Christian Churches of God

No. 81

 

 

Consubstantial with the Father

(Edition 2.0 19941210-19990523)

 

This paper examines the modern theological understanding regarding the Trinity and the Unitarian nature of rational and biblical Theism. The purposes behind the Trinitarian doctrine of Consubstantiation are examined. The action of the divine nature is examined, and the interaction of God with the Host and humanity is shown to be dependent upon consubstantiation. The creation of the Holy Spirit is discussed, as are the philosophical conflicts arising from Trinitarian doctrines. The Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4 is discussed, as is the way in which God is One.

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369, WODEN ACT 2606, AUSTRALIA

 

Email: secretary@ccg.org

 

(Copyright 1994, 1999 Wade Cox)

 

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Consubstantial with the Father

 


Consubstantial means being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made. The elect are consubstantial with God as Christ is consubstantial with God.

 

The doctrine of Consubstantiality of Jesus Christ is held by Trinitarians in an incorrect manner to effectively deny the participation of the elect in the divine nature as co-heirs with Christ. It is the fundamental error of mainstream Christianity. To understand the issue more clearly, the following extract is produced from the draft of the work God Revealed Book 2. This takes the texts used in the paper Binitarianism and Trinitarianism (No. 76) to the next level in the case against Trinitarianism.

 

Modern Theological Understanding Regarding the Trinity

Rational and Biblical Theism is Unitarian

The New Catholic Encyclopedia, art. Trinity, Holy, Vol. 14, p. 295 says:

There is recognition on the part of exegetist and Biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification.

Theologians have long understood the Trinity to be non-biblical. It was introduced from a point of view that had lost the understanding of the divinity of Christ and the relationship to God. Brunner considers that Calvin in his Institutio I, 13,4, regards the doctrine of the Trinity from the point of view that:

Through its conceptions, which differ from those of the Bible, the opponent of the divinity of Christ - who is the enemy of the Christian Faith - is forced to throw off his disguise and to fight in the open, instead of concealing his hostility under a cloak of Christianity (quoted from Emil Brunner The Christian Doctrine of God Dogmatics, Vol. 1 tr. Olive Wyon, The Westminster Press, 1949, Cambridge, Ch. 16 The Triune God, pp. 205-206).

Brunner said of the doctrine of the Trinity that it was:

a peculiarly contradictory situation (p. 205)

Indeed this is seen to be so. The main objections lie in the requirements for rational and biblical Theism together with Islam to be Unitarian. Brunner said:

Judaism, Islam and rational Theism are Unitarian. On the other hand, we must honestly admit that the doctrine of the Trinity did not form part of the early Christian - New Testament - message, nor has it ever been a central article of faith in the religious life of the Christian Church as a whole, at any period in its history. Thus we are forced to ask: Is this truth the centre of Christian theology, but not the centre of the Christian Faith? Is such a discrepancy between faith and theology possible? Or, is this due to an erroneous development in the formation of the doctrine of the Church as a whole? Certainly, it cannot be denied that not only the word "Trinity", but even the explicit idea of the Trinity is absent from the apostolic witness to the faith; it is equally certain and incontestable that the best theological tradition, with one accord, clearly points to the Trinity as its centre (ibid., p. 206).

Brunner draws his theological position from the body of dogma that asserted itself, firstly at the Council of Nica in 325 CE and almost continuously from the council of Constantinople in 381 CE. Brunner asserts in explanation of the extraordinary position of Calvin above that:

The ecclesiastical doctrine of the Trinity, established by the dogma of the ancient Church, is not a Biblical kerygma, therefore it is not the kerygma of the Church, but it is a theological doctrine which defends the central faith of the Bible and the Church. Hence it does not belong to the sphere of the Church's message, but it belongs to the sphere of theology; in this sphere it is the work of the Church to test and examine its message, in the light of the Word of God given to the Church. Certainly in this process of theological reflection the doctrine of the Trinity is central (op. cit., p. 206).

This conclusion is necessary because the doctrine of the Trinity had to be stated by the Athanasians in order to defeat the Arian position of the creation of Christ based upon the various proof texts such as Hebrews 3:2, Proverbs 8:22, John 16:28; 20:17, Ephesians 4:4-6 and Revelation 3:14, 4:11. Similarly Karl Barth held the view that:

The Bible lacks the express declaration that the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are of equal essence and therefore in an equal sense God Himself. And the other express declaration is also lacking that God is God thus and only thus, i.e., as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These two express declarations which go beyond the witness of the Bible are the twofold content of the Church doctrine of the Trinity (Doctrine of the Word of God, p. 437. Also quoted by George L. Johnson in Is God a Trinity?, WCG, USA, 1973, p. 32).

 

The Purpose of Trinitarianism and Consubstantiation

Calvin says that to drag Arius "out of his lurking-places"

the ancient Church took a further step, and declared that Christ is the eternal Son of the Father, and consubstantial with the Father. The impiety was fully disclosed when the Arians began to declare their hatred and utter detestation of the term :@@LF\H (homoousius). Had their first confession - viz. that Christ was God - been sincere and from the heart, they would not have denied that he was consubstantial with the Father.

Calvin held:

[t]hat little word distinguished between Christians of pure faith and the blasphemous Arians.

This position demonstrates the most appalling circular reasoning not only by Calvin but by the Athanasian camp. The Athanasians could not refute, from Scripture, the position of Arius and the eastern bishops that Christ was created. The group were not Arians but were termed as such to give the impression that the philosophical understanding of the Godhead they espoused was new or arose with Arius, which it did not. Arius was trained by Lucian of Antioch, the most famous Christian scholar of the fourth century and the last martyr of Diocletian's persecution. His school also included Eusebius of Nicomedia, Menpophantus of Ephesus, Theognis of Nica, Maris of Chalcedon, Leontius of Antioch, Athanasius of Anarzabus and Asterius the Sophist as well as Arius (Harnack Hist. of Dogma, Vol iv, p. 3, Eng. tr.).

 

These eastern scholars were trained in a continuous tradition of the Church which appears to be based systematically upon Scripture. This brought them into conflict with the syncretism developing in the west. When confronted with the scriptural position that Christ was a subordinate God and one created by God the Father as the primary emanation, the Athanasians contrived a doctrine which had no biblical basis, in order to declare their opponents heretics. When these men refused to accept such a non-biblical position they were then calumniated.

 

Calvin admits that the step was extra-biblical and necessary to "expose" these "blasphemous Arians" (Institutes of The Christian Religion, Bk. I, 13,4, tr. Beveridge, James Clark & Co., London, 1953). The form of Christianity which was erroneously labelled Arianism and semi-Arianism after one theologian of its school and who appears to be an extreme example was international in scope.

For long years the dividing line between the Roman and the teutonic invader of his territory was that of religion rather than that of race. It is our misfortune that we have little or no information concerning the labours of the unknown Arian apostles of the Goths, Vandals, Lombards, and Burgundians. The fact that Cyrila, the Vandal bishop or pope of Carthage, knew latin very imperfectly (Victor Vitensis, lib. ii), and the appearance of the famous Gothic version of the scriptures [c. 351], would seem to indicate that the barbarians were taught the doctrines of Christianity in their own languages, in which case their Arianism must have differed from the refined subtlety which distinguished that of the schools of the empire, and is perhaps expressed in the blunt refusal of the Burgundian Gundobald to worship three Gods (Avitus, Ep. xli). But there seems little doubt that the transforming effects of the Christianity which the barbarians adopted were genuine. Both Salvian and Orosius praise the virtues of the Arian conquerors of Roman territory, and Augustine (de Civitate Dei, i) relates how moderately the Visigothic Arians who captured Rome under Alaric treated the inhabitants of the city, and what respect they showed for the sanctity of the Christian churches. The long reign, moreover, of the Arian Theodoric in Italy, and his impartial government, extort, as Milman remarks, 'the praise of the most zealous Catholic' (Latin Christianity, bk. iii, Ch. iii) (ERE, art. Arianism, p. 782).

In the fifth and part of the sixth century, in the Western provinces of the Empire, Arianism was the religion of the conquerors and Athanasian Christianity that of the conquered. This was so until the conversion of Clovis and the Salien Franks to Roman or Athanasian Christianity. Thus the division was more political than theological. The Arian Churches were national churches not politically based.

The strength of the organisation of the Church of the fallen Empire stands in remarkable contrast to the weakness of the less disciplined national Churches of its Arian invaders (ERE, ibid., p. 783).

What we are seeing here is the settlement of a theological dispute by means of world powers. The true biblical position was never isolated as a serious issue by the Athanasian theologians. The growing position and power of the Church had by the time of the debate become so syncretised and divorced from the original biblical schema that any one referring to the Bible alone for authority, stood apart from the mainstream clergy. The defeat of the Unitarians (now termed Arians) and the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire in 590 CE under Gregory I froze debate on the matter. Christianity has been locked in a bizarre misunderstanding ever since.

 

The true history of Unitarianism and the debates of Arianism has been written by the Athanasians and from the nature of the reconstructions is suspect (cf. the paper Binitarianism and Trinitarianism (No. 76)). Whether the conversion of the Goths was a result of the exile of Arius to Illyricum is problematic. For example, the Gothic Bishop Theophilus was present at Nica (ERE, p. 782). It is unlikely then that Arius, in exile, converted a people who already had Bishops at Nica prior to his exile. This sort of flawed logic is throughout the theological debates on the matter. We are looking at a form of propaganda which has claimed the most significant area of Christian philosophy, namely how God is One, and locked it into theological dogma which is philosophically absurd. The propaganda surrounding Arianism seems to be aimed at establishing legitimacy for the Athanasians whilst seeking to deny legitimacy to those more correctly termed literalists or Unitarians. The ancient nature of the position espoused by Arius is disguised by the proclivity to brand any Church in disagreement on biblical grounds with the Athanasian structure with the name of the spokesman or district at the time hence Arianism, Eusebianism or Albigensianism or Waldensianism. Although, if the reports of Arius' position are completely accurate, he made some serious errors in his development of the position of Christ. These groups appear to be part of a long history of continuous biblical Christianity.

The destruction of Arianism as a rival system is one of the most important factors in the genesis of modern european civilisation; for had the barbarian conquerors professed one form of Christianity and the weaker race another, no progress would have been possible (ERE, p. 783).

Given the quotes above about the behaviour of the so-called barbarians one wonders whether we in fact are still victims of the same propaganda. For example, the term Vandal has come to mean wanton destruction, when the Vandals giving rise to the term were Christians allegedly converted by the Arian emperor Valens (364-378) (Cath. Encyc., art. Vandals, Vol. XV, p. 268).

