Wednesday, August 24, 2016

1 John 5:7 - One God Who is Three?

"For there are three that bear record [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth,] the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
(Greek words are given with English transliterations throughout)
This is the only passage in the whole Bible that gives any color to the trinity or "oneness" doctrines. However, the bracketed portion (see above) of this passage is almost universally recognized as an interpolation. It appears to have first crept into the Greek text in the fourteenth century. It is true that some late Latin, Vulgate MSS., copies not more than five centuries before, do contain it. This interpolation was first inserted into some Vulgate manuscript and was in the fourteenth century translated into the first Greek text having it. Had this text been in the Bible when the trinitarian controversies were going on, in the fourth to the eighth centuries, certainly the trinitarians who were hard pressed by their opponents to produce such a text, would have used it as a proof text. But none of them ever appealed to John as the author of this, thus providing a good reason to conclude that it was then not in the Bible. It doubtless crept into the Latin text by a copyist taking it from the margin, where it was written by somebody as his comment on the text, and inserting it into the Latin text itself, from which, as just said, it became translated into a Greek manuscript in the fourteenth century. The next Greek manuscript that contains it is from the fifteenth century.

Additionally, Ivan Pain, who was a trinitarian, gave added testimony, through his studies of Biblical numerics, that the portion in question does not belong. More than likely Panin, being a trinitarian, would like to have proved the portion as genuine with Biblical numerics, but could not do so; thus he came to the conclusion that it must be spurious. 

Thus without the added phrase, the verse reads in context: "This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one." -- 1 John 5:6-8, American Standard Version.
These three witnesses spoken of are in agreement of one testimony. The context shows that it is God's testimony concerning His Son. "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater." (1 John 5:4,9) As the Son is the great expression or revelation of the Father, we should expect this important testimony of the three witnesses to have reference to the revelation of God's love for the world. "God is Love," (1 John 4:16) and He wants us to believe it. Let Paul speak: "Because the love of God is shed abroad [made known] in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5) Here is one of the three witnesses telling us of God's love for us while we were yet sinners. How are we to know that love? What is the Spirit's testimony --the record that God gives concerning His Son?

We thus have the testimony of the spirit, in that Jesus was anointed, or made christ, by means of the holy spirit, the power of which was seen in the works of God that were performed through Jesus, and it is the spirit that witnesses to the believer (especially by means of the Bible writers) concerning Jesus. -- Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 4:1; 12:18,28; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:1,14,18; John 3:34; 14:26; 15:26; Acts 1:2; 10:38; 1 Corinthians 2:10.

Nevertheless, the Textus Receptus has the added words "in heaven the Father, the Word and the holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth."

If these words are omitted from the text, it is simple and easy to be understood, and fully in accord with all the remainder of the Scriptures. On the other hand, with these words remaining in the text, it still does not provide a reason to add all kind of trinitarian assumptions to the Bible. The sense of what is stated should be that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit agreed in bearing one testimony in heaven, namely, that Jesus is the Christ. 

Assuming that the added phrase is valid, what does it state? That there are three who are bearing witness in heaven. Who and of what are they bearing witness to in heaven? Perhaps to the angels? Maybe. Concerning what? The context: "Jesus is the Son of God". (1 John 5:5) Do the angels in heaven need this witness borne to them? The context shows that the witness is actually for humans on earth: "Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" By world, John is speaking of the world of mankind into which Jesus came (John 1:10), not the world of the angels, nor even the world of the material universe.

Nevertheless, even if we do assume that the bracketed portion of the verse is genuine, it still would not offer any proof that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God. This only says that in some way these three are one.

The Greek word used for "one" here as well as in John 10:30 is hen (Strong's # 1520). This is neuter in Greek, not heis, masculine, or mia, feminine.

The phrase that is used in Greek, however, to describe the trinity is "treis hypostaseis en mia ousia", ("three persons in one substance"), or "mia ousia, treis hypostaseis" ("One essence in three persons"). With this in mind let us see if this really applies, either in John 10:30 or 1 John 5:7,8.

John could not have been referring to the Father, Son and holy spirit as one God, for the masculine word Theos (Greek God) cannot be supplied; for the Greek form for "one" in that case would have to be heis (masculine for one), as found in the phrase "one God" in 1 Corinthians 8:6. Nor can the Greek word for being or substance (ousia) be supplied after it, because ousia is feminine, which would require the feminine of one, mia, as illustrated in the Greek trinitarian phrases given above. We would have to supply a neuter noun, e.g., like pneuma (as meaning disposition)* after hen in this text: "these three are one (hen) disposition." It could not be theos (God) or ousia (Being), which would respectively require the masculine heis and the feminine mia.
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*http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/pneuma.html

Whatever is meant by their being one, the same meaning would also have to apply to the oneness of Jesus and the Father with the church, for Jesus prayed: "That they may be one as we are." (John 17:11) "That they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us." -- John 17:21.

