various English translations of the Bible all originate from the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, the text in its original language represents the most reliable source of authority as to the correct wording of any particular verse.
∙ASSUMPTION 4: The original Greek and Hebrew text should be translated into English in a consistent manner. A diligent search of scripture for each instance of a word usage should be made to ensure that the same Greek or Hebrew word is translated in a similar manner in other passages.
∙ASSUMPTION 5: The statements of Jesus should be interpreted in a manner consistent with the teachings in the Old Testament. Jesus claimed: “Think not that I have come to destroy the law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17).
∙ASSUMPTION 6: The Bible is the inerrant word of God. “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18). By this statement, Jesus affirmed every word in the Hebrew text of the Torah and the Books of the Prophets to be the accurate word of God. Using the Dead Sea Scrolls and other early manuscripts, we can verify that each word in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament certified by Christ is the same used today. Assuming we consider Jesus a reliable source of authority, His statement is a divine confirmation that the Bible is not only divinely inspired, it is the inerrant word of God.
The Trinity Doctrine is not new. The founding church fathers, for nearly two centuries, have interpreted numerous Bible verses–many cited in Section II below–to establish that Jesus Christ, the Father Almighty, and the Holy Spirit are all equal in power, as three divine beings in one, as opposed to three separate polytheistic gods. The Nicene Creed reads:
We worship one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in unity; we distinguish among the persons, but we do not divide the substance. . . . The entire three persons are coeternal and coequal with one another, so that . . . we worship complete unity in the Trinity and Trinity in unity.
No informed Christian believing in the Trinity bases his or her beliefs on a single verse. Rather, the Trinity Doctrine is based upon the cumulative evidence of numerous verses of Scripture. As sources of authority, I will rely primarily on the statements of Christ, the statements of the disciples, the identity of the creator and savior of the Old and New Testaments, and the statements of the Father Almighty. The following is only a partial listing of verses supporting the Holy Trinity.
If we believe in Christ, some of the strongest justifications for the Trinity Doctrine are Christ’s own claims as to His identity. In John 8:58, John 10:38, and John 10:30, Jesus directly proclaimed to be of equal nature to the Father Almighty.
“When Jesus made statements about Abraham as though he personally knew him, the Jews asked him: “You are not yet 50 years old, and have you seen Abraham?”” (John 8:57). “Jesus responded: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” At that point, the Jews picked up stones to kill him for claiming to be God.” (John 8:59). “They knew that in Exodus the Father Almighty had said to Moses, “I am that I am. . . . Thus, you shall say to the sons of Israel, I am has sent me to you.”” (Exodus 3:14).
Likewise, in John 10:38, Jesus proclaimed, “. . . that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father.” (John 10:38). Again, Jesus directly proclaimed to be of equal nature to the Father Almighty.
Further, in John 10:30, Jesus told a group of Jews, “I and the Father are one.” (NWT) If Jesus was merely attempting to state that He had a unity of purpose with the Father, rather than being equal to the Father, the Jews would not likely have picked up stones and prepared themselves to kill Jesus for his statements. (John 10:31).
Either Jesus lied about His identity on multiple occasions, or He was who He claimed to be.
Another passage in the Bible frequently cited to establish that Jesus Christ and God the Father are one, is also found written in the Book of John.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1-3).
For nearly two centuries these verses have been interpreted for the proposition that Jesus has existed since the beginning of time both with the Father and as the Father. Jesus then became flesh to die for our sins.
The New World Translation (“NWT”), issued by the Watchtower, alters this passage to read: “. . . the Word was a God.” This translation differs from the other translations due to the absence of a definite article before the word “God” in the original Greek manuscripts. If this is correct, by implication, Christ was merely a god and not one with the Father.
The NWT, however, in translating the original Greek words theos en logos as “a god” and not “[the] God” or “the Father Almighty” is inconsistent with its other translations of similar passages. It thus violates the rule of consistency in interpretation. When interpreting ancient manuscripts, Greek, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, or any other text or combination of words, such interpretations are to be interpreted consistently. (Assumption #4, supra).
Requiring that the word theos (God) be translated as a god due to the absence of a preceding definite article ho (the) would lead to various unintended consequences in interpreting other verses in the Bible. Interpreting John 1:1 as suggested by the NWT would also require Matthew 5:8 to be interpreted as “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of a god.” Likewise, the rule of consistency would require John 1:6 to be translated: “There came a man who was sent from a god,” and, again, John 1:18, would be read “no one has ever seen a god.”
In fact, numerous verses in the original Greek manuscripts exclude the definite article “the” where God is the subject of the sentence and when God is understood to be the subject by the surrounding context. The following is a list of scriptures in the New Testament which refer to God without use of a definite article: Matthew 5:9; 6:24; Luke 1:35, 78; 2:40; John 1:6, 12, 13, 18; 3:2, 21; 9:16, 33; Romans 1:7, 17, 18; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 15:10; Philippians 2:11, 13; Titus 1:1. If John 1:1 must be translated as “a god,” then these and many other scripture passages must be changed to be consistent.
More importantly, to believe that we should follow Christ as some kind of a “lesser god” or “another god” requires a belief in Polytheism–something which is expressly prohibited in scripture. On multiple occasions throughout the Old and New Testaments, the Bible reveals that there is only one God:
• This means everlasting life, there taking in knowledge of You, the only true God, and of the one whom You sent forth Jesus Christ. (John 17:3).
• We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. (1 Corinthians 8:4).
• [F]or there is one God. . . . (1 Timothy 2:5).
• See now I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me. (Deuteronomy 32:39).
• I am the First and I am the Last; apart from Me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6).