 

The Vandals destroyed the statues in Rome, because of their perceptions of the requirements of the second commandment regarding the worship of graven images. Their views were, like all the northern tribes, similar to the eastern position espoused by Arius, but they were not the same. It is important to reconstruct Arius' position. Harnack (Hist. of Dogma, Vol. iv, p. 15) has listed eight points of the view advanced by Arius:

(1) The Characteristic of the One and Only God is solitude and eternity. He can put nothing forth from His own essence. He was not always Father, but only after He begat (i.e. created) the Son.

(2) Wisdom and the Word (8@(@H [logos]) dwell within this God, but they are powers not persons.

(3) To create the universe, God brought into being an independent substance (@F4" [ousia] or B`FJ"F4H [hupostasis]) as the instrument by which all things were created. This Being is termed, in Scripture, Wisdom, Son, Image, Word, etc.

(4) As regards His substance, the Son is a separate being from the Father, different from Him in substance and nature. Like all rational creatures, the Son is endowed with free will, and consequently capable of change.

(5) The Son is not truly God, but is only the so-called Word and Wisdom. He has no absolute, but only a relative, knowledge of the Father.

(6) The Son is not, however, a creature like other creatures. He is the perfect creature (6J\F:" JX8,4@< [ktisma teleion]) and has become God, so that we may term him the 'only begotten God' etc.

(7) Christ took a real body, but it was a F:" ?RLP@<, [soma apsuchone] the Logos taking the place of the soul. From the gospel record we see that this Logos was not an absolutely perfect being, but is capable of suffering.

(8) Amongst the other created beings the Holy [Spirit] is to be placed beside the Son as a second, independent substance. According to Arius, apparently the Spirit is the creation of the Son.

 

Foakes-Jackson continues the exposition of Harnack as:

Such then was Arianism - a theory of the mutual relations of the Persons in the Trinity based nominally on the words of scripture, but arrived at really by the methods of the heathen philosophers. It led either to polytheism by allowing the existence of the Logos as a secondary God, or to Judaic Unitarianism by denying His proper Divinity (ERE, art. Arianism, p. 777).

This reasoning exposes the problems that we have outlined in this work. From the above we can now see that the assertion that Arianism held that Christ created the Holy Spirit was advanced by Harnack, drawn from early Athanasian comment. It appears to be based on the scriptural position that Christ created all things in the heavens and the earth (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16). The position is claimed of Arius by the Athanasians. It is doubtful that he would actually have held a position which was so philosophically absurd in that it ran counter to the general thrust of his position. It is more likely that Harnack has taken on board, as a theologian, propaganda that would have been disputed by a philosopher. More importantly, Arius based his arguments on Scripture and the Scriptures show that the Holy Spirit is placed by the Father with the Son and the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son. Thus the Spirit emanates from the Father through the Son and not from both. The outline of the position attributed to Arius in the eight points as above enable a simple analysis. Errors can be identified in the position from a comparison with the Scriptural position. The position is outlined by points:

(1) This is correct except that the comment that God can put nothing forth from His own essence lacks clarity and the point is obscured. The fact that God creates all things (the universe J" BV<J" [ta panta]) from His will (Rev. 4:11) indicates that He willed to be Father from His abiding perpetuity and thus it is in this context that He was alone. Christ and the Elohim existed for all time as time was created from the generation of the Elohim. All of these entities possessed the divine nature through the Holy Spirit as the elect are also partakers of the Divine nature (2Pet. 1:4).

(2) Wisdom and the Word dwelling within God as powers and not persons derives from the concepts of the Divine essence generating the activity and thus the Logos became a manifestation of this attribute of God.

(3) The creation of the universe by an independent substance derives from the biblical position above. There were many sons brought into existence (cf. Job 1:6; 2:8-47).

(4) The separation of the Father from the Son as separate Beings is correct biblically, in that a Being is that which exists and they both exist as identities in their own right, therefore, they are separate Beings. To assert they are not Beings is tantamount to Basilidean Gnosticism or Buddhism. The statement that they are of a different substance and nature is a simplistic statement which misidentifies the biblical position. The Host share in the substance and nature of God. However, each has understanding according to the Father's willing self revelation which is the position of the Bible. The entire book termed the Apocalypse or Revelation is a Revelation of God to Jesus Christ. It is misnamed because of this very perception (see the paper Binitarianism and Trinitarianism (No. 76)).

(5) The relative knowledge of the Father by the Son is identified from Scripture and is undeniable.

(6) The question of Christ becoming God arises from the reconstruction of the Thalia of Arius. The assertion that Christ became God from his resurrection is biblically incorrect. He was God from his generation (Ps. 45:6-7); (cf. Col. 1:15 and the paper The Angel of YHVH (No. 24)).

(7) The Logos taking the place of the soul is an Athanasian construction of the soul doctrine. The Logos became flesh conformed to the image of God. The elect by partaking of the divine nature also are conformed to the image of God being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29), who is the image of the invisible God, as the prtotokos of the creation of God (Col. 1:15). Thus the creatures possess free will yet are consubstantial with the Father through the divine nature.

(8) The creation of the Holy Spirit can only be as a manifestation of an attribute of God.

 

Misconceiving the Holy Spirit as a persona gives rise to the assertions regarding Arianism. The Unitarian position is more explicable than that attributed to Arius at Nicaea. The Holy Spirit was generated by God to provide the capacity for the creation to become consubstantial with Him (see below). Thus theology fails to comprehend the issue. Arianism when re-examined in the light of what the Bible actually teaches, assuming that it is recorded correctly, which is doubtful, is in error. But as stated previously, it is not as much in error as the position of Nican theology which would seek to condemn it. Unitarianism has no such problem. The next problem of Nican logic then arose.

 

Defeating Sabellianism with False Assumptions

The premise that Christ is co-eternal and co-equal with God the Father is incorrectly assumed to be a statement of the requirements of consubstantiality. This doctrine was then used to defeat the Sabellians who held that:

the names of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as almost non-entities; maintaining that they were not used to mark out some distinction, but that they were different attributes of God, like many others of a similar kind.

In other words the Father was the Son and the Son the Father without order or distinction (ibid.). The assumption that consubstantiality required the attributes of God to be conferred on Christ, namely co-eternality and co-equality together with the attributes of omnipotence and omniscience, is the fundamental error of Nica/Constantinople and Trinitarianism.

 

Biblical Consubstantiation

The Holy Spirit is the power of God used to confer salvation on the elect. It is of one substance and as such the elect who are:

         predestined and called to repentance (Rom. 8:29);

         baptised by immersion as a repentant adult (Mat. 28:19 et. al.);

         given the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands by the ministry of Jesus Christ as understood from Pentecost; and

         who do not sin, which is the transgression of the law (1Jn. 3:4,9);

         thereby have the seal of God, identified by the keeping of the Sabbath and the Passover (Ex. 12:14; 13:9; 20:8 etc.).

They are born of God and as such are consubstantial with the Father through the operation of the Holy Spirit. The assumption that the consubstantial operation of the Holy Spirit was confined to Christ emanating from the Father stems from a misunderstanding of the text at 1Corinthians 6:3:

Know ye not that we shall judge Angels?

 

The text refers to the fallen Host but it was assumed that the judgment of the Angelic Host would fall to the elect also. This position does not understand the Problem of Evil as operating outside the will of God and that the position is relative to an obedient relationship with God.

The position of monotheist unification in will with the Father and hence that of consubstantiation was shared by all the Heavenly Host until they rebelled. Thus Lucifer or Satan was consubstantial with the Father in the same way that Christ was consubstantial; being generated by emanation of the Spirit as were all the Elohim Host. If they were not generated from the spirit in the essential nature of their being then the Host was logically polytheist and the structure divisive. Monotheism logically requires the extension of the unity of the Host to embrace all creatures within it so that God is all in all. Mankind was to be given the Holy Spirit so that they could become equal to the angels. This is the meaning of Luke 20:36. Reading:

FV((,8@4 (VD ,F4< (isaggeloi gar eisin)

For equal to angels they are.

The term carries with it the concept of equal as an order of and this is logically necessary for Monotheism so that polytheist division is not introduced.

 

Angels as Sons of God

The concept that the angels are not included in the term theoi or gods is only inferred from the comments by Irenus:

There is none other called God by the scriptures except the Father of all and the Son, and those who possess the adoption.

The use of the term adoption is applied exclusively to the elect but the term is more correctly begettal. Each of the elect is a spirit begotten son of God on baptism.

 

The Heavenly Host were already begotten sons of God. Christ was the only born Son of God. The monogenes theos (which, from John 1:18, should read the only born God, not the only begotten son) was the God who spoke; The Ho Legon of the Greeks.

Psalm 82:6 I say, You are gods [elohim], sons of the Most High, all of you...

 

Christ, Humans, the Host and the Divine Nature

The comment at 2Peter 1:4 of men becoming partakers of the divine nature was not understood by Athanasius in the original intention. The divine nature is thus relative and conditional to obedience and admits of gains and losses. John 1:12 states:

but to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become Sons of God.

So the Arians/Eusebians etc. understood that man by perfection and partaking in the divine nature would become God and from God's words: "I have begotten and raised up sons", that there were multiple sons. The Athanasian emphasis of the rebellion of those sons does not diminish the fact of their existence both in heaven and earth. The passage at John 17:11 that they may be one as we are meant that the unity Christ shared with God was the unity the elect shared with God. The Athanasians saw this as scandalous because they did not understand the concept of the Sons of God. In order to limit the extension of the Spirit, the philosophically absurd notion of the divine nature admitting of no gains and no losses was advanced. The essential divinity of the saviour was held to ensure his knowing and seeing.

Nothing of the divine Logos or Sophia could be lost in the process of the Son's becoming incarnate, because divine nature by definition admits of no gains or losses (Gregg and Groh, p. 13).

Now this position committed the Athanasians to the full ambit of non-biblical claims of Christ's complete omniscience and omnipotence despite the fact that he clearly said that there were things that he did not know (viz. the time of his return). He also said that he was directed by the Father even and especially in the choice of the elect. It will be shown later that it was precisely because of the omnipotence of God the Father that this was so.

