JESUS CHRIST IS GOD (part 5)
“That Jesus was a copy of Attis is also rejected by scholars. Some claim that Jesus is a copy of Attis, they claim in the following comparisons that Attis, the ancient Phrygo-Roman god, was: 1. Born of a virgin. 2. Born on the 25th of December. 3. Crucified. 4. Was resurrected. First, we can see that Attis was not born of a virgin. In fact, according to the legend, Agdistis arises from the Earth as a descendant of Zeus. Agdistis gives birth to the Sangarius river which brings forth the nymph, Nana, who either holds an almond to her breast and becomes impregnated by the almond or sits beneath a tree where an almond falls into her lap and impregnates her. Nana later abandons the child who is then raised by a goat. We are left to assume Attis was conceived from an almond seed which fell from a tree as a result of Zeus’ spilled semen. Not a virgin birth. Again, as mentioned before, the 25th of December has no significance at all, for, as we have seen, the Lord Jesus could not have born in the month of December, therefore, any alleged parallel cannot, logically, be a pagan parallel. Thirdly, what about a crucifixion? Again, this is clearly questionable. We see that Attis castrates himself beneath a pine tree and thus dies from the bleeding. Attis castrates himself after he is made to go insane before his wedding by Agdistis. Subsequently, his blood flows onto the ground from his severed penis and brings forth a patch of violets. No crucifixion. Fourthly, was Attis resurrected like Jesus? There are different accounts of this. In one narrative we find that Agdistis is overcome with remorse for what she had done (causing Attis to castrate himself and die because of it), and thus requests for Zeus to preserve the corpse of Attis so that it never decomposes. That is not a resurrection. In the other account Agdistis and The Great Mother carry the pine tree back to a cave where they both mourn the death of Attis. Any resurrection story doesn’t surface until much later when Attis is transformed into a pine tree. Being transformed into a tree is vastly different from Jesus rising in bodily form from the dead.” Again, we have abundant evidence which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no pagan teaching whatsoever which runs parallel to the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the Word of God.
“The first hint in the Old Testament that the coming Christ would be born of a virgin occurs right at the beginning. The Lord God says: ‘And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed: It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel’ (Gen. 3:15). This prophecy, known as the Protevangelium, comes from the most ancient oracle known to man—the oracle that the Lord pronounced when He found our first parents, Adam and Eve, guilty of sin. The Lord is speaking to Satan (v. 14), who has enticed ‘the woman’, Eve, into disobeying the Lord's command against eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He is saying that Satan will someday be crushed and utterly defeated by the seed of the woman. The pronoun used to designate the seed is ‘his’ (in ‘his heel’). In place of ‘it’ (in ‘it shall bruise’), the more accurate translation is ‘he’ (see original Hebrew text). Therefore, the coming conqueror must be a single man. But why is He called the seed of a woman? A child is ordinarily regarded as the seed of his father and forefathers. The striking and unnatural character of the expression ‘her seed’ suggests that it is a uniquely fitting name for the Victor over Satan. Unlike other men, He would be the seed of a woman only. He would not be a man's seed. A virgin would conceive Him without losing her virginity.” “Jesus was ‘made of a woman’ (Gal. 4:4), and not begotten by man; and Who assumed not an human person, but an human nature, which is called the ‘holy thing’, and the ‘seed of Abraham’ (see Gal. 3:16), as here the ‘seed of the woman’, as well as it expresses the truth of His incarnation and the reality of His being man.”
Another extremely significant verification which must be made in order to show the vast differences between Jesus and the pagan gods, is the fact that “Allegedly crucified saviours were neither crucified nor resurrected in the original legends. Those like Osiris were not at all a parallel to a Resurrection on this earth—he was not resurrected at all, but became Lord of the Underworld, whereas after His resurrection, Jesus appeared on Earth to over 500 people at once and ate broiled fish (see 1 Cor. 15:6; Lk. 24:42,43). Also, death-rebirth-death cycles in paganism have nothing to do with the once and for all death and Resurrection of Jesus. As we have seen, the alleged pagan ‘virgin birth’ parallels were really stories of gods impregnating women, who were thus not virgins by definition. Mary on the other hand was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, so had no sexual intercourse until after Jesus was born. As with Jesus’ virgin birth, there was also the major difference that Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection were reported well within the lifetime of eye-witnesses, while the reports of pagan identities were made centuries after the alleged events, and, obviously, after the birth of Jesus Christ. Conversely, the reliability of the Resurrection accounts of the New Testament have no equal, for they were written soon after the events they record, and recorded accurately and honestly.
