The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Trying to understand non-Trinitarians. (Present your cases?)

I wouldn’t want to do so in this thread, though. :wink: (I’m trying to keep it free for non-Trinitarians to make a case without distraction.)

I agree; sadly, much of christianity has fallen into the syncretism of mixture with both paganism and gnosticism. I think the gnostic influence is where we get a lot of the “if you don’t believe certain doctrines, you’re not a christian/ saved” mentality.
Fortunately, we have a forum here where opposing viewpoints on these things can be discussed without (too much) accusation along those lines.
I personally have a hard time with a lot of christian teaching, because it so heavily operates on the trinitarian assumption; and I can’t help but see the holes that creates in the teaching. Of course, I have even more difficulty with the ECT bias. To me, trinitarianism is kind of like the “smile on a dog”. Some people see it, some don’t.

Like Redhotmagma, I too am not firmly convinced concerning the nature of God being trinity or oneness. And even more so I do not see it as an issue that should separate me from my brother in Christ or that would cause me to not recongnize another believer in Christ as being my brother because he is either trinitarian or oneness. I will gladly love God and love one another together with followers of Christ from both camps.

To me scripture clearly affirms that there is One God, not three. And it to me clearly affirms that Jesus is Emmanuel, God in the Flesh, totally man and totally God. And in knowing people in both camps I recognize in them the Spirit of Christ, that they are born of and filled with the Spirit of God.

I believe that God is Triune, having three parts, and those three parts are seen in the revelation of God as Father, Son, and Spirit. I don’t like the word “person” today for it to me implies too strongly the concept of 3 different gods. On the other hand there are several places in scripture, especially the NT where one can see a significant difference between the Father, Son, and Spirit. I wuppose the best illustration that I’ve come to understand is looking at how I believe that people are triune - spirit, soul, and body. The division between the spirit/soul and body is easiest seen at death. In like manner, the difference between the Son and the Father/Spirit is best seen in the death of Jesus.

Like I said though, for me it’s not an issue that is one that would cause me to not recognize another follower of Jesus as my brother in Christ. For example, I’m glad to be part of this forum and can agree with the Statement of Faith, but it’s because I understand the word “person” not in the contemporary meaning connoting individuality, but the meaning of the word when the doctrine of “Trinity” was formed, that being more of differing people in a play, same individual but wearing a different mask. To me, the nature of God is, well, beyond our understanding. The nature of Christ is beyond my understanding. That’s why “Trinity” is often referred to as a “mystery”.

Here’s another fun question; one that Jason at least partly addresses from the trinitarian perspective in “how far can anyone die”. It seems to me that if Jesus was more than a divine man (i.e. God) that he would not have been able to die on the cross, and be resurrected as well, because if God can die in the first place, he surely could not then resurrect himself. The scripture clearly indicates that God raised Jesus from the dead, which means that Jesus was raised by that which was other than himself, which I think trinitarianism could still affirm. However, this begs the trinitarian notion of co-equality of parts of the trinity. It is clear that the Son is a contingent being. He was begotten before all ages (which at least puts him in a unique class), but his life/ death and authority are all contingent entirely on what the Father does. This flies directly in the face of the co-equality that is supposed to be a key tenet of trinity.

Although most of the prophets indicate that Yahweh raised Yeshua from the dead, didn’t Yeshua say He could (John 10:17-18) and would (John 2:19-21) raise Himself from the dead?

I’m not sure whether this is within the scope of the thread. Please delete it if you feel it’s defending trinitarianism (though it’s not my intent). :slight_smile:

Yep–although the ability and authority to do so is granted to Him by the Father.

Also, I talk a lot about the active self-existence (and thus the self-contingency) of God, and what that would involve for the 2nd Person of the Trinity; one result being that the Person of God self-begotten receives everything (and give back everything) to the Person of God self-begetting.

It’s a hugely important notion of ortho-trin, in a bunch of ways. It isn’t like I ignore the topic–often I can hardly shut up about it! :laughing: I connect it to creation, including the creation of sentient derivative creatures; ethics; the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension (including as an explanatory factor for details of Jesus’ life, capabilities, and relationship to the Father in the Gospels–and including the self-sacrificial death on the cross); salvation of sinners from sin…

I’m not arguing such things in this thread. Only pointing out that I talk very verrrrrrrry much about the hierarchical relationship of the First and Second Persons (and of the Third Person, although not nearly so much, because that isn’t so crucial to nearly as many theological points). I don’t treat the ontological co-equality of the Persons as being an eglatarian parity, as though there were three equal Gods, or God acting merely in three modes. The hierarchical subordination of the Son to the Father is something I discover in metaphysical analysis to be intrinsic and essential to the ontological self-existence of the Trinity, and I talk about it almost from the moment I find such a self-existence to involve at least two Persons. Consequently, I am not surprised when I also find the NT (and even the OT in its own ways) talking about the hierarchical subordination and reliance of the Son to the Father. I would be surprised and disconcerted if the texts talked significantly less about such things than they do!

(1Cor15 also started a thread for Trinitarians to present their case, and I included links to a Godawful number of pages :mrgreen: I’ve written on that topic and posted here on the forum.)

There is also a preterist, non-EU apologist (JP Holding) who talks about the functional vs. ontological subordination of the Son, but it seems from what I remember of it that Jason’s approach works better for true trinitarianism.

What??? Obviously dogs are smiling. Why else would the corners of their mouths turn upward? You are an irrational and blind heretic (ignoring the clear evidence right in front of you) and certainly deserve death because of your blatant impudence.

{wagging tail}

{which for a cat means something different than for a dog} :mrgreen:


There are several different species of non-Trinitarian.