 

The understanding which the Athanasian scholars had at their disposal was not only in the Bible but from Irenus where: To be dependent on the will of God is to have proportionate knowledge of him, to the degree that he wills. This proportionate and dependant position is stated by Christ. Christ could not allocate positions on his right or left; they were prepared by the Father (Mat. 20:23). Christ was directly subordinate to the will of the Father from John 4:34 and 3:68:

"My Food is to do the will of him who sent me", and

"For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me"

Christ subordinated his will from Luke 22:42 and therefore it follows that in subordinating his will by choice he exercised free moral agency. Quoting from Cox, Creation: From Anthropomorphic Theology to Theomorphic Anthropology (No. B5), page 39:

The one and the same spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as he wills (1Corinthians 12:11). Gregg and Groh say of this concept (at p. 11):

What Arius apparently has in mind runs somewhat parallel to an old Christian anthropological scheme of the creature under the Spirit of God (indeed one who participates in the spirit) who is not given knowledge of God as he is in himself (Irenus says 'his greatness' and 'his ineffable glory') and whose ability to see depends on the Father's willing self-revelation (Arius: 'by the power of which God sees;' Irenus: 'God gives even this to men who love him, that is, seeing God').

That the Son had a limited or proportionate experience of the Father seems to have indicated to Arius that Christ, like all other creatures, was cast in the role of an obedient servant living by faith in his Father.

As was pointed out then, the theories of Platonic conjunction with The One were opposed to a Theophanic revelation conditional to obedience. It was for this reason the early Christian schema was abandoned, not for any dictate of biblical narrative or logic. The biblical narrative emphasises the obedient exercise of faith by the Son in the Father which was an example of the faultless completion of the law. This was done so that the elect might have a faultless example to follow.

 

The Athanasians attempted to tie the Father and Son together by a Spirit that was not relative in its application, thus excluding the angelic Host and limiting the potential of the elect. It was done in opposition to the dictates of the Bible and against the plain evidence of the early Church, seemingly to accommodate pagan and neo-Platonic influence and chiefly the effects of the mystery cults. The other and unspoken dictates were based on the power groups of the nations who had been converted to the early Christian faith now labelled as Arian such as the Vandals and the Goths. Thus the most emotive and war-torn debate in history was commenced, based on non-biblical premises, firstly; for the purpose of forcing those people into the open who would not accept propositions that could not be demonstrated biblically. But, the Athanasians were exposed to the counter arguments of the Sabellians, by denying the biblical position. The doctrine of the Trinity was then fully developed as Calvin notes.

The worthy doctors who then had the interests of piety at heart, in order to defeat [Sabellius'] dishonesty, proclaimed that three substances were to be truly acknowledged in the one God. That they might protect against tortuous craftiness by the simple open truth, they affirmed that a Trinity of Persons subsisted in the one God, or (which is the same thing) in the unity of God. (Calvin, op. cit., p. 112)

The above position is wrongly extended; a Trinity of Persons subsisting in one God which is confined to those three persons is not the same thing as The Unity of God which embraces these three entities. The reasoning used in the disputes is absurd and unworthy of a Christian at any level of understanding. The Church then used this contrived position to establish the most far-reaching and ruthless plan of extermination ever seen in the course of human history.

 

The Essential Test for Trinitarianism

Brunner and indeed Calvin do not understand the problem of the question of the nature of the Godhead. All Trinitarians assume that the position of the divinity of Christ is one of co-eternality and co-equality. Co-equality and co-eternality is the essential test for identifying the primary trinitarian position. The interpretation of the mechanics of the Holy Spirit is merely a point in issue between original and modified Trinitarianism. The nomination of the Holy Spirit as a power and not a person does not disqualify the appellation of Trinitarian. Calvin's definition of a person in relation to the Godhead exposes the false reasoning in attempting a distinction between claiming that the Holy Spirit is a power rather than being a person. Or for that matter in claiming the other entities are or are not persons. Calvin defines the terms used by trinitarian theologians to define the logic of their position thus:

By person, then, I mean a subsistence which, while related to the other two, is distinguished from them by incommunicable properties. By subsistence we wish something else to be understood than essence. For if the Word were God simply, and had not some property peculiar to himself, John could not have said correctly that he had always been with God. When he adds immediately after, that the Word was God, he calls us back to the one essence. But because he could not be with God without dwelling in the Father, hence arises that subsistence, which, though connected with the essence by an indissoluble tie, being incapable of separation, yet has a special mark by which it is distinguished from it. Now I say that each of the three subsistences while related to the others, is distinguished by its own properties. Here relation is distinctly expressed, because, when God is mentioned simply and indefinitely, the name belongs not less to the Son and Spirit than to the Father. But whenever the Father is compared with the Son, the peculiar property of each distinguishes the one from the other. Again whatever is proper to each I affirm to be incommunicable, because nothing can apply or be transferred to the Son which is attributable to the Father as a mark of distinction. I have no objection to adopt the definition of Tertullian, provided it is properly understood, 'that there is in God a certain arrangement or economy, which makes no change on the unity of essence' - Tertull. Lib. contra Praxeam. (Calvin, op. cit., pp. 114-115)

From the definition of the trinitarian terms it makes no sense to say that the Holy Spirit is not a person but rather is a power emanating from God (unless the power is extended). Whether that be God the Father as in the early trinitarian position or from both the Father and the Son, the Filioque clause as it is known.

 

The Western Trinitarian Filioque Relationship of the Holy Spirit to God and to Christ

The Basis of the Claim

Galatians 4:6 says that:

God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts crying Abba, 'Father'.

Romans 8:9 refers to the Spirit of Christ. Philippians 1:19 refers to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Matthew 10:20 says:

For it is not ye that speak but the Spirit of your Father Which speaketh in you.

Because 1Corinthians refers to the Spirit of God which knows the things of God, and from the above it is held that Christ is jointly God and that the Holy Spirit has the same relation to the Son as to the Father (Maas CE, op. cit.) The procession of the Spirit is Filioque or and from the Son. Maas asserts that the Son sends the Spirit from Luke 24:49. However, note that the verse states it is the promise of the Father hence the dispatch can only be subordinate. Notwithstanding the obvious objection, from this it was deduced that the Holy Spirit came from the Son and this became an issue in the Athanasian Church from Toledo after the conversion of the Goths from Arianism in 586. The double procession had initially been expounded by Petavius (Lib. VII, cc. iii sqq.). It occurs in the so-called Athanasian Creed which originates well after Constantinople (c. 381).

 

In the Spanish disputes it was expounded by Leo I to Turribius, Bishop of Astorga (Ep. XV) c. 447; prior to the various Councils of Toledo c. 447, 589 (III) (post-Arian or post-Unitarian), 675 (XI), 693 (XVI). The Filioque clause was post Arian in Spain. It became necessary to continually defend the position in writings such as the letter of Pope Hormisdas to the Emperor Justinus (Ep. LXXIX) 521. The Dithelite Martin I (649-655) employed the expression in his writings against the Monothelites of Constantinople. The first Western controversy of the double procession is alleged by Maas to have been conducted with the envoys of Constantine Capronymus (741-775), (who was allegedly a Paulician: ERE, art. Paulicians, Vol. 9, p. 697) in the Synod of Gentilly, near Paris in the time of Pepin (767) (Maas CE, art. Filioque, Vol. VI, p. 73). It is thus assumed that the Paulicians did not accept the double procession. However not only the Paulicians and the East did not accept the Filioque clause but the Unitarians, termed Arians, did not also and Spain was so-called Arian until 586. The Filioque clause was only passed there on the conversion of the Visi-Goths. Other writings on the Filioque were Pope Adrian I's answer to the Caroline Books, 772-795; the Synods of Merida (666), Braga (675), and Hatfield (680); the writings of Pope Leo III (d. 816) to the monks of Jerusalem; the letter of Pope Stephen V (d. 891) to the Moravian King Suentopolcus (Suatopluk), Ep. XIII; the symbol of Pope Leo IX (d. 1054). The clause was dealt with also by the Councils mentioned below.

 

The Eastern Church denies the double procession. In the beginning of the ninth century, John of Sabas Monastery charged monks of Mt. Olivet with heresy because they inserted the Filioque into the creed. Later in the century, Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople denied the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son and opposed the insertion of the Filioque into the Constantinopolitan Creed (Maas, op. cit.). Such was the name by which the Nicene Creed was originally known at the Council of Chalcedon. The clause was not in the creed in the fourth century. Outside of the Catholic Church:

doubt as to the double Procession of the Holy [Spirit] grew into open denial, inside the Church the doctrine of the Filioque was declared to be a dogma of faith in the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), the Second Council of Lyons (1274), and the Council of Florence (1438-1445) (Maas, op. cit.)

Maas holds that as the Greek and the Roman Churches were one Church until the ninth century (Maas, op. cit., p. 74).

It is antecedently improbable that the Eastern Fathers should have denied a dogma firmly maintained by the Western. Moreover, there are certain considerations which form a direct proof for the belief of the Greek Fathers in the double Procession of the Holy [Spirit].

Maas holds that the Greek Fathers enumerate the Divine Persons in the same order as the Latin Fathers, (although this is obviously derived from the reference in Mat. 28) and they admit the Son and the Holy Spirit are connected logically and ontologically in the same way as the Son and the Father (Basil Ep. cxxv; Ep. xxxviii (alias xliii) and Gregor. fratrem; Adv. Eunom. I, xx, III, sub init.). The obvious comment is that the Holy Spirit is the connector and counsellor thus neither understand the position correctly. Secondly; Maas holds that the Greek Fathers establish the same relation between the Son and the Holy Spirit as between the Father and the Son; as the Father is the fountain of the Son, so is the Son the fountain of the Holy Spirit (Athan., Ep. ad. Serap., I, xix, sqq.; De Incarn., ix; Orat. iii, adv. Arian., 24; Basil, Adv. Eunom., v, in P.G., XXIX, 731; cf. Greg. Naz., Orat. xliii, 9). Thirdly; Maas maintains that passages occur in which the Greek Fathers maintain the procession from the Son: Greg. Thaumat., Expos. fidei sec., vers sc. IV, in Rufinus, Hist. Eccl., VII, xxv; Epiphan., Hr., c. lxii,4; Greg. Nyss., Hom. iii in orat. domin. (cf. Mai, Bibl. nova Patrum, IV, 40 sqq.) Cyril of Alexandria, Thes. ass. xxxiv; the second canon of a synod of forty bishops held at 410 at Seleucia in Mesopotamia (cf. Lamy, Concilium Seleuci et Ctesiphonte habitum a. 410, Louvain, 1869; Hefele, Conciliengeshichte, II, 102 sqq.; the Arabic versions of the Canons of Hyppolitus (Haneberg Canones Sti. Hyppoliti, Mnster, 1870, 40, 76); the Nestorian explanation of the Symbol (cf. Badger, The Nestorians London, 1852, II, 79; Cureton Ancient Syriac Documents Relative to the Earliest establishment of Christianity in Edessa, London, 1864, 43; The Doctrine of Addai, the Apostle, ed. Phillips, London, 1876.

