Chapter 5: God
The following Sunday, a cool day for the end of June, Bob, Richard, and Ted visited Arthur again. After exchanging pleasantries, Ted volunteered the following experience: "Last Monday I had to go over to my mother's -- she's opposed -- and talk with her while I dropped off my dirty laundry. But it turned out to be an ambush. She had her minister waiting for me, Pastor Enright of the Free People's Baptist Church that I used to go to."
"What was his manner, and what did he talk to you about?" Arthur asked as he looked over at an awakening Mr. Jandle.
"He's always acted pretty wild in church, like he's real excited. But at the house he was different: like it was all an act that he does in church. He was overly polite and sorrowful for having lost a sheep, I guess. He started in saying we don't have the 'saving religion' because we don't glorify Jesus Christ the way he asked to be glorified in the Bible, 'with the same glory as the Father.'"
"What did you say to that?" asked Richard.
"I told him we do glorify Jesus but not with the same glory because the Bible actually said God shares his own glory with no one. And I was going to make him read that Scripture when he started getting more excited, sort of like he had that act to fall back on if reason eluded him. He said, 'But Jesus is God, that's why he can have the same glory as his Father,' and he quoted a Scripture where Jesus supposedly asks God to give him the same glory he has."
"Anything else?" Arthur asked.
"Yeah, but the rest was real stupid. He asked me why I thought people always died in threes and said that 'God took them to be with Him' so God must be three people since he always takes three to be with him at a time."
Richard laughed and Bob balked at this last statement. Arthur also smiled in disdain, asking Ted if there was anything else.
"Well, then he got into the soul and hell and everything."
"Yes, that's one of their favorite tricks," Arthur commented, "jumping around from subject to subject without leaving time for you to reply to any of their statements." He paused, and Ted took it for a cue to continue.
"Then my mother made us lunch, and I remembered that the Bible says we shouldn't pray with these people, so I said a swift, silent prayer and began eating. He stopped me with my mouth full and said, 'Don't you thank the Lord for your food? That's another way of telling the true religion from the false, Let's bow our heads…' And he started praying with such a forceful air that I bowed my head and even said 'Amen' at the end. I didn't tell him why I didn't want to pray with him as it seemed too insulting to say it.
"To top it all off, my mother brought out a piece of a birthday cake she made me two weeks ago and had kept in the freezer. Pastor Enright said, 'Well, well, isn't that nice of your mother? Praise the Lord for loving mothers who forgive their wayward sons.' I said I couldn't eat it as it was a pagan thing.
"That's when he started railing against me as if I was the Devil incarnate. He was really getting excited so I got up and made ready to run for the door if he got any worse. He was screaming, 'You need to accept the Lord Jesus into your heart! What good does being a Jehovah do you? What salvation can you feel in your soul with the Anti-Christ?'
"I fumbled for words, trembling at his glowing eyes when my mother spoke up: 'It's changed your whole life; you threw away all your Playboys and started reading the Bible for the first time.'
"Pastor Enright was thrown by this unexpected turn, and I was rather amazed by it too."
"Your mother loves you very much," Arthur smiled tenderly.
"Yeah, but when I left she gave me back the Truth book I had given her to read. She said she never opened it."
"That's unfortunate. But you know," Arthur said with a look of wisdom, "all the trees don't blossom at the same time. I have the feeling that she'll come around." Turning his attention to Bob and Richard, Arthur asked, "But what do you two think of this incident? Did Ted handle the situation as you would've?"
Bob cleared his throat and began, "I would've laughed when he mentioned people dying in threes and, looking him straight in the eye with a concerned look, I would've said, 'Do you really believe that?' That usually disconcerts them."
"You were right not to pray with him at first," Richard commended, "too bad he more or less forced you into it afterwards. But I can't see what would've been wrong in eating the birthday cake. Here in First Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 27 it says, 'If anyone of the unbelievers invites you and you wish to go, proceed to eat everything that is set before you, making no inquiry on account of your conscience.'"
"But doesn't it say somewhere that you're not supposed to eat with apostates?" Ted wondered.
"You're thinking of First Corinthians 5:11," Arthur responded, "but that refers to 'anyone called a brother' who is wicked. So that wouldn't apply to your minister. But we're getting off our subject.
"What I want you to see from this is that there are many Trinitarian arguments that the Society hasn't taught you to refute. I've been studying the subject for over eighty years and I never heard anyone use the 'three-people-dying' argument Ted's minister used."
"But that's just stupid," Bob commented.
"Yes, it is. But let's say that Ted managed to get away for a moment from the trap his mother set for him and managed to telephone you, Bob. He asks you to come over and help him put up a respectable defense against this eloquent speaker. You have a free afternoon so you oblige. Now, once you get there and hear his 'stupid argument', how do you reply to it?"
"Just as I said. I'd laugh and ask if he really believed that."
"That might be effective," Arthur replied, "but ridicule is not to be recommended. You might convince Ted's mother that her pastor was talking nonsense, but at the same time she might feel sorry for him because of your poking fun at his sincere beliefs. So it might backfire. A patient analysis of whatever 'proof' he puts forward would be better -- though in this case it seems ludicrous. First, you'd ask him what basis he has for believing that people die 'in threes'. Ask him how much of a time limit is allowable between the three individual deaths for the theory to hold; since obviously any three given individuals will die eventually. Then ask him how the individuals have to be related -- in a family, or famous, or on a city street. Explain to him that people are dying almost continuously all over the world, so there has to be certain limitations on 'who' and 'where' in order to come up with the number three. In the end you'll have shown that 'three' in this case is completely arbitrary. Four, nine, thirty-two--any number would work just as well.
"That takes care of the first part. For the second part you'd say: 'Even if we could somehow mean something when we say, 'people die in threes', I cannot see how this could have any possible relationship to God being three persons. Nor do I believe that God 'takes people to be with him' as if he could somehow be lonely and need a different person for each of his selves. That would show a disparate spirit in your Trinity too; the three persons weren't unified enough to even share the company of one person but required a person each.' This too is a sort of ridicule, but it's much gentler and less apt to backfire as it is more reason than mockery."
Arthur took a long deep breath and said, "But what I've decided to do for you gentlemen is to show you how to conduct yourselves in a semi-formal debate. Elders should be prepared for such things rather than just being able to shoot down 'straw-man arguments.'"
"What's that?" Ted inquired.
"A straw-man argument is where I'd take the easiest of my opponent's 'proofs' to disprove, For instance, I would say that the Trinitarians believe in the Trinity because people die in threes. That's the only reason of theirs I'd give, and then I'd refute it -- a straw man rather than one of their iron-clad arguments,"
"Are you saying," Bob asked in irritation, "that the Society has only presented the weakest arguments for the Trinity so they could easily disprove it?"
Arthur smiled and shut his eyes. Everyone had the feeling that he was about to shake his head "no" and explain his position better when he opened them and said, "Yes." Then he looked over at his roommate who sat up in bed. "Well hello, Mr. Jandle. Would you care to join our discussion? We could use another judge for our debate,"
"Ah, I have not attended a good debate for many a year. I'd be delighted. Just let me get my bathrobe on and I'll join you. But please introduce me to your friends as I do so."
Introductions were made, and Mr. Jandle sat on his old wooden rocking chair by the side of Arthur's bed.
"Resolved:" Arthur intoned, "that the God of the Bible, the Absolute Sovereign and Creator of the Universe is a Trinity. By Trinity I mean that God consists of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Yet there are not three Gods, but only one who is three persons. Do you gentlemen agree with this definition?"
"Of course not," Bob scowled.
"Wait a minute, Bob," Arthur chuckled, "I don't mean do you agree with the resolution that God is a Trinity. I'm only asking if you agree that when we use the word 'Trinity' this is what we mean."
"Oh, all right then, that's different," he was embarrassed, "yeah, that's what they mean, although it makes no sense."
"I will be taking the affirmative and you two will take the negative of the resolution. Now there is a real question as to whether it should be this way. If we worded the resolution 'that God is one person', you two would have the affirmative and I the negative."
"What's the difference?" Richard asked.
"Well, the affirmative upholder gets to speak first and last. This is a distinct advantage meant to be accorded for the reason that to prove something is harder than to tear it down and disprove it.
"The Society agrees with this by saying the burden of proof lies with the Trinitarian and we should ask him to prove it to us. But these ministers are already trained speakers and controversialists, so why add this advantage to their position, I don't know."
"Well, if the Society says to let them speak first," Ted simplified the quandary, "we should let them speak first."
"Yes, you're quite right," Arthur hurriedly agreed, "We'll each have half an hour to present our arguments. When I'm through, Bob, it'll be your turn to state your reasons why God is one person rather than three. It isn't your main concern to attack my arguments but to state yours positively. However, where you can hit two birds with one stone, go ahead. Then it'll be my turn for rebuttal of your arguments and restating my case. Then Richard will have his turn at rebuttal of my statements--you'll have to be taking notes all through this and be preparing to attack my reasoning, Richard. Finally, I'll be allowed the last counter-rebuttal and final plea. That's the guiding framework of our debate--but we'll mix it up rather more than that and make it less formal, you'll see. At the end, Ted, whom we are trying to convince, will be our judge as well as Mr. Jandle. Let's begin then-- and remember you two, I'm the 'evil' family minister making a very unwelcome surprise visit at your Bible-study. My sole goal is to steal Ted back from the Truth, so put up a good fight for him. From now until the end of the debate I am a minister of Christendom."
Arthur turned his attention to Ted and began his act. "Ted, my poor, deceived friend, these delusional men you've been associating with talk a lot about Jehovah God and very little, I'm afraid, about Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer. That is because they fail to realize that Jehovah of the Old Testament (what they insist on calling the 'Hebrew Scriptures') is Jesus of the New Testament (the 'Christian Greek Scriptures' in their parlance). It is a little more complicated than that, but we'll get into those elaborations later. Right now I want to show you that what I say is true. Would you please take my King James Bible -- for their Bible isn't translated right -- and turn to Jeremiah 23:6 and read that for us?"
Ted snatched the Gideon Bible from the nightstand and leafed through it; "It says, 'In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.'"
"Thank you. Now let me ask one of these Jehovah's Witnesses to tell us who this prophecy is talking about."
"It's a prophecy about the Messiah," Richard answered.
"And the Messiah is whom?"
"Thank you. Ted, let's see just what name this Scripture is calling Jesus Christ, Would you tell us, please, Mr. Jehovah's Witness what the King James Bible means when it writes the word 'LORD' in all capital letters?"
"It means Jehovah," Richard replied.
"Very good. Ted, would you read what the marginal reference says on this Scripture. You'll notice that just before the capitalized words there's a notation directing your attention to the margin. What does it say there?"
"It says 'Heb. Jehovah-tsidkenu.'"
"So the Messiah -- Jesus Christ, can be called by the name Jehovah according to this Scripture. For further collaboration of this I'd like you each to look up the following Scriptures: Ted, I want you to read Isaiah 40:3 from your King James Bible; Richard, I want you to read the same Scripture from your New World Translation; and Bob, I want you to read Matthew 3:3."
Ted began after he saw the others had found their Scriptures; "'The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, 'Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.''"
Richard took his cue and read, "Listen! Someone is calling out in the wilderness: 'Clear up the way of Jehovah, you people! Make the highway of our God through the desert plain straight.'"
Finally Bob read, "This, in fact, is the one spoken of through Isaiah the prophet in these words: 'Listen! Someone is crying out in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of Jehovah you People! Make his roads straight."'"
"I have no doubt," Arthur concluded, "that you gentlemen will agree that this is speaking of John the Baptist's heralding the coming of Jesus Christ. And then it follows, of course, that these Scriptures call Jesus Jehovah God since it is Jehovah 'our God' that John is said to prepare the way for."
