Oneness believers and Trinitarians are similar in that 1. both believe in one God; 2. both believe that the Father, Son, and Spirit are God; 3. both confess that the Scripture makes a distinction between the Father, Son, and Spirit; 4. both believe that the Son of God died on the cross, and not the Father; both believe that Jesus was praying to the Father, and not to Himself.
Oneness (O) believers and Trinitarians (T) differ in that 1. T believe that the one God consists of three eternal persons while O believes that the one God is one person; 2. T believe that the second person of the Trinity became incarnated while O believes that the Father, who is one person, became incarnated as the Son of God; 3. T believe that the Son is eternal while O believes that the Son did not exist until the incarnation, because the term refers to God as He exists as a man, and not as He exists in His essential deity; 4. T sees the Biblical distinctions between the Father and the Son to be a distinction in both personality and flesh while O believes that all distinctions are a result of the relationship of the Spirit of God to the incarnate God-man.
If we are going to confess a Trinity we must ask why we do not find this triunity of God until the NT. We have to wonder why we never read about the second person in the OT. Why was the existence of a second person not revealed until the incarnation? Why is it that God has only spoken through the Son in these last days (Hebrews 1:1-3) if the Son has eternally existed alongside the Father? Does it make more sense to conclude that the Son is an eternally distinct person in the Godhead that God failed to mention until the NT, or is it more reasonable to conclude that "Son" has to do with the one uni-personal God's existence as a man, which existence did not come to be until the incarnation?
If there was no distinct person from the Father in the OT, what would we expect to find in the OT concerning the Son? Nothing. What do we find? Nothing. So why conclude that the Son of God is an eternal person in the Godhead, and reject the idea that "Son" pertains to God's incarnate existence, if we read nothing about the Son until the incarnation? Frankly, there is no good reason to do so. Trinitarians must account for the lack of evidence upon which they have concluded that the Son is eternal. They must account for the fact that God never disclosed His threeness until the NT, offer a viable explanation for such disclosure, and offer compelling evidence that would substantiate the belief that there ever was an eternal Son to be disclosed in the first place.
While both Trinitarian and Oneness theologies must account for the new revelation of God in the incarnation, there is a difference between saying the same person who revealed Himself to Moses in the OT became man in the NT (Oneness theology), and saying the second person in the Godhead no one knew existed became man in the NT (Trinitarian theology). While Oneness believers may be shocked to discover that God become man, Trinitarians would be shocked to see who showed up! In Oneness theology the person who shows up is the same person revealed the OT, not a different person in the Godhead we never knew about before. Trinitarian theology has to admit that a whole other person in the Godhead showed up on the scene in flesh, who is personally distinct from the personal God revealed in the OT. In Oneness theology we do not find a part of God that we have never known before; we find the same familiar God, but manifest in flesh.
Also, why is it that God is called "YHWH" before the incarnation, and only "Father" and "Son" after the incarnation? The Father-Son terminology only arises after the incarnation when God actually became a man. It is no surprise, then that we find a distinction between Father and Son starting in the NT (not the OT). Maybe we do not find such terminology in the OT because God was never "Father" (in the NT sense of the word describing the relationship between Father and Son) before He fathered a son in the incarnation. It is much more reasonable to conclude that the distinctions between Father and Son are temporal distinctions arising in the incarnation, not eternal distinctions within God's essential being.
· 10 years ago