 

Maas deals with John 15:26 in a most unsatisfactory manner and goes on to state that the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son is not mentioned in the Creed of Constantinople:

because this Creed was directed against the Macedonian error against which it sufficed to declare the procession of the Holy [Spirit] from the Father.

Maas admits that the Filioque was not in the Creed of Constantinople (erroneously called the Nicene Creed; the relevant canons of that council were reconstructed from Constantinople (CE, articles on the Council, and relevant issues)). Maas admits that the clause was first added to the ritual in Spain after the conversion of the Goths and Toledo. The fact is that the Western Church never uniformly held the Filioque position until the sixth century and indeed was not even uniformly Trinitarian. The Greeks rightly reject the doctrine as non-biblical. Further the Ante-Nicene Fathers referred to for support are all logically subordinationist. The Nicene Creed is a reconstructed, logically incorrect and non-biblical profession. The exposition on the Holy Spirit makes no sense unless the Spirit is identified solely as the essence of God which emanates to the Son and from the Son to those of the elect who then are Sons of God in the same way that Christ is a Son of God and all are thus theoi or elohim.

 

The Procession of the Holy Spirit

John 15:26 holds the definitive key to the problem; stating:

But when the Comforter (parakletos) comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me;

Thus the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father but is under direction of the Son as an instrument of control which binds all the Host together in a subordinate relationship to their theos or elohim. Together, the theos and the Host are subordinate to the Father, (accusative ton Theon or Eloah. John 16:7 gives the same concept and links that to the requirement to return to the Father prior to the dispatch of the Holy Spirit and at the same time links the process to the judgment of Satan. The Son by his actions judged Satan and reconciled mankind to God. The Holy Spirit could then be despatched by Christ but only on the direction of God the Father to the elect whom God the Father had identified. This is what occurred in John 20:22 (see also the paper The Angel of YHVH (No. 24)).

 

Thus Christ's control of the Spirit is conditional and subordinate. The Father sends the Son (Rom. 8:3) and the Father sends the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26). The Spirit could thus be said to emanate from the Father through the Son. As he received the Spirit from the Father, which was promised, he poured it out to the elect (Acts 2:33) and richly, the elect being justified through the grace of the Messiah (Tit. 3:6-7). The spirit is not given by measure (Jn. 3:34). The KJV attempts to confine this gift of the Spirit to Christ but this is not supported by other texts. The NIV states that God gives the Spirit without limit. The manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1Corinthians 12:4-11 shows the nine aspects of the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit are wisdom/knowledge, faith, healing, power or miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits and speaking and interpreting tongues. The gifts of the Spirit demonstrate as noted elsewhere that the Spirit is given without measure according to need. The Trinitarian premises that divine nature admits of no gains and no losses is negated by this aspect.

 

At John 16:13-15 Christ says that the Spirit will guide the elect into all truth, not speaking on his own authority. Hence the Spirit is subordinate. The Spirit was to declare the things that are to come. Thus the prescience of God was imparted via the Spirit; but that did not make the Spirit itself omniscient as some would claim. That would be like endowing the modem with the capacity of the computer. Christ said that "all that the Father has is mine" and it is this knowledge that is imparted, namely that which has been allocated to Christ. The assertion that all that the Father has is mine would lead some to assert that Christ therefore has all that the Father has, therefore he is omniscient. That does not follow. Christ is dependent upon the omniscience of the Father for the transfer of all that he has and is therefore not in possession of those attributes but receives them by way of direction according to the Father's willing self revelation. From this position, Christ can not be co-equal and co-eternal or consubstantial within the terms used by the early Church and restated by Calvin. Indeed the assertion of the consubstantial position as co-equal and co-eternal removes Christ ontologically from the Father/Son relationship and nothing can be predicated upon such an assertion. It is absurd to suggest that such beings could be co-equal and co-eternal and yet retain any meaning as to the terms Father and Son.

 

The Trinitarian Defence Against The Logical Dilemma of Subordinationism and Sabellianism

Trinitarians defend the position against both Unitarian subordinationism (incorrectly termed Arianism) and logical Sabellianism.

Now the 'mission' or 'sending' of one Divine Person by another does not mean merely that the Person said to be sent assumes a particular character, at the suggestion of Himself in the character of Sender, as the Sabellians maintained; nor does it imply any inferiority in the Person sent, as the Arians taught; but it denotes according to the teaching of the weightier theologians and Fathers, the Procession of the Person sent from the Person who sends. Sacred Scripture never presents the Father as being sent by the Son, nor the Son as being sent by the Holy Ghost. The very idea of the term 'mission' implies that the person sent goes forth for a certain purpose by the power of the sender, a power exerted on the person sent by way of a physical impulse, or of a command, or of prayer, or finally of production; now, Procession, the analogy of production, is the only manner admissible to God. (Maas, loc. cit., p. 73)

The assertion regarding the Fathers can only refer to the post-Nicene fathers, as almost exclusively the early church was subordinationist or as Trinitarians would now have it, Arians. The logic above is inevitably creationist with the entities proceeding from the will of the Father or simply; produced by the Father. Whether generated or produced the effect is the same.

 

From a reading of Augustine it can be seen that from the fourth century, in the Trinity, quality and substance were held to be the same (City of God Bk. XI, Ch. 10): hence consubstantial meant that Christ possessed the same qualities as the Father. Augustine held that the Holy Spirit is called in Scripture the 'Holy Spirit' of the Father and the Son and the Spirit is equally changeless, and co-eternal (ibid.).

 

The basis of the theological and philosophical problem was the failure of the fourth century theologians to comprehend the original concept of an extended divinity embracing the creatures of the host thus enabling the existence of multiple theoi or elohim within an extended structure of being which was monotheist. The structure was wrongly labelled Henotheism.

 

Brunner says of the Arian doctrine that:

The Logos is pre-existent, it is true, but it is not eternal. The Logos - not the historic God-Man - the Eternal Son of God who has not yet become Man, is thus a divinity, who is at the same time a creature. This Logos conception of Arianism brought Christian doctrine into the sphere of polytheist mythology [emphasis added].... This doctrinal error therefore had to be rejected still more decidedly than the others, and excluded from the doctrine of the Church as "arch-heresy" (op. cit., p. 222).

Brunner falls into the error of not understanding the function of the spirit in Monotheism.

Brunner does not understand that philosophically, it was by rejecting the process of the extension of the Spirit to enable the existence of multiple theoi (1Cor. 8:5) that the Trinity doctrine rejected Monotheism and became logically dependent upon the soul doctrine as were the Mithraic cults and the animist systems before them. By embracing the soul doctrine and rejecting the extended Godhead, Trinitarianism became logically polytheist. So the charge of polytheism levelled by Brunner at the Arians is exactly the position that the Athanasians fall into. It is amazing that philosophical theologians of the calibre of Brunner and Calvin were deceived by the circular reasoning of the debate. Even more incredible was the fact that, given the argument on consubstantiality advanced by Calvin, his followers were denied communion by consubstantiating Church and Priest (Dryden cf. The Universal Oxford Dictionary, art. Consubstantiate, p. 378). Consubstantiability or the Son being of one substance with the Father was coupled with co-eternity with Him by J.H. Newman (ibid., Consubstantiality).

 

The concepts of co-equality followed from the later trinitarian expositions, equally without biblical basis. The Arians were wrong at Nica but not for the reason stated by Brunner. The Athanasians were however even more fundamentally wrong on a philosophical basis than the Arians. The errors are dealt with in Creation: etc. at Chapters 3 and 4. What stands out in the debate is that neither side argued the veracity of the proof text at Hebrews 3:2 where Christ is clearly stated as being:

faithful to Him who made him, just as Moses was also faithful in God's house.

The word made is translated as appointed in the English texts to avoid the concept of created which is logically unavoidable. The word is however made using the Greek B@4XT [poieo] which has the root meaning make or do. The text uses the form B@4ZF"<J4 "J`< [poiesanti ahuton] or making him (see also Marshall RSV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, p. 858). This concept was not disputed at Nica although the text itself was used. Athanasius in his Discourse II Chapter XIV prepares detailed refutation by polemics of the premise that the Son was therefore a creature. He argues thus in regard to Proverbs 8:22.

 

Athanasius goes on to quote texts from Proverbs 8:22; John 1:1; 1:14; Acts 2:36; Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 1:4; 3:1-2. He appears to fall into the express error of assuming that the terms son and work are mutually exclusive terms in relation to the Sons of God stemming from the Father. But what son is not a work of his father? Further, the basic error of Athanasius is in assuming that Christ was the only Son of God in the heavenly Host which is blatantly in error on biblical grounds (see NPNF, pp. 348ff.). Also he seems to assume that the term first begotten (prtotokos) of all creation, translated first born of the whole creation (ibid., p. 383) refers to an event yet to come, rather than the primary act of God which is the correct meaning of the texts. Prtotokos is used in relation to spiritual objects to convey the sense of first begotten and to avoid the concepts associated with birth stemming from gennao. Thus Christ was the prtotokos of the heavenly Host as part of a number of elohim or theoi. Thus he was one of many Sons of God in the heavens, yet the first begotten of them. However, he was the monogenes theos or only born God being the only one of them to be born. The English translations appear to deliberately confuse these terms, probably in defence of Trinitarianism. Athanasius seems to give in to the most vigorous polemic and non-biblical reasoning to establish the equality of Christ with God.

 

As was pointed out in Creation: etc. (at pp. 77ff.), Gregg and Groh note that Arius used the word faithful to qualify this verb made which literally is faithful to the one making him (Early Arianism - A View of Salvation, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1981, p. 11).

Athanasius is quoted as saying of this text:

"'Who is faithful to him that made him' does not imply likeness (J0<@:@4@J0J" [tenomoioteta]) to other men, nor that believing, he became well pleasing." That the divine son was a 'faithful' creature, that is to say that he exercised faith (believing fidelity) in his creator, was totally abhorrent to Athanasius (ibid.).

For the Athanasians:

If the Hebrews text was to be understood at all, it could not be taken to refer to the 'essence of the word' but had to be a reference to the Word's incarnation. Nothing could be further from the Arian picture of the Christ (ibid., p. 12)

The position of the Athanasians does not stand up to biblical scrutiny when the full array of proof texts are examined. Athanasius did demonstrate that faithful has its accepted sense of obedient and when used from God to man it carries the concept of trustworthiness. But when the Arians argued for a redeemer that exercised faith, Athanasius countered with an assertion of the essential unchangeability of the Son using ?<"88@4TJ@H [hanalloiotos] and its verb to interpret and control the B4FJ`H [pistos] (or faith) of Hebrews 3:2.