“Stories of Krishna post-date the arrival of Christianity in India. Any borrowing, or copying, occurred in the opposite direction. Some alleged saviours like Beddru of Japan are nowhere to be found in literature at all so look like pure inventions. One man who sought out this ‘savior’ commented: ‘…in spite of looking through a dozen books on Japanese history and mythology, in spite of an Internet search, and in spite of consulting the Online Catalog of the Library of Congress, I found—nothing. No Beddru—not in Japan or anywhere. The only place this figure IS mentioned is in the same list which is also repeated uncritically by dozens of Skeptics around the Internet’. Alleged December 25 parallels as the birth days of several alleged saviours are irrelevant, since true Christianity does not depend on this in the slightest. As for celebrating Jesus’ birth on this day, what happened is that Romanism thought that the best way to win pagans to Christ was to take over their festivals and replace pagan elements with Christian ones. It’s much like one major store chain putting on a huge sale, and a rival chain putting on a sale on the same day to draw away its customers. Indeed, it was so effective that in my university days, people in Pagan Fellowships complained that the pagan elements are almost forgotten today! Information suggests that the 25 December birth date for Christ was derived from a Jewish tradition: a prophet would have a ‘perfect lifespan’, an exact number of years from conception to death. Since Jesus died at Passover (the antitype of the lambs’ sacrifices), early on the Church celebrated the Annunciation on 25 March, when Gabriel announced the conception to Mary. A ‘perfect pregnancy’ of nine months resulted in a birth date of 25 December. The Roman Sol Invictus or Unconquered Sun festivals actually post-date this ‘Christian’ observance, which, as shown above, is common for alleged pagan parallels. Observation of this date by ‘Christians’ goes back at least as far as AD 202 by Hippolytus of Rome in his Commentary on Daniel, while it wasn’t until AD 274 that Roman Emperor Aurelian proclaimed a celebration of Sol Invictus, and no clear evidence that this date was celebrated until AD 354.
“Finally…Jesus’ death and Resurrection are well attested facts of history. The Impossible Faith by J.P. Holding demonstrates 17 reasons why Christianity could not have survived in the ancient world unless it had indisputable evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus. So the copycat ideas are red herrings, since even if they had some basis, they could not invalidate real history. If this is not enough, you should be aware that even the ardently anti-Christian group Internet Infidels has warned of the gross historical inaccuracies in Kersey Graves’ book: ‘The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors: Or Christianity Before Christ’ is unreliable, but no comprehensive critique exists. Most scholars immediately recognize many of his findings as unsupported and dismiss Graves as useless.…Graves often does not distinguish his opinions and theories from what his sources and evidence actually state. Graves often omits important sources and evidence. Graves often mistreats in a biased or anachronistic way the sources he does use. Graves occasionally relies on suspect sources. Graves does little or no source analysis or formal textual criticism. Graves’ work is totally uninformed by modern social history (a field that did not begin to be formally pursued until after World War II, i.e., after Graves died). Graves’ conclusions and theories often far exceed what the evidence justifies, and he treats both speculations and sound theories as of equal value. Graves often ignores important questions of chronology and the actual order of plausible historical influence, and completely disregards the methodological problems this creates. Graves’ work lacks all humility, which is unconscionable given the great uncertainties that surround the sketchy material he had to work with. Graves’ scholarship is obsolete, having been vastly improved upon by new methods, materials, discoveries, and textual criticism in the century since he worked. In fact, almost every historical work written before 1950 is regarded as outdated and untrustworthy by historians today. It seems unwise to rely on a book that even informed anti-Christians regard as extremely unreliable and embarrassing, especially when your eternal destiny is at stake. Two British writers, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, both atheists, are also fringe authors not scholars, and their claims are unsupported in the academic world, which is hardly friendly to Christianity. Freke and Gandy claim early Christians destroyed ancient pagan texts wholesale. In fact the Oxford Companion to Classical Literature makes it clear that there was no policy of destruction and the church was active in preserving ancient texts. Glenn Miller has fully investigated this widespread and baseless accusation promoted by Freke and Gandy. The oft repeated accusation that Christians destroyed the Great Library of Alexandria is simply an eighteenth century myth.
