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NIRV: New International Reader’s Version

NKJV: New King James Version

NLT: New Living Translation

TNIV: Today’s New International Version

YLT: Young’s Literal Translation

ASV: American Standard Version

DARBY: Darby Bible

ESV: English Standard Version

GW: God’s Word Translation

HCSB: Holman Christian Standard Bible

KJV: King James Version

LEB: Lexham English Bible
      (New Testament only)

NASB: New American Standard Bible

NIV: New International Version

All underlined Bible references on this page will cause a pop-up box with the verse to appear when you hover your mouse cursor over it. You can select your preferred version with the Bible Options below by pressing ‘save’. A tick against ‘Libronix’ will put a letter ‘L’ against the references, which, when clicked on, will open in the Bible.logos.com web site. The different versions available are:

Son of God

The Musical

Book!

Son of God Book

INDEX

Introduction

Questions and Challenges

The Holy Spirit

Elohim - Creator

Who Was Jesus?

Conclusion

The Trinity: Bible Teaching or Church Tradition?

NOTES

A critique on the Christadelphian booklet, * by Les Sherlock

* Available online here

Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scriptures marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2016 The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.

* At the time of writing (July 2017) I am 73 years old.

Introduction

I already was aware of Christadelphian teaching on the subject in their denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ, but even so, when reading through this booklet for the first time, I was taken aback by the way the Bible was treated in order to make it support their doctrine. Their teaching on this topic is very similar to that of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the tactic of dealing with inconvenient scriptures is the same: when the Bible says ‘x’ it doesn’t mean ‘x’; it means ‘y’. My constant prayer is, “Lord, if in any way I am understanding or believing incorrectly, then please change my thinking to truth.” I trust anyone reading this page of my site will do the same.

For the past two or three years, my daily routine has included reading through the Old Testament at a rate of about three and a half times per year, and the New Testament about six times per year. For about the 20-25 years before that it was about half of this amount. In the years before that it varied: for one or two years about 50 years ago it was the whole Bible 12 times per year (which means 40 chapters per day). For just about my entire adult life * this has been the minimum amount of Bible reading, usually in a morning, with more at other times depending on what I was studying. I do not say this to boast, but simply to demonstrate to any Christadelphian or other ‘non-Trinitarian’, that I fully agree with the statements on page two of the booklet:

…first, Christadelphians believe absolutely in the God of the Bible; and, second, they have total faith the the Bible itself, that collection of sixty-six books which we sometimes call ‘The Holy Scriptures’. We shall be looking at both the Old Testament and the New Testament sections of the Bible as our ultimate authority.


Questions and Challenges

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Let me cut to the chase by starting at the end! On page 23 of this 24-page booklet, the final section before the Conclusion offers three challenges to those who believe in a Trinity. Since they are very easily disposed of, it’s as good a point to begin as any!


If Jesus was God, then he was not really like those he came to save. He could not have been tempted in the same way that we are. So he did not need to fight against sin and overcome it. The Trinity has implications for our understanding of salvation.


The fallacy of the above argument is exposed in the Philippians passage the booklet quotes earlier:


Phil 2:5–8 * Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

* See also 2 Cor 8:9

The phrase, ‘being in the form of God’ in the New King James, is translated in other versions:

who, existing in the form of God… (American Standard Version)
To whom, though himself in the form of God (1965 Bible in Basic English)
Christ was truly God. (Contemporary English Version)
Who being in the form of God (1899 Douay-Rheims Bible)
who, though he was in the form of God (English Standard Version) *
He always had the nature of God (Good News Bible)
Although he was in the form of God and equal with God (God’s Word)
In God's own form existed he, and shared with God equality (International Standard Version)




* This version is used in the Christadelphian booklet.

I could quote many more translations, but I think the above is adequate, as they all agree fairly closely. In this booklet, it is claimed that Jesus had no pre-existence before his birth to Mary. Instead they claim that all scriptures referring to it mean that:

These verses simply tell us that God had Jesus in His divine plan from the very beginning. *




* Page 20

However, when you look at the various translations of Philippians, it is very obvious that He was much more than simply ‘in God’s mind’. The English Standard version they use puts it “he was in the form of God.” If what they claim was true it would say, “he was in the mind of God.” But it doesn’t! Before the birth of Jesus to Mary, He was in God’s form. To try to make the verse say something different from this is exactly what I said in the introduction - it is saying that when the Bible states ‘x’ it means ‘y’! I don’t want to bore you by repeating the same thing over and over again; but it has to be said that if the Christadelphians really consider the Bible as the ultimate authority, then they must bend their theories to what it actually says; not twist what it says to fit their theories.