  1. The early Christian view
    There is one God, who begat a Son before all ages. His Son was another exactly like His Father, with the same attributes. The Son was fully divine, and some of the early writers referred to Him as “our God”. The spirit of God was simply that, the spirit of God — not a “third divine Person”, but yet personal and not merely a force.

  2. The Modalists
    God is a single Individual who expresses Himself in three modes: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Or one could consider each of these three a different “actor’s mask” which God wears, or three faces (προσωπον). During early church times, Modalism was in vogue long before Trinitarianism became widespread. Modalists believe that prior to the birth of Jesus, there was no Son of God.

  3. The Arians
    Like the early Christians, the Arians also believed that God begat a Son before all ages. Arius himself, in one of his letters referred to the Son as “fully God.” However, if writers in Arius’s day were correct, Arius believed that the Son was “begotten out of nothing”. That sounds a lot like affirming that the Son was created. Arius also said, “There was a time when the Son was not.” In other words he believed that there was a time at which the Son did not exist. Some understand Arians as believing that Jesus was “a lesser God.”

  4. The Liberal View
    I am using “liberal” in a narrow sense, since I can’t think of any other name for this view. This is the view of the Unitarians and Philadelphians. Jesus did not exist prior to his birth. Some believe that he was the son of God in the sense that he did not have a human father, but that God caused Mary to become pregnant with Jesus. Others do not believe in the virgin birth, but still think that Jesus was in some sense the son of God when he was born. The liberals think it is important to make clear that Jesus is not God in any sense.

Hi 1Cor1522,

While I can’t speak for the other non-Trinitarians on this forum, I’m a Unitarian for several reasons (most of which are, I think, derived from what I think to be the most reasonable interpretation of Scripture), and to even approach a thorough case for Unitarianism (especially one that takes into account the opposing arguments of Trinitarians) would require much more than a post on this thread. I will, however, give a few reasons for why I’m a Unitarian rather than a Trinitarian. When I have more time, I’ll plan on posting some brief responses to some of the passages thought to be problematic for Unitarianism (such as John 1:1-3). And the following are a few threads on this forum where I’ve tried to defend my Unitarian views, if you want to check them out:

Also, here are a few Biblical Unitarian websites I recommend, where you’ll find some good information and debates, along with more in-depth responses to Trinitarian proof-texts than I plan on providing on this thread: … inity.html … inity.html

Now, for the reasons (and again, much more could be said, but the following reasons are, I think, a pretty good introduction to the Unitarian position):

  1. I believe Jesus himself was a Unitarian. Jesus explicitly affirmed the strict monotheism taught in the OT (Mark 12:29) and consistently spoke of the God of the OT as if he were a unipersonal and undivided Being (e.g., Matt 4:10; 6:25-33; 11:25; 22:31-32; 23:22; Luke 12:22-31; 18:7; 20:37-38; John 3:16-17; 3:34; 4:21-24; 5:44; 6:45-46; 8:42, 54; 13:31-32; 14:1; 16:27; 17:3; 20:17). Just as God did not at any time reprove the Jews for their strict monotheism (or give them any reason to suspect that their conception of him was incomplete at best), so Christ spoke as if the Jewish understanding of God as a unipersonal and undivided Being was correct, and gave no indication that this essential tenet of Judaism needed to be modified. And not only this, but Jesus and his apostles believed the one God of Israel was his (Jesus’) God and Lord - i.e., the Supreme Being over him (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34; John 20:17; Rom 15:6; 1 Cor. 11:3; 2 Cor. 1:3; 11:31; Eph 1:3, 17; Col 1:3; Heb 1:9; 10:7; 1 Pet 1:3; Rev 1:6; 3:2, 12). Jesus was certainly not the very Supreme Being whom he worshipped, prayed to, was sent, taught and empowered by, and whose will he obediently carried out (Matthew 4:4 [Deut 8:3]; Mt 4:7 [Deut 6:16]; Mt 4:10 [Ex 20:3-5; 34:14; Deut 6:13-14; 10:20];Mt. 20:23; 22:34-40; 23:39; 26:39, 42, 53; Mark 11:9-10; 14:36; 12:29-30; Luke 22:42; John 3:17, 32-35; 4:34; 5:19, 30, 36, 43-44; 6:38, 57; 7:16, 28; 8:26, 28, 38; 10:25; 12:49, 50; 13:16; 14:1, 10; 15:15; 17:1, 3, 8, 26; Acts 2:22,34-36; 3:13-26; 5:30; 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:15; 2:9-12; Heb 1:1-3; Rev 1:1; 2:7)!

  2. Peter tells us who the God of Jesus is: “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus…” (Acts 3:13; cf. 5:30). If Jesus is the servant of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, then the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is Jesus’ God. And since Jesus’ God is a unipersonal being, it means the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a unipersonal being (hence the word “his” in the above verse). Jesus never claimed to be - nor does Scripture present Jesus as - the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whom Jesus represents and speaks for. Rather, this being is spoken of as a being distinct from Jesus. For example, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is frequently referred to as the “Most High” (Genesis 14:18-22; Num 24:16; Deut 32:8; 2 Sam 22:14; Psalm 7:17; 9:2; 18:13; 21:7; 46:4; 47:2; 50:14; 57:2; 77:10; 78:17, 35, 56; 82:6; 83:18; 87:5; 91:1, 9; 92:1; 97:9; 107:11; Isa 14:14; Lam 3:35, 38; Dan 3:26; 4:2, 17, 24, 25, 32, 34; 5:18, 21; 7:18, 22, 25, 27; Hos 7:16; 11:7; Luke 1:76; 6:35; Acts 7:48). But rather than being identified as the “Most High,” Jesus is instead said to be the Son of the Most High (Mark 5:7; Luke 1:32, 35). The Son of the Most High cannot be identified with the Most High himself; the fact that Jesus is the Son of the Most High means that Jesus is to be distinguished from the Most High. And since Jesus is not the Most High (who is Jesus’ God), he is necessarily inferior to the Most High.

