Friday, June 12, 2015

“Jehovah” or “Yahweh”?

(Blog entry retained for historical purposes only. See update at the bottom.)

From The Watchtower 1999 2/1 pp. 30-31

“MONGREL,” “hybrid,” “monstrous.” What would cause Biblical Hebrew scholars to use such emphatic terms? At issue is whether “Jehovah” is a proper English pronunciation of God’s name. For over one hundred years, this controversy has raged. Today, most scholars seem to favor the two-syllable “Yahweh.” But is the pronunciation “Jehovah” really so “monstrous”?

At the Root of the Controversy
According to the Bible, God himself revealed his name to humankind. (Exodus 3:15) Scriptural evidence shows that God’s ancient servants freely used that name. (Genesis 12:8; Ruth 2:4) God’s name was known by other nations as well. (Joshua 2:9) This was especially true after the Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon came into contact with peoples of many nations. (Psalm 96:2-10; Isaiah 12:4; Malachi 1:11) The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible says: “There is considerable evidence that in the postexilic period many foreigners were attracted to the religion of the Jews.” However, by the first century C.E., a superstition about God’s name had developed. Eventually, not only did the Jewish nation stop using God’s name openly but some even forbade pronouncing it at all. Its correct pronunciation was thus lost—or was it?

What Is in a Name?
In the Hebrew language, God’s name is written יהוה. These four letters, which are read from right to left, are commonly called the Tetragrammaton. Many names of people and places mentioned in the Bible contain an abbreviated form of the divine name. Is it possible that these proper names can provide some clues as to how God’s name was pronounced?

According to George Buchanan, professor emeritus at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., the answer is yes. Professor Buchanan explains: “In ancient times, parents often named their children after their deities. That means that they would have pronounced their children’s names the way the deity’s name was pronounced. The Tetragrammaton was used in people’s names, and they always used the middle vowel.”

Consider a few examples of proper names found in the Bible that include a shortened form of God’s name. Jonathan, which appears as Yoh·na·thanʹ or Yehoh·na·thanʹ in the Hebrew Bible, means “Yaho or Yahowah has given,” says Professor Buchanan. The prophet Elijah’s name is ʼE·li·yahʹ or ʼE·li·yaʹhu in Hebrew. According to Professor Buchanan, the name means: “My God is Yahoo or Yahoo-wah.” Similarly, the Hebrew name for Jehoshaphat is Yehoh-sha·phatʹ, meaning “Yaho has judged.”

A two-syllable pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton as “Yahweh” would not allow for the o vowel sound to exist as part of God’s name. But in the dozens of Biblical names that incorporate the divine name, this middle vowel sound appears in both the original and the shortened forms, as in Jehonathan and Jonathan. Thus, Professor Buchanan says regarding the divine name: “In no case is the vowel oo or oh omitted. The word was sometimes abbreviated as ‘Ya,’ but never as ‘Ya-weh.’ . . . When the Tetragrammaton was pronounced in one syllable it was ‘Yah’ or ‘Yo.’ When it was pronounced in three syllables it would have been ‘Yahowah’ or ‘Yahoowah.’ If it was ever abbreviated to two syllables it would have been ‘Yaho.’”—Biblical Archaeology Review.

These comments help us understand the statement made by 19th-century Hebrew scholar Gesenius in his Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures: “Those who consider that יְהוָֹה [Ye-ho-wah] was the actual pronunciation [of God’s name] are not altogether without ground on which to defend their opinion. In this way can the abbreviated syllables יְהוֹ [Ye-ho] and יוֹ [Yo], with which many proper names begin, be more satisfactorily explained.”

Nevertheless, in the introduction to his recent translation of The Five Books of Moses, Everett Fox points out: “Both old and new attempts to recover the ‘correct’ pronunciation of the Hebrew name [of God] have not succeeded; neither the sometimes-heard ‘Jehovah’ nor the standard scholarly ‘Yahweh’ can be conclusively proven.”

No doubt the scholarly debate will continue. Jews stopped pronouncing the name of the true God before the Masoretes developed the system of vowel pointing. Thus, there is no definitive way to prove which vowels accompanied the consonants YHWH (יהוה). Yet, the very names of Biblical figures—the correct pronunciation of which was never lost—provide a tangible clue to the ancient pronunciation of God’s name. On this account, at least some scholars agree that the pronunciation “Jehovah” is not so “monstrous” after all.