To return to the main point, though. The claim is that if Jesus is God, then He couldn’t be fully man. This is to misunderstand what the Bible teaches. Before Jesus came to earth He was fully God - as we will see later. But, as Philippians tells us, He gave up all His divinity when He became a baby, and was fully human for His entire life until after His death.


Perhaps one way to explain this is to look briefly at the nature of man. We are tri-partite beings. That is to say we are made up of three different elements or parts: spirit, soul and body, * as can be seen very clearly in:

1Thess 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.


* This is not the place to go into detail, but briefly our body is world-conscious; our soul is self-conscious; and our spirit is God-conscious. Our body is in the physical world; our spirit is in the spirit realm (Eph 1:20; 2:6) and our soul is the ‘interface’ between the two.


* Phil 2:6–7 who subsisting in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, having become in the likeness of men (LTHB)

If Jesus had no previous existence before His birth, how could He be said to have ‘emptied Himself’? How could He have ‘taken the form of a slave’? He would have had no choice in how He was born to Mary. It was an action He took Himself, and it is only by Him having previously existed with God and chosen Himself what He was to become that He can be said to have done these things. If He had no previous existence, then the Bible would not say, “taking the form…” but “He was given the form…,” since He would have had no choice in the matter.

(LTHB = Scripture taken from the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible Copyright © 1976 - 2000 By Jay P. Green, Sr. Used by permission of the copyright holder.)

So, while this may not be the full story, it could perhaps be said that the soul and body of Jesus were fully human; but His spirit, although ‘emptied’ of everything He had before, * was nevertheless the being He had been before His human birth. This meant He had no power or authority that was in any way different to any other human being. There was one large difference, however: unlike everyone else, He was born sinless and never sinned during His entire life on Earth. This meant His communication with the Father and with the Holy Spirit was unrestricted in any way, where our sinful nature has cut us off from God and we are:

Eph 2:1 …dead in trespasses and sins,

…until we experience the new birth, become Christians, and then:

Eph 2:1 …you He made alive…

Hebrews makes a clear distinction between the person of Jesus and His body:

Heb 10:5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me."

This makes it clear that when He came into the world, a body had been prepared for Him to inhabit. The ‘me’ and the ‘body’ of Heb 10:5 are two different entities. So He had a pre-existence outside of the fully human body before His incarnation. And of course, John tells us that the Word, who was with the Father from the beginning, became flesh - Jesus:

John 1:1–2, 14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

It is noticeable that there are no miracles of Jesus mentioned in the New Testament until after He was baptised in water and received the fullness of the Holy Spirit. In other words He was as dependent on God in His humanity as we are in ours. The supernatural life He led at that time was entirely dependent on the power of the Father through the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the first challenge in this booklet is shown to be without foundation: because Jesus had given up what He previously had been for all of eternity past, He was tempted in every way like us and was identical to us in every way apart from the sin in our lives.

Heb 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

The second challenge:

If Jesus was God, then we struggle to understand how he died. It is also hard to comprehend in what form he will return to the earth at the Second Coming.


I think I’ve already answered the first part of this challenge - He died because He was fully human. * His soul functioned with the same kind of mind, will and emotions that we all have, and His fully human body died in the same way that ours would if exposed to the treatment He received at the cross.

* In an attempt to disprove Jesus’s divinity, on pages 9-10 various scriptures are quoted in this booklet that reveal His humanity. For example:

John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

Of course, these scriptures refer to the person of Jesus after He had ‘emptied Himself’ (Phil 2:5–8) to become fully human in order to pay the ultimate sacrifice for us. So in no way do they relate to what He was before He came to earth or after His resurrection.










* James 2:26

However, let us briefly consider what ‘death’ really means. What it does not mean is that we entirely cease to exist. The Eph 2:1 verse previously quoted says that we are born dead and continue to be dead until our lives are changed when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. But we are walking, talking, eating, sleeping, breathing at the same time as we are ‘dead’. Referring to his body as his ‘tent’, Peter tells us:

2 Peter 1:13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.

Paul says:

Phil 1:21–24 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.

So both Peter and Paul said that after their bodies had died, they would continue to exist and be with Jesus. In the Ephesians passage just quoted, being dead does not mean we do not exist, but that we are unresponsive to God.