“I conclude by noting seven points that undermine liberal efforts to show that first-century Christianity borrowed essential beliefs and practices from the pagan mystery religions. Arguments offered to prove a Christian dependence on the mysteries illustrate the logical fallacy of false cause. This fallacy is committed whenever someone reasons that just because two things exist side by side, one of them must have caused the other…similarity does not prove dependence. Moreover, many alleged similarities between Christianity and the mysteries are either greatly exaggerated or fabricated. Scholars often describe pagan rituals in language they borrow from Christianity. The careless use of language could lead one to speak of a Last Supper in Mithraism or a baptism in the cult of Isis. It is inexcusable nonsense to take the word savior with all of its New Testament connotations and apply it to Osiris or Attis as though they were savior-gods in any similar sense. The chronology is all wrong. Almost all of our sources of information about the pagan religions alleged to have influenced early Christianity are dated very late. We frequently find writers quoting from documents written 300 years later than Paul in efforts to produce ideas that allegedly influenced Paul! We must reject the assumption that just because a cult had a certain belief or practice in the third or fourth century after Christ, it therefore had the same belief or practice in the first century. Paul would never have consciously borrowed from the pagan religions.” Paul would have not borrowed anything from pagan religions since he was clearly led and guided by the Holy Spirit of God. “All of our information about him makes it highly unlikely that he was in any sense influenced by pagan sources. He placed great emphasis on his early training in a strict form of Judaism (see Phil. 3:5). He warned the Colossians against the very sort of influence that advocates of Christian syncretism have attributed to him, namely, letting their minds be captured by alien speculations (see Col. 2:8). Early Christianity was an exclusivistic faith…the mystery cults were nonexclusive. A man could become initiated into the mysteries of Isis or Mithras without at all giving up his former beliefs; but if he were to be received into the Church, according to the preaching of Paul, he must forsake all other ‘Saviors’ for the Lord Jesus Christ (see Phil. 3:8-10 cf. Gal. 1:8,9)…Amid the prevailing syncretism of the Greco-Roman world, the Faith of Paul, with the religion of Israel, stands absolutely alone. This Christian exclusivism should be a starting point for all reflection about the possible relations between Christianity and its pagan competitors. Any hint of syncretism in the New Testament would have caused immediate controversy.” Dr. Simon Greenleaf stated: “The religion of Jesus Christ aims at nothing less than the utter overthrow of all other systems of religion in the world; denouncing them as inadequate to the wants (needs) of man, false in their foundations, and dangerous in their tendency”.
“One must avoid any suggestion that there was one common mystery religion. While a tendency toward eclecticism or synthesis developed after A.D. 300, each of the mystery cults was a separate and distinct religion during the century that saw the birth of the Christian church. Moreover, each mystery cult assumed different forms in different cultural settings and underwent significant changes, especially after A.D. 100. Nevertheless, the mystery religions exhibited five common traits:
(1) Central to each mystery was its use of an annual vegetation cycle in which life is renewed each spring and dies each fall. Followers of the mystery cults found deep symbolic significance in the natural processes of growth, death, decay, and rebirth.
(2) As noted above, each cult made important use of secret ceremonies or mysteries, often in connection with an initiation rite. Each mystery religion also passed on a ‘secret’ to the initiate that included information about the life of the cult's god or goddess and how humans might achieve unity with that deity. This ‘knowledge’ was always a secret or esoteric knowledge, unattainable by any outside the circle of the cult.
(3) Each mystery also centered around a myth in which the deity either returned to life after death or else triumphed over his enemies. Implicit in the myth was the theme of redemption from everything earthly and temporal. The secret meaning of the cult and its accompanying myth was expressed in a ‘sacramental drama’ that appealed largely to the feelings and emotions of the initiates. This religious ecstasy was supposed to lead them to think they were experiencing the beginning of a new life.
(4) The mysteries had little or no use for doctrine and correct belief. They were primarily concerned with the emotional life of their followers. The cults used many different means to affect the emotions and imaginations of initiates and hence bring about ‘union with the god’: processions, fasting, a play, acts of purification, blazing lights, and esoteric liturgies. This lack of any emphasis on correct belief marked an important difference between the mysteries and Christianity. The Christian faith was exclusivistic in the sense that it recognized only one legitimate path to God and salvation, Jesus Christ, as revealed in His Gospel. The mysteries were inclusivistic in the sense that nothing prevented a believer in one cult from following other mysteries.
(5) The immediate goal of the initiates was a mystical experience that led them to feel they had achieved union with their god. Beyond this quest for mystical union were two more ultimate goals: some kind of redemption or salvation, and immortality.”