Arthur continued, "Also, in Isaiah, chapter 6, we read where Isaiah says, 'In the year that King Uziah died I, however, got to see Jehovah, sitting on a throne…' and in verse 3, 'And this (angel) called to that one and said "Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies. The fullness of the earth is his glory."' verse 5, 'And I proceeded to say: "Woe to me … for my eyes have seen the King Jehovah of armies himself!"' Finally, Isaiah Is given his commission to 'Make the heart of these people unreceptive, and make their very ears unresponsive, and paste their very eyes together that they may not see with their eyes and with their ears they may not hear, and that their own heart may not understand and that they may not actually turn back and get healing for themselves.'
"Now, the fulfillment of that vision is recorded for us in John, chapter 12. Verses 36-45 are of interest to us and I will quote the relevant parts. It is a comment on the unbelieving Jews:
"'Jesus spoke these things and went off… But although he had performed so many signs before them they were not putting faith in him… The reason why they were not able to believe is that again Isaiah said: "He has blinded their eyes and he had made their hearts hard, that they should not see with their eyes and get the thought with their hearts and turn around and I should heal them." Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory; and he spoke about him. All the same many even of the rulers actually put faith in him… However Jesus cried out and said: "He that puts faith in me puts faith, not in me only, but in him also that sent me; and he that beholds me beholds also him that sent me."'
"Now Ted, I ask you, is this Scripture from John quoting the Scripture from Isaiah and fulfilling it?"
"And does the Scripture in Isaiah say that he saw Jehovah?"
"That it does."
"And does the Scripture in John say that Isaiah saw Jesus?"
"Now just hang on a minute," Bob burst out, "it says nothing of the kind --"
"Dear brother," Arthur interrupted, "you are out of order. You may speak on this matter only in your rebuttal.
"Now, to continue, it's obvious that when John writes that 'Isaiah saw his glory' he is referring to Jesus Christ. If you go down the line on what John is writing here, you'll note that every use of the word 'he' or 'his' or 'him' is in reference to Jesus Christ. The subject of this paragraph is the putting of faith in Jesus Christ -- the Pharisees already believed in Jehovah God, but not in Jesus because they didn't realize they were one in the same as Jesus is trying to point out to them here: 'Whoever sees me sees Jehovah God who sent me; and whoever believes in me also believes in Jehovah.' The only explanation of this curious phenomenon is that Jesus is in fact Jehovah.
"Since Isaiah says that he saw Jehovah and John says Isaiah saw Jesus, there are two possibilities: either Jesus is Jehovah or the Bible contradicts itself. Does the Bible contradict itself, Ted?"
"Then Jesus must be Jehovah. The conclusion is inescapable. But there is still further proof, as if this wasn't enough. The entire first chapter of Hebrews reveals the coexistent relationship between the Father and the Son. But as for showing that Jesus is Jehovah, we need concentrate only on verses 10 through 12. Richard, would you be kind enough to read that for us?"
"Okay. It says, 'You at the beginning, O Lord, laid the foundations of the earth itself, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They themselves will perish, but you yourself are to remain continually; and just like an outer garment they will all grow old, and you will wrap them up just like a cloak, as an outer garment; and they will be changed, but you are the same, and your years will never run out.'"
"Now who do you suppose this is speaking of?" Arthur asked.
"Jehovah," Ted answered.
"Guess again; it's Jesus. If you look through the preceding verses of Hebrews, you'll see that fact: 'God… has spoken to us by means of a Son… through whom he made the system of things. He is the reflection of his glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power he has become better than the angels… for example to which one of the angels did he ever say "You are my son"' etc. Note verse 8, 'but with reference to the Son' and this reference is continued in verse 10 by the simple conjunction 'And' where the verse Richard read begins. Would either of you gentlemen dispute that this Scripture is being applied to Jesus?"
"No, we'd have to go along with that," Richard agreed, "there's no reason for dispute on that point; it's perfectly clear."
"Fine. But now let's see where this verse which is applied to Jesus is being quoted from. If you turn in your Bibles to Psalm 102 and stanzas 25-27, you'll see the same words as used in Hebrews, starting with 'Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth itself' and ending with 'But you are the same, and your own years will not be completed.' Do any of you doubt that this is the Scripture quoted in Hebrews and applied to Jesus?"
"No," Richard acquiesced, "that's the correct quote all right."
"Fine. Now, Ted, would you read the superscription to this Psalm, please?"
"It reads, 'A prayer of the afflicted in case he grows feeble and pours out his concern before Jehovah himself.'"
"Before whom?" Arthur asked.
"Before Jehovah himself," Ted replied.
"Fine, And how does it start out?"
"'O Jehovah, do hear my prayer--'"
"Good. You'll notice that verse 18 states that this is written for the future generation when the name of Jehovah will be declared in Jerusalem. Verse 24 reads, 'I proceeded to say: "O my God, do not take me off at the half of my days, your years are throughout all generations,"' and then comes the part Hebrews quotes. Does it seem to you, Ted, that the Psalmist is directing these words, quoted in Hebrews, to Jehovah God?"
"Without a doubt."
"And to whom does the writer of Hebrews indicate that these same words were directed towards?"
"God's Son," Ted gulped, as he realized the full implications of the admission before Arthur continued to point them out.
"Then it would be a safe assumption," Arthur concluded, "that the writer of Hebrews and Isaiah are referring to Jehovah-Jesus. Or to put it more succinctly, that the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New."
"Again, when Jesus says (in Matthew 23:39) that he has come 'in the name of the Lord', we know that this name is Jehovah. And in Matthew 28:19 he further shows us that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost all share the same name; 'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' You'll notice that 'name' is singular, referring to all three. It does not say 'names'. Therefore, Jesus and the Holy Ghost each have the name Jehovah as much as the Father has, although the Bible often speaks of only one particular member of the Trinity by the word 'Jehovah' or 'God' to the exclusion of the other two. There is nothing amiss in this -- it is one of those 'elaborations ' I mentioned earlier -- you must think of them being Jehovah the Father, Jehovah the Son, and Jehovah the Holy Spirit; yet there are not three Jehovahs but only one. So when we use the name, we may refer to one or two or all three members of the Trinity."
"If we bothered to look it up, we'd find that Nahum 1:2 tells us that 'Jehovah is a God exacting exclusive devotion.' I assume we all know what 'exclusive' means here. But to clarify, we'll have Ted read Isaiah 42:8 for us."
Ted found the Scripture and read: "'I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory, neither my praise to graven images.'"
"This being so, if we were to find someone receiving the 'glory' due only Jehovah, and Jehovah approving this action, we'd have to come to the conclusion that the person was himself Jehovah; and that the person could rightfully claim 'That is my name'. Keeping this in mind, you'll recall the Scripture in Hebrews said that God's Son is the reflection of God's glory and the exact representation of his very being. But how can God give his Son his glory in this way unless his Son is also Jehovah?
"How can it be that John 5:23 in the New English Version tells us: 'It is His will that all should pay the same honor to the Son as to the Father. To deny honor to the Son is to deny it to the Father who sent him'?
"Why do we read in Revelation 5:12 of the angels saying, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing,'? It's fitting that they should do so, actually, since God commanded them to in Hebrews 1:6 where we read, 'And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, "And let all the angels of God worship him."' Now, if Jehovah God exacts exclusive devotion, a worship which can include no others, it must be that this first begotten Son, whom he commands the angels to worship, is not in fact an 'other' but is, in a way surpassing our understanding, Jehovah God himself."
"This ends my first proof," Arthur declared. "In it I have set out and compared Scriptures which demand the Jehovah-Jesus conclusion on pains of contradiction. The proof is complete in itself, but I will follow it with three more. First, that Jesus is co-equal with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Second, that Jesus is co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Ghost. And third, that Jesus is co-existent with the Father and the Holy Ghost." Arthur closed his eyes for a few moments to organize the wealth of information in his mind which formed the framework for his next arguments.
"In John 5:18 we read, 'Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.' The Jews could understand the full implications of what Jesus was saying to them in their language much better than we can today. They knew that to be the Son of God was to be 'equal with God.'
"Philippians 2:6 shows us that the Christians of that time also viewed Jesus in his pre-human form as being equal to God; 'who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.'
"Colossians 1:19 tells us that it pleased the Father that in Jesus 'should all fullness dwell.' If Jesus really possesses 'all fullness', it must include Godship. And Colossions 2:9 backs this up by saying, 'For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.'
"In John 10:30 we read of Jesus saying, 'I and the Father are one.' Now I realize that the Jehovah's Witnesses often use this against us as a straw-man argument because all one has to do is turn to John 17:11 and read where Jesus prays that his disciples may be 'one' in the same way that he and his Father are one. Since Christians are not 'one' by being a Trinity, they assume this overthrows our use of this Scripture. However, it merely helps us to understand it more deeply. We know that the way in which Christians are 'one' is that they are equal members of the body of Christ. No matter what sex, nationality, or office they might hold, they are equal. If Jesus and his Father are one in the same way, it follows that they are equal even though they hold different 'offices'.
"Another proof of equality is to be found in John 17:10. Would you read that for us, Bob?"
Bob briefly contorted his face to show his reluctance, but he obeyed and flipped open his Bible to read, "and all my things are yours and yours are mine, and I have been glorified among them."
"Thank you. Now the point here is that everything the Father owns, Jesus says he owns also. We would expect this only of equal partners. If Jesus were in any way inferior to his Father, it would mean that his Father owned something (such as glory) that Jesus didn't own, but Jesus assures us this isn't so. He says quite clearly 'all things' the Father has the Son has also. This includes authority, Godhood, the right to worship, titles, dealings with mankind, etc.
"A comparison of Scriptures will prove this point:
"Those Scriptures should be more than enough for you. But now as for the equality of the Holy Ghost with the Father and Son, I wish to show, first of all, that the Bible calls him God: In Acts 5:3,4 we read: 'But Peter said, 'Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?… Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.''
"And, again, in 1 Corinthians 3:16: 'Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?'
"In these instances Peter and Paul point out the same thing: Peter shows us that Ananias lying to the Holy Spirit is Ananias lying to God. Paul shows us that God dwelling in our bodies as temples is the Holy Spirit dwelling in our bodies as temples. It is seen, then, that the Holy Spirit is God.
"Now I wish to show the equality of the Spirit with the Son and Father, I'm sure that you'll agree the three main attributes of God are omnipotence (being all-powerful), omniscience (being all-knowing), and omnipresence (being all-present). If any being possesses these three attributes, that being is God. You do not doubt that the Father possesses them, but the Bible shows that the Son and Holy Spirit possess them as well.
"The following Scriptures prove my point as to omnipresence: 'And lo, I (Jesus) am with you always, even unto the end of the world.' (Matthew 28:20).
"Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.' (Psalm 139:7-10).
"The following Scriptures prove my point as to omniscience: 'Lord (Jesus) thou knowest all things,' (John 21:17).
"'The Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.' (1 Corinthians 2:10).
"The following Scriptures prove my point as to omnipotence: 'All authority hath been given unto me (Jesus) in heaven and on earth.' (Matthew 28:18).
"'The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.' (Luke 1:35).
"'But ye shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you.' (Acts 1:8).
"Much more, of course, could be said as to the co-equality of the three, but I must move on to my next point -- their co-eternity. You will recognize as a matter of course that these arguments are often hard to separate into three unique divisions. Sometimes an argument proving co-equality will also prove co-eternity, and so forth. So please bear with me if I repeat myself occasionally."
Bob sighed deeply at this and fidgeted in his chair, indicating that he was far from bearing up with it all.
"First of all, then, as to Jesus: In order to prove that he has existed from eternity it is necessary to show that he had no beginning; he was not created at some time, but was always in existence. We can reason out that this must be the case through the Scriptures.
"John 3:16, among others, calls Jesus 'God's only begotten Son.' What does this mean? In Job 38:7 we find a reference to 'all the sons (plural) of God.' And this, you'll agree, refers to the angels. But how can there be 'sons' if Jesus is the 'only begotten'? It must be that these other sons (the angels) were not begotten. Would you agree to that?"
"Yes," Richard replied, "the angels were not begotten, only Jesus was."
"The angels were created, were they not?"
"Yes," he agreed, "they were created."
"Then in order for there to be a difference between Jesus' sonship and that of the angels, there must be a difference between being created and being begotten. Therefore, being begotten is not the same as being created; and so, Jesus was not created.