• Is there any god besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none. (Isaiah 44:8).
• I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. (Isaiah 45:5).
• Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. (Isaiah 43:10).
These verses repeatedly emphasize one point: There is only one God. From the beginning of time there has been only one God. Throughout all eternity there will be only one God. (Isaiah 43:10). To interpret the Bible consistently, Christ cannot be considered another god separate from the Father Almighty.
For the above reasons, the absence of the definite article “the” or ho, in the original Greek manuscripts is not properly interpreted by the indefinite article “a.” Accordingly, John 1:1 must be translated to read “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.” By this interpretation, Jesus as “the Word” was the Father Almighty and subsequently assumed human form for the atonement of our sins. Any other interpretation is inconsistent and contradicts all other passages of scripture which expressly reveal that there is only one God.
Proof of the Trinity is also evidenced by the statements of the disciple Thomas. When Jesus made a post-resurrection appearance to Thomas, the disciple worshipfully responded by addressing Him, “my Lord and my God.” (John 20:28, emphasis added). By his choice of words, Thomas was acknowledging that Jesus Christ is the Father Almighty. If Thomas were merely using the Lord’s name as an emotional expletive, he would have been guilty of blasphemy.
To the first century Jew, any careless use of God’s name was a blasphemy in violation of the Third Commandment. In fact, the name “Yahweh,” from the Hebrew text “YHWH” in the Old Testament, was never spoken publically.1 Had Thomas committed blasphemy, Christ would have rebuked him. Instead, Jesus commended Thomas for recognizing who He was.
As a disciple of Jesus, Thomas would have been familiar with the Old Testament. In Psalm 35:23, the phrase “my God and my Lord” is used of Yahweh. A consistent application with the Old Testament then would properly interpret Thomas’ statement, “my Lord and my God,” as recognizing Jesus as God. Therefore, John 20:28 constitutes further support for the Trinity Doctrine. The Father is fully God; the Son is fully God; and yet there is only one true God. Within the unity of one Godhead, there are three beings–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one.
Both the New Testament and the Old Testament state that the universe was created by one God. In the New Testament, all things are alleged to have been created by Christ:
“By means of him, all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All things have been created through Him and for Him. Also He is before all things and by means of Him all things were made to exist.” (Colossians 1:16-17).
By contrast, in the Old Testament the Father Almighty proclaimed twice to have created the Universe alone. Isaiah recorded God as proclaiming:
I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone.” (Isaiah 44:24, emphasis added. See also Genesis 1:1).
The Bible is not inconsistent. Rather, the Bible reveals that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created the universe as one God.
Without ever knowing Christ, the Jews repeatedly in the Old Testament referred to God in the plural form. The word for God in Genesis 1:1 is Elohiym which is plural of El. Likewise, the Shema or “call to worship” verse cited in your church, Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord,” refers to God by a plural nature. The verse uses the word echod, which is translated as a “composite one.” The same word echod is used in Genesis to describe the union of a man and a woman as “one” flesh. (Genesis 2:25). Likewise, the word echod is used to describe the “single cluster” of grapes that the Hebrew spies brought back from Israel. (Numbers 13:23). The Hebrews, therefore, knew God as a plural or composite God without fully understanding why.
Although God had not fully revealed the identity of Christ at the time Moses lived, Moses may have understood God’s triune nature. Moses quoted God in the book of Genesis repeatedly in the plural form.
In creating mankind, Moses quoted God as stating, “Let Us make man in Our likeness. . . ” (Genesis 1:26).2 After Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, the Father Almighty declared, “The man has now become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:22). Likewise, in the story of the tower of Babel, Moses quoted God as stating, “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:7).
Isaiah also referred to the Father Almighty in the plural form even before he received the Messianic revelation. When he appeared before the throne of God, God asked, “Who shall go for Us?” This question was preceded by the seraphim’s three declarations of God, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes also referred to the Creator in the plural form. Correctly translating the plural name of God, Ecclesiastes 12:1 reads:
Remember now thy Creator(s) in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw night, when thou shalt say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.’
The Bible is not inconsistent. The Hebrew authors of the Old Testament, including Moses, Isaiah, Solomon, and others, understood that God referred to Himself, repeatedly, in the plural form. If the Bible was not God’s inerrant word, these Hebrew authors or subsequent scribes would have presumed these plural references to have been a mistake and corrected the text.
The reasons for God’s consistent references to His plurality were not fully revealed until the New Testament. A consistent reading of the Old and New Testaments reveal that Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father Almighty are one.
Both the Old and New Testaments also proclaim that there is one savior. Either the Bible is inconsistent or the savior of the New Testament is the same savior of the Old Testament. The New Testament proclaims that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. “While we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13). By contrast, in Isaiah 43:11, the Father Almighty proclaims, “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from Me there is no savior.”
Again, the Old and New Testaments do not contradict each other as to the true identity of the Savior. In the Old Testament, the Redeemer is identified in the plural form. Correctly translating the plural noun of God into English, Isaiah 54:5 would read:
For thy Maker(s) [is] thine husband; the Lord of Hosts [is] His name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called.
The God of the whole earth is referenced by three separate names: the plural Maker(s), Lord of Hosts, and Redeemer. We know that Christ is referred to as the “Redeemer” in the New Testament.
Yet, who is the Lord of Hosts? The quote from Isaiah would appear to attribute this title to the Father Almighty. Nevertheless, John attributes this passage to Christ. (John 12:41). Moreover, Paul attributes this same passage to the Holy Spirit. (Acts 28:25). Accordingly, the Redeemer and Savior of the Old Testament is the Redeemer and Savior of the New Testament. The Father Almighty, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are one.
