WHERE UNITARIANS FAIL TO WIN OVER TRINITARIANS
AND ONENESS THEOLOGIES
In an intellectual scriptural discussion between Unitarians (including the Iglesia ni Cristo 1914) and Trinitarians/Oneness camp themed about God, His Son and the Holy Spirit, the Unitarians always have the edge on the following sub-topics: 1) the singularity of God - and Him being The Father, 2) the human nature of His Son Yeshua-Christos, 3) the distinctive attributes between The Father and The Son and the Holy Spirit, 4) the superiority of The Father over The Son and the Holy Spirit, 5) the origin of The Son and the Holy Spirit in comparison with The Father’s everlasting nature, and 6) the history of the Trinity and Incarnation doctrines, as well as the ‘mystery’ clause of the Trinity.
These are most of the discussions between the opposing sides that would always give an unbiased initial observation of an almost winning stance of the Unitarian’s corner. However, with a skilled and scholarly defense, the Trinitarian/Oneness side will always come up with that dreaded left hook, the pre-existence of The Savior, that does not fail to neutralize the Unitarian's advantage until the ringing of the bell, and both sides claiming victory on their way out.
Why is it that Unitarians always fail to completely convince the other camp of their big error in believing in Christ as (another) God? It is because they do not have the complete and clear cut understanding of His origin. Instead, they possess a ‘modified’ and unbiblical outlook about His existence prior to His deployment to the world. To put it in a mathematical equation it would be like the Unitarians possess three-fourths of the truth about God and His Son Yeshua while the Trinitarians/Oneness side holds the other one-fourth.
‘YESHUA IS GOD’ SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT
The majority of people who believe in The Lord Yeshua as the Savior of the world believe in Him as God. There are two major schools of thought when it comes to people’s adherence to the ‘Yeshua is God’ doctrine - the Trinity doctrine and the Oneness theology. Of these two, the Trinity doctrine covers the majority of them.
Although both doctrines teach on the deity of The Christ, how do they differ from each other? They differ on the characterization and distinction of God’s supposed three persons of that of The Father, and of The Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Whereas the Trinity doctrine presents the supposed three persons of the one God as being separate and distinct entities from each other (yet one and the same), the Oneness theology points to God as the Supreme Spirit who could become The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit depending on the occasion and on the person’s need of God. Either way, they intersect in their belief that The Christ Yeshua is not just The Son of God (biblical), but rather that He is God The Son (unbiblical).
THE SCRIPTURAL GOD AND HIS SON
The Lord Yeshua gave His disciples the absolute truth about God (Jn. 17:6-8 / 15:15), so that by this truth they shall receive eternal life:
(John 17:1, 3 NKJV in all verses unless otherwise noted)
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You… 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
The truth that The Father alone is God is absolute truth and is non-negotiable! In fact, this is one of The Christ’s gospel or good news for salvation guaranteeing eternal life. He did not just say that The Father is a true God, but that He is the ONLY true God, thereby disqualifying Himself to be a true God also as well as the Holy Spirit.
This statement of The Son also shuts the possibility of the Oneness theology that God is the Supreme Spirit who could either be The Father or The Son or the Holy Spirit, as the situation warrants it to be, or be the three of them at the same time. Adherents to this theology failed to understand the above statement of The Lord Yeshua as they also did of His distinctive statement that distinguishes Him from His Father, the true God:
(John 5:32, 37)
32 There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true… 37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me.
That The Father is someone else or ‘another who bears witness of The Christ’ simply shows that The Son is not the same as The Father, and therefore, could not be the true God. To further insist that The Lord Yeshua-Christos is also a true God despite His direct statement cited above is to show stubbornness to The Savior and implied refusal of His guarantee for eternal life.
GOD DOES NOT CHANGE ROLES, NOR CHANGE NATURE
How else is the Oneness theology proven to be just a theory and not biblical? The prophet king, David, has this declaration:
(Psalm 102:24, 27)
24 I said, “O my God,
Do not take me away in the midst of my days;
Your years are throughout all generations…
27 But You are the same,
And Your years will have no end.
As David declared, God remains the same, meaning He does not change? This Davidian statement exposes the falsity of the Oneness theology that God is the Supreme Spirit who simply changes roles - of being The Father, The Son or the Holy Spirit, as needed. His statement minimizes the Oneness theology into just an erroneous theory in that the one God whom David recognized is the same and does not change.
The Trinity believers may argue that David was referring to each person of God as He who is the same and does not change. Does David know of any other person of God? How many is The God recognized by David?
10 For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.
In contrast with Trinitarians, David did not recognize God as being composed of multiple entities, but rather He recognized God to be alone. That the one and only God whom David recognized is the same and does not change is fact and is an absolute truth.
