Misunderstandings about the Trinity

From Jehovah Witness Neighbors

Some questions about the Trinity come from people who are outside of the Christian faith. Jehovah Witnesses, for instance, repudiate this doctrine. To them, it is nothing more than polytheism, an errant belief in multiple gods. To maintain a belief in one true God, they teach the Father as God, but Jesus the Son as an angel and the Holy Spirit as nothing more than a force that emanates from God to accomplish his will. By doing this, they reject the deity of the Son, and they also reject the deity and personality of the Spirit. Since the advent of the Watchtower magazine in 1882, Jehovah’s Witnesses have trained extensively to defend their faulty perspective with vigor.[2] Furthermore, their Bible (the New World Translation) features deliberate attempts to remove any allusion to Trinitarian doctrine such as the deity of Jesus Christ. For example, John 1:1 reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”[3] The NWT alters the final phrase to say, “The Word was a god” [emphasis added], removing a direct reference to Jesus as God.[4] Furthermore, Colossians 1:16 reads, “By Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth.” The NWT alters the final phrase to say, “By means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth,” making allowance for their wrong belief that God created Jesus first, relegating Jesus to the status of a created being and not God. In both cases, the NWT rendering misrepresents the underlying Greek text.

From Muslim Neighbors

Muslims also adhere to a form of monotheism that considers the Trinity to be a form of polytheism. In fact, they consider belief in anything more than one God to be the greatest possible sin, which they call “ash-shirk.” It is interesting to note that some scholars interpret the central Muslim text, the Quran, as improperly identifying the Christian Trinity, rejecting an odd threesome that consists of God the Father, Mary the Mother, and Jesus the Son, thereby accusing orthodox Christianity of ascribing deity to Mary.[5] Still, others believe that the Quran directly renounces the Christian Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit.[6] Whatever the case, Muslims clearly forbid calling any being God, apart from Allah.

From Pantheistic Religions

Other religions that are not monotheistic also misunderstand the Trinity. This includes various forms of pantheism, which is the belief that all things are God.[7] Buddhism, for instance, teaches a concept called trikaya, which it claims is a three-part reality that emanates from Buddha as Essence, Bliss, and Appearance. Hinduism teaches a concept called trimurti, which it describes as a threefold manifestation of the Absolute as emanator, destroyer, and preserver. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science cult, teaches a threefold nature of God as Life, Truth, and Love, but does so while also calling the Christian Trinity a polytheistic tritheism.[8] Though these pantheistic examples convey three-in-one overtones, they differ from the biblical Trinity in significant ways. For instance, although they portray God as a singular, ultimate reality, they omit the plurality of three distinct persons within the Godhead, preferring abstract concepts and forces instead. Such an understanding is entirely foreign to the Christian Trinity.

2 replies
  1. Michael Dean Brackett
    Michael Dean Brackett says:

    Thank you so very much for your vast knowledge that helps me everyday. You are very blessed with intelligent skills to communicate. I’ve been having difficulty grasping the trinity analysis myself. It would seem the word trinity would be included in the bible. Although there’s definitely evidence in scripture to validate this claim. I’m willing to accept the anologies but the acceptance of using the words in combination as Holy Trinity by an organized church seems a bit too much.
    What is your view of the theory of there being three heavens?

  2. TOvermiller
    TOvermiller says:

    Michael, thank you for your feedback. I’m glad this study is a benefit to you. Regarding the word trinity, using this term as a simple and concise way to refer to truths taught in Scripture is entirely appropriate. We do not use the word trinity as a result of Roman Catholic influence, but as a matter of theological clarity. Regarding your question about whether Scripture teaches three heavens, yes, I do find this to be a biblical understanding. I recommend that you consider what Don Stewart says about this here. God bless you, Michael.

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