Even the Father Almighty referred to Jesus as God. “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever.” (Hebrews 1:8, emphasis added). If Jesus was lesser in nature to the Father Almighty, Jesus would have been referred to as “a god.” Further, as stated above, the Father could not refer to Christ as a separate god and simultaneously state in the book of Isaiah, “Before Me there was no God formed and there will be none after Me.” (Isaiah 43:10). Jesus and the Father Almighty are one. Any other interpretation would require a conclusion that God contradicts Himself throughout the Bible.
The Father Almighty also revealed Jesus’ death, within the context of the Trinity, through the names of the first ten generations outlined in the first eight chapters of Genesis. Each Hebrew name has a meaning. When combining the names of the first ten generations from Adam to Noah, we are told the plan of salvation. The following table shows the meaning of the names of the first 10 generations from Adam to Noah:
|1ST 10 GENERATIONS||MEANING OF THEIR NAMES|
|MAHALALEL||THE BLESSED GOD|
|JARRED||SHALL COME DOWN|
|METHUSELAH||HIS DEATH SHALL BRING|
|NOAH||REST OR COMFORT|
Placing these words in a single sentence, the Father Almighty revealed the following prediction:
Man [is] appointed mortal sorrow, [but] the Blessed God shall come down teaching [that] His death shall bring [the] despairing rest (or comfort).
Whom did God predict would die when He referenced “His death”? Jesus Christ! God foretold His plan of redemption through the genealogy of the first ten generations. The God who came down was none other than the man Jesus Christ.
It would be hard to imagine that a group of Jewish rabbis conspired to hide the Trinity in their venerated Torah. The Trinity Doctrine is true.
This revelation also reveals God’s confirmation that the Old Testament is divinely inspired. (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Every word of the Bible is the inerrant word of God. (Mathew 5:18).
In Revelation 22:13, Jesus states, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” If this translation is correct, Jesus is proclaiming to be the Father Almighty.
Although the terms “Alpha” and “Omega” appear to be mere references to the beginning and ending of the Greek alphabet, the interpretation in ancient times was much greater. The Jews of the Old Testament said that Adam transgressed the whole law from aleph to tau. Abraham, by contrast, observed the law from aleph to tau. Accordingly, in Jewish thinking, a reference to the first and last letter of the alphabet came to represent totality or eternity. Christ’s use of these letters indicates His express claim to eternity and omnipotence.
The NWT translation of Revelation 1:8, however, is altered to read: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’ says Jehovah God, ‘the One who is and who was and who is coming the Almighty.’“ Accordingly, the NWT translation of Revelation 1:8 states that the one who is “coming” is Jehovah God.
In fact, the NWT translation is incorrect for the following reasons: (i) the word “Jehovah” is not in the original text, but merely added to reflect the translators’ own beliefs; and (ii) the surrounding verses in the NWT translation and other translations indicate that it is not Jehovah, the Alpha and Omega, who is coming. Rather, it is Christ, the one who was “pierced.” (Revelation 1:7-8).
Jesus was pierced when He was nailed to the cross. Further, He is the only one identified in Scripture as having been pierced.
To reconcile these verses, one would need to believe that both the Father and Son will be “coming.” However, even the NWT translations indicates that there is only “One who . . . is coming,” and “Look! I am coming quickly . . . I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. . . .” (Revelation 22:1213).
Accordingly, even using the NWT translation, there can only be one person speaking in Revelation 2:8: “These are the things that He says, ‘The First and the Last’ who became dead and came to life again. . . .” Obviously, it is Jesus who was identifying himself when he calls Himself “the ‘First and the Last’ who became dead. . . .”
Without coincidence, this is also how the Father Almighty describes Himself in the Old Testament. (Isaiah 48:12-13). In the NWT, Isaiah 44:6 records the Father Almighty as saying: “I am the first and I am the last; apart from Me there is no God.” And, again, in Isaiah 48:12, God said, “I am He; I am the first and the last.” God said this after His pronouncement that “. . . I will not yield my glory to another.” (Isaiah 48:11). Christ’s use of this title in Revelation 22:12-13 was undoubtedly intended to be taken as a claim to be the Father Almighty. There is no other possible conclusion.
The Watchtower’s addition of the word “Jehovah” in the Book of Revelation alters the meaning of the prophesy. Altering Scripture in any way directly disregards God’s specific warning:
“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophesy of this book; if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book.” (Emphasis added). (Revelation 22:18).
Numerous other references describe the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, and the Father Almighty in equal attributes. For example:
• All three persons possess the attributes of omnipresence (everywhere-present): the Father (I Kings 8:27), the Son (Matthew 28:20), and the Holy Spirit (Psalm 139:7).
• All three have the attribute of omniscience (all-knowing): the Father (Psalm 147:5), the Son (John 16:30), and the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:10).
• All three have the attribute of omnipotence (all-powerful): the Father (Psalm 135:6), the Son (Matthew 28:18), and the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:19).
• Holiness is ascribed to each of the three persons: the Father (Revelation 15:4), the Son (Acts 3:14), and the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:4).
• Eternity is ascribed each of the three persons: the Father (Psalm 90:2), the Son (Micah 5:2, John 1:2, Revelation 1:8, 18), and the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 9:14).
• Each of the three persons is individually described as the truth: the Father (John 7:28), the Son (Revelation 3:7), and the Holy Spirit (I John 5:6).
• Each of the three is called Lord (Luke 2:11; Romans 10:12; 2 Cor. 3:17), everlasting (Romans 16:26; Hebrews 9:14; Revelation 22:13), Almighty (Genesis 17:1; Romans 15:19; Revelation 1:8), and Powerful (Jeremiah 32:17; Zachariah 4:6; Hebrews 1:3).