How did the Apostle James attest to the truthfulness of David's testimony about God's unchanging nature?
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
As attested by James, The Father of lights or God has no 'variation or shadow of turning'. Is this not an exact alignment with David's testimony? Certainly so. How could this statement from two of God's certified servants be a fact and not fiction? It is because God Himself said so:
6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change;
Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
7 Yet from the days of your fathers
You have gone away from My ordinances
And have not kept them.
Return to Me, and I will return to you,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“But you said,
‘In what way shall we return?’
The Lord of hosts, or God, declared that He does not change. He is the same one and only God, unchanged without any variation since everlasting to everlasting and this is an absolute truth!
UNITARIANS MISUNDERSTANDING OF CHRIST’S (PRE)EXISTENCE
How could the declarations of The Lord Yeshua, of David, and most especially of God be so straightforward and easy to understand yet adherents to the ‘Yeshua is God’ doctrine, whether Trinitarian or Oneness theology, cannot be cornered into admission on their wrong understanding about God and His Son? It is because they are able to find a 'hiding place' in the biblical fact concerning The Son’s actual existence (commonly referred as ‘pre-existence’) before His spiritual conception, before He became a man, before His deployment to the world to become man’s savior. The pre-existence of God's Son is one truth that is foundational on the ‘Yeshua is God’ camp while strongly rejected by the Unitarian’s side, or those who oppose that The Lord Yeshua is God.
The Unitarian’s acceptance concerning the pre-existence of God’s Son, in the context of Him being God’s Word, minimizes Him to being just a concept or plan that only came into actual existence or being when He was conceived in Mary’s womb. Herein lies the incompleteness of the Unitarians’ understanding of The Christ, and their error allows the bigger error (concerning The Lord Yeshua being God) to continue to thrive and endanger the believers’ opportunity for salvation.
What is the truth about The Christ Yeshua’s existence prior to His deployment to earth to be man’s salvation? In this regard, the Trinitarians and Oneness theology adherents are much closer to the truth that The Son of God already existed even before He was conceived, and that His existence is not just of being God’s plan to have a Son but rather as God’s already existing Son and Word at the same time. The Unitarians reject this fact fearing that His pre-existence would prove the other sides’ claim of The Lord Yeshua being God.
However, that is not so and here’s how:
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
The prophesied ‘One to be Ruler in Israel’ is none other than God’s Son who later was named Yeshua, The Christ (Mat. 2:2 / Mk. 15:2 / Mat 27:11). The prophet Micah declared that His ‘goings forth’ or origins are from everlasting. Here is a critical argument misunderstood by the ‘Yeshua is God’ camp. Whereas God is from everlasting (Ps. 90:2) His Son is not! What is from everlasting in the declaration of the prophet is not God’s Son Himself but His origins or point of beginning! This statement drew a line of distinction between God who is from everlasting and His Son who is not.
How did The Son of God come into existence? Where did He come from? Apostle John explained in details the very beginning of God’s Son, The Lord Yeshua-Christos:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(For a more specific study on John 1:1 please read our article on this topic at https://www.spiritualhouse.info/the-word-is-not-god)
The very origin or beginning of God’s Son was that of being God’s Word. It was God's Word that was everlasting (and NOT The Son) according to the prophet Micah. Although the Unitarians are correct in their belief on the origin of God's Son, they fail to understand the actual existence of God's Son in the beginning. They view the mention of God’s Word in John 1:1 to simply refer to the plan of God to have a Son and that, supposedly, His actual existence began when He was conceived by His earthly mother, Mary. However, to minimize God’s Word (Jn. 1:1) to that of being just a plan is to run against the context of Apostle John’s testimony as “all things were made through Him (God’s Word), and without Him (God’s Word) nothing was made that was made” (Jn. 1:3). How could everything be created through an entity (Him) that does not yet exist?