"One other reasoning on his sonship leads us to the same conclusion: a son must be taken from the substance of his father, otherwise he is not a true son, but an adopted one. In 1 John 5:20 we are told that Jesus is a 'true Son'. Since creation is not derived from God's substance but is made 'out of nothing', God's Son must not be a creation.
"If these reasonings are correct, and Jesus was not created, we should not be surprised to find Bible passages that show him as having no beginning. We do find such:
"In Micah 5:2 we read of Jesus 'whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.'
"In Hebrews 7:3: 'Having neither beginning of days nor end of life the Son of God.'
"In Isaiah 9:6 he is awesomely called the 'Everlasting Father'.
"Also in Revelation 2:8 Jesus calls himself 'the first and the last,' referring to his eternity.
"As for the eternity of the Holy Spirit, let me ask you this: is the Holy Spirit something God created? You can search all your Watchtower publications and never find an answer or even see the question raised. Even your book Holy Spirit--The Force Behind the Coming New Order in all of its 192 pages supposedly about the Holy Spirit manages to ignore the problem completely. Do you want to know, Ted, why the Jehovah's Witnesses are so afraid to tackle this question? It is because if they answer, 'Yes, the Holy Spirit was created by Jehovah,' they'll have to repudiate what they teach about Jesus being God's first creation. (Since they teach that God made all things, including Jesus, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit would've had to be created prior to Jesus.) On the other hand, if they say, 'No, the Holy Spirit was not created by Jehovah,' it proves my point that the Holy Spirit is co-eternal with the Father. It is clear that either way their position on the Spirit is untenable; one is forced to think of him as co-eternal, or one cannot think of him at all. Paul agrees with me in his letter to the Hebrews, chapter 9, verse 4 where he calls him 'the eternal Spirit.'
"Finally, as to the co-existence of the three: First of all you must be aware that the Hebrew word for God is 'Elohim, which is a plural, indicating that God is more than one person.
"Second, you know that man was created in God's image. But Genesis 1:26 and other Scriptures show us God's plurality: 'And God (Elohim) said, "Let us make man in our image.' And how did he make us in his image? Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:10 that we consist of three co-existent entities: 'spirit, soul, and body.'
"In Genesis 18:1,2 Jehovah reveals himself as being three persons; 'And Jehovah appeared unto him… and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood against him.'
"In John 8:16, as in many other Scriptures, Jesus tells us that his Father is in him: 'for I am not alone, but I and the Father that Sent me.'
"2 Corinthians 5:19 backs this up saying, 'that God was in Christ.'
"As for the Holy Spirit, the Watchtower again would have no real objection to admitting that he is co-existent with the Father. Your publications have likened the Holy Spirit to God's arm, which, of course, co-exists with the body. That the Holy Spirit is also co-existent with the Son is shown from the following Scriptures:
"Romans 8:9: 'But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.' The Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are used interchangeably here without a second thought to show that they are one in the same Holy Spirit and accomplish the one objective, namely: belonging to God in spirit.
"In Galatians 4:6 we read, 'And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba, Father."' You see, the Holy Spirit makes us sons of God precisely because he is the Spirit of the Son of God.
"When I was discussing co-equality, you'll remember that I used Jesus' wonderful statement 'I and the Father are one.' I use it again here to prove co-existence. It's not that two people cannot be one in other ways (for example, a husband and wife are one -- still even their 'oneness' involves a sort of co-existence), but this is the way the Bible shows Jesus meant their oneness. Christians, as we agreed, are 'one' in the same way as the Father and Son are 'one'. So let's allow the Bible to interpret itself and tell us how Christians are 'one': "In Romans 12:5 we accordingly read, 'so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another.'
"So, since Christians are 'one body' in Christ, so too Christ and the Father are one body. If this be true together with the truths we have learned about the Trinity, it follows that Christians are members of the Holy Spirit and the Father as well, since all are co-existent one with another. That is why we read such things in First Corinthians chapter six as 'Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ? Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you which ye have from God?'
"In conclusion I'd like to relate five separate actions in which we discover the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit working together as one body in eternal equal partnership:
"But now I see my time is done and I must turn the floor over to Brother Morrow," Arthur concluded.
Bob leaned back in his chair and stretched both arms over his head making a 'poof' sound through distended cheeks rather than a yawn, and said, "Boy, I thought you'd never get done with all that nonsense. Where did you learn all that baloney?"
"You're wasting your valuable time by expecting me to reply to such disparagement," Arthur answered calmly, closing his eyes.
"Well, it certainly won't take me half an hour to prove that God's one person. Especially since I don't have to reply to your sophistry."
At this point the same nurse they'd seen last week came in. "Oh, you're up," she remarked to Mr. Jandle, stepping over to his chair and feeling his pulse. "How are you feeling?"
"Just fine, thank you," he replied showing a large trace of disgust in his voice so that the others wouldn't think he actually required such attention.
"Now, now. You know the doctor's orders; we just have to take your blood pressure again. I hope I'm not disturbing anything," she added with an odd look about the room as if her mere presence might send Arthur's wall of books tumbling down. No one ever had this many visitors, and she suddenly felt herself out of place like an intruder in some family discussion at a private home.
"Not at all," Arthur reassured her, "Bob was just telling us that he didn't need all his time anyway." He left it at that, opening his eyes to witness the perplexed look that he intended to leave for someone else to wipe off the nurse's face.
"We're just having a debate on the subject of the Trinity, my dear," Jandle wiped.
"Oh, I see. That's all beyond me, I guess," she confessed as she skillfully pumped up Jandle's arm.
"Not at all," Arthur wheezed as he shut his eyes once more with a sly smile, "I'm sure Bob will make it very, very simple for us."
"Ahem," Bob cleared his throat as he stood up to meet the challenge, and seeing an opportunity for witnessing, he looked at the nurse and said: "We'd be honored to have you attend our 'little discussion', if you could. We need a third judge in case there's a tie."
"Well, yes, I can stay for a while, I guess. I don't have to look in on Mrs, Weber until three."
"We're delighted to have you then," he smiled. "We, as Jehovah's Witnesses hold with common-sense as well as with Divine Reason and Revelation that Jehovah God is only one person. We cannot persuade ourselves that the Supreme Being suffers from the mental disease commonly known as 'multiple personality.' Nor can we force ourselves to skip over such clear statements in God's own Word as that which we find in Zechariah 14:9. Perhaps Ted would be kind enough to look that up for us and read it aloud."
Ted spent some moments finding the slightly obscure minor prophet. When he did, he leaned over to the nurse who had sat down beside him and pointed the Scripture out to her. He had thought to ask her name -- she looked to be in her mid-twenties -- but he thought better of it: "'And Jehovah must become king over all the earth. In that day Jehovah will prove to be one, and his name one.'"
Bob smiled and asked: "How many persons will Jehovah prove himself to be, Ted?"
"But instead of waiting for that day," Bob mused, "we had better accept this proof today! Perhaps Zechariah is too hard for Trinitarians to find, for I'm sure they never read this Scripture -- how could they and remain Trinitarians?
"Mister Olson," Bob's voice was rapidly raising in pitch so that he sounded like an old-fashioned orator about to make a tremendous point (and his purposely taking advantage of the situation to refer to Brother Olson as 'mister' showed his low respect for the man) "in all your great collection of books, do you perchance have a copy of the Amplified New Testament?"
"I have the entire Amplified Bible," Arthur replied. "Ted, get it off the third shelf there for Mister Morrow."
"Yes, get it," Bob was angered that Arthur returned his jibe so quickly, and his pitch went up another octave, "and when you've got it, read for us Galatians 3:20."
Ted obeyed and read, "Now a go-between (intermediary) has to do with and implies more than one party -- there can be no mediator with just one person. Yet God is (only) one person -- and he was the sole party (in giving that promise to Abraham. But the Law was a contract between two, God and Israel; its validity was dependent on both)."
"Thank you very much," Bob gloated as he sat back down, "I need say nothing further. You may consider the case closed unless you want to repeat this same Scripture several dozen times till the end of my time limit. Sorry for you, though, Mr. Trinitarian, it'll always say the same thing -- God is only one person. We noticed that in all your 30 minutes of verbiage you never showed us one Scripture stating that God was three persons -- nor could you have since the Bible does not contradict itself as you've already agreed. If you look back carefully over your mountain of misplaced Scriptures, you'll see that they are all capable of being put right so as to harmonize with this Scripture which proves that God is one person. But that task, fortunately, falls to Brother Johnson."
There was a minute of silence that Arthur finally broke, "you can't take the time you're saving now and apply it to your rebuttal, so you'd better use it while you can. I'm sure you can think of something to say for God's unity other than two Scriptures,"
"Yes, but I needn't," Bob replied, desperately attempting to conceal his anxiety about continuing, "the whole thing's proven by those two Scriptures, and nothing more need be said. If Richard wants to add anything, he's free to."
"Yes, well, I suppose I should put our time to good use," Richard said, "although I've been busily getting my notes together for the rebuttal. I'll see what I can say in a positive way for Jehovah's oneness.
"First of all, I'd note that Jesus always calls his Father 'God', but the Father never calls the Son 'God'. You'll notice this in Revelation 3:12 --" Richard, not possessing Arthur's remarkable memory was forced to laboriously look up every Scripture he mentioned, "where Jesus, even in his glory says, 'The one that conquers -- I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God… and I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which descends out of heaven from my God.'
"If Jesus were an equal God with his Father, we should expect the Father to call him God. Perhaps you'll say that he does but that it is omitted from the Bible. Very well, granting this, would they not also have to call the Holy Spirit 'God'? Of course they would. But what would that make them? What do you call a person who has more than one God? You call them by the derogatory name of polytheist. The Father, recognizing the Son as God and the Holy Spirit as God, has two Gods -- the same is true for the others, and hence you make them all polytheists!
"How far all of that strays from the simple Bible teaching; the teaching of Jesus Christ, who called his Father 'the only true God'.
"In 1 Corinthians 8:6 we learn; 'There is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ.' Here would've been an excellent opportunity for Paul to explain the Trinity! He could've said, 'There is actually to us one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;' but he didn't. He told us that our God consists only of the Father.
"In 1 Timothy 2:5 we see again that Jesus is not God: 'For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus.' Jesus is neither the 'men' nor the 'God' mentioned here; he is the mediator between the two.
"John 1:18 tells us that Jesus is the one who 'explained God to us,' This explanation of his was directed to the Jews who did not believe in any sort of Trinity, So, if God were a Trinity, we should expect Jesus to have spent a lot of time explaining this aspect of God to them. That he is absolutely silent on the subject is strong enough proof against the doctrine. But that he actually taught the opposite of it -- taught the same 'one God' doctrine that they already held to -- leaves us without the shadow of a doubt as to God's true nature.
When, in Mark 12:29 he was asked what the greatest commandment was, did he reply, 'You must believe that God is a Trinity of co-equal, co-existent members'? No, he said, 'The first is, "Hear O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah!"' The Scribe he was speaking with responded, 'He is One, and there's no other than He.' Either Jesus utterly failed in his mission to 'explain God' or God is not a Trinity.
"In Ephesians 4:4-6 we learn that there is 'one God and Father of all persons, who is over all and through all and in all.' If the Father is the 'one God', it excludes the Son from being such. And if the Father is head 'over all', then he is over the Son. In proof of this last statement, we read in John 14:28 where Jesus quite plainly says, 'The Father is greater than I.' If one person is greater than another, how can they be equal? It's quite impossible.
"But, you may object, he said this while on earth in the form of a lowly man. True, but what do we read in 1 Corinthians 3:23, written after his ascension to full glory? We read, 'Christ, in turn, belongs to God.' And, again, in 1 Corinthians 11:3, 'The head of the Christ is God.'
"We know that Jesus is not God because we know that Jesus dwelt on earth, was seen by men, was tempted, and died. I know you wouldn't doubt any of these statements except maybe for the temptation part; if you need reassurance on this, you can look it up in Luke 4:13 and Hebrews 4:15. Now, the point is, the Bible clearly teaches that God cannot do any of these things:
"'But will God truly dwell upon the earth? Look! The heavens, yes the heaven of the heavens themselves cannot contain you' (1 Kings 8:27)
"'No man has seen God at any time.' (John 1:18)
"'God cannot be tempted with evil' (James 1:13)
"'O my God, my Holy One, you do not die.' (Habakkuk 1:12).