  3. Unitarianism is most consistent with the fact that Jesus’ authority and Lordship is derived from his God and not inherently his. God made Jesus Lord (Acts 2:36; Rom 14:9), gave him “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18), highly exalted him (Phil 2:9), and bestowed on him a “name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father” (v. 10). This is consistent with the OT prophecies, where we’re told that one who is superior in authority to David would be invited to sit at YHWH’s right hand until he is given victory over his enemies (Psalm 110:1), and that the Messiah would be “given dominion and glory and a kingdom” (Dan 7:13-14). We’re also told that Jesus “became” superior to the angels and “inherited” a name that is more excellent than theirs (Heb 1:4). Jesus’ God, however, does not have to become superior to the angels or inherit a name that is more excellent than theirs. Why? Because Jesus’ God is the Supreme Being; by virtue of his divine nature and self-existence, he is and always has been infinitely superior to all created beings. Unlike Jesus, Jesus’ God doesn’t have to be given authority or made Lord.

  4. Unitarianism is most consistent with the fact that God repeatedly speaks of himself using singular personal pronouns and verbs (more than 20,000 singular pronouns and verbs are attributed to God in Scripture). The following are just a few examples: “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance’” (Isaiah 45:22-23). “How can I give you up Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man – the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath” (Hos. 11:8-9). The only exceptions to God’s use of singular pronouns (i.e., Gen 1:26; 3:22; 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8) are most likely examples of God speaking to, and on behalf of, the members of his heavenly court (Job 38:4, 7; Deut 33:2; Josh 5:13-15; 2 Sam 5:24; 1 Kings 22:19-23; 2 Kings 6:8-17; Psalm 148:1-5; Jer 23:18; Isa 6:1-7; Dan 7:10; Neh 9:6).

  5. Unitarianism is most consistent with the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: YHWH our God, YHWH is one.” The word translated “one” (echad) means numerically and mathematically one. No matter what is in view - whether it is a single grape (i.e., “one grape”) or a single cluster of grapes (“one cluster of grapes”) - it still means numerically “one.” For example, in Genesis 2:24, we read that a man becomes “one flesh” with his wife. Of course, this is figurative language; the man and woman do not literally become “one flesh.” This is a powerful image that speaks of the intimate bond between husband and wife. But echad here still means “numerically one” - not numerically more than one. The “one flesh” that husband and wife become in Gen 2:24 is indeed “one flesh” (not “one fleshes”). Echad still means “numerically one.” And in this and other similar passages, not only does echad maintain its meaning of “numerically one” (as it must in order for the figurative expressions to convey their intended sense), but two or more “parts” are mentioned, such that the reader can immediately discern that there is some kind of “coming together” of the people or things mentioned. But it is this factor that is conspicuously absent from Deut. 6:4. The Shema does not say, “YHWH our God, although three, is yet one.” There is no hint of anything numerically more than one “coming together” here. No composite “parts” (or persons) are spoken of or alluded to that, together, make “one” something. The declaration is simply that YHWH is numerically and unequivocally “one.”

But to what does this affirmation of YHWH’s “oneness” stand in contrast? What was Moses trying to emphasize here? Well, the gods (elohim) of the heathen were a plurality of distinct divine persons. Although sharing the divine nature/attributes by which a personal being could be categorized as a god, they were still considered distinct gods. Why? It wasn’t because they each possessed a different divine “essence” or “substance”; rather, it was because they were thought to be distinct persons with distinct functions and roles in relation to mankind. Even if some gods were thought to be united in will and purpose and to form a “divine community,” they were still understood to be distinct gods by virtue of their being different divine persons with different functions and roles in relation to mankind. But unlike the elohim of the heathen, YHWH is not a plurality of divine persons. YHWH is not two, or three, or 10 million divine persons; YHWH is “one.”

Moreover, it is a common Hebrew idiom found in the OT to repeat a word (e.g., a person’s name or title) for emphasis instead of using a pronoun. While the idiom can be used with impersonal things as well, the following are just a few examples where persons are in view: Gen 4:23-24; 16:16; 18:17-19; Ex 34:35; 1 Kings 2:19; 10:13; 12:21; Esther 8:8; Ezekiel 11:24; Dan 3:2-3; 9:17; Ex 16:6-7; 1 Sam 3:21; 12:7; 2 Chron 7:2. Now, it’s evident that Deut. 6:4 is an example of this idiomatic way of speaking; the divine name YHWH is repeated for emphasis instead of the use of a pronoun. But if we were to replace the second use of the name YHWH with an appropriate pronoun, what would we use? Well, based on the kind of pronouns consistently used in reference to YHWH throughout the OT, we would use the singular personal pronoun “he” (not “they”). Throughout the OT, YHWH Elohim is an “I,” a “he,” a “him” a “me,” a “myself,” etc. He is referred to, and refers to himself, as a singular person. So when we replace the second, emphatic use of the divine name with an appropriate pronoun, Deut 6:4 would thus read, “Hear, O Israel: YHWH our God, HE is one.” “He” is the personal pronoun that is implied here, and with which the second “YHWH” could be appropriately substituted.

  1. Unitarianism is most consistent with the NT references to the oneness/singleness of God:

“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, ‘Which commandment is the most important of all?’ Jesus answered, 'The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one (eis)…’” (Mark 12:28-29).

