The trinity is in the old testament
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Since my previous debate on the trinity went well for me I decided to do another one.
* Pro trinity in the old testament
* can be Jewish, unitarian, or other similar group
* use old testament verses as sources
* New testaments are acceptable but primarily use old testament sources
* Talmudic and other rabbinic commentaries are also acceptable sources
* The more evidence the bigger are the chances to win.
* avoid logical fallacies
* avoid insults
* respond quickly and effectively(less than 1 day recommended)
First of all, there is one fact that I think can be established. There are no explicit references to the Trinity in the Hebrew Bible, which Christians call the Old Testament. There is no verse which refers to God being divided into three persons, or any outline of the doctrine of the Trinity. Pro has posted a collection of Bible verses which he argues implicitly point to the doctrine of the Trinity when taken together, but this supposed connection is by no means clear or unambiguous.
There are several other facts that I must establish. Firstly, the Jewish faith does not accept the doctrine of the Trinity. The oneness of God is an important tenet of Judaism.
Judaism. Rabbi Wayne Dosick, explaining the Jewish conception of God, states that “‘One’ means indivisible. One God cannot be broken into parts or divided into entities.
The idea of the Trinity originates with the early church fathers.
It is implied in the writing of “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”, which has been found, at the earliest, near the end of the first century.
Trinity. That is, unless there is the presence of divine intervention. But unless Pro proves beyond all doubt that the Bible is the Word of God, then his argument rests on shaky ground rather than any solid proof. Now I will turn to Pro’s cited Bible verses to see if they on their own prove that the Holy Trinity is present in the Hebrew Bible.
- There are a couple of verses in Isaiah that describe God as expanding the heavens. Then in 1929 Edwin Hubble discovered redshift and that the universe was expanding.
- The oldest nigh complete copy of Isaiah is found in the dead sea scrolls, which predate Jesus. There is no way that people of the time could prove that the universe was expanding.
Pro states that in Genesis 1:26, since God refers to himself in the plural, that implies that there is more than one person in the Godhead. At least, that’s how I interpreted the unfinished thought there. In reality, this is what Hebrew grammarians refer to as pluralis excellentiae, which is similar to the “royal we” in English. Nowhere in Genesis, nor indeed in the rest of the Hebrew Bible, does it imply that God is more than one, and in fact God’s oneness is explicitly asserted (Deuteronomy 6:4, Malachi 2:10, Hosea 13:4).
Malachi 2:10 - 10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?
Hosea 13:4 I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.
Pro points to the discussion of the messiah in the Hebrew Bible, but it should be noted that the Jewish conception of the messiah is completely different from Christian ideas surrounding Jesus. Jews believe that the messiah is a great person who will arise to redeem the Jewish people at some point in the future, not necessarily a son of God, and certainly not equivalent to God.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,though you are small among the clans of Judah,out of you will come for meone who will be ruler over Israel,whose origins are from of old,from ancient times.”
But since Christianity was an outgrowth of Judaism and Jesus himself cited these verses, these parallels should not be surprising. But look past these cherry-picked verses and observe the bigger picture painted in Isaiah or Jeremiah, and the messiah sounds a lot more like a political figure or military leader whose focus is only on Israel, not all of humanity.
Who has believed our messageand to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,and like a root out of dry ground.He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.Like one from whom people hide their faceshe was despised, and we held him in low esteem.4 Surely he took up our painand bore our suffering,yet we considered him punished by God,stricken by him, and afflicted.5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was on him,and by his wounds we are healed.6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,each of us has turned to our own way;and the Lord has laid on himthe iniquity of us all.7 He was oppressed and afflicted,yet he did not open his mouth;he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,so he did not open his mouth.8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.Yet who of his generation protested?For he was cut off from the land of the living;for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,and with the rich in his death,though he had done no violence,nor was any deceit in his mouth.10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,he will see his offspring and prolong his days,and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.11 After he has suffered,by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,and he will bear their iniquities.12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]because he poured out his life unto death,and was numbered with the transgressors.For he bore the sin of many,and made intercession for the transgressors.
With this in mind, we can dismiss Pro’s cited verses which point only to the coming of the messiah. For similar reasons, verses which refer to “sons of God” do not necessarily point to the Trinity.