"It is obvious then that Jesus cannot be God since he has done so many things the Bible tells us God cannot do.
"As what I just showed you absolutely disproves any doctrine of co-equality or co-existence between Father and Son, I should now like to take a moment to disprove co-eternity." Richard had admired Arthur's style so much that he was now sounding astonishingly like him.
"The very designation 'Son of God' proves that Jesus is not co-eternal with the Father. Is a son as old as his father? Isn't it rather that a son is always and without exception younger than his father? So, then, if words mean anything at all when the Bible uses them, calling Jesus the 'Son' of God automatically excludes him from having always existed, for then he'd be as old as his Father -- an absurdity! Accordingly, we read quite clearly in the Bible where Jesus, personified as Wisdom, says, 'Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago.' (Proverbs 8:22) We read in Colossians 1:15 where he is called, 'The first-born of all creation,' and in Revelation 3:14, 'The beginning of the creation by God,'
"The same reasoning may hold for the fact that Jesus is the High Priest in his mediation between God and man. A priest is never as great as the God he serves.
"The same could be said of his anointing. 'Christ' and 'Messiah' both mean 'anointed', and it is clear that the anointed one is not as great as he that does the anointing. The one who confers the honors must always remain greater than he who receives them."
At this point Richard reached into his briefcase, and after rummaging for a few moments, came out with a spiral notebook which he leafed through, saying, "I have some quotes here which I've collected over the years from the Watchtowers and various reference books of mine. Some of these on the Trinity should be of interest in rounding out our part.
"The first is from the Encyclopedia Britannica Micropedia, under the title 'Trinity':
"'Neither the word "trinity" nor the explicit doctrine as such, appears in the New Testament. Nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord." (Deut. 6:4) The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies.' It goes on to speak of a 'need to interpret the Biblical teaching to Greco-Roman paganism.'
"In The Origin and Evolution of Religion (1923, p. 336-348) by Prof. E. Washburn Hopkins, we read:
"'To Jesus and Paul the doctrine of the Trinity was apparently unknown: at any rate they say nothing about it. The word "trinity" is not used before 180-200… Plotinus (205-270) evolved a form of Platonism which results in a trinity not dissimilar to that of orthodox Buddhism and Brahmanism. His theology, which was called Platonic, had no little influence on the leaders of Christian opinion.'
"The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol, 14, under 'Trinity, Holy,' admits:
"'It was only then (the fourth century) that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian dogma "one God in three persons" became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought. From what has been seen thus far the impression could arise that the Trinitarian dogma is in the last analysis a late 4th century invention. In a sense, this is true… It is not, as already seen, directly and immediately the Word of God.'
"Lastly, in The Formation of Christian Dogma by Martin Werner (1957), we read:
"'The primitive Christian conception of the Messiah as a high angelic being also explains for us the fact which is of great doctrinal importance, that in the primitive Christian era there was no sign of any kind of Trinitarian problem or controversy, such as later produced violent conflicts in the church. The reason for this undoubtedly lay in the fact that, for primitive Christianity, Christ was… a being of the high celestial angel-world, who was created and chosen by God.'
"The choice, then, it would seem, is between Jesus, Paul, and the early Christians on one side and the apostate Trinitarians on the other. We Jehovah's Witnesses try to reflect primitive Christianity in every way in our beliefs as well as our preaching activities rather than those who yielded to Greek and Roman paganism and tried to mix them in with the Holy Bible. That's all I have to say for now, as the rest of my notes will be more appropriate for the rebuttal period. But I want you to remember this last quote about Jesus being thought of as an angel since I'll have recourse to it later."
"Well then, since you gentlemen are content to give up the floor," Arthur nodded graciously as he opened up his eyes to end his concentration on their every word, "It's time for my first rebuttal. But first, I should like to ask Ted what his opinion is so far of the debate."
"No, no. Mustn't do that," interrupted Mr. Jandle, "you'll influence the rest of us that way. You shouldn't let the judges speak till the end of it, at least so far as making a judgment goes."
"You're quite right; I'm sorry. But, my dear," he said as he turned to the nurse, "I think you have an appointment now with Mrs. Weber; it's three o'clock."
"Oh, yes. You're right. Well, I'll see if I can't look in again a little later and see what you decide. It's quite interesting, and I always try to have an open mind about these things…" she trailed off as she left the room.
"To begin at the beginning," Arthur began, "Zechariah 14:9 was the first Scripture you twisted to your own ends. What does it really mean to say that 'Jehovah will prove to be one, and his name one'? We note immediately that it does not say one 'person' however hard you try to make it. Let's take a parallel Scripture into account that we've already had frequent recourse to: the one where Jesus prays that his disciples 'may be one, just as we are one.' No one believes that all Christians are one person. So the way Jesus and his Father are 'one' is not by being one person, but by being co-equal and co-existent as I've already proven. I've also shown that Jesus is Jehovah. So now when we come upon this Scripture which says that Jehovah will prove to be 'one', all we have to do is keep in mind what we've already agreed as to this definition of 'oneness'--it means one God, not one person.
As for his name being one, this is easily accounted for by something else I've already said: the three members of the Godhead all possess and share the one singular name, Jehovah.
"You made a big stink over Galatians 3:20, Bob. Funny how you had to resort to a paraphrased translation in order to bring out your point. The word 'person' is found only in that translation, and then in parentheses to show that it's not strictly in the original manuscript. If we look at the context of this Scripture, we see that it's speaking of the Mosaic Law and how it was transmitted 'through angels by the hand of a mediator.' Why a mediator? If there's just one party or 'person' involved then there's no need of a mediator. Or if one party is laying down the law to another party which has no say in the matter, no mediator between them is needed. This was the case with God's promise to Abraham, but giving the Law to Israel required their active participation to carry out their part of the agreement.
"So we read Galatians 3:20 in full: 'Now a go-between (intermediary) has to do with and implies more than one party -- there can be no mediator with just one person. Yet God is (only) one person -- and He was the sole party (in giving that promise to Abraham. But the Law was a contract between two, God and Israel; its validity was dependent on both.)'
"What real difficulties does this present to the Trinitarian? None whatsoever! As I've already said, 'person' here is not strictly in the original Greek; there it simply says 'one' and stops. But even if we grant the free translation, 'person' is easily dealt with: the promise made to Abraham was made by Jehovah the Father: one person.
"The Scripture specifically tells us that no mediator was involved, hence the other two members of the Jehovah-hood took no active part in it. Finally, we note the use of 'party' in place of 'person' in two places. A 'party' can refer to more than one individual. This is obvious when it speaks of God and Israel as 'two' and 'both' when we know that Israel consists of thousands of individuals (and therefore, there can be no objection to referring to God in the same manner if he is more than one person as well).
"Richard, you raised some interesting points after Bob gave up. You called our attention to the fact that Jesus calls his Father 'God' in a great many instances. You neglected to point out, of course, that doing so in no way refutes the Trinitarian idea. But you also said something along the lines of 'if Jesus were an equal God with the Father, we'd expect the Father to call him 'God'. The fact is, he does. We have only to look again at the first chapter of Hebrews in verse eight to see this. Ted, as long as you still have the Amplified Bible on your lap, why don't you read it from there."
Ted turned to the requested verse and read, "But as to the Son, He says to Him, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever --"
"Thank you," Arthur cut him off, "The Authorized King James Version has, 'but unto the Son he saith, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever."' So we see that Jesus is called God by his Father, hence they are equal in this respect.
"Does that make them polytheists as you contend? Hardly. A polytheist believes in many unrelated gods. This gets into the mysterious relationship between the members that we as mere flesh and blood cannot begin to comprehend: they are three persons, each individually is God, and yet there is only one God. This is, however the only way we can take the Scriptures as a whole without finding contradictions.
"You say that Jesus is not God. This is astounding! How can you claim to have read the Bible at all and make such a statement? I didn't bring up this point in my last speech because I thought it could be taken for granted. That's why I went to show that Jesus was Jehovah, it already being too well known and documented that he was God. Now I see that I'll have to start with the basics.
"You'll readily agree from John 1:1 that Jesus as the 'Word' was 'a god,' will you not?"
"Yes," answered Richard, "that's what it says, 'a god.'"
"Yes, that's what it says," Arthur echoed, "and you Witnesses insist on wasting a good deal of us ministers' time by debating in favor of the little word 'a' there. It makes no difference one way or the other. I'll freely grant you your 'a' here."
"Thank you so very much," Bob mocked.
"Bob, as long as you're so anxious to again add your voice to this debate, why don't you turn to Isaiah 43:10 and read what should be a familiar Scripture. And while he's looking that up, I want to ask you, Richard, whether or not it's true that you use the 'a' I've given you in John to indicate a distinction between 'the God' the Word was with and the 'a god' the Word was?"
"That's true. Jesus as the Word was a god but not the God he was with; that would be an impossibility."
"You want me to read that Scripture now?" Bob asked.
Arthur nodded for Bob to proceed.
"'You are my witnesses,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and have faith in me, and that you may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and afterward there continued to be none.'"
"Now, Richard," Arthur continued, "would you say that Jesus is 'a god' -- but wait, you've already agreed to this, and there's no backing out now -- Jesus is a god, then, according to you, who was created after Jehovah was. This is what you so-called Jehovah's Witnesses say, but if we let Jehovah speak for himself, what does he say? He says there was no God created before or after him, thus contradicting your whole theory. And if you'll turn the page to Isaiah 44:8, Bob, you'll see that Jehovah again addresses his witnesses as follows, 'and you are my witnesses. Does there exist a God besides me? No, there is no Rock. I have recognized none.' Your theory, then, of Jesus being a different god than Jehovah, is one Jehovah himself refuses to recognize. It would be better if his Witnesses paid closer attention to what they are supposed to be witnesses of, namely, that Jehovah is the only God. What happens then to the god of John 1:1? He must be Jehovah himself in order to fit in with Isaiah here. And don't come back quibbling over punctuation, your own translation gives the Messiah a capitalized 'Mighty God' as well as 'Eternal Father' in Isaiah 9:6."
Ted found this last assertion hard to believe and plunged into his Bible at once only to discover that it was quite true.
"What then of those Scriptures you set forth in which Jesus calls his Father 'the only true God,' when he says 'the Father is greater than I,' and when he says 'no one has seen God at any time'? All of these are explicable when we consider that Jesus was a man at this time and he was speaking as a man to men. Since he had divested himself of the glory that he had as God (as Philippians 2:5-7 and John 17:5 tell us), his Father, retaining all his original glory, was naturally greater than he. As for 'no man has seen God at any time,' we know this isn't literally true since Isaiah quite plainly tells us that he saw Jehovah. The explanation must be analogous to the case in which Moses was told no man could see God and live, and immediately thereafter was given a view of God's back in Exodus 33:20-23.
"Finally, Jesus could speak of the Father as the 'only true God' since he is in some mysterious way connected with the Father, so that the designation 'Father' does not totally exclude the Son (as we've already seen from Isaiah's calling the Son the 'Eternal Father') and this goes to account for the majority of your other problematic verses such as 'there is one God and Father of us all.' Since we know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all created us according to the Scriptures I quoted last time, we know they're all included in this title 'Father of us all.' And yet, 'there is only one God the Father' as you pointed out from 1 Corinthians 8:6. It is the Trinity mystery clearly stated.
"As for 'Jesus belonging to God', we can see that this is quite appropriate. For example, I belong to a bridge club. Therefore, I'm a member of that bridge club. Jesus belongs to God. Therefore, he's a member of the Godhood. The Father and the Holy Spirit are the other members belonging to God.
"You used 'the head of the Christ is God' to show inequality, But what does Paul say of the members of the body? 'If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now they are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand: "I have no need of you," or, again, the head cannot say to the feet: "I have no need of you." God compounded the body, giving honor more abundant to the part which had a lack, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have the same care for one another. And if a member is glorified, all the other members are glorified with it.'
