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trialsection4 ( ** )

“The Trial”  — Section 4

Are the members of the Godhead ‘three in one, one in three’, or separate beings?

Representative of a Christian church:
Let’s address another issue.  The great majority of Christian religions believe in the Triune God.  John 10:30 plainly states that “I and my Father are one”, and other scriptures in John state and teach this same point.  What is more, John 14:5-9 reads, “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way , the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.  Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?  he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”  What other conclusion can be drawn from these verses other than the Father and the Son are one!  Also, 1 John 5:7-8 reads, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.”  Also, the very Book of Mormon supports the belief in a Triune God.  Mosiah 15:3-4 states that Christ is both the Father and the Son.  In several places in the Book of Mormon Christ is referred to as the “Eternal God”  (see 2 Nephi 26:12).  Even in the testimony of the Three Witnesses at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, it states, “And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God.  Amen.”  I would now say “Amen” as well, for it is clear that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one God.  Even Mormon scripture declares this fact to be true.

Your scriptures are quite convincing.  Young men, what is your response?

Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Our response will begin in Acts 7:55-56 which reads, “But [Stephen], being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.  And said, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”  Stephen saw both the Father and the Son in open vision, two separate and distinct beings.  How can the New Testament declare that the three members of the Godhead are one, and yet Stephen see the Father and the Son as separate beings?  In our view, these facts are compatible.  The members of the Godhead are one in unity, in purpose, in doctrine, in their works.  John 8:17-18 sheds light on this doctrine.  In this chapter the Pharisees accuse Jesus of bearing witness of Himself, and thus His witness would not be true.  Jewish law stated that only the testimony of two or three was true.  Jesus responded, “It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true.  I am one that bears witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.”  Here Jesus refers to Himself and to His Father as “two men”.  John 10:30 does state that the Father and the Son are ‘one’, but that doctrine is clarified by the Lord Himself in John 17:20-21.  As Jesus prayed to His Father in behalf of His disciples, He said, “…that they [his disciples] 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.”  It seems clear that the Savior was praying that His disciples could be ‘one’, not physically or as a conglomerate, but one in love and purpose and desire, even as the Father and the Son are one in that same way.  Notice that the verse just quoted talks of the Father ‘sending’ the Son to earth to accomplish His eternal purposes.  Again, the Father sent the Son!  That speaks of TWO men being involved.  At one point during His ministry, Jesus asked his disciples who He was.  In Matthew 16:15, it states, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  At that time Christ was on the earth with a body of flesh and blood, and His Father was in heaven, having revealed to Peter who Christ was.  Two distinct persons.  In answer to the previous mention of John 14:5-9, I would mention that in John 14:12 Jesus stated, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”  This again teaches of Christ and God the Father being separate, as Christ would not say that He was going unto himself.  In Matthew 26:39, during His anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus pleads with the Father, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”   The Savior was not praying to Himself, but to His merciful Father above, the two being separate but closely associated beings.  In the Garden Tomb, the resurrected Lord tells Mary Magdalene not to touch Him, for He had “…not yet ascended to my father.”  (John 20:17)   The creed which was the birth of this ‘non-corporeal’ nature of God was created by a group of men in the third century who met in Nice, France at the request of Constantine.  This Nicaean creed gives its “understanding by a canonized saint of Roman Catholicism , Saint Athanasius.  We as missionaries would like to put the Nicaean Creed on trial this afternoon after we have answered these ‘supposed’ Book of Mormon contradictions.  We have established beyond a doubt that Christ and God are separate personages, and will now establish what was meant in the Book of Mormon and by the Three Witnesses.  The Bible refers to Christ as the ‘Everlasting Father’ and ‘The Mighty God’?  Isaiah 9:6.  reads, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, THE PRINCE OF PEACE.”  How is Christ the Mighty God?  Colossians 1:16-17 tells us that “ him [Christ] were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth”.  Therefore, He is the Eternal Father and Mighty God of this earth because He was its Creator.  God was with Christ at the creation because Genesis 1:26-27 states, “Let US make men in OUR image.”  This is also pointed out in Ephesians 3:9.  Now what the Three Witnesses had in mind when they said that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were one was the same thing Christ had in mind in John 17:20-21, which is being one in purpose.  Christ was the way, the truth, and the life and “…learned all things from His Father.  We now present before you a copy of the ATHANASIAN CREED, accepted by the majority of the Christian representatives present at this trial.  We will present evidence from the Holy Scriptures that many plain and precious parts of our Lord’s divinity have been altered by this Creed, and that the Creed, in many ways, distorts God’s true identity.

The ATHANASIAN CREED reads as follows:  “We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.  For these 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.  The Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.  Such as the Father is, such is the Son and such is the Holy Ghost.  The Father increate, the Son increate, and the Holy Ghost increate.  The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.  The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal, and yet there are not three eternals, but one eternal.  As also there are not three incomprehensibles, not three uncreated, but one incomprehensible and one increate.  So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost almighty.  And yet there are not three almighties but one almighty.  So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.  And yet there are not three Gods, but one God.  So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Ghost is Lord.  And yet not three Lords, but one.”

The main message of this Creed seems to be that God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost are incomprehensible.  The dictionary defines ‘incomprehensible’ as ‘that which is not understood’.  Let us now judge the Creed in light of scripture.  Bearing in mind that this Creed declares God to be incomprehensible, we present 2 Peter 1:1-9.  In these verses, Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, bids the saints more grace “through the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, and of JESUS OUR LORD.”  This is found in the verses 1 and 2.  Knowledge is the opposite of incomprehensibility.  Verse 3 states, “According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue.”  The verses go on to explain what one must do to obtain this knowledge of Him.  Verses 5 to 7 state that we must have faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity.  Now if we have these qualities, verse 8 gives a wonderful promise: “For it these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  If these traits are in us, we will abound in knowledge of Jesus.  If these qualities are not in us, then we will be “…blind, and cannot see afar off.”  (verse 9)  John 17:3 tells us that “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent…”.  This is at variance with the Creed which tells us that God and Jesus are incomprehensible.

Representative of a Christian church:
Did you know, however, that Ephesians 6:19 speaks of the “…mystery of the Gospel..” and that Colossians 4:3 speaks of the “mystery of Christ”?  Thus, the nature of the Godhead is a mystery.

Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
The word “mystery”, as it is used in scripture, is defined as “…a spiritual truth which was once hidden, but now is revealed, and which, without special revelation, would have remained unknown.”  (Bible Dictionary)  The understanding of a mystery is available to all who seek revelation or who listen to those who reveal truths.

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