“Unlike the mysteries, the Christian Faith of Paul was grounded on events that actually happened in history. The mysticism of the mystery cults was essentially non-historical. Their myths were dramas, or pictures, of what the initiate went through, not real historical events, as Paul knew Christ’s death and Resurrection to be. THE CHRISTIAN AFFIRMATION THAT THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST HAPPENED TO A HISTORICAL PERSON AT A PARTICULAR TIME AND PLACE HAS ABSOLUTELY NO PARALLEL IN ANY PAGAN MYSTERY RELIGION. What few alleged parallels that still remain may reflect a Christian influence on the pagan systems. As Bruce Metzger has argued, ‘It must not be uncritically assumed that the Mysteries always influenced Christianity, for it is not only possible but probable that in certain cases, the influence moved in the opposite direction’.” What is also important to note at this point is that many of the connections between paganism and that which is considered to be Christianity, was not Christianity at all. Roman Catholicism, for instance, which is literally a continuation of a myriad of pagan traditions, teachings and practices, is absolutely NOT Christianity at all! Roman Catholicism has continued the pagan traditions of the Rosary, the doctrine of Purgatory, confession to a priest, the literal deification and worship of a female god—Mary, sprinkling ‘baptism’ of babies, penance, indulgences, pilgrimages, the Mass, etc. No doubt there are many pagan elements in christianism, but none whatsoever in true Christianity which takes its teachings from God, and not man. It is hardly a scholarly exercise to even consider the claims made by those who mock ‘Christianity’ as being filled with an abundance of pagan influences, when they fallaciously assume Roman Catholicism to be true Christianity. True Christianity roundly condemns all paganism, and has nothing at all to do with paganism, or heathenism, its practices or any of its teachings of which Roman Catholicism is the champion. “Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them” (Jer. 10:2); “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Cor. 6:14-17). Ironically, the official footnotes in the Roman Catholic Bible, the St. Joseph’s Edition, to 2 Corinthians 6:14-16a, condemns the vile mixing of pagan customs and teachings with Christianity, with the words: “...Christianity is NOT compatible with paganism”, and yet Romanism bathes itself in, and floods its followers with the unclean practices and teachings of paganism and heathenism in the name of Jesus! “It should not be surprising that leaders of cults that were being successfully challenged by Christianity should do something to counter the challenge. What better way to do this than by offering a pagan substitute? Pagan attempts to counter the growing influence of Christianity by imitating it are clearly apparent in measures instituted by Julian the Apostate, who was the Roman emperor from AD 361 to 363.
“The reckless claims of skeptical critics, who attempt to connect the New Testament narratives to pagan fables, have been answered time and time again by competent scholars. Machen was exhaustive in his treatment of this matter. Following his own critical examination of this theme, Louis Matthews Sweet wrote: ‘After a careful, laborious, and occasionally wearisome study of the evidence offered and the analogies urged, I am convinced that heathenism knows nothing of virgin births. Supernatural births it has without number, but never from a virgin in the New Testament sense and never without physical generation, except in a few isolated instances of magical births on the part of women who had not the slightest claim to be called virgins’ (p. 188). Even Thomas Boslooper, a modernist who repudiated the historical reality of a literal virgin birth of Christ, conceded: ‘The literature of the world is prolific with narratives of unusual births, but it contains no precise analogy to the virgin birth in Matthew and Luke. Jesus’ ‘virgin birth’ is not ‘pagan’ (p. 136). In conclusion we must firmly insist that those who contend that the record of the Lord’s virgin birth takes its rise out of a heathen background, simply are not informed relative to this topic. Or else, from a personally biased agenda, they choose to distort the facts.”