"So, if God the Father is the head of the body, and the Holy Spirit the 'arm,' and God the Son some other figurative body member, they are all still equals; it's just that they perform different offices just like in the Christian congregation.
"If you say that 1 Timothy 2:5 proves that Jesus is not God, by the same token it proves that he was not man either, but stood somewhere in between the two. Just what was or is Jesus according to you? Nonexistent? He must've been something. According to our view, which beautifully harmonizes all these Scriptures that cause you so many pains, Jesus was both God and man. That is why he could act as mediator between the two.
"Your final remarks -- those that were your own, that is -- concerned the co-eternal aspect. Proverbs 8:22, Colossians 1:15, and Revelation 3:14 were the Scriptures you used, I believe. As to the Proverb selection, you rightly remarked that Jesus was there personified as God's Wisdom. Now let me ask you, was there ever a time that God was not wise?"
"No, of course not," Richard replied.
"Then there was no time when God created his own wisdom. We could say that his wisdom was co-eternal and co-existent with himself, could we not?" Arthur reasoned with him.
"I guess you could put it that way," Richard smiled to hide his anxiety at the admission.
"And since we already agreed that this personified Wisdom was none other than our Lord, Jesus Christ, we'd have to say that Jesus was co-eternal and co-existent with God the Father.
"But what," Arthur asked, "of the words 'produced as the beginning of his way' and 'the first-born of all creation'? These are the very words that lead you to conclude that Jesus is a created being, are they not?"
"They are," Richard responded.
"Ted, we haven't had you look up a Scripture in a while; let's try Job 40:19, if you'd be so kind."
"All right, but what translation?" Ted asked.
"Oh, I should think the New World; you can find them faster in there."
"Okay, it reads, 'It is the beginning of the ways of God.'"
"Thank you. But here is something curious: the same words which Richard felt sure proved Jesus was the first creation are here applied to -- well, Ted, read back in verse 15 to see just what they are applied to."
"'Here, now, is Behemoth that I have made as well as you. Green grass it eats just as a bull does.'"
"A grass-eating animal!" Arthur exclaimed. "The Society has identified it as the hippopotamus for us. But how could this be the beginning work of God's creation if Jesus is to have the same honor conferred on him from the same words? There's one way out of this difficulty, gentlemen, though it may be painful for you. It is to admit that these words 'the beginning of the way of God' do not refer to being the first creation. There can only be one 'first' creation, so we can't give that appellation to Jesus and the hippo at the same time. What it must mean is the highest-ranking being. Jehovah is extolling the hippo as being above all animals in might. When we read that Jesus is 'the firstborn of all creation,' it refers to his being above all creation (and, hence, not a creation at all). 'Firstborn ' is the Greek 'prototkos'; this word conveys the idea of priority and sovereignty. If Paul had wanted to speak of Christ as being created, he would've used the word 'protoktistos,' That he didn't use this word shows that he didn't mean to convey the idea that Jesus was the first creation, but that he was the firstborn over all creation. In Bible times the firstborn was the leader of the household under the father; he was the head over it. Paul wished to convey this same thought about Christ, but he didn't wish to call him a created being, hence his careful choice of words.
"In Revelation 3:14 the New World Translation makes a very grave and purposeful error. It reads, 'The beginning of the creation by God.' It should be 'of God'. You can check this out in your own Kingdom Interlinear Translation; the word is 'of' not 'by.' If we read Jesus' statement correctly, then, as 'The beginning of the creation of God,' we see after a moment's reflection that it allows us to understand this in the sense that Jesus is the beginner of God's creation. The Greek word for beginning here is 'Arkhe.' According to Thayer's Lexicon, this word means: 'that by which anything begins to be, the origin, active cause.' Jesus, then, speaks of himself not as the first creation by God, but as the one who caused the creation from the beginning: the creator, not the created.
"As for a son always being younger than his father: the exception occurs when the sonship involved is not of an earthly, material nature but is an intellectual emanation on the part of the Supreme Spirit. Jesus' begettal is something impossible for us to understand as we can think of a father and son relationship only in terms of human reproduction -- as is evinced by your own example. But this, of course, is not the way to take it. The theologian Saint Thomas Aquinas came closest to understanding it when he spoke of it as an intellectual emanation. The Word is an 'eternal generation' of the Father's, and this explains how he could be begotten and yet not have a beginning.
"The relationship between the Father and the Son is something similar to the sun and its rays; one does not exist without the other. They are indistinguishable in that one cannot see the sun without looking at its rays. Yet the rays emanate from the sun as the sun acts as their source. Also, the rays have existed for as long as the sun has shone (for as long as it has been a sun, therefore). That is as close of an analogy as you'll find in nature. But if we turn to the mind, we'll find a closer, though more difficult, one.
"Whatever is understood is in him who understands. That's the first proposition of Aquinas. It simply means that when I 'understand' say, that lamp on Mr. Jandle's nightstand, it is 'in me,' that is, in my mind. My eyes send certain nerve impulses to my brain, and these form an idea in my mind that I call by the word 'lamp.' In this way, 'understanding' something can be thought of as assimilating the thing into our intellect. Do you follow so far?"
"I think so, Richard responded, "you're just saying that thoughts are in our heads, to put it crudely."
"Precisely. But, having got this far, what should we say to turning this idea around and looking at it from the other side? Let's try it and say that this word in my mind, 'lamp', is the lamp understood. This seems to follow, doesn't it?"
"Yes, but you could just have some word in your mind without knowing what it means," Richard commented with amazing clarity. "If I were to say 'capacitance' to Ted, he, not being an electrician, would have the word 'capacitance' in his mind but we could hardly say that it was 'capacitance understood.'"
"Excellent!" Arthur beamed, "You'll make a fine elder -- that's made up my mind once and for all." He paused and composed himself, "But I'm forgetting who I am." He paused, cleared his throat, and resumed his role as minister: "your objection is fair and agreeable, but I'm going to apply all this to the mind of God, and since there's nothing he can't understand, your objection has no place here.
"Let us think of one more thing, though, before turning to God. If an outside object is internalized into our mind by our understanding, then what happens when we turn our mind on itself? When we understand ourselves, where does this understanding take place but inside our minds? Yes, inside our minds there is a concept of our minds as well as a concept of our minds being a concept inside our minds, ad infinitum. What I mean to say is that we each have an image of ourselves in our minds which constitutes what we think of and what we mean when we say 'I.'
"When I say 'I am Arthur Olson,' what do I mean by 'I'? It is my mouth that makes this sound, this 'claim'; is it then my mouth that is Arthur Olson? Or is it the command from my mind that directs the mouth? Or is it my entire body? No, it is none of these. The command from my brain to speak is not me, otherwise I'd only be me when I was speaking the words 'I am Arthur Olson," and I'm fully persuaded that I am me at quite a few other times. It is not my entire body since not one atom of this body you see before you was a part of me just a few years ago. And if I were to lose my arms or legs or had some sort of transplant, I'd still be Arthur Olson. It must be, then, that 'I' am my inner concept of myself, carefully tucked away inside my mind. I am myself understood, and Arthur Olson is an intellectual image: a being within his own intellect.
"When did this 'me' come about? It was 'begotten' when my intellect understood itself for the first time. Psychologists call this stage in the infant's development 'autonomy': when it begins to distinguish the 'not me' -- for everything at first seems to it undifferentiated -- and gains a concept of itself as an independent living unit.
"At last we are ready to turn to God's own mind and ask when it was that he first understood himself. Our answer immediately comes back the same way as did our wonderment as to God's Wisdom: God has always been wise, he has always understood himself. So when was the begettal of God's understanding of himself: his 'me'? It has always been begotten: eternally generated. The Word inside God's mind that is Himself is Jesus. We agreed that the word inside our minds is the object understood; so the Word God inside God's mind is himself understood, and the Word is God -- the begotten God. This is why John 1:18 calls Jesus 'the only-begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him.' You see, every thought of God's is pure act. The Divine Intellect is not limited, as we, to abstract thought. Therefore, the Word God was not just thought of, he was begotten as a person. That this is so, that God's autonomy is the Word Jesus is shown by Jesus himself when he says, 'I am in the Father, and the Father in me.' Keep all of this in mind and then see what great sense the Scripture makes which, to you, has always sounded so foreign: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.'
"Now my time is nearly up and I want to quickly comment on two last things. You'll notice that I used Scripture after Scripture in setting forth my affirmation of our resolution. But you used an abundance of men's writings instead. That should show you, Ted, who it is that follows the Bible and who follows men's writings.
"Did it ever occur to you," Arthur continued, "that the formulation of the Trinity took as long as it did because the truth was developing during that time -- I mean, 'the light was getting brighter'? Jesus said he'd send the Holy Spirit to teach them all things. The Holy Spirit taught them of the Trinity, which, as you were quick to point out, Jesus had neglected to elucidate fully. The debates and controversies that erupted around it were from radicals who denied the Church's general belief. But it has lasted throughout these centuries through all the debates because it is true. Trinitarian theologians are not stupid, they know your arguments, but they see greater reason to hold their ground. One of your quotes, for instance, said that some primitive Christians believed Jesus to be an angel."
"Yes," Bob commented, "and that's what Jehovah's people believe today."
"But you must recall that there were sects and divisions from the true believers even then. Have you never read the letters of Paul to the Corinthians, the Thessalonians, and to Timothy? John tells us that there were already 'many antichrists' in 1 John 2:18. Other sources inform us that there were already 90 sects in the apostles' time. So how can we rely on some vague allusion to what the 'early Christians' believed? We could easily stumble across some odd sects' beliefs and take them for true Christianity! The teaching that Jesus was an angel, for example, is manifestly wrong in view of Hebrews, chapter one, which has Jesus 'Being made so much better than the angels… For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee?… And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever… But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool?' The distinction is drawn most markedly between the Son and the angels.
"But if you wish to quote what early Christians believed, why not quote Ignatius, who died about 110 CE? His life spanned the writing of the New Testament, and in his writings he calls Christ 'God' quite freely. In his letters to the Ephesians and the Romans he uses such expressions as: 'Jesus Christ our God,' 'Our God Jesus Christ,' 'Our God Jesus Christ was conceived in the womb of Mary… God appeared in the likeness of man.' 'Permit me to imitate the passion of my God.'
"But now I see my time is up and it's your turn, Richard, to refute me,"
"It's hard to know where to begin," Richard admitted, "you've brought up so many interesting things I've never heard before. But I've been taking notes of all the Scriptures you've used, and I guess I'll start at the beginning, if anyone can remember back that far."
"That's the disadvantage of taking the negative," Arthur reminded.
The nurse poked her head into the room at this juncture, "Can I be allowed back in?" she asked.
"Of course; we missed you," Arthur greeted her. "You're just in time to hear Richard tear apart everything I've said so far."
She resumed her same chair as soon as Ted cleared it of Bible translations that had been piling up.
Richard began with a studied look at his notes, carefully crossing off each one as he considered it. It was an effective gesture emphasizing their refutation.
"The very first thing you set out to do was to prove that Jesus was Jehovah, and you had Ted read Jeremiah 23:6 which called him 'Jehovah-tsidkenu.' But if this is to be taken literally as a prophecy, it fell flat; Jesus was never called Jehovah. So something else was meant. The fact: is, it isn't unusual for things in the Bible to be called by a contraction of Jehovah's name. For example, let's have Ted read the following Scriptures: first, Genesis 22:14."
"It reads, 'And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh.'"
"And now Exodus 17:15, please."
"'And Moses built an altar and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi.'"
"And Judges 6:24."
"'Then Gideon built an altar unto the Lord and called it Jehovah- shalom.'"
"And finally, Jeremiah 33:16."
"'In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safety: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD Our Righteousness.'"
"And what," Richard asked, again imitating the manner of Arthur as closely as possible, "does the marginal note say as to this name?"
