I voted “definitely no”. Having studied the New Testament through the lense of second-century orthodox, catholic literature (Note the small “o” and small “c”), I have arrived at the same conclusions about the Deity. I believe that the Father is “the only true God” as Jesus prayed in His prayer. Yet, I believe the Son of God is fully divine, and always was — just as divine as His Father. He is “the exact imprint” of the Father’s essence (Hebrews 1:3)
However, when the Son of God became man, He was then fully human, having divested Himself of all His divine attributes.
Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant δουλος - slave], being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-7 ASV ---- (emphasis mine)
So Jesus fully became a man while here on earth. He got hungry and thirsty like all other people. As a baby He cried and wet His diapers (or the equivalent) like any other baby. He did not stand up and deliver great orations at the age of 6 months (as the gnostics taught). He could perform no miracles on His own, but through His complete trust in His Father, God performed many miracles through Him. The only aspect of Deity that He retained while here on earth was His identity as the Son of God. In that sense only, He was more than a mere human being while on earth. After His resurrection, He regained all the divine attributes which He possessed prior to His birth.
He was begotten by the Father at the beginning of time as a single act (not a perpetual begetting as per the later Trinitarians). This was the first thing the Father ever did. We cannot speak of “before the beginning of time”. There WAS no “before”. At a single instant God begat His Son and that act marked the beginning of time. The Father preceded His Son causally but not temporally and thus contrary to Arius, there was NOT a time at which the Son did not exist. When dogs beget offspring they are canine. When people beget offspring they are human. When God begat His Offspsring, that Offspring was divine, and thus of the same essence as His Father. “Begotten, not created” as the ancient creeds affirmed.
It is correct to call the Son “God” in the sense that He was divine and equal to the Father in the sense of being deity. All people are equal too, in the sense of being human. But in other respects, as Jesus said, “The Father is greater than I”. Even after His resurrection it seems that Jesus was not omnicient, since the first verse of Revelation affirms:
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.
I read this sentence as saying that Jesus received a revelation from God which Jesus then made known to John through His angel which He sent to John. An implication of this, is that prior to receiving this revelation, Jesus wasn’t aware of the matters which God made known to Him.
But one may ask, what about the Holy Spirit? Jesus promised his disciples that He and the Father would come to anyone who loves Him and keeps His word, and make their abode with them (John 14:23). So if the Father and the Son come to dwell within Christ’s disciples, why postulate a third Divine Person? The Father and the Son can extend their personalities (or spirit) anywhere in the universe, and especially in the hearts of Christ’s disciples. Justin Martyr (2nd century) in his Dialogue with Trypho records both he and Trypho (a Jew) speaking about the spirit of God. Certainly Trypho, as a Jewish person, didn’t consider the spirit of God as a separate divine Individual, since he believed that God was a single Individual. Justin, too, didn’t say a word about the Holy Spirit being a separate Individual. However, he asked Trypho and interesting question:
“Do you think that any other one is said to be worthy of worship and called Lord and God in the Scriptures, except the Maker of all, and Christ, who by so many Scriptures was proved to you to have become man?”
Trypho replied, “How can we admit this, when we have instituted so great an inquiry as to whether there is any other than the Father alone?”
Then Justin said, “I must ask you this also, that I may know whether or not you are of a different opinon from that which you admitted some time ago.”
Now by asking whether there was any other worthy of worship other than the Father and Christ, this would have been a prime opportunity for Justin to have introduced to Trypho, the Holy Spirit as a different Individual who was worthy of worship — if that had been Justin’s belief. But instead, he asked it simply to see whether Trypho had changed his mind again.
Classic Trinitarians, if I understand Trinitarianism correctly (and I’m not sure that all Trinitarians see it the same way) is that God is a compound being made up of three Divine Individuals, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Yet God is not compound but simple, a single divine Essence. So when a Trinitarian speaks of “God” he has in mind a Trinity of three Divine Individuals. In the New Testament the words “ο θεος” (the God) where “θεος” has no other modifier, seem to apply to the Father alone in every instance. It never refers to Jesus, and never to a “Trinity”.
The apostle Paul, however, stated that there is “One God” and he seemed to refer to the Father alone. He didn’t include Christ as part of that one God but as anothor one, namely our Lord:
*Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. 1 Corinthians 8:6
Paul also states in 2 Corinthians 3:18, that this same Lord (Jesus)** IS **the Spirit! In several places Paul speaks of “One Spirit”. Indeed, there is One Spirit, and that One Spirit is shared by the Father and the Son, who extend their Spirit into the hearts of Christ’s disciples. Yet sometimes we read in the New Testament of “the Spirit of God” and in other places “the Spirit of Jesus”. Obviously, the Spirit which descended on Jesus at His baptism was the Spirit of God. It seems that the human spirit or personality of Jesus was confined to His body while He was a human being.
In our day, it is common to hear someone address the Holy Spirit in prayer. A number of hymns we sing are addressed to the Holy Spirit. However, you may have noticed that in the New Testament there is not a single prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit, whereas prayer is addressed to the Father, and the Son also after His resurrection. While Stephen was dying from being stoned, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
So this is my position. I am not a Trinitarian. I am not a Modalist (the belief that God is a single Divine Individual who expressed Himself in three modes: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Some who think they are Trinitarians are actually Modalists).
I believe that I hold the position held by the main church of the first two centuries.