“And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9).

“I have come in my Father’s name…the only God” (John 5:43-44).

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

“Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that ‘an idol has no real existence,’ and that ‘there is no God but one.’ For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’— 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 Cor 8:4-6).

“Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one” (Rom. 3:29).

“Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one” (Gal 3:20).

“There is…one God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:5).

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

“You believe that God is one; you do well” (James 2:19).

Mark 12:29 and 1 Cor 8:6 are especially helpful in understanding the “oneness” of God. In Mark 12:29 the divine “oneness” that Jesus was affirming in his recital of Israel’s ancient creedal statement (the Shema) refers to the oneness of his and Israel’s God (for the “Lord our God” of whom Jesus could speak as a Jew is the same “Lord our God” of whom every other Jew could speak). But the only “Lord our God” of whom Christ could speak as a Jew is the Being he refers to repeatedly as “the Father” (for, as shown earlier, it is the Father who is Jesus’ God). Thus, the “oneness” of the “Lord our God” being affirmed in this creed is the oneness of Jesus’ God, who is “one Father” (Mt. 23:9; Eph 4:5). Echoing Jesus’ affirmation of the Father’s oneness, Paul declares in 1 Cor 8:4-6 that there is “no God but one,” and then tells us who this “one God” is: “the Father.” In other words, the “oneness” being affirmed by Paul is not a relational unity of divine persons, or the sharing of a single divine substance/essence/being by multiple persons. Rather, it is the oneness of the Father, who is both our God and Jesus’ God.

But (it may be objected) is not the Father also called “Lord” (Greek: Kurios)? And if the Father is also “Lord,” may not Christ be understood as also being “God?”

While Jesus’ God was most certainly understood by both Jesus and his apostles as “Lord” (e.g., Mt. 4:7, 10; 22:37; Lk. 1:32, 68; 20:37; Acts 2:39; 3:22; 4:24; 17:24; Rev 1:8; 4:8, 11; 21:22), it would be a mistake to understand Paul to be expanding the Shema to include Christ as a second person who, with the Father, possesses all divine attributes (which would really make two Gods, not one - see point 10). Rather, Paul is actually distinguishing Jesus from God in calling him “Lord.” In referring to Jesus as “Lord,” Paul is using a title that, although denoting a position of superior authority, is not a title exclusive to God. And not only this, but Paul knew that Jesus’ highly exalted status and great authority (a status and authority which makes Jesus second only to God himself in the “heavenly hierarchy”) was derived from God and was received by Jesus when God raised him from the dead (Phil 2:8-11; Rom 14:9). But if God may also be referred to as “Lord,” what does Paul mean when he refers to Jesus as the “one Lord?” Answer: it is evident from both the immediate and larger context that Paul means there is only “one Lord” who stands between us and God as the Mediator between the “one God” and mankind - i.e., there is only “one Lord” through whom the one God has fully revealed himself, through whom the one God is blessing us with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” and through whom the one God is upholding our existence. There is only “one Lord” through whom we are able to come to God (John 14:6) and through whom we may be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:18). Thus, to argue that Jesus may also be understood as the “one God” along with the Father merely because the Father is also called “Lord” in Scripture is to misunderstand the truth that Paul is affirming in these verses.

  1. Unitarianism is most consistent with the fact that the Messiah was consistently prophesied in the OT as being a person who would be distinct from the Supreme Being, YHWH (Gen 3:15; 12:3; 22:18; 28:14; 49:10; Numbers 24:17-19; Deut 18:15; 2Sa 7:12-13; 1 Chronicles 17:13; Psalm 45:2-7, 17; 72:1; 89:3-4; 110:1; 132:11; Isaiah 7:14; 11:1-5; 52-53; Jeremiah 23:5; 30:21; Dan 7:13; Zech 6:12-13; Micah 5:2). Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1 are especially relevant here: In Psalm 110:1 (which is one of the most frequently quoted OT verse in the NT), we read, “YHWH said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’” Here we find the Eternal One inviting a personal being distinct from himself to sit at his “right hand.” While it is clear that this person would be superior in authority to David (hence David calls him adoni, or “Lord”), it is equally clear that he is distinguished from, and inferior to, YHWH. In Daniel 7:13, the Messiah is described in a prophetic vision as “one like a son of man” and is distinguished from “the Ancient of Days” before whom he is presented, and from whom he receives his kingdom and authority. The “Ancient of Days” is portrayed as a unipersonal Being (v. 9), and is clearly a title for YHWH, the God of Daniel and his people (Dan 9:4, 9, 13). It is YHWH who is also (and more frequently) referred to in Daniel as the “Most High” (Dan 3:26; 4:2, 17, 24, 25, 32, 34; 5:18, 21; 7:18, 22, 25, 27). In both verses we find that the Messiah would be a man who, although highly exalted far above all other human beings and given authority that is second only to YHWH’s, is not to be identified with YHWH himself.

  2. Unitarianism is most consistent with all of the visions of God in Scripture, in which YHWH is beheld as a unipersonal Being:

“…Behold the LORD stood above it, and said, ‘I am the LORD God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac’” (Gen 28:13).

“I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on his right hand and on his left…” (1 Kings 22:19; 2 Chron 18:18)

"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’ And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:1-5)

"And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you” (Ezekiel 1:26-2:1).

“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him…and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him” (Dan 7:9-10, 13).

“But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God’” (Acts 7:55-56).

