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The Plural Maker

Called God

Ray Goldsmith


The Bible starts early showing us that God is a plurality of Persons. For example as early as Genesis 1:26 we are confronted with a plural Maker called God. We read “Let US MAKE…in OUR IMAGE”. Most admit that the Father and Son were involved in the creation of Man, but the Holy Spirit participated as well, for nothing was created without the Holy Spirit’s participation. Detractors of the Trinity will admit this, even if they deny the Holy Spirit’s Personality. This is the one thing that distinguishes Jehovah, he is God by reason of his Creatorship. It is his claim to fame, his name and reputation.

     In the New Testament Jesus referred to that same name and reputation when he said to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). It was not a coincidence that the same three were involved in the creation of Man. But notice that it’s presented as a single Authority, a single name and reputation, and yet three distinct entities are listed. Have you ever wondered why Jesus didn’t say to baptize in the name of “The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Gabriel, and John the Baptist”? Why did he stop with just those three? The very question itself should embarrass anyone who denies the Trinity, for it is obvious that that single name and reputation is of only those three, the same three who were involved in the “US MAKE” of Genesis 1:26, the plural Maker called God. Ultimately Jehovah is not just the Father, as some have assumed, but also includes the Son and the Holy Spirit.

     Jesus Christ has become a stumbling stone and rock of offense for those who deny his true Deity, for they soon discover that they have a dilemma. If Jesus is GOD, is he true God or an untrue god? Is he really God or just a so-called god (1st Cor. 8:5)? It’s really an unhappy choice for them, for who wants an untrue god for a savior? Yet since they deny the former, they have no choice in the matter but to accept the latter. For them Jesus is an untrue god, just a so-called god. Yet the detractor protests, “But what about John 17:3, where Jesus calls his Father the only true God? This means that only the Father is true God”. Yet, as we shall see, they have become tricked by the mere sound and appearance of words mixed with some superficial thinking. What am I referring to?

     The mistake comes in assuming that God can be held hostage to the finite premise that one being can only be a single Person in the Bible. It seems logical in our context, but all is not what it seems. Similar language to John 17:3 appears in Jude 4, where our best manuscripts read that Jesus is “our only Owner and Lord”. Here the same adjective “only” appears in the same grammatical position (attributive).

     Yet immediately the detractors have a problem restricting the Owner and Lord to the one Person, Jesus Christ, for they know that Scripture elsewhere clearly identifies a Person other than Jesus as our “Owner and Lord”. How can Jesus be our only Owner and Lord if the Father is also our Owner and Lord? Or, how can the Father be our Owner and Lord if Jesus is our ONLY Owner and Lord? The same logic they apply to John 17:3 would deny that any other Person than Jesus Christ could be our “Owner and Lord” according to Jude 4. So when does only really mean only? Hence, Jude 4 has become a stumbling block to detractors of the Trinity because they cannot apply the same exegetical principles to it that they require in John 17:3. What then is the correct understanding of the language in John 17:3?

     First we must observe that this is the night before the crucifixion, and Jesus is speaking from within his role as the mediator of the New Covenant. Earlier in his upper room discourse he had said that “no man comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Coming to the Father through the Son is the same thing as coming to God. We must understand that the Father operates through a mediator, whether it was the original creation, or the new creation. And that mediator at the time of John 17:3 had become a man like you and me.

     So then, from this perspective he naturally calls his Father the only true God, but note what he's really saying here. What? That they might know you...and me. Imagine that. That we might know an ultimate creature and our eternal life depends on it? No way, friends! We need to know God to have life and that includes our knowing Jesus Christ, the one who had emptied himself to occupy a lower POSITION in order to pay the toll and be our bridge back to God. But looking at Jude 4 might help you to see how superficial the detractors are being in John 17:3. Only by understanding Jesus Christ as an ultimate and equal member of the eternal Godhead can we rightfully say that he's our ONLY Owner and Lord. See how easily the Trinity accommodates this? Without the Trinity the passage appears to be an outright contradiction to Scripture elsewhere.

