|Faith Strengthened||Chapter 10||Part 1|
GENESIS 1:26, "And God said, We will make man in our image according to our likeness, and they shall rule over the fish of the sea," etc.
From the words, "We will make man," the Christian expounders of this verse infer, that an allusion to a plurality of divine persons is made.
Refutation:óIf the verb נַעֲשֶׂה Naasseh, we will make, related to a divine plurality, why do we find immediately afterwards the singular form, "And God created man in His image?í or why not, "And they created man?" The same explanation which we have given in the preceding chapter on the employment of the plural form, holds also good in regard to the present passage.
To bring to mind the manifold powers of the Almighty employed in the creation of the noblest of His creatures, the plural is employed by way of high distinction. We will point out some other passages which contain the verb in the plural for the sake of emphasis, although they indicate a strict unity of person. Genesis 11:7, "Go to, let us go down and let us confound their speech," instead of "let me," etc. Job 18:2, "Ye shall understand, and then we will speak" (instead of I will speak).
The words of the Almighty, "We will make man in our image," may have been addressed to the Angels, for "He maketh known his will to his servants." (Amos 3:7) Thus we find in Genesis 18:17, "Should I conceal from Abraham what I am doing?" In the same chapter occurs a parallel expression to the above-mentioned passage in Genesis 11:7; but there the singular number is used, "I will go down and see." If a doctrine of plurality of personages were to be enforced by the grammatical form of words, the very alterations which occur between the singular and the plural would frustrate such a doctrine, and suggest doubt and uncertainty instead of confidence and conviction. Our Holy Scriptures contradict in the most direct terms every opinion which departs from the belief in an immutable unity, or ascribes corporeity to him in whose spiritual likeness the soul of man is created with the object of acknowledging, obeying, and adoring the eternal one God.
It is remarkable, that Christians are desirous to make us believe in a doctrine of the trinity, which is so totally unauthorized by our Holy Bible, and even by their own New Testament.
Our Divine Law tells us expressly in Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord."
Ibid. 4:35, "Thou hast been shewn these things, in order to know that the Lord is God, and there is none besides Him."
And again, ibid (verse 39) "Thou shalt know today and take it to heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and on the earth beneath, and there is none besides."
Isaiah 43:11, says, "I, even I, am the Lord, and there is no saviour besides me."
Ibid 44:6, "Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel and his Redeemer, I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God."
Ibid 45:5, "I am the Lord, and there is none else besides me."
Again (verse 6), "In order that they shall know, from the rising of the sun [east] unto the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is none else."
Ibid 40:18, "And to whom will you liken God, and what likeness have you to compare with him."
Jeremiah 10:6, "There is none like Thee, O lord. Thou art great, and thy name is great in power."
Hosea 13:4, "I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no God but me; and there is no Saviour besides me."
Psalm 86:10, "For thou art great and doing miracles; Thou alone art the Lord."
Nehemiah 9:6, "Thou alone art the Lord, Thou hast made the heavens, the heavens of the heavens, and all their hosts," etc.
1 Chronicles 17:20, "There is none like unto thee, and there is no God like unto thee, and there is no God besides thee, according to all we have heard with our ears."
We might adduce numerous other similar corroborative passages, were it needful. In order to counteract the dangerous effect of the belief in a good and evil principle (a belief prevailing in Persia, etc.), our Divine Instructor tells us, "Behold now that I even I am ever the same, and there is no God with me; I kill and I bring to life; I crush and heal again." Isaiah 45:7, "He formeth light and createth darkness, maketh peace and createth evil; I the Lord am doing all these things." The Deity, who calls into being conditions and events of totally opposite natures, and who, by mere power of will brings things into being, or reduces them into annihilation, is, according to all scriptural testimony, the most absolute Unity, and as such, without the slightest shade of mysticism. This Unity can alone be comprehended by our finite understanding. He who alone possesses absolute power, and is the first cause, is the Creator of Beings who depend on His will, remain ever, and in every respect, subjected to His Supreme Mandate, and are liable to change and decay. Hence, also, human reason subscribes to the doctrine that God is an absolute and a perfect Unity.
This absolute Unity cannot, under any logical view, be divided into a Duality or a Trinity. If such division is to be forced upon the faith of man, reason remonstrates against it; the faculty of thought given to us by the Almighty protests against a false representation of the Divine Being, and proves that God has constituted the mind in such a manner as to worship Him in accordance with His true attributes. From the moment that a divisibility of essence is attributed to God, we should be compelled to maintain, with the Polytheists, that He is deficient of omnipresence, and that He is comparable with created matter. How can we, then, repudiate such clear testimonies of Godís unity, as are contained in passages like the following, Isaiah 40:18: "And unto whom will ye liken God, and what likeness have ye to compare unto Him?" We cannot even grant that God from His own resolve would reproduce, and double or treble Himself. Such an assumption could only spring from the narrowest views of a sophistical or a perverted mind; but it could not emanate from a faith which commands veneration and rational obedience.
Even the authors of the New Testament have given opinions which disprove the untenable position of the Christians who make belief in the Trinity an indispensable portion of their creed. Matthew 12:32, says, "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." The same is repeated in Mark 3:28-29, and Luke 12:10. These authorities of the Christians have their data here clearly averred that there is no identity between the true Deity and the personages subsequently added to the name of the Divine Being. In Mark 13:32, we have also a proof of the want of identity between the Son and the Father: "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, either the Son, but the Father."
Nor do we find throughout the New Testament any evidence to show that the belief in a Trinity constitutes a part of the code of Christianity, or that Jesus and God are to be held as One and the same Being. On the contrary, Jesus himself is made to profess, in Matthew 10:40, "He that receiveth you receives me, and He that receiveth me receiveth Him that sent me." Here Jesus puts himself merely as a messenger of God. Paul in his epistle to the Romans 5:15, also says, "The gift by grace, which is by one man Jesus Christ," etc. Matthew 20:18, again says, "Behold, we go to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed," etc.; and in verse 28 he states, "Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister," etc.
In the very prayer instituted by Jesus, and denominated after him "The Lordís Prayer," his disciples are taught to invoke the Father who is in Heaven, but are not told to use the combination subsequently made of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We see clearly that the New Testament affords not a single evidence to authorize a change from the pure belief in the Divine Unity to the complex and unintelligible dogma of that of the Trinity.