Therefore reasonably the apostle, discoursing concerning the bodily presence of the Word, says, an 'apostle and faithful to him that made him', pointing out that even when becoming man, 'Jesus Christ', 'the same yesterday and today and forever' (Hebrews 13:8) is unalterable (?<"88@4TJ@H) [hanalloiotos] (op. cit., p. 13).

The unchangeability of the Son for the orthodox, removed him ontologically from the realm of moral and ethical choice:

If the redeemer was allowed to choose between two options, they divined, how could anyone be sure he chose rightly in the face of the stratagems of the devil and the limitations of human life. Therefore from the very beginning of the Arian controversy, the Alexandrian Bishops took the unchangeability of the Son as a fixed plank in their platform against Arius (op. cit., p. 13).

Conversely, the Arians emphasised the Son's free moral choice, which is the position that follows from scriptural exegesis. Arius said of the Logos in the Thalia:

The unbegun ?<"DP@H [hanarchos] made (206,) [etheke] the son as a beginning of the creatures (JT< (,<0J<) [ton geneton] (cf. Proverbs 8:22a). And having made this one he advanced (206,) [etheke] [him] for a son (,4H L4@<) [eis uion] to himself (op. cit., p. 23).

The section in Proverbs 8:22 relates to Wisdom where:

The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of His acts of old.

From verse 30 we see that, before the world was created, wisdom was created and was beside the eternal:

like a master workman and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before Him always.

 

The concept refers to Wisdom and Arius holds that this passage refers to the Logos and the Unbegun. This is not a concept that was confined to Arius and the Arians but was rather a long standing theological position which can be seen by the reference to the trias above of Theophilus of Antioch (c. 180 CE) using the term JD4"H [trias] (of which the latin trinitas is a translation), of God, His Word and His Wisdom and also from Tertullian above. Theophilus thus used the term Wisdom as a concept separate from the Logos. Thus in such a trias the term Wisdom would be taken to refer to the Holy Spirit. The alternative is that the Logos was here used as a generic term i.e. the Logon previously referred to, so that the Word was an individuation of the Logon, i.e. a Logos from the Logon here termed Logos generically. This would make John 1:1 have both a general and specific meaning.

 

The biblical position that the Father begat the Son meant to the Arians that the begotten has a beginning of existence (Socrates HE, 1-5). The argument is logically sound.

 

The Creation of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit was termed the Shekhina in the Jewish rabbinical traditions. The early rabbinical traditions were first termed Kabbalah. At first Kabbalah:

did not especially denote a mystical or esoteric tradition. In the Talmud it is used for the extra pentateuchal parts of the Bible, and in the post-talmudic literature the Oral Law is also called 'kabbalah.' In the writings of Eleazer of Worms (beginning of the 13th century) esoteric traditions (concerning the names of the angels and the magical Names of God) are referred to as 'kabbalah.' e.g. in his Hilkhot ha-Kisse (in Merkabah Shelemah. 1921), and Sefer ha-Shem. In his commentary to the Sefer Yezirah (c. 1130), when he is discussing the creation of the Holy Spirit, i.e. the Shekhinah, Judah b. Barzillai states that the sages 'used to transmit statements of this kind to their students and to sages quietly, in a whisper, through kabbalah. All this demonstrates that the term 'kabbalah' was not yet used for any one particular field. The new, precise usage originated in the circle of Isaac the Blind (1200) and was adopted by all his disciples (Encyc. Judaica, Vol 10, art. Kabbalah, p. 494).

The quote is used here for the purpose of demonstrating that the early traditions of the Talmud incorporated the understanding, under the name kabbalah, of the mechanics of the theological manifestations or theophanies. The understanding of the Shekhinah or Holy Spirit was that it was created (see also Ecclus., XXIV:1-9). Hence, this manifestation of God was generated, by God, with Christ and the other Morning Stars of the Council, thus effecting the creation. (The later precise formulation of kabbalah at 1200 is of interest later in dealing with Gnostic explanation of the Problem of Evil). The Holy Spirit is not a separate entity in the sense of the word that Christ is a separate entity. It is a multi-faceted power source emanating from and generated by God. Referred to as the Counsellor (RSV) or Comforter (KJV) it was not to be allowed to enter the Elect until Christ had completed his mission and reconciled men to God by his sacrifice (Jn. 16:7) (although some select OT figures possessed the Spirit - see below).

 

Further Philosophical Conflict

The essential unchangeability of the Son became a fixed plank in the theology of the Athanasians. This position was biblically unsound and therefore there had to be found an accommodating explanation to explain the subordination of Christ's will. The ensuing conflict was at first the Monophysite versus the Diphysite conflict concerning the one or two natures of Christ. The doctrine of the essential unchangeability of the divine nature in the son then logically committed the Athanasians to another problem which further divided them. To explain the subordination of Christ's will it was then reasoned by some that there must have been two wills one of which was divine and the other human. This two wills or Dithelete position was opposed by the one will or Monothelete faction. This dispute then became known as the Monotheletist and Ditheletist dispute. The dispute was stopped by political necessity and intervention but not resolved at the 6th Ecumenical Council. The council was an Imperial Synod convened by the emperor Constantine IV Poganatus (668-685) in the Hall (JD@88@H [troullos] hence Trullan Council) of the palace at Constantinople in November 680.

 

The council, involving the Eastern Bishops and the prelates of Pope Agatho, lasted intermittently until September 681. The Roman delegates:

won acceptance for the doctrine of the two wills, and procured the condemnation of its opponents both living and dead alike, including ... Pope Honorius.(ERE, art. Monotheletism, Vol. 8, p. 824).

The document put before the emperor came to be regarded as the counterpart to the Tome of Leo I in the Monophysite controversy.

In the Symbol of the Council the terms in which the Chalcedonian formula defines the relation of the two natures are applied to the two inherent wills (*b@ NLF46"4 2,8ZF,4H J@4 2,8Z:"J") [duo phusikai theleseis toi thelemata] Thus the two wills corresponding respectively to the two natures are not opposed to each other (@P B,<"<J\") [ouch hupenantia] on the contrary, the human will is obedient to the divine and omnipotent will to which it is subject (B`:,<@< J <2DfB4<@< "J@ [epomenon to anthropinon] (i.e. J@ 8`(@L [tou logou]) 2X80:" 6"4 : <J4B\BJ@< <J4B"8"@<, :_88@< :< @< 6"4 B@J"F-F`:,<@< J 2,\ "J@ 6"4 B"<F2,<,4 2,8Z:"J4) [thelema kai mu antipipton e antipagaion, mollon men oun kai hupotas-somenon t thei autou kai pansthenai], for it was necessary that, while the will of the flesh must indeed act, it should be subordinate to the divine will. Just as the flesh of the God-Logos (J@ 2,@ 8`(@L) [tou theou logou] is called flesh, and is flesh, so the natural will of this flesh is called, and rightly called, the will of the God-Logos.

And, as his holy and stainless animate flesh was not taken away in being made divine (2,T2,F" @6 <DX20) [thetheisa ouk anerethe], but remained within its own limitations and relations < J 4*\ "J-H D 6"4 8`( *4X:,4<,<) [en t idi atzs or kai log diemeinen], so the human will likewise was not abolished in the act of deification, but was still preserved.

Agatho did not live to see the triumph of his cause, and it was left to his successor, Leo II., to secure the acceptance of the Council's decrees in the West. (ERE, art. Monotheletism, Vol. 8, p. 824).

The most vigorous opponent of Ditheletism in the East, Marcarius patriarch of Antioch was silenced by confinement to a monastery. The second Trullan Council (692) upheld the condemnation of Monotheletism but the conflict broke out in the wranglings of the Byzantine court (ERE, ibid.). The emperor Philippicus Bardanes (711-713) undertook to deal with the dispute and his successor Anastasius II (713-715) restored the authority of the Council of 680-681.

But Monotheletism was still faithfully adhered to by the Maronites of Mt. Lebanon (ibid.).

 

It can be seen from this argument that the position adopted by the Athanasians at Nica had committed the faction to the establishment of an aspect of divine nature that made the Son to possess a form of the Spirit which was not relative. The possession of the attributes of God the Father of omniscience and omnipotence could thus be imputed to Christ in opposition to the express words of Christ. Hence, when Christ said the things he did, it was held to be the human aspect of his nature and will and not the divine. This made him some form of split personality. Which was accountable and which was not? The whole argument was totally unnecessary. It was brought about because the Athanasians were caught in their own flawed logic. Christ was sent as a sacrifice and as an example; the firstborn of many brethren. Christ possessed the Spirit in the same way but to a greater degree than others of the elect. His success was ensured by the omniscience of the Father; not because he shared the divine nature in co-equality with God. He exercised faith as an example to mankind within the law as it was delivered at Sinai. This was done to show that evil could be overcome in perfect obedience.

 

The problem with the rejection of the exercise of faith on the part of the Son was brought about because the Athanasians did not understand the difference between the exercise of free will and the omniscience of God which is dealt with under Omniscience in The Problem of Evil. They did not understand predestination and that God's prescience as an essential aspect of his omniscience did not remove free moral agency from Christ. Christ could not fail because God, by exercise of his divine prescience, knew that he would not do so. Christ thus exercised free moral and ethical choice as the elect are to do. God knew that Christ would not fail. But that did not remove him from the realm of moral and ethical choice as it does not remove humans from that realm. By reason of His prescience God can also foreordain the elect so that they are predestined to be called and hence they are justified and glorified (Rom. 8:29-30).

 

Trinitarianism blurs this fundamental distinction. In this way, by God's prescience, the Lamb could be slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). The term foundation of the world here is 6"J"$@8H 6`F:@L, [kataboles kosmou] the same term as at Revelation 17:8; Matthew 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 4:3; 9:26 and 1Peter 1:20. The concept katabole is derived from kataballo meaning to throw down or to cast down. Thus the throwing down of the world, and hence the identification of Christ as sacrifice, could mean either the throwing down of its base or of its fall in the rebellion. Either way the absolute prescience of God is involved (see The Problem of Evil). In the same way God saved the elect and called them:

with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus before times eternal (2Tim. 1:9, see RSV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, or also rendered before the world began in the KJV).