     You see, it's illogical to assume that to affirm the one is to automatically deny the other, and it’s a mistake to take something that is true of Christ’s transient identity and arbitrarily in your mind make that the be-all and end-all. As to his transient identity as a man, Jesus had a God (why wouldn’t he?), but as to his ultimate identity, all God’s angels must bow before him (Heb. 1:6) and we should honor/value the Son just as we honor/value the Father (John 5:23). Why? Because ultimately he is equal in nature with His Father, just as John had said a few verses earlier (John 5:18), Jesus confirmed a few verses later. They share equally with the Holy Spirit that name and reputation which is unique to Jehovah (Matt. 28:19).

     Isaiah the prophet predicted the coming of the Messiah, and John the Baptist who would clear his path. In Isaiah 40:3 we read… “A voice is calling ‘Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.” Note it says “a highway for our God”. To show that this God is the true God, the NWT translates it “Clear up the way of Jehovah, YOU people”. So there is no doubt that the passage predicts the coming of our God, Jehovah. Yet it was Jesus who showed up, wasn’t it? Note the similarity between the expressions “our God” and “…my God” (Thomas, John 20:28). Same individual, wasn’t it? With this prediction in mind, note also Matt. 1:23… “Look, The virgin will become pregnant and will give birth to a son, and they will call his name Immanuel,” which means, when translated, ‘With Us Is God’”.

     So we see the above predictions and identifications of this individual as true God, Jehovah, and yet the detractors stubbornly refuse to believe. Their minds are closed on the matter and they say “Oh, he only represented Jehovah”, but even so, that would not deny his own identity as Jehovah, one of the members of the plural Maker called God in Gen. 1:26, right? One of these plural members became the Messiah, and of course came representing Jehovah. The embarrassing thing for detractors is that in the above predictions he’s so often called LORD, GOD, and JEHOVAH, and lamentably for them, they cannot deny that he was included in the plural Maker of Gen. 1:26. Yet there was nothing untrue about the God in that context, was there? No there was not, but the Son was included, for that Maker was God, and that Maker was a plurality of Persons.

     Some detractors have attempted to escape the force of the above predictions and identifications by pointing to examples where others have been called God and Lord…etc. But the attempt to escape on that basis fails to make muster. Why? Because it was not said of any of those in their examples that all things came into existence through them (John 1:3). None of those in their examples were involved in the original creation, just the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Hence, then, when the terms and identifications are applied to any one of these three, it can only be understood in that context and with that in mind.

     Further evidence that the Son was included in the plural Maker called God can be found in Isaiah 44:24, where the passage declares plainly that Jehovah did the things mentioned alone. Yet the Son participated in these mighty works when Jehovah did them alone, didn’t he? Compare Heb. 1:10 where the Father directly addressing the Son says these were the works of the Son’s hands. Yet in its original context they were the works of Jehovah’s hands (Ps 102:25-26). And of course the Holy Spirit also participated in the doing of these things when Jehovah did them alone. Jehovah never lies, friends, therefore Jehovah INCLUDES the Son and the Holy Spirit as participants in these mighty works when Jehovah did them alone. Detractors have pointed to the presence of angels at this time, but that still doesn’t solve the problem of explaining how Jehovah alone did these things, for the angels did not participate in those mighty works. Just the Son and the Holy Spirit along with the Father. The same three involved in the creation of Man in Gen. 1:26. Again we see the same formula here as in Christ’s instructions at Matt. 28:19, the same name and reputation, single Authority, three individuals. This could get to be a theme!

     The one thing that distinguishes Jehovah as true God, his Creatorship, was shared equally by the Son and Holy Spirit. Only God has this distinguishing power and characteristic, and this God has been shown to be a plurality of Persons.

     That is why we know that when the logos is called “theos” in John 1:1, it means God in the true sense. Immediately after calling him “theos”, it reveals that all things came into existence through him, and further says that there were no exceptions to this, not even one. This can only mean that the first thing that ever came into existence did so through him. Have you ever thought about that?