And so we have learned thus far of the multitude of fables, lies and historical sleight of hand trickery which man has concocted in trying to convince others that the Trinity, Jesus’ virgin birth and other Scriptural truths, find their origin in the bowels of paganism. "In order to find out if the doctrine of the Trinity is true, we do not look to see if it resembles paganism, but to the Bible itself, to see if God teaches it in His Word.” Simply because one has found a ‘connection’, some perceived similarity, between two things, does not automatically mean that A comes from B, for it could just as easily mean B comes from A. Again, the problem for people who believe that the facts, the truths behind many of the teachings in Scripture began when they were written, is their complete oversight of the fact that the teachings in God’s Word, like God Himself, are eternal. They were written at the appointed time for specific reasons, and they were hidden from man for a time for specific reasons. Man considers himself so intelligent as he quickly jumps to hasty, knee-jerk conclusions, claiming to ‘see’ the supposed ‘link’ between Christianity and paganism, but dismally fails to see—because he cannot recognize, contemplate or properly process—the truth. Nothing man has ever taught or believed ever preceded the truths of the Almighty and Eternal God. Not one ‘means’ to salvation that has come from the mind of man has ever concurred with the true and only means: Grace, mercy and Righteousness imputed. Righteousness must be established for a man to be saved, but this Righteousness, the Word of God teaches, is WITHOUT works, that is, it is without the works of those to whom Righteousness is imputed, for it is based solely upon the Obedience of Another: the Saviour Jesus Christ, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for Righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth Righteousness without works” (Rom. 4:4-6). Faith is not a work, but a gift from God “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim. 1:9 cf. 2 Thess. 2:13; Acts 26:18). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7 cf. Rom. 5:1,9). Saving Righteousness is not established by any man, for this Righteousness, this perfect Righteousness, is and can only be charged by God to His chosen people. If you claim it is your righteousness which saves you, then it cannot be God’s Righteousness, and if it is not God’s Righteousness then you are not saved. Only God’s Righteousness saves. A man’s righteousness serves only to condemn.
Saving Righteousness is without the works, efforts, of man, but not without the works of the Lord Jesus Christ. All man has ever taught, as evidenced in the doctrines of the world’s religions—which are nothing but vehicles for the reinforcement of natural lost man’s one-eyed concept of salvation by personal obedience—is that the righteousness which saves must be one’s own personal righteousness. However, Paul the apostle wrote that he prayed for the salvation of Israel, for they, too, believed that to be saved one must establish a personal acceptable righteousness. In the very midst of Israel’s obedience, the apostle Paul prayed for their salvation not by their obedience, but by their submitting themselves to the Righteousness of God. “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. FOR they being IGNORANT of God's Righteousness, AND GOING ABOUT TO ESTABLISH THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, have not submitted themselves unto the Righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for Righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:1-4). The only Righteousness which does save is not awarded to a man for what he has done, BUT IS IMPUTED, OR CHARGED, TO A MAN FOR WHAT CHRIST JESUS THE LORD HAS DONE, for the Righteousness which saves is the Righteousness of Another which is imputed to a man regardless of what he has and has not done. God saves His people according to what He has done, not because of anything which they have done. This is a truth that has forever existed, but has remained, and continues to remain, a mystery and foolishness to the minds of lost men, until God reveals this eternal truth through His Gospel to His people (see Rom. 1:16,17 & 1 Cor. 1:18). The Gospel is a truth that is veiled from all lost mankind—even lost religious men—evidenced by their not believing the Gospel of God, therefore, seeking to establish a righteousness of their own, and it still remains hidden to all the lost even to this day. “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:3,4).
Simply because man believes that he can attain salvation through his own efforts, does not mean that the only way to salvation outlined in God’s Gospel, is some sort of copy of man’s ideas. Lost man depends on what he does for salvation, while the saved man, the Christian man, depends solely upon what Christ has done for salvation. The fact that salvation comes only by, and responds only to, the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Rom. 5:19), has absolutely no connection whatsoever with man’s natural inclination in believing that man can attain to salvation by his own obedience. Perversion can never precede truth. Perversion may appear before truth is revealed, before the truth is realised, before a person becomes cognizant of it, but it can never be that which precedes the existence of truth. A perversion must have something to pervert. A perversion cannot predate truth, it has no origin, no beginning, other than its twisting of the truth. In light of this, it must be that any perversion of truth presented to man, before the truth has been revealed, shows that there is one who existed before mankind, who was knowledgeable of truth, and that is Satan, for: How can a man pervert a truth which he does not know? Someone had to know what the truth was in order to present to man a perversion of it, even before the truth was ever realized. “Satan is the great deceiver because he is the greatest concealer, the mightiest perverter of truth, the ultimate misleader, and the most convincing fraud and liar.” Satan is the father of lies and the perverter of truth. Jesus said, Satan “…was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44 cf. 1 Jn. 3:8). Satan perverts the truth of God which has always been. When Satan’s perversion is presented to man it is presented as something new. Later, when man is told the truth, he quickly, erroneously, evaluates the situation as one where the truth is the perversion, and the perversion the truth, or lumps them both together as having a common origin, or even considers both as nothing but a pack of lies based exclusively on superstition. A man is told of a god. Years later the same man hears for the very first time that the Lord Jesus Christ is God. Simply because the man had never before heard of Jesus does not mean that Jesus is some new God, or that He is a copy, a perversion, of some ancient god, or mixture of several mythical gods, which preceded Him on earth. The truth is eternal. Jesus has always been God, but for the man who has never heard of Him He can sound like just another version of many different gods, etc. What makes false gods dangerous is not the myths that accompany them, but the truths about the true God which are attributed to them. Satan often uses truth to validate and reinforce a lie in order to dismiss the reality of truth. The fact that man has made his worthless idols and attempted copies of the true and only God, fed to him by the lying Devil, is something that people must deal with. By nature, man has worshipped just about anything as God except the one and only true God. Men have even assumed other men to be gods, but all they have done is given witness to their utterly spiritually dead state, and their ignorant allegiance to the only false god that really exists, Satan, who manifests himself in many guises, even as an angel of light (see 2 Cor. 11:14).