[Pictures on page 31]
“Jehovah” has been the most popular pronunciation of God’s name

From The Watchtower 1982 3/15 p. 25 par. 23 Loyally Advocating the Word of God:
Then should “Yahweh” be used instead of “Jehovah”? Not necessarily so. According to Canon D. D. Williams of Cambridge, the “evidence indicates, nay almost proves, that Yahweh was not the true pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton.” The Biblia Hebraica, published in Stuttgart in 1951, vowel points the Tetragrammaton to read “Yeh·wahʹ.” This edition was used by the New World Bible Translation Committee. Tübingen professor Gustav Oehler states: “From this point onward I use the word Jehovah, because, as a matter of fact, this name has become more naturalized in our vocabulary, and cannot be supplanted.” The Bible translator Rotherham, in his Emphasized Bible, was among the first to use the form “Yahweh.” However, in his Studies in the Psalms, first published after his death, he returned to the form “Jehovah,” stating he did so because of “the desirability to keep in touch with the public eye and ear.”

Additional reading:

How Was God's Name (YHWH) Pronounced?

**Update April 8, 2021**
Please note that this is considered to be out-of-date, as expressed in the 2013 NWT Appendix A4 under the subheading Why does the New World Translation use the form “Jehovah”? and in the June 2015 JW Broadcast. Supporting this appendix is this article The Tetragrammaton by Jason Hare: See also the video series on the Tetragrammaton by Hebrew Gospels: (YouTube channel). The information presented in these two sources is more technical than what appeared in the above 1982 and 1999 Watchtowers, correcting the quoted scholars, as well as correcting scholar Nehemia Gordon and the scholars that agree with him. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not opposed to the technical reconstruction of Yahweh.


Friday, June 05, 2015

Sundry Dissembling Asunder

Polypersonal God: Used here, this refers to God being an entity composed of a plural number of persons—in the Trinitarian sense of three. (Multipersonal.)
Monopersonal God: Used here, this refers to God being the Father. (Unipersonal, unitarian, patritheism “Father=God”.)

In my travels in reading I sometimes encounter arguments for Trinitarianism that strike me as conspicuous due to their extremely weak and dissembling nature that is embedded within otherwise good reasoning. This makes my spirit “boil” in the sense found at Romans 12:11 and Acts 18:25. These sundry examples of dissembling will now be rent asunder.

Table of Contents
  1. Creation and Love
  2. Why Trinitarianism Cannot Survive Itself
  3. Jehovah Sent Fire from Heaven
  4. Satan’s Temptation
  5. Challenge Accepted

Creation and Love
After quoting Genesis 1:26-27, some Trinitarians highlight how the language switches from “let us create” to “God created,” and think this supports God being polypersonal. What is linked to creation is love, for that is what motivated him to create. Additionally, 1 John 4:8 declares that “God is love”—and this is also understood by Trinitarians to be referring to a polypersonal God.

Likewise, one such Trinitarian who used that reasoning on Genesis 1:26-27 said in addition:
“The three persons that make up the Godhead explain the origin of love in the creation. Love, by definition, is the expression of compassion and affection by a person toward another person. Therefore, if God were one and only one person, He could not possess love.”[1]
Thus, Trinitarians like this use love to cement their three persons of their impersonal Trinitarian Godhead into one being, as illustrated here:
The theological term for this is perichoresis, the mutual interpenetration of their three divine persons in love.[2] He adds:
“The singular essence of the triune God explains the unity, consistency, and harmony of creation. The record of nature reveals just one creative plan and just one integrated, compatible set of purposes and destinies for creation.”
Then later on the same page he adds: “Only Jesus of Nazareth is the “exact representation” or “exact likeness” [Endnote: Colossians 2:9] of God in Human flesh.” [Endnote: Hebrews 1:3][3] First, regarding Genesis 1:26-27, the NET Bible provides a footnote for “Let us make” that explains in part:
In its ancient Israelite context the plural is most naturally understood as referring to God and his heavenly court (see 1 Kgs 22:19-22; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Isa 6:1-8). ... If this is the case, God invites the heavenly court to participate in the creation of humankind (perhaps in the role of offering praise, see Job 38:7), but he himself is the one who does the actual creative work (v. 27).
Thus Genesis 1:26-27 does not demand a Trinitarian interpretation, and those who insist it does must ignore the scriptures referenced in the footnote of subordinate divine beings in God’s heavenly court: 1 Kings 22:19-22; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; 38:7; Isaiah 6:1-8, and to which we can add Daniel 7:9, 10, 13, 14 and Revelation 4.

Second, the definition provided that love “is the expression of compassion and affection by a person toward another person” is easily fulfilled by a person expressing love toward another person as the definition states. Therefore, God being monopersonal expressing love toward another person, his Son who was later born as Jesus Christ, fulfills that definition. The claim that “if God were one and only one person, He could not possess love” goes against that definition and is unnatural and therefore is the height of absurdity. Why is it that Trinitarianism makes otherwise intelligent and educated people say things that are illogical and absurd? The simple fact that is consistently ignored is that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) because it is one of His cardinal attributes and that He is the gold standard of expressing love, not that he has to be a polypersonal being. To demand it has to mean the later is dissembling. This is especially seen in the very next verse: 1 John 4:9, which “describes God’s action in sending his Son into the world.” (NET Bible footnote) Thus, God is identified unambiguously as the Father person, directly contradicting the Trinitarian claim.