When I was a boy I scared myself witless alone in bed one night when I pushed my hand under the pillow and felt a hand there. I yelled out and pulled away, to discover it had been my other hand that must have been there for some time and the blood circulation had stopped so I no longer had any feeling in it. So when my first hand touched it, there was no message to my brain that it was my own hand I had touched and I therefore assumed it must be somebody else’s. That hand had gone dead. It was still there, but was no longer responsive. Likewise, when we are born, because of the sinful nature we inherit, we are not responsive to God. And when we die, our bodies are no longer responsive to the physical world, but we continue to exist - all the senses of our soul and spirit, cut off from the physical realm, are now concentrated in the spirit realm. The body then eventually disintegrates because the spirit is no longer present - there is no longer a life force keeping it active. *

So, when Jesus died on the cross, while His body ceased to function, He continued to exist. Peter tells us that He preached to the spirits in prison during this time,* and Paul tells us that He led captivity captive in His resurrection and ascension. **


* 1 Pet 3:18–19
** Eph 4:8–9

Therefore there is absolutely no difficulty in understanding how He died. What form will He be in when He returns? Exactly the same one He was in when He ascended into heaven. As soon as He had done so, the two angels told the disciples:

Acts 1:11 …"Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."


“This same Jesus.” He will be the same when He returns as He was when He left. In the High-Priestly prayer Jesus prayed just before His death, He said:

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.


Now, at the present time, the resurrected Jesus is restored to His former glory; and that is how the world will see Him when He returns to Earth. Of course, this booklet ignores John 17:5, because it completely destroys the notion that Jesus had no pre-existence before His birth to Mary. According to this verse He was with the Father ‘before the world was’. If this verse really means that Jesus was only in God’s mind at this time and did not exist in reality, then the consequence is that Jesus was here praying to cease to exist because He was asking for exactly the same relationship with the Father that was the case before the world was!


The third challenge:

If Jesus was (and is) God, it is difficult to see how he can be a high priest, a mediator, the intercessor between man and God - as the New Testament teaches.





* 1 Cor 15:47, 49; Heb 10:12; 1 Tim 2:5



* Is 55:9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Jesus is the perfect mediator because He is the only being who has had a human existence, still has a man’s body, * but is also God. It is only difficult to someone who does not understand what the Bible teaches about the nature of God and the function of the three persons of the Trinity. I agree - it is not easy to understand fully who God is; but then this is only to be expected. He is so much higher and greater than we are, anyone who thinks they have the full analysis of Him is, by definition, wrong, because our minds are too small to be able to grasp it all.* We can no more fully understand God than an ant can fully understand a human. It may well be that my understanding of ‘Trinity’ is wrong; but after decades of reading the Bible and studying the subject, it is the nearest explanation I can find that synchronises all the verses about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - as we will now see when we look at some more of the claims of this booklet.

The Holy Spirit

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On page three, after quoting Genesis 1:1–3, we are told:

From the outset, the Bible speaks of God as one person. There is no suggestion here that the “Spirit of God” or the “Holy Spirit” is a separate person. It is God’s power, the infinite energy by which He was able to create the universe.


This is the same error the Jehovah’s Witnesses make * - the idea that the Holy Spirit is nothing more than energy, power, or some kind of force field. It only requires one passage of scripture to destroy this notion, and I use the same translation of the Bible as the booklet:

John 16:13–14 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (ESV)

* JW’s call Him ‘God’s Active Force’.

Referring to the Holy Spirit, these verses say HE * will guide…; HE will not speak…; HIS authority…; HE will declare…;HE will glorify…; HE will take… It couldn’t be clearer than that: energy cannot guide, speak, have authority, declare, glorify or take. Only a reasoning, intelligent being can do these things; and it is not just John 16 where this is shown.

* It is true that the Greek word ekeinos can be translated either ‘it’ or ‘he’; it is the context that determines which is correct. Since the context is actions that could only be undertaken by a ‘he’ and not by an ‘it’, all 16 translations I have available are clearly correct in unanimously using the word ‘He’ here. In spite of this, Christadelphian teaching requires this pronoun to be ‘it’. When the Bible says “x” it means “y!”

John 14:16–17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (ESV)

Another Helper! A man in a pub spills someone’s beer, so he says, “Sorry, I’ll get you another one.” So he goes to the bar and when he comes back brings a packet of crisps. Has he done what he said? No! What if he brings back a glass of Coke? Still no! ‘Another’ used in this context means another one of the same kind. Jesus had been the disciples’ Helper up until this point; but now He says another Helper will be given to them: another of the same kind. Not an impersonal force, but a caring, thinking, feeling being. We see this in the scriptures. The Holy Spirit can be grieved and therefore has emotions:


Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (ESV)

This is not true of a force, which cannot be grieved. The Holy Spirit teaches:


Luke 12:12  for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. (ESV)

This is not true of a force, which cannot teach. The Holy Spirit gives direction and makes decisions:


Acts 15:28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements:

This too is not true of a force, which cannot make decisions. The Holy Spirit speaks, and therefore has thought and reasoning processes:

Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, if you hear his voice,






* Christadelphian teaching requires the Holy Spirit not to have these attributes because He is a ‘force’ not a being. When the Bible says, “x” it means “y!”