This verse had to be rendered ages ago to obviate the claims of predestination. But the intent of the verse is to elevate God's prescience of the successful calling of each of the elect not only before they were formed in the womb as from Jeremiah 1:4 but rather before times eternal. Such a position could only occur from the concept of God standing outside of time in his abiding perpetuity and by the operation of His omniscience. He selected the elect in accordance with the Plan of Salvation before there was anything to be saved. Thus there is a prescience not only of sin but of its redemption. Because only Eloah stands outside of time and not Christ or the other Elohim as time began with their generation; only He is omniscient. Hence it is He who selects the elect by prescience and gives them to Christ. By the same process he gave revelation to Christ. It is thus absurd to assert The Oneness and Indivisibility of God as a demonstration of co-equality, co-eternality and omniscience of the subordinate entities. Adam's fall was foreknown by God the Father just as surely as was the plan of his salvation. The implications for the Problem of Evil are significant. Does the fact that God has prior knowledge of every action and calling make you sin or diminish human free will? On the contrary, any being that does not know all the future cannot be God (as Augustine said in the City of God as pointed out in Creation etc.). God exercises prescience by not being subject to time and space; however the other entities are so subject, as time began with their generation. For precisely this reason God must know that the elect will make the grade on foreordination. The argument that he would have injured the individual by doing so without full prescience will be examined under Omniscience.

 

The Athanasians did in fact have the key to understanding and the position of two wills was indeed correct but not in the manner put forward. Mankind is indeed made in the image of God as Christ was made in that image. This is not an anthropomorphic statement but an expression of structure such that the Holy Spirit can be superimposed on the individual (see Creation: etc., Chs. 3 & 4). Many theological premises are predicated on this statement from a misconception. Mankind is thus of two levels of accountability:

1.         At the first or literal level of the law being without the Holy Spirit until calling into the elect; and

2.         at the higher level of accountability after baptism being in possession of the Holy Spirit.

Thus the elect have higher laws than mankind generally (Mat. 5:27-28, 31-32; 19:9, Mk. 10:11-12; Lk. 16:18); because they are interlinked by spiritual laws which are pure theoretical causal relationships. (see Creation: etc., Ch. 1 for causal theory and also below). Christ possessed this same relationship and was Ditheletist but not as stated by the Athanasians. The Athanasians understood this in the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries because the creeds were initially written as statements of Faith on Baptism. They thus practised adult baptism. The purpose of the creeds has therefore altered.

 

God and the Spirit in the Biblical Texts

God Acting Through His Spirit

It is a misunderstanding of the interrelationship of the Spirit as a unity which gives rise to the assertions of Trinitarianism. The interrelationship of the Spirit is the essential aspect of the capacity of God to be all in all (1Cor. 15:28 KJV). It is this interrelationship that retains the integrity of Monotheism within the will of the Father and extends the capacity for God to be a Kingdom within many theoi including the human elect. The capacity of the elect to become theoi or gods can and will be extended to all of mankind at the second resurrection (from Rev. 20).

 

This extension of the capacity to be a Son of God will be effected by the extension of the Spirit to all mankind in the progressive educational phase the Bible terms the Judgment. The Judgment occurs immediately following the second resurrection. The period is uncertain but from the passage in Isaiah 65:20 the period is held to cover approximately 100 years.

The child shall die a hundred years old and the sinner an hundred years old shall die accursed

Mankind will become Bene Elohim or Sons of God at one with the Father where they are in Him and He in them as is Christ both Son and God. Christ is both Son and Elohim in the plural sense being termed God and YHVH. The entities exist within the Host as Sons of God in a hierarchical structure. Messiah is to carry the titles and hence the authority of God the Father (Isaiah 9:6), namely "The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace". As stated previously, Trinitarianism can make no logical sense of this position in that the everlasting Father is distinct from the Son in the Godhead. The solution can only be found in a subordinate relationship where the authority of the One God is conferred on the Son with and by the use of the name. Noetianism and Sabellianism did not understand this principle and thus foundered on it. The multiple beings referred to as YHVH in the Old Testament, including Christ, carried the name which symbolised the authority. They were able to carry the name and authority because they possessed the Spirit by authority and delegation. God is used in an extended sense to refer to the entire angelic Host in 1Corinthians 8:5 where it is stated that there are many theoi or gods and many kurioi or lords but to us there is one God the Father of whom are all things, and one Kurios, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the beginning of the creation of God (from above, and Rev. 3:14). Christ is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation (Col. 1:15). As stated above this entity was the first act of God's creation and was used as the instrument of the creative process as the executor of the Will of God (Rev. 4:11). Christ acted and created in accordance with God's will (Mat. 26:39; Mk. 14:36; Lk. 22:42; Jn. 4:34; 5:30). He created as the premier and subordinate entity of that group of beings termed Elohim in the Hebrew or Theoi in the Greek which is rendered in English as Gods. This concept can only not be polytheist if the entities receive the aspect of being God by consubstantial and relative sharing of that essence called God which is the Holy Spirit.

 

All the elect are subordinate to God's will (Mat. 7:21). These human elect are chosen by the Father (Mat. 11:27). Christ is responsible for not losing any of the elect in accordance with God's will (Jn. 6:37-40). The elect are begotten Sons of God being born again into the Kingdom of God. It is properly understood that the term adoption is misleading and is more properly the "begettal". There are many begotten Sons of God but Christ was the onlyborn (monogenes) (Son of) God. The terms and the implications are fully examined in the work Creation etc. and above. The elect are to become God (2,@4) [theoi] as an extended being. Thus God becomes a kingdom or a family. Irenus understood this in part when he said of this step, no doubt taken from Zechariah 12:8:

There is none other called God by the scriptures except the Father of all and the Son, and those who possess the adoption. (quoted by Gregg and Groh p. 68 cf. Irenaeus, Haer. 4, preface; see also 3.6.1-2; 4.1.1)

but Paul said there are many theoi (1Cor. 8:5). These are the Elohim Host.

The only theological writer to understand the concept that the elect were to become theoi or God in the plural sense, in modern times, appears to have been Herbert Armstrong who wrote that at Christ's coming, man [that is, those who are baptised]:

shall be BORN of God - into the KINGDOM OF GOD - because God is that Kingdom! He is no longer material flesh from the ground, but composed of spirit, even as God is a spirit (John 4:24) (original emphasis retained).

Armstrong held that Satan had blinded humanity to the fact that God IS this Kingdom Jesus proclaimed (The Missing Dimension in Sex, 3rd ed., 1986, p. 47). However, Armstrong appeared to vacillate between Unitarianism and Binitarianism.

 

Parables and Understanding

The biblical concept is that God will extend Himself progressively and relatively to all of the human race becoming all in all. To do this, the understanding of the process itself is controlled by God. This is why Christ spoke in parables so that those not predestined to be called would not understand. Christ said to the Apostles:

Mark 4:11-12 To you has been given the secret [mystery] of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again and be forgiven. (also Lk. 8:9-10)

The parable of the sower was then given to show that understanding was given progressively so that people would not be called unsuccessfully being turned back to evil by Satan; or by the cares of this world (Mk. 4:15-19 and Lk. 8:12-14). Even when Christ had said this to the apostles they were not yet given to understand. Christ gave them understanding later.

Luke 24:45-47 Then he [Messiah] opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them 'Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things

Thus understanding was given even to the apostles on a progressive and timed basis. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is thus given systematically by progressive understanding to the elect on a predetermined basis.

Paul said:

Rom. 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes

The Gospel is thus not any understanding or just the message about Christ or even of what Christ said. The Gospel or Good News of the Kingdom of God is the knowledge that God is progressively and systematically extending Himself to the entire human race so that He will become all in all. Every human being will become the Son of God as Christ is the Son of God thus becoming Gods (Theoi or Elohim and Bene Elohim). God is the Kingdom of God. He is progressively both a kingdom and a family. Trinitarianism limits the understanding of this progressive system.

 

Error Concerning the Logical Requirement for a Unified Host

The Unified Host

One can deny the doctrine of the Trinity but still be logically polytheist. This occurs by holding that the angels are separate creatures not possessed of the Sonship. This is not only non-biblical as we have seen above but the position renders the holder logically polytheist. Even if the Bible were silent on the matter of the Sonship which it is not, it would be logically necessary for a monotheist to hold the position that the begettal and Sonship was at baptism to avoid logical polytheism and to be logically monotheist. The action of entities must be within the will of God, under action of the Spirit, which is given at baptism.

 

Erroneous Assertions

To place the matter in perspective it may be helpful to look at some common assertions of Trinitarianism which are quite erroneous despite being prolifically and dearly held.

 

The Way in which God is One

The first point is that God is held from Deuteronomy 6:4 to be one being or one entity. Which, from Chapter 4, The Monarchia means that the Absolute One existed in three distinct subsistences. This was taken to the absurd lengths in Sabellianism where these entities are without distinction. But The Circuminsession similarly holds that the Father, Word and Spirit could not be separated, in fact or in thought from one another. Such a position is logically absurd.

 

To be distinct requires to be distinguished or differentiated or divided (Oxford Universal Dict.) and to make a distinction is to allocate a division, partition or separation of one of the parts of a whole as a class or category (ibid.). To be separate means withdrawn or divided from something else so as to have independent existence and also to treat as distinct or to segregate for a special purpose (ibid.).

 

The question with the Shema is: what is being referred to as one and how is it one? The Circuminsession appears to be designed to cope with this problem but becomes logically Sabellianist. The entity referred to as God is alternatively: Elohim, Elohenu or a particularity of the Elohim and, from some rabbis, Eloah who is one and admits of no plurality. The claim that the Shema refers to Eloah simplifies the issue but it also logically excludes the Son, as Eloah is the Father alone (see esp. Prov. 30:4-5 for the distinction). The Shema is also variously recited.

 

One version is Shemah Yisroel, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai Echad. Other variants insert Eloah and others yet another variant: Ha Shem. These attempts at avoiding the use of the name of God further confuse the issue. It is certain that the intent is singular from the variants. The Shema or profession of the faith at Deuteronomy 6:4 is also variously translated:

Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Aryeh Kaplan in The Living Bible translates the text:

Listen Israel, God is Our Lord, God is One.

The proposition is that YHVH Elohim (Strong's Hebrew Dict. No. 430) [is] YHVH 'echad, according to Strong, (SHD 259 $%! [echad]). The Jerusalem Bible Hebrew text has a particular variant of allegedly Elohim ({1*%-! [Elohinu]). Elohinu is singular and the singular derivative of Elohim or Elohin (Chaldean) is Eloah or Elaha (Chaldean). This is also consistent with the text in the Soncino Chumash (ed. A. Cohen). The notation on Deuteronomy 6:4 says:

4. THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE. The Lord, Who is now only our God and not of other peoples will in time to come be acknowledged by all the world as the one and only God (R). Is One signifies 'He alone' is the LORD (E). The text has our God, because He performed His miracles with Moses (N). The final letters ayin and daleth in the Hebrew words for hear and One are written large to concentrate attention upon the thought contained therein (S).