"It says, 'Heb. Jehovah-tsidkenu. '"
"And is this not the very name applied to the Messiah which we before mistook to mean that Jesus was therefore Jehovah?"
"It most certainly is," Arthur replied, his eyes still shut.
"Then calling the Messiah 'Jehovah-tsidkenu' cannot possibly make him Jehovah since the Bible calls Israel by the same name, and I don't think my opponent would argue that Israel was also Jehovah.
"As your first 'proof' rested on an ignorance of the way in which the Bible uses contractions of Jehovah's name throughout, your second 'proof ' was the result of a lack of concentration on the tiny but important word 'of.' The Bible doesn't say that John the Baptist prepared the way 'for' Jehovah, but rather, the way 'of' Jehovah. And the way Jehovah purposed our salvation was through his Son; it was this purpose John prepared.
"Again you have trouble with words in Isaiah. The trouble here is with the word 'saw' or 'seeing'. We know Isaiah didn't see Jehovah because the Bible tells us no one can see or has seen God. What then did Isaiah see? According to John 12:41, 'Isaiah… saw his glory.' That is what Isaiah saw: God's glory. But since Hebrews 1:3 tells us that God's Son is the 'reflection of (God's) glory,' it is quite probable that Isaiah saw this reflection of God's glory, namely, Jesus Christ. This view would harmonize the two Scriptures perfectly and yet not make Jesus Jehovah. The reason I can make this last statement is that the Bible shows many instances in which angels were addressed as 'Jehovah' when, of course, they certainly weren't him. The two angels that warned Lot of his city's coming destruction, for example, were called 'Jehovah' by Lot in Genesis 19:18, although they had clearly stated that they had been 'sent' by Jehovah in verse 13, and therefore could not have been Jehovah.
"Exodus 16:10 reveals that the Israelites saw Jehovah's glory in a cloud. That doesn't make the cloud Jehovah, does it? But just as these other messengers and symbolic representations of Jehovah were simply referred to as Jehovah, so too when Isaiah saw Jehovah's glory when it was Jesus who was representing him, he was quite justified by previous Bible usage in calling him Jehovah.
"But the Bible's use of the word 'seeing' not only helps us to understand the above Scriptures, but also the one in which Jesus says that those who have seen him have seen the Father also. 'See' in such instances means 'understand'. Just like we say 'I see' for 'I understand'. On this point I'd like to have Ted read Ephesians 1:18."
"It reads, 'the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.'"
"Thank you. So we see that when someone says that their eyes have seen Jehovah himself, we know that they refer to the 'eyes of their understanding' only.
"One of your most convincing arguments was your comparison of Hebrews 1:10-12 with Psalm 102:25-27 where a verse first applied to Jehovah is later applied to Jesus. But in reading this Psalm it is important to keep in mind that it was probably David who wrote it as a prayer to Jehovah. In the first chapter of Hebrews we are told certain things God said to his Son. But we find that all these things were actually said to others by others.
"The statement in verse five, 'You are my son; I today have become your father' was said of David's son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 17:13 and 2 Samuel 7:14.
"Verse six, which has God saying, 'And let all God's angels worship him,' has its closest counterpart in Psalm 97:7: 'Bow down to him all you gods.' The speaker of that verse is David, again, and the ones addressed are false gods.
"In verse seven, the quote: 'Also with reference to the angels he says; "And he makes his angels spirits, and his public servants a flame of fire."' was taken from Psalm 104:4, and from here on all quotes are from the Psalms and are expressed from the Psalmist's point of view. What is noteworthy about all this is that God wouldn't say 'he makes his angels spirits' God would say, 'I make my angels spirits'. All these quotes, then, must be applied rather loosely as far as the exact wording of them goes. Paul was inspired to see that what was said of Solomon could also be said of Jesus, and what was said of Jehovah could be said of Jesus as well.
"Does this make Jesus Jehovah? No more than verse five makes him Solomon. The Scripture in question, which refers to the creation, can be applied to both Jehovah and Jesus from the fact that Jehovah created the universe through Jesus. That Paul himself viewed matters this way is shown from 1 Corinthians 8:6; 'There is actually to us one God the Father out of whom all things are, and we for him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him.' Paul, then, made a distinction between God, as the source, and Jesus as the instrument, of creation.
"Since these Scriptures you used to 'prove' Jesus is Jehovah so obviously mean something different, your entire argument falls to the ground. We all recall how much emphasis you placed on this proof, and in fact, the whole debate hinges on it: for we read in Psalm 83:18, 'That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, You alone are the Most High over all the earth.' Since only Jehovah is the Most High, no one else can be equal to him. You've admitted as much yourself in seeing the need to make Jesus Jehovah so that he won't be an 'other'. But what does the Bible itself say? Let's turn to Psalm 2:2 and find out. Ted?"
Ted had it in a flash; unlike the yawning Bob, he was becoming more intensely interested at every turn. He hadn't thought it possible to contravene anything Arthur had said; it seemed so complete and logical. But now Richard appeared in an even brighter heroic light as he fought brilliantly for the Truth. "It reads, 'The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against Jehovah, and against his anointed, saying --"' (He had picked up an American Standard Translation from off the shelf some time ago and used it for variety.)
"You'll notice," Richard continued, "that it's talking about two people there: Jehovah, and one who is identified as anointed. From this we would never assume that the anointed one is himself Jehovah, would we? No, because then it would have to read, 'Against Jehovah the anointed one.' But it doesn't. We have here again a small, simple word that is important not to overlook: 'and'. The use of the word 'and' between Jehovah and the 'anointed' shows that two persons are being spoken of. Further, being called 'his' anointed, shows an ownership of him by Jehovah; they aren't equal. Tell me, minister Olson, what is the Greek word for anointed?"
"It is Christ," Arthur replied, adding, "in Hebrew it's Messiah."
"So this 'anointed one' is none other than Jesus Christ. To back this up we read in Acts 4:24-47:
"'Sovereign Lord, you are the One who made heaven and the earth… and through holy spirit said by the mouth of our forefather David, "The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one," Even so, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with men of the nations and with peoples of Israel were in actuality gathered together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.'
"Now just think about that; it absolutely proves that Jesus cannot be Jehovah. These early Christians obviously believed that they were two different people. They didn't apply the Psalm to Jesus and someone Jesus had anointed; Jesus, according to them, fulfilled the role of the anointed rather than the role of Jehovah. Therefore, he is not Jehovah. These Christians addressed their prayer to 'the Sovereign Lord'. Did they consider this to be Jesus? No, because they call Jesus the 'holy servant whom you (the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah) anointed'. Jesus, therefore, is not the Sovereign Lord Jehovah (the anointer), but his servant (the anointed).
"Another example is Psalm 2:7. Would you read that, 'Ted?"
"'I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, 'Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee.''"
"Here again, two distinct persons are spoken of. But as for the application of it we turn to Acts 13:33, 'God… resurrected Jesus; even as it is written in the second Psalm, "You are my son, I have become your Father this day!"' God resurrected Jesus; he gave him life again, thus 'fathering him' again. Jesus is Jehovah's Son, he is not his Father, Jehovah.
"But one last example: Psalm 110:1 which reads, 'The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: "Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet."' David here envisioned a far future event in which Jehovah would say this to Jesus. Jesus himself identifies who he is in the prophecy; not that he is Jehovah, but that he is the one David calls 'my Lord'. We read his words in Mark 12:35-37:
"'How is it that the Scribes say that the Christ is David's son? By holy spirit David himself said, "Jehovah said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet.'" David himself calls him 'Lord'.'
"So Jesus teaches us here that he is not Jehovah, but the one Jehovah spoke to and David referred to as 'my Lord.'
"You next tried to twist the Scriptures to show that Jesus had Jehovah's glory and worship. This simply isn't so. Jesus, of course is glorious, being a heavenly being, just as all the angels are glorious. But 'glory' also has the meaning of 'giving worship', as when we say 'give glory to God' -- not that we add radiance to his personage--" at this strange idea Arthur began laughing silently, "but that we give him praise. This second type of glory Jesus has no share in. Note what he says in John 5:41: 'I do not accept glory from men.'
"When John 5:23 tells us to honor Jesus as we honor the one who sent him, the thought is simply one of paying honor to a representative. It is like a foreign ambassador being treated as if he himself were the king or president of his country. No one could rightfully assume from the paying of such honor that the ambassador was in fact the head of his country. Philippians 2:11 backs this up by saying, 'Every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.' So our honoring Jesus is to God's glory; It doesn't make him God.
"And when we read of the angels apparently worshipping Jesus, we must think of it as only a relative kind of obeisance. Again, it is honor to the Father through his representative. We have an example of this in 1 Chronicles 29:20. Perhaps Ted would read that from the New World Translation."
"'And David went on to say to all the congregation: 'Bless, now, Jehovah your God.' And all the congregation proceeded to bless Jehovah the God of their forefathers and bow low and prostrate themselves to Jehovah and to the king.'"
"Notice that?" Richard asked, "not only did they bow down in worship of Jehovah, but to David as well! Why? Because he, as king, was Jehovah's visible appointed ruler. And we have the same case with any so-called 'worship' accorded Jesus.
"Finally, we know that even if we were to allow that Jesus was worshipped, it couldn't prove that he was Jehovah God. If we could prove that God ordered someone else worshipped who was not God, wouldn't that disprove your conclusion, Brother Olson?"
"Minister Olson, if your please," he corrected. "Yes, it would disprove my conclusion; you're on the right track now, finally."
"Well, all right then. Ted, go back to some other translation and read Revelation 3:9 for us."
Ted switched Bibles again and read, "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."
"From verse seven," Richard explained, "we learn that this verse is referring to the angel of the Philadelphian Church. Since this angel is not God, and since God orders this angel worshipped, it disproves your conclusion about Jesus being God because he's worshipped.
"Next you tried to show that they were co-equal in contradiction to Jesus' own words, 'The Father is greater than I.' When the Jews were going to stone him in John 5:18, it was because they thought he was claiming equality with God. Were they right? You'll recall that the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah in full cognizance of the miracles and other proofs he'd given them. So are the Jews to be our authority on Jesus' true relationship with the Father? These same Jews who were sure he'd broken the Sabbath when he hadn't? No, we cannot accept their distorted reasoning as Gospel.
"Other Scriptures you used were either so obviously misapplied or taken from erroneous translations that I needn't reply to them at all.
"All the similarities you showed between Jesus and his Father and the Holy Spirit in creation, judgment, titles, and so on, are exactly that: similarities. Two people can be similar in many respects yet never be the same person, They might have the same house number, drive the same type of car, work in similar jobs, have the same name, and even be identical twins. But even though one could write up a list of similarities between these two men and rattle it off (as you have done with the Father and the Son), that simply cannot make them the same person. Although it's easy to see how a person without all the facts who just listened to your list of similarities might jump to this conclusion.
"As for the Holy Spirit, it wasn't created; it's a force of God. It can't possibly be a person. The Bible speaks of it as 'it' in several places, which of course is never done when a person is involved. Christians are spoken of as being baptized with the Holy Spirit. But can you imagine me picking up a person and placing him atop you to baptize you in him? No, the Holy Spirit is a force, and that's why, in those Scriptures you quoted, power is associated with it. You may recall Jesus saying that any sin against him would be forgiven, but no sin against the Holy Spirit would be. How is this? Is the Holy Spirit greater than the Son? This would throw your Trinity dogma out of whack. But the meaning becomes clearer when we view it as a force. We can see that it would be a more serious sin to go against this force when it was guiding us to do some act than when we were simply acting on our own puny initiative.
"Jesus, on the other hand, was definitely created. The Bible tells us so in so many words. We'd have to agree that there must be some distinction between Jesus' begettal and the angels' creation. But that doesn't mean that begettal has to be something other than creation. All that is really called for is that begettal be a different sort of creation: a unique way of creation that the Father used only once with his Son, and thereafter used another method. This, in fact, is what we find. We read in several places, already quoted, that God created everything through Jesus. But of course he couldn't have created the Son through the Son; and that's the difference! Jesus was a direct creation: a 'begettal' of Jehovah, whereas everything else was created by Jehovah through the mediation of his Son, the Word. This, in fact, is how he can claim the title 'first and last': not that he always was and always will be (though the last part of that statement is true), but that he was the first and the last to be created directly by Jehovah God.