Pro also points to the angel of the Lord, and the idea that it is a Christophany is simple retroactive speculation by Christians. The wording of the Bible is vague enough that there are multiple theories about the angel of the Lord as a messenger of God, a mediator between God and humans, or an avatar of God himself. Not that the Christophany theory must be immediately dismissed, but the mere existence of this character doesn’t point to the Holy Trinity.
- The angel speaks like if he's God( (Genesis 16:7-12; 21:17-18; 22:11-18; Exodus 3:2; Judges 2:1-4; 5:23; 6:11-24; 13:3-22; 2 Samuel 24:16; Zechariah 1:12; 3:1; 12:8)
- This angel acts like he's God(Psalm 34:7, )
In this section, Pro simply compiles a bunch of times that the word “spirit”
This word is sometimes translated as “breath”, but it is often used to refer to some kind of life-force or divine energy emanating from God which may be thought to be present in pious men.
Pro attempts to appeal to Jewish authority to support the Trinity’s presence in the Hebrew Bible. I am not sure what angle Pro is going for here. Is Pro trying to argue that the Jewish faith actually does accept the Trinity? It seems not, since Pro states “Most Jews believe that God doesn't have a son, but they are wrong.” But then, since Pro by necessity believes that nearly all Jewish scholars are misinterpreting the Hebrew Bible in a very blatant and obvious way, why now does he trust Jewish scholarship and the Talmud?
Pro, pulling from the Youtube video he linked, quotes Dr. Benjamin Sommer, a Jewish scholar who is sympathetic to the idea of the Trinity, and states that the Christian idea of the Trinity was similar to ancient Canaanite ideas of God. At no point does Dr. Sommer state that the Trinity is present in the Hebrew Bible, and in fact implies that it was absent in the gap between Canaanite pre-Judaic religion, and its “popping up again” among early Christians. So this really has no bearing on the main argument.
Kabbalists are a small, esoteric sect of Jews, and their ideas are not accepted by the wider Jewish community, and Kabbalah was censored for a time under the rabbis. Not to mention that even if the entire Jewish faith accepted the idea of the 10 sefirot, that is still a completely different idea from the Christian Trinity. This debate is about the presence of the Holy Trinity in the Hebrew Bible, and even if there does exist a Hebrew Bible verse which states that God has multiple incarnations, that is only a step toward the argument, that alone does not prove the specific doctrine of the Trinity. Pro’s reference to the Talmud goes back to the point about the angel of the Lord. The rabbi was not recognizing that there were multiple figures named YHWH, but referring to mal’akh YHWH, the messenger of Yahweh, or the angel of the Lord. Neither this quotation from the Talmud nor the verse it cites points to the Trinity in any obvious way.
Pro’s case that the Trinity is present in the Old Testament relies on plucking out Bible verses that use vague enough language to where it could be argued that they are referring to God as a being made up of several different personages.
For example, if these verses so clearly and obviously prove the Trinity, why do Jews not accept this?
From what I can tell, there are two ways to answer this question: to admit that there is ambiguity in the text, or to argue that Jews as a religious group are unreasonable or ignorant in some way.
This does not matter, Jews became unitarians as a response to Christianity. The oneness of God is only a tenet of modern Judaism. If the prophets of the hebrew bible were to look at modern Jews then they would seem alien to the prophets. As I previously stated, rabbis throughout history have wrestled with the concept of the multiple persons of God in the Hebrew bible and their belief in Unitarianism.
There are a couple of verses in Isaiah that describe God as expanding the heavens. Then in 1929 Edwin Hubble discovered redshift and that the universe was expanding. …The oldest nigh complete copy of Isaiah is found in the dead sea scrolls, which predate Jesus. There is no way that people of the time could prove that the universe was expanding.
Nowhere in the old testament is there a verse that prohibits the existence of the trinity.
First of all, Does this prophecy of the messiah sound like a powerful political leader to you? Isaiah 53:
Also don't come out and say that this is about Israel because the idea that this passage is about Israel is a new idea. The ancient rabbis all believed that this was about the messiah.
This is wrong. The character does point to the existence of the trinity. and here are the reasons: The angel speaks like if he's God … This angel acts like he's God
As I stated before, the spirit is more than a force. It it [sic] written like its a person and acts like a person
I don't recommend using Jewish traditions for all of your proof against me, it is better to rely on the Jewish scriptures.
Dr. Benjamin Sommer is still a Jew and a Jewish scholar, which means he is a Jewish authority.