     If ever there were a context in which we would expect a clear reference to and description of the coming into existence of the logos (if such there were), it would be in John chapter 1. Here we have the beginning, the logos, ton theon, and the coming into existence of all things. Yet not a syllable is mentioned about a coming into existence of the logos. Such a reference and/or description is conspicuous by its absence. This passage begins with the logos in a state of continuous existence with “ton theon” in the beginning, and there is no more evidence here that the logos came into existence than there is that “ton theon” came into existence. Could such a momentous event as the creation of the Son have been left out of this otherwise comprehensive context? Can anyone think of a good reason why it would have been left out, since everything else is mentioned? Yet there is another side to this,  John left nothing out because there was no such event.

     Some have tried to deny that Jesus is truly God by pointing to John 1:18, where it says that “no man has seen God at any time”, and so they conclude that since men DID see Jesus, he cannot be God. But this reasoning is superficial. Moses saw God’s back, didn’t he? (Ex. 33:23) And Isaiah the prophet cried out “Woe is me, for my eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of Armies himself” (Isaiah 6:5-6). So should we conclude that the Bible contradicts itself? Or would it be better to harmonize the Scripture? Obviously it means that no one on earth can see Jehovah in all his glory at once (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and live.

     Other detractors have seized on the word “begotten” in John 1:18 to support their claims that Jesus was the first creation of God. But again they are making the mistake of assuming that God can be held hostage to the meaning of human terms. They simply overlook that God uses our language condescendingly in the Bible to help us understand some things about his infinite nature, but we have no right to hold him hostage to those terms. Assuming the word “begotten” to carry all the connotations it does in our human context, we might expect a female counterpart to have been involved in the begetting of the Son, but I trust that even the most ardent detractor will admit that such thinking is silly. Remember what Jehovah said in Isaiah 55:8-9, “my ways and thoughts are higher than yours”. Hence, then, the term “begotten” may simply mean to distinguish the Father and Son but suggest an equality of nature at the same time. This kind of generation depicts the eternal relationship of the members of the Godhead. Note the passage also says that the Son “exegetes” the Father. Yet it makes sense that one from infinity would explain or “exegete” another from infinity, doesn’t it? Let’s move on…

     Some who have accepted the teaching that Christ was the first creation of God have appealed to Proverbs 8:22, but this is another place where they have been tricked by the mere sound and appearance of words. First let’s observe that Proverbs 8:22 appears in the Old Testament when God’s revelation was not yet complete. Hence it cannot dictate the meaning of a New Testament passage. I didn’t say it couldn’t agree with a NT passage, only that it cannot dictate or determine the meaning of a NT passage. If anything the New Testament clarifies the meaning of the Old Testament since it is the later revelation.

     Most translations render the Hebrew verb “qanah” as either “possessed” or “brought forth…produced” in agreement with the Masoretic Text which is generally considered the most accurate. Some have appealed to the LXX’s “created” for obvious reasons. But as stated “possessed” or “produced” is considered a more accurate reflection of the Hebrew. Interestingly even the New World Translation (the Watchtower's version of the Bible) translates this as “produced”. The passage portrays a personification of God’s Wisdom, and because Jesus is said to be the power and wisdom of God in the NT, some have assumed that Proverbs 8:22 means that Christ was created or “produced” in the sense of “came into existence”.

     But the mistake should be self evident. This passage cannot be teaching that God’s Wisdom once did not exist. Wisdom is an eternal attribute of God, for he has always been infinitely wise. The natural opposite of wisdom is folly, and they are inversely proportional. Hence, to suggest that God’s wisdom once did not exist is to suggest the God was once infinitely foolish! How then can Proverbs 8:22 be understood in agreement with John 1:1-3?