Consider especially Revelation 4-5, where John repeatedly refers to God as a unipersonal Being seated on a throne surrounded by angelic beings, and distinguishes him from Jesus Christ:

While Jesus was clearly understood by John to be the supreme derivative being (possessing power and authority that no other finite being - whether human or angel - has ever possessed), he was not thought to be God himself, or part of a “triune God.” Rather, Jesus was thought to be a highly exalted man who reigns at God’s right hand as the Ultimate Messianic King.

  1. Unitarianism is most consistent with what Scripture teaches concerning the sonship and “begetting” of Jesus. The sonship of Jesus is not spoken of as something eternal but rather as something having a beginning in time. In Hebrews 1:5, the author writes (quoting Psalm 2:7 and 2 Sam 7:14), “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you,’” and, “‘I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.’” It would be nonsense to understand these words to mean that Christ pre-existed as God’s Son before the “day” he was begotten by God, and before he became a Son to God. If these verses are to be understood as conveying anything meaningful, there must have been a time before the Son was begotten by God. And according to the Gospels, this is in fact the case. That to which Hebrews 1:5 alludes is stated more plainly in Luke 1:35, where we find that Jesus’ being the holy “Son of God” is directly tied to his being miraculously conceived in the womb of a virgin by the power of the “Most High.” That is, Jesus is the “Son of God” because (as the Ultimate Messianic King of Israel) he was brought into existence by God through an act of special creation (cf. Luke 3:38, where Adam - who was also brought into existence via special creation - is similarly called the “son of God”). And not only does Matthew speak of the beginning of Jesus’ life as his “genesis” (Mt. 1:18), but in v. 20 (where an angel speaks to Joseph concerning Jesus’ miraculous conception in Mary), the same word translated “conceived” is elsewhere translated “begotten” (Heb 1:5; 5:5). Clearly, the “begetting” of Jesus by God referred to in Hebrews refers not to an “eternal begetting” or a begetting “before all ages” but rather to the historical event referred to in Matthew 1:20 - i.e., the miraculous begetting of the Son of God in the womb of a virgin by the power of God.

  2. Trinitarianism is inherently illogical, in that it affirms that there is only one God, and yet that God is three persons who are each fully divine in nature. A person is a being with a unique self-awareness, first-person perspective and will. No two persons can share the same existence, even if they share the same nature or essence (for two persons sharing one human nature still make two human beings, not one). For any person to be God would mean that they inherently possess all the necessary divine attributes or properties by which an entity may be categorized as “God,” and for one person to inherently possess all necessary divine attributes would mean there is one God in existence. But two distinct persons inherently possessing all divine attributes would make two existent Gods. And three distinct persons inherently possessing all divine attributes would make three existent Gods. And so forth. To say there is only one God and yet three distinct persons who are each fully God (equally possessing all the necessary divine attributes) is illogical. Merely asserting that the three divine persons exist in perfect relational harmony with each other and comprise a “divine community” doesn’t change the fact that they are in fact three Gods, and that this “divine community” is really a community of three Gods. Trinitarianism is, therefore, really tritheism masking itself as monotheism. It is simply a less obvious and more “sophisticated” form of polytheism.

  3. Trinitarianism is inherently illogical, in that it affirms that Jesus Christ has two natures - one fully human, the other fully divine. But what is a nature? Answer: It is the essential properties, attributes or qualities that mark off what something is (and without which something would be other than what it is). For example, a dog is a dog because of certain essential properties, attributes or qualities that it has. Were these essential properties, attributes or qualities changed or removed, it would cease to be a dog. Call it what you will, an animal that possesses all the essential properties, attributes or qualities of a cat cannot be a dog. It would be impossible for any animal to possess all of the essential properties, attributes or qualities of both a cat and a dog, and were there an animal that shared an equal percent of some (but not all) of the properties, attributes or qualities of both a cat and a dog, the animal would be neither a cat nor a dog, but a different animal entirely. But it is this logical impossibility that is at the very heart of the doctrine of the “double nature” of Christ. For this doctrine asserts that Christ has two natures: one that is wholly human and another that is wholly divine. But to be human and to be God are two mutually exclusive experiences and states of being. By definition, God is not a human being, and a human being is not God (Num 23:19; Hosea 11:9). To have all the essential properties, attributes and qualities of a human being entirely excludes one from also having all the essential properties, attributes and qualities of God (and vice-versa). It is logically impossible for a man to possess all the essential properties, attributes and qualities of God, because in possessing them he would, by necessity, fall into the category of “God” and not “man.” And it is logically impossible for God to possess all the essential properties, attributes and qualities of a human person, because in possessing them he would, by necessity, fall into the category of “man” and not “God.”

The logical absurdity of the doctrine of the “double nature” of Jesus Christ is articulated well by 19th century Unitarian minister, Charles Morgridge:

Jesus is a human being (Mt. 1:1-15, 18; Lk. 1:31, 4:4; 24:19; Mk. 8:31; Acts 2:22-23; 17:31; Rom 5:15; 1 Tim 2:5). To be a human being is to possess all of the essential attributes by which a being may be categorized as “human” rather than as something else. Since Jesus is fully human, it is, I believe, logically impossible that he also be “fully God.”

The saddest thing about all this is that there are those who think if you don’t get this right then hell is your destination. And I’ve heard it from both sides (not so much here but in the real “Christian world”). That’s where religious dogma takes us.

To me the Bible is clear that Father (God) manifested himself in human form (a “son”) and God (the Father)'s spirit was in him. To argue the point ad nauseum and to belabor the 3 “separate” persons argument over and over is beyond ridiculous IMO.

AISI The REAL Jesus would say “There are people suffering out there while you guys sit around and talk about this bullsh**??? Really???”

See what I’m saying?

Don’t get me wrong - I enjoy discussing theology but I’m talking about those who think dogma is all important.

