Author: Walter R. Martin
AND THE TRINITY
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity has been consistently
misunderstood, probably more than any other teaching of the
Bible. Frequently investigation into the doctrine of the Trinity
has been dismissed from serious discussion or study by invoking
the time-worn assertions – “It’s a great mystery” or “This is
incomprehensible” – thus discouraging many from investigating the
scriptural basis of the doctrine.
Due principally to this attitude as well as certain complex
aspects of the Trinity doctrine itself, there has been a revival
of anti-Trinitarian heresies during the past one hundred and
fifty years, and they have gone largely unanswered. Prominent
among those groups rejecting the historic doctrine of the Trinity
are Mormonism, Christian Science, Unity, Spiritism, Herbert W.
Armstrong and his Radio Church of God and Jehovah’s Witnesses –
i.e., The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
According the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Trinity is a Satanic dogma
of apostate Christianity that prevents people from knowing the
true God, Jehovah. The Watchtower puts it this way:
The doctrine in brief is that there are three gods in one:
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost…the
Holy Spirit is not a person and is therefore not one of the
gods of the Trinity…the Trinity doctrine was not conceived
by Jesus or the early Christians…the obvious conclusion
therefore is that Satan is the originator of the Trinity
Since the Watchtower denies that the Trinity doctrine is
Biblical; and since they complicate the issue by defining it
incorrectly – the task of true Christians is two fold: First, a
definition in accord with historic Christianity must be given.
Secondly, it must be shown that the doctrine of the Trinity is
both Biblical and essential to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
THE HOLY TRINITY
Definition: Within the unity of the One God there are three
Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and these three
share the same Nature and attributes. In effect, the three
Persons ARE the one God.
From this concise statement, similarly set forth in many
theological texts,2 it is clear that the Christian Church does
not believe that “there are three gods in One.” Quite to the
contrary, we affirm that there is but one God, as Scripture
repeatedly asserts (Deut. 6:4, Isa. 43:10, 1 Tim 2:5).
Having defined the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, it becomes
necessary, secondly, to demonstrate inductively from the Bible
that it is true.
To accomplish this, we begin with one basic premise: If it can be
shown from Scripture that there are three persons, all of whom
are called Jehovah (God), then, since there is only one Jehovah
(Isa. 44:6, 48:12), those three Persons are the one God. Things
equal to the same thing are equal to each other.
Just how it is possible for three to be One and for that One to
be three, will also be explained. But first, the evidence:
1. THE FATHER IS JEHOVAH
Jehovah’s Witnesses are quick to agree with the Apostle Peter
that the Father is called Jehovah. Moreover, Peter and many
other Biblical writers identify Him as a “person” (2 Peter
1:17). It is therefore unnecessary to press this point, the
Witnesses having already conceded it.
However, we would point out that the word “person” is, by
definition, descriptive of “ego” or “I.” Without “ego,” which
distinguishes man from the beast, personality as such would cease
to exist. Any reputable lexicon of Greek dictionary will
substantiate the fact that the Greek word “ego,” is the basis for
our English term, “I.” Jehovah designates His Being as The Great
I AM (Ex. 3:14): So the Deity is Personal and possesses Ego, the
hallmark of Personality.
We see, then, that one of the three “Persons” – the Father – is
2. THE SON IS JEHOVAH
A careful study of the first chapter of Revelation (vs. 11-18)
will show that Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, identifies Himself
as “the first and the last” and “the one who became dead” and who
now lives for all eternity.
It is of no small significance that in verse 13 of the last
chapter of Revelation, He confirms this title with great
emphasis, identifying Himself in verse 16 as “I Jesus,” and
declaring that He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and
the end, the first and the last.” The context reveals that it is
Jesus speaking (vs. 12), for He – not the Father – is coming
“quickly” (Rev. 1:7; 1 Thess. 4:15,16).
It must never be forgotten that these titles (“the first and the
last,” “the Alpha and the Omega'” “the beginning and the end”)
belong only to Jehovah God (Isa. 44:6,8; Rev. 1:8, 21:6). But
Jesus Christ claims them as His own, because He, the Son is also
We see, then, that there are either two firsts and two lasts (a
hopeless contradiction of terms), or the Son is Jehovah, the one
who was pierced for our sins (Zech. 12:10; Rev. 1:7,11,13) and
who is truly “the fullness of Jehovah in flesh” (Col. 2:9).
The angel who showed John the wonder Revelation forbade the
Apostle to worship him, for he was but a created being, a “fellow
servant.” Quite properly, he declared, “worship Jehovah,” (Rev.
22:9). Yet Jesus Christ, whom Jehovah’s Witnesses say is also a
created being (i.e., Michael the Archangel), commended the
worship of Himself as Jehovah (John 20:28,29). This would have
been a blasphemous act of presumption on His part and a direct
violation of His Father’s commandments (Ex. 20:3; Deut. 6:17),
unless He were in some mysterious sense on in Nature and Being
with His Father. In such a case He would in truth be “equal with
God” and entitled to receive worship as Jehovah(John 5:18,23).