“Love is one of God’s
cardinal attributes”

Demonstrating that God can be “one and only one person” and “possess love” is seen in John 3:35 and John 5:20, where Jesus said that the Father loves him and has affection for him, a human being. This is one person, the Father, possessing and expressing love for Jesus outside of the Trinitarian Godhead. That “God is love” does not demand that he is always expressing love, as in persons in loving interpenetration within an impersonal divine matrix. No, all it means is that love is one of God’s cardinal attributes, for He has the potential for expressing the greatest love there is and that all the things he does are motivated by love. In the monopersonal model then, God first expressed his love when he started creating other people, starting first with his son.

Why Trinitarianism Cannot Survive Itself
Another Trinitarian author in a blog post at Evolution News and Views entitled “Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself”[4] presented the following test for determining truth:
A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity – which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself. (underline added)
Notice that two criteria are presented:
  1. Internal contradiction
  2. Self-referential absurdity
This standard or “Truth Claim Test” is from her book: Finding Truth: Five Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes. Now we can ironically use her Truth Claim Test for her Trinitarian claims in her other book: Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, to see if they pass or fail.[5] Any claim “passing” this test would pass as a truth claim. Contrarily, any claim “failing” this test would fail as a truth claim.

Surprisingly, in this book with its bold title, she used the same Trinitarian reasoning above on creation, stating that the wording in Genesis 1:26 is about “when the members of the Trinity consult with one another.” (47) This of course is to the exclusion of how it should ‘naturally be understood as referring to God and his heavenly court.’ The same type of reasoning continues with perichoresis and its application, for she writes that:
The Rosetta Stone of Christian social thought is the Trinity: the human race was created in the image of God, who is three Persons so intimately related [perichoretic interpenetration per Trinitarian terminology] as to constitute one Godhead—in the classic theological formulation, one in being and three in person. God is not “really” one deity, who only appears in three modes: nor is God “really” three deities, which would be polythesism. Instead, both oneness and threeness are equally real, equally ultimate, equally basic and integral to God’s nature. … God is being-in-communion. Humans are made in the image of a God who is a tri-unity—whose very nature consists in reciprocal love and communication among the persons of the Trinity. (italics original) (132)
She then explains that “this model provides a solution to the age-old opposition between collectivism and individualism. … We are not atomistic individuals but are created for relationships.” (132)

The problem with this solution is that a much more simpler one exists that has better Biblical grounding: that of God’s heavenly court which is united in love culminating with God’s love shown for his son Jesus and Jesus’ love for his God. This solution therefore fails the “self-referential absurdity” test, for it fails to meet the definition it has proposed for relationships. Being in a relationship does not demand that the participants reside within an impersonal matrix. The participants can live as separate and distinct people outside of an impersonal matrix as seen in the Biblical imagery of God’s heavenly court. But a more fundamental error that Trinitarianism commits is a failure to understand that Biblical monotheism is monolatrism. While there are many supernatural creatures in God’s heavenly court, only one of them is entitled to receive full worship and devotion: the almighty Creator, the Father Jehovah. In other words, the fact that other heavenly creatures exist is not polytheism, but is simply the arrangement of monolatrism, which is Biblical monotheism.[6]

As applied to the Truth Claim Test: “self-referential absurdity”:
‘A theory [Trinitarianism] has set up a definition of truth [persons in a communion must be in an impersonal being] that it itself fails to meet [for ignoring the Biblical imagery of God’s heavenly court seen in scriptures such as 1 Kings 22:19-22; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; 38:7; Isaiah 6:1-8; Daniel 7:9, 10, 13, 14 and Revelation 4].’