There is no doubting the fact that the principle Scripture used, or should I say misused, from the Word of God, in an effort to deny the Trinity, and convince scholars and laymen alike that it is a mere pagan invention, is found in Deuteronomy 6, and was quoted by the Lord Jesus Himself in the Gospel of Mark: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4); “And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord” (Mk. 12:29). “In Deuteronomy 6:4, the well known passage called the Shema (from the Hebrew word meaning ‘to hear’), is: ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord’. The word ‘one’ is echad, which refers to one, not in the absolute sense, but one in the collective sense, like one bunch of grapes. Thus, even this passage does not destroy the concept of the Trinity. There is clearly only one Spirit, just as there is only one baptism, one faith, one hope and one body (see Eph. 4:4,5). But consider this: Although there is only one baptism, there are many individuals being baptized. And even though there is only one body, there are many members in that body (see 1 Cor. 12:14). And we know that the ONE God consists of the Father and the Son, that is, God is not just one Person. The same is true for the Holy Spirit. There is ONE Spirit, but both God the Father and Jesus Christ are Spirit beings, and the Holy Spirit emanates from both of Them. That is why we read about the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of Christ. When we read that there is one Spirit, then the reference is to the oneness or harmony between God the Father and Jesus Christ. It is exactly the same when Christ said, ‘I and the Father are one’. (Jn. 10:30). Christ did not mean, the Father and He were ‘one’ person—but that they were ‘one’ in purpose and goal and mindset and character, essence and nature. When Christ spoke these words, He was clearly a separate Person from God the Father. Christ prayed in John 17:11: ‘And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are’. Christ was saying that we all should be one, as the Father and Christ are one in spirit—not in the sense that we all would become one being, but rather, that we all be of the same spirit. God the Father and Christ are one in spirit, and so are we to become one in spirit.
“While the Trinity is not explicitly stated in either the Old or New Testaments, it is implicitly taught in a number of ways, but especially in the New Testament. A careful study of the New Testament demonstrates that not only did the authors of the New Testament declare that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, but Christ Himself believed and declared Himself to be God and one in essence with the Father”, 'I and My Father are One' (Jn. 10:30 cf. Jn. 8:19; 17:22). This statement by Jesus was immediately recognized by the Jews as a claim to be God. In answer to Jesus’ question, “…Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me?” (Jn. 10:32), “The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God” (Jn. 10:33). “The idea that Jesus was only ‘a’ god is polytheism, a concept totally contrary to both the Old and New Testaments.” Polytheism is “The belief or worship of more than one God”. Since Christianity teaches only one God, it stands to biblical reason that there are only two alternatives: Jesus Christ was either no God at all, or He was, is and has eternally been Almighty God. If Jesus Christ is not Almighty God, then He would be nothing but a liar and charlatan. Whom do you say Jesus is: God, or liar? Christ can only be accepted as God, or discounted as nothing but a lying madman. “Many will say that Jesus was a good moral teacher. Let’s be realistic. How could He be a great moral teacher and knowingly mislead people at the most important point of His teaching — His own identity? You would have to conclude logically that He was a deliberate liar. If Jesus wanted to get people to follow Him and believe in Him as God, why did He go to the Jewish nation? Why go as a Nazarene carpenter to a country so small in size and population and so thoroughly adhering to the undivided unity of God? Why didn't He go to Egypt or, even more, to Greece, where they believed in various gods and various manifestations of them? You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. HE HAS NOT LEFT THAT OPEN TO US. He did not intend to…Jesus claimed to be God. He didn’t leave any other option open. HIS CLAIM MUST BE EITHER TRUE OR FALSE, so it is something that should be given serious consideration.” Jesus’ question to His disciples is as pertinent today as it was then: “…Whom say ye that I am?" (Matt. 16:15). God states many times in the Old Testament that there is no other God but He, therefore, any claim by Jesus to be God is not a claim to be another God or god, but the Almighty God of the universe. Importantly, the Jews understood exactly what Jesus was saying. They did not accuse Him of saying He was another God, a different God, a lesser God, but the God they claimed to worship, “For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy…because…Thou, being a man, makest Thyself GOD” (Jn. 10:33). Jesus did not say He was another God, but THE one true and only God.