Jehovah’s Witnesses have always taught that Jesus Christ was no
more than a perfect man, “certainly not the supreme God Almighty
in the flesh.”3 They state categorically that He was in no sense
both God and man. “Some insist that Jesus while on earth was
both God and man. This theory is wrong.”4 Jehovah’s Witnesses
also maintain that our Lord was “the first and direct creation of
Jehovah God,” and that prior to His earthly life He was an
In contrast to this teaching, Scripture and the Christian Church
declare the full Deity of Jesus Christ, and His equality with God
In the first verse of John’s Gospel, Christ is revealed as the
eternal Word of God who became flesh (verse 14) – the “image of
God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Consider the emphasis “in the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word
was God” John 1:1).
Note that John 1:1 states that the Word already was in the
beginning – it does not say the Word “became” or “was created” by
God, as Jehovah’s Witnesses teach. The Witness incorrectly
translate this text to read “the Word was a god,”6 but their
translation is by both context and grammar an impossibility
according to all recognized authorities on Greek. No recognized
translation bears out their error.
Moreover, the Scriptures proclaim that Christ made “himself equal
with God” (John 5:18), and that “in him dwelleth all the fullness
of the Deity bodily” (Colossians 2:9). The Bible further states
that Christ claimed to be the great I AM (Jehovah) of the Old
Testament (cf. Exodus 3:13-16 with John 8:58), and the Jews
understood Him so clearly during His ministry that they sought to
stone Him to death for blasphemy (John 8:59; cf. 10:28-33).
Jehovah’s Witnesses pervert these texts and many others in their
determined effort to demote our Lord from His position of God and
Creator (Colossians 1; Hebrews 1); and they compound their error
by translating the Greek of the New Testament, in many places,
contrary to all grammatical authorities. It is certainly true
that during His earthly life our Lord voluntarily limited Himself
as a man (Philippians 2:6-8), and thus He never strove to usurp
the prerogatives of Deity; But one does not have to “rob” what is
His by inheritance (Hebrews 1). He was true Deity – “the great
God” (Titus 2:13).
We must not forget that Christ humbled Himself, even to the death
of the cross, and therefore, as a man, could say, “My Father is
greater than I” (John 14:28). However, let us remember that
Christ never said, “My Father is better than I.” “Better” is a
term of comparison between natures (Heb 1:4), while “greater,” as
in the context of John 14, is a term of comparison relative to
The President of the United States, for instance, is greater in
position than any of his fellow-Americans by virtue of his
office, but he would be the first to insist that he is not better
than other human beings. So Christ was admittedly inferior to
His Father positionally while on earth as a man, but the
Scriptures clearly and unmistakably state that he was at all
times His Father’s equal on the spiritual plane of Divine Being
or Nature (Heb. 1:3; John 5:18). Note also that in 1 Corinthians
15:28 it is function that is dealt with – not Deity.
Jehovah’s Witnesses always point to Christ’s humanity in the
Bible; they carefully omit mention of His claim to full Deity,
and they thus “wrest…the…scriptures, unto their own
destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). the second Person, the Son, is also
called God, then, despite the efforts of the Watchtower to prove
3. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS JEHOVAH
It is peculiar, to say the least, that Jehovah’s Witnesses can
agree with the Apostle Peter when he declared that the Father is
Jehovah – and then contradict his affirmation that the Holy
Spirit is likewise Jehovah, as recorded in Acts 5:3 and 4.
No Christian theologian has ever denied either the Person or
Deity of the Holy Spirit, for the evidence to substantiate both
is abundant in Scripture. For instance, a thorough study of the
book of Acts, chapter thirteen, reveals that the Holy Spirit is a
Person, because He possesses “ego.” Luke records therin that the
Holy Spirit as a Person has “ego” (13:2,4) and, furthermore, that
He (not “it”) prophesies to His servants and commissions them, as
well (21:11). See also such verses as John 14:26, 15:26, Acts
8:29, 13:2, and Romans 5:5.
The Scriptures are clear that the Holy Spirit has a “will” (1
Cor. 12:11; Heb. 2:4), and since “will” denotes “ego” or
personality, as opposed to the neuter (animals), obviously the
Spirit is a person. We have also seen from Peter’s words that
when Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, he lied to Jehovah (Acts
5:4). Both the thirteenth chapter of Acts and Isaiah 48 add to
the proof that the Holy Spirit is God, since He answers the
prayers of the Apostles (Acts 13:1-4) and is designated Deity by
the prophet Isaiah (48:16). Even the Watchtower admits that God
alone answers prayer.
The Bible, then, does indeed teach that the Spirit is a Person
and that He is called God. It is therefore apparent that there
are three Persons mentioned in Scripture and that they are all
identified as God: Yet there is only one true God (Isa. 45:22).
“LORDS MANY AND GODS MANY”
There are two other important points that must be mentioned.
Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that, because the Bible designates some
beings and idols as “gods,” it is proper for them to call Jesus
“a god” and worship him as the angels did (Heb. 1:6). This is an
important point and must be clarified.
Of course, it is true that God made Moses appear as a god in
Pharoah’s eyes (Exodus 7:1). Moreover, Satan, certain of the
judges of Israel and pagan idols are described as “gods” in the
Bible (John 14:30, Psalms 82:6, 1 Cor. 8:4, 10:19, 2 Cor. 4:4).
Nevertheless, they are not deity by nature, as the Apostle Paul
flatly states (Gal. 4:8). They are “gods” by angelic or human
acclamation, and God addresses them in that context. Worshiping
a thing can make it your god; but it is not God by nature – for
by nature there is only one God (1 Cor. 8:4-6, 1 Tim. 2:5).
When this cardinal distinction is made in Scripture, the
Watchtower’s doctrine is refuted, and the problem of the usage of
the term “gods” or “a god” disappears.
COMPOSITE UNITY AND THE TRIPLE POINT
The second important fact to be remembered is that of the meaning
of the term “one.”
“How is it possible,” say the Jehovah’s witnesses, “for Jehovah
to be three and one both at the same time? It is illogical,
unreasonable and confusing; and God is not the author of
To answer this all-too-common objection, it should be kept in
mind that the word “one” can denote composite as well as solitary
unity. For instance, in Genesis (chapter 2), Adam and Eve are
called one flesh; and Numbers (chapter 13) speaks of “one” when
the context indicates that is was in reality a cluster of grapes
hanging from one stem. Here are bona fide instances of composite
The same Hebrew word, “echod” (one) is used in both cases,
however, even as it is in Deuteronomy 6:4 where we are told that
God is “One.” The evident composite unity indicated here is
confirmed in the New Testament. Our Lord spoke of composite
unity where marriage is concerned (Mk. 10:8); so He, too, was
aware of this important distinction. See also Joshua 9:2; Judges
20:1; 2 Chron. 30:12; Isaiah 65:25; Nehemiah 7:66 and Ezra 6:20
for further instances of composite unity.
Finally, let us illustrate how it is both logically and
rationally possible for three to be one and one to be three
simultaneously, since Jehovah’s Witnesses do NOT believe this is
It is a well-known fact of chemistry that plain water, when
placed in a vacuum under 230 millimeters of gas pressure and at a
temperature of 0 degrees Centigrade, solidifies into ice at the
bottom of the container, remains liquid in the center and
vaporizes at the top! At a given instant the same water is both
solid, liquid and gas, yet all three are manifestations of the
same basic substance or nature: H2O – hydrogen: two parts;
If one of the simplest of all created substances can be three in
manifested form and yet remain one in nature, then the Creator of
that substance can surely be Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three
Persons and one Nature – without any violation of logic or reason
whatever if He so wills.
God is not triples (1+1+1) – He is triune (1x1x1), and He has
revealed Himself fully in the Person of our Lord, Jesus Christ
(Col. 2:9; John 14:9).
Jehovah’s Witnesses are not confused by the doctrine of the
Trinity they are confused by the Watchtower Society, from whose
power only the Son of God can liberate. It is our prayer that,
in His own time, this will come to pass – “for ye shall know the
truth and the truth shall set you free…and if the Son shall
make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:32,36).
Once the foregoing data have been understood, the following texts
from the Old and New Testament confirm the doctrine of the
Trinity. A prayerful reading of these passages will help
strenghten your faith in this great and truly divine revelation
of the Nature of God. It will promote faith in Him “who is able
to save to the uttermost all who come to Him by faith,” since He
alone is “the Way,” (Heb. 7:25; John 14:6; Acts 16:31; 1 John
2:2; Romans 10:9-13).
1. Let God Be True, Watchtower Society, Edition 1946, pp. 81, 82,
87, Reconciliation J.W. Rutherford, p. 115.
2. The Trinity, Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, p 115.
3. Let God Be True, p. 87
4. The Truth Shall Make You Free, Watchtower Society, p. 49, The
Harp of God, J.W. Rutherford, pp. 101, 128.
5. The Kingdom Is At Hand, pp. 46, 47-49.
6. Let God Be True, pp. 34, 35.
TRINITY TEXTS: (1) Old Testament Hints – Genesis 1:26, Genesis
3:22, Genesis 11:7, Isaiah 6:8, 48:12, Zech. 12:9,10. (2) The
Creation – Genesis 1:2, In 1:3. (3) The Incarnation – Lk. 1:35.
(4) The Baptism of Christ – Matt. 3:17,17. (5) The Resurrection
of Christ – Acts 2:26, 1 Thess. 1:10 (The Father), Jn 2:19-21,
Rom. 8:11, 1 Pet 3:18 (The Holy Spirit), Acts 17:31 (God). (6)
The Great Commission – Matt. 28:19. (7) The Divine Benediction –
2 Cor. 13:14. See also John 14:16,26, 15:26.