• In addition to having the attributes of a deity, each of the three persons were involved in doing the work of a deity. For example, all three were involved in the creation of the world: the Father (Genesis 2:7; Psalms 102:25), the Son (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30).
• Each of the three persons in the Trinity also sanctifies (Hebrews 2:11; I Peter 1:2; Jude 1), are life (Deuteronomy 30:20; Romans 8:10; Colossians 3:4), give eternal life (John 20:28; Romans 6:23; Galatians 6:8), raise the dead (John 5:21(a); John 5:21(b); I Peter 3:18), and divinely inspire God’s prophets and spokesmen (Mark 13:11; 2 Cor. 13:3; Hebrews 1:8).
Recognizing that these three entities are separate, one must come to either one of two possible conclusions: (i) either the Bible contradicts itself in advocating the practice of polytheism; or (ii) all three persons are one God.
Having outlined a biblical basis for the Trinity Doctrine and Christ’s multiple claims to being the Father Almighty, this letter will now address the various verses your church has relied upon for the proposition that Jesus Christ is inferior to the Father Almighty.
Your church relies upon Colossians 1:15-16 for the proposition that Christ was created after the Father Almighty and is therefore an inferior being. This verse reads, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, for in Him all things were created in heaven and on earth.”
This verse, however, does not stand for the proposition that there was a time when Christ did not exist and thereafter came into being at some point by the creation of Father Almighty. In the original Greek, the word “protocol” translated as “firstborn” is not properly translated as “first created.” Rather, the word “protocol” is properly interpreted as “first in rank, pre-eminent one, heir.” The word carries the idea of positional pre-eminence and supremacy. Christ is the firstborn in that He is pre-eminent and supreme over all other things. He is also the heir of all creation in the sense that all that belongs to the Father is also the Son’s.
Examples of the use of firstborn are found throughout the Old Testament. In Exodus 4:21, the Father Almighty referred to Israel as His “firstborn nation.” By this term, the Father Almighty defined Israel to be His pre-eminent nation among the peoples of earth, not the first created.
Likewise, in Psalm 89:27, it is said of King David, “I also shall make him my firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.” Although David was the “last” born in Jesse’s family, he is called the firstborn because of the pre-eminent position which the Father Almighty placed him.
We find another example of the meaning of “firstborn” in comparing Genesis 41:50-51 with Jeremiah 31:9. Manasseh was actually the firstborn to Joseph, and Ephraim was born later. Nevertheless, Ephraim is called the “firstborn” in Jeremiah 31:9 because of his pre-eminent position. He was not born first, but he was the firstborn because of his pre-eminence. Likewise, Ishmael was born 13 years prior to Isaac, but it is Isaac who is referred to as the firstborn.
A careful reading of Colossians 1:15-16 reveals that Christ is the “firstborn of all creation,” not the firstborn of the Father Almighty. Further, as stated in Assumption 2 of this letter, any verse must be interpreted in the proper context of its surrounding verses. In the very next verse, Colossians 1:16, we are told that Christ created all things in the universe. Therefore, Christ was not produced by the creation, but, in fact, produced the creation.
As pointed out earlier, any attempt to reconcile these verses by stating the Father Almighty created Jesus Christ who, in turn, created the universe, contradicts earlier passages in the Old Testament. The Father Almighty directly proclaimed that He alone created all things:
“I, the Lord, and the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone.” (Isaiah 44:24).
Accordingly, Jesus and the Father are one. As noted in John 1:1, Christ or the “Word” has existed since the beginning of time. Therefore, the Father Almighty, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, together as one being, created all things.
Your church also relies upon John 14:28 for the proposition that Christ has proclaimed that the Father Almighty is greater in stature or authority than Himself. John 14:28 reads, “If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”
In this verse, Jesus is not proclaiming to be inferior in power to the Father Almighty, rather He proclaims to be beneath the Father Almighty in His human form. In reading John 10:30, Christ proclaimed “I and the Father are one.” Likewise, in John 8:58, Jesus proclaimed, “Before Moses was born, I am.” To reconcile these verses, we must again look to the original Greek words.
In Greek, the word for “greater” (“meizon”) and “better” (“kreitton”) carry distinct meanings. In John 14:28, Jesus used the word “meizon” not “kreitton.” Translated into English, Jesus specifically said, “the Father is greater than I.” He did not state, “the Father is better than I.”
The word “greater” is used to point to the Father’s position in heaven, not to His greater nature. This distinction is made clear in Hebrews 1:4. In this verse, Jesus used the word “kreitton” or “better” in regard to Jesus’ superiority over the angels in heaven. The word “better” indicated that Jesus is not just higher than the angels; rather, He is higher than the angels in His very nature. Jesus is different or better in kind and nature from the angels.
The distinction between “greater” and “better” can be illustrated in the President of the United States. The President is in a higher position than the rest of us. Therefore, the President is greater (“meizon”) than the rest of us. However, he is still a human being. Thus, he is not “better” (“kreitton”) than the rest of us.
Paul’s description of Christ in Philippians 2:6-9 is also relevant in interpreting Jesus’ positional role as an incarnated human being. Paul said that Christ, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Properly interpreted, this passage states that Christ made Himself “nothing” by becoming incarnate in order to die for our sins.
Had Christ not assumed a human form, He could not have been viewed by humans. As John noted in Revelation 1:17, “I fell at His feet as though dead.” Likewise, Isaiah noted when seeing the Father Almighty, “woe to me, I am ruined.” (Isaiah 6:5).