“Did Jesus ever say the exact words, ‘I am God’? No, Jesus never said the exact three words, ‘I am God’. But Jesus also never said the exact four words, ‘I am a prophet’, or the exact four words ‘I am a man’, but we know He was both a prophet and a man. It is not necessary for Jesus to say the exact phrase ‘I am a man’, for us to know that He was a man. Likewise, it is not necessary for Jesus to utter the exact three words, ‘I am God’, in order for us to determine whether or not He is divine. Jesus may not have said the exact sentence, ‘I am God’, but He did claim the divine name for Himself (compare Ex. 3:14 with Jn. 8:58), and He also received worship (see Matt. 2:2; 14:33; 28:9; Jn. 9:35-38). When Moses was up at the Mount speaking to God, Moses asked God what His name was. ‘And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you’ (Ex. 3:14). In John 8:58 ‘Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am’. Right after this, the Jews picked up stones to throw at Him. Later in John 10:30-33, Jesus claimed to be one with the Father; and the Jews wanted to stone Him again because they said to Jesus, ‘…For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God’. Jesus had claimed the divine name for His own, and the Jews wanted to kill Him for it. Therefore, from Jesus' own mouth we see that He was claiming to be God. Now please understand that anyone can say the words ‘I am’, and it does not mean that He is claiming to be God. Someone could say, ‘I am over here’. That is not claiming the divine name. Likewise, someone could say, ‘I am hungry’, or ‘I am sick’. Neither example is claiming divinity because the use of the phrase, ‘I am’, in context clearly shows us that is not what is occurring. But, in John 8:58 when Jesus said ‘before Abraham was, I am’, the Jews knew exactly what He was saying. Notice that He says that before Abraham was (using the past tense), and then He switches to the present tense when He says, ‘I am’. Jesus switches tenses of the verbs on purpose so that when He does so in the context of referencing Abraham Jesus is clearly drawing the Jews' attention to the Old Testament Scriptures and then using a present-tense form of the verb ‘to be’ by saying ‘I AM’. Someone who says, ‘I am hungry’, is not drawing attention to the Old Testament Scriptures for context. Jesus was clearly causing the Jews to reflect upon the divine name ‘I am’ that Jesus used for Himself. We know that they understood this because as is said above, they said, ‘because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God’ (Jn. 10:33).
The original Hebrew text of Deuteronomy 6:4 says: “Yahweh Elohim-of us Yahweh one”. The words in Mark 12 are translated in the Greek: “Master (Lord) the God of us Master (Lord) one is”. As is so often the case with those who do not know God, the misinterpretation, and subsequent misuse, of Scriptures that are employed to deny a Bible theme, or truth, turn out to be a most powerful argument against what the deniers are claiming. The word we need to focus our attention on here is ‘Elohim’. ‘Elohim’ is the name of God which is most often used in the Old Testament, and is found in the very first verse of Genesis: “In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). This most frequently used name of God appears over 2,600 times in the Old Testament. “Elohim is a grammatically plural noun for ‘gods’ or ‘deity’ in biblical Hebrew. The word used for God in Genesis 1:1 is ‘Elohim’, which is a form of the word ‘El’. In the context of Genesis 1:1, there can certainly be no doubt as to who is doing the creating. In the Hebrew language the ‘im’ ending imputes plurality. Therefore, ‘Elohim’ is the plural from of the word ‘El’. It is interesting to note that each usage of this word throughout the Bible is grammatically incorrect. It is a plural noun used with singular verbs. ACCORDING TO GENESIS 1:1, THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE, ELOHIM, EXISTS AS A PLURAL BEING. If this were not so then the word ‘El’ or perhaps Yahweh would have been used. However, the Holy Spirit chose to use the word ‘Elohim’, the plural form of the name of God in the very first place where the name of God is proclaimed. While Elohim does not prove a Tri-unity, it certainly opens the door to a doctrine of plurality in the Godhead since it is the word that is used of the one true God as well as for the many false gods and angels.