     Proverbs 8:22 merely says that God’s Wisdom was “produced, brought forth , or brought to bear” in the creation of all things. And thus it harmonizes beautifully with John 1:3 for instance, where we are told quite plainly that all things came into existence through the logos, and without him not even one thing came to be. This places the logos’ existence as a fact prior to the coming into existence of the first thing that ever did so. Thus God’s Wisdom (the logos) was brought to bear or focused in the creation of all things. But God’s Wisdom is eternal, and this eternal Wisdom was the intermediary of all God’s creation.

     Some have appealed to Revelation 3:14,  “the beginning of the creation of God”,  to support their belief that Christ was the first creature. The latest attempt is to  base the argument on the Greek grammar. It is pointed out that the word “arche” is used with the genitive case, and whenever its used elsewhere in Scripture with the genitive, it always means beginning in the numerical sense (first numerically), and they often cite longs lists of examples to illustrate its partitive meaning. However, in trying to prove their point on the basis of Greek Grammar, they have simply overlooked that in Revelation 3:14 we are not dealing with a simple declarative sentence (predicative), but the application of an idiomatic title. And in the case of idioms grammatical construction does not play a major role in the interpretation. They also overlook that in the long list of examples they cite, none of them have the same referents and subject material as in Revelation 3:14, and so they do not provide a real parallel to the disputed passage. How then should it be understood?

     Since this is the application of an idiomatic title, its meaning should be determined by the rest of the New Testament…with regard to the same subject material and referents. In John 1:3 we have a straight-forward declarative statement being made about the same referents and subject material, Christ and the coming into existence of all things. It’s important to notice that we are not dealing with the application of an idiomatic title in John 1:3, as in Revelation 3:14. Yet what does the passage tell us about the same referents and subject material? It says plainly that all things came into existence through the logos, without even a single exception! Paul tells us the same thing in Colossians 1:16-18, all creation came into existence through him, and he is before all things. He couldn’t have been more clear. Hence, then, the NT shows that with regard to the same referents and subject material, the Logos pre-existed all creation, and all creation came into existence through him. So the word “arche” means in Revelation 3:14 that Christ was the beginner (and thus the ruler) of God’s creation. Interestingly the same word “arche” appears in Col. 1:18, and there it simply means that Christ was the “builder or beginner” of the Church or Congregation, yet note that Christ pre-existed the Church, didn’t he? Sure he did, but he was the “arche”, the Church’s builder (beginning). And finally…

     The Bible makes clear that there is only one Savior of the whole world. Did you know that? In fact the Scripture makes it plain that God is our only Savior:

“Turn to me and be saved, all YOU [at the] ends of the earth; for I am God
and there is no one else. 23 By my own self I have sworn-out of my own
mouth in righteousness the word has gone forth, so that it will not return-
that to me every knee will bend down, every tongue will swear…”(Isaiah
45:22-23 NWT, emphasis added).

     The above could not be more clear. God is the only Savior of the whole world, and there is no one else. Yet the detractors step up to tell us that Christ is someone else, and he’s our Savior too! Note what God says: “to me every knee will bend down..”, yet we discover in Philippians 2:10 that the “me” includes Jesus whom the detractors say is another Savior…but as we’ve seen, God declared in plain language that there is no other. So no matter what detractor theology requires, we really don’t have another Savior in Jesus; rather they are the one and only Savior. Detractors are afraid to admit this because they know it will lead to the conclusion that they are also the one and only God. Yet here we see that same theme again, Jehovah is really a plurality of Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Just those three work intimately together in the salvation of mankind…they are the one Savior,  Jehovah,  the plural Maker called God. This plural Maker worked together in the original creation and they continue to work together in the new creation, for as Jesus said, believers should be baptized in that single name and reputation, that of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19)

     Obviously I could continue with this, for there is no shortage of evidence in the Scripture supporting the Christian Trinity, but I don’t want to make it too long and cumbersome for the reader…so I will end it right here. If what I’ve presented, though, will cause some to dispense with the usual rhetoric, and come to grips with this evidence analytically,  it will have served its intended purpose.


Ray Goldsmith