I was pointed towards http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/articles/jesus-christ/is-jesus-god for a defense of the position that the Trinity is not a Biblical doctrine and that Jesus is not God. What follows is a line by line response to their points. I’ve copied their questions, and at times their broader points. My points are in italics.
Question #1: If Jesus is God, how could he die for our sins?
This is a flawed perspective of ‘death.’ Death is not the cessation of existence. Certainly God cannot cease to exist. When the second person of the Trinity became flesh, he took on all that it means to be human, and part of that is physical death (Hebrews 9:27). So if we accept that Christ is God, and that Christ became human in some real sense, then he HAD to die because all humans must die. More to the point, if Jesus IS NOT GOD, how does his death mean anything more than any other death?
Question #2: How can Jesus be “God” and have a “God” at the same time?
Jesus is God, but he is not the Father. He is eternally submitted to the Father. In that sense, the Father is his God. He is still over every other being, because he is God. But within the trinity, he is submitted to the Father, who is his God.
Question #3: If Jesus was sitting at the right hand of God in heaven when the book of Revelation was written, why does Jesus continue to make such clear statements that our heavenly Father is his “God” if he himself is God?
See above answer.
Question #4: If God cannot be tempted by evil, yet Jesus was tempted in every way we are, how can he be God?
Again, the incarnation (when the second person of the Trinity became flesh and dwelt among us, John 1:14) is the key. As Jesus experiences the fullness of what it means to be human, he must experience temptation. This doesn’t diminish his divinity. He is still God.
Question #5: If Jesus is God, then why does he pray to God and call Him “the only true God” in John 17:3?
This is a misunderstanding of the Trinity. God the Father is fully God, and therefore the only true God. God the son is also fully God, and therefore the only true God. They share that attribute. Jesus (correctly) applies this attribute to God the Father, but this does not mean that it cannot apply to Jesus himself as well. That would only be the case if Jesus was completely separate from God, which is not the claim of the doctrine of the Trinity.
The Son is God, and the Father is God, but the Son is not the Father. They are both equally God, but they are not identical. The problem is mathematical logic. It is easy to think that the transitive property would apply here (if A=B and B=C then A=C), that if Jesus equals God, and the Father equals God, then Jesus equals the Father.
First of all, that is a parts-whole fallacy. We can illustrate the problem with quadrilaterals (shapes with four sides), squares and rectangles. All squares and rectangles are quadrilaterals. But not all quadrilaterals are rectangles or squares, nor are all rectangles squares.
More convincingly, though, the mathematical logic falls to pieces when dealing with infinity, and God is an infinite being. In math, x^x + x^x =/= x, but that equation is true if x = infinity, because you can’t increase infinity, so even if you raise infinity to the power of infinity, it remains infinity.
Additionally, the core of this argument is the premise that for Jesus to be God, he must be fully identical to the Father. This premise is false. Let’s look at Augustine’s mind analogy. Your mind can do a lot of things, think, remember, love, and all of those things are distinct from one another, yet we don’t say that they occur in different parts of your body. They are all mental functions. Sure we might say some occur in your heart, but no one really believes that. It’s more of an expression. In a similar way, (this analogy isn’t perfect) God is expressed on three distinct persons, who are all equally God, but still distinct from one another.
Question #6: If Jesus is God, why did he pray at all?
Again, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between the persons of the Trinity. There is no reason that they can’t interact with each other.
Question #7: If Jesus is God, why did he say to his disciples: “Trust in God; trust also in me”?
Why can’t Jesus use “God” to refer to the Father? This is an argument from absence. “God” can easily refer to the Father, and when used by Jesus, it usually does. The opposite could just as easily be argued from John 20:28, when Thomas exclaims “My Lord and my God!” If Jesus were not God, why did he refrain from correcting Thomas?
Question #8: According to the doctrine of the Trinity, the Father and Son are co-equal. If that is true, how can the Father be (in any way) greater than Jesus?
Again, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship among the trinity. The Father is equally God and the Son is equally God, but that doesn’t mean that the Father and the Son are equal to one another. If they are equal in that sense, then how are they different? The three persons of the Trinity are all equally God, but they are not identical to each other.
The doctrine of the Trinity states that Jesus is 100% man and 100% God. Logically, you can’t be 100% of one thing and then even “a little” of something else. That is, if words and numbers have definite meanings.
This isn’t even slightly true. I’m 100% male. I’m 100% a Christian. I’m 100% married. I’m 100% a lot of different things.
Question #9: How can Jesus “be like us in every way” and still be “100% man and 100% God”?
For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
Jesus is made to be like us in every way, in that he is entirely human. That human nature, which is in every way like us, is added to his divine nature. The doctrine of the trinity doesn’t claim that Jesus was made to be God. It claims that he was made human. He has existed in the form of God since eternity past (John 1, Philippians 2, etc). So the author of Hebrews is just telling us that Jesus has added to himself a human nature that is exactly like every other human (Philippians 2).
Question #10: If Jesus is God and God cannot be tempted, why would the Devil tempt Jesus?
This is just a rehash of Question #4. See my above response.
We believe that Jesus Christ is a unique man because he is the only man who was born of a virgin, who is the Last Adam, who by his free will choices to trust God lived a sinless life, always doing the will of his Father. He died as the perfect sacrifice for our sins so that we too could have a relationship with God. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our Savior, our Lord, and our Brother. Because of his obedience, God promoted Jesus to the highest place possible – “Lord” over heaven and earth (Acts 2:36; Matt. 28:18). He is now the Head of the Church, working with us to make known God’s love and truth on this earth. He is our Lord and we love him.
This doesn’t do justice to the pre-existing nature of the Son, clearly evident in John 1. This neglects Thomas’ declaration, and the fact that Jesus does not correct him. This neglects every clear claim to divinity that Christ made when he employed “I AM” to reference Exodus 3:14 (a topic I will elaborate on in a later post). Finally, this neglects Jesus’ use of the term Son of Man, a clear reference to Daniel 7 of a divine figure who is not God the Father, but yet clearly divine.