In the activity of the Holy Spirit described in the New Testament, we are shown that He feels emotions, makes decisions, thinks, reasons, directs and speaks. * In fact everything that makes a person a person is attributed to Him. So the claim that the Holy Spirit is merely God’s power or energy and therefore without personality, is plainly wrong.

Elohim - Creator

On page three of the booklet it refers to the Hebrew word elohim that is translated ‘God’ very frequently throughout the Old Testament. This is a plural word, and I am happy to accept the booklet’s literal translation of this as ‘mighty ones’. However, if one accepts that it literally means ‘mighty ones’ as the Christadelphians clearly do, then once again they have a serious problem. The word appears 2,601 times in the Old Testament, almost all referring to God; and each time the literal translation calls God ‘mighty ones’. While one could perhaps argue this does not on its own conclusively mean that God’s being is in some way plural, it is certainly the case that it would need a plural word like this if He were. It is the New Testament that gives us greater clarity about things * - particularly about God’s nature, since Jesus came to reveal Him to us.

Matt 11:27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

They try to get around the problem of the plurality of Elohim by saying, on page four, in reference to Gen 1:26 regarding the word ‘us’ :

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* There’s an old saying: “In the Old Testament is the New concealed; in the New Testament is the Old revealed.”

It is reasonable to conclude that the “us” here means God and His angels. God executed the work of creation with his angels.


There is nowhere in the Bible where it says the angels created, or helped to create, the universe. Indeed, angels are created beings themselves and so are a part of God’s creation. There is no grammatical or Biblical basis for making ‘us’ refer to angels * - only the requirement of Christadelphian doctrine to divert the word away from God. Thus the use of ‘mighty ones’ and ‘us’ provide the first description of the Trinity in the Bible. Furthermore, the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was the Creator:


* Isaiah 44:24; 45:8, 12, 18. “Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself.” When the Bible says, “x” it means “y!”

John 1:1–14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

All things were made through Jesus. * The world was made through Him. The booklet tried to get around this passage by claiming that the correct translation of the first few verses uses the word ‘it’ instead of ‘him’. So on page 18 it says:

* On page four of the booklet, such passages as Isaiah 44:24; 45:12, 18 are quoted. Note that here God says that He created everything “alone” and “by Myself.” Yet in John’s gospel, all things were made through Jesus. It also quotes Hosea 13:4, where Almighty God says there is no Saviour but Him. And yet I am sure the Christadelphians would agree the New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is our Saviour (e.g. John 4:42; 1 John 4:14).

The only way these cannot be contradictions, is by Jesus being included in the being, Almighty God, who is speaking in Isaiah 44 and Hosea 13. There are not three Gods. There is one God and only one. This is repeated throughout the Bible. But why should it be considered impossible for the Almighty God/Yahweh/Jehovah, who is present in every part of the universe that extends at least 13.7 billion light years in every direction from Earth, to express His being in more than one way simultaneously? Such scriptures in no way negate the concept of a God who is ‘three-in-one’ and ‘one-in-three’.

In later translations, including the Authorised (King James) version, a capital letter was added and “it” was changed to “he”, so that the “Word” was made to sound like a person. To us this seems very much like doctrinal bias on the part of the translators.

However, verses 14 and 15 make very clear to whom the word ‘Word’ refers:

John 1:14–15 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.' "

The Word became flesh and we beheld His glory. Whose glory? The only begotten of the Father! Jesus. So it was not doctrinal bias the translators used, but the teaching of the very same passage of scripture. To try to make ‘the Word’ in the first few verses…

“the expression of God’s divine plan and purpose” (page 18)

…as this booklet does, is to wrench it out of context and ignore what John makes so clear just a few verses later. In order to try to maintain this incorrect interpretation, they claim that:

The word of God came to men in the past through His prophets. But now it comes to us through Jesus, not just in spoken words, but as a living example of what God wants to teach.