However, this same ‘communal’ reasoning is used throughout the remainder of her book. For instance, on the next page it is applied this way:
The doctrine of the Trinity has repercussions not only for our concept of the family but for every other discipline. In philosophy, the triune nature of God provides a solution to the question of the One and Many (sometimes called the problem of unity and diversity): Ever since the ancient Greeks, philosophers have asked, Does ultimate reality consist of a single being or substance (as in pantheism) or of disconnected particulars (as in atomism)? … By offering the Trinity as the foundation for human sociality, Christianity gives the only coherent basis for social theory. (133)
Again, her reasoning, however elegant, stills ignores the Biblical model of unity and love in God’s heavenly court. On the same page the reasoning continues with an attempt to come into contact with the Bible:
Nor is the answer merely theoretical. In Redemption, believers are called to form an actual society—the church—that demonstrates to the world a balanced interplay of the One and the Many, of unity and individuality. In John 17:11, Jesus prays for the disciples He is about to leave behind, asking the Father “that they may be one, even as we are one.” Jesus is saying that the communion of Persons within the Trinity is the model for the communion of believers within the church. It teaches us how to foster richly diverse individuality within ontologically real relationships. “The Church as a whole is an icon of God the Trinity, reproducing on earth the mystery of unity in diversity,” writes (134) Orthodox bishop Timothy Ware. “Human beings are called to reproduce on earth the mystery of mutual love that the Trinity lives in heaven.” And as we learn to practice unity-in-diversity within the church, we can bring that same balance to all our social relationships—our families, schools, workshops, and neighborhoods. (italics original)
This Trinitarian interpretation of Jesus’ expression at John 17:11 can be applied to her Truth Claim Test of internal contradictions. If Jesus’ statement that ‘he and his Father are one’ means that they are two distinct people comprising a singular spiritual entity (along with a third person), then logically his disciples would have to be “one” in the same manner, with everyone comprising a singular physical entity. To restate: If Jesus meant that he and the other two persons of the Trinity constitute an impersonal Godhead with interpenetrating perichoretic love, then logically the same would be true for his disciples: they would all constitute an impersonal ‘humanhead,’ all intertwined so as not to be able to distinguish a separate human person. However, this clearly is impossible as she freely describes, unawares of the logical dilemma just created. Therefore, we are presented with a very conspicuous failure of her Truth Claim Test of internal contradictions.

On another page there is an example mentioned at the outset of Trinitarian reasoning being conspicuously poor embedded within otherwise good reasoning:
The only worldview that supports the highest aspirations of the human heart is Christianity. It gives a basis for believing that love is real and genuine because we were created by a God whose very character is love. The Bible teaches that there has been love and communication between the members of the Trinity from all eternity. Love is not an illusion created by the genes to promote our evolutionary survival, but an aspect of human nature that reflects the fundamental fabric of ultimate reality. Moreover, by submitting to God’s plan of salvation and becoming His children, we have the astonishing possibility of participating in that eternal love. (underline added) (318)
First, this underlined portion takes a lot for granted, not even referring to any scriptures or references. Second, it is completely oblivious to the dilemma of how the holy spirit can be a person of the Godhead and maintain the doctrine of Mary’s virgin birth of Jesus, as this would make it an active, personal participant in her pregnancy.[7] This contradiction alone shows that there could not have been a Trinity from all eternity. Instead, the Bible teaches that there has been love and communication between the members of God’s heavenly court from the time of its creation. This is exemplified by the relationship between the Father Jehovah and his son.

Next the issue is raised that having God be a person prevents a fully personal conception of God. She writes:
…Islam rejects the Trinity. Without that concept, it cannot hold a fully personal conception of God. Why not? Because many attributes of personality can be expressed only within a relationship—things like love, communication, empathy, and self-giving.
Traditional Christian doctrine maintains a personal conception of God because it teaches that these interpersonal attributes were expressed from all eternity among the three Persons of the Trinity. A genuinely personal God requires distinct [note, not separate, but “distinct” only] “Persons,” because that alone makes it possible for love and communication to exist within the Godhead itself. (387)
This reasoning though is based on the logical fallacy of circular reasoning, that is: “Traditional Trinitarian doctrine maintains that only people in an impersonal matrix can express love and communication, not people outside of an impersonal matrix, because this is traditional Trinitarian doctrine.” It references itself in a tightly closed circle of reasoning. It also amounts to a self-referential absurdity for failing to take into account that humans are not in any impersonal matrix and yet they express love and communication on a regular basis. The analogy fails completely, as any objective person can easily observe. What is especially ironic then is that the Trinitarian Godhead is an impersonal being, not a person. Only people can have a relationship, which is what the Bible presents with its heavenly court imagery. Thus, only by accepting that God is a person and not an impersonal matrix can one have a “fully personal conception of God.”

Lastly, this book closes with another reference to the ‘impersonal triune communion’ analogy:
Christian social theory accounts much better for the social dimension of human nature, based on the doctrine of the interdependent unity of the three Persons in the Trinity. This starting premise provides the metaphysical grounds for political order that supports both the dignity of the individual and the authority of the social institutions necessary for a human existence. (underline added; italics original) (448)
As we have seen, this analogy completely and abysmally fails in comparison to the Biblical description of God’s heavenly court that exemplifies the love and communication expressed between the Father Jehovah and his son.