Luke 22:42

Luke 22:42 is certainly an important verse in our understanding of who Jesus is. There, we read of Jesus praying to his Lord and God: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” There is absolutely no suggestion anywhere in Scripture that Jesus has “two wills” (a human will and a divine will), as orthodox Trinitarianism has affirmed since Constantinople III in 681. The “two wills” doctrine affirmed at this sixth ecumenical council is simply an attempted solution to a “problem” with which reason and revelation do not present us, and which has as its basis an erroneous understanding of Jesus’ identity.

The following verses may be grouped together as verses that mention God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit together:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matt 28:19)

“…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood…” (1 Pet 1:2)

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor 13:14)

In reading Matthew 28:19, let us ask ourselves: does this verse say that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Spirit of God) are three persons or personalities? No, it does not say this. Does it assert that they together constitute one God? No, it does not say this, either. Does it say that each is God? Again, no such thing is said. Does it say that they are all equal? No such thing is said. Does it say they are all to be worshipped as God? No such thing is said. Then it does not teach the doctrine of the trinity. If it neither declares them to be three persons, nor equal to each other, nor each to be God, nor each to be worshipped as God, then this verse does not teach the doctrine of the trinity. What then did Jesus mean by being baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?”

The “name” of something or someone denotes the thing or person’s identity. “In the name of” here can simply mean, “in recognition of.” Jesus is saying that all who become his disciples, and are baptized, are to be baptized in recognition of the Father (who is Jesus’ God and “the only true God”), the Son (Jesus Christ, whom the “one God” sent into the world and made Lord of all), and the Holy Spirit (God’s holy operative presence and power in the world). Moreover, we know from the rest of the NT that Jesus’ words here were not meant to be a formula to be repeated every time a person was baptized, for we never find this expression used again. Instead, baptism is always said to be done “in the name of Jesus” (i.e., in recognition of the supremacy and divine authority of Jesus). To be baptized in the name of Jesus implies that one also recognizes Jesus’ God (the Father) and the Holy Spirit with which Jesus was anointed by God (Acts 10:38) and which God gave to Christ “without measure” (John 3:34).

None of these verses say anything about the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit being “three personalities” who share “one substance,” or who are in any way “co-equal members of a triune God.” The mentioning of the Father (who is overwhelmingly referred to simply as “God” throughout Scripture), Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit together is no more evidence that they are part of a tri-personal Godhead than is the mention of “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” evidence that these three patriarchs shared one physical body or “metaphysical substance.” In 2 Corinthians 13:14, Paul even distinguishes between “the Lord Jesus Christ,” “God” and “the Holy Spirit.” Would Paul have expressed himself in these words, and in this order, if he had intended to teach the doctrine of the trinity here? Similarly, in 1 Tim 2:5 Paul distinguishes “God” from “Jesus Christ” (whom he identifies as a “man,” not as a “God-man”): “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.” Who is the “one God” of whom Paul speaks? Answer: this can refer to none other than the Father. In 1 Cor 8:6 Paul wrote, “…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” (notice Paul’s neglect to mention the supposed “third person” of the Trinity here - an inexplicable omission if the Holy Spirit is indeed a separate but co-equal part of a multi-personal God!) Thus we see that not only is the “one God” said to be “the Father” but Paul makes it a point to distinguish the “one God” from “the man, Jesus Christ.” It follows, then, that Jesus cannot also be the “one God.” But what about the “fellowship of the Holy Spirit” in 2 Cor 13:14? This probably refers to the fellowship that Christians have with each other because of the presence of God’s holy influence and operative power in and among them (see the NIV Study Bible note for Philippians 2:1 for an interpretation of the similar expression, “fellowship of the Spirit”).

It is sometimes argued that Jesus must be God (or part of a triune God) because he performed miracles, such as raising people (including himself, it is argued) from the dead. However, the fact that Jesus performed miracles and raised people from the dead is in no way evidence that he is God. We read in both the Old and New Testaments of God giving certain appointed people the power and authority to perform many miraculous deeds, including raising people from the dead. Nowhere are we told that Jesus’ power and authority to perform miracles was inherently his own; instead, his power and authority is always said to have been derived from his God. Moreover, does Scripture teach that Jesus literally raised himself from the dead? A superficial reading of John 2:19 and 10:17-18 may lead to this idea. However, to interpret these verses to mean that Jesus saved himself from death would contradict Hebrews 5:7, where we read that Jesus “offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the One who was able to save him from death…” (Hebrews 5:7) The phrase “to the One who was able to save him from death,” implies that Jesus could not save himself from death, but that he trusted God (i.e., the Father) to save him. Moreover, after Jesus’ resurrection it is always the Father - not Jesus - who is said to have performed this miracle (Acts 2:30-32; Acts 3:15; Acts 5:30-31; Acts 10:40; Rom 6:4; 1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:19-22; Heb 5:7; 13:20; 1 Pet 1:21). What then does Jesus mean in John 2:19 and 10:17-18?