Once again this is an example of ‘when the Bible says ‘x’ it means ‘y’! It doesn’t say that Jesus brought God’s word, or was a living example of His word - it says He WAS the Word. And since the booklet says in quoting…

Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made…

…they are actually agreeing that the Word - Jesus - was right there at the beginning of Genesis, creating the universe. So the ‘us’ of Genesis 1:26 is seen as God the Father/ Author/ Originator/ Creator (In the beginning, God created…); God the Spirit (and the Spirit of God hovered…); God the Son/ Word (and God said…). Indeed, John 1:1 couldn’t be any clearer - the Word was with God and the Word was God. In verse 14 the Word is shown to be Jesus and in verse one He is shown both to be God and also to be with God right from the beginning. *

Further evidence of the pre-existence of Jesus is found in:

1 Cor 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. *

This is referring to the Israelites travelling through the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt, and Christ was with them at that time. Indeed, Jesus said Himself that He was there even before this:

John 8:57–58 Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."

Not only did Jesus make clear His pre-existence by this, but He also claimed the name of God for Himself, which is why the Jews wanted to stone Him for what He said:

Ex 3:14 And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' "







* Impossible if Jesus had no prior existence.



* Psa 18:31; Psa 62:2; Psa 62:6; Isa 44:8 all tell us there is no Rock other than Almighty God, yet Paul says the rock was Christ.

Who Was Jesus?

The ESV translates verse 18 of the first chapter of John’s gospel *:

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

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* In fact John begins his first epistle in a similar manner to his gospel, referring to Jesus as “the Word” and stating He was with the Father before His human birth:

1 John 1:1–2 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us…


* Otherwise they would have put something else in the main text!

That seems pretty conclusive to me. Of the 16 translations I have available, 12 of them translate the second phrase: * “the only Son,” or “the only begotten Son.” Three others translate it similarly to the ESV:

The only Son, who is the same as God (Good News Bible)
The unique God (International Standard Version)
But the unique One, who is Himself God (New Living Translation)

In order to try to avoid what the ESV translators clearly thought was the most likely translation, * the booklet quotes the footnote in their version that says the translators had difficulty in deciding how it should be written.

John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

The only God’ in the ESV is translated as ‘only begotten Son’ in seven of the versions I have, including the NKJV above. One has to ask, what is meant by this phrase? We read about ‘sons of God’ in Genesis 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7. Adam is called the son of God in Luke 3:38. Jesus said the peacemakers would be called ‘sons of God’ in Matt 5:9; and Paul said that faith in Jesus Christ makes ‘you all’ sons of God (Gal 3:26). So for Jesus to be the ‘only’ Son, means that He must be in a very different category from all of these. And He quite clearly is: all of these are created beings, while Jesus is…


John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.


… the “only begotten Son.” The word translated ‘begotten’ is the Greek word monogenes, which Strong’s Greek dictionary defines as:

“only born, that is, sole: - only (begotten, child).”

So He was not created, but begotten. “Begotten, not made, of one being with the Father,” to quote the creed. * There very obviously was no mother involved, as this is referring to His eternal past, not His human birth; so it is something very different from our understanding of parent and child. This means that every time you read the phrase ‘Son of God’ in the New Testament, it is referring not to a created being, but the only One who was begotten of the Father and therefore is of the same nature as the Father.




* This is not to take the creed as authoritative (although I believe it does have authority, albeit less then the Bible) but simply to use a convenient phrase that perfectly sums up the Bible teaching on the subject. This booklet goes to some lengths to decry the creeds, claiming them to be the work of people wishing to distort the truth of the gospel. There is much I could say on this subject; but suffice it to say that after reading a considerable amount of the works of St Augustine (arguably the most influential of the early Church fathers), I have been most impressed by his determination to promote teaching that is 100% in alignment with the Bible. As he shows in his writings, the creeds were produced to correct the errors that had been infiltrating the Church and to give a definitive statement of what the Bible teaches about the foundational truths of Christianity.

Furthermore, during the Reformation many suffered death in their efforts to bring Christian teaching back to what it had been originally, after being distorted by what ultimately became the Roman Catholic Church. It is not tenable that people who gave their lives to restore truth back to the Church would deliberately distort the truth about who Jesus is. Sola scriptura (the Bible alone) was their watchword, and on this basis “Begotten, not made, of one being with the Father” continued to be taught as the accurate summary of Bible teaching.

John 1:1 says the Word was God. It doesn’t say the word was what God thought, or spoke, but the word was God. Just as spoken words are the expression of our thoughts, just as our bodies are the physical expression of our beings, so the Word was, and is, the very expression of God Himself. The very existence of God results in the Son - for there to be an eternal Father, who has never ever changed, there has to be an eternal Son (who also never changes: Heb 13:8). So, as we have seen, John 1:18 tells us that while no-one has seen God, it is Jesus who has revealed Him to us. As Jesus Himself said:

John 14:9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

So, we read in Romans:

Rom 14:10–12 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Verse 10 says we’ll all stand before the judgement seat of CHRIST; but verse 11 says every tongue will confess to GOD, and verse 12 says we all give an account to GOD. So standing before the judgement seat of Christ, where Christ is obviously seated, is confessing and giving an account of oneself to God.