Another logical inconsistency or internal contradiction with the Trinitarian model has to do with Jesus’ emphatic declarations in his Passion Narratives. These demonstrate with extreme clarity and lucidity that during Jesus’ earthy sojourn he was not the second divine person in an impersonal Trinitarian matrix.[8] Thereafter, his exaltation to a position that he as a person did not enjoy prior to his earthly sojourn demonstrates with equal coherence that he was not the second divine person in an impersonal Trinitarian matrix.[9] Thus the Trinity fails for two time periods: before Jesus’ earthly sojourn and during it. Furthermore, as seen in Jesus’ declaration in Revelation 3:12, which was stated in heaven after his resurrection and exaltation, Jesus had a God and gave him worshipful praise. Thus, Jesus could not have been the second person of the Trinitarian Godhead at this point either. These all present contradictions to the Trinitarian paradigm and thus fail the Truth Claim Test of internal contradictions.

We can thus be very thankful that this Trinitarian has given us a powerful standard for evaluating truth claims that has ironically demonstrated that Trinitarianism fails at representing the truth.

Jehovah Sent Fire from Heaven
In my adventures in reading I encountered another case of “communal” reasoning seen above.[10] To quote:
Soulish Creatures and the Triune God
Being eternally Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God is a communal Being. Relationship is fundamental to God’s nature. As the only species created in God’s image, humans are by nature relational creatures. We best reflect God’s image when our lives bear out the value of relationship. (124)
As has been pointed out above, relationship being fundamental to God’s nature does not require that God be an impersonal construct housing people. Indeed, as Biblical monotheism is monolatrism, all it requires at a minimum is what is seen in the heavenly court. Additionally, there is the ignored logical disconnect of God housing distinct but not separate persons[11] while humanity is composed of both distinct and separate persons.

Later on the same source presented a pretzel-like “Triquertra” as “a traditional symbol of the Trinity,” and associated Genesis 1:26-17, discussed above, with the account in Genesis 19:24:
The Trinity in Genesis
Some nonbelievers have asserted that the doctrine of the Trinity is entirely absent in the Old Testament. While it is true that the greater emphasis in the Old Testament is on the oneness of God, there are a few significant precursors to Trinity. Two of these are found in Genesis. In Genesis 19:24, which records the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, we are told that “the LORD rained burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah from the LORD out of the sky.” Here the pre-incarnate Son works in communion with the Father in heaven. And in the passage we are presently studying, Genesis 1:26 records an inter-Trinitarian dialogue in which the Godhead decrees to make humankind in “Our image.” (134)
First, regarding Genesis 1:26-27, it is worth repeating the NET Bible footnote for “Let us make” that it should be “most naturally understood as referring to God and his heavenly court (see 1 Kgs 22:19-22; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Isa 6:1-8),” thus “God invites the heavenly court to participate in the creation of humankind (perhaps in the role of offering praise, see Job 38:7), but he himself is the one who does the actual creative work (v. 27).”

Accordingly, Genesis 1:26-27 does not demand a Trinitarian interpretation, and those who insist it does must ignore the scriptures presenting subordinate divine beings in God’s heavenly court: 1 Kings 22:19-22; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; 38:7; Isaiah 6:1-8; Daniel 7:9, 10, 13, 14 and Revelation 4. The devastating nature of this omission cannot be stressed enough, for it can be stated that the Rosetta Stone for making a Biblical presentation is to not ignore large swaths of the Bible but to include all of it—every single relevant detail.