"But did this require the Son to come out of the 'substance' of the Father, as you claim is necessary for him to be a 'true Son'? Hardly. If you ever took time to read the Gospel according to Luke, you'd have run across the last verse of chapter three which tells us that Adam was a 'son of God'. Since the Bible doesn't lie when it tells us this, we can rightfully call Adam a 'true son' of the Father. According to you, this means Adam must've been taken from God's substance, but according to the Bible, he was taken from the dust of the ground.
"As a final positive proof that Jesus was created (for we don't have time for the many more I could put forth)), let's look up Hebrews 2:11, where we read:
"'For both he who is sanctifying and those who are being sanctified all stem from one, and for this cause he is not ashamed to call them "brothers."' As no one would doubt that this is referring to Jesus, we must admit that he 'stemmed from' God just the same as his earthly brothers: he too was created. That's why his Father is their Father and his God their God, as he says in John 20:17.
"Next you turned to co-existence, using such familiar arguments as 'Elohim' being plural and God's saying 'let us make man in our image.' These arguments are easily answered. 'Elohim' is a plural in the same way that our English word 'sheep' is. It can be used as a plural or a singular; as the word 'sheep' can mean one animal or a flock. This is the same case with Elohim. Everyone agrees that the Jews were monotheists, and when they used this word for their God, it meant one singular God. When he says 'let us…' he is talking to his Son, whom we just explained, had a hand in creation and was in the image of God as being his 'reflection' (and a reflection is not the person being reflected any more than an image is the one imaged).
"Finally, I must reply to some things you said in your rebuttal.
"You tried to contort Galatians 3:20 so as to say something other than 'God is only one person.' I think you failed miserably at this, and once you saw there was no way out you had to admit that it really did mean one person. But you claimed that if it did mean one person, it meant only the Father God -- that he was the sole person in giving the promise to Abraham and used no mediator. Is this really what you said, or have I forgotten?"
"That's just what I said," Arthur answered, "what you have forgotten is how well I really did refute Bob's version of the Scripture."
"But refresh my memory once more," Richard was getting excited as an expectant smile perked up his lips, "what did you say about Genesis 18 where --"
"I said," Arthur interrupted, in a hurry to help Richard make his delicious killing, "that God appeared to Abraham as three people, proving that he was a Trinity."
"And on that particular occasion did God make a promise to Abraham?"
"So let's get this straight," Richard eagerly continued, "In order for the Trinity doctrine to harmonize with these Scriptures, Jehovah God had to come down in full force, as you'd say, in Genesis 18 as the three persons of the Trinity and make his promise to Abraham. But in Galatians 3:20, in order to avoid being only one person, God had to have made this promise to Abraham as one single member of the Trinity: the Father alone! By your false doctrine of the Trinity you have interpreted the Bible in such a way as to force it to contradict itself!
"You see what nonsense the Trinity idea makes of the Bible? Whereas if we accept the clear statement that God is only one person, and that no man had seen God at any time, we find no contradictions at all! The three angels who appeared to Abraham were addressed as Jehovah simply because they were God's representatives. Only when you accept the truth that God is not a Trinity, do you find no contradiction between these Scriptures.
"The other interesting point you brought up in rebuttal was that Jesus is a god. Of course he is! It would be the furthest thing from our minds to deny it! But it would be the next furthest thing to claim that this makes him Jehovah God. How do we reconcile this with God's own words that there were no gods created before or after him? Well, how do you reconcile it with the fact that the angels are also gods? If an argument can be used against both our viewpoints, it is worthless to bring it up in debate since it can't help solve our differences but is merely extraneous. To prove that the angels are gods too, we turn to Psalm 8:5. I think we'll have Ted read that from the King James first, and then from the Revised Standard."
Ted made a dash for the bookshelf once again and located a Revised Standard Version. He opened both Bibles and then said, "Okay, from the King James first:
"'For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.'
"And the Revised Standard reads, 'Yet thou has made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor.'"
"You'll notice that one said 'angels'," Richard pointed out, "and the other 'God'. Which is right? Both! That's the point: the angels are called 'God' here.
The Hebrew word is 'Elohim', which you've already said means God or gods. How can we be sure that 'Elohim' here is applied to the angels? In Hebrews 2:7 Paul quotes the verse. Ted, read that in the Revised Standard (the one that had 'God' instead of 'angels' in Psalm 8:5)."
"Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor."
"So Paul clearly tells us that 'Elohim' in the Psalm refers to the angels (he uses the Greek 'Agglos' which means angels rather than 'Theos' which means God). Must we admit, then, that the angels must all be Jehovah since the Bible calls them God? There's a better way to take it than that, I assure you. The term 'God' is just a title. It simply means might, or 'mighty one'. The dictionary defines it as 'a being of more than human powers.' Certainly the angels fit this description. When we see how the Bible as a whole uses the term 'elohim' and its derivatives, we are even more confirmed in this view.
In Genesis 23:6 the children of Heth refer to Abraham as a 'mighty prince' and the word they use is 'elohim'. In other instances: 1 Samuel 14:15, Genesis 30:8, Psalm 36:6, Ezekiel 32:21, and Genesis 31:29. It is translated variously as 'great', 'strong', and 'power'. The singular form of the word 'el' is translated 'might' and 'mighty' in Deuteronomy 28:32 and Psalm 29:1. The conclusion, then, is that the Bible deems it proper to call others who are not Jehovah by the title 'God'. There is no reason, then, to believe that Jesus is Jehovah simply because he, too, is called God. We should be surprised if he wasn't called God!
"I have rebutted all your statements now, and I have a little time remaining for one last positive proof of our position. If we could prove that Jesus was an angel, it would prove that he couldn't be God since the angels are less than God."
"But I already proved from Hebrews chapter one," Arthur reminded them, "that Jesus was distinct from the angels."
"But God said all those things in Hebrews chapter one to Jesus at his baptism. Before he came to earth he was an angel, and he still retains the name 'Michael the Archangel' in his glory."
Arthur looked as if he wanted to say something at this point but restrained himself. In that moment Ted tried to figure out what it was. He succeeded after a moment's thought: what Richard just admitted backed up what Arthur had said before about Jesus being less than God when he was a man on earth, but regaining his Godhood at his ascension. If Richard could allow Jesus to lose his title to angel-ship in this way so as to nullify the full force of Hebrews drawing a distinction between him and the angels, then how could he rightfully object to Arthur's using the same logic as to loss of Godhood so as to nullify the full force of Jesus saying 'the Father is greater than I'?
Richard continued, "We really aren't alone in this belief since Christendom in general believes that whenever the Hebrew Scriptures speak of 'the angel of the Lord,' it means Jesus.
"In Revelation 20:1-3 an angel hurls Satan into the abyss, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. This angel must be Jesus, since we know that the prophecy referred to him. Further, when he was on the earth, the demons recognized that he was the one who was to hurl them into the abyss (as we read in Luke 8:30,31). Christendom would agree, I think, that this angel is Jesus. This angel must first battle with the demons before abyssing them. And so we find in Revelation 12:7 that 'Michael and his angels battled with the dragon.' Again, this is the same angel that hurls them into the abyss, namely, Jesus. The verse, you'll notice, calls the angels 'his (Michael's) angels.' Who is it that is above the angels so that he can own them in this way? Well, we read of something similar in Matthew 13:41: 'The Son of man will send forth his angels.' The Son of man is Jesus, and so is Michael. The angels do not serve two masters; therefore Jesus is Michael the archangel.
"Daniel chapter 11 tells us that Michael will stand up (which means to take kingdom power, as used in Daniel 8:22,23) and cause a great time of distress and resurrection. We know that Jesus 'sat down at the right hand of God' till the time of his 'standing up' to take kingdom power. His doing this and throwing Satan out of heaven to the earth brings on the time of 'great distress.' Jesus is also called 'the resurrection and the life.' Therefore, since Jesus does all the things attributed to Michael the archangel, Jesus must be Michael the archangel, and must not be Jehovah who is over all angels as their creator. Even when Jesus comes in all his glory the Bible shows that he is the archangel and not God: 'the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice.'"
"Is that your conclusion?" Arthur asked, opening his bloodshot eyes.
"That's it," Richard replied.
"It seems I must remind you of the most interesting point you brought up. It was interesting," Arthur acknowledged, "not within its own content, but in the fact that you used it to contravene the major part of my argument. That was when you said that similarities between two individuals don't prove that they're the identical individual. Do you remember that?"
"Yes, of course," Richard replied.
"Do you? Then by what means, will you tell us please, have you just set out to prove that Jesus is Michael the archangel?"
There was a pause as Richard vainly searched for an answer that wouldn't invalidate his argument.
Finally Arthur continued by answering his own question; "Wasn't it, in fact, by showing similarities between Jesus and Michael? Jesus was supposed to do a certain thing, and we read of Michael doing it -- wasn't that it?"
"Yes," Richard replied sheepishly.
"Tell me why similarities prove a single identity in this instance but not in the greater instance between Jesus and Jehovah."
"Well … uh, I'm not sure exactly."
"Can you help him out, Bob?"
Bob shook his head, sadly disappointed that this strong argument against the Trinity was being raked over the coals.
"Or can either of you tell me," Arthur went on, "why you feel so confident that since the angels serve only one master, Jesus must be Michael; and yet, by the same reasoning, Jesus is not Jehovah? Don't the angels recognize Jehovah as their master? Don't Hebrews and the Psalms call them 'all the angels of God'? If so, and if they don't serve two masters -- by your own reasoning Jesus must be Jehovah.
"When James, likewise, writes that he is a 'servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,' they must be one in the same since Jesus said not to serve two masters. Do you agree with that?"
"No, of course not," Richard disagreed.
"How do you explain it then?"
"Jesus must've meant two masters opposed to each other."
"Then how can you use the argument to prove that Jesus is Michael? Could it be that you just go along with what the Watchtower teaches, and since it teaches that Jesus is not God you ignore all proofs to the contrary, but since it teaches that Jesus is Michael you eagerly use the same type of proofs to support this Watchtower teaching?
"For instance, you say you agree with Christendom's teaching that 'the angel of the Lord' in the Old Testament is Jesus. Yet you stop there -- right where the Watchtower stops, You fail to bring it to its logical conclusion. The angel of the Lord was distinctly called 'Jehovah'!
"We can see this from a comparison of Exodus 14:19 with 13:21: 'And the angel of God who went before the camp of Israel in a pillar of cloud…' 'And Jehovah went before them by day in a pillar of cloud…' In many other instances the angel of the Lord is recognized as being 'God' or 'the true God' (such as in Genesis 31:71, 13; 32:30; and Judges 13:21, 23). To take one such instance: when Manoah saw the angel of the Lord he said, 'we shall surely die, because we have seen God.' But surely Manoah was familiar with the account of Jacob wrestling with the angel, and of others who had seen angels and did not die. He must've been thinking of what God said to Moses: 'Thou canst not see my face; for man shall not see me and live.' So Manoah must've associated the angel of the Lord with Jehovah God himself. He was right to do so. Then why didn't he die? Because this was not Jehovah the Father, of whom it is truly written, 'the Father ye have neither heard his voice at any time nor seen his form.' (3ohn 5:37) It was the Father whom no man could see and live. Men could see Jehovah the Son and live, because the Son became incarnate as an angel to appear to them. This explains our old problem of Isaiah 6:5: 'for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts.' Isaiah lived after seeing Jehovah--an impossibility unless we acknowledge that Isaiah saw Jehovah the Son--and so he did according to John 12:41.
"I am going to pass over the majority of your arguments by saying that all they proved, and all you evidently meant them to prove, was that the Father is not the Son. We Trinitarians agree with that whole-heartedly; so you were just wasting your breath. The Father and the Son are two distinct, separate persons. Each one is a complete individual unto himself. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father. And yet they co-exist together with the Holy Spirit as one God."