Answer: It was a common figure of speech among the Hebrews to say that a person had done something if he played a vital part in its taking place, and without which it wouldn’t have taken place. For example, we know that Roman soldiers crucified Jesus, and that the Jewish people had no direct hand in physically executing him. Yet Peter said to the Jewish rulers, “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree” (Acts 5:30). Everyone understands Peter to have been telling the Jewish people that they played a crucial role in Jesus’ crucifixion; had they not done their part, the Romans would not have executed him. But the Jewish people did not physically and directly kill Jesus by hanging him on the cross. In light of this figure of speech, Jesus’ declaring that he could and would raise himself from the dead simply means that he would play an important and essential role in his being raised. How so? Answer: Jesus had to fully obey the will of his Father, for a sacrifice that was “blemished” was unacceptable to the Lord (Lev. 22:17-20; Mal. 1:6-8). Because of his “humbling himself, even unto death on a cross,” God saved Jesus from death and highly exalted him, bestowing on him a “name that is above every name” (Phil 2:8-9). Moreover, the authority that Jesus had to take up his life again was inseparable from his authority to lay down his life. The authority Jesus had to lay down his life was an authority that was derived from his Father, and was not inherently his. And Jesus knew that laying down his life in obedience to God would lead inevitably to his being raised by God; thus, he could speak of having been given authority to both lay down his life as well as take it up again.

Aaron, :open_mouth:

Holy sacred cow, Batman! :laughing:


I think it’s interesting that it was not until I had abandoned the “sacred cow” of ECT that I felt freer to begin to question other “sacred cows” (like the Trinity)!

One common Trinitarian objection to Unitarianism is that, according to certain verses from John’s Gospel (John 1:1-3; 6:38; 8:58; 12:41; 16:28; 17:5), Jesus pre-existed in heaven as a divine person before his conception. The following is a (relatively) brief examination of these verses (there are a few more verses thought to support this doctrine in the Pauline epistles, but I’ll hold off on covering those for now).

  1. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God ton theon], and the word was God theos]. He was in the beginning with God ton theon]. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

It is inferred by Trinitarians that “the word” (ho logos) which was “with God” (pros ton theon) “in the beginning” is a personal being (i.e., the Son of God, or “God the Son”). But the Unitarian believes there is a better understanding of this verse: the “word” that was “with God in the beginning” is not the Son of God; rather, the Son of God is the human being (or “flesh”) which the word “became” when Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary (v. 14; cf. Luke 1:30-35). But what then is the “word” that was “with God in the beginning?” Answer: the “word” or logos here refers to the spoken word of God by which God brought everything into existence, and which is the expression of God’s wisdom, purpose and character:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…and God said…” (Gen 1:1, 3)

“By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host…For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Ps. 33:6, 9).

“He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction” (Ps. 107:20).

“He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly…He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow…He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rules to Israel” (Ps. 147:15, 18-19).

“It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses” (Jer 10:12-13).

“…by the word (logos) of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water…” (2 Pet 3:5).

Consider especially Isaiah 55:10-11:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isa. 55:10-11).

Although personified, the “word” of God (which is said to go out from God’s mouth and accomplish the purpose for which God sends it) is not literally a person. But being God’s word (and thus the expression of his wisdom, purpose and character), it is divine in nature, and may thus be said to be “theos.” Note that John refers to the “word” as “theos” (which can mean qualitatively divine, or “divine in nature”) rather than ton theon, which is the personal title that refers to the Supreme Being himself (e.g., Jn. 3:16; 3:34; 4:24; 6:46; 11:22; 14:1; 17:3). Moreover, the word logos is used throughout John’s Gospel to denote a spoken word, and I submit it means the same thing in John’s poetic prologue. It’s no more a personal being with a mind and will separate from the Father (whom the word was “with” in the beginning) than “wisdom” is in Proverbs 8 (which was also “with” God in the beginning), and there is no more reason to capitalize logos in John 1 than there is to capitalize “wisdom” in Proverbs 8. But it was God’s word which, in a figurative sense, “became flesh” and was embodied or “incarnated” in a human person when Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb by the “power of the Most High.” Christ, as the “word made flesh,” lived out and perfectly embodies the doctrine and words that he spoke during his earthly ministry (words which came from his Father - John 7:16; 17:14), and is the ultimate and definitive communication of God’s heart and mind to mankind. And just like the divine word of Isaiah 55:10-11, Jesus is the one through whom God will succeed in accomplishing his redemptive purpose for the world (i.e., the salvation of all people). Thus, it is highly appropriate that John refers to Jesus in Rev 19:13 as the “Word of God.” While in the course of redemptive history God has spoken through both angels and human beings (the prophets), only Christ is the complete manifestation of the divine logos, for “in him dwells all the fullness of the divine nature bodily” (Col. 2:9; cf. Col 1:19; Eph 3:19; 2 Pet 1:4). “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the spirit without measure” (John 3:34).

  1. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38).

It was a common idiom among the Jewish people to say that something “came from heaven” if God was its source in some special way. For example, in Mal 3:10 God promised that he would “open the windows of heaven” and “pour down” a blessing for them. Such language, of course, does not mean that God was literally going to pour things out of heaven onto the earth. This kind of expression simply meant that God would be the origin of the blessings they received in their lives. Another example of this idiom is when Christ asked the Jewish people, “John’s baptism - where did it come from? Was it from heaven or from men?” (Matt. 21:25). The way that John’s baptism would have been “from heaven” was if God was the source of the revelation and practice. John did not get the idea on his own; it came “from heaven.” And in James 1:17 we read that every good gift is “from above” and “comes down” from God. Similarly, in chapter 3, we are told that the wisdom that should be possessed by believers is that which is “from above” and which “comes down from above” (James 3:15, 17). These verses do not mean that the good things in our lives literally come down from heaven (much less that they undergo some kind of mystical transformation before we receive them!). What James means is clear: God is the author and source of the good things in our lives (including the wisdom by which we should live). And just as God is said to be the source of “every good gift,” so God is the source of the ultimate blessing, Jesus Christ (which he was, in a unique and miraculous way; see Luke 1:34-35).