The booklet refers to John 14:9, and on page seven concludes:

Jesus is simply telling Philip that the Father could be seen in him. He showed us what God was like, just as any ordinary son may have the features of his dad. Jesus had the qualities of his Father - but that did not make him God.


When the Bible says, “x” it means “y!” Well, I have many of the features of my late father, and those who knew him and know me could easily tell we are father and son. So anyone looking at me can have an idea what my father was like. However, it could never be said that anyone looking at me is looking at my father, because we are two different people! I can do things he could not do; he could do things I cannot do; his likes and dislikes were not all the same as mine. So anyone seeing me certainly is not seeing my father. Yet this is what Jesus said here - “he who has seen me has seen the Father.” The only way this could be true is by Jesus being ‘of one being with the Father’. Even though at the time he said this he had a fully human body and soul, His heart (or His spirit, as I mentioned earlier), even though emptied of what it had been previously, still expressed the very being of Almighty God. *

John 5:17–18 But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

Notice that the act of Jesus calling God His Father was making Him equal with God. This is quite clearly the comment of the writer - John - and not a mistaken assumption made by those opposing Him at this time. *






* Which is why Heb 13:8 is correct in saying that Jesus has always been the same.




* Which is what JW’s claim - another example of when the Bible says, “x” it means “y!”.


I find the explanation given on pages 8-9 regarding Thomas’s declaration of who Jesus was on their first meeting after the resurrection, to be extremely weak.

John 20:27–28 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

After a couple of paragraphs trying to wriggle around what Thomas so plainly said here, it concludes:

“My God” was a valid title for one who, as God’s son, reflected the character and authority of God.


Either Jesus was Thomas’s God or He wasn’t. As this booklet has been at pains to point out, there is only one God. Therefore it would be blasphemy to call anyone else or anything else, “God.” Do you really think Jesus would have accepted this title if it were not true? When Peter started questioning His statement about His forthcoming sacrifice, He was very quick to put him straight: Matt 16:23; Mark 8:33. So if Thomas had been incorrect in calling Him “God,” He would certainly have corrected him. But He didn’t: instead He accepted this act of worship from Thomas, * who has now realised that the resurrection was the ultimate proof of His identity. Instead, Jesus said:

John 20:29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."




* In Matt 4:10 Jesus said only God should be worshipped, but in Heb 1:6 the angels worship Him! The angel told John that only God should be worshipped (Rev 19:10)

On page 10 is quoted:

John 17:1–4 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.


The comment here is:

The sentence in italics is significant. * Jesus is saying that for those who seek eternal life, it is important to believe in the only true God and in Jesus Christ. If Jesus is God, or part of a Trinity, there would surely be no need to distinguish God and Jesus Christ in this verse.


* It is the third sentence from the end in the quotation, if the italics are not clear in your browser.

The answer becomes immediately obviously when we realise that for Jews, all of whom accepted that Yahweh/Jehovah was the one and only God, they also needed to acknowledge Jesus, through whom their salvation now comes. The Jews had believed in the One True God for thousands of years, and this was valid and correct in the period of the Old Covenant; but this was now the time of the New Covenant * and not enough: in order to experience salvation they needed to understand and believe the greater revelation of who He is, as can be seen from the scriptures:



* The New Covenant promised in Jer 31:31, strictly speaking, came into force when Jesus offered His own blood once for all in the Most Holy Place in Heaven. You need to read the entire book of Hebrews to see this, particularly chapters seven to ten; but sample verses are:

Heb 8:8  Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant…
Heb 9:11–12, 14–15 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption… how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death,
Heb 10:16–17 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."

* And of course, we also have fellowship with the Holy Spirit:

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

How can you have fellowship (or ‘communion’ in some translations) with energy/power?

* These are just example verses stating the two facts - there are many more: 2 Sam 22:3; Ps 106:21; Is 19:20; 43:3, 11; 45:15, 21; 49:26; 60:16; 63:8; Jer 14:8; Hos 13:4; Luke 1:47; 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31; 13:23; Eph 5:23; Phil 3:20; 1 Tim 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; 2 Tim 1:10; Titus 1:3, 4; 2:10, 13; 3:4, 6; 2 Pet 1:1, 11; 2:20; 3:2, 18; 1 John 4:14; Jude 1:25

1 John 5:11–13 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Matt 11:27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

Luke 10:22 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."