Second, the translation of Genesis 19:24 is based on the Holman Christian Standard Bible as stated on the book’s copyright page. The introduction to this Bible states that “LORD” is circumlocution for Jehovah. This is an important detail that cannot be overlooked, as can be seen in the chaos this creates with the typical Trinitarian reading of this verse, where it is claimed that the “pre-incarnate Son” is the LORD alongside the first LORD, that is, he is Jehovah alongside Jehovah with a third Jehovah (the Holy Spirit person) within the impersonal Jehovah Godhead. Objective people can easily observe the conundrum this typical Trinitarian reading presents. However, this rather cumbersome Trinitarian reading is based on a failure of reading comprehension, as can be seen in the NET Bible. This translation reads: “Then the LORD rained down sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the LORD.” While this too uses “LORD” as circumlocution for Jehovah, it states in a footnote for “rained down” that this clause “highlights God’s action.” This verse is merely emphasizing that God rained down destruction from the sky. It is not hinting at God being an impersonal polypersonal matrix,[12] and neither is the Shema at Deuteronomy 6:4 for that matter (see the NET Bible footnote there too, which points out the meaning of God being ‘the only one worthy of worship’). Lastly, the same repetition is seen with King Solomon in 1 Kings 10:13. So for Trinitarian exegesis to be consistent then, King Solomon would also have to be a polypersonal being with two King Solomon persons within a King Solomon being—which is obviously absurd as any Trinitarian will readily and immediately acknowledge. So if this handling of 1 Kings 10:13 is absurd, then so is the Trinitarian handling of Genesis 19:24. Therefore, appealing to scriptures that have God referring to himself does not support Trinitarianism. (Compare with Genesis 4:23-24, where the Cainite Lamech refers to himself in the third person twice. This is just a wordy idiom for referring to himself, and obviously not a reference to another Lamech.) Amos 4:11 may be an example of self-reference, where God refers to himself as “God,” as it reads in the NET Bible: “I overthrew some of you the way God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” While it could sound like two Gods or two persons in a polypersonal God, the NET Bible explains that:
The divine name [God] may be used in an idiomatic superlative sense here, in which case one might translate, “like the great [or “disastrous”] overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Thus it is not referring to different persons in a polypersonal God. Hosea 1:7 presents another example. During the time of the impending ominous Assyrian invasion, God assures his people that “I will show mercy to the house of Judah, and I will save them by Jehovah their God; I will not save them by [military might].” This found fulfillment in the days of King Hezekiah. At that time, Jehovah halted the Assyrian threat to Jerusalem by having “the angel of Jehovah” slay 185,000 of the Assyrian army in one night. (2 Kings 19:34, 35) Jehovah thus delivered Judah, not by military might, but by angelic intervention. Interestingly, this “angel of Jehovah” may have been the same angel of the Exodus, of which Jehovah said that his name is in him as His “representative, to act in his name.” (Exodus 23:21, NWT-Ref footnote.) The NET Bible footnote here adds that this angel is acting as “Jehovah Himself.” So Jehovah saved his people, and he likely used his representative angel to do so. A final case of this type of speaking is found in Zechariah 2:11, which presents Jehovah as saying: “Many nations will join themselves to the LORD [Jehovah] on the day of salvation, and they will also be my people.” (NET Bible) Here the NET Bible explains in a footnote for “my people”:
The LXX and Syriac have the 3rd person masculine singular suffix in both places (“his people” and “he will settle”; cf. NAB, TEV) in order to avoid the LORD’s speaking of himself in the third person. Such resort is unnecessary, however, in light of the common shifting of person in Hebrew narrative (cf. 3:2).
So far from Zechariah 2:11 presenting two Jehovahs in one polypersonal God, all it is showing is “the common shifting of person in Hebrew narrative.” Thus, no example of the Trinitarian ‘double Jehovah’ argument stands up to scrutiny. This approach to exegeting sacred scripture is utterly bankrupt, and always has been.

Satan’s Temptation
Jesus is called the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45) for both were perfect and Jesus replaces Adam as our father who lead us into sin and death, for Jesus is now the spiritual father of Christians leading them into righteousness and life. Additionally, Adam was tempted by Satan though his wife Eve, and he failed that test. Like Adam, Jesus was also tempted by Satan, but unlike Adam he did not succumb.

Satan’s temptations of Jesus present an engaging challenge to Trinitarianism, as it is impossible to tempt someone who by definition cannot be tempted, as in God. As Jesus by Trinitarian definition is a divine person with a human nature (not a human person),[13] he as a divine person could not be tempted. All Satan could do then per Trinitarianism is tempt Jesus’ human nature, which would still fail as a true temptation.

One Trinitarian author however uses Jesus’ response to Satan’s temptation to have God’s angels save him from a deadly fall to ironically be a self-identification with God. The reply in Matthew 4:7 is, “Jesus said to him: “Again it is written: ‘You must not put Jehovah your God to the test.’” Here it should be obvious to reasoning people that Jesus did not want to put his God to the test to save him from his own foolish act of jumping off the top of a building.

However, this one Trinitarian’s take on this is quite far removed from anything a reasoning person would conclude. He writes:
Scholars have resisted seeing this as evidence that Jesus placed Himself in the category of the Lord God, but surely that is the most natural implication here, and it is interesting that Jesus’ brother James is later to say emphatically that God cannot be tempted and He tempts no one (Jas 1:13). Perhaps he knew of the story of Jesus’ vision quest and battles with the powers of darkness. … In test 2 Jesus identifies Himself with the Lord God; in test 3 His reply distinguishes Himself from Yahweh. What sort of person sees both identity with and distinction from God as categories he could freely use to describe himself?[14]
Here he unwittingly provides a reason why Jesus is not calling himself God in his observation on test 3, for he distinguished himself from Jehovah God. Also, James in his epistle was confirming that God cannot be tempted, so Satan could not have tempted Jesus if he was the second divine person of the impersonal Trinitarian Godhead. Thus, this is not about Jesus simultaneously identifying himself with God and distinguishing himself from Him (as in a person of the polypersonal Godhead with a human nature). That clearly is not the most natural and objective reading of these texts. Looks like the scholars he mentions had good reason for their reading then.