You are missing the point, the comparison of the trinity to Kabbalah is used to state that just like Kabbalah the trinity is not a fully pagan idea and has Jewish origin.
And there are many verses, so the possibility of a trinity is likely. These verses have stumped the rabbis throughout the ages. Their responses were interesting, for example: The angel of the lord is believed to be the metatron by the Rabbis.
Because relations between Christians and Jews throughout history were tense. The reason that they don't accept it is because even to this day Jews don't want to identify with Christianity. The trinity is a misunderstood idea and to many Jews it seems pagan.
As for the second way, The Jews are humans, they are able to sin and make mistakes and their bias will affect the way they view the bible.
Thank you for your response, Pro. I must start off by pointing out that in Round 2, my opponent has made much use of pointing out that the Hebrew Bible “doesn’t disprove” the notion of the Trinity. That isn’t sufficient. Remember that you are arguing that the Trinity is present in the Hebrew Bible, and the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate this. My job is to demonstrate that these proofs are insufficient and that these verses are talking about things other than the Trinity. Expecting me to find verses that somehow disprove the Trinity is something beyond the scope of the debate.
As far as I can see, this is a series of unsubstantiated statements. What proof do you have that “Jews became unitarians as a response to Christianity”? When did you state that “rabbis throughout history have wrestled with the concept of the multiple persons of God”, other than one example you gave which was about a completely unrelated topic? We cannot simply make up facts in order to support our worldview without any sources whatsoever.
Rav Naḥman says: This one, i.e., any person, who knows how to respond to the heretics as effectively as Rav Idit should respond to them, but if he does not know, he should not respond to them. The Gemara relates: A certain heretic said to Rav Idit: It is written in the verse concerning God: “And to Moses He said: Come up to the Lord” (Exodus 24:1). The heretic raised a question: It should have stated: Come up to Me. Rav Idit said to him: This term, “the Lord,” in that verse is referring to the angel Metatron, whose name is like the name of his Master, as it is written: “Behold I send an angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Take heed of him and obey his voice; do not defy him; for he will not pardon your transgression, for My name is in him” (Exodus 23:20–21).
"The heretic said to him: If so, if this angel is equated with God, we should worship him as we worship God. Rav Idit said to him: It is written: “Do not defy [tammer] him,” which alludes to: Do not replace Me [temireni] with him. The heretic said to him: If so, why do I need the clause “For he will not pardon your transgression”? Rav Idit said to him: We believe that we did not accept the angel even as a guide [befarvanka] for the journey, as it is written: “And he said to him: If Your Presence go not with me raise us not up from here” (Exodus 33:15). Moses told God that if God Himself does not accompany the Jewish people they do not want to travel to Eretz Yisrael."
The Gemara relates: A certain heretic said to Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei: It is written: “And the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven” (Genesis 19:24). The heretic raised the question: It should have stated: From Him out of heaven. A certain launderer said to Rabbi Yishmael: Leave him be; I will respond to him. This is as it is written: “And Lemech said to his wives: Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; wives of Lemech, hearken to my speech” (Genesis 4:23). One can raise the question: It should have been written: My wives, and not: “Wives of Lemech.” Rather, it is the style of the verse to speak in this manner. Here too, it is the style of the verse to speak in this manner. Rabbi Yishmael said to the launderer: From where did you hear this interpretation? The launderer said to him: I heard it at the lecture of Rabbi Meir.
In Exodus 24:1). If there was no trinity it should have stated: "Come up to Me."
The word "lord" here refers to an angel called metatron
but if this angel is the lord, then we should worship as the lord
You have blasphemed God by replacing him with an angel
If so, why do I need the clause “For he will not pardon your transgression”?
We did not accept an angel even as a guide. If God did not want us to travel to the land of Israel then we wouldn't
Perhaps Pro was right that we should keep discussion of whether or not the Bible is the word of God out of it. The idea that Isaiah 40:22 (“He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in”) must refer to the universe’s expansion is incredibly weak. Is that really the only possible interpretation that an educated person would take from this verse? The idea of God “stretching out the heavens like a canopy” over the “circle of the earth” is simply poetic language
heaven, heavens, sky
- visible heavens, sky
- as abode of the stars
- as the visible universe, the sky, atmosphere, etc
- Heaven (as the abode of God)
sky or heavens
and indeed the ancient Hebrews thought of Earth as a flat circle and the sky as a dome encasing it
and the so-called “deep waters”, the “waters underneath” or, even more dramatically, “the great deep.”