John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

John 5:23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

1 John 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. *

1 John 2:22–23 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

The importance of this can be seen by the fact that much of the persecution experienced by the early Church was a result of what they were teaching about Jesus Christ, largely from the Jews, who knew there was only one Saviour - Yahweh - but were now being told their Saviour was Jesus. The deity of Jesus Christ must be the case to prevent a contradiction between 2 Tim 1:10, which declares Jesus is our Saviour, and Jude 1:25, which says God is our Saviour. *

On page 12 it says:

Even in the promised kingdom of God and the eternal ages to come, Jesus is still called “the Son” and God is still “the Father.”

Of course they are! That is who they have always been and who they always will be because God never changes.

It then quotes:

1 Cor 15:24–28 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For "God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "all things are put in subjection," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.


And comments:

At the end of time, Jesus is subject to God. That firmly contradicts the Trinity, which has Him equal to God.




* The words are in inverted commas because I am here using imperfect adjectives to try to describe the Being who is beyond our human understanding.

Sorry, it doesn’t! This claim is based on the misunderstanding that the three ‘persons’ of the ‘Godhead’ have identical ‘functions’. * They do not. It is like saying that because my arms and legs are subject to my head, then they are not equally a part of my body. They are as much a part of my body as my head; but serve a different function. Likewise, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have different functions; but are all equally Almighty God.

In an attempt to prove Jesus is not God by claiming they are distinct, separate beings, page 13 quotes:

1 Cor 8:6 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.


This seems to be something of an own goal, because we also read in the Bible:

Acts 17:27–28 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for "'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.'


So Acts tells us we have our being in God, and Corinthians says we exist through Jesus. The only way these two verses cannot be contradictory is by Jesus being God.


Phil 2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped


We have already discussed the above verse, but there is one more point to be made. On page 21, it says:

Does the phrase “in the form of God” prove that Jesus was indeed God? Not at all. Adam and Eve were also made in the form of God (see Genesis 1:27).


The Greek word translated ‘form’ is morphe (mor-fay),* and appears in just two other verses:

Mark 16:12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country.

Phil 2:7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

* “Perhaps from the base of G3313 (through the idea of adjustment of parts); shape; figuratively nature: - form.” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary)

The Hebrew word translated ‘image’ in Gen 1:26–27 is tselem * and appears 17 times - and in all but five of them refers to idols. Of the five exceptions, four are in reference to man being in God’s image and one regarding a son being in his father’s image: Gen 1:26, 27 (twice); Gen 5:3; 9:6.

* “From an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, that is, (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, especially an idol: - image, vain shew.” (Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary)

It is very clear that, aside from them being two different languages, ‘form’ in the New Testament is a very different adjective to ‘image’ in the Old Testament. In Philippians 2:7 His form became that of a servant. This means He actually became a servant. But ‘image’ in Genesis means a resemblance or likeness, as Gen 1:26 specifically states. So the word in the New Testament means literally to be the thing or being described, while the word in the Old Testament means to resemble the thing or being described.

When you actually examine the scriptures properly, it can be seen that the case of Adam and Eve bears no relevance to the Philippians passage. The argument is invalid! When the Bible says, “x” it means “y!”


On pages 22-23 the booklet unsuccessfully tries to side-step another passage where the divinity of Jesus is clearly seen.

In the Old Testament, God was called “the first and the last” (Isaiah 44:6; 48:12). In Revelation 1:8, God says: “I am the Alpha and the Omega”… but then in verse 17, * Jesus speaking to John says: “Fear not, I am the first and the last” and in the last chapter of Revelation it is again Christ who says: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev 22:13). The risen Lord Jesus Christ takes on a title which was previously God’s.




* Rev 1:17

Let’s be clear about this. There cannot be two Alphas, two Omegas, two Beginnings, two Ends, two Firsts and two Lasts. These words are not merely titles to be bestowed on whomever God decides to so honour. They are a statement of fact. God is the first because there was nothing that existed before Him. He is the last because everything in the physical universe will end but He will still be there; and everything He has made that is eternal can only continue as long as He continues - should He ever end,* then everything else would end simultaneously. He is Alpha and Omega and Beginning and End for precisely the same reason. The only way that Jesus could also be said to be First, Last, Alpha, Omega, Beginning and End is by being one being with God throughout all time, eternity past and eternity future.