Jesus also had to assume human form in order to serve as a “kinsman redeemer.” (See the story of Naomi in the Book of Ruth). Further, Christ had to be a descendant from the line of David in order to redeem the throne of David. (Leviticus 25:47-50). Moreover, as all humans are guilty of sin through Adam and Eve’s original sin, only God Himself remained pure enough to offer Himself through Jesus as the sacrificial lamb for our sins. “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering . . . “ (Genesis 22:8). Accordingly, it was necessary for Christ to assume a human form and become subordinate to the Father Almighty in order to appear before humans and die for the atonement of our sins.
Your church also relies upon 1 Corinthians 15:28 for the proposition that Christ directly proclaimed He was subject to the will of the Father Almighty. The relevant portion of this verse reads, “but when all things will have been subjected to Him, then the son Himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all things to everyone.” (Emphasis added).
It is further argued that since this verse was written about Christ approximately 22 years after Jesus returned to heaven, Jesus’ inferiority to the Father persists not only from His time as a human but into His current position in heaven as well.
This argument, however, rests upon a misplaced understanding of Jesus’ role within the Trinity. As noted in John 14:28, the use of the word “subject” has nothing to do with Christ’s essential nature or being. Rather, the word points to Christ’s “functional” subjection to the Father Almighty in the execution of the plan for our salvation.
Christ’s functional subjection continues to exist in heaven as Christ was raised immortal in the “very same body” in which He died. (Luke 24:37-38; Acts 2:31; 1 John 4:2; 2 John 7). Jesus, Himself, said that “a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” (Luke 24:39).
When Christ ascended into heaven, He ascended in the same physical human body as witnessed by several of His disciples. (Acts 1:11). As the Mediator between the Father Almighty and human kind for salvation, Christ is specifically said to “presently possess” a human nature. (1 Timothy 2:5). Christ continues to hold this nature to fulfill the prophesy of His return. When Christ returns, He will return as the “Son of Man”–a Messianic title which clearly points to His humanity. (Matthew 26:64). Further, as stated above, Christ can only be viewed by man in a human form. (Isaiah 6:5; Revelation 1:17).3
Because Christ still possesses His human form, then He is still in positional submission to the Father Almighty. This, however, in no way makes Jesus lesser than the Father Almighty in terms of His divine nature. Christ is the God-man. On the human side, He is lesser in position than the Father Almighty, but on the divine side, Jesus is forever equal to the Father Almighty. To further understand how an individual may be in a position beneath another individual yet still remain equal in nature, this letter will address the related verse you cite, 1 Corinthians 11:3.
Your church also relies upon 1 Corinthians 11:3 for the proposition that Christ is inferior in rank to the Father Almighty. The relevant portions of this verse read, “but I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn, the head of every woman is the man; in turn, the head of the Christ is God.” (Emphasis added). As noted above, the use of these terms 22 years after Christ ascended into heaven, implies that the relationship of inferiority continues to the present.
To interpret the meaning of this verse, again, we must look to the original Greek text. The word kephale interpreted as “head” in Greek may also be interpreted as “source” or “origin.” In the context of a man and a woman, the use of the word “kephale” implies that the source of authority originates from the man. However, there is no implication of inequality as a matter of nature or being.
The Bible teaches that men and women are equal in terms of nature. They are both human and both are created in God’s image. (Genesis 1:26-28). They are also said to be one in Christ. (Galatians 3:28).4 These verses, taken with 1 Corinthians 11:3, demonstrate that “a quality of being” and “social hierarchy” are not mutually exclusive. Even though men and women are completely equal in terms of their nature, there remain certain functional differences between them.
A woman, unlike a man, is able to give birth to a child. While this alone does not imply that the woman is superior to the man, it does underline the fact that men and women play different roles. Likewise, within the context of the Trinity, Christ played a unique role in giving rebirth to our souls. As part of the plan for our salvation, this rebirth could not have been fulfilled by the Father Almighty alone. To demonstrate how, this letter will turn to another verse cited by your church, Matthew 26:39.
Your church also relies upon Matthew 26:39 for the proposition that if Jesus prayed to the Father, the Trinity could not exist as He would, in effect, be praying to Himself. Further, if the Trinity truly existed, the Father Almighty’s will would have been the same as His own. This verse, in relevant part, reads: “Going a little further, He fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’“
Within the context of the Trinity Doctrine, this is arguably one of the most important verses in the entire Bible. This verse shows Christ’s suffering as a human being. It is significant as Christ notes that if there were some other way to obtain salvation for mankind without the shedding of His blood, the Father Almighty would have done so by His own will. However, the Father Almighty did not remove the “cup” from Jesus’ hand and relieve Him of His suffering without the crucifixion. The Father Almighty did not, at this point, take Jesus back to heaven like Enoch and Elijah without suffering a human death. He did not do so as He was unable alone, under the plan for our salvation, to provide for the redemption of mankind without Christ.
In other words, through Christ alone, we obtain the possibility of rebirth from the death of our sins. Just as the woman, and not the man, gives birth to a child, so only Christ, and not the Father Almighty alone, could give us rebirth from our sins.
Your church further relies upon to Mark 13:32 for the proposition that if only the Father Almighty knows the appointed hour of the apocalypse, Jesus Christ could not be co-equal with the Father Almighty. Mark 13:32 reads, “Concerning that day or the hour, nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father.”
This statement might be another example of Christ’s mere functional subjection to the Father. Alternatively, this might be a mere difference in roles like that of a man and a wife.