- water of the feet, urine
- of danger, violence, transitory things, refreshment (fig.)
Now above the dome, in the “outside” of the dome (who’d say?) you’d find even more water. You guessed it right: those are the “upper waters” and, above them, the “high heaven” or the “heaven of heavens”, where God Himself dwells, as can be seen in the graphic.
With regards to Pro’s response to the three verses we cited proclaiming God’s oneness, Pro seems to think that I meant these verses to debunk the idea of the Trinity. On the contrary, we cited these verses to defend the idea that God’s oneness is an idea that is well-rooted and established in ancient Judaism, rather than a “modern idea” as Pro says. Of course these verses do not “disprove” the Trinity, because the Trinity was not invented as an idea yet. And an atheist would argue that the idea of the Trinity was specifically tailored not to explicitly contradict the Hebrew Bible, since, after all, Christians believe that the God of the Old and New Testaments is one and the same. The idea of the Trinity is famously so complex, God being one and three at the same time, that many believers have trouble wrapping their heads around it. The writers of the Hebrew Bible could not possibly have anticipated this complicated premise in order to denounce it. All this is to say that my job is not to demonstrate that the Hebrew Bible disproves the Trinity, but that it contains no mention of it. Again, the burden of proof is on Pro.
Of course these verses do not “disprove” the Trinity, because the Trinity was not invented as an idea yet.
The idea of the Trinity is famously so complex, God being one and three at the same time, that many believers have trouble wrapping their heads around it.
The writers of the Hebrew Bible could not possibly have anticipated this complicated premise in order to denounce it
The chapter you just quoted there is not talking about the messiah. It is one of the four servant songs, each of which is written about an unnamed “servant of Yahweh”, whose identity remains ambiguous and subject to various interpretations. Christians, of course, assume that it is a supernatural prophecy of Jesus. The modern Jewish view is that the “servant” is an allegory for the nation of Israel itself. Some believe that it is indeed referring to the Jewish messiah, or the king Hezekiah. In any case, nowhere in Isaiah 53 is this figure equated with God, and it is completely possible for a political leader to be despised, rejected, and subject to suffering.
The modern Jewish view is that the “servant” is an allegory for the nation of Israel itself.
Then we will simply have to agree to disagree. I do not necessarily see how it’s written like a person or acts like a person, except for mild personification in a couple verses. But as I said before, the rabbis maintain that the Spirit is “a quality belonging to God”, so as long as this interpretation remains open, it cannot be said that these verses must refer to the Trinity.
You are the one who said “Talmudic and other rabbinic commentaries are also acceptable sources”.
And again, I will reiterate, Dr. Sommer never said that the Trinity is present in the Hebrew Bible, but that the doctrine of the Trinity has interesting connections with Canaanite semi-polytheistic religious traditions that predate Judaism. This is unrelated to the main argument.
This doesn’t really concur with what you were saying before. You say that the Trinity was originally a Jewish idea. Now you are saying that the Jews don’t accept the Trinity because they don’t want to identify with Christianity. But why would they identify the Trinity with Christianity if what you are saying, that the Trinity was originally a Jewish idea, is true? If the Jews in the era before Jesus really did believe in the Trinity, as you say, why then did they choose to let go of this belief in particular?
- There is only 1 God
- This God is made up of 3 co-existing, eternal persons which are the father, the son and the holy spirit
- Each person is eternal and uncreated and each one is of infinite power and of infinite knowledge
- Each person is fully God
- Modalism - that each person is a form of God, so God would be like superman in were he can change forms.
- partialism - that each person is 1/3rd of God
- tritheism - that the 3 persons are 3 separate gods
- Arianism - the idea that the son is not fully God
Evidence of this? As far as I know, the Greeks have known the roundness of earth since the 500s bce.
You are using your position the idea that we are debating here "because the Trinity was not invented as an idea yet." and applying it to your argument.
This is not a reliable interpretation because it is modern and was written as a response to Christians. This is the interpretation that I specifically told you to avoid.
He is also the guy who said "I came to my shock when I finished this book is that we Jews have no theological objection to the doctrine of the trinity." [sic]
First of all, I saying that the trinity is an originally Jewish idea has nothing to do with the Jewish acceptance of the trinity…What I said here is that most Jews do not believe the trinity because most of them don't know it is an originally Jewish idea.