Bible Question:

How can you state the glorified elements of the trinity are equal? Of course no one can support that with an honest interpretation of any Bible verses because the trinity was a 2nd or 3rd century concept. 

Bible Answer:

Some are claiming the Trinity doctrine was created in the second century A.D. But is that true? Was the Trinity doctrine created in the 2nd century A.D? What is the history of this doctrine? The purpose of this article is to show that the trinity was taught in the Old Testament.

Was the Trinity doctrine created in the 2nd century A.D.?

Trinity In History

Heresies about the trinity have existed since the earliest years of the church. The early church fathers taught the concept of the trinity, affirming that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all God. God is a plural one. These fathers included Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165), Irenaeus (A.D. 120-202), Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215), Tertullian (A.D. 160-220), and Origen (A.D. 184-254).[1] In fact, Tertuliian coined the phrase trinity in Latin.

Heresies have occurred and some still exist today. New ones have been created since then due to lack of understanding, bias, and hostility to the Christian faith. The cult, Jehovah’s Witnesses, teaches that the preincarnate Christ was Michael the archangel. The Mormons, another cult, denies that Jesus was God in the Old Testament. That eliminates any possibility for a trinity in their belief system. These are modern day heresies that do not agree with historic Christian teaching. Such teachings are actually doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1-2). Those who teach them are deceived by evil spirits and their hearts have become hardened. We do not say that to condemn them, but to explain why this is occurring. It is the reality of the situation.

Trinity In The Old Testament

The concept of the Trinity is clearly taught in the book of Isaiah. The book of Isaiah was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Today it is called the Isaiah Scroll.[3] It has been dated by liberal scholars to be as late as 125 B.C.[3] That means the Dead Sea scroll of Isaiah existed before Christ was born. It was also not created by the apostles in the second century or by one of the Christian councils. This is an important fact because the concept of the trinity is taught in Isaiah 43-48. God (Yahweh) is speaking throughout these chapters. Here is a quick summary of the doctrine of the trinity from Isaiah 43:10-48:16.

In Isaiah 43:10 God says that there is no other God before Him, and there will not be anyone after Him.

“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “
And My servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
And there will be none after Me.” Isaiah 43:10 (NASB)

In Isaiah 44:8, God repeats the message that there is no other God. He is the only God. God repeats the same message in Isaiah 44:6. Here is verse 8.

Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none. Isaiah 44:8

In Isaiah 45:21, God says that there is no other God besides “Me.”

. . . And there is no other God besides Me,
A righteous God and a Savior;
There is none except Me. Isa. 45:21b

In Isaiah 46:9 God says that there is not anyone like Him. So, there was no other God before Him, no one after Him, and there is not anyone like Him.

. . . For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
Isaiah 46:9 (NASB)

God (Yahweh) has repeated the message that there is no other God. There was no other God before Him, no one after Him, and there is not anyone like Him. There is none! Then we arrive at the incredible passage in Isaiah 48:16. Here He tells us that God (Yahweh) has sent Him and the Holy Spirit.

Come near to Me, listen to this:
From the first I have not spoken in secret,
From the time it took place, I was there.
And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit. Isaiah 48:16

Now how can Yahweh be the one and only Yahweh and also have a Yahweh? The message is that God is one and yet plural. He is a plural-one God. He is a trinity. We cannot explain how it works, but that does not mean it is not true. Visit “The Triune God of Creation,” which is taught by Pastor John MacArthur.

This reveals that the trinity was taught in the Old Testament before Christ, the apostles, the early church fathers, and the second century heresies about the trinity. Remember the Isaiah Scroll is dated to 150 B.C.. This affirms the truth of the doctrine of the trinity. There are many other passages in the Old Testament that give evidence to the doctrine of the trinity, but the Isaiah passage is incredibly strong.

Conclusion

Jude 3-4 warns Christians that false teachers would occur and deny the doctrines of the faith. Jude wrote,

. . . I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 3-4 (NASB)

Athenogoras (A.D. 175) stated that believers should not be surprised that atheists would reject the concept of the trinity.[2] Those who claim that “sophisticated trinitarians” will admit the doctrine of the trinity is not taught in the Old Testament, reveal they are without biblical scholarship or are blind spiritual guides (Matthew 15:14). This is not meant as a condemnation, but as an explanation.

 

References:

1. John MacArthur & Richard Mayhue. Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth. Crossway. 2017. pp. 208-210.
2. Athenogoras. Bercot. A Dictionary of Early Church Beliefs. Hendrickson Publishers.1998. p. 652.