Therefore, we can see that Satan tempted both Adam and Jesus in the fullest, truest sense of the word, just as the Bible states. However, Satan’s temptations did not end with Jesus. Satan continues his temptations, and evidently tempts Christians to read Trinitarianism into the Bible. This finds support in James 2:19, which states according to the NET Bible: “You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear.” What this verse highlights is that Christians and demons share the same theology: that “God is one.” James stresses a “oneness” about God, which completely harmonizes with Jesus’ teaching that the Father is God at John 17:1-5, seen also in Isaiah 63:16; 64:8; Jeremiah 31:9 and Malachi 2:10. Yet the difference is that Christians love this theology whereas the demons loath it and therefore would be bent on ridiculing and obstructing it completely. They would do this by tempting believers into replacing that “God is one, the Father” with a different theological paradigm. This sort of theological derailing was feared by the Apostle Paul, who warned about “the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:14, NET Bible) This Bible has a footnote here that explains in part that Paul “is fearful that certain kinds of very cunning people, who are skilled at deceitful scheming, should come in and teach false doctrines.” As Satan does not fear false theological doctrines, he then cunningly tempts Christians to adopt them. Hallmarks of false doctrines are institutionalized cognitive dissonance and intellectual absenteeism, which I have repeatedly found are enforced within Trinitarianism for self-maintainance.[15]

Challenge Accepted
One Trinitarian apologist has delivered what he considers to be a devastating game-over challenge to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christians who believe that the Father alone is God (patritheism). He writes:
When Jehovah’s Witnesses or Muslims ask Christians [Trinitarians], “If Jesus was divine [note, in the Trinitarian sense of being the second divine person in the impersonal
Trinitarian Godhead], to whom did he cry, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ (Matt 27:46),” these questioners assume that if Jesus is God, then it is impossible that another can share the same divine nature. We can reject this without inconsistency and even respond, “If the Father is God, to whom is He speaking when He says to the Son, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever’ or “You, Lord, … laid the foundation of the earth’” (Heb 1:8, 10 NASB)?[16]
In response, all one has to do is point out that Hebrews 1:8 is quoting Psalm 45:6 where Trinitarian scholars acknowledge that “God” there is referring to the Davidic king representing God.[17] Jesus is the Davidic King representing God.

Additionally, Hebrews 1:10 quotes the creation doxology directed to God at Psalm 102:25-27 and applies it to Jesus since he was involved with creation under his Father as his representative like the Davidic king represented God.[18] Thus, this challenge has collapsed like a house of cards even before its ink finished drying on the page.

Therefore, honest, sober, scholarly and objective people all clearly see that Trinitarianism must maintain a dissembling psychology in order to force-fit its foreign meaning into the Biblical text.

“How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!” - Samuel Adams in his letter to John Pitts, January 21, 1776

  1. Stymied Spiritual Journey Within Trinitarianism
  2. Total Truth Transition To Truth in Translation
  3. The Trinitarian Symbol of the Triquetra

Stymied Spiritual Journey Within Trinitarianism
Included in Total Truth is a story about a man named Denzel who became Trinitarian yet still felt spiritually unsatisfied. His account is related thusly:
Unfortunately, Denzel’s hunger for theological knowledge went largely unmet. “At my baptism, I asked the Deacon about the Trinity. She told me, just believe Jesus is God, and don’t worry about the details.” He tried to engage pastors, Sunday school teachers, anyone he could buttonhole in the church hallway, but few had answers to the flurry of questions that came tumbling out.

The pressure to find answers grew even stronger after Denzel got a job. Many of his coworkers were Muslims or Jehovah’s Witnesses who were quite vocal about their beliefs. “Everyone at work was able to defend their spiritual convictions—except the Christians [Trinitarians]. They were the only ones who seemed to have no answers.” It became clear to Denzel that in a pluralistic society, Christians need to master apologetics in order to defend their faith in the public arena. (254)
Thus he delved into books at a Christian bookstore and “tracked down writers on theology and apologetics,” namely “Francis Schaeffer, C. S. Lewis, R. C. Sproul, James Montgomery Boice, and J. I. Packer.” This was supplemented by websites offering the “classic works by Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and Spurgeon.” Unfortunately, his search for “more solid intellectual food” within Trinitarianism seems to have been met with frustration, as his story concludes with this report: “Today he is still trying to track down a church that ministers to the whole person, including the mind.” As one book review summarized: “Denzel has learned that many in the evangelical movement have a largely anti-intellectual bias.” (Probe Ministries This has been my personal experience as well, as is plainly visible in what I have written on this blog. I have found that even the brightest minds within the Trinitarian paradigm are all too eager to ignore large swaths of the Bible, including the very teachings of Christ, and to employ unresolved cognitive tension and dissonance together with intellectual absenteeism in order to maintain their theology. Sincere truth-seekers shun such despicable practices. I close by sharing the hope that Denzel keeps searching for the truth and finds it among the very ones whom he found had answers to begin with, Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Total Truth Transition To Truth in Translation
The Protestant Evangelical Nancy Pearcey on page 388 of Total Truth critiqued Islam for having an impersonal God due to the high-level of ritual and formulaic precision it requires. Instead, she writes that David and Job interacted with the God of Judaism in personal terms, because the God of the Bible is personal. However, while the God of Islam is a person with a name, Allah, the Trinity is on the other hand impersonal as it is a construct housing three distinct (not separate) people. It is presented as being like an apartment house that houses three distinct (not separate) homes. Additionally, Jason BeDuhn in his book Truth in Translation on pages 163-5 coined the term “Protestant’s Burden” to describe the pressure “conscious or unconscious” to read refuted, out-of-date doctrines like Trinitarianism into the Bible, in contrast to Jehovah’s Witnesses who are not under that burden. He writes on page 165: “Whether you regard that as a good or bad thing, you can probably understand that it resulted in the Jehovah’s Witnesses approaching the Bible with a kind of innocence, and building their system of belief and practice from the raw material of the Bible without predetermining what was to be found there.”