* Impossible, of course! Matt 24:35; 2 Pet 3:10

Conclusion

John calls Jesus the Word in the first chapter of his gospel because, clearly, His primary function is the expression of God. Since John 1:14 tells us that Jesus is the Word and the Word is Jesus, then, without altering the meaning of the first verse in any way, it could legitimately be rephrased:

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In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.


End of story! It couldn’t be clearer. Except it isn’t the end of the story, because throughout the Bible we are told Jesus is the Alpha; the Omega; the first; the last; the beginning; the end; all things were made by Him; He is before all things; in Him all things consist; He holds all things together; at His name every knee will bow; every tongue will confess He is Lord of all; the angels worship Him; He is Wonderful; Counsellor; Mighty God; Everlasting Father; Prince of Peace; Saviour of the world; the Bread of Life; the Door; the Branch; the Good Shepherd; the Prophet; the High Priest; the King of kings; the Messiah/Anointed One; the Way; the Truth; the Life; the Light of the world; the True Vine; the Resurrection; the Rock; the Lord of lords.*





* See here for 100 truths about Jesus, with Bible references.

Furthermore the Holy Spirit is shown to have all the attributes of God, with personality emotions, reason, and everything that makes a person a person. He is also the Creator, and the Infinite Power of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, and lives with us to guide us and empower us to be what would be impossible for us on our own.

The doctrine of the Trinity may well be inadequate - wrong even - but it is the only way I know that everything in the Bible referring to God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit can be true and not contradictory. This is why the early Church Fathers composed the creeds they did, and why Church leaders at the Reformation, and ever since, have reaffirmed them. At the present time we only see through a mirror dimly, because our finite minds cannot fully comprehend truths too high for them; but at the end of this life, when we see Jesus face to face, then we will know and understand. *




* 1 Cor 13:12

I have concentrated entirely on the booklet I picked up recently from a Christadelphian bookstall. However, on the statement of beliefs on the Christadelphian web site, there are four objections to the divinity of Jesus Christ which I now will use in summary of the points I have covered.

God is one. There can only be one true God. It is undeniable that Jesus referred to himself and the Father as separate. To fly in the face of this the most fundamental of Biblical teachings, in any way, is to venture out onto very thin ice.


As we have seen, all the references to support this statement are made during the period of Jesus’s earthly life as a man, having emptied Himself of what He previously was. The argument is invalid.


Mortality and immortality are mutually exclusive characteristics. God is immortal, and cannot die. Jesus died. If you alter this, all Scripture is inexorably weakened.


As has been shown, the body that Jesus had assumed in His incarnation died * on the cross. Nowhere in the Bible is the death of humans described as total cessation of existence. We saw that Paul tells us we are dead in our sins until we are born again, and this death is not non-existence but separation from God. It could be argued that Jesus also experienced this on the cross, since:

Matt 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

* Jesus died ‘in the flesh’ 1 Pet 3:18; 4:1

For the first and only time of His existence, Jesus was separated from the Father because of the burden of sin He was bearing, until, having paid the full price, He was raised from the dead and the former relationship with the Father was restored. However, throughout the whole experience, Jesus continued to exist. The claim of mutual exclusivity disappears when everything the Bible teaches is taken into account.


Jesus always very clearly pointed out his subservience to God; in power, teaching and life itself. To assert their equality is untenable.

The answer to the first point applies here: in His birth He laid aside everything that He had been until then. For more detail see earlier.


Mortal humans cannot exist in the direct presence of God. As Exodus 33:20 says, no man can see God and live. Therefore, to say Jesus was fully God and fully man violates scripture, since thousands of people saw Jesus.


The answer to the first point applies here: in His birth He laid aside everything that He had been until then. For more detail see earlier.


To return to the main purpose of this page: the booklet concludes with two scriptures and I am happy to use them in ending this.


Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.


The faith delivered to us once for all can be understood from the 66 books of the Bible. It is only by ensuring that our understanding of this faith is perfectly aligned with ALL the scriptures, that we can contend for it in the way Jude exhorts. I believe I have shown here that Christadelphian doctrine conflicts with a significant number of scriptures on a fundamental aspect of our faith; and this is a serious matter.


Rev 22:18–19 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.


This admonition clearly applies to the book of Revelation; but the booklet says it is:

…a warning that must surely apply to all scripture. *


* Page 24

Please do not take my word for it. Indeed, I am sure anyone who has been persistent enough to read this far will not do so. Rather, I hope you will copy the Bereans of Acts 17:10–12, and I pray as you do that our loving Father will reveal to you the truth about His only begotten Son by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth - if we will let Him. *



* John 16:13

Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

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