The Chumash may perhaps be referring to two entities. The following verse states:

Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy might.

This entity is listed as YHVH Eloheik using the personal suffix for your God - in other words, that entity identified as Eloah, the Supreme God or God Most High who anointed the God of Israel as God. This event is referred to in Psalm 45:7 and repeated again in Hebrews 1:9. This clearly refers to God the Father or Eloah who in the texts is anointing Christ as a subordinate God of Israel. Deuteronomy 6:5 is clearly applied to God the Father, the God Most High. Christ's use of the text in Mark appears to be to confirm this point. Given that the Chumash identifies the entity of the Elohim to a form we can equate elsewhere with Eloah, perhaps the Shema is in two parts. Deuteronomy 6:4 refers to the unity of the Elohim and Deuteronomy 6:5 refers to the sovereignty of YHVH Elohim or Eloah.

 

The Hebrew terms for One have been used by various trinitarian authorities to open up the Shema to plural forms. For example, Strong identifies the YHVH Elohim, the plural word for God, as 'echad or one which stems from the concept of united.

 

'Echad is used in the sense of united at Genesis 2:24 where Adam and Eve were to be of one flesh. They nevertheless retained their identities and the individuality of their Being. The word for one in Deuteronomy 6:4 is actually not the 'echad which Strong alleges, even though that concept of one is derived from a union. The Companion Bible in its notes to Deuteronomy 6:4 states that the Hebrew word for one here is Hebrew 'ehad, i.e.

a compound unity (Lat. unus), one made up of others: Gen. 1:5, one of seven; 2:21, one of twenty four; 2:24, one made up of two; 3:22, one of the Trinity (emphasis added) etc. It is not yahid, which is (Latin) unicus, a single or only one, occurs twelve times ... Heb. of all other words for one is 'echad.

Thus the word for one here is a compound unity which Strong does not appear to address. The allegation that Genesis 3:22 refers to a Trinity is incorrect. The Shema is repeated by Christ at Mark 12:29 which some texts quote differently. The New American Standard Bible quotes Deuteronomy 6:4 differently to Mark 12:29. The KJV ends Deuteronomy 6:4 with The Lord our God is one Lord, which is the way it ends Mark 12:29. The NIV says The Lord our God the Lord is one and states Mark 12:29 the same way. The concept of Mark 12:29 is that God is one kurios or one controller, translated as Lord. Zwingli translates the two texts differently. Indeed the texts appear to convey the concept in different ways. To conclude from this that God is one being or one entity appears incorrect unless we are dealing with a particular Elohim; which from above is definitely the case. The concept of God as one can also be derived from Malachi 2:15. In speaking of the treachery of man against wife, to which our people are prone, Malachi says that they were made echad, or one.

And has he not made one? Yet the vestige of the Spirit is in him. And what of the one? He was seeking a seed of God (Interlinear).

The seed of Elohim here sought was a zera_. A seed as a fruit used of child. The echad here was to be one as a unity with God. Thus God is one takes on an entirely new meaning. Malachi 2:10 states Is there not one Father to us all? Has not one God created us. The word echad follows El or God in the main text in the Interlinear. The NIV has Has not one God created us. The God here referred to, is God (El) the Father and is singular. Echad here has a singular application. The use of Echad is thus variable. The Bible overwhelmingly denies the assertion that the Elohim is one being or one entity from the texts quoted herein. At Deuteronomy 6:5 we are speaking of one being, YHVH Eloheik. Zechariah 14:9 states that YHVH will be one (e[c]had) and his name one (echad). It is Eloah only who is alone, but the Elohim are unified under Eloah. Christ's comments in Mark 12:29-30 bear closer scrutiny. He is quoted as saying:

Hear O Israel: The Lord our God the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Mark 12:29-30 appears to follow the Septuagint in the wording of Deuteronomy 6:4-5. In particular, the term The Lord is one is the form 6bD4@F ,H FJ4< [kurios eis estin] (the Septuagint has no < [n]). The term ,H [eis] is stated by Strong's Concordance (SHD 1520) to be a prime numeral; one: - a(n, -ny, certain), etc. The preposition governs the accusative case only (Appendix 104, vi, of the Companion Bible). At vi we see that Eis:

governs only one case (the Accusative). Euclid uses eis when a line is drawn to meet another line at a certain point. Hence it denotes motion to or unto an object, with the purpose of reaching or touching it (e.g. Matt. 2:11, 3:10. Luke 8:14. Acts 16:10.) From this comes the idea of an object toward which such motion is directed (e.g. Matt. 18:20,30. 1 Cor. 12:13. Gal. 3:27.; and for, or with respect to which such action or movement is made. In contrast with eis, pros may mark one object as the means of reaching an ulterior object which is denoted by eis (e.g. John 6:35. Rom. 5:1. Eph. 4:12. It is the opposite of ek...

Thus eis is the word in the Greek which is used to describe the concept of 'ehad or united in the Hebrew as the object of converging entities. Perhaps the meaning of Deuteronomy 6:4 & 5 has been lost in the translation. YHVH Elohinu is replaced by the nominative Kurios O Theos and the text at verse 5 utilises the accusative Kurion ton Theon. Perhaps this is a significant distinction in the Greek of the order proposed as being conveyed by John at John 1:1. The nominative case appears to be used for the term eis which is governed by the accusative. The use of Theon appears to follow the rules in John 1 we have noted previously.

 

The consistent structure of Septuagint and New Testament Greek seemingly has distinct variations from classical Greek. The structure, particularly in Hebrews and Acts, and others, occurs within a form of Koine or colloquial Greek. The consistent use might indicate that the devices and structure employed by John and the other apostles was an established Hellenised Judaic system incorporating the Old Testament cosmology. Perhaps the method originated in Alexandria in the general sense of Talmud tradition (then termed Kabbalah in its older non-Mystical sense), and conveyed the distinctions and subordination within the Elohim from Psalm 45:7. The reading of Psalm 45:7 at Hebrews likewise follows the Septuagint and Christ clearly has partners (:,J`P@LH) [metoxous] attributed to him, translated as comrades in the RSV. Hebrews 1:3-4 states of the Son that:

He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of His nature, upholding the universe (ta panta) by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to the angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs.

Hebrews clearly holds the progression to the right hand of God is pursuant to successful atonement for sin. He is distinct from God and is progressed above his comrades from the incarnation. Only God is immortal (from 1Tim. 6:16). Christ's eternality or aioonion life (1Jn. 1:2) stems from God as does the eternal life of all the elect being made possible through the expiation of Christ. God is, however, distinct from Christ and the Host. The problem of the Theon/Theos distinction cannot be explained away simply by grammatical rules and deserves much closer scrutiny. Certainly, the construction of a doctrine based on a variant construction of the above is unwise. It must be constructed by reference to the whole Bible.

 

The Holy Spirit as God

The Holy Spirit is held to be:

divine, eternal and co-essential with God, yet distinct from the Father and from the Son.

From Calvin's treatment of the trinitarian definition above, this position which is logically Trinitarian does not by its logic compel the assertion that the Holy Spirit is God. The Shekhinah was held to have been created from the earliest Jewish traditions as demonstrated above esp. the Sefer Yezirah (c. 1130) by Judah b. Barzillai. The Holy Spirit is an emanation of God. The assertion that the Holy Spirit is also God from the arguments above appears insupportable. Likewise the interchangeable use of Christ and God as synonymous terms is incorrect as the use of Galatians 2:20 would show. That Christ dwelt in Paul as God dwelt in Paul is only achieved by the mechanism of a third agency which consequently can only be a vehicle for the initial power of God the Father and which Christ shares. The assertion of the emanation of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son was the doctrine pronounced at The Council of Toledo c. 589; the Filioque clause. This Western trinitarian position was never adopted by Trinitarians of the Eastern Churches.

 

Initially, it seems as absurd to state that the Holy Spirit was created as it does to suggest it is a separate personage. The Holy Spirit as the power of God must be instantiated in the divine essence as an attribute of His omnipotence, else He would be powerless to create either it or Wisdom as an attribute of omniscience (see Creation: etc., esp. at Ch. 2). The creation of the Spirit is in the same manner by exercise of the Divine will. The Spirit only existed in its active agency from the commencement of the exercise of the will of God. This generation which created the Holy Spirit is the same concept of generation used by the Athanasians to explain why Christ was not created. The so-called Arians, actually the Biblicalists, saw that the creation of Christ, whether by generation or not is no less an act of God's creation than the creation of the Universe. The discussion at Nica did not isolate this issue of logic. Consequently the result was wrong. It was by God's will that the Holy Spirit was the primary emanation of God's attributes which conferred Spiritual unity on the Council of the Elohim in the act of their creation.

 

The Holy Spirit is an extended attribute of God which enables the elect to exercise the power of God in relative aspects. It began to exist in the form we understand when it was first exercised within the will of God. It is thus an ideatum and, hence, created.

 

Co-Equal Personages

The term personage is applied to the elements of the Godhead. It is a contradiction in terms to state, as above, that God is one being or one entity and then proceed to this contrary position; unless it is held that the consciousnesses or personages are not separate beings; namely, to hold that God is one entity and Christ and the Holy Spirit are facets of his being. The position that Christ and God are the same is the precise issue between Trinitarianism and Sabellianism. At any rate, either position is incoherent and indeed perilously similar. The major objection to the logic of the merging of the beings or entities termed God the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit as is the case in Sabellianism is that the sacrifice of the lamb was as an object of reconciliation to his God. To assert that God could die as an act of worship to Himself is an absurdity of Psychological Egoism and Narcissism. It leads on to the denial of the death of Christ and the resurrection. Christ died and was resurrected by the power of God as mankind will be so resurrected. Some facets of co-equal logic demand the assertion that Christ did not die and, hence, was not resurrected; such as: He emptied himself of his Godliness on the cross and it was only his flesh that died; he remained God and a conscious entity. Where then is the sacrifice and where then the faith? He died as any one of the elect died. His essential nature as Spirit remained an ideatum of God totally dependent upon the power and authority of God to take his life up again. He was necessarily resurrected in the flesh and transformed in the Spirit as the Wave or Sheaf offering. Christianity does not understand the sequence because it does not keep the Passover correctly.