"But that's impossible to understand," Bob interrupted, "It's a contradiction in terms in the first place. That's why so many people are leaving your traditional religions; they have 'mysteries' like these that can't be explained, much less thought about or actually believed. Jehovah's organization, on the other hand, is the fastest growing religion in the world because we've gotten away from such nonsense. We don't claim to believe in anything we don't understand. Our beliefs are simply the truth; clear and direct, easily proven from the Bible without a lot of medieval theologians having to be brought in."
"Excuse me, dear brother," Arthur reprimanded, "but you're using up my time again. But let me reply to what you just said before I continue rebutting Richard. There are three parts to your statements: (1) that you don't believe, and can't believe anything incomprehensible; (2) that the Watchtower teachings are nothing like this; they are all simple and straightforward; and (3) that yours must be the true view since you're the fastest growing religion.
"To reply to your first point: I must say first of all, that there is nothing 'contradictory' about the Trinity doctrine. We don't say that God is three persons in one and yet not three persons in one, or anything like that. Our view is consistent within itself. You are assuming that it is nonsense simply because we as humans cannot fully grasp the concept. Yet, contrary to your poorly thought out statements, there are many things in the universe which we believe in and yet cannot fully grasp. You believe the universe to be infinite, do you not?"
"Yes, of course," Bob replied.
"Can your mind conceive of the infinite? When you try to imagine space as having no end, don't you have to imagine a certain amount of space first, and then add another amount of space to it, and so on, so that your mind can't take it all in at once but has to take it in never-ending sections?"
"Something like that, yes."
"So our minds can't really think of the infinite, nor can they imagine an end to space. Therefore, we conclude that we must believe it to be infinite even though we're limited in trying to think of it.
"Or take the always-existing God as another example. We can think back billions of years and reason that there was only God and that he was in existence billions of billions of years before that. And when we think back to that time, we would have to go back still further, and so on endlessly. We can't conceive of God being beginningless because we each had a beginning. But neither can we think of a time when there was nothing at all, not even God. So we believe that God always existed, that the universe has no end, and that there can be no place where there isn't space. We believe them all, but we can't conceive of them. These things are beyond us, yet we believe in them because they are the truest of possibilities.
"Now, when we come to God's being, do we suddenly think it strange that we cannot fully understand him? Why does it seem to you that we can have all these other mysteries of the universe and physical laws, and yet, when it comes to the Supreme Being we should understand him perfectly? If our idea of God were so simple, simpler than material laws, it would be a good reason for holding such an idea suspect of being false. If we were trying to make up some doctrine for ready belief by the masses, of course we'd choose something simple like God being one person like man is. Why should Christendom go through all the trouble of trying to convey the difficult and mysterious doctrine of the Trinity unless it were true and as close an approximation as one can come to God's Being?
"Now to address your second point as to the Watchtower's teachings: If I may quote from your Watchtower on the very issue at stake, I mean about the Trinity itself, you'll see that it has taught exactly what I'm saying to you now on two very important points. The first of which is that Jesus is God:
"'It is since His resurrection that the message has gone forth -- "All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me." (Matthew 28:18) Consequently, it is only since then that he could be called the Almighty.'"
"I don't believe that for a second," Bob interjected, "the Society never believed that Jesus was the Almighty. Even Russell had the truth on that from the very beginning."
"You will keep interrupting me," Arthur said angrily, "Tell me, what does it mean when Jesus says that he now has 'all power'? Doesn't it mean that he's all mighty? The quote is from the 1893 Watchtower, page 115, if you care to check. It's also quoted in The Finished Mystery, page 15, where Revelation 1:8 (which you people now apply to Jehovah) is applied to Jesus Christ.
"As to worship, once again the Watchtower agrees with me and is at odds with you. Notice this in the July 15, 1898 and October 1880 issues, where we read:
"'Question: Was he really worshipped, or is the translation faulty? Answer: Yes, we believe our Lord while on earth was really worshipped, and properly so… it was proper for our Lord to receive worship.' 'He was the object of unreproved worship even when a babe, by the wise men that came to see the new-born king… He never reproved any for acts of worship offered to Himself… Had Christ not been more than man the same reason would have prevented Him from receiving worship.'
"Of course, admitting Jesus to be the Almighty and to have received worship leads to only one possible view of the One Almighty God who exacts exclusive devotion: he is more than one person. That is why, no doubt, you refuse to admit these things today, and in fact the Watchtower makes opposite statements about these matters today. So it has certainly 'simplified' its own position -- and is that why it's the 'fastest growing religion'? You used this as your third and final proof of truthfulness, but I guess you've never read Matthew 7:13, 14 or Matthew 211:11. Look it up when you get home; you'll find it enlightening. Right now I can waste no more time on the matter.
"I will quickly return to this matter of worship," Arthur hurriedly continued, "and inform my esteemed opponent that the correct rendering of Christ's words in John 5:41 are 'I receive not worship from men' rather than 'accept not'. Of course he accepts it; it's mankind he's berating for not giving it so that he can receive it. Did he turn down the worship of Stephen as that martyr was being stoned and prayed directly to him, as we read in Acts 7:59: 'And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'? Since it is proper for Christians to pray only to God, and since Jesus tells us whatever we ask in his name he will do; Stephen at a time of great trial would pray only to the Almighty -- Jesus is Almighty God Jehovah!
"Yet you say the worship he receives is 'relative'! This is almost amusing when we think of what you have to say about the Catholic Church's relative worship. Ted, take our your Make Sure book and read the top heading on page 249, under the article on Idolatry."
"It reads, '"Relative" worship, using physical "aids to devotion", contrary to Christian principle of worship.'"
"And now read the bottom heading of the same column."
"'Bowing in worship before men or even angels as representatives of God forbidden.'"
"You say that Jesus acted as God's representative, that he was only a man while on earth, and now he is an angel. So the restriction against representatives, angels, and men being worshipped should certainly apply to him. But if bowing before him was forbidden, why was it done? Why did the disciples and women do it in Matthew 28:9,17, and why did the elders in heaven do it in Revelation 5:14? If this is 'relative worship' as you claimed, and relative worship is idolatry, as the Society states, then the disciples of Jesus were guilty of idolatry and so was he for not reproving them. Yet, according to the Bible, Jesus was without sin. Therefore, in order for him to receive worship without sinning, he must be Jehovah God the Almighty.
"You read Psalm 83:18 before which stated that the one whose name is Jehovah is the Most High over all the earth. But in Philippians 2:9 we read that Jesus has the name that is above every other name. Therefore, his name must be Jehovah, especially since we know he has all power in heaven and earth.
"But your whole system, which admits that Jesus was a god (and you shouldn't be so fussy about capitalizing the 'G' since in your own New World Translation Jesus is God with a capital 'G' in Isaiah 9:6) yet denies that he is Jehovah God whom we worship, seems to make Jesus into some sort of pretend or pseudo-god. It's as if you're saying, 'he's God, but not really,' You simply can't have it both ways. In Philippians 2:6,7 we've read that Christ Jesus had God's form, but put it off to take on man's form. Now, let me ask you, Bob, when Jesus was in 'man's form' was he a make-believe man, a pseudo-man, or was he truly man?"
"He was truly man."
"It follows, then, that when he was in 'God's form' he was as truly God as he was truly man when he was in man's form.
"There is one last point, and then I'm through. It's about the Holy Spirit: that much maligned person of the Godhead. You say I'm all wrong in thinking of him as a person, that in reality he's an impersonal 'force', is that correct?"
"That's right," Richard answered.
"Well, then, would you be so kind as to read Romans 8:26 for us?"
"Surely. It reads: 'In like manner the spirit also joined in with help for our weakness; for the problem of what we should pray for as we need to we do not know, but the spirit itself pleads for us with groanings unuttered.'"
"Isn't it rather ridiculous," Arthur asked, "to say that a force intercedes with God on our behalf? Only a person could to this. How could a mindless force know what we need to pray for and make these needs known to God for us?
"Ted, take your Revised Standard out again and read 1 Corinthians 12:71.
"'All these are inspired by one and the same spirit who apportions to each individually as he wills.'"
"That clearly states," Arthur expounded, "that the Holy Spirit has a will. Can this be said of a mere force? A force can be directed, but the verse does not say that anyone directed it; it says the Holy Spirit did as he willed.
"But can a person be called 'it'? Doesn't this very fact that the Bible calls the Holy Spirit 'it' refute my view of his being a person? To settle that question, please read Matthew 1:11,13."
Richard and Ted looked at each other and decided in their glance that Richard should read it since Arthur didn't specify. He opened up to the passage and read, "'And when they went into the house they saw the young child with Mary its mother, and, falling down, they did obeisance to it. They also opened their treasures and presented it with gifts…' 'Get up, take the young child and its mother and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I give you word; for Herod is about to search for the young child to destroy it.'"
"Was Jesus a person?" Arthur asked.
"Yes, of course," Richard replied.
"Then why does the Bible call him 'it' five times in a row? Along the same lines we could turn to Ezekiel 18:4 where the soul is called 'it', and I know you'll say the soul is 'the person himself.' Calling a person 'it', then, is perfectly acceptable in Biblical usage.
"And now I'm done," he paused and sighed, "I'll dispense with the usual eloquent plea for the adoption of the resolution; it's too difficult to put one's heart in such an abstract doctrine. I turn it over to the judges then. Nancy, you be first; who do you judge to have won the debate? Speak honestly now, you'll hurt no one's feelings, I assure you."
"So Nancy was her name," Ted thought. "She had a good witness today on the Truth."
"I think there's no question but you two," she pointed with her head towards Richard and Bob, "are right. If it says God is only one person, what more its there to say?" She gave a little forced laugh out of habit at the end of this sentence to tone it down somewhat in case anyone should disagree with her and repercussions ensue.
Her worries of disagreement were well founded, as Mr. Jandle next voiced his opinion. "In the first place," he began, twirling his mustache, "I don't think our nurse here is qualified to pass judgment since she missed most of the debate, and the parts she missed were Arthur's pleas for the Trinity. She practically heard only one side of the argument except for this last bit. I think, had she heard it all from the beginning as I have, she'd vote for the affirmative like me."
"All right," Arthur interposed, "we have one vote for the negative and one for the affirmative; it's up to you, Ted, to decide the issue."
"If only it were that easy," Ted said as he stood up and walked behind his chair, grasping the back of it with a tight grip. "I was going back and forth like a tennis ball between you. When Arthur spoke I was sure he was right, and when Richard spoke I was sure he was right. But now," he let go the chair, turned his back to them, and began pacing nervously, speaking only at the intervals when he was at the window, "Now it seems to me that you're both wrong. And that maybe the truth isn't between these two issues; I mean between God being a Trinity or not being a Trinity. Maybe it's something beyond either side. That God's so far above our thoughts that --"
"Stop right there," Arthur warned in a stern voice which made Ted turn from the window and face them all. "God's either a Trinity or he's not. Don't reject absolute truth for mystery; it's got to be one or the other --"
"Remember," Bob added, "you're getting baptized next week, and we don't baptize Trinitarians."
Ted swallowed hard. He felt on the verge of that something "mysterious" Arthur referred to, and hated to reject it so utterly without fully tasting of it. But baptism was the thing. He'd been working towards it for months and it wasn't worth risking it for some intangible thought, no matter how free. "Then," he began slowly, measuring the words: "I give 49 and a half percent of my vote to the affirmative and 50 and a half percent to the negative."
"It seems the no's have it," Arthur beamed, "God is not a Trinity after all! Well done," he said as he shook Richard's hand.
"We won't be able to come and see you next Sunday," Richard reminded him as though he was capable of forgetting, "we'll all be at the convention. But we'll be thinking of you."
"Be sure to say hello to everyone for me, and tell them I remember them always in my prayers."
"Yes," Bob said, "we'll bring you back a full report,"
"Thank you, but that won't be necessary as I have a brother who tape records them for me in their entirety." He looked over at Ted with emotion in his wrinkled eyes, "And you, young man, will be getting baptized!"
"Jehovah willing," Ted responded, and Arthur nodded and smiled broadly.