When Jesus prayed (John 17:11,21,22) that all of the saints may be one (hen, not heis, nor mia) he did not pray that they be all one being or one God, which would be nonsense, but that their unity may be one in mind, heart and will. Since the oneness for which He prayed for them was not a oneness of being or oneness of nature as the Supreme Being, the oneness between Him and the Father cannot be that of being, because Jesus in John 17:11,22 prays that the oneness for which He prayed on their behalf be patterned after the oneness that exists between the Father and himself: "That they may be one as we are." Hence the oneness between the Father and Jesus is not one of being, nor as one God, but one of mind, heart and will. Moreover Jesus defines this oneness in verse 21 as follows: "that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me [Yahweh was in Jesus by his holy spirit, (John 14:17,20) and I in thee [Jesus was in the Father (John 14:10,11,20) by accepting and keeping the Father as his head, i.e,, by his being and remaining in the consecrated attitude.

Hence, 1 John 5:7 does not by the Greek word hen prove that the Father and Son are one being (essence, ousia) any more than 1 Corinthians 3:8 proves by the word hen that Paul and Apollos were one being; but the same word and form of that word, proving Paul and Apollos to one in heart, mind and will, gives presumptive evidence that the same word and form that word in John 10:30 proves the same of the Father and Son. 1 John 5:8 indicates that the word "hen" -- one -- is being used of common agreement, not of "one God", or "one Being/Substance."

1 Corinthians 3:23; 11:3 are passages that also strongly prove Jesus' inferiority to the Father, and the Father's being the Supreme Being, "that [thus the Father and the Son, by their spirit, disposition, being in them and they by their spirit of consecration, being in them (1 John 5:20; Colossians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 12:12,13] they also may be one in us . . . that they may be one, even as we are one." Thus these verses prove that the same kind of oneness as exists between the saints, also exists between the Father and Son and vice versa. Therefore, since the oneness that exists between the saints is not oneness of being or of the nature of being the Supreme Being, but one of heart, mind, and will, the oneness that exists between the Father and Son is not one of being or of the nature of being the Supreme Being, but one of will, heart, and mind.

Additionally, we might say, if the logic were valid that the oneness of the three in 1 John 5:7 must be that of being, we would have to say that Paul and Appolos were one being (1 Corinthians 3:6-8)! Of course Jesus and his Son are two separate beings. Hen being used of them in 1 Corinthians 3:8 (not mia, which would be necessary to agree with the feminine ousia, being) proves that their oneness was not one of being but of agreement in spirit, disposition. -- Acts 4:32; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:3-6,13; Philippians 1:27; 2:2; 4:2.

The Father, Son, and holy spirit are one in disposition, one in heart, mind, purpose and will; but not one God. The Bible nowhere states that there are three persons in one God. Nor does it ever say that there is a being called God who is more than one person. In the Bible, one person IS one personal being, and one personal being IS one person always, and never more than one.

Furthermore, if the Father and the Son were but one omniscient being, they would be the same sentient being -- having the same sentiency, and they could not be the two beings bearing required witness, as John 8:17,18 says they were, since the law required at least two different beings to be witnesses sufficient to establish a matter. But since they gave sufficient witness, they must be two beings. Therefore their oneness is not that of being -- for they are two beings. It must be that of mind, heart and will. Accordingly, John 10:30 does not prove the Son's equality with the Father. Rather, it proves the Son's subordination to the Father. John 17:21, which shows the kind of unity that exists between them to be connected with the Son's being in the Father, implies that the Father is the Son's head that the Son is His in the sense that believers are Christ's, in subordination to him. Thus Jesus must be subordinate to the only true Supreme Being (John 17:1,3; 1 Corinthians 3:23; 11:3), even as the headship of Christ makes the Church subordinate to Christ (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22,23; 4:15; 5:23,24, compared with Colossians 3:19).

It was Satan who, in producing a counterfeit for everything in the Bible, counterfeited the true God as one Being composed of three persons, a dogma that, in effect, contradicts the basis of salvation through Jesus as given in the Bible. Yet,the trinitarian usually ignores the self-contradiction of declaring three sentient beings -- three persons each his own separate and distinct sentiency -- as all one omniscient being. The real reason for rejecting the trinity dogma, however, is that no such concept is even once presented in the Bible. Thus, this unbiblical, unreasonable and unfactual distinction between the words *person* and *being* when referring to a personal being should be avoided, for there is no scriptural reason for reading such into the Bible. It is surely an error invented by Satan to deceive -- a work of darkness, a concept that is not NOT found anywhere in the Bible, and yet is also a self-contradiction, which no one can understand or explain, while Bible doctrines are all explainable and understandable. Not that we can understand absolutely everything about God, but what the Bible presents is understandable in relation to what is revealed, and it is understandable that there are things about God that we do not understand. 

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