“Virtually all Hebrew scholars do recognize that the word Elohim, as it stands by itself, is a plural noun. Nevertheless, they wish to deny that it allows for any plurality in the Godhead whatsoever. Their line of reasoning usually goes like this: ‘When ‘Elohim’ is used of the true God, it is followed by a singular verb; when it is used of false gods, it is followed by the plural verb’. But, in fact, the verb used in the opening verse of Genesis is ‘bara’ which means ‘He created’—singular. One need not be too profound a student of Hebrew to understand that the opening verse of Genesis clearly speaks of a singular God’. The point made, of course, is generally true because the Bible does teach that God is only one God and, therefore, the general pattern is to have the plural noun followed by the singular verb when it speaks of the one true God. However, there are places where the word is used of the true God and yet it is followed by a plural verb.” Genesis 20:13 states: “And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house…” The word for God here is ‘Elohim’. The verse in the original Hebrew text literally reads: “And he is becoming as which They cause to stray me Elohim…”. God is clearly referred to as ‘They’! Genesis 35:7 says: “…because there God appeared unto him…” (cf. Gen. 35:1,3; Gen. 31:13; Gen. 35:15; 36:19) The verse in the original Hebrew is “…that there They were revealed unto him the Elohim". 2 Samuel 7:23 says: “…whom God went to redeem…” The original Hebrew reads, “…which They went Elohim to ransom…” Again, ‘Elohim’ is referred to as ‘They’. Psalm 58:12 reads, “…verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth”. The Hebrew states: “…yea there is Elohim ones judging in earth”. Some, “…interpret it, of the angels: but these are not judges in the earth (see 1 Cor. 6:3); rather it is expressive of a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Spirit. The Father is the Judge of all, though He does not execute judgment; but has committed it to the Son, Who is Judge of quick and dead, ‘For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgement unto the Son’ (Jn. 5:22), and the Spirit judges, reproves, and convinces the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (see Jn. 16:8).
“If the plural form ‘Elohim’ was the only form available for a reference to God, then conceivably the argument might be made that the writers of the Hebrew Scriptures had no other alternative but to use the word ‘Elohim’ for both the one true God and the many false gods. However, the singular form for ‘Elohim’ (Eloah) exists and is used in such passages as Deuteronomy 32:15-17 and Habakkuk 3:3. This singular form could have easily been used consistently. Yet it is only used 250 times in the Old Testament, while the plural form is used over 2,600 times. The far greater use of the plural form again turns the argument in favor of plurality in the Godhead rather than against it.” One of the most powerful evidences for the Triune God is found in Genesis 1:26: “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image…” The original Hebrew states “And He is saying Elohim We shall make human in image of Us as likeness of Us…” Some believe that God is here speaking to the earth, that man would be made by a combination of the earth and dust, and that God would supply the soul, or spirit. However, this is shown to be a completely false rendering of the verse due to the fact that God does not take counsel with any but Himself: “With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgement, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding?” (Isa. 40:14 cf. Isa. 40:13). God declares: “…My Counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46:10). The Scriptures show clearly the fallacy in thinking that God is speaking with the earth in Genesis 1:26, as demonstrated in the following verses: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass…” (Gen. 1:11), “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind…” (Gen. 1:24), and then two verses later, “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness…” (Gen. 1:26 cf. Eph. 4:24). God is speaking of the earth, He does not speak to the earth in Genesis 1:11,24). Again, the original Hebrew does not say ‘Let the earth and God (Elohim)’, but rather "And He is saying Elohim we shall make human in image of Us as likeness of Us…” (Gen. 1:26). For the ‘us’ here to be a reference to God and the earth, it would mean that man was created partially in the image of the earth as well as God. Genesis 1:27 puts to rest any doubts as to who man was solely created in the image of: “So God created man in HIS OWN IMAGE, in the IMAGE OF GOD created He him; male and female created He them”. Man was created in the image of Elohim alone, and not in the image of the earth, or angels, nor anything or anyone else. “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of Us…” (Gen. 3:22). Clearly “there are more Persons than one in the Godhead”. When the earth is involved it is specifically referenced by name, therefore, “…let the earth bring forth…” can hardly be equated with “…Let Us make man in Our image…” (Gen. 1:24,26).