Bible References About
The Father, Jesus Christ, and The Holy Ghost are Distinct and Separate Beings
The most fundamental difference between the LDS Church and traditional Christianity is the principle of the Godhead: The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost. In 1820, when Joseph Smith knelt and prayed in a grove of trees Heavenly Father and Jesus appeared to him. Now known as the "first vision", Joseph beheld that The Father and The Son are separate and distinct beings. This has been the official doctrine of the LDS Church ever since.
This belief directly contradicts the concept of the Trinity, which are three Gods without form or passion in one. The Trinity was not officially taught in the Christian church until 300 years after the Resurrection of The Savior. The idea of the 3 in 1 Trinity was the product of the Nicene Creed of 325 A.D. Under the direction of Constantine, a council of theologians, scholars, and clergy were called together to organize the official doctrines and beliefs of the church. Confusion about official doctrine was rampant at the time. The council debated the nature of the Godhead until a compromise was reached. That compromise was the Nicene Creed, which established the idea of Christ "being of one substance with the Father". In the 5th century the Athanasian Creed reaffirmed and expounded further on The Trinity by teaching "That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one." Just to make sure someone didn't miss that the Three are One God the creed repeats this several times.
The Godhead conceived in the Nicene Trinity was not taught in the New Testament Church, nor officially in the ancient Christian Church prior to the Council in 325 A.D. Edwin Hatch, an emeritus professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Oxford taught
- "And if the doctrine of God now espoused by the various sects is foreign to the thought of the primitive Church, what was the Godhead of the early Church like? Indeed, we find in the early Church the true doctrine of a Godhead consisting of three distinct persons who are completely separate in substance, but one in will - the Father presiding over the Son and the Son over the Spirit." [Hatch, E., The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church, (New York:
Harper Torchbooks, 1957,) p. 124.]
Justin Martyr, a follower of Christ from 100-161 A.D. wrote that God abides "in places that are above the heavens:" the "first-begotten," the Logos, is the "first force after the Father:" he is "a second God, second numerically but not in will," doing only the Father's pleasure. He also maintained that the Son is "in the second place, and the prophetic Spirit in the third." --[Justin Martyr, First Apology 13, in Davies, J.G., The Early Christian Church, (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1995,) p. 97.]
The LDS belief in The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost, being separate in person but one in will & purpose conflicts with the post-Biblical beliefs and notions of God originated by the Nicene Trinity, however it does not conflict with the Bible nor the New Testament Church. Let me clarify this before reading on. I don't have a problem with people believing in the Trinity. They just need to understand that it is an extra-biblical theology, unsupported by direct scripture. The irony is that the LDS Church is regularly accused of not believing in the Bible, yet our concept of God is more biblical than that of our accusers that claim to believe only in the Bible.
Here are some of the bible verses that support this belief.
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
Notice God referring to Himself in the plural, using words like "we" and "us". This is because there were two Beings there: God the Father, and Jesus, God The Son. Jesus was known as Jehovah during this time and throughout the Old Testament.
Further, The Father is saying that He and Jehovah will create man in Their own likeness and image. We are singular, individual human entities, not three entities in one cosubstance body. This means that God the Father, and Jesus, are also singular entities since we were created in their likeness and image.
"And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:"
Once again God is using the word "us", referring to Himself and Jehovah. As a side note, after the Fall in the Garden of Eden, Adam and his posterity (us) was cut off from the presence of The Father. Jesus, or Jehovah, became our intermediary with The Father. The God used in the singular through the rest of the Old Testament is Jehovah/Jesus Christ.
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."
I included this verse because it establishes the biblical nature of "oneness". It reads that men and women shall be one flesh. Being one flesh is a metaphor, just as God the Father and Jesus Christ being one is a metaphor.
"And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink."
These verses are subtle in teaching the separateness of Jesus and God the Father. In verse 10 they saw the God of Israel, who is Jesus. Then verse 11 reads "also they saw God". This is not an errant redundancy. The biblical writer records that they saw two Gods - first Jesus, then God the Father, two separate and distinct Beings. Also, notice that Jesus' premortal spirit has feet. This contradicts the Greek philosophy influenced belief that God is a formless, shapeless, immovable mover entity without parts. Remember, we are in His likeness.
Matthew 3:16-17 (See Also Luke 3:22)
"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
This, of course, is the baptism of the Savior. This is one of the most compelling manifestations of the Godhead in human history. Jesus is in the water with John the Baptist, The Holy Ghost is above them in the form of the dove, and God the Eternal Father spoke from heaven. All three members of the Godhead present, all three in separate places. This story basically debunks the whole Nicene concept.
"And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father."
Jesus is differentiating himself from The Father, saying that to enter the Kingdom is not His to give but His Father. If They were the same person He wouldn't deliberately set Himself apart.