Since God’s Son existed before He became a man, unto what state was He existing? Being God's Word since the very beginning He was in spirit form prior to becoming a man. How about at the time when He became a man did He remain to be God's Word? Yes indeed, as seen by John in His vision:
13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
What should we understand on this evangelical truth? That The Son of God’s existence is not contingent on His state of being but on His status of being God’s Word. That it doesn't matter whether He was still in spirit form or He has already transformed into a man God's Son will always be His Word. That God's Word spoken in Genesis is the same Word that has become personal with mankind after It has become the prophesied Son of Man who was destined to become The Savior of the world. How could Unitarians miss this truth? It is because their belief that God’s Word simply points to God’s plan about having a Son is based on their misunderstanding of the term ‘foreordained’ mentioned by Apostle Peter:
(1 Peter 1:20)
20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you…
The word ‘foreordained’ as mentioned by Peter does not mean that God has planned to have a Son in the future (Unitarians based this understanding on some version's footnote of the verse). It clearly points to God’s plan of sending His already existing Son to the world and be man’s salvation. The foreordination was needed not because God’s Son did not yet exist (on the contrary He did), but because the world was not yet created at that time that God so decreed. That God's Son 'was manifest in these last times' simply point to the transformation of The Son of God who will perform His judgment (Jn. 5:22, 27/ 12:46-48/ 6:63) to become the prophesied Son of Man who will become the Savior of mankind through His death (Jn. 15:13-15).
Why was there a need for God's Son and Word to become human? Simply because God's Word could never die nor could It be killed by any other entity, human or not.
WHEN GOD’S WORD BECAME HIS SON
Let us remember the Prophet Micah’s declaration concerning the ‘One to be ruler of Israel’ (Lord Yeshua) and how His origin, which is God’s Word, is from everlasting. The big question is this, has God’s Word always been His Son? The answer is no - God’s Word has not always been His Son, meaning, there was a time when God’s Word was not yet His Son. When did God’s everlasting Word become His Son?
7 “I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
The time when God designated His Word to become His Son is when He decreed it to be such - the day when He had begotten His Son. Since that day, His Word has always remained to be His Son. When was that day when God designated His Word to become His Son, in reference to the timeline of creation? That day was before God has created anything, as proven by the fact that He is the first of all His creations and that “all things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made” (Col. 1:15-17 / Jn. 1:3).
The Unitarians’ rejection of The Christ’s pre-existence proves to be their Achilles’ heel, their weakest point. This could also be the most valid reason why they always end up in a stalemate in all discussions with any learned Trinitarian and Oneness apologetic. However, let us understand that the truth about The Father being the only true God should not be stalemated nor kept at bay by any other contradicting statements as this truth is absolute, the fact that it was given by The Savior as a guarantee for eternal life or salvation.
ARGUMENTS PROVING THE SON’S PRE-EXISTENCE
Below are the common arguments that the Unitarian side will always be hard pressed to counter with their belief that The Son did not exist prior to His conception by Mary:
In John 3:16, who was sent by God to save the world, His already existing Son or just His plan to have a Son? How can The Son be sent if He was not yet in existence?
In John 17:5, how could The Lord Yeshua remember the glory (elated feeling) He shared with The Father ‘even before the world was’, if He had not yet existed with His own feelings and intellect?
In John 6:38, when The Christ said “I have come down from heaven,” did He not directly refer to Himself and His actual act of coming down from heaven?
In 1 Corinthians 10:4, how could Christ, being the spiritual rock, follow the ancient Israelites in their journey with Moses if He was not yet in existence? If the counter argument is that of His being ‘spiritual’ or in spirit state, then the follow-up question would be: Isn’t God also ‘spiritual’ and is spirit, and yet exists?
In 1 Corinthians 10:9, how could the early Israelites ‘tempt Christ’ being God’s verbal/written words if He did not yet exist?
In John 12:41, how could Isaiah see the glory of God’s Son if He had not existed yet?
In John 1:15 and 30, how could The Christ be ‘before John the Baptist’ when He was conceived and born after the Baptist?
In John 8:58, how could The Christ state, “before Abraham was, I AM”, if He did not have already existed?
In 1 Peter 1:20, if the meaning of ‘foreordain’ is to ordain in advance, who did Apostle Peter refer as ‘He who was foreordained before the foundation of the world’? Who was ordained in advance, God’s Son or God’s plan?
These are the arguments that today’s Unitarians, including the Iglesia ni Cristo 1914, cannot reconcile with their current stand of rejecting the pre-existence of God’s Son, The Lord Yeshua-Christos.
CONCLUSION: ACCEPTING CHRIST’S PRE-EXISTENCE DESTROYS THE LIE
Accepting The Christ’s pre-existence will not be a catch-22 for a Unitarian, but rather it will pave the way for the whole truth about God and His Son to surface. Doing so will completely expose the biggest lie ever told that ‘Yeshua is God’, as the argument that serves as a hiding place for both Trinitarians and Oneness apologetics is destroyed. The million-dollar question is: Are Unitarians willing to change their stand not just for the sake of winning an argument but more importantly because this is the truth that will complete man’s knowledge about God that will utterly destroy the lie that has continuously led people away from the guaranteed eternal life? And this understanding and knowledge of God is what He wants us all to possess, for this truly gives Him delight:
23 Thus says the Lord:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.