 

The New Testament uses the term divine in relation to the Holy Spirit at 2Peter 1:3-4 where:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion and become partakers of the divine nature.

This text does not assert the Holy Spirit as God but rather as God's divine power. To read it as a statement of a separate element or personage of God is to distort the plain reading of the text. Acts 5:3-4 is held to call the Holy Spirit God.

But Peter said 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.'

The comment that this passage refers to the Holy Spirit as God uses the technique of joining the first section, namely, of lying to the Holy Spirit by keeping back the tithe from the apostles, with the second section stating that Ananias had not lied to men but to God. A proper examination of the text shows that the concept of God is extended to the apostles and to Ananias himself. Ananias, in lying to the apostles, had also attempted to deceive the Holy Spirit which being resident in them all was the agency God used to control the elect. Peter had rebuked him for lying not to men but to the Holy Spirit (which dwelt in all the elect). Thus from this logic the elect are God, which is absurd unless there is a relative sharing of the Godhead (see Zech. 12:8).

 

The withholding of tithes is not an offence against men, it is robbing God (Mal. 3:8) and the withholding of a pledge was likewise robbing God. (The correct practice of Korban or setting aside offerings to God was misapplied by tradition, frustrating the intent of the law and thus bringing forth the rebuke by Christ in the example at Mk. 7:11).

 

The understanding here was that the Holy Spirit resided in the elect and thus the divine power was among them. Lying to one in an official capacity as collector of tithes to withhold tithes or offerings was lying to God in the same generic sense as robbing God, as used in Malachi. Using this text to assert that the Holy Spirit is a separate entity as God, apart from its application in the elect, is incorrect.

 

The Holy Spirit as the divine power is explained again by Peter as quoted from 2Peter 1:3-4. Peter stated that the Holy Spirit is the divine power. Any entity exercising the divine authority, and here as the power itself, carried the title God. The Judeo-Christian concept that the entities were either at one with God or they were in rebellion and evil is fundamental to monotheism. This is dealt with in the section on terms in The Problem of Evil analysing the Hebrew concepts. The elect carried the Holy Spirit and hence the power by the same reasoning had to be an extension of God.

 

Omniscience is likewise attributed to the Holy Spirit

The Shekhinah was identified with Wisdom and, indeed, Theophilus included the concept in his trias as above. The Spirit searches the deep things of God (1Cor. 2:10) which is a facet of understanding the intent of the individual not a factor of omniscience. It may be that the Spirit is the mechanism by which God imparts or maintains His omniscience but it does not follow that the Spirit is omniscient (see The Problem of Evil, Omniscience). The comments regarding the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit, being present in believers everywhere (from 1Cor. 6:19) rather than support any notion of a separate third entity as God, indicates an argument for an extended Godhead. The Holy Spirit is the mechanism that binds together the Temple of God, which is a living thing of multiple entities. The elect are the living stones or multiple entities which make up the Temple of God (1Peter 2:5). 1Peter 2:5 also differentiates Christ from God. The Spirit thus makes multiple entities one rather than arguing for a separate third entity. It is through the Spirit and only through the Spirit that Christ is One with God and can be termed God.

 

The Holy Spirit Admits of No Gains and No Losses

The dogma that the Holy Spirit admits of no gains and no losses was necessary to isolate Christ from the elect and the Host within trinitarian logic. We have seen (in Creation: etc. and herein) how it was argued at Nica and why it was so argued. The logical extension of this erroneous philosophy was to deny that the Holy Spirit can be developed in the elect. Thus the amount of the Spirit that Christ possessed was forever different and greater than that which the elect shared with God the Father. Similarly, the elect could not increase the amount of the Spirit that they were allocated at baptism. The absurdity is then developed to the conclusion that you can only pray for guidance in the Spirit that you already have and not for any increase in the Spirit. Any aspect of God must be fully God in relation to Christ but relative and limited in the elect. This is like saying the capillaries in one's toe are fully that person, but not part of the body in the way that the head is part of the body. The sense is correct in that each cell contains all the same DNA as is necessary to become a complete you; but the total claim is absurd. It is however true to liken the Holy Spirit to God's DNA such that by progressive replacement of the human structure with the Holy Spirit you can be perfected. Such a concept is rather like reversing the process of cancer. This was the concept of the mustard seed and of the leaven used by Christ in Matthew 13:31,33; Mark 4:31; and Luke 13:19,21. Finally, the result is the perfect power of God. The assertion that divine nature admits of no gains and no losses, and the assertion that in its application to the human elect it is fixed, is incorrect. More importantly, the assertion that it cannot be increased is contrary to biblical teaching.

 

Such a concept would lock the adherent into a position of not being able to grow in the Spirit or alter the allocation of the necessary abilities endowed by the Spirit on the elect. The adherent would then spiritually stagnate, if not regress. The biblical position is that the Spirit is planted in the elect at baptism. From above, it is the Holy Spirit which enabled Christ to be at one with God uniting him with God. The elect were given the Spirit according to God's plan. Christ and the Host worked from obedience. It was also developed that the elitist polytheism introduced by Trinitarianism and the Soul Doctrine made it necessary to claim that Christ has all the attributes of God but that all the other entities of the Host are not possessed of the divine nature. Thus an angel is distinct from Christ as the Angel of YHVH. This concept introduced logical polytheism to the understanding of the Host. The complex sequence of the calling of the elect rendered this doctrine even more incoherent. It became necessary to hold that the Spirit could not be increased.

 

The use by Paul of accounting terminology for the use of the Spirit and the register of accumulation of sin debt which became the basis of the Colossian heresy, examined in Book 1, Chapters 5 and 6, may have contributed to the problem. But the concept of a non-increasing Spirit could only stand in isolation by ignoring the many texts which counter such an assertion.

 

Paul states that the Spirit is an earnest or down payment at 2Corinthians 1:22; 5:5. This was the earnest of the inheritance (Eph. 1:14). The term translated as earnest was the Greek word "DD"$T< [arrhabon], which was of Hebrew origin and meant according to Strong's Greek Dictionary No. 728:

a pledge, i.e. part of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest:- earnest

Any analysis of the term could not but conclude that the Spirit was capable of increase and decrease at least by division into parts. The concept of down payment unavoidably requires such a logical division. The Spirit thus admits of gains and losses by division. There is a primary allocation of the Spirit at baptism. There is thus a relative sharing of the Spirit. From baptism the Spirit grows. The Holy Spirit is the mechanism that makes mankind the Kingdom of God (Rev. 1:6). The growth of the Kingdom occurs through the Spirit, in faith and trust in God.

 

The Kingdom was likened to a mustard seed at Mark 4:30-32 and as above. The seed is planted in the elect as children who grow in knowledge and power. The spirit grows both throughout humanity as a lump of leaven leavening the whole lump (Mat. 13:33) and within the individual until it leavens the individual. The offering of the loaves at Pentecost reflect the leavening process of the Holy Spirit within the elect (see also the papers Gods Calendar and Pentecost). God thus becomes all in all (1Cor. 15:28 KJV). The term all in all was altered in other texts to accord with the assertion that the Holy Spirit did not grow. The term all in all which is translated as everything to everyone in the RSV, is derived from the Greek:

BV<J" < BF4< [panta en pasin]

Marshall translates the term all in all as the main text of the RSV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament. The words are declensions of B"H (pas) meaning all, any, every, the whole:- all (manner of, means), alway (-s), any (one). The meaning is thus more correctly all in all. The Spirit is thus extended to everyone developing them to the maximum until they are conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). The image thus admits of gains in the individual. Paul holds that the image is capable of being quenched in the individual from 2Timothy 1:6. Paul says:

Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self control.

The Spirit can thus be quenched and rekindled or reactivated apparently from dormancy.

 

Therefore, the Spirit admits of gains and losses in the individual. Similarly the same Spirit admits of differing attributes between individuals (1Cor. 12:4). As Christ did not possess the omniscience of God and also the full omnipotence of God, so also the elect differ in attributes one from another. There are thus varieties of service but the same Lord (1Cor. 12:5). It is the same God who inspires them to the varieties of working under Christ (1Cor. 12:6). Each is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. One is given the utterance of wisdom and another the utterance of knowledge, both through the same Spirit (1Cor. 12:7-8). Some have great faith or healing powers (1Cor. 12:9); others have the operations of powers translated miracles. Some have gifts of prophecy; others the discernment between spirits. Others have the capacity of tongues ((8TFF<) [glssn] and others the capacity to interpret them (1Cor. 12:10).

All of these are apportioned by the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

Thus the Spirit allocates to each of the Host the attributes they possess on a relative basis for the achievement of the purposes and the Plan of God. The elect thus drink of the one Spirit (1Cor. 12:13). Christ is the head of the body, but all partake of the one Spiritual blood. The conferring of attributes is on an as required basis by the Spirit. The Spirit can confer wisdom as it can confer any attribute with or without prayer. Therefore the Spirit is relative and can fluctuate according to need and allocation. The Spirit therefore admits of gains and losses.

 

Arianism

Arianism is loosely defined by most Trinitarians as:

a view holding that Christ is the highest of the created beings and is thus properly referred to as God, but not the God.

 

However, the Athanasians attribute a view to Arianism which makes the Spirit a creation of the Son. This is completely false. It may also be an attributed view.

 

The biblical position on the creation of Christ is that he was an emanation from God the Father. Termed by the Trinitarians generation as above, the fact of his emergence as a generation or emanation makes him a creation of God the Father. The generation is an act of wilful activity by the Father and without which the Son would not have existed as an entity. Such a position was held by the Church long before Arius, as seen from the quotes above. The original position and indeed that of the Bible is that position attributed in the above definition to Arius. The definition is far too generalised to serve as a specific and exclusive definition of Arius position and the School of Lucian of Antioch. Thus, from this definition, the apostles and most of the ante-Nicene Fathers are Arians. Such a definition would impeach Christ and condemn him out of his own mouth as Arian. See also the papers Socinianism, Arianism and Unitarianism (No. 185) and Arianism and Semi-Arianism (No. 167).

 

It may well be that what we are viewing at Nica/Constantinople is the formation of an entirely new religion which has little to do with the religion of the apostles or the early Church and as such the appellation Arian has been applied to all of the preceding parties. It is more likely however that the definition used is a generalisation which has no basis in fact but serves to group those in disagreement under an accusative label. Such a process is intellectually dishonest but generally has reflected the standard of debate in this issue. The purpose of the declarations of co-equality and co-eternality arising from the so-called Athanasian/Arian disputes is dealt with herein. The aim was to isolate what would be now termed the fundamentalist parties under the title Arian.

 

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