Thus, things can be “from heaven” (meaning they have their source in God) or they can be “from men” (meaning they originate with men). In light of how such language is used in Scripture, Jesus’ words in John 6:38 are clear: Jesus, whose existence began miraculously in the womb of his virgin mother, Mary, is “from God,” “from heaven” and “from above” in the sense that God is his Father and thus his origin. However, if we take Jesus’ words to mean that he, as a personal being, literally came down from heaven from a “pre-existent state,” we must also (to be consistent) believe that it was Jesus in his fleshly body who pre-existed and came down from heaven. For in John 6:33, Jesus declares himself to be “the bread of God” who “comes down from heaven,” and in v. 51, he declares this “bread” to be his “flesh.” As bizarre as this sounds, such a doctrine would be more consistent with the premise that Jesus pre-existed in heaven before he came to earth. Fortunately, however, we need not understand Jesus to be teaching any such thing.

  1. “Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).

As this verse is discussed by me in some depth elsewhere on this forum, I’ll just provide the links:

  1. “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him” (John 12:41).

It’s sometimes argued by Trinitarians that when Isaiah saw God sitting on a throne in a vision (Isaiah 6), he was seeing “God the Son” (for in v. 41 John writes that Isaiah saw [the Messiah’s] glory"). But that’s not at all the only possible (and I think certainly not the best) way to understand John’s words. First of all, where does the Trinitarian think the Father and the Holy Spirit are? Why was there only one divine person seen sitting on a throne in this vision? Rather than support Trinitarianism, this vision seems to further confirm the view of Unitarians that the “one God” is a unipersonal Being. But what then did John mean in this verse? One possible interpretation is that “these things” in v. 41 to refer back to both the quotation from Isaiah 6 and the quotation from Isaiah 53. So what I would suggest is that Isaiah “saw” the Messiah’s glory and spoke of him in both cases. But how did Isaiah see the glory of the Messiah? As a fulfilled reality? No; I believe he saw it in the same sense that Abraham saw the Messiah’s “day” and “was glad” (John 8:56) - that is, he saw it prophetically, in an anticipatory sense (this is most apparent from the prophecy in Isaiah 53, which is one of the greatest Messianic prophecies in all of the OT). So I submit that it could be said by John that Isaiah “saw” the Messiah’s “glory” when anything Isaiah wrote (i.e., “spoke”) had prophetic application to the coming Messiah. And because (according to John) the prophecy in Isaiah 6 had a dual fulfillment and was thus applicable to both Isaiah’s own day (i.e., when he saw YHWH in vision and was commissioned by him) as well as to the time of the Messiah, it could be said that, in both cases, Isaiah “saw [the Messiah’s] glory.”

  1. “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father” (John 16:28).

As is the case with John 6:38, Jesus could declare that he “came from the Father” because, as the one responsible for the miraculous conception in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35), God was his source. He “entered the world” when he was conceived, and left the world and went to the Father at his ascension (the word “back” in the expression “I am going back to the Father” is absent from the Greek text. As in the KJV, it should simply read, “I am going to the Father”).

There are also verses that say Jesus was “sent from God,” a phrase that also emphasizes God as the ultimate source of that which is sent. John the Baptist is also said to be a man who was “sent from God” (John 1:6). The idea of coming from God or being sent by God is clarified by Jesus’ words in John 17. There, we read, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (v. 18). We understand perfectly what Christ meant when he said, “I have sent them into the world.” He meant that he commissioned his disciples, or appointed them. No one thinks that Jesus’ disciples were in heaven with God and incarnated into the flesh. Christ said, “As you have sent me, I have sent them.” Thus, however we understand Christ’s sending his disciples into the world is how we should also understand God’s sending Christ into the world.

  1. “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5).

When we take into account the fact that things that are certain to exist or take place, and which are central to God’s plan, are sometimes spoken of in Scripture as if they already exist or have already been accomplished, Jesus’ words are easily harmonized with the fact that his existence as God’s Son had a beginning in history. Jesus was simply glorified in God’s presence before the world existed in God’s divine foreknowledge and predestined plan. In Ephesians 1:4, Paul speaks as if believers existed “before the foundation of the world,” and in 2 Timothy 1:9, Paul writes that believers were given God’s purpose and grace “before the ages began.” And in Romans 8:30 he speaks as if the elect had already been “glorified” (notice the past tense used). But no orthodox Christian believes that human beings existed before the foundation of the world or before the ages began; our being “chosen” by God, or being given God’s purpose and grace, or being “glorified” by him before we actually existed can only refer to God’s foreknowledge and predestined plan (see Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:5, 11; cf. Gal 1:15; Jer 1:5).

In the same way, Jesus (as the most important and central figure in God’s redemptive plan) was “foreknown before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet 1:20). Because Christ’s being glorified by God was so certain to take place and so central to God’s plan for humanity, Christ could speak as if he had already been glorified in God’s presence before the world began. When Christ spoke the words of John 17:5, he had been glorified in promise, and as a central part of God’s predestined plan, long before he actually came into the world. Further support for this understanding of John 17:5 is that Christ goes on to say (v. 22), “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one…” Here, the same glory that Christ prayed that God would give him is spoken of as if he already possessed it. But not only that, it is spoken of as if it had already been given to his disciples. And in v. 24, Christ prays, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” In v. 5 Christ spoke as if he had ascended to God’s right hand before the world existed, and in v. 24 he spoke as if he had already ascended to God’s right hand at the time of his prayer. In the former case Christ spoke of something that was going to happen as if it took place before he existed, and in the latter case he spoke of something that was going to happen as if it had taken place already while he was praying. In both cases, something that was certain to happen and central to God’s plan is spoken of as if it had already taken place. Was Christ confused during his prayer? Not at all; this was simply a figurative way of speaking.