"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane as the atonement begins. Who is He praying to? He's not praying to Himself. And if He is God the Father, who is in Heaven to even pray to? Is Heaven empty? No, it isn't. Jesus is praying to His Father, who is still in Heaven, because the two of them are separate. Also notice that Jesus relinquishes His will to The Father, this demonstrates They are one in purpose.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God."
This is a good verse to cover because it's always cited by Trinitarians to defend the Nicene Trinity. The wording in verse 1 appears to confirm that The Father and Son are the same. However, in context with verse 2 clarifies that there were two beings, not one. Moreover, verse 1 still doesn't affirm a 3 in 1 Trinity. The Word, who is Jesus Christ, was with The Father in the beginning, as was discussed in Genesis, and He is also a God, He just is not his own Father and God. Look at from this perspective: I am me, I'm standing with my dad, and I'm also dad. Does this mean that I am my dad? Apparently I am if you interpret that verse the way the Trinitarian Churches do, since I am both son and dad.
"Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him."
Once again, Jesus prays to Heavenly Father and He answers from Heaven, and the people around them heard it like thunder. I highly doubt Jesus was a ventriloquist.
"Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."
Jesus, Himself, is teaching that He is second to the Father. This supports the pre-Nicene Christian teachings cited by Justin Martyr that Jesus was in second position to The Father, and therefore not The Father.
John 17:11, 21-22
"And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:"
Okay, I know there are people reading this page that want to give me grief because I haven't mentioned John 10:1, and John 10:38 where Jesus specifically says "We are one." (There, I didn't ignore it, HA!) I waited to bring them up until now because this verse specifically explains what Jesus meant when He said He and the Father were and are one.
Jesus is offering the Great Intercessory Prayer. Once again, Christ is praying to God the Father (whom is still in Heaven). In verse 11 Jesus prays that the Apostles will be one, just as He and The Father are one. Jesus specifically prayed for them to be in each other like He and the Father. How is it possible for the Apostles to be 12 different people in one body, or for them to be in the Trinity? It's not. Jesus wants them to be one in will and purpose, just as He is with The Father. Jesus praying that they be in Him, as He is in The Father is obviously metaphorically, just like in Genesis. (Incidentally, I'm almost through the four gospels and haven't found anything about a 3 in1 trinity yet.)
John 17: 21-22
"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:"
I'm repeating these verses again because these are the primary references cited to defend the concept of the 3 in 1 Trinity. The problem with Trinitarians using this statement is that they have to ignore must omit the first line, which reads, "That they ALL may be one;" [emphasis added]. Then if you go on to verse 22, Jesus prays again that "they may be one, even as We are one." I think we can safely assume that the Apostles could never be literally 12 people in the same person. Yet, Christ is saying that they can be one in the same manner as He and the Father are one. This must mean that the Godhead cannot be literally and physically "one".
"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."
The Resurrected Christ has revealed himself to Mary Magdalene, before His ascension. He is telling her that He hasn't ascended to His Father. How could He ascend to Himself? He is returning to His Father and Our Father, just like we will when we are resurrected thanks to Jesus breaking the bounds of death for us.
"And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."
This is another verse defines what "being one" means. The New Testament Greek word "one" actually interprets as "unity" . This is apparent with this verse that reads that the people were "one" in soul and in spirit. Not one person in many or vice versa. "They had all things in common", just like God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Acts 7: 55-56
"But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."
While being martyred for his testimony, Stephen gives an eyewitness testimony about the Divinity of Christ and the true nature of the Godhead. Stephen sees Jesus in a vision literally standing on the right hand of God - both of Them exalted both of Them Gods. Once again, here is a scriptural account of someone seeing two distinct personages, not a Nicene Trinity.
"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
In this verse, Paul is saying that even though the church has many members, they are still one body. Being one in Christ. They are one because of belief and practice. Being one in the Gospel of Christ. I think I see a trend when it comes to "oneness" in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 8:5-6
"For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, as there be gods many, and lords many, But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."
Paul doesn't say that God the Father and Jesus are the same. He distinguished and separated them by saying we have one God, the Father, AND one Lord, Jesus Christ.
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Apparently Paul foresaw the Nicene and Athanasian Councils and Creeds. It's pretty much accepted by Protestant and Catholic Scholars (like the aforementioned Edwin Hatch), that the creeds were influenced by Greek philosophy. It's too bad they were more influenced by revelation and the Bible.
1 John 5:7-8
"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."
John teaches that there are Three members of the Godhead, now before you Trinitarians give me a big "I told you so" because the verse ends off saying they are "one", read the next verse. Is Spirit, water, and blood really one? Nope. Once again, "one" means unity, not physicality.
Like I said, if someone wants to believe in the Trinity, let them. That's between them and God. For me personally, I'd rather believe in a Godhead theology based on revelation and eye witnesses, rather than one that was debated and voted on. But that's just me. Never at anytime in scriptural history has there been a manifestation supporting the Trinity, and I challenge anyone to show me a verse where someone witnessed The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost resembling an incomprehensible being without parts or passions. The only thing really incomprehensible are the creeds themselves.