Therefore, the Protestant church is crippled with a burden that is part of its identity of self-preservation. The people within this system then need to relinquish this burden and transition themselves into a more Bible-honoring, objective circle of worship. This is to be found among Jehovah’s Witnesses with their founding objective innocence for the Bible.

The Trinitarian Symbol of the Triquetra
Is the Triquetra really “a traditional symbol of the Trinity”? Other Trinitarians strongly object and call it a pagan and satanic symbol.[a] Additionally, one source says under “Germanic paganism” that:
The triquetra has been found on runestones in Northern Europe and on early Germanic coins. It presumably had pagan religious meaning and it bears a resemblance to the valknut, a symbol associated with Odin.[b]
Consequently, I really don’t think it’s appropriate to associate the Christian God with a pagan symbol potentially derived from the pagan god Odin—as this could indicate that theological derailment has occurred somewhere.

[a] Google search ‘triquetra nkjv’.
[b] and

[1] Ross, Hugh. Navigating Genesis, 2014. Pages 69-70. I recommend this book for an engaging examination of the Genesis accounts of chapters 1-11. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Ross otherwise.

[2] For more concerning perichoresis, see my blog entry: Exploring a Trinitarian Black Box

[3] Supra note 1. Trinitarian triunity is sometimes expressed as 1+1+1=1, where the first three are persons but their sum is a ‘being,’ not a person, as depicted below.

[4] Pearcey, Nancy.

[5] Finding Truth, 2015. Total Truth, 2008.

[6] To see this point developed, read: Biblical monotheism is...

[7] To see this point developed, read: Holy Spirit and the Virgin Birth

[8] To see this point developed, read: A Lesson from Jesus’ Rebuke

[9] To see this point developed, read: The Exaltation of Christ

[10] Whorton, Mark and Roberts, Hill. Holman QuickSource Guide to Understanding Creation, 2008. (This book, along with the above referenced Navigating Genesis, falls into the category of “old-earth creationism.”) I heartily recommend this book for an engaging examination of the Genesis creation account.

[11] As pointed out in my blog entry: Are the Persons of the Trinity separate and distinct or distinct only? Trinitarianism presents the three persons of its impersonal Trinitarian Godhead as distinct from one another, but not separate from one another. Sometimes, however, a Trinitarian—regardless of how erudite—may err and say that their three persons are both separate and distinct from one another. For instance, one of the brightest Trinitarian minds said this of their holy spirit person. See: Does The Trinity Make Sense? My comments.

[12] For further information, even from other Trinitarian scholars and their Bible translations, see: Countering the Trinitarian ‘Proof’-Text Gen. 19:24 (“Jehovah rained down fire ... from Jehovah”)

[13] This is what Dr. William Lane Craig explained as covered here: The Person of Christ

[14] Witherington III, Bill. “Jesus the Seer” in Contending With Christianity’s Critics. 2009. Page 109.

[15] I have reported on this here: Popular Arguments some Trinitarians use that are on a Trinitarian “Never Use” List

[16] Paul Copan, “Is the Trinity a Logical Blunder? God as Three and One” in Contending With Christianity’s Critics. Page 212.

[17] To see this point developed, read: The Throne of God Hebrews 1:8 is also discussed in Reasoning From the Scriptures page 422.

[18] To see more about Hebrews 1-2 and Jesus, read: Who did Jesus say he was? (Appendix B: Does Hebrews 1-2 prevent Jesus from being the Archangel?) Hebrews 1:10 is also discussed in Reasoning From the Scriptures page 414.

Additional Reading:

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