There is, however, a third even more persuasive answer to the question you raise about this verse. Understanding the meaning of this verse requires understanding of the meaning of the duality of Christ’s nature in His incarnate form. In this passage, Jesus was speaking from the vantage point of His humanity. As a human being Jesus was not omniscient, but was limited in His understanding just as we are. If Jesus had been speaking from the perspective of His divinity, He would not have said the same thing.
To understand the operation of this duality, it is necessary to cite to verses demonstrating both His vantage point in human form and His separate vantage point as a divine being. As a human being, Christ knew hunger (Luke 4:2), weariness (John 4:6), and the need for sleep (Luke 8:23). For example, Christ’s initial approach to the fig tree to pick and eat a fig to relieve His hunger reflected the natural ignorance of the human mind. (Matthew 21:19-21). That is, in His humanity, he did not know from a distance that there was no fruit on the tree. However, He then revealed his divine omnipotence by causing the tree to wither (Matthew 21:19).
By contrast, there are multiple examples in the Bible indicating that Christ maintained the attributes of omniscience despite having assumed human form. First, He knows the inward thoughts and memories of man, an ability peculiar to God (1 Kings 8:39, Jeremiah 17:9-15). He saw the evil in the hearts of the scribes (Matthew 9:4); He knew beforehand those who would reject him (John 10:64); and those who would follow Him (John 10:14). He could read the hearts of every man and woman (Mark 2:8; John 1:48; 2:24-25; 4:16-19; Acts 1:24; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Revelation 2:1823). A mere human can do no more than make an intelligent guess as to what is in the hearts and minds of others.
Further, Christ has a knowledge of other facts beyond the possible comprehension of any man. He knew where the fish were in the water (Luke 5:4-6; John 21:6-11). He knew future events (John 11:11; 18:4). He knew Lazarus had died (John 11:14). He also told Peter to go out and fish and in the mouth of the first fish he catches will be enough money to pay his and Christ’s tribute (taxes) (Matthew 17:24-27).
Christ also possessed an inner knowledge of the Godhead showing the closest possible communion with God as well as perfect knowledge. He knows the Father Almighty as the Father Almighty knows Him (Matthew 11:27; John 7:28; 8:55; 10:15; 17:25).
Moreover, Christ knows all things (John 16:30; 21:17). Further, in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).
To reconcile these verses, one must appreciate that Christ at times manifested His human form and was subject to the human weaknesses of hunger, being tired, etc. By contrast, on other occasions, Christ manifested His divine qualities of His omniscience. In His human form, Christ made himself “nothing” to die for our sins. In His weakened human form, the hour of His return may be clouded from His vision.
Your church also relies upon to 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 for the proposition that the Father Almighty is “one God” and Jesus Christ is a separate and distinct being. 1 Corinthians 8:6 reads, “There is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for Him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through Him.” (Emphasis added).
The rule of consistency in interpretation, however, prohibits this verse from being interpreted to mean that Jesus is not God. (Assumption #5). There are many places throughout Scripture where the Father is called Lord and the Son is called God.
The logical fallacy of this argument is the assumption that the use of a title for one person in one context automatically rules out the application of another title to that same person in another context. Instead of making such an assumption, the proper rule of consistency and interpretation requires that all of scripture be reviewed for the usage of such titles. From scripture, we know that the Father Almighty is called God (1 Peter 1:2) and Lord (Matthew 11:25). Further, we know that Jesus Christ is called God (John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8) and Lord (Romans 10:9). Allowing scripture to interpret scripture, this verse does not properly require an interpretation that there is “one God” in a distant class from Jesus Christ. Rather, there are three beings within one God.
Your church further relies upon Revelation 1:1 and 3:14 for the proposition that Jesus Christ was a created being and implicitly lesser than the Father Almighty. Revelation 3:14 reads, “And to the angel of the congregation in Laodi, these are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witnesses, the beginning of the creation by God.” (Emphasis added). You cite to the use of the Greek word, “arche” for the proposition that Christ was created by the Father Almighty in the beginning.
Although the Greek word arche can be interpreted as “beginning,” the word also carries a distinct meaning when, as here, it is used as an adjective. When it is used as an adjective, it carries the meaning of “one who begins,” “origin,” “source,” “creator,” or “first cause.” Interpreted in this context, arche in Revelation 3:14 is used to refer to “the active beginning of a creation, the One who caused the creation, referring to Jesus Christ not as a created being, but the One who created all things.” (John 1:3).
A brief perusal of some of today’s translations of the Greek text reflects the correct meaning of this word:
• The Jerusalem Bible translates arche in Revelation 3:14 as “the ultimate source” of God’s creation.
• The New English Bible translates arche as “the prime source” of God’s creation.
• Barclay’s translation renders arche as “the source” of God’s creation.
• Both Williams’ and Godspeed’s translations render arche as “the beginner” of God’s creation.
In English, the word “architect” is derived from arche. Using the English derivation of this word, it might be said that Jesus is the architect of all creation. (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2).
Further, another possible meaning of arche is “ruler” or “magistrate.” When arche is used of a person in scripture, it is almost always used in the context of a ruler. Indeed, the plural form of this word is typically translated “principalities” in the New Testament. (Romans 8:38; Ephesians 3:10; Colossians 2:15). Elsewhere in the New Testament, the word carries the idea of “rule” or “domain.” (Luke 20:20; Jude 6).
The English word archbishop is also related to the usage of the Greek word arche. An archbishop is one in authority or a ruler over other bishops. Accordingly, if “ruler” is the correct meaning of arche in Revelation 3:14, then it means Christ has authority over all creation. This meaning is reflected in the New International Version which reads that Christ is the “ruler of God’s creation.” (Revelation 3:14).
Finally, the requirement of consistency in interpretation and the fact that the Bible does not contradict itself requires a reading that Christ is the creator of all things, not the first creation of God who, in turn, created all things. As noted above, in Isaiah 44:24, the Father Almighty notes, “I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth all alone.” (Emphasis added).
This verse renders it impossible to interpret Revelation 3:14 to read that the Father Almighty created Christ who, in turn, created all things. The Father Almighty clearly stated that He made all things “by Myself.” For these reasons, Revelation 3:14 supports the Trinity Doctrine.
This letter also will address the use of the term “Son of God.” While a son of someone can be properly interpreted as their offspring, the use of this term in this context carries a double meaning. In similar usages of the words “son of,” the words do not convey the meaning “offspring of,” but, rather, they carry the meaning of “the order of.”
This phrase is often used in this manner in the Old Testament. For example, “sons of the prophets” meant “of the order of prophets.” (1 Kings 20:35). “Sons of the singers” meant “of the order of singers.” (Nehemiah 12:28). Likewise, the phrase “Son of God” means “of the order of” God,” and represents a claim to an undiminished deity.
Here, through the Holy Spirit, Christ was physically created as a human to die for our sins. Nevertheless, He was still of the order of God. The Jews understood Christ’s usage of this term in this context. For this reason, they attempted to kill him.
Your church also relies upon seven verses for the proposition that the Holy Spirit is neither a personage nor in equal power to the Father Almighty. The verses it cites include: Acts 7:55-56; Revelation 7:10; 22:1-3; Exodus 6:3; and Revelation 19:6.
In the last section of Section II, this letter lists the various Biblical verses in which the Holy Spirit is empowered with the same divine powers as the Father Almighty and Jesus Christ. To avoid repetition, this letter will limit comments to identifying the Biblical verses in which the Holy Spirit manifests the attributes of a personality, in lieu of a mere force. If the teachings of the Watchtower Society are correct, then the Holy Spirit is a mere force, like electricity, through which the Father Almighty’s or Jesus Christ’s will is implemented.
In fact, numerous Biblical verses ascribe traits of a personality to the Holy Spirit.
∙ Mind of the Holy Spirit
First, the Bible reveals that the Holy Spirit has a mind. The Holy Spirit’s intellect is seen in 1 Corinthians 2:10, where we are told that the “Spirit searches all things.” (Cf. Isaiah 1:2, Ephesians 1:17). The Greek word for “searches” means to thoroughly investigate a matter. The Holy Spirit–with His mind–investigates the things of God and makes these matters known to believers.
Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 2:11, we are told that the Holy Spirit knows the thoughts of God. How can the Spirit “know” the things of God if the Spirit does not have a mind? A force does not know things. Again, thought processes require the presence of a mind. Moreover, in Romans 8:27, we are told that the Holy Spirit knows the things of God, so God and the Father know “the mind of the Spirit.”
∙ The Emotions of the Holy Spirit
Second, the Holy Spirit has emotions. In Ephesians 4:30, for example, we are admonished, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” Grief is an emotion and emotions cannot be experienced by a force. The Holy Spirit feels the emotion of grief when the believer sins. In the context of Ephesians, such sins would include: lying (v. 25); anger (v. 26); stealing (v. 28); laziness (v. 28); and speaking words that are unkind (v. 29).
∙ The Will of the Holy Spirit
Third, the Holy Spirit has a will. We are told in 1 Corinthians 12:11, that the Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts “to each one individually just as He wills.” (Emphasis added). The phrase “He wills” translates from the Greek word bouletai which refers to “decisions of the will after previous deliberation.” The Holy Spirit makes a sovereign choice regarding which spiritual gifts each respective Christian receives. A force does not have such a will.
∙ The Personality of the Holy Spirit
Fourth, the Holy Spirit’s works confirm His personality. The Holy Spirit does many things in scripture that only a person can do. Indeed, many of His works are similar to the works of both the Father and the Son. For example, the Holy Spirit teaches believers (John 14:26); He testifies as Christ (John 15:26); He guides believers (Romans 8:14); He commissions people to service (Acts 13:4); He issues commands (Acts 8:29); He restrains sin (Genesis 6:3); He intercedes or prays (Romans 8:26); and He speaks to people (John 15:26; 2 Peter 1:21).
∙ The Personage of the Holy Spirit
As stated above, the Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). The Holy Spirit can be blasphemed (Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:29-30). The Holy Spirit can be lied to (Acts 5:3). The Holy Spirit can be obeyed (Acts 13:2). These statements would make no sense applied to a neutral force.
∙ The Name of the Holy Spirit
Finally, the Holy Spirit holds a proper name. Like the Father Almighty who told Moses he was to be referred to by the verb “to be” (“I am who I am”) (Exodus 3:8), the Holy Spirit is not referred to by a personal name. Instead, the Holy Spirit is referred to by its proper name “the Holy Spirit.” In Matthew 28:19, we are told, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” For all these reasons, the Holy Spirit is an equal part of the Trinity.
Assuming arguendo that the verses your church cites to undermine the Trinity Doctrine, Christ’s true identity must be ascertained. Assuming Christ is not the Father Almighty, is He merely another god, an archangel beneath God, or a mere human?
As described in Section II above, Christ cannot be a separate god apart from the Father Almighty. Repeatedly, in both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible reveals that there is only one God. (John 17:3, Deuteronomy 32:39, Isaiah 43:10, 44:6-8, 45:5). As the Father Almighty Himself stated:
“Before Me there was no God formed, there will be none after Me.” (Isaiah 43:10).
If Christ is to be believed, Christ did not contradict the Father Almighty in His proclamations that only one God exists. “Think not that I have come to destroy the law or the Prophets, I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17). Accordingly, if the Bible is to be interpreted consistently, there can be only one God. For this reason, assuming Christ is not the Father Almighty, Christ cannot be identified as a separate divine being.
Assuming Christ is not the Father Almighty and assuming He is not a separate divine being, it must be addressed whether Christ is a mere archangel over the other angels. As I understand, the Watchtower Society teaches that Jesus is the archangel Michael identified in the book of Daniel. In Daniel 10:13, Michael is called “one of the foremost princes.” He is likewise called the “prince” of God’s people in verse 21. Further, in Daniel 12:1, the Bible reveals that in the end of times, “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.”
The Watchtower Society cites to these verses to identify Jesus Christ as the archangel Michael. This interpretation, however, is problematic for at least seven reasons:
1. This directly contradicts the NWT’s attempt to reconcile John 1:1 by classifying Jesus as a god.
2. In the Book of Daniel, Chapters 10 and 12, there is no explicit statement that this is a reference to Jesus Christ.
3. Michael is specifically called “one of the chief princes.” (Emphasis added). The fact that Michael is “one of” the chief princes indicates that he is one among a group of chief princes. How large the group is, we are not told. The fact that Michael is one among equals proves that he is not unique. By contrast, the Greek word used to describe Jesus in John 3:16 is monogenes which means “unique, one of a kind.”
4. Jesus was never called a “chief prince” in the Bible. The fact that Jesus is called the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” in Revelation 19:16 indicates absolute sovereignty and authority. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is much higher in authority than a “chief prince” (who is one among equals). One has absolute sovereignty and authority, and the latter has derived, limited authority.
5. Christ is identified in the book of Hebrews to have superiority over the prophets (1:14), the angels (1:5-2:18), and Moses (3:1-6). As noted in Hebrews 1:5:
“To which of the angels did God [the Father] ever say, “You are my Son. . . ?””
6. In Hebrews 1:6, we are told that Christ is worshiped (proskuneo) by the angels. “Let all God’s angels worship Him” (Hebrews 1:6, emphasis added). The word proskuneo is the exact same word used in reference to worshiping the Father Almighty. As Christ was worshiped by all angels, He could not be a mere angel.
7. The book of Hebrews specifically reveals that the world is not (and will not be) in subjection to an angel. If no angel can rule the world (Hebrews 2:5), then Christ cannot be the archangel Michael since scripture repeatedly says that Christ is to be the ruler of God’s kingdom (e.g., Genesis 49:10; 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 2:6; Daniel 7:3-14; Luke 1:32-33; Matthew 2:1-2; 9:35; Revelation 19:16). For these reasons, Christ cannot be identified as an angel or archangel.
Having excluded Christ’s possible identity as another divine being or another angel or archangel, Christ is either a mere human or the Father Almighty.
As fully discussed in Section I above, Christ directly proclaimed to be the Father Almighty. (John 8:58; 10:38; 10:30). The Father Almighty also proclaimed that Jesus was God. (Hebrews 1:8). Likewise, the disciples also proclaimed Jesus to be God. (John 1:1, 20:28).
Either we believe the statements of Jesus Christ, the Father Almighty, and the disciples in their statements that Jesus Christ was the Father Almighty, or they all lied about His identity. If they lied about His identity, then Christ was a mere human.
The choice is clear, either Christ was the Father Almighty, or He was a mere human–making Him a liar, God a liar, and the Bible a lie.
In evaluating the contentions of the Watchtower Society, we must also consider the reliability of this group as a prophetic body. In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses provided a source of guidance in determining which groups are endowed with the gifts of divine prophesy:
“When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken.” (Deuteronomy 18:22).
The Watchtower Society claims to be the prophetic body of God:
“The resolutions adopted by conventions of God’s anointed people, the booklets, magazines and books published by them, contain the messages of God’s truth and are from the Almighty God, Jehovah, and provided by him through Christ Jesus and his under officers. . . . The interpretation of prophesy, therefore, is not from man, but is from Jehovah. . . . It is his truth and not man’s.” (The Watchtower, May 1, 1938; accord, The Watchtower, January 1, 1942).
The Watchtower Society unsuccessfully predicted the end of the world in 1873 and again in 1975. The prediction as to the end of the world being tied to the generation of 1914 has also changed three times. The Watchtower has taken inconsistent positions on issues like organ transplants and vaccinations, etc. Applying the test set forth by Moses, doesn’t this highlight the danger in using sources other than the Bible for learning God’s word?
I hope you will pray for God’s truth to be revealed to you.
The early Jews were sensitive about speaking the word “Yahweh,” which is “YHWH” when the vowels are added. For this reason, the translators took the word Adoni for Lord and placed the vowels A-O-I within YHWH to create the word “Yahowhi.” This man-created name was then translated into English by the King James Bible as “Jehovah.” The NWT’s usage of Jehovah, however, is inconsistent. While the NWT translates the word for Lord in the Old Testament “Adonai” as Jehovah, it does not translate the word for Lord in the New Testament “Kurios” as Jehovah. Translating this word consistently would reveal Jesus to be the Jehovah of the Old Testament. (See, Assumption 4).↩︎
The Bible reveals that God was not merely consulting with the angels in creating man. God specifically stated that He created the universe without consulting anyone! (Isaiah 40:12-15). Moreover, the very next verse states “So God made man in His own image.” (Genesis 1:27).↩︎
It is not impossible for Christ to have ascended to heaven in human form. Both Enoch and Elijah also were carried to heaven in their human form without ever suffering a physical death.↩︎
The fact that Paul describes a married man and woman as one flesh serves as a useful